Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Very Smelly.

There is lots happening with the Kiwifruit at the moment. We are both working hard at bud thinning. Compost has been spread under the vines.

 Here the front end loader is filling the trailer which has a spreader on the back. While he spreads the next one gets filled up.
 Look at the ground level to see the compost being spread behind.
 The back view.
 It is VERY smelly and will be for the next few days.
 Note also in the middle photo the new yellow row numbers ( actually cattle ear tags )on the end post  that R has nailed to both ends of each row. So now as well as block numbers we have individual row numbers.( not names  for every plant yet! ) This will make identifying individual plants much easier. ( for a variety of reasons. ) 

PSA the disease that is attacking  Kiwifruit vines has made a small appearance on our orchard this week.
 I found a male vine with leaf spotting.( the 1st noticeable symptom )  The spots are straight edged not round and lie along the veins firstly.
 Yesterday afternoon our first job was removing all the branches with spotted  leaves. Capturing them in a large plastic sack for disposal; disinfecting our secateurs and loppers in meths as we went.

 You can see it doesn't look very bad or very obvious at this stage.

 This is how much we cut from this male vine.
Every cut has to be painted with red bacseal an anti bacterial paste.
 Any vines that are infected or suspect are identified with red ribbons, but the row numbers will help too. These marked vines will be monitored even more closely then the rest to see if the disease progresses and needs more removal. The good thing we found was there was NO red oose or other symptoms of die back or stripes on female flower buds.( at this time )We have quite a number of red ribbons hanging in different blocks to keep and eye on certain vines.
 Doing all this is time consuming but if it saves the vine and halts spread to it's neighbours we will do it. The vine we worked on yesterday is in the coldest, windiest spot in that block - conditions that suit PSA 
( strangely as it is a bacterial infection  - spread by touching; by wind; by rain splashes ;by birds; insects; on feet; on hands ; on clothing etc etc ! ).
 We spray our secateurs with meths after each vine we work on so both carry spray bottles with us.
 We are in an area called a containment area - we just manage any symptoms we have and try not to spread it around our orchard or to any body else's orchard. A high % of BOP orchards now have some vines with PSA. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Some Quilty Bits.

Last weekend our P & Q Group had our rooms for our use all weekend. It is called a UFO weekend but anything goes. (One lady did complete several UFOS ) I made this prem baby sized quilt to be donated to the maternity hospital. They are put over the incubators and the Mum may take them home when baby goes home.( A little different and a little bigger from the SANDS quilts we have made before. ) It is only small. I am part way around sewing the binding down and it needs some more quilting. I like the Cherry Marschino ( Holly Holderman )fabric I used as backing.

 Another group of ladies used this time to make no sag bags.
 Seen here not all totally finished.They are large bags with an internal zipped pocket. I didn't care for the corners of the binding, but the bags did seems to stand up quite well. I believe the pattern for this No Sag Bag can be found on line.
A word of CAUTION!  At our group yesterday we all laughed cause you can't really cry at this.
 Some years ago N had made this quilt for a member of her family. She used NZ wool batting.
 Without thinking to ask her about it's laundering needs they washed it. It shrunk and went wobbly edged. Since then it has been washed about 6 times - I suspect a dog used it as a blanket. It started life as a single bed sized quilt and look at it now.
 I think Australian wool batting may be pre shrunk? I have used that in quilts I use in this house but I am well warned  I would never put wool batting in any quilt I was giving away.  I suggested N had started a new graze for felted ruched quilts.
 Something else we don't really "do" in NZ is Halloween. But retailers try to push it. One of our members M is having a party for her nephews and some kids in her street. She wanted to decorate her shed so had whipped up this quilt with red light eyes.
 We so much don't like the idea of kids going house to house for trick and treat that M has already asked a few neighbours will they go along with it and SHE is supplying them with the sweets etc. to give to the kids, and she will take them only to those pre arranged houses.
 It is a long weekend here in NZ.( Labour weekend. ) Most of my time will be taken up with garden jobs. I have a very long list starting with mowing all the lawns, which are quite long and leaf littered.Planting and weeding to do too.Orange picking and nut collecting too. If it rains as it just might I have an indoor list too.
 Be happy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Plants Are Battling Against the Wind.

 Plants are battling against the winds that seem to whip up every day this week. Working with the new growth on the kiwifruit is made harder as the wind whips the stem from my hand just as I am trying to so carefully pinch it's tip or thin it's flower buds.( a false move and it is destroyed ) It just makes it all take longer. Still other places in the country have had far worse winds and floods as well, so we know we got off lightly.
 Despite it all there are many bright spots around the garden as the Spring and early Summer flowers emerge. The roses are looking really pristine so far  - no bugs yet.
 The 1st Complicata rose flowers out.
 The bees are really enjoying Mutablis.

 A close up of the Blue flowering pea that has almost lost it's grip on the old trellis during the winds.
 A cheerful little pansy that deals with the wind better than with the rain.
 In the border where I have changed the edge I have thrown some packets of mixed seeds I was given and now have this little fragile flower that I don't recognise. Anyone know please?

 Here's the new edge I made - it has a few wobbles I will have to correct now R has sharpened my spade for me.
 Do you see where I have planted the light green and red lettuce seedlings? I have to find something for the gaps I have left. If I had put all lettuces that would be too many coming ready to eat all at once.I suppose if I can't think of anything else I could plant radish seed in the gap - I want something edible really.
 During the wind and rain this week we have been to the movies twice. ( that always happens; we book for a second one while we are in the city.Yes, 2 movies this year and both in one week! )
 Thoroughly enjoyed " Mr. Pip" and thought it true to the book.
 Quite enjoyed "Gravity" in 3D  but it  wasn't as wonderful as the reviews made out. The special effects were amazing but the story line a bit too impossible for me to embrace.( what a shame to think of George Clooney lost out there in space! ) Both worth seeing .

 I laid my flowers completed so far on the floor to select the green I wanted for number 5's stem and leaves.
 My plan was to use mainly blues, purples and greens with touches of pink and lemon. I want all the leaves to match their stems and will not be using every colour of the rainbow in them. I also wanted to use lots of my spotty fabrics and some stripes.
 I haven't really had much time to sew as we are really busy with the kiwifruit and the garden.

 Walnut tally shelled now 21.053 kgs.
 I will weigh the macadamias when we shell them too. Still picking them up.
 I have a sewing weekend coming up at Club both days, so will be working on some charity quilts.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This is How.

Jennifer this is how we crack the macadamia nuts.
 Nut sitting in the jaws...
 Of this little device.
 When the handle is pulled down it closes the jaws which split the nut shell.
 The only other way I know of that works easily is to put the nut between the rubber of an outdoor doormat. ( the sort that has hard rubber bits held together with metal. ) and hit them with a hammer ( it stops the nut flying away when hit.) They must be completely dry first or they will just squash.
 On Tuesday night and early Wednesday we had a stormy time with wind and rain. It had been forecast so I decided to pick this pretty little face.- a new Gladioli. ( nanus nathalie ) that my young ones gave me the bulbs for back in June. It was the first flower out and I wanted to enjoy it at close range rather than drag it's head from he dirt when spoiled. J and V it was much prettier than the photo on the packet.
 Today the sun is back out but things are wet. The up side is all the newer plantings seem to still be in the ground and have been watered.Unfortunately all yesterday morning was taken up doing the banklink and GST returns for 2 months and other office work. ( just as well it rains sometimes ) It was cold too but not as bad as I think Nicky is getting down South! Did you have more snow? 
 Thank you to my bloggy friends who have left comments recently. I do love reading them. Thimbleanna - maybe you could set a rabbit trap or find someone with a gun, or cover your plants with netting - the rabbits shouldn't win!
 Molly I am sure everyone is busy - maybe I just report on different things than some others, because of where I live and the area of land around us and so many growing things.
 D and N if you are reading this, one of us will soon reply to your last email. We just don't know the answer to your question as yet. Apparently it is all "off" again - so no we won't be taking any trips it seems.
Leanne I keep a notebook similar to yours for grocery items. How far back do you make the comparisons? We have a place called Grandma's fridge which is similar to your store. That's another story cause this is a new fridge which stands where Grandma's Freezer used to be.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

It's Good to be Busy....

It's good to be busy but not much sewing has happened lately as Spring has sprung and the outside jobs take precedence  Flower # 4 above is finished, but is supposed to have a coloured centre which I will not decide on till I am putting the blocks together. ( probably yellow or pink I think ) I hang the completed blocks on a hanger in the cupboard to keep them flat and all together.
 The last 10 days or so I have been back in the orchard - crush tipping the first new growth and cutting out the dead  bits the pruners lazily left. New  sunblock had to be purchased but already I have a white watch and gloves design on my forearms. Over head there is no shade at the moment so it gets really hot mid afternoon.
 The weekends have been even busier or at least harder work; digging and weeding and cutting out and cutting back and all those sort of jobs.( how can honeysuckle smell so good but be such a to cut out and get rid of ? ) I have tucked my strawberry plants in with straw.( and the netting surround stops the wind blowing it and makes it difficult for the birds to steal as bedding material )
 They have flower buds.
 I keep planting out new short rows of lettuce as we often have salad at lunch time. The first row is disappearing fast. Sometimes I have a struggle with myself when they look so nice and fresh and green that I don't want to pick them, but it only lasts a few seconds as I know the younger they are picked the sweeter they will be. I can have the leaves picked washed and in out mouths in less then 5 minutes!

 This is looking from the other direction.the 3rd row. For the next rotation I am preparing somewhere else. I spent Sunday afternoon spading /cutting away an edging along a flower garden - it needed straightening out. In the ground I have gained an new border is required and I decided,  a partially edible one would look good. Those green lettuce leaves are really attractive so why not use those interspersed with some low flower plants.and some red frilly lettuces too. ( photos when complete )

 I have done the 2nd macadamia nut collection and will do the 3rd today or tomorrow. here they are spread out on the trolley ( Dolly ) . R is helping peel the outer green shell off then they lie in the sun to dry out.
 here is the 1st lot.
 I took this photo of my extra narrow strip of garden cause the early morning sunlight was making the coloured stems of the silver beet ( chard ) shine so brightly.
 At this end are my first 3 capsicum plants.

 Shelled walnut count 20,266 kgs.