Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kiwifruit Harvest.

The answer is now YES. Yesterday 29th May turned out to be the day for us. Cold as, first thing ( 4 degrees C )followed by a clear blue sky.(13 degrees C ).
 (this is my favourite photo I took yesterday. Isn't she a character? )

     As I have written about this event every year since 2006 you may be getting tired of hearing a similar story. For the sake of a few new readers and the fact that for us it is a big deal, I will tell you some of what happened.( a whole year's work culminating in one day )
     Everyone( who included 40 pickers; a supervisor; 4 tractor drivers; I fork lift driver and ourselves and some truckies who come and go ) were all ready to start at 8.30 am. The only one who could start was  the fork lift driver unloading the empty bins from the first truck. Why? Well the packhouse rep and one of the management staff who talked us into paying for a 3rd dry matter sample to be picked  for testing  had NOT requested an "early start sample. " So we had to wait. Personally I wouldn't have waited, but was over ruled. It wasn't the sample takers fault.   That 40 minutes standing around waiting could have been crucial to finishing in day light at the end of the day. As it happened the pickers only took 2 breaks and worked like crazy and the pick was completed in record time. Some of these workers have been starved for work because of all the wet weather. When they don't work they don't get paid and that is hard for them.
Here are some other happy pickers. ( I only had time to get out with the camera
 at the end of the afternoon when they were picking near the load out / office area.)
All people on site including the tractor drivers wore high visibility vests for safety.
 My flash went off and made driver Travis very visible. Note in the photos of the pickers, the heavy weight of fruit they carry when their bags are full. That's why the tractors pull in one behind the other so the pickers don't have to walk too far.

 This is where I spent most of the day in my outdoor office.( R was there some of the time too. )
 My essential equipment.

 Along with these lead weights cause of the wind. These are the bin cards one per full bin of fruit, stapled onto the outside of the bins. I was filling in the pick date on them.

 There are always a few incidents. About 10 am one of the tractors got a flat back tyre. 
 Could Phil blow it up again with his nifty pump? No, it was coming out faster than it was going in. 

So as happens almost every year my tractor was put to work while this happened. (Sonny was very careful with it. It is used to one careful female driver.)
 They called in the big boys who fortunately had a Hiab hoist. The ground was very soft and the tractor very low but he did get a jack under it and change the tyre.
During the course of the day trucks come with empties and go away to the pack house with the full bins.  9 trips. We had 4 different drivers and trucks.

The last 3 loads happened after the picking was finished. Here are full bins stacked waiting. Note the blue sky that was with us all day.
     Another thing that was different this year. The forklift driver had to lift the empty bins onto the bin trailers. That took extra time so he was by far the most essential, busiest and most competent forkie.
 Another new job Zespri sprung on us was getting us to bury a temperature data logger and it's documentation in every 20th bin of fruit.  R and I shared that job.
 It was a very successful day. Probably the coldest picking day we have experienced but the sun was shining ,the job got done well and it was the 2nd largest number of bins we have every picked for a season. We are so grateful to all those people who work to get our fruit picked. The pickers were all colours. All sizes. All ages. All shapes. Male and female.

 The tractor driver gets off and levels down the bins wearing gloves to protect the fruit of course.
 I decided you didn't need to see all the different coloured trucks, so just one.
 Our 31st crop of kiwifruit in now waiting out it's curing time( a couple of days )  at the pack house and we hope it will pack out with not too many rejects.
 Thanks to all who helped. Thanks to all who willed Mother Nature to send us some fine weather.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ball Finished.

The answer is still NO. But we have been told Wednesday is the day....we shall see. I do  hope so.
 Felt Embroidered ball # 22 is finished. I have left one red pentagon free for the baby's initial to go in when I know what that is. It has  2 new motifs on it that I have not done before. One a little red hen ( ginger colour really altho it looks red in the photo and needs longer legs and a higher comb ) and a mountain scene I am not totally happy with.
 I will probably start on # 23 tonight while watching TV.

 At the weekend I started the marathon job of collecting up leaves off the big oak tree. They make lovely mulch around the avocado trees. R took away 4 wool packs I had filled. 2 with leaves, one with garden rubbish I pulled from his vege patch and the 4th was shreaded paper to go underneath the other stuff so it won't blow around. 
 This colourful bowl has the grated ingredients for a carrot slice I made this afternoon ready for easy food Wednesday. ( I could post the easy recipe if any one hasn't got it ) It has in it the last few tiny courgettes and  neglected carrots from a row I had planted and I needed to dig up their soil to put over my yams that the birds keep scratching at. They are getting bigger too I noticed but I don't want them going green in the light so heaped soil over them for just a little longer till they are ready.
 On Saturday I got started on  a project I want to make. A wall hanging using my own photograph as the back ground. I ruled the photo up into a grid and began pulling the right coloured fabrics. I had plenty of greens but none of the sky blue I needed so the project came to a halt till I get to a shop. I hope the creative mojo doesn't leave me in the meantime.
 This is the photo I am using. ( taken during my walk on Friday in the Carmichael reserve.)
 My feet have been good lately and I am back to walking when I get the chance. I will always have to protect my right foot with thick bouncy soles but that's okay.
Still trying. Spot the pigeon.

 Here's hoping for fine picking weather this week.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Answer is Still NO!

The answer is still NO we have not had our kiwifruit picked yet. It has rained and rained and rained, so everyone in the whole district is behind where they want to be. It's quite depressing really. Could the fruit spoil? - well yes I guess it could. The pukekos are certainly eating plenty. We are trying to be patient; truly we are. There isn't actually a choice.
 There have been breaks in the weather, but then more rain. Thunder several times! 
                                     Anyway on to other things.
 From juice kept last year, we have been making Guava jelly. I will spare you the details but some of it had to be reboiled to get it to set. Now we have just 22 and a half of these jars full. This year we are not collecting any; we will let the birds particularly these fellows have it.
 This is a NZ native pigeon - a Kereru. One of my photographic challenges is to get a really close really clear photo of this fat greedy bird.
 During one of the breaks in the weather I walked up the quarry behind us and took this shot of a distant Mt. Our property in in the middle of this photo. ( click to enlarge ) Can you see the straight hedges? The white spot in the middle is  the surround of the extra vegetable garden R planted this year. Kumara and Yams are still in the ground there.
 When I took this next photo it reminded me of something.
 These Autumn fallen leaves are off the Liquid Amber tree. When I was just 11 for one of the first sewing projects we had to do at school was make a tray cloth by hand. It had to have a design embroidered on it. I clearly remember using the shape of 3 Liquid Amber leaves on mine. In red and orange and yellow. It turned out really well. It was on cream cloth with 2 little raised threads in pairs on it. What was that called?  I'm darned if I can remember now.
 My camellias are really nice at the moment.
 This is a favourite. Camellia japonica frimbriata.
 The one with the best fragrance and lots of pickable flowers is Cinnamon Cindy.
 This one is just a seedling that grew and was good enough to keep. The bee likes it anyway.
 Raindrops on the tiny  buds of camellia Trans no konesisi  ( a scented Taiwanese species )
 My pattern for my Kim Mclean class arrive. It is for a huge quilt. I think I will just get the needs for one panel to start with. It said get 9 yards for the backing! As it is just a one day class I know I won't get much done by hand in that time.
 How have any of you ladies who have made her quilts gone about this? Totally committed or piece by piece?

Friday, May 17, 2013

One Less Worry.

No it's not that the kiwifruit is picked....we are next in start tomorrow ....but the storm clouds are gathering and the whole country is forecast it won't now happen till next week.( some of the luck neighbours got theirs picked during all that sun! )
      The one less thing is I now have heard about Symposium. I sent an email and got no response then a friend told me who she had emailed, so I tried that  and I had a reply the same day. Strangely  Katrina said my information had been sent to me on the 4th of April
 As you know I did not receive it.
 But now I have. I got both of my 3rd choice options.( and tickets to everything else I asked for!!! )
 I got into a 2 day class with Gloria Loughman
 and a one day class with Kim Mclean.
 I am well pleased with that. I was relieved that I didn't get one of my 1st choice options cause it turns out the class wasn't making what was in the picture in the catalogue - find that rather strange.
 So now I have my class needs lists and am rapidly getting all my requirements.
 If you read my blog and are going to Symposium in Taupo ( Fabric Art Festival ) I would love to know so we could meet up. I know you are going to be there Carole B.
 There are  6 ladies from my P and Q group are doing classes, others are just visiting for  a day.
 What did I say - it has just started raining!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Apron and Gift.

One of the projects I was working on is finished. A reversible apron for the kitchen sales table at our next exhibition. Being double layered makes it quite absorbent too. I have top stitched very close to the edge all the way round so it should make for easy ironing should any be needed. Doing patchwork has made me very particular about the finish of anything I sew now. I look in  horror when I find manufactured tea towels or sheets or clothes  etc that have bits missed or not correctly joined.

 I am also working on one of these again. A felt embroidered baby ball. My young ones have some lovely friends who are having a babe in June. So I am making them a gift. This is the 22nd one I have made. Some of the balls live overseas. I keep a notebook of what they had on them and who they belong to. I will leave one pentagon free till the baby is born and put the first letter of it's Christian name as a capital. I love making these - the hardest part being trying to think of some new motifs to use.
 I hadn't done a snowman before but am not completely happy with it - I will give it some tweeking and more detail.( the arms are meant to look like sticks but look a bit silly )
 I forgot to put in the photo of the red and yellow hot pokers in the previous post. The Tuis are enjoying the nectar and hang upside down when they need to, to get at it.
 This is for Leanne...... drying walnuts in front of the fire to hasten the process. These I picked up yesterday and will be the final ones for this year I think  (510.)
That makes the total I picked up =  7,621 walnuts.
 ( so still a lot to dry and shell.)
 We had a phone call from the pack house rep. It is looking like our turn to pick the kiwifruit might happen Saturday. ( but I think rain has been forecast for we shall see ) 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

3 Seasons.

Right now in the Southern Hemisphere it is supposed to be Autumn. Some plants know that but some it seems do not. ( I do hope that by doing some Autumn Cleaning last week ( when it supposed to be Spring Cleaning ) I did not add to the confusion.
 White chrysanthemum. That's correct but it has around it a bed of fallen Camellia petals.
 Rose hips, that correct but....
 Sally Holmes rose is still getting buds.
 The Luculia is already in flower and the bees are delighted about that.
 And yes, that is the first paper white jonquil.( so it's nearly Spring )
 My zygocactus ( known as the Christmas cactus in the North is out. 
The equivalent date should be 25th June ) 

 And my kangaroos are getting new that one I am unsure about? When do they flower most in Australia ladies?

 I do know that the walnuts fell at the correct time; the gauvas are ripe at the right time and the kiwifruit - dear I mention them are very ready....... The neighbours are getting picked today....I do hope we are soon to follow as our are very ready. ( note everyone  has to wait till their pack house tells them it is their turn to pick. They have to have a steady flow of fruit into the pack houses. As all picked fruit has to be packed or coolstored within 4 days of being picked. )We are trying to be patient........

 Right lets talk about something else.....
 On Friday Nan gave me this little quilt she made to be sent to Ruel. We agreed a little boy might like these colours. I will wait till I know someone is going up to the Philippines and get them to take it.( I coordinate the Charity quilts from our group )

 Mary had this lovely New Zealand themed quilt in Show and Tell. Someone asked her was that supposed to be a Tui? I hope it was one of our members who used to live in the UK. Otherwise there is no excuse. (She looked really gob-smacked and said "No it's woodpigeon." I called out to her aid, " It's a Kereru, and looks just right!")
 Although there are more walnuts on the ground R says don't pick up any more he wants the space in his shed to work at something and there are sacks and sacks in there already.....I might have to be sneaky about this.
 Shelled walnuts =8.669 kilograms.
 All you ladies who willed Mother Nature for fine weather or said your prayers please keep it up...we would like more fine days with a gentle breeze now till everyone in the district has their Kiwifruit safely picked. PLEASE!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Weekend Photos.

On Sunday we went out for a while to look at Autumn colours and have a walk. When we got back 2 hours later we discovered there had been a thunderstorm with hail and we no longer had internet access. I know it's not long without but I hate it being cut off. We are no longer getting the daily newspaper so had to resort to TV News. But things are back to normal and I can now show you where we went.
 The trees weren't as far advanced as I imagined they would be, but patches of bright Autumn colours stood out. This is at Mclaren's Falls Park ( at the foot of the Kaimai Ranges BOP )
 These are the falls with some water flow now - not dried up like they were a month ago.
 We walked down the canal but only about half way as the wind was chill and the sky threatening.
 From there we went and looked at the Exhibition of the winners of a Photographic Competition  It was on display in the Tauranga Airport. Well worth the visit.

 Finally here is a first for this blog, I think. I don't recall ever posting a baby photo here before. This dear wee chap came with his wider family to visit us for lunch on Saturday  He is five and a half months old and so well behaved.


 I have cut out ready to sew a double sided apron. We all have been asked to make at least one item to donate  for a special Kitchen sales table, our P and Q Group will be having with this year's exhibition. (From now on I think we are having exhibitions only every second year.)We will also have the usual sales table where members can sell anything they like and they get the money.
* Molly I will email you the recipe as it is not really "mine " to publish.