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?