Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lots of Changes.

 Let's start with something I really love. Carnations. My Otaki Pink with a beautiful perfume is flowering.
 It has been a mixed week, weather wise. The pollination is finished - just a mass of tiny fruit there now. So we were lucky with that. We are not advised to work with the kiwifruit vines when they are damp( psa spread ) so that has kept us away from the vines on some days this week. That's good, I get lots else done.
 I have replanted a small patch of lawn that had a curve, but is now straight - so much easier for me mowing. In an attempt to keep the birds from taking all the seed or scratching it around I have covered it with netting.

 The garden on the left is full of purple sparaxias  bulbs which mass flower  in the Spring and early Summer. I removed all the dead tops, before starting this little job The rocks are just to hold the netting down and will be removed when the grass comes up.
 The next change is with this computer. We had been advised Windows XP would no longer be supported by microsoft early next year and we should up date. We have been happily using it since 2006. So we got a Nerd in who was very friendly and helpful.....
 The short version is on Monday morning he will install a whole new bare bones hard drive with 5 terabytes of space - that will make Windows 8.1 work rapidly we hope.
 So we have been backing up everything we want kept - quite time consuming.
 So come next week we have to get used to a whole new way of doing things......
 On my lap top I have windows 7 so I will use that as a backup if we have problems.
 Fingers crossed.
 Yesterday I took the opportunity to make my Christmas cake( s). They turned out well.
 Yesterday I got some sad and disturbing news. One of our quilting group ladies who recently moved from here to Waiheke Is. is now in hospital in Auckland on life support after having a massive stroke. She is 69, and not expected to live. I last saw her and talked to her at the Auckland Festival of Quilts one month ago.That will be a huge shock for all the ladies in our group especially the ones who are older than that.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ideal Pollination Weather.

 This is the doorway into one of 21 bee hives we have in the orchard for the Kiwifruit pollination.( they sort of crash land then crawl under the gap )( notice the one flapping it's wings  - they go so fast they are a blur )
 A bee foraging in a female Kiwifruit flower ( and in the process we hope distributing male pollen ). It has been a week of perfect weather - very hot and calm. That makes it easy for the bees to work. In that week about 75 % of the females have flowered. Small fruit just set are now everywhere.
Underneath the vines the ground looks like this.
 The already fallen petals.

 As an experiment we also have a box of bumble bees ( Bombus terrestris )
 in the avocado block.

 This we purchased and it now belongs to us. The 21 hives for the kiwifruit are hired and will return to their owners shortly once they have worked for us.
Today I photographed this fellow on my scarlet runner beans. Is it one from that box?( or one that was already living here in a clay bank? )
 It or another has set me some beans anyway.
 And some passionfruit. I think this is funny cause this poor plant is still growing in a bucket sized pot...waiting for it's frame to be built. We will give it lots of water and hope that they mature to eating stage. It is using a neighbouring Nandina plant to climb up.
 So although we are very hot we are very very grateful for such perfect pollination weather for all our crops.
 Some other photos.
 On Thursday Percy Peacock came to visit me under the vines and is altogether too noisy and cheeky. He would have taken my afternoon tea out of my hand if I hadn't shared with him.  A neighbour mainly feeds him now. He only comes back here when something has upset him ( a vehicle or noise usually ) or is in his patch. We don't see much of him and that's fine by me.
 (this is for you Meg)

This week flowering in the garden are Filipendula which are  so dainty.
 Brunsfelsai or Yesterday Today and Tomorrow.
 Early this morning the bird bath was looking quite inviting.
 For birds that is.  Pigeons ( Kereru ),  Tuis especially love it and sometimes Thrush and Blackbirds.  It needs replenishing quite often in this heat and with some splashing as the Tui  submerges at least 6 times at every bath.
 Sorry to report no quilting has taken place this week - can't do everything. I did go to P  and Q group on Friday but 4 of us  did a big Library audit instead of sewing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Freshly Mown Lawn Sets it All Off.

The Summer garden is looking bright and smells quite good - I always think freshly mown lawn sets it all off. I spent the entire weekend mowing, weeding, watering and dead heading. Here are the results.

 Come for a walk around some of the garden.
Red velvet Sweet William.

 This large purple iris  is a favourite every year it flowers ( for you Sooziii I know you like them too )
 This is a new red Vireya called Red Mountain that I planted where we pulled the big flax bush out.
 Although bronze beetles have chewed many of my roses some like this simple white flower carpet escaped.
 A lovely low growing Azalea.
 The lettuce border I told you about when I planted it is already being eaten they did so well!( they taste best when grown fast. )( salad for lunch almost every day ! )

 The new leaves of the Golden elm always look fabulous when they are this intense chartreuse colour.
This sea of orange under the big oak is almost finished now.
 The yellow rose fence has 3 Graham Thomas bushes ( and some weeds ) ( I have a large bunch inside right now )
 Up close to Graham Thomas.
 This red border has Xeronema; Red Alstromeria and Kangaroo paws.

 Its hard to find a prettier face than Meg. She is one of  5 roses on the other rose fence ( along with 2 Charles Austin, Penelope and Eprez a Fleur Jaune )
 At the top of the drive is pink Sparieshoop rose with Apple blossom Flower carpet and alstromerias behind.
 I hope you enjoyed the little walk around the garden.
 Last night 21 bee hives arrived for pollination of the kiwifruit vines which are in full bloom - the smell is intense. I won't be putting any light coloured washing on the outside line during this time as it all comes in bee spotted ( and bee pee smells )
 We are very, very busy on the orchard at the moment. I haven't sewn a stitch in days - my hands are a bit rough from all the garden work and from constant cleaning with anti bacterial liquid while working with the vines that have psa spots.
 I am over half way with my mapping of every vine on the orchard and it's psa status. I have walked many kilometers in the process. back to work!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Whippa Snapper.

My 2nd picking of Watkins Snap Peas - Whippa Snappa, were well ready yesterday and I was able to make a salad grown entirely by me.
 I am calling it my "less then 10 salad," because it was all growing less than 10 minutes from when it was eaten = fresh!
 2 types of lettuce grown from seedlings ( buttercrunch and red oak ) radish and the peas grown from seed. I find these peas better than snow peas for flavour. See in the top photo how fleshy the pod is. Just crunchy and yummy.

 Baby hedgehog , nicknamed Bogor is now resident in our garden . We see him on a daily basis, since R found him with probably heat exhaustion on the very hot afternoon recently. He gave him water and shade and protection. I wonder where Mother hedgehog is?
 Meanwhile he showed up at lunchtime yesterday so I gave him a little bit of finely chopped cooked chicken ( for want of anything more suitable ) . He scoffed it . I know NOT to give him milk.  I think I know where he is living, so am watching out for him.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I have been eating some interesting food. We came back yesterday from staying with our young ones up in the big smoke.
 On Saturday evening we all went to dinner at the Tasting Shed in Kumeu ( state Highway 16 )  From the menu you pick 6 ( or however many ) dishes you would like to taste and share.
 We had a fish dish ( crispy terekihi ); triple cooked potatoes; Stingray; spicy pumpkin; beef cheeks and a cauliflower dish. All very yummy. 
 For dessert we just couldn't decide so shared these. 2 sorts of ice cream ( a double chocolate ( very rich ) and salty caramel ) and de-constructed rhubarb cheesecake; mini doughnuts and Pineapple Lump.  We were all very satisfied.
 I think it is a great way to taste many different dishes.
 The young ones also did a BBQ to share with us and other friends on Sunday.

 Again, yummy food.
 Our trip back was not straight forward - the car misbehaved and is back at the garage  - after 4 days there last week. They don't know what is ailing it.( again I have no wheels - But I want it back as my reliable old work horse  )
 If you happen to be travelling between Tauranga and Auckland on State Highway 2, the Wood Turners Cafe, at Mangatarata  is a pleasant place for coffee or lunch. They have interesting things for sale on the shelves too....but it gets very busy.
 I got an email from The Editor of Australian Homespun Magazine to say she had used a photo of my Optical Illusions Quilt in the November issue. I must hunt a copy down .

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

A Few More Quilts.

This carries on from the previous post.
Pauline Coates' Textured Circles had lots of hand stitching.

 Jane Bennett's Surfing With Morris.

Highly Commended for Mary Millington's, Dream Time.

 This wall hanging is by a friend of mine Jenni Scott. She does fabulous work almost always in these subtle tones. She has exhibited this quilt at our show last year. I did not know she had joined the Auckland Guild. 
I particularly like the cyclamen across the bottom of this hanging. She got a ribbon - that great wok Jenni.
 It is a very wet day here in BOP today. Some nut shelling and maybe a little sewing I hope.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Quilts I Liked at the Festival of Quilts in Auckland.

On Saturday I went on a bus trip, with like minded ladies to the  Auckland Festival of Quilts 2013. There is always a lot to see and do. I counted up from the catalogue and there were 257 judged entries and a further 15 just for display. A total of 272 quilts or wall hangings. So, I tried to be selective with my photos and take ones that either really appealed to me ; caught my attention for some specific reason or they had an idea in them I wanted to remember for future and further thought.
Carole Sorrell's Silk Construction No. 2 was yummy. The judges thought so too. It won best Amateur wall hanging.
 Annie White's, White on White was amazing. each little flap or lapel was stitched and stood on from the backing like pages in a also reminded me a a beautifully iced cake.
Joy Wiseman's large bed quilt made by 2 or more people appealed.

 Heather Dockery's Dreamwalking in Venice.
Lori Well's Frank Lloyd Wright Window .

Juliellen Sabablis's , Who'd be Friends with Lizard Taylor? would appeal to most Children.
 Bruce by Sonja Prchal was just delightful. I loved the detail she had sewn on the fence boards. She made this from a photo.

 15 year old Emma Kelleway entered Wanda in the junior section . So well done.
Princes Street by Thelma McGough.
 Hang Up by Alison Laurence was so life like. it proves anything can make a suitable subject. Well done -  I loved this one.
 In the Challenge entitled, Two Circles and a Triangle, I liked this.
 and the one below with raw cut shapes around the green triangle. 
 Such a variation of entries.
 Maybe I will show a few more tomorrow. I did a little shopping too!