Monday, November 29, 2010

Kiwifruit Progress.

It was drizzly all morning but is now just overcast. I went to see if the bees were working in the wet and some were. Since the hives came into the orchard we have had a week of perfect weather. ( notice how the bees fly straight at the hive - they often bump land )

This is the stage some of the new fruit set have reached. Note some are still buds and flowers yet to open.
 Being wet it is a perfect day to spread liquid fish fertilizer under the Kiwifruit vines and that is happening right now.
 I began by condition checking the last of the stored Kiwifruit I had kept. I threw a lot away as it is going rotten rapidly now. ( after 7 months just sitting in containers in the outside shower - for want of somewhere better to keep them ) I then made some kiwifruit and ginger jam.

 Everything had raindrops on it today except this velvety Day Lily.( where most have rolled off ).
 Back to indoor house work and finishing my healing heart blocks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

P & Q's Many Activities.

Shirley Goodwin has started the idea of making quilts or quilt blocks - called Healing Hearts, to send to the families of all those who have lost family in the Pike River Mine Disaster. See the info on her site. I spoke to my P and Q group about this yesterday, and I have begun sewing blocks last evening.
Something my P and Q group does about once a year is hold what is called a Chinese Auction ( why I don't know ). It's always really funny seeing the outcome, as invariably a couple of people keep winning all the time.
 Everyone brings along things to contribute. ( books; magazines; fabric pieces; cottons ; half finished blocks or projects, wool and various other items including flowers and veges -  in fact anything of which they have a surplus. )
All the goods are set out in "lots," with a saucer in front. We limited it to 30 lots yesterday so it doesn't take too long to draw. Everyone who wants to then buys tickets ( the little tear off half kind ) at 5 for $1. They then place half their ticket on the saucer of the lots they wish to bid on and keep the corresponding half.
For each draw just one ticket is selected from each saucer - that person wins the goodies. Yesterday with over 40 ladies several of us including me won a lot. Some won 2, some 3 and one person won 5. Several won none at all!
 Sometimes some of the items in the lot are not wanted and  that person takes them away and keeps them ready to put back into the system next year. That is great for the books and magazines etc. The odd item has to be binned!
Here the members are contemplating which lots they wish to bid on.
For a club or group it is a great money maker. We made $97 yesterday and the Tuesday evening group did like wise a few weeks ago. The other benefit is it gets us all to clean out our cupboards for un used or unwanted or pre loved items.
This morning R and I went to a Used Book Sale. In quite a short time we came away with 2 bags of books. Very, very good value as they were all priced at $5; $4 :$3; $2; $1 or 50 cents.
 I found a carton of quilting mags pushed under the table - each just 10 cents. ( obvoiusly whoever priced them thought them of no value - not me! )I just took 5 of those in case another quilter came along later. Luckily that will keep R in reading for a short while. What wonderful value for money - we were very happy shoppers.
The sun is continuing to shine which is just what we need for the pollination of our fruit; both kiwifruit and avos. Lots of garden activities and the windows got washed!
 Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hopes Dashed.

This afternoon at 2.35 pm hopes of rescuing the 29 trapped miners in the Pike River Coal Mine were dashed when a 2nd large explosion occured. It is thought that nobody could have survived this 2nd explosion.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Current Work.

Thank you all for your comments and good wishes. So far we have not got the Psa bacteria, but must continue to watch and inspect.
    Today it is wet. We had some heavy showers overnight. Hopefully during the fine spells the bees will be able to get to work. Yesterday was lovely till 4.45 when we had to rush in to beat the rain. Earlier in the day I took some photos. We have 21 bee hives in the kiwifruit blocks for pollination.( the bees arrived by truck at 2.30 on Sunday night- from over the Kaimais )
Here a bee is systematically working it's way around a female flower.

 The same is happening  in the  male flowers.
To make it easier for you to see the difference this photo was taken where a male and a female vine are growing side by side and the canes intertwine to some extent. The bee is on the male flower. The male flowers on the left in the photo are a more yellow colour ( especially as they age. )  The female flowers and buds on the right are whiter and fatter in the middle of the flower ( ovary )- this part will swell to become the fruit.  When the vines are close like this it is not far for the bee hopefully to carry male pollen to the female flowers right next to it.( the male vines are 1-8 females or 1-4 in some places )
 Yesterday while it was sunny the good wee bees worked tirelessly around me as I worked. The air Hummmmmmms with their presence. The air is heavy with smell of kiwifruit flowers.
Currently this is my work station. The old radio is sitting on the tractor mudguard; my seat (a cushion on a beer crate ) and plastic cube with thermos; cold water; snacks; new gloves etc are in the bucket / tray behind the tractor. My gear ( secateurs; clips; stocking ties and deoderant ) are worn in a carpenters apron around my waist. The deoderant  is just in case a bee stings me. (it's the  best immediate cure I have used! ) I wear a cap while working as I do not like bees in my hair!     Wal the Beekeeper has just now driven in to go and feed his bees some sugar syrup. ( for energy - makes them work hard - they fly a long way on a fine day  ) He is by far the best beekeeper we have used over the last 30 years.
While I was eating my breakfast today I wrote myself a list of all the things I could do if it stayed wet today. Some will get done but the sun is breaking through so if the leaves and grass dry out it may be back to the orchard later.

*****Progress seems agonisingly slow at the Pike River mine. I sense something will happen today.The coverage is constant and every Kiwi  in NZ is talking about it and of course hoping for a good outcome.********
These dark blue Love-in-the Mist are growing under the yellow Graham Thomas rose fence. (Some of the kiwfruit bees are visiting them too!) But, since there are supposed to be 35,000 bees per hive it won't matter!  ( 735000 + 35000in the avocados. )

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Worrying Times.

Life seems to be one worrying event after another at the moment in NZ. As kiwifruit growers we have had the most rapidly changing set of events in the 30 plus years we have been orcharding.Psa the bacterial vine disease is spreading / presenting itself in many orchards now. One orchard with vines with the disease is only a couple of kilometres away from us across the main highway .  At last count 51 orchards now have some vines with the disease. ( more gold vines have it than green at this stage...but they flower earlier than green. ) It has reached most growing areas in NZ.( more information about this can be gained by googling the subject... (as it is a rapidly changing story ). All we can do is keep checking our vines for any symptoms. We are due to get our beehives in for pollination tomorrow night. No artifical pollination will be happening this pollen is a likely way of spreading the bacteria.
 Luckily there will be no change to market access of NZ kiwifruit to other countries as it is not spread by the fruit - BUT the vines die or have to be cut out so there will be LESS fruit.

Worse still is the Pike River Mine explosion that happened on the West Coast of the South Island. 29 miners are still trapped/ missing underground since about 4pm Friday. TV 1 is running hourly updates on what progress is being made trying to make the rescue attempt.

Over night we have had light misty rain ( which is much needed ) but will stop the bees working in the vines.( they don't have rain coats or umbrellas ). I went outside with my camera and these were the 2 things I wanted to capture in image .
Raindrops on my favourite purple flag iris.
A new pristine leaf unfurling on the Strelitzia plant. The contrast with the wind tattered older leaves is marked.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For Meg.

Percy Peacock doesn't often come near the house these days, but this morning he came along with Polly. First time she had been near the house. Mostly they stay in the neighbour's place who feeds them all the time. We don't mind them staying down in the orchard blocks put object to the droppings on the decks or paths. As you can see Percy was trying to impress Polly with his lovely tail.
Red and green look so good together. Straight from my herb garden.

Monday, November 15, 2010


With all the lovely quilts to show you that I admired at Calico Christmas, I had not shown you my purchases I made that day. I spent some time deciding which new book I really wanted and settled on Gloria Loughman's, " Quilted Symphony." I much admire her quilts. I am very pleased with it and have almost read every word. I know I will reread it when I am working on a project that requires the skills she outlines in the book.
 Does anyone else have this book?
 I also purchased 2 new fabrics that took my eye at Milton Wright's stand.
They are Jinny Beyer fabric -  "Sophia," They go together. One an all over print the other has long border strips.
 I also purchased a pack of hand dyed felt; a tape measure ( gift ) a calendar ( already showed you that ) and a pattern for a sun hat....not at all sure how I will like that. The fabric it is made from may well decide how it turns out. ( more on that when I eventually get to sew it ).
        It is a drizzily morning here today. We really need rain so  I hope it either stops or rains properly.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Patchwork Friday.

On Fridays when we meet for our Patchwork and Quilting Group D and I arrive early to unlock and set up the rooms. I try and have something pleasant to greet the ladies when they arrive and sign in and clollect their name tags. Yesterday I put a vase of Charles Austin Roses on the table - they have the most wonderful perfume. ( a few aphids came along for the journey ) I hope N is still enjoying their scent at her house today.

We had 2 visitors. The photographer from the BaySun and Linda from Pak'N Save. He was there to take some promotional shots for his paper of our latest charity project. He was quite outspoken and cheeky about the age of my digital camera ( my old one ) so I  was a bit cheeky back and took some photos of him taking photos.
This was "His idea " of what a quilt made from bandannas might look like . We all said, " yuk!"
It all came about like this. C seen here holding a purple bandanna was in Pak'N Save doing her shopping when she mentioned to Linda on the checkout ( seen here on the left ) that she was off to Patchwork Club. They talked all little more and together came up with the idea that all the extra bandannas the supermarket have ( and many other folk who have bought them to aid CanTeen , have popped away unused in a cupboard ) could be made into quilts to give to the teenagers undergoing cancer treatment. So of course we said Yes we would be glad to take on that project.
Here some of us are posing for the "nice photographer,"  I do think we will be able to come up with some better colour co ordinated quilts made of bandannas than his choice here.
      Yesterday we also had another of our members telling her "Quilting Journey, " and showing all the quilts she still has; even after giving away 19 over the years.

There were other finished quilts for us to savour in Show and Tell.
Thank you for your comments and enquiries about the Kiwifruit. At the moment there are 6 orchards all within 10 kms of each other, all near Te Puke and all gold variety, that have Psa. We and a gang of checkers have been right through the orchard looking and this is the only leaf even slightly like one with the infection. ( if you look really hard you may detect one tiny brown spot ) It is actually a healthy leaf. Growers have been asked to walk their orchard every 4 days checking......that is at keast 4kms for us.

 While fruit thinning R found this bud which is a double double - most unusual.

Imagine if it had been left to become a fruit what a strange shape it would have been.

It is a lovely day for gardening. I have the hose giving some young plants a soak. The wedding seed I planted are up! The air is humming with bees and pleasant scent from many flowering roses and plants fills the air. Week ends are never long enough to do all the things I'd like to do. Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Calico Christmas - part 4

There were 3 quilts in the show using this pattern. 2 were in shades of turquiose.This black and white and gold version called, "Memories of New York," by Josephine Newland was a little diffferent in that each central diamond had a pictorial fabric featuring landmark of New York.

Here is a close up of the quilting on Margaret Reid's "Giant Dahlia."

Carol Mahoney's "Dotty Circles," had many variations of circles within circles.

It was more the colours in the upper photo.

 These next 2 are for those who like something quite modern.

I really liked Justine Jones's take on a bento box block, especially as I am making a quilt using my take on the same block. The sloping edges really jazz it up.

This wall hanging, "Reflection," by Shirley Sparks, had woven fabric and was a beautiful blue, with a lovely message.

I think I may leave my picks from Calico Christmas at that as there are other sites with photos.
Meanwhile back on the orchard it has been very, very busy. The kiwifruit are getting their pre-blossom spray on right now as any bees around should be home in bed. We have just been to a grower meeting,( and BBQ Dinner - it was yummy ) which was extra long as there was an extra segment to cover a topic new to us in NZ. There is a current scare going on with kiwifruit orchards having found PSA.( more on that in the days to come. )
This morning we had our NZ Gap audit to be allowed to export avocados this season. ( in about 2 weeks time) We passed. This is the first year we have had to do this for avocados. ( more paperwork and regulations! ) Never a dull moment around here - I quite like dull sometimes.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

2010 Calico Christmas - part 3.

Best Use of fabric in the Challenge, by Maureen Van Dam.

Ansa Breytenbach won ribbons for these 2 lovely quilts. I can still remember her lovely quilts from last year. She is a very accomplished quilter.

                                                                Detail of above.

 "Multiple Stripes," wall hanging by Alison Haines, had quite unusual colour combinations.
Ruth and I had just been admiring the wonderful fabrics in this quilt; ( by Karen de Pont - I think ).

Hazel Foot's wall hanging had very muted tones by was quite striking.

Monday, November 08, 2010

2010 Calico Christmas - part 2

Rosemary Rush's, "Retro Raszamtazz," created a lot of interest. The white clove lady was lifting it so we could view the stitching on the back. Wow!
                                                                A close up.

If you like blue and white china you would have liked this, wall hanging by Marie Harrison.
 Also in blue with fabulous fabrics this double wedding ring quilt.
Loved the quilting on it too.

 Deb of Deds doodoolings is alos blogging about Calico Christmas.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

2010 Calico Christmas.

As always we had a wonderful, happy, long day (a big day out ) on our bus trip up to North Shore in Auckland to Calico Christmas. ( Auckland Patchwork & Quilters Guild Inc., Annual Exhibition; this year with a "Retro," theme as it is their 25th Anniversary. ) I bought one of their calendars - the  48 small quilts used in the calendar were all on display.
 Each page of the calendar has 1 large and 3 small photos.

These are the 12 large photos.

I liked "My favourite Star," by Sandy Bedggood.

Here is "Somewhere," by Ruby Van Oeveren and "Dreamcatcher," by Trish Everard.
As always I took loads of photos. (using both my cameras. I wanted to do a quality comparison and get better at using my new camera ) So I won't be showing you them all. Some are shots of just a part of a quilt with an idea I want to remember.
This next quilt " Journey South, " by Alison Lawerence,  really impressed me.

The inspiration came from the cover of a 1927 American magazine. What an angle to take a landscape photo from. ( underneath! ) ( click to enlarge )
More quilts in the next few posts.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Much Needed Rain.

It rained lightly in the night then again this morning and then a heavy shower at lunchtime.I can almost hear all the plants, vines and trees sucking it up. It is giving me a breather, also much needed. Things are growing well and I had been hosing and can watering so don't need to today, or tomorrow.
 I am already stealing leaves off my salad greens and using the first radishes.

It won't be long till I get a few ripe strawberries too.

This morning I met my friend D and we did the shopping for our bus trip tomorrow. We ( 41 P & Q ladies ) are going to Auckland to Calico Christmas.( Auckland area's quilt show - biggest in NZ ) On the way up after an early start we usually stop at Ngatea for coffee and a comfort stop. On the way back we have snack plates and drinks. After we did the shopping we came back here and made up plates with cheese; crackers; grapes; dried apricots and a sweetie and serviettes. As I am "Mother," I have to stagger to the bus stop with 2 chilly bins and a cooler bag and the lucky seat prizes. On the way home we usually have Show and Tell of the goodies that the ladies have purchased. It is always a fun day out with so much to see and do. Eye candy with so many wonderful quilts on display and plenty of shopping for those needing new ideas ; or books or fabric. So the next time I post there will be quilt photos.