Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Very Hot in NZ.

January has flown by. It's been very hot. ( not usually our hottest month ) Some other places in NZ have been experiencing record high temps. Its about to turn stormy with very high tides. ( maybe some inside time  if it rains too) 

I have only sat and stitched about twice this month which means little progress has been made.
2 of the 5 fish hexagons that I have been hand blanket stitching ( the 2 on the left ) are done . The fish motif has been fused on first.

 The orchard has been needing lots of work - thinning the kiwifruit. It is hot and humid but at least in the shade.  We have a big problem with Passion vine hoppers which is going to spoil and reject lots of kiwifruit especially around the edges of the blocks.  They love the heat. We are not allowed to spray with anything that really kills them. We are trialling some new products next week which we hope will halt their progress and further generations of them.

 We have been flat out trying to keep up with processing all the vegetables that are ready.
 This morning I made courgette soup which tasted quite good. I froze most of it. ( some days there have been 10 ready at once )
 I have been cooking beetroot. The sweet corn is all finished now but was tasty while it was young and fresh.
 I steamed this first Kamo kamo and put butter on it. Someone a while ago said they didn't know what one was so here is a pic to show the size  next to my secateurs. Its a member of the pumpkin family.

 I found this little preying mantis. It had changed colour which is unusual. Ours are just green normally.

 The gladioli we planted ( late ) are growing. 24 out of 30 so far.

 The fruit on the  2 new passionfruit are starting to ripen so that should be yummy.

 I have also been cleaning our cupboards and finishing or throwing stuff away. Making room which is good.  Even in the food cupboards.  I need to do my sewing cupboard next! My quilting mojo might be hiding in there.  It's certainly missing.

Most days I fit in some weeding of the flower garden, when its cool. The places in the shade are weeded most frequently.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Historical Fiction.

 Jenny Pattrick's latest book was a satisfying light read for me, as have her previous books been.
 Set in NZ in 1907/8 the joining of  the main trunk  railway line and the building of the Makatote viaduct is all factually correct ( Jenny does great research ) .
 Rose from her very first novel, The Denniston Rose appears as an older person in this book.
 I would recommend her books if you have not already found them. See her website 
 If you are familiar with the Main Trunk Line you will know what amazing engineering and impressive use of manpower took place building it and particularly the ingenious Raurimu Spiral. 
 This book should be available at your NZ library or Paper Plus stores.
 ( I hope she writes some more. ) 

 I showed the pic of the smaller lot in the last blog. They ripened up nicely after about 24 hours on the window sill and are sweet and tasty. Great for my breakfast. This is the best they have ever produced so I'll keep feeding them b and b and compost and lots of water.

 At the moment we are eating from our garden. I love making fritters so courgettes are great in them. We currently have tomatoes ( 6 varieties ) courgettes,  silver beet , spinach, corn cobs, beans, potatoes, spring onions, beetroot  and  cucumbers .

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Growing in 2018.

It has been a busy week since the young ones went home and a big storm left me extra cleaning up to do.
 The biggest oak tree particularly had twigs of leaves strewn far and wide. The lawn area was easily cleared with the lawnmower but the driveways and gardens still have pockets of now drying leaves. The good side of that storm was the big dump of rain we got. Bigger trees and vines are still benefiting but shallow rooted garden plants are once again needing extra water.
This large dahlia Zingaro is happy this year - it's third. Up till now it had failed to flower properly so may have lacked water. Anyway I am now pleased with it's display.
 Every second day I am picking blueberries . Not quite as large as bought ones but usable all the same. They too must have loved the big dump of rain ( 6 inches )
 The strawberries have really been good this season too.

 The gladioli mentioned in the last post are popping up;  19 so far.

 The 1st of the beetroot I planted earlier,  in 3 successions are now needing to be used . As they are cylindrical it only took 4 to fill a bowl.  ( Boiled in their unbroken skins: cooled ; peeled ; sliced and covered in a mix of vinegar some of the cooking juice, salt, mustard and a tsp sugar. ) Roasted and grated raw will also be options.

 We have lovely young corncobs ready Yum...just as well for dental floss.. 
 The beans are producing a small picking and  the 6 lettuces ready are about 4 too many.
 The same story with the cucumbers - twice the number we can use.( give some away ) 
( Salad 3 times a day perhaps )  As we have 4 producing courgette plants we have plenty of those too. I find them quite versatile. Just fried or grated with carrot and fried, roasted or in fritters. Picking them frequently and really lifting the leaves for any hiding is a must unless you want marrows.

 The peas are finished. Mainly eaten but a few got frozen.
 Finally R's tomatoes are ripening...soon I will be complaining about too many. 
 We lost lots of the plums in the storm but what remain are now almost edible.
 WE are watching with anticipation as butternuts crown pumpkins watermelon and kamokamo size up. Also looking very promising are the 2 newish passionfruit vines. ( over 100 fruit counted ) 
 10 days ago we had this little visitor  and also a normal coloured one about the same size. Everyone enjoyed seeing it gobble worms I pulled out of my worm farm for it.

The afternoons in the Kiwifruit vines  have been really hot. Thank goodness for the shade. Wind rub has been added to the defects I am now removing. Parts of the crop look really good, others a bit gappy but the fruit is sizing well with that rain.
 Never a dull moment, or should that be spare moment...there must have been as I have just finished reading, Leap of Faith by Jenny Pattrick.  (Review next post perhaps .)