Saturday, December 22, 2018

Season's Greetings to You All.

In the subdivision / Community where we now live we have a lovely NZ Christmas tree  on a small round about which is flowering at just the right time.

 Zealand Pohutukawa tree.( or Christmas Tree ) 

 Every time we go out in the car we go around this tree to get to the  gate way , then main road. I also walk there quite often .

 Last evening we had friends in for dinner and that was very pleasant. ( tomorrow is our 51st Wedding Anniversary, so a wee celebration of that.  And a belated house warming.) 

Later tonight 2 grandsons and their parents arrive so things will get busy around here.
  I am currently working on the very last Hexagon/ motif  on littler Grandson's felt embroidered ball so that's good. At 4.5 months old he will probably enjoy the wrapping paper better anyway.
 We have a lovely Christmas tree in the lounge as yet without decorations, as 3 year old grandson and his parents can help me with that.

 Wishing All My Blog Readers a Very Happy time over the Christmas Season.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Some Bright Things.

Some of the things I have planted in the new garden are rewarding us with bright displays. This dahlia Holly Houston being the biggest show off.
 The Golden Wedding Rose my sister gave me ( that spent the first 6 months in a bucket at her place till she could safely get it to us ) sat for a while became acclimatised then grew. These are its first 3 flowers. It has only a mild scent.
Looking out from inside, this corner garden is doing well. I pulled out the box hedging along its front so I could grow some flowers.

 I  started a herb garden along the back wall within easy access of the kitchen even if it is raining. So far there are 2 mint ,1 parsley, 2 sage, a rosemary and a thyme.  Some basil seeds I planted in the gaps are just through.

 Sorry this is sideways.
 The felt ball has gained  2 more motifs.

 Just 3 to go now.
 Over the weekend I planted 2 new blueberry plants. A variety I haven't had before - very large berries, called Oneal. This morning R has been making me a bird proof cage around them with an opening part so I can pick the expected crop if they thrive.

 The house is filled with the scent of Christmas lilies. They all fell over in the wind so I have been picking them. It can become a bit heady, but along with the smell of fruit mince pies cooking it suits me.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

It's a Wet Blustery Day Today.

Rain and wind going side ways some of the time. Shower after shower. Most outside activities around Tauranga cancelled. We have both only ventured outside once. R to empty the compost bucket, me to pick courgettes and silver beet and to check out the height of the tide down at the jetty.
             The sky pretty much tells the story.
 The 2 metre tide is touching the side boards ( bottom ) along the jetty. The highest I've seen.
 I'm not sure we left our fire heap ( on the left ) far enough away from the bank.

 The firewood is the trunk of the liquid amber that toppled in a storm 3 ( or 4 )  weeks ago. I hope it doesn't float away.

 Back inside I have been making Banana Bread to put in the freezer for when Grandson is here. R has been making marmalade from frozen pulp we had in the freezer from back at the orchard. ( the new owners have pulled out the orange trees to plant 2 more avocados.....silly move as the avo spray will get on the kiwifruit! ) ( the oranges were spray free ) 
 We will be able to make different varieties from the fruit trees here. ( grapefruit ; orange and  Lime ) 

The felt ball for younger Grandson now has a dolphin and a kite.
 4 more motifs to add ,so getting there.

The only rose in this garden when we came here was this one. 2 bushes side by side, quite shaded but producing lots of lovely blooms. It has a slight perfume only slight and I don't know what it is called. The buds appear white with a lime green tinge but it has an underlying yellow hue. when open.
 Any ideas what rose it might be? It was lovely in a big vase. ...lasted well.

 If you live near me I hope you are staying warm and dry and finding inside activities. Not difficult at this time of the year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bird Watcher.

I suppose a country childhood started the habit of bird watching.
 Living 40 years on the orchard reinforced the habit and now living above an estuary has extended my constant observing of birds.
 Since we moved here over 4 months ago we have compiled a list of birds we have seen.on or near our property.
 Some daily, some only occasionally and fleetingly.
 These books  are a good reference.( the 3 fiat ones now old, were got when our kids were little ) (the top one Birds of the Waikaraka Estuary and Tauranga Harbour,is more recent.)
( That's not our estuary but the next one along. Ours is an off shoot of the Te Puna Stream. )

 Royal Spoonbills are the most recent interesting sighting. Apparently there are 6. We have seen 5 on several occasions. I can't yet get a good close photo, so have shown the one from the book.They are quite large birds and really good at vacuuming!. 
 One morning I spotted 4 in this old dead tree I can see from the upstairs window.
From a different angle I can see where the estuary comes in a narrow channel to the bottom of our garden.

 This is what I can see downstairs from the dining room windows.

 The birds we have on our list are:-
Sparrows; Thrush; Blackbirds; Tui; Hawk; Fantail; Silver eyes; Doves ; Pukeko; Ducks;Canadian geese; Mynahs; Kingfishers; Pheasants; Seagulls ; Quails; Plovers; Shags; White faced Herons; Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Welcome swallows; Pied stilts; Malay spotted doves; Rosellas;Grey Warbler and Royal Spoonbill.

 The Canadian geese and ducks of course leave a awful mess by the water so we watch where  we walk.
Here are some evening photos I took down near the water's edge.

I wonder how many more different birds we can add to our list?
( Click on photos to enlarge ).

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Stitching on a Felt Embroidered Ball.

 Recently I used a voucher I had to get  some new embroidery threads to add to my collection.
 They look amazing together don't they.

Today its not pleasant outside so I have been working on my latest felt ball. # 27 that I have made. It is for Grandson # 2.

 This photo shows the stage where I have sewn all 12 pentagons together and have wound the batting  strip stuffing around a bottle top rattle in the middle and inserted  it into the felt pentagon casing. The final seams have to be sewn on the outside . So that final stitching doesn't show and to add interest, I chain stitch around each pentagon edge before working on the 12 mofits.

 Here you can see 6 coloured pentagons 

 Here you can see the other 6.

 I hadn't used a dinosaur motif before. Here it has a red pin stuck in for it's eye. I doubt I can sew an eye to look as good but will try.
 Next I did a Capital C for Grandson Christian name.

 In both photos you can see the white where I have started a chicken. That is 3 of the 12 picture motifs taken care of. I try to make every ball individual to each will make sure none of the motifs that appear on Grandson # 1's ball get put on this one.

 I make all the balls the same size and keep cardboard patterns of all the motifs I make up. I also have a notebook that I started back at ball 1 stage, 18 plus years ago in which I have recorded the detail of each ball; what was on it, who it was for and the date. 
 I have just been looking at that notebook.
 Balls have been made for ( mostly babies ) named :Noah; Tautahi; Amy; James; Jessica; Joshua; Nancy; Jackson; another James; Alex; Aleisha; Poppy; Chloe; George; Scott; Ella; and Lane.
 3 have been made for adults named Pauline , Annie and  Penny. One was given to a fund raising auction.  I still have 3 here the 1st ,2nd and another for playing with at my house.
 Not all balls stayed in NZ. Balls have ended up in Australia ( 2) ; UK and Alaska.
 My eye sight is not nearly as good these days so the early balls were probably neater..
 Right, back to the needle and thread.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Rain Has been Forecast......

We need rain. The sky has clouded over, the air become chill.... I  hope it starts gently and gives us our fill.
Some plants are just beginning their producing lives so I hope they don't get trashed.

 Like these first Iceland Poppies. ( Poppy Wonderland Mix - Kericell Nursery )

 And this first Abraham Darby  - English Rose. ( Matthew's Nursery ) ( Auscot ) 
 I picked it just in case the weight of it broke the branch. It has 10 more buds getting ready . Smells good already.
 While outside I picked these for the beginning of a salad for tonight's dinner. These were all planted by me since we moved here so I am chuffed with that result.


 This morning we went into the city as I wanted a second opinion on 2 paintings I saw yesterday. The exhibition was on just across the road from our Patchwork and Quilting building in Tauranga.
 R liked both my selections so 2 new art works came home with us. There are still at least 2 other hooks awaiting art in the future.
 After that we went to The Lion's Used Book Sale at the racecourse.
 I got 11 books and 3 for Grandson. R got 14 books.
 A good morning's  work; well leisure actually.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Improving the View.

 Yesterday this happened.
 We parked our vehicles up the driveway.( the truck is on the left behind the tree. ) (one there is Merv's not ours)  so the driveway was clear down in front of the house for the tree removal truck and chipper to get around the back. Luckily it just squeezed around the corner to the back lawn(s).
 Extended Family members own the Arbor Barber Business and were removing a China Doll tree which was obscuring our estuary views and bullying a small peach tree beside it.
 They worked really carefully and did no damage. It wasn't too noisy either. (Not like we were used to when felling gum trees on the orchard ) 

 This is a before View.
Its the big tree on the left that's to be removed.

 After looks like this .
That's Zac up the tree ( not a family member ). Hes a very slight chap and ideal for this type of work.
 The tree gets smaller.

 It didn't do this I assure you. Please turn your head to view.

 He then cut the last trunk sliding down and re gripping till it is just a stump.

 That is probably the first of quite a few trees we will remove to give fruit trees priority.


 The first flower on my Graham Thomas rose is out. Lovely. The new pink one is only a day or 2 behind and it is going to have lots.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Things I've Planted Now Producing.

 We moved here on the 4th July. I planted these climbing snow peas shortly after that and am now picking the first pods. The garden had good soil here and compost bins full. I am putting in more every now and then.( they are the sort you can eat shell and all. )
 The broad beans have tiny beans forming ; they will take a week longer, the first flowers being slow to pollinate .I've seen one bumble bee and many ordinary bees but they like the lavender and cherry blossoms best.

I removed the unsightly frame from around one bed . R had made a very smart strong bird protection frame for my strawberries. All 4 plots here are the same size so it is movable when I want to put strawbs elsewhere another year.
The lids come up in 2 halves - nice and light.
 Grandson will be very pleased. He loves picking and eating strawberries. To have ones own strawberries after the recent sabotage of punnets for sale will be reassuring.

This pure wool 4ply scrap blanket is now finished. the weight on the needles was getting heavy so a good time to stop.
 We have seen 2 more adult rabbits yesterday and one today. R can only get a shot at them if there is no neighbour's  house behind. Meanwhile I am covering every little plants I plant out. 
 On my next post I will show how I am getting on with newest Grandson's Felt embroidered ball.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Getting the Feel of this Place.

I think the reason it has taken me ages to get to feel as though I belong here is someone else had done all the work. Gradually I can look around and think I did that or changed that or planted that, so maybe I'm / we are taking possession. The weather has warmed up beautifully, that makes me happy. My health has returned to normal along with my energy levels. Yesterday we were out with friends for lunch for R's Birthday and they had the dreaded bug we struggled with for the last few months and they too were feeling awful.( altho on the mend now )

 Here is a photo of ( dead )  rabbit # 6 who was being a digging pest in our garden, especially where there was newly worked soil. I already had wire netting cloches but not enough, so today got some more.  Cover and protect is a necessity.

At the weekend elder Grandson almost 3 and I made and sailed little boats made from saved walnut half shells.We launched them from the jetty and the side of the estuary. Most soon became water logged but we had a happy hour and a half mucking about with boats and sticks and other stuff.

 That photo is on it's side ↺
 ( does anyone know a way to rotate photos once in Blogger? )

 Theses are sideways too. I change them and they don't stay when I up load them here!

 Unique rhododendron coming into flower - there seem to be about 8 all the same one.
 Clivias orange and lemon are doing well. 3 tiny pink and white azaleas next to them don't seem to clash. This shade area is the best part of the garden. The previous owner wasn't into flowers.
 We are glad to say one tatty half dead box hedge has been removed. 18 agapanthus overhanging one grape vine have also gone. It's a start of the many changes and improvements we wish to make with the garden, Inside the house lights have been changed and the sound system finally got going in the lounge.
 R went and bought a hedge trimmer as there are many, mostly photinia red robin, hedges to keep cut.
At the moment they are bright red with Spring growth.

 Sewing = 0
 Knitting = a blanket using left over wool is  almost complete.
 I am on the way with newest Grandson's felt embroidered ball too.
 The table I hope to use for sewing finally arrived last week. So maybe my quilting mojo will return sometime soon.