The chooks are in the good books

The chooks are happy to have been let out to browse in the garden over the last few days and have rewarded me with an egg on the most dismal winter day yet, a medium sized brown egg so it wasn't from one of my new black Minorca chooks which lay lovely white eggs. It made my day! Can you tell I lead a simple life when and egg delights me?
The chooks having wheat to warm their bellies before dark. The speckled bantams are Pekins, the white are Light Sussex I think, and the black are the Minorcas. The bright red comb shows me who's laying or about to lay.

I'm on holiday from tomorrow. I'll be trying hard to get all my paperwork up to date so I can have a crafty break. My diary for the holidays is filling up pretty quick though so I'll have to pencil in craft days or I'll miss out. The garden is dying for some attention too, it's about the time to tackle the brambles and berry canes and move a few things about. I planted a new addition last weekend, a delicious greengauge plum. I've easily got six weeks to finish all the winter pruning, but better get all the garlic in by the end of the holidays.
Next weekend I have to update my First Aid certificate I'm hoping I don't get stuck in with a whole lot of forestry workers or fishermen, cos I don't fancy putting a big hairy bloke in the recovery position, I know I've totally lost my sense of adventure! You won't hear from me unless get totally bored with being on holiday.
Thanks for all the comments lately it's great to meet people, I can't always reply, but enjoy stopping by new blogs and old favorites.


Winter Blues

I'd like to say that I spent the rainy weekend creating and finishing all sorts of marvelous projects but the truth is. I argued with the teenager who keeps asking me why when I tell him something. "Take a coat for after Soccor" "Why, I don't need one!" "Four hours is long enough on the computer, hop off please" "Why, that's so unfair"

I tried not to get into a debate about it so he said "Why aren't you answering me?" Holy Moley I thought toddlers were bad, I had no idea did I?

The mountains of wet washing for a family of 6 can be quite a mission too. I don't believe in dryers, they make me feel lazy and like I'm wasting electricity but sometimes I wish I wasn't so damn stubborn about them. I never seem to get on top of the washing at this time of year. L did however build me a fancy new drying rack for over the fire on saturday, it was a pity I was in too much of a snotty mood to say thanks when he put it up. It's actually working a charm and skatey boy loves to load it and hoist it up, so that's a bonus. I sound like a real moaner, I'm not I promise. I made myself laugh later as L had said "what do you want me to do to help" my very irrational reply was " Push that bloody kitchen wall out so we've got some room for a start!" Sound like cabin fever? I'm better today the sun is out.


I'm quite liking frost photos and I'm still glad I'm not a plant, my fingers froze by the time I took the last one. It's good to have freezing nights to kill off these little critters , but some of my lovelies are coming to a sorry end. The lemon grass was one I really would have liked to get through winter but the huge clump in the glasshouse is brown now. I should have learned my lesson but I live in hope of a mild winter to allow things to get established. Confession: I have killed (by neglect) though I tried my best, 7 passionfruit vines, 2 tree tomatoes and the afore mentioned lemongrass. I have rushed 2 lemongrass babies inside for some intensive care but the dry heat from the fire will probably kill them too. I guess I shouldn't wish for mild winters either we don't want things to get out of banance do we? I can't believe it's only a week to the shortest day, that's something to look foward to. We had a bonfire celebration last weekend up the valley which the kids loved, hopefully there will be something on this week too. Mum's away in Aussie so I need to keep the kids occupied on the weekends. Now much as I'd like to check in on all my favorite blogs and sit by the fire, I'd better go and use my day off wisely.


Hello Winter

This was the scene at 8.45 yesterday morning when I went to feed the chooks. The frost was actually sparkling when the sun hit it. I'm glad I'm not a plant.


Not another baby!

That's what the teenager said when he hopped off the school bus and the midwife's car was parked outside our house. He said to his father "what's she doing here" I played along when he walked inside saying to him"T you remember our midwife G"
"Yeah, you promised you weren't going to have any more!" It was georgous.
Sadly we won't be having any more babies. G our midwife was just calling in to say Hi and see if I had any booties for sale. We made quite a hasty decision when I was last pregnant not to have any more but deep down I know it was for the best as four children is enough to provide for and nuture into responsible adults. They better give me some grandchildren though.


Excellent neighbours

I consider myself very lucky to live in such a great community. Over the weekend one of our neighbours gave us some pink carpet they didn't need so we spent a day moving everything out of the littlies room and then laying the carpet. We were excited about putting baby G into a big boy bed as he seemed very keen during the day but after an hour of crying every time mummy left the room we changed our minds and re -assembled the cot. He's not so much of a baby now though as he approaches his 2nd birthday, but he was very happy to be back in his cot. We'll try again in a few months. The hoddie I photographed started out to be for him but he's grown so much in the arms and back lately that we'll find another home for it.
On the other side of the property ( over the wood fence in previous post) my neighbour and I put our heads together to plan our fruit tree purchases today. We're making sure the fruit trees we buy this winter will pollinate each others trees allowing us to plant more varieties. We're working on some apricots, plums and cherrys. I'm going to help her espalier some of her trees like I do. This is my nectarine it's on my back fenceline. The kiwifruit ochardists behind us are not terribly friendly I constantly ask them not to spray weeds along my fenceline but they are bellidgerent and keep doing it. I go out with the hose if I see them doing it and hose it all off when they go round the corner.To his credit he does however ring me when they're spraying the fruit which is luckily only about twice a year.


Early winter jobs

Another beautiful sunny winter day. Where do you start? All the garden needs attention. I pulled some grassy weeds and planted some garlic at last. I make sure the beds have well rotted manure or compost and I space the garlic about 20cm apart. Consider growing your own garlic it's so easy you just have to keep the weeds down. Who'd want to buy supermarket garlic that's been sprayed to prevent botrytis, suppress weeds and then at harvest to stop it sprouting. Worse still it the Chinese garlic, recognise it in the supermarket by the roots being totally removed. Just imagine what they do to it before it's allowed to be imported. This time of year I lime my soil and add as much compost as I can lay my hands on. It's alot of work on my own so the long term plan still includes providing some accomidation for WWOOFers. Standing on the compost heap to view the winter veges.

I'm often heard saying I wish I had a wwoofer to .......I figure even though we only live on a small section we can offer a great stay to organic minded visitors. We have a good selection of fruit trees and animals and a collection of medicinal herbs, we are close to some of NZ's best spots and Motueka our town, is nestled between the mountains and the sea. I reckon hosting people from different cultures would be a valuable lesson for the kids and never having traveled myself it would be a good start to broardening my own horisons. Although I must say visiting all my favorite blogs is great, I know more about the contryside and culture in England, Canada and the States than I ever did. I love checking in on the every day lives of the bloggers. I updated my links be sure to check them out.

Look at the late sunflower hiding from the frost.

Jobs this week include planting more garlic, weeding, cleaning the chook house, and hopefully I'll get into the shadehose to sort the plants. I've planted out some asparagus corms that I grew from seed, it will be an experiment to see if they survive the transplant so young in the cold, wet weather to come. I got the strawberry bed sorted too, it was over-run with clover and buttercup from the horse poo I put on last year. L helped me to make a worm farm I filled the bottom with horse and rabbit poo and introduced some tiger worms from the compost heap with some apple cores to eat. Underneath is a bucket to collect the worm juice. Sounds delicious! I was quite pleased with the idea of having it by the back door so the kids can drop in their apple cores and banana skins but it might get a little smelly in summer. Anyway hopefully the worms I put in today will make lots of babies and make lovely vermiculture for the spring seedlings. Also if you've got a warmer garden you can sow peas and broard beans and probably little onion seedlings. They'd just freeze in the soil here as the frost will stay on the ground all day soon. The winter veges are well established and I'm optimistic we'll have enough brassicas leeks, lettuce and celery to get us through to spring.


Hello again

I didn' t realise I'd been absent from my blog for two weeks. I've been pre- ocupied with life. I felted those gloves they need another go through the washing machine but it's going to do the trick. Thanks for the suggestions. Instead of reading and writing blogs I've been gardening, sewing and sorting. The garlic beds are manured and dug over and I've been redesigning other garden beds and making compost now that everything's died down a bit. We had a couple of hard frosts last week so I spent an afternoon piling straw up around my young citrus trees and covered them with frost cloth and hessian for winter. I had a massive power bill, $170 for a month so I've been looking for more work, I sewed a few bags as I had visitors who wanted to buy bags and none to offer. I used some of my recently aquired ric rac on one of them and have a few more in various stages of completion. I might get them finished if it keeps raining. I got really frustrated with not being able to find sewing stuff so did some sorting. All the lace, ric rac, bais binding and buttons were in a big chest and I discoved alot of stuff I forgot I had including this adorable golliwog. I'm going to make her some friends her body is made from old wool stockings, I think my Grandmother or one of my Aunts made her the old gingham is beautiful. The sorted stuff will make me alot more efficient I hope, I really am such a hopeless hoarder. Why do I have a huge boxful of zips I ask myself? At least I'll be able to find one to suit now.I've also been staking out Trade me trying to find fabric bargains for more bags but have been bitterly dissippointed so far as the bits I like, everyone else wants too. Bahh.
My Mum had a pretty rotten experience with her recent operation and then her leg got badly infected, the public Health system in New Zealand is getting scary all I hear now is horror stories! She's feeling a little better now and hoping for the all clear on Tuesday to go and visit her grandson in Australia. Thanks for asking.