Sunday, December 31, 2017

That's 2017 Pretty Much Done.

              Wishing All my blog readers,
               "A Good Year in 2018." 
              "May your worries be few."

 My excuse for not blogging is I have had other priorities Grandson staying.
 Life has been full of varied activities, inside and out.
This tractor puzzle is a hit. He just loves tractors and will sit for ages just pretending to drive ours. ( this is a great 15 piece puzzle for 3+ even if the is only 2 )
The big people got together and completed this puzzle. 

 Bigger Friends came to visit and running and kicking the ball was fun.

 I am pleased the gardening gene has been passed on to Son and Grandson.The 3 of us got together and planted some very late gladioli bulbs.

 We pushed in some support sticks, dug semicircular holes, filled in a little sand and some blood and bone. Then laid in 6 bulbs at each stick, covered them over, tamped them down and watered then. ( twice a day as it is hot and dry )
We are now watching closely as some had started to sprout even before planting.

 Sliding at the park was also fun. Picking strawberries every 2nd day was good too . Finding  beans and seeing where potatoes come from  all exciting tasks when you are only 2.
 Right I better hang out more washing. The young ones are all out  at the moment so it's quiet around here. Gives Nanny a chance to catch up.
 Stay safe everyone.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Well Hello.

"Well Hello there "...that was the glove puppet on my left hand's the only sewing I have done recently.
 I made this from memory as I couldn't find the pattern. It is probably 40  - 45 years since I last made one of these basic felt glove puppets for my own boys. I hope Grandson can learn to use it. He can use finger puppets.
We have at last had some meaningful rain and today a cooler temp so all the crops and garden are refreshed.
 My late friend D gave me these pink lilies so I think of her as they flower. I have yellow and salmon coloured ones out too. The purple tansy flowered. 
 And the sunflower was magnificent for a few days

 but looks a bit sad now. The 2 smallest ones are almost dead...too much water or not enough???
 The pollination mentioned 17 days ago is now long over and the fruit sizing up rapidly - the rain will help.
 All my life Summer ( December particularly ) has been a busy busy time. As a youngster on a farm there was always shearing and haymaking as well as pre Christmas preparations.
 That has not changed, just the tasks we do.
 I have been in the kitchen some of the time making Christmas cake, fruit mince pies and Foccacia bread most of which is in the freezer till needed.
 My strawberries have been producing well.
 A few have holes that seem to be caused by ants...well ants are inside the holes anyway.

 What I haven't done is written the usual ' Yearly Letter' or sent a single Christmas card.....I wonder if anyone will notice. I am instead focusing on close family and friends.
I hope your pre- Christmas tasks are going smoothly...far too many of you UK ladies seem to be slipping and take care out there where it's cold and wet .

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Sowing Not Sewing.

Much has happened that I have not recorded here. Lots of seed sowing and seedling planting as well as all the orchard work. A very busy time of the year for us.

 Here are 12 of the 24 bee hives we have in the orchard for Kiwifruit pollination. It's all over and the bees will go home probably Tuesday night.  It has been ideal conditions. Most of the bees are now visiting other plants like this lace cap hydrangea.

 The avocados have been flowering longer but that is all over now too so their 2 hives can go as well.
 You can see how tiny the avo flowers are compared with the bee at the bottom of the photo. About 1 fruit set for every 1500 flowers with them. The kiwifruit one fruit set for every flower - so quite different!
 As well as 2 normal(  honey ) bee hives we have bought 2 Bumble bee boxes for the avos. Bumbles work longer hours and in all conditions. Far less in a box than bees in a bee hive though.
 R went and transported one of the bumble bee boxes home and placed it in the top vege garden. Here he has opened the door ( like a cat flap for transporting them ) . The bumble bee is at the doorway. 2 are visible.

 Remember  in October I talked about the "Little Garden,"  free plants that New World Supermarket were giving away with every $40 spent.
 Here is a rundown on the success I had with the various plants.
Bok Choy is almost all eaten they did fantastically.( I never grew that before ) 
 Sunflowers are almost ready to flower.
 Purple Tansy ( I never grew that before ) are also ready to flower. Really hard to see against the green background but they have fern like leaves an hairy buds.
Sweet peas are climbing well in their pot by the back door.
Other things that grew were sweet corn; watermelon ( now destroyed -  something dug them out! ) ; nasturtiums; yellow beans; cucumber; thyme; sweet corn; coriander; kale , butternuts and red onion.
 The lettuce  never germinated. The beetroot and silver beet rotted off at about 1 " high.
 All in all worth doing. 
I wonder how your are doing down the South Manxgirl?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Orange and Green.

Azalea Mollis. ( Now fully out )
The promise of ripe plums in a few months.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Brightness and Quilts.

 This Azalea mollis ( deciduous )  is like a bright beacon in the garden and smells  powerfully strong.
 Up near the front gate this rhododendron  - Carey Anne is now past its best I took the photo when it was at it's peak.

 I haven't finished any quilts but at P and Q Helen had made this that she started at Symposium. For her brother's 60th.
 Christine had finished this quilt which is a combination of cotton fabric and felt over the top with fancy stitches.

 I have however finished the wee bright blue jersey for Grandson.

 Last week we had visitors in the orchard from Canada ,( a 9 year old and her Mum ) seeing what we were doing...thinning kiwifruit buds. They had never seen kiwifruit or avocados growing before ....far too cold where they live.

 We were pleased to know they do like eating both kiwis and avos.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Little Luck.

At P and Q on Friday my name was drawn to win this prize. 2 fat quarters and a coffee mug. Very Lucky!


When I made my hexagon quilt, I made and in the end, didn't use  as a border, some very dark blue hexagons ( 5 finished ). Having put in the effort to get them half done I decided to make a set of 5 large coasters or small place mats from them.( A good size to fit under pot plants )  The fish motif is cut from a Laurel Burch fabric and I am hand blanket stitching them on. I needed a hand sewing project to take to P and Q so this is currently it.


 3 days in a row it has rained. On my list of jobs to do, almost all were outside jobs, so some Spring cleaning of my wardrobe took place, then my sewing cupboard. The outside jobs still await me. I popped out during a break in the rain to take this shot of the first of my strawberries showing colour..
 These are on the new plants; my similar plot from last year are a bit behind but looking promising too.
I am halfway up the 2 sleeves ( I always knit both at the same time ) of this jersey. I hope the colour isn't too bright for Grandson. I have made this same pattern twice before in smaller sizes. It is from Eco Baby by Debbie Bliss.

 Please may we have some sunshine now?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Of Bees and Blossom.

We currently have 3 bee hives in our avocado block. Also in our area just across the road a bee keeper stores hives and some of those bees fly over and visit our trees.
 I took some photos of bees working for us. I was most interested in the flowers or blossoms that were going to produce fruit or nuts for us.

 Perhaps the most attractive flowers were on the feijoas which are just starting to bloom.
( feijoas are related to NZ pohutukawa or Christmas tree )
 No bees there but if fruit is set it will be pickable next April or May.

 Near by the apple tree was attracting some bees.
 It has quite a covering of blossom and it too might have apples ready next Autumn.
Rivalling the feijoa for attractiveness ( in my eyes ) are the Macadamia nuts.

I have enlarged that photo so the bees visiting it are  easier to see.
 Any nuts set will be harvest able next August or later.

 Avocado are one of our commercial ( exportable )  crops and that is why we pay to have bee hives on site for them.
This is the best flowering tree in the top block facing North and getting lots of sun.
 Avocado flowers are tiny but there are millions of them - only a few will survive to become fruit .
There is a bee flying into this cluster of flowers many of which are still buds.
That pic shows the bee about real size so you see how very tiny the flowers are. Any avocados set by pollination now will not be picked till November/ December or even later next year ( 2018 ) so a very long time.( a year or slightly more )  I suspect such a tiny flower takes that long to become such a nutritious fruit.

 The plum tree has already flowered and set a few fruit. My broad beans are producing some yummy beans . The blue glass really sets the lime green colour off a treat. The top of the plants are still being visited by bees so beans for a while yet.
 Probably the most visited flowers on the property at the moment are the 2 huge oak trees. I can stand under them and hear the Hummmmmmm.
 They of course only produce acorns .

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Lost Door Wedge.

 The "Lost,"  door wedge, to hold the back door open if it's windy, has been found...unharmed .
 It mysteriously went missing back on the 28th of December last year. We had lots and lots of young folk and their families here for  the day. Many toddlers and under 5s.
 We imagined  the door wedge was lost for all time somewhere in the garden where some little fingers had taken it but no it was right here inside the house all the time.
 It happened like this. Monday this week  the washing machine decides to malfunction. We called the repair man who came very promptly and installed a new part. Tuesday one load of washing done - no drama.
 Wednesday morning the washing machine bleated again and said it wasn't getting any water....but was half full.
 I went off to talk to my sister on the phone and about 10 minutes later I heard the machine beeping constantly, so rushed ( shouldn't have ) to the laundry. As I rounded the corner near the laundry door I aquaplaned into the tub which I was able to grab to stop from falling. I hadn't looked down to notice the pool of water emerging into the kitchen and backdoor area.  The machine had obviously just continued filling and filling over the top. Of course the entire laundry was awash. My slippers were soaked as were all the things on the laundry floor including the wooden 2 layer wine rack.
 Much mopping up happened. All the wine was taken from the rack and stacked in a corner and the rack put out to dry.
 Later being helpful R returned the wine to the rack and there hiding inside the back of the rack was the lost door wedge obviously "posted "there all that time ago. Just shows I don't clean the wine rack out very often. We are still awaiting the return of the repair man, later today.
  It's useful to have the door wedge back though..

Happy 2nd Birthday Grandson.

 ( taken last Saturday .)
 You have given me ( us )  2 years of Joy and fun and laughter . We love you very, very much.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Fabric Challenge.

This was the winner of the fabric Challenge. ( Sandra ). The swatch of the fabric that had to be used is there below her butterfly. The butterfly was 3 dimensional and that is where she used the fabric.
 Some of the entries.
Jill had never entered a challenge before.Very well done Jill


 Christine Bargello quilt was intriguing

We had to do the simple catering ourselves this time as no group would take it on for 3 days. I think it was quite profitable, as we didn't charge much and people were happy to buy. We only had tea, coffee cakes, sandwiches and hot savouries. I think people enjoyed being able to sit down take a break and chat. I haven't heard yet if it was all financially successful, I think it will have been.