Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sunny Bay of Plenty.

 During the last week we have been up to Waihi Beach ( about 35 - 40  minutes drive away ) where our younger family members were staying. Here are some coastal scenes of the beach.
Sometimes it was breezy enough to fly a kite.
While walking I spied theses scenes.
 Gazanias, ice plants and Bunny tails. 

 A Yucca above rocks retaining the sand dunes from erosion. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

From Me To You.

Wishing You All, My Bloggy Friends,

      "Happy Christmas, 
              Happy Holidays , 
                       Happy Families."

Things that have made me smile today: 
1.Googles animated Christmas story.
2. That again this year an Auckland dentist has offered the first 100 patients to line up a free filling or extraction . ( I imagine if you had toothache and couldn't afford it would be a godsend.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Local Café.

The closest Café ( Nourish )  to where we live recently was awarded the Best Café in the Upper North Island, I have been there several times for coffee but today as it was our 47th Anniversary we went there for lunch. At this time of the year everywhere is busy and the place was certainly humming.
 Over the years since this building  was built this appears to be the most successful business there yet. ( they only open for breakfast and lunch )  The gardens out front were looking very bright.
 As often happens when eating out one person likes their meal more than the other. Today I was the lucky one, R was not so  enthusiastic about his meal.( a lamb wrap ) 
 I had sweet potato stacks which was served with baby spinach and topped with 2 softly poached eggs. It was a large helping but just delicious. Even after 3 hours working on the kiwifruit vines when we got back and only a cup of lemon and ginger green tea for smoko I still felt full at dinner time so just had a light snack. Today was one of my days when I got lots and lots done and it was a lovely warm day.
 Tonight I watched the 3rd of 4 parts of the ANZAC Girls which I am really enjoying.
 I hope you all had a good day too!  

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Zealand Christmas Tree.

 The New Zealand Christmas tree, Maori and common name Pohutukawa. Botanical Name Metrosideros excelsa, flowers in December and this year this one is late, but  that's good because it is flowering right near Christmas.
 We have many on our property. This one is beside the driveway into our house so gets noticed daily.
 Others further down the drive flower a little later so we have Christmas trees for some weeks. Heavy recent rain hasn't damaged this one ( yet ...more rain coming )
 There is a close up of the flower at the top of my right hand side bar.
 There are also yellow flowered varieties ( not nearly as impressive ). The Pohutukawa is related to Rata and Feijoas.

 Here's some of the heavy recent rain. It trashed the garden a bit but now everything is growing rapidly...so good for our fruit crops.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Where the Wild Flowers Are.

3 months ago I posted about making a small wild flower patch.
 It is now flowering quite well.The Cosmos are the dominant ones at the moment, along with blue cornflowers, white alyssum  and a few Californian poppies.
 The red ( soldier )poppies are in bud.
 Some of the cosmos are rather nice.
 The few eschscholtzia ( Californian poppies ) are already setting long seed pods so if I leave them I may get some more plants. The cosmos though should be dead headed,
if I want them to keep flowering. There are some weeds but not too visible. I think if I pull them the flower plants will be more at danger when it's windy as it has been so often lately.
The little patch of wild flowers, used to be an extra vege patch but Peter Rabbit and others ate there too often, so I changed it's use . It  is beside the track that leads down from the house to some of the kiwifruit blocks and R's walled vegetable garden. His garden  is doing quite well. The shade cloth wall keep pests out and certainly helps protect against all the wind.

Tomatoes on the right ; then peas and Spring onions. To the left is a parch of sweet corn.

The bee hives have all gone from the Kiwifruit blocks back with the bee keeper. They have done a good job pollinating  The flowers. This photo is a week ago when there was still a few flowers out between the small fruit already set.

 The bumblebee hives ( we purchased so they are our till the bees die ) have been moved one into R's veg patch one up into the flower garden near herbs and the other veg garden ( as well as flowers ).

Patchwork and Quilting for me has been non existent lately as I spend time in the garden and orchard. Yesterday was the last meeting for this year of our Tauranga Group. More than 30 ladies turned out for our shared lunch and  party games.( like every other quilting group everywhere at this time of the year ! )

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Extremely Busy Time.

 Today is day 2 of the avocado picking.
 Yesterday the weather was most frustrating. It went from sunny to cloudy to a quick shower of rain about 10 times. Never before have  we had pickers working in rain parkas. ( here is G working at the bottom of the top block.)

 Here is L working inside a lower tree. We are lucky to have G and L working here. They are husband and wife and very good at what they do. They are careful and look after our trees while pushing their hydraladdas into the trees. ( the avocado trees  are flowering and setting next year's crop, and can be easily broken ) Also helping yesterday was their daughter C just wanting holiday work before she starts at Waikato Uni next year. She did 3 hours  picking from the ground for us. Also helping was S just for the morning. 
 By the end of the day we had 12 bins of fruit. Some of the cleanest ( as in not much rub ; insect damage or marks ) we have produced. There is just a little sunburn. ( seen on the fruit as pale yellow to red colouring )
 Today is a sunnier day so should be more pleasant for them. Joining them today is another hydra ladda One that can reach higher up the trees. He (M ) will go along where they picked yesterday to get the top fruit they couldn't reach. The  poor guy drove in here at 7.10 this morning and the truck with his machine did not turn up for 2 hours. So frustrating and 2 hours pay lost.
 ( not his fault! ) 
R is using a bin trailer with 3 bins to bring some of the fruit back to the loading area. Also using single bins on the forks in other areas. He was quite tired last night as it is a lot of getting on and off tractors, hustlers etc to have the right machine in the right place at the right time.

 My only duty with the avos was getting the documentation signed and Quality controlling the bins of fruit as they arrived back full. That gave me time to work on the Psa Survey I am doing in the Kiwifruit.(  It's a have to! It can be compared to last year's at the same time and must be kept with our records and sent in to Vine Health )
 Every single vine, male or female on the orchard has to be recorded and it's PSA status noted. That involves at lot of walking. I am  half way there and about to do more today. The leaf spotting ( not serious on most vines ) has spread across all blocks in the orchard now. A few patches are becoming more worrying and will be watched closely by us. Where we cut back canes some weeks ago there is some cane die back happening. More damaging than that has been the wind. There are so many broken branches from the relentless wind we have had during the pass fortnight. The dead broken canes  have to be carefully pulled out without breaking more off.
 Did I mention that the kiwifruit flowering is late this year?...and currently we have 25 bee hives and one bumble bee hive in the kiwifruit blocks. Also early this morning we had 3 Pollen Plus people walking through with leaf blowers distributing male pollen into the air under the vines. ( this is the second round of  artificial pollination )  There is plenty of fruit set already so the bees have worked despite the wind. It just makes life harder for them..
 Last Saturday I spent all day working in the herb garden and vege garden, weeding and  pulling out spent plants, replenishing the soil with sheep pellets and compost and then replanting.
 The biggest old sage plant that the bees have so enjoyed gave way to more lettuce seedling. One Sage is still flowering. Not a herb I use enough of to require two really...but I left it flowering as the bees were so keen.
 I got my first small pick of strawberries and some last broccoli before I pulled the plants which were months old out.( green and red look so good together ).

Finally before I get back to work, here is a quilt. My friend M finished this scrap strip quilt . She put it together in 3 parts so the mid section is slightly offset from the sides.( she didn't think it was going to match so that was a smart move.)
 What a great way to make a lovely big quilt to use up her scraps.