Saturday, October 30, 2010

Colour Abounds.

Summer has arrived in the garden. My lovely Copper Beech is now fully clothed in it's new leaves. Only a few days ago it was half there . See how it gets the leaves near the top first.
Roses are bursting into flower.

This is a bud of rose Meg. She has a beautiful face with prominant stamens but a very little perfume. If you look at the right hand edge of the photo, flower heads can be seen hanging from the Scarlet Oak tree, above. ( click to enlarge ).

Soozii the blue Siberian Irises are out.
Clumps of pale pink Tritonia are looking lovely. ( the odd orange ones have crept in somehow )

I thought I had lost this old blue climbing pea but it showed up again against the trellis ( which is in need of repair ). I must save some seed and replant it somewhere else in the garden so I don't lose it. My late Mum used to have it in her garden when I was a child.
The smell of Philadelphus is in the air as the first bush begins to flower. I love my Summer garden and hope to spend time there later weeding and dead heading.
*Best Wishes to Helen K who reads this blog;  but doesn't have one. Thanks for your email; I hope your recovery from brain surgery goes well.
* Have  a pleasant weekend everyone. Our weather is again warm and sunny, I hope yours is okay too.

* Yesterday some of the bees who got left behind from the swarm were too friendly....I had to move away, just as a precaution you understand!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Plenty of Company!

Yesterday afternoon while I was working on the Kiwifruit vines a bee buzzed by my face and I flicked it away....only to be followed by another and another. I then realised a swarm of bees was moving in beside me. As a precaution I moved a few vines away. After about 10 minutes most of the bees settled into a male vine at the end of the row, where they stayed for the afternoon without worrying me.

We rang our bee keeper who happened to be working over here in the BOP with his hives so at 10.30pm he came and collected the swarm. They probably weren't his bees - but it is very hard to tell, as all swarms look alike.
At the moment as there is so much to do I am trying to do appointments ( with the podiatrist ) housework; P and Q work, office work in the mornings so I can spend all afternoon till 5.30 working on the kiwifruit vines.
 As well as removing old clips and spent stems I am now thinning buds.
We are aiming to have 7 buds left on the biggest strong shoots.

 Here is one before I remove the triples.  
The first thing I do is take off the ones that will turn into flat fruit. ( I can tell by the shape of the bud ) Then space the others and pick the most vigorous.
 There can be over 1000  buds left in just one bay, so that's lots of thinning. I will never run oput of work!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nice Day For a Wedding.

It was a nice day for a wedding. Too hot between the hours of 2 and 3 and not enough trees for the guests to stand under. ( Labour weekend with hot weather - quite unusual! ) I will just show some photos of some of the details as I don't wish to put family photos up here without everyones' permission. The top photo shows the beautiful hand embroidery my sister in law did on the 3 little girls dresses. She has been busy for weeks making the dresses.

A cherry tree in their garden was in flower which added a soft fairytail quality.

To respresent all the strands and races being blended by this union different coloured sands were poured into this large jar.

Little bags of rice were given out by the bridesmaids and the rice was thrown by the guests ( the young boys especially liked this part ) - I wonder if it will sprout on the lawn next time it rains?  All the flowers were devine ; these on each table at the reception.

The place settings were lovely with a packet of flower seed for each guest to take and sow as a reminder of the day. I got given several other folk didn't want so must find a special place to sow them.

* The red shoes were very comfortable. We had a lovely night away and a great family reunion. It was ages since I had seen my 2 nieces and nephew and all the wider family.
It's back to busy, busy, busy around here now. Just so much to do in the orchard, but I will do just as much as I can manage and not stress.  Actually I think it's going to rain .( No sewing all weekend! )

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shoes ; Feet and Walking.

These are my very comfortable, sensible, expensive walking shoes. I don't wear shoes that are not comfortable BUT almost a month ago I got a very sore right foot ( after walking ) for no apparent reason. I put up with the pain thinking it would go away. It didn't; it lessened somewhat but was always sore by evening. It was worst in bare feet and especially standing on tip toes. My sturdy walking shoes, because they were splinting my foot to some extent, were the most comfortable to wear. Last week I went to the doctor who ( took my money ) and referred me on to a podiatrist. I had to wait till this morning for my appointment. Oh, how I wish I had gone 3 weeks ago.
She was excellent and friendly and funny. I have metatarsalgia ( which just means sore foot or sore toe joint ). Apparently as we age we lose the fat in the ball of our feet - I didn't know that! ( maybe it gravitates up and ends round ones middle.) I probably stood on a stone or something right on the sore spot ( the joint out from the 4th toe on the ball of the foot ) and it has enflamed it and made it angry ( and me too ) . So to rest the spot and keep my foot off it while walking she made this felt insole with the part cut out over the sore spot.

It is washable ( and she said dry it with the hair dryer after a shower !!! ) and keep it on as long as possible - hopefully till I see her again next week.
 I was a bit worried how fat it would make my foot but the padding is all underneath so it will be fine because  this weekend we are going to our niece's wedding and I have these new flat pretty red shoes to wear.

 Part of the weddding is on grass so they had to be flat. I have worn them once before and they were comfortable ( and will match my red bag and the black things I intend wearing. )
I will have happy feet ; Well happier than they were anyway.

* I emailed Norton Help about the problem I was having installing my paid for new antivirus and got a very helpful reply back. Thanks! They even credited me with the unused portion of my previous version; so I am very pleased.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Last evening at P and Q Group we had a "Bring Your Heirlooms Show and Tell."  As NZ does not have a long quilting history ( generally speaking ) I was not surprised that no one came along with a quilt made by their Grandma. BUT we did have other lovely old items made by Mums; Grandmas ; Aunts and Great Grandmothers.
 Heather's doll made by her Mum is not so old in itself but has very old lace and fabrics used in it. Just Beautiful.
The woollen  baby dress was knitted on Bike spokes and was so, so fine and soft. Obviously well protected from Moths all these years.
This small shawl had been made on hairpins by D's mother. There were many embroidered cloths and napkins.  Some knitted lace and  crotchet. Even a very old felt pin cushion that had belonged to a Grandma of someone now in her 70s.
 We are having the same Show and tell with our Friday group later this week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Alternative Tasks.

Fresh veges from my garden with our dinner. R cooked Moussaka while I gardened. He has potatoes and peas just showing through in his garden. Everything else is getting a battering with the wind. He planted soaked sweet corn seed yesterday.
    Yesterday was SO windy, trying to work with the kiwifruit vines wasn't possible. The new growth took a battering. So instead I did heaps of washing which got dry despite frequent little showers. It meant chasing after it all day, but things are fresh and fluffy. I did some gardening but had to watch that I was upwind of what I was putting in my big weed woolpack( mulch for the avocados )otherwise I got it back in my face the wind was so gusty.
I also spent a lot of frustrating time trying to update our Norton Antivirus. I did it on the notebook as it had only 5 days left to run. I paid on line for a package that can be used on up to 3 computers. That uploaded well and is running for the next 2 years BUT could I get it to load onto the main computer which has 31 days left to run on it's current deal. NO!  It would get so far then just send me round in circles. I went in and stopped the automatic update from happening ( or I will get charged twice )but still it won't update from the other new package although it clearly states I may use it on 2 more computers.
 TO make it worse I am then getting threatening email from Norton because I unsubscribed from the automatic update.
I hate to think how much time I wasted on that yesterday! I will get help with it if I need to...still have 30 days cover on last times deal.
What do you think this is a photo of? 

  Part of what I am working on with the kiwifruit is taking off old used clips especially the ones that have been cut in half by the pruners -  they leave a sharp plastic end that could run new fruit. Also I am breaking off all the used stalks ( that had last season's fruit hanging on them ) because they too can rub new fruit BUT mainly because I think they have the eggs of passionvine hoppers embedded in them and we have a big pest problem with them making sooty mould on the fruit. SO I am collecting them in a bucket which I then tip into a sack ( photo )and later burn them.
So that is what I am currently doing in the orchard. Some of the new shoots have flower buds just showing so shortly I will be thining those
.After dinner I sewed a few more of my blocks together - 3/4 done now.
I better get out there now, while conditions are okay.( but cold ) What will the weather do next?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time in the Garden.

Viburnum plicatum tomentosa has been beautiful as usual. It is in the garden just outside our bedroom window and the last few days I have been watching Mrs. Blackbird very busily making a nest in the depths of this tree.

I spent the entire afternoon gardening yesterday.Down the steps under the big Rimu tree( that's it hanging down from the top right ) has got totally out of hand. First I took my gloves off ( cause dead rimu sticks to them ) and collect heaps of dead rimu from the wind 2 weeks ago . Not a pleasant or easy job. Then I began salvaging small plants on the bank that were almost being overrun with weeds.

The Ajuga was flowering and a small clump of dark blue/ purple Babiana.

Mainly it was just weeding and trimming back plants. It looked much better for the time I spent but is only one of many parts of the garden further from the house that want my attention.
 This morning I tackled a few other areas but it is raining now so that's it for this weekend. Inside activities now.

Friday, October 15, 2010


My Xeronema plant has 9 flowers out at the moment.( the most ever at one time ) It is quite a rare plant so I'm happy with it. ( Xeronema callistemon or Poor Knights Lily ) ( pronounced zeronema ).
The Netball result at the Commonwealth Games was wonderful. Well done the Silver Ferns! ( golden ferns now! )What a long hard quirky game it was - I couldn't watch at some stages and had to get up and leave the room - I get too excited. Congratulations on your Gold Medal ladies! ( sorry Australian friends - you played so well too, but we love to beat you sometimes! )
Thank you for your confirmation of my block placement. I am going with that layout ( previuos post ). A few parts are getting sewn together every spare moment I get. Wet weather is helping.
 It is fine this morning but things are still drying out, so I will be down in Kiwifruit block 3 later on. The green shoots are growing a little every day. Some flower buds are visible, but it is a slow season so far.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is This the Final Block Placing?

I don't seem to be able to find a more pleasing layout of my blocks than this one. ( the little batik squares are actually brighter than they look here. )Any suggestions anyone?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quilt Blocks Progress.

On Friday at P and Q about 6 ladies all helped me play around with the Bento Box Blocks. We all agreed it  gave it a bit more structure by matching blocks to half their partners diagonally. The black on black blocks are the glue. So we tried them in a line diagonally across the layout and this ( above )  is the best lay out.
 I have made 2 more blocks since then and have them on the floor again today to make sure I have a good mix of coloured centres. It is going to be 4 rows across by 5 down. The gaps to fill are obvious. I then will need to make really sure I like the sets of 2 matching pairs before I sew the 4 parts together. In this photo I have the diagonal darker line running the other way. SO still lots of playing around with it to decide.
 I know there is more than 1 layout solution so hope to try them all!

I have also been gardening - weeding and planting. R has planted peas  and tomatoes today. The potatoes aren't up yet - soon. The vege garden always looks much more appealing when freshly worked with little plants coming up.
I stayed up and slept on the couch as I was watching Commonwealth Games on TV. (it's a shame most of the coverage for us happens at night ) NZ women are leading the way for our team.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Quite a Costly Lesson.

I don't have a lot of jewellery and I wear my engagement ring ,wedding ring, my late Mum's engagement ring and a keeper ring all the time. ( The keeper ring is a good fit and stops my Mum's rings from coming off as it is a bit large for my finger ) Occasionally I take them off for some reason if working in the garden but it must have been ages since I had a really close inspection of them. I noticed that my engagement ring was digging into my 4th finger every now and then. It had worn right down on the side touching my wedding ring, so I took it to the jeweller to get repaired.
 It required rebuilding on one side and all the claws around the diamond replacing. I was without it for a week and it cost NZ $235
to fix which was fair enough BUT the scary thing was that it was so worn I could have lost the diamond from it. So if you have been wearing your precious rings for many years as I have it might pay to check their condition. Also having a photo of precious things is a help if they happen to get lost or stolen. ( hard to steal if they are on one's finger ).
My ring came back looking great all clean and shiny and new and the gold band is now much wider. I'm very pleased with the workmanship and am happy to have learnt a lesson from this.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Gardening and Prizegiving.

Today is overcaste so I got into the garden early as I had plants I wanted to get in. The last few days have been suddenly hot with full sun - not good for new seedlings; not good for orchard work as there is no shade yet as the leaves are only just bursting out.( so very hot work the last 2 days )
I planted lettuces in the back bed of the herb garden. Raddish seed that I planted last Saturday are already up. All the other herbs are flourishing and the strawberries are beginning to flower.
Hostas are bursting into leaf.

Things in the flower garden are enjoying the long awaited heat. The iceland poppies are bright.
I planted out some flower seedlings too. Campanula ( cup and saucer type ); Zinnias; Schizanthus ( angel wings ) and white impatiens.
Last evening at Patchwork and Quilting group the Exhibition Committee put on a fun night and prize giving. We had a very special guest arrive.

 See the looks on their faces!

The "Minister for Women's Affairs." You can see how gorgeous she was.( strangely looking a bit like  Dame Edna  - and right into 1950s fashion! ) She also bore a strange resemblance to someone else I know quite well. She did a great job of handing out awards , ribbons and cups. She also gave away some potty prizes most kindly donated by Cushla's Fabrics. I won one , a lovely fat quarter.
 I think most of the ladies couldn't believe the performance she put on. Quite hilarious!
 No time for any serious sewing last night.
 I was thrilled with those who won the Viewers' Choice awards. Well done ladies!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Position of Blocks.

The number of completed bento box blocks is growing. Here they are laid out on the floor. My eye is telling me it is the almost solid black shapes that are holding the design together. The rest of the blocks are rather busy.
Without changing any this is how it looks side on.  It is still at the moving them around stage. I have more to make to complete the oblong shape needed. I think I need even more blocks with the solid black????  I need  to make 6 more complete blocks. ( 20 in total ) Any suggestions anyone?
 Then what about borders...I'm pretty sure at least one will be solid black.With maybe one colour as well.
Later today I will need to pick the blocks up but can save this layout by using the photos.
It isn't raining and we have been promised a sunny weekend. That would be lovely.