Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Patience and My Fat Friend.

 Finally this morning , after so many tries my friendly Kereru ( New Zealand Native Wood Pigeon ) posed for me while eating guavas.
 He ? She ? is a fine fat specimen, with wonderful colours in its feathers.
( hemiphaga novae- zelandiae )

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Just the Photographer.

Sometimes I am happy to be just the photographer. Yesterday (and today ) was one of those times.
 This is the grapple digger on it's transporter, in our loading area. It is the crucial machine along with Chainsaw Pete to safely fell our 4 large gum trees. These men have worked here before but never in such an inaccessible part of the property.

Here is the before skyline looking out from the house.( early yesterday morning. )
I did much of the photography  ( for safety reasons ) from across the gully through the shelter belt around the avocado block.
 The house is up to the left in this shot.. 2 large logs are already lying on the ground.
 The driver pulled his machine up from the bottom so not to destroy stuff up above.
 He used his bucket to push the tree so it would fall the right way.
 Then Pete chainsawed it down.
 Leaving stumps like this.
 The trunks were cut into logs that would fit onto a truck.
 The grapple then carried them all along a track, around a corner and up the steep hill to where the truck could back down to.
 This part happened early this morning. ( yes that's block 2 b kiwifruit in the background. Luckily he did not drop any logs when he needed to swing them out over the top of the vines. )

 One load disappearing up the track. The drivers had to back down that track empty and you can't see where the track is below you so they did well. ( you can see we still have plenty of trees near the house - but none now that shade it too much.)
 One load going past the house.
 The trees had an average weight of 40 tonnes. 10 logs are millable  That will help to offset the cost of having the job done.Those gums were planted in 1979.
 On the plus side, lots more sun is now streaming into the garden and house. There is firewood aplenty for the next few years for us and others.
 On the negative side this operation destroyed many smaller trees and plants that were nearby - but that destruction started when we had the landslide ( about 4 years ago ) down the creek gully that filled and destroyed our lovely lake. Long term over the next couple of years the area now cleared will be tidied firewood removed rubbish burned and the area grassed so it will be mowable on the ride on. It will also now be safe from falling gums limbs. At the moment there is a huge amount of cleaning up to do.
 I just went away and found these old photo of the gums when the area around them was garden. BEFORE the landslide destroyed it all.

 Makes me feel quite sick when I realise how much work we had put into making this garden.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Design wall.

Yesterday I had time to pin this to the wall and work on adding flax bushes, trees and shrubs. I'm quite pleased with how my pine tree worked out. It is built up of many small trees. I think I have a thing about perspective and disappearing roads or tracks or railway lines. On the wall in the lounge is a painting I did many years ago of the railway line disappearing into the distance.
 The photo of the walkway does not show anyone walking on it. I think it will need some life to make it interesting, so this is still the backdrop to that.

 Today is a beautiful clear day with just a hint of frost in places, first thing. Today is the big tree felling day. 4 large gum trees ( sorry Australian friends ) are being dropped by 2 guys called Pete. ( not the 3 fellars ) I have been out with the camera but will show you all of that tomorrow.
 Here are some Winter garden bright spots I found.
 Nandina berries.
 Little Ifafa lilies that survived last years ranch slider removals.
 Some of the new Polys. From today onwards they will be getting way more sunlight. ( once the big gums are gone. )
 Right back to check on these blokes. I have found out how you get a bloke to clean up well after himself.  Put him on a big digger with a bucket on it and he can restore and smooth out anything!

Friday, June 21, 2013


 Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox ) smells amazing on the kitchen window sill.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chop, Chop.

Yesterday it was out of bed early as the Tree Fellers ( not 3 fellars ) were coming early to deal with the walnut tree. We had been asked to get it back from the overhead (  to one side actually ) lines.  Powerco, said it could wait till the kiwifruit below was picked and the walnut crop for this year harvested. And they are.
 The 2 guys who are the tree fellers, arrived at 10 to 9 ( early ? - no ) in their flash truck designed for getting up tall trees. Unfortunately with all the rain, we had the day before  it was too wet for them to take across the paddock to the tree, so it had a pleasant 2 hours parked on the loading area.
 This is the walnut tree seen here behind kiwifruit vines in block 1.( it is at the top of a small bank. )
 Today we feature the colour ORANGE!  Can you spot the man in the tree?

 If you click on the photo you can just see in the top left hand corner of the sky, the lines that must be avoided ( and protected )

 From where I was working in the office this is what I could see. R talking with 2 blokes did not need my in put so I just popped out to take photos.
 Knowing what a treasured walnut tree we have I was very pleased that the man up the tree ( all 3 had agreed ) took only as much as was needed out of one side of the tree.
 There he is all roped up. He had his chainsaw on a rope and roped himself to the tree.
 His size shows what a large tree it has become. That's all he cut so plenty of tree left! There will still be nuts next year.
 R dragged the limbs away with the tractor and nothing got damaged in the whole procedure. very good those men! ( I gave them a small bag of shelled walnuts to take home. )
Yes, Thimble Anna mowing up the leaves is the best way. It stayed clean for more than 24 hours.. I sat on my weeding cushion under the tree and turned picking up by hand into an stretching exercise.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Some Sewing at Last.

A weekend of wetness, home made soup and foccacia bread, sewing and office work.
 This time I made leek and potato soup. My repertoire of soups include pumpkin; tomato ( already made and in the freezer ) minestrone; bacon bone and beans ( from a book by Joanne Harris ); just occasionally silver beet; or kumara and orange; or carrot and orange. Do you have a good soup recipe ?
  Yesterday I got to sew for almost 3 hours! ! My sewing machine is in fine form after it's medical  ( which cost $94  - gosh ) The machine doctor said he updated it's computer parts to the latest and it should go faster now. ( not a requirement for me. ) I laughed when I saw the neat little sample he had sewn and left under the needle. 8 different stitches! It does seem to be purring along.
 Since I didn't get to go to a class with Lenore on how she makes her collage type street scenes I decided I would have a go myself. Using a photo I took while walking on the Carmichael Estuary pathway, I am sewing a background. Some parts pieced but there will be an overlay of raw edged forms to give some finer detail then later lots of stitching and some people /objects on the walkway.
 The colour in this is all wrong it was dim when I took this.( it is actually almost grey like weathered wood. ) The board walk will have the individual boards sewn on it.The larger tree on the horizon is still to be added. So far I am pleased with how it is going.
 On Friday I was lucky enough to win the raffle at P and Q. I am however a bit dubious about the quality of the fabric in this pack.
 It is the 2nd such pack I now have, the other being a gift. The brand is Fabric Palette
 ( fabric editions Inc. Greenville SC ) but made in China. Have any of you  worked with this fabric which seems quite open weave and thin?( except for the silver piece which is rigid with silver. )

 I also noticed that one person had paid $ 20 for the pack another had paid $27.99 for the same thing!
 I will not be using this with any other better quality fabric.
 The rain got the Copper beech tree dropping rapidly. Already this morning I have done my first stint of collecting leaves. I know they are a useful resource and that motivates me to keep at it.
 The easiest ones ( less bending ) are on the top of the hedge and in the birdbath. Some congregate in corners and can be picked up in good sized handfuls. The worst to get out are stuck in the top of plants in pots like that one beside the red seat. I have decided to break the job up into small bursts of 15 minutes to save my back. Maybe I will mow up the ones on the lawn cause being wet they will pick up more easily and not woosh away in front of it.
 Have a good week everyone.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Very Kind Comments.

Thank you all for the lovely Birthday Wishes. I enjoyed receiving your comments and will endeavour to have a good year.

  This is supposed to be my less busy time of year but so far not so. The car was returned with no problem found and it's brakes fixed. The nice garage man said we did this job last time and it should have lasted longer I am taking $ 20 off the bill. That was nice - we are long standing customers who always pay promptly, so he is looking after his customers.
 My Bernina ( sewing machine)  is off having a WOF too. Hope they take good care of it. 
( It's never been away from home without its owner before ! )
 The lovely polyanthus  above, was a recent purchase. Those were the only colours available at the moment but are rather delicate and look well together. Here they are sitting on the outside table before being planted They always look better grouped so closely but tend to get a bit lost in the garden especially at the moment with leaves cascading from the trees everywhere. I will endeavoured to plant them in groups and keep them from getting smoothered. They love a good helping of blood and bone. 
 Also to plant are these lovely bulbs my young ones sent me. And look some lovely NZ batik fabric. I especially like the green fern one. Lucky me! 
 I have been getting further supplies ( needs ) for my Symposium classes - almost got all of them now. Also have some preparation homework to do with the Kim Mclean pattern. Must get onto that as it is only about a month away now.

 My next felt ball is progressing. I am currently sewing chain stitch around each pentagon seam. (Can only do hand sewing at the moment anyway.) I need to start thinking about motifs for it.

 Every fine day I have been out walking ( zigzagging actually ) the kiwifruit rows picking the fruit the pickers missed. I have run out of big containers. I will take a couple of these bins  to P and Q on Friday for the ladies to have.
 Some answers.  
*Isabelle it is rude to talk with our mouths full so playing scrabble while we eat makes more sense. I only do the crossword if someone else here, ( R ), needs help!
*Leanne I think you should google images of Milla Biflora and also Onionweed to see if your bulb might be that.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Phone Calls; Email ; Cards; Presents....

Phone calls; email ; cards and presents....What can it mean, except I am one year older today and nice People have remembered that. Lucky me.
 My 90 year old  Aunt was first on the phone this morning to say Happy Birthday to me. R answered and said, "Oh, but it is tomorrow. "  To which she hooted with laughter and said "I remembered it right ; I think you'll find it is today. "

  Some time ago   I had said I wanted to read "Paris," by Edward Rutherfurd and R remembered that and got it for me. ( a big thick read ) I have enjoyed all his previous books, so expect I will also enjoy this one. I learn such a lot as he does his research well.
   We went out to lunch at the nearest venue, our local, that doesn't get much patronage from us. R enjoyed his meal, I was not so keen -  I made the wrong choice ( and I  found a hair in it!  It had lots of bacon in it which tasted like fish????). Thankfully my coffee and truffle was delightful. Can't win them all. Although I did win by a 100 at scrabble - we took it with us and played while we waited for our meals.  Since R got Z:Q and X he should have won, but I got rid of all 7 letters with the word briefly and got 86 for that. Not that we are competitive or anything! We try to play scrabble each day while we eat our lunch, so today was no exception.
 I have had a surprisingly productive day considering phone calls etc. Even did the GST, and got washing dry. It was a lovely sunny Autumn / Winter day. (as we drove down the road some folk are still having their kiwifruit picked! )
 (Thanks J and  V for your lovely card. Got one from Somerset and one from your Mum.)
 I'm off to enjoy the drink in my hand and be lazy for the rest of the day. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Complementary Craft.

Yes Isabelle I do now have a little more time to sit around - but not much.
I have been cutting out the parts for more felt balls.
 This is where my quilting and making felt embroidered balls complement each other. All those scraps of batting cut from the long edges of a quilt just before I apply the binding are wound up ready to use as the inners for the balls.

 It takes lots as they are wound quite tightly in the manner used to wind up a ball of wool. Here it shows one just started the other large enough to insert into a ball. Each evening I have been sewing the pentagons together and have an outer finished and another on the way. I don't really have to think about it while I watch TV it is now second nature and the special looped blanket stitch I use has become very regular and tight . It is self tensioning.
 I have also been gardening. Collecting all the Autumn leaves. The biggest Oak is about half way dropped the Copper Beech hardly started. ( not my favourite job at all! )  I am trying my hand at growing some celery. Yes I know they should be planted in the Spring but I saw these healthy little plants and just couldn't resist buying a punnet.
 Strangely the day after I planted them I then read in the Listener that Celery, Parsley and Chamomile have high levels of apigenin.  Apigenin is useful for fighting cancer cells - it stops them growing and makes them behave like normal cells - with a limited life, so they die after a given time. Never knew about that before. I also grow lots of parsley, but you can keep the camomile( tea ).
 This is my favourite garden reference book.

Yesterday it was misty and wet and I went into Tauranga to start buying up all the "Needs," from my 2 lists for Symposium classes. Quite a haul. I also booked my Bernina in for a WOF, next week. I was also getting some photos printed. There was a cloud burst and getting in and out of the car and walking a short distance I go absolutely drenched. I tried sitting it out while I had a coffee but still it pored down. Fortunately my rolls of Vlisofix; tear away, fusible webbing and batting only got a few drips on them. Luckily it only takes me about 15 -20 minutes to get home to a change of dry clothes. I need to think that out better next time I want to purchase things that need to stay dry. (They put the photos in a plastic bag for me. ) Everywhere in the city was almost deserted so in some ways a good time to shop. Visibility was very limited and still some people drive with their lights off.
 At the moment I am a captive - sort of.  My car is away being driven by the nice man at the garage to diagnose what it ailing it. 3 times it has refused to start when R was driving it. It hasn't done it to me( I'm glad it behaved in the rain yesterday ) If I need to go anywhere I could go on my tractor or be driven in the truck. I will try and stay home!
 It is certainly soup weather. I love all sorts of soup.  Leek and potato being my favourite. . This lot was minestrone.( a good vegetarian option - I don't mind being a vegetarian at lunch time. )
Lastly some very good news. Our fruit got packed during the long weekend, ( we didn't even get there to watch ) some on the night shift. It went really well. We got our largest number of trays for a season EVER. A  4000 tray increase on our previous best. We are quite delighted about that.