Sunday, March 30, 2014

Processing Extra Produce and some Quilts.

Good Morning Bloggy Friends, especially Kelly, Jennifer, Sue, Maureen, Deb Thimbleanna and Isabelle. I do so appreciate your comments and the fact you pop in to say Hi. It's good to meet some new commentors. Regarding the Hoya bella photo. Yes,Isabelle mine is growing outside in a very sheltered warm corner in a large blue pot. I have to feed it iron sulphate quite often or the leaves become very pale and yellowed. A dose of that watered in and it is soon bright green again. I think mine may have flowered twice this year? It is extremely sticky, so glad mine is outside. I think I have always had a soft spot for this plant as my Nana had a large one growing right along her veranda . ( in a chillier climate )I think I have a soft spot for many plants I first met in during my early years in my Mum's or Nana's gardens. I also got the gardening gene.

 As we had an abundance of Feijoas ( pineapple guavas ) I cooked and froze a couple of batches. I love looking at the various patterns the inside jelly part makes. It depends how well pollinated each fruit is, as to how many loops it makes. With Feijoas you either love or hate them. Have too many or not enough! I  couldn't help noticing the shapes were very like the flowers I am appliquéing.

 Here I am roasting some of my red capsicum to make into roasted capsicum and cashew dip. I love red capsicum!

 Outside signs of Autumn continue. I don't care for this colour of Wind Anemones but they do put on a good display. I much prefer my pale pink and really like the white ones. They are not nearly as invasive as these - I suspect original old double dark pink / cerise ones. The red tree is a Viburnum.
 On Friday at my Patchwork and Quilting Group we sometimes have a member give her Quilt Journey. Something I started back in 2010. We have listened to many since then.  This lady has been quilting for many years and started quilting mostly by hand but now uses the machine more. Her very first Grandmother's Garden type quilt remains unfinished.......
 She has made numerous quilts over the years; has  given a few away, but sadly keeps all her quilts in a cupboard - none on her beds or walls as she thinks her cat would spoil them. (I have a different opinion ) Her family have said they don't want them!
Here are a few I liked.

 This is a reversible wall hanging( or could be! )


 I also took a photo of my friend D's table mats she is making as a gift for a family. Just using up 2.5" squares she had. She is making  a set of 8.

 Meanwhile I have progressed a tiny bit ,working on appliquéd flower # 7. ( photo next time )

Friday, March 21, 2014

Autumn Tasks.

Autumn is a busy time. For this little ant it means scurrying about eating honeydew or sweet nectar on Hoya bella.( click to enlarge. )
 For these wasps on the grapes  it means getting stuck in and eating just as much fermenting juice as they can.
 Care is needed when picking the grapes. I have made one large batch of juice and will do more. Once even one grape is split or eaten the wasps take advantage and can get quite drunk. Roger has been going out at night to nests he has marked during the day and pouring petrol down the nests. Some that have horizontal tunnels are hard to kill. ( if left the nests can get quite huge )

 R has resurrected the corn I showed all over the ground in the previous post. It may survive but won't be great.
 Yesterday  3 tree fellas ( fellers ) arrived to do the tree limbing we needed. They took low branches off the Rimu over hanging the deck. Rimu ( a NZ native red pine ) is the most prickly horrid leaf to handle. They dragged the branches across the lawn to get to the shredder and left a trail of little twigs so I had to remow the lawn ( quickest clean up method.)  They then took lower limbs off the 2 oak trees. Here Phil is roped to the tree. Limbs and chainsaws are raised and lowered by rope.
 All the branches got put through the mulcher. A very noisy job.
 Which left us with 2 piles of mulched wood to break down for future use as mulch or growing pumpkins on.
 The light is now streaming in. The only casualty was a few broken small branches on one of the yellow Vireya. ( it will regrow; it's just a bit lop sided. )( I am glad I took it's photo when it was looking pretty )
 The 3 guys them trimmed the cherries along the driveway and took all the lower limbs off the walnut tree so R can get under it with the hustler to mow. This meant I had to race out and pick all the walnuts not yet dropped off the lower branches I could reach. ( I have never picked them  un-split  before so will see how they go ) I am drying them in the sun. Today I will go back and collect what are now all over the ground where they worked. It may mean a slightly reduced crop but I still have lots from last year in the freezer. So YES Leanne - This year's walnut collecting tally has started. 434 so far. As a comparison last year I picked up 7621.

It has been such a fine Summer the pests have all thrived. I have spent 2 sessions cutting down/off the netting all the runner beans. Usually they are left so the roots go on adding nitrogen to the soil but this time they were so pest ridden I decided to take them out early. Firstly and during I sprayed with pyrethrum to kill white fly, vegetable bugs ; passion vine hoppers and other varied pests.  A job needing patience, while keeping  ones mouth shut so as not to in hale white flies.
 I am now off to finish the clean up outside. I will collect the small twigs etc in the flower garden - better for me to do it then blokes with big boots  - and then the walnuts. Did I mention we are back to that beautiful calm clear Autumn weather when harvesting and cleaning up are tasks that must be done. I have left the kiwifruit for a while because I got ahead! Yea! That gives me the time to clean up my garden ( and R's ) and all the other gathering jobs.It is good to be busy( within reason ).
****Before I go I want to say Hi to my commentors. I do so appreciate your interest - it encourages me to keep taking photos and rambling on here about country orchard life in BOP, NZ.****

Monday, March 17, 2014

Storm Allows Sewing Time.

We got off pretty lightly with storm damage compared with other parts of the country - as " Lusi, " swept down New Zealand during the weekend.
 The second planting of sweet corn got trashed. The rest  of the strong wind damage is just cleaning up of tree branches and picking up a few avocados from the ground.
 Please note everything here is green for St Patricks day.

 The storm kept me mainly inside so I got some appliqué done.  I was having trouble with the tight inside curve on this leaf  - the fabric frayed so undid it and made it a little larger.
 At Patchwork on Friday Anna  lent me a book called "The Art of Easy Appliqué," by Mini Dietrch and Roxi Eppler. ( published 1994 ) I am busy reading it for any useful tips. I suspect 90% of my difficulty may be my eyesight. 
I am going to hunt down a magnifier on a stand to use.The fact that I am using invisible thread doesn't help. This is flower # 6 almost finished.( out of 24 on the Kim McLean pattern. )

 On Saturday I braved the stormy weather and drove into the city  to the Memorial Service for our Patchwork  member who died 3 months ago. Her family came down from Auckland and played a video of the funeral service ( cause most of us didn't attend ) and people who wanted to say anything could. At the beginning the 11 year Grandson stood up and unaccompanied sang in a pure clear voice " If you need a friend, just call my name. " It had us all spell bound( and teary ) . He was such a nice confident boy ( who can apparently also play drums, guitar and piano. ) His Grandma would have been so proud! We were all given a jar of marmalade( with a little brandy in it ! ) made from the contents of our quilting buddy's freezer ( made up by her daughter ) which the family are still trying to find the bottom of.
 Our friend that died was a very down to earth nurse who had had ( 2 hips and one knee replaced ) quite a tough life but was a battler. She wanted her organs donated and so far 6 separate people have been helped . Both her eyes and her lungs and 3 other bits. She was the oldest to date lung donor in NZ at age 69. She would have been delighted with that info.
 Out in the garden today things are drying out and all the better for the 59 mls of rain we received. Here are some photos I just popped out and took.
 A big fat Bumble bee on Autumn Crocus.

 Some of many red Nerines flowering

Purple Asters.

                                   White wind anemone.
Vireya Sunny Splendour.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not For the Squeamish !

 That's the thief. 
 Caught by the lure of an apple inside our Timms Possum Trap. 
  R has reset it using the same apple as it had only had time for one bite, and it's more than likely to have a friend.
 ( you can see it was a healthy specimen eating our fruit.)
*Wow Pam that's a lot to pay for feijoas - hope they were nice. Give me a ring if your close by and I will share ours with you.
 * I think in Australia feijoas are called tropical guavas? 
* In Austalia Opossums are protected. In NZ they are not as we have so many and they are a major problem in some places. They also spread TB.
 We run a poison bait station near our bush as does the park next door.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Work and Play.

Yesterday I took a long walk around every part of our property. It took an hour and 10 minutes. Signs of Autumn on the path leading into the bush. ( The Flevo poplars are always the first to loose their leaves.)

 I found the first feijoas for the year had dropped.( Aren't you glad to be back in NZ Pam? )   Not marvellous examples of them but edible all the same. Yum I am really ready for them. I also spied where a possum had chewed an unripe persimmon so got R to set the trap nearby. 
This is the colour of the sky we have been seeing.....
 And very calm.
 There is not too much more fruit thinning needed in the kiwifruit blocks. I took this photo on Friday where I was working in block 1.
Over the weekend, R has mowed up all the rejected fruit on the ground under the vines so it looks much better, smells less  and we are in less danger of turning an ankle.

 On Thursday evening we went to the 5th birthday party of the pack house we send our kiwifruit to, to get packed and cool stored.
 The dinner was held in Classic Flyers' building. See the interesting surroundings for the event.

 We were sat next to a couple from Auckland who have recently bought an orchard near here and they were amazed to think we had owned our orchard for so long . We are currently grooming our 32nd crop.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Now That's a Sweet Gift.

 Yesterday our guest arrived with a 2 kg jar of his very own honey. He is learning bee keeping and has just 2 hives in Taranaki where he lives.The bees had been foraging on NZ native plants particularly Flax and Pohutukawa flowers. Honey is very appropriate gift for us if you consider our Surname. Thanks M we should be sweet for some time to come - that's a big jar.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Yesterday, while R was having his head read I walked to this very tall landmark tree and back. ( he was having an MRI scan ) Having you head read is not a term much used now but my parents used to use it when someone had done something not sensible -( they need their heads read.)

 Also large - the first watermelon cut. Half has travelled back to Auckland with the young ones, so we should be able to manage our half.
This week I have no car as it is back at the garage . Hopefully this time they manage to diagnose it's problem. The mechanics are going to use it all week in the hope it misbehaves while they are driving.

Autumn is in the air - last night was very cool but it is only a cold front passing over the country and warm days will return for a while yet. The many red nerines are looking bright and the viburnum outside our bedroom window  has totally turned red.
 This week is also the week of visitors. One unexpectedly yesterday and 2 today for lunch. (One is on a no  gluten diet, so care is needed . The other lives in France so that could be interesting. )
 So right now I should be in the kitchen.
 Note* a little sewing on Flower # 6 has taken place. - every little counts.