Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Backing a Quilt and Walking.

At the weekend when it was so wet I had some time to sew. Having finished bandanna quilt #2 I went back to working on a backing for # 1. I only had 5 bandannas left. One turquoise; one black with turquoise and 3 white with some black design. They did not look great together, so I squared them up and joined them, then took to them with my ruler and rotary cutter and cut some 4" strips , some 3" strips and some 2" strips. I laid them on the floor. Where there was too much white together I joined the ends of that strip and cut it in a different place and kept doing this till I was happy. I then added in some other fabrics to try and enliven it. Some Laurel Burch coloured trees fabric worked well. Some paler turquoise, some blue batik and it was starting to look better. Now I am at the stage of joining the strips together.
 Every fine day now before I come home to make dinner I have been collecting walnuts for drying.( makes my back ache temporarily ! )But if I do some every day it's not such a big job all in one session.
This morning R had to go through to Katikati briefly so I went and got out and walked up a side road I had never been up before.( trying to improve my fitness for walking when we go on holiday ) He picked me up on the way back. Here is some of what I saw.
Neatly mown grass and cana lilies on the roadside of an orchard.
Lovely patches of native bush.
A train headed for the Kaimai Tunnel.

Rolling green, grassy hills with the Kaimai Ranges in the background.
Best of all 10 coloured mail boxes on a stand.
There , you should feel a bit warm after that; I was, cause a lot of it was uphill!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How to Eat a Feijoa.

(This part of the post dedicated to Pam in UK,  who loves feijoas! )
Firstly pick them up off the ground or if you are really organised lightly feel each fruit to see if it will just fall off in your hand ( no bruising at all that way.)
 Put them in the fruit bowl and admire and smell.  ( It's a good clue as to their ripeness.)
 Select some nice softish plump ones.

Cut in half. ( share if you have to - I do ) Study the shapes in the flesh.  There are many variations. Scoop out with a teaspoon. Eat slowly savouring their wonderful taste - unlike any other. Have a couple of extra ones and say, "These are for you Pam."  Then another and say, "This is for you Meg." ( that way you don't feel bad about blogging about feijoas when you know some of your friends don't have them growing!
It has rained all day today and most of yesterday. I have got lots done. Yesterday I  caught up with my quilty friends. I needed some female company and chatter.
 My Rrainbow Tunnels Bandana quilt was finished for show and tell and went into the pile ready for me to take to Canteen in the next few weeks. I think we now have 10 or 12. I sewed on the first bandanna quilt yesterday and today and the top is almost done.

*  I made some suitcase I. D. material handles for our suitcases. ) Why? The last time our young ones came home from UK some other passenger took the wrong bag at the airport ( luckily only the small airport at Tauranga. ) Luckily V noticed hers wasn't there but a similar one was and we ran after the person and stopped him before he had time to get away - I think it was just carelessness on his part but he hardly even said thank you. Imagine that happening at a large airport - one might never find the person in time - hence our Luggage extra easily spotted ID.
        Fabric with bright yellow NZ  Kowhai flowers on it.

 You will have to look hard to spot the subject of this photo. One of the 2 wee fantails who have been flitting from window to window today catching some tiny insects that must be there because of the rain. I still HOPE to get a good close photo one day.
Roger made me 2 jars of pickled red capsicum yesterday with the ones ready in the garden. OH Yum. ( have to leave them a few days yet ) He makes himself pickled garlic - not me -  give me Capsicums any day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quilt Photos.

On our journey at the weekend I came across a small exhibition which included quilts. Here are a few I liked.

This one was quilt as you go on quite small blocks, so that made the quilting very easy.It was double sided - a similar pattern on the reverse.
    We also went to a Birthday party. There was a very fine cake. The kids could only have a small piece as it had been soaked in alcohol...made it fabulously moist but rich.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Research and Planning.

As there is no photo to go with my post heading I have added this photo of Vireya Rhododendron - Pink Delight which is flowering beautifully in a large blue tub. I grew it from a cutting from the Mother plant. It has a lovely perfume.
      It has been a fairly mundane week ( that's okay ), mainly orchard work, but I have been spending any time I can grab ( like this morning as R is busy in the kitchen ) doing research for our trip. With our young ones help several parts are already planned and booked.( the Ireland and Paris parts. ) This morning I have been checking out some more unusaul things to do in London. I am recording details of anything I think we may wish to see or do in my diary.( any helpful suggestions appreciated. )

*I finished reading "World Without End, " by Ken Follett. 1111 pages. I loved it, but it was too heavy to hold.
* I collected tickets etc and opened cash passports.
*I have about 3 feet left to sew on the binding of my Rainbow Tunnels ( bandanna ) quilt.
*We are still picking beans; tomatoes; courgettes and capsicums.
* We are making food to take to a family B'day party later today for R's brother, who will be 65 tomorrow. We will stay over night in the Waikato.
* I am off now to make Courgette Fritters or similar for lunch ( mustn't waste our home grown veges ) and complete that hem!
*I wish you a relaxing happy weekend Everyone.
This photo is for Leanne. I hope you may get some flowers from your nerines. I have then planted in 4 different places - this lot in the most sunny dry location flowers first.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thinking of Others.

Anemone Japonica or Japanese Anemone  ( variety Honorine Jobert ) or  Wind Flowers one of my favourites are  flowering in my garden; while at the origin of this plant ( Japan ) unimaginable devastation has taken place. The disasters ( on a world scale ) seem to be happening almost too frequently to be fully acknowledged.
     This set me thinking and kept me awake last night...there have always been tragedies but I think it must be the media coverage often continual, ( re runs up close shots ) that makes it impossible for  a large percentage of the world's population to not feel involved. For those experiencing a disaster it will be totally life changing, a time that will be unable to be forgotten ever. For those who know someone or some place involved there will be memory at a different level. For those spectators it just adds to the already too full memory bank of recent devastating happenings and loss of life.
 I find I need to focus on some of the marvellous escapes or acts of courage or bravery. I saw footage of a Japanese lady in a boat sitting very low in the water with at least 20 tiny toddlers and babes in arms, probably from a nursery school or day care centre - one woman and all those tiny lives and she was in control, the children seemed calm and were trusting her. Fortunately rescuers arrived and she began handing over the little ones, one by one .What an amazing person.
     Personally I only know 2 people who I would like to find out about.Yoshi who lives 6 months in Japan and 6 months in Tauranga is a beautiful hand quilter. She loves pale colours and has made some beautiful quilts. I hope she is safe. Another person whose family live on my road has a Japanese wife and family and lives in Japan, they have 2 young children. Eventually I will find out how they are. The Japanese had done so much to earthquake proof their buildings  ( an example to other countries ) that the tsunami seems such an underhand move that they could not prepare for. 

Yesterday here the weather was as good as it can be. Clear, cloudless, bright blue sky, sunshine and calm. It was a lovely day for hosting some visitors from Canada. ( friends of friends ) We tried to serve them a lunch made with many things we grow. ( they love avocados ). The only way I could think to give them kiwifruit was as a juice drink ( which we offer to all overseas guests ) and so for desert I made pikelets served with kiwifruit and ginger jam.
   We took them around the long walk of the property and they learned far more than they probably wanted to know about growing avocados and kiwifruit. We sat them on the red ( photo ) seat. They were lovely visitors to have. I hope Rotorua and then Napier and Wellington  treat them well. With our encouragement they are still crossing to the South Island and seeing other areas mainly outside Christchurch, there is so much spectacular scenery to see and places to visit what to cover and what to leave out is always a dilemma.  Remember we drive on the left here!  Happy travel K and M.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Photo Friday.

Today I had a rest from Kiwifruit and went to Patchwork and Quilting Group. I took this photo yesterday of a cluster of this year's crop.
Shirley had finished a bandanna quilt made from just 4 bandannas with some black and white added and some wee squares of black fabric with the NZ silver fern on them. It's a lovely small quilt.
These next 2 photos were taken yesterday when the pine tree felling in the neighbour's gully was almost complete.

See the green grass part on the extreme right, ( behind the fence but infront of the hedge ) -  that is our road.
You can see the gully that has been cleared.( I am standing in a kiwifruit block looking over the fence. )

Today on my way home up the road I took this photo looking back across the gully to where the previous 2 photos were taken. If you click on the photo you can now see the top end of a kiwifruit block with the squared trimmed hedge behind it. To the right behind the cryptomaria hedge ( the ones that look like Christmas trees ) is the block I am currently working in. Notice how the sunlight is now streaming in to the kiwifruit. All the big pine logs went on large trucks straight to the Port of Tauranga to be exported.
Everyone likes a bargain. Well I got one today, quite unexpectedly, so I think it was meant to happen. I saw some big roomy handbags that might be just right for me to take on my travels.( quilted fabric ones I have made are not suitable for this purpose ) There were about 5 different ones all reduced in price. Nice soft leather finish, lots of zipped internal and external pockets, water proof - the only thing missing was a long shoulder strap ( but I can cope without that ). Reduced in price to NZ $50. I decided that was a good buy. I took it to the counter and was told there is another NZ $15 off that price today. Wow. I then handed over my loyalty card and was told you still have $20 reward you haven't used up. "Would you like that off it as well? "     Welllllll why not?  "Well that will be NZ $14.99 then."  By then everyone around was laughing.( That is about 5 UK Pounds ) Understandably I am well pleased with my new handbag.  May it have many adventures with me carrying it .

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Things That Grow.

The rain did stop and the lawns got mowed. While I was doing that I smelled water melon......unfortunately the rain had split one open and half or more of it was wasted. We had been tapping them to see if they were ready - but obviously our skills there were not smart enough. What was salvaged was very tasty and we do have some more to eat.
        I was sad to learn that the Canterbury earthquake had made some of these beautiful old oak trees in Hagley Park unsafe and they were cutting them down. This one here I hugged and admired in 2007 the last time I was down there.
Some more trees are being felled - not sad this time. They are directly through the boundary fence from Block 2 b kiwifruit where I am working in the afternoons. I can barely hear my radio for loud chainsaws, falling trees and big machines.

 R actually planted these pines as a small woodlot many years ago. We then sold this front gully and a house section about 15 years ago so they are now the neighbour's trees. They have contractors in doing the job most efficiently. If I peep through the shelter belt which I did yesterday to take this photo there is quite a nice big pile of pine logs already felled and stripped. The sun is just going to stream into the kiwfruit block and will be good for them.
Something else that's been growing...a long length of black binding for my bandanna quilt. Unfortunately it is Black which I now have huge difficulty seeing to sew, but hope to hand sew it down on Friday at P and Q group.
 I am not sure if I am totally finished quilting the Rainbow Tunnels, but so far it has gone beautifully - not one tuck. I had to get the binding on quickly as the cream batting was sticking all over the black fabric. ( we can't get black batting in NZ as far as I know ) My trusty sticky roller took it off well but until the binding is sewn down it will continue to get on the black fabric.
Now something that didn't grow. I went to the dentist ( voluntarily ) for a check up as they suggested ( and I don't want any trouble later on when we are on holiday ) and got a "good to go, ' message. He did add a bit of polyfiller to one tooth that was allowing food to lodge too easily. The only thing that hurt was the bank balance.( maybe I am getting to trust my dentist - that would be progress.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

It Rained , so I Sewed.

The rain started late on Friday. It rained continually yesterday ( 75 mls ) so after some quick housekeeping jobs I spent the day Sewing. Yes I did , sewing!!!  I cut and sewed narrow white and wider black borders for my Rainbow Bandanna quilt. I then pieced together enough batting to fit ( must remember to buy more soon ) and pin basted it. 
I am really pleased with it. It gives a different optical illusion whichever way you look at it. ( 4 different ) Maybe I should call it Rainbow Tunnels.   Later today I will start quilting it. It is a reasonable size for me to manage.
    This morning the rain has stopped but everything is wet. The lawns need mowing as there are grass seed heads I don't want to seed down but it is just too damp out there at present. I did finish clearing a patch I was weeding last week so I could plant out 2 punnets of Torenia ( Wishbone Flowers ) I bought on Friday. They are quite large and all in bud so should be able to flower brightly before Autumn is over. I don't remember the weeds ever growing as fast as they have this Summer. ( someone who is supposed to know had predicted it was going to be a long dry Summer for us. ) How wrong can they get it?

This is how dull and rainy it was when I went for a walk. Not the usual bright light skies we have in NZ. **************************
* Sal I will email you when we have finalised when we will be in Northern England./ Scotland.
*Thanks Molly I will add that to my List.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Food For Thought.

Or should that be thoughts about food?

I know several of you have been making recipes from Annabel's, "The Free Range Cook, " book. Yesterday I made Lavosh from page 30. They turned out well. I will experiment with other flavours as I thought the sesame taste was fairly dominant. I was sad to hear from you Leanee ( but not totally surprised ) that Annabel doesn't do all the gardening herself.  I aspire to be one of those who both grow it and cook it.

Most times when I come to the computer to blog or read blogs - if it is in the morning I will have with me one of my favourite things - a single shot long black that I make myself. It is my daily treat. I have 4 cups and saucers in this set; each depicts a city of the world. Sydney, London, Paris and New York. So far I have only visited Sydney, but hope by the middle of this year to also be able to tick London and Paris on that list. The planning is progressing and I thank those of you who have already answered questions for me. Any others of you who have a favourite place they would recommend I visit in UK, Paris or Singapore please feel free to comment - I'd love to hear from you. ( as I have only ever visited NSW in Australia and all parts of NZ I have  a lot of the world yet to see - I guess it's never too late to start! )
    Last evening we went to the Birthday party of the packhouse we send our Kiwifruit to, to be packed and cool stored.  It was held ( as usual ) in the hangar at Classic Flyers, which always pleases R as planes are one of his favourite things.

You can see there are old planes and machines of all sort hanging around the building.( and overhead )

The evening started with drinks and chat as people talked to those they knew for the first hour. We were then seated in 6 or 7 or 8s at tables with growers we didn't know so well. We had a really pleasant time. The meat was roast fillet beef ( succulently tender )  and spicy apricot chicken which was carved onto our plates. We then helped ourselves to new potatoes, salad and a very tasty pasta dish. That was followed by a piece of very rich cake if one wished. ( choice of 4 different )The only thing not nice was the instant coffee as someone had filled the urn with highly chlorinated water. Luckily the cold water was pleasant so I was able to intersperse that with a very pleasant red wine  ( 0r 2 ). A friend and fellow grower came by and picked us up so we had a driver as well.( that's why I could have some wine ) It was a good time to catch up with many people I have known for a long time but hardly ever see. ( Well done MPAC. ) I love it when others cook me a tasty meal.
Every night lately we have had rain so my progress though the kiwifruit block 2B is going rather slowly. Quilting equals nil today ; having an outing instead.
The official earthquake death toll has reached 163 this morning...they are now working on the Recovery stage rather than the Rescue stage. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A Week Can Seem a Long Time.

   Yesterday as the Nation of New Zealand stopped for 2 minutes silence at 12.51 pm to reflect on the events of the week gone by since the Canterbury earthquake, it seemed to me an incredibly long time. So much had happened in one week. It has for us been a week of media overload. The rest of NZ knew more about the big picture than the residents of Canterbury who were just struggling with day to day activities, many still without homes ; power; water; sewerage; job or places of work. The clean up there still goes on, at many sites painstakingly slowly.
   The sights that are now encouraging are people ( with )  helping others ( without )  with simply tasks such as free use of a washing machine, or free battery charging. Folk with the skills to set up water tanks, are obtaining the materials and doing it themselves. Again it is tradesmen,  handymen and farmers who have the skills and tools to use.  We were amused to know that the Resource Consent needed by a power Company to put up an above ground power line across Canterbury took just 20 minutes  to obtain - instead of the 2 years it normally would take! ( why couldn't it always be that simple? )
** Last night the Wellington area  ( North Island ) had quite a sharp earthquake so everyone there is on alert and checking their emergency supplies and escape plans.**

 This morning I took my coffee outside and sat on my red seat under the copperbeech tree. I was joined by 2 little fantails ( piwakawaka) who were singing their hearts out to each other. They came very close to me and said , " hello." Where was my camera - inside.
R grew these ( one of my favourite vegetables ) and they now have become roast capsicum and cashew dip. Yum yum yum.

There still is a surplus of these wee beauties, which really need to be eaten raw - we just aren't eating enough every day. All the red varities we have can be cooked and the excess frozen or sauced but these are a raw vege really.
 No sewing happening here at present. Never mind - it will happen.