I missed my family to keep me company but got set up well before the fundraiser started. I had West Coast whitebait for breakfast and trust me it was well worth the entry fee. My favorite potter Owen Bartlett was there, though I still haven't indulged in one of his magnificent pieces.
Well, that demonstration was enough to convince me! I have been practicing ever since. It's taking alot of persistence to retrain my brain after 18 years of pretty constant English style knitting, but I am so determined to master the art. I did several rows just practicing garter stitch and then "googled" continental knitting to figure out the purl technique. Now I'm onto some pink candy striped fingerless mittens in white angora and pink homespun for a friend's daughter.
As I get older I appreciate the value of sharing knowledge freely. In my 20's I carefully guarded my craft and gardening skills and wouldn't share, but now with the example of fabulous Aunts and strangers like the one I met at the fair I realise how rewarding it is to pass it on. In a way that is why blogging continues to be rewarding for me.
I may not make it back here between now and the New Year. So I'll take this opportunity to say to all who visit:
Thanks so much for your support. All the best for Christmas and New Year wherever you may be in the world. The people who I correspond with will be in my thoughts, along with my close friends and family.
I shall be back in early January for more waffles about my garden, crafts and other stuff that I am learning.
All memories and moments making for a pretty awesome day. Never mind the rain, farmers and gardeners LOVE it!
I do not want to find any potato psyllids and am keeping a close eye out for signs of infestation. My Dad, who has a small market garden has warned me they are on the increase in these parts and are quite devastating to potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants etc. There doesn't seem to be too much info about controlling them in the home garden except to squash them and encourage ladybugs to the garden which may feed on them. To encourage ladybugs and other beneficial insects: let buckwheat, parsnip, parsley, yarrow, Valerian, chervil, mustard,phacelia, radish etc go to seed in the garden. Also don't get too stressed about the aphids on roses because the lady bugs will want to feed on these when they get to the garden. I have also noticed hoards of wax eyes going round the garden eating aphids this spring. The article I highlighted above mentions some insecticides will control physllids including organic ones, which I suspect would be pyrethrum. Another thing I saw at a shop which imports "Trade Aid" items the other day was a bar of "Neem" soap. I thought that might be quite useful as a soapy water spray against bugs. Has any one given that a try?
I like how the garden looks at this time of year. I'm mulching as much as I can to keep the grassy weeds down as the rain has given everything the energy to flourish, including the weeds. I love that my garden is getting a much better balance of Nature being in charge.
Bugs, flowers, sweet smells and sounds, seed heads, movement and BUZZ.
Skatey will be 13 tomorrow. I remember about his birth and infancy more vaguely than the others as I had post natal depression. He was overdue. The week before he was born I had a nasty fall when I went out to hang the washing, I also had a terrible tummy bug which the Dr thought should have bought on his labour. We'd had some late concerns about his growth rate and when I went to see the Dr on a Friday, he told me if he hasn't come by Monday we're going to do a "sweep." Now that didn't sound too good to me so when Sunday night rolled around and there was no sign of the boy I walked two rounds of the Ngatimoti School field. That didn't work, so we drove to town and walked up and down the Mot beach. Still not working so we went round and round the Memorial rose garden. If my memory serves me rightly I think I might have helped myself to a gypsophilia cutting.
Thankfully at 5am the next morning things started to happen. His Dad went to work. I carried on till about 9am and then decided I was too scared to be alone. There was a horrible bull in the paddock that bordered our house and he kept roaring at me as he'd done in the final weeks of pregnancy. I sneaked down to the shed where the 1968, red family Datsun was parked. At the time the teen was 3 years old and I drove he and myself to town about 25kms, to where my Mum lived. No cell phones in those days, quite a scary ride down the Valley stopping on the roadside on my own with a preschooler for contractions. Poor Mum freaked out as I laboured at her place, I think eventually we called my partner home from work and got to the birthing centre at about 12.30pm.
His was a very intense labour from then on and he was born at about 1.30pm weighing 9lb2oz. Towards the end it was fast and very freaky.
After that is a total blur except for rain outside the window and a beautiful pink rose in flower.
He was a good daytime sleeper for about 6 weeks but feed alot at night.
He was the baby I shared with my precious Grandma. Driving to town in the Datsun with no heater in winter and stalling at the intersections because the timing was out. Before he was born I sat on her sofa, knitting, chatting and choosing antique baby clothes. Afterwards I dropped the teen at Playcentre and raced around to Grandmas place. She was always waiting with chocolate biscuits in her tin and books in the white cabinet if I wanted to borrow some. I made her a cup of tea and we talked for two hours about life and the goings on of all the rellies till I reluctantly left for clean up time at Playcentre. Skatey entertained us as we sat, she popped him in her old cane pram and then when he got older she bought out her antique toys and puzzles for him to play with.
Happy Birthday to my Skatey tomorrow. I wish my Grandma had lived to see how awesome he is.
I'm now going to make the never fail Chocolate birthday cake with walnuts,
to surprise him we'll have the day off and drive out to camp tomorrow. (hope they are having eel for tea)
Moist Chocolate cake.
(Never failed in 15 years)
2tsp baking powder,
2 cups flour
1tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 cups milk
2 dsps golden syrup
2 Tbsp Cocoa
Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time. Then flour, baking powder and cocoa sifted.
Warm golden syrup in milk with baking soda.
Then combine with dry ingredients.
Creates quite a wet mixture. Stir to combine, pour into greased square tin and bake for about 1 hr at 190 degrees Celsius. Ice with Chocolate icing and decorate with walnuts.
How lucky we are to live in such a good one.
Several times over the past few weeks one or other of our children has run inside at dinner time to ask "Mum can I go fishing with the neighbour?"
Even though dinner is about to be served, camp consent forms need to be found and rooms should really be tidied, I couldn't possibly answer no.
Skatey boy rushed back in at about 9pm.
(I'd just been beginning to fret as I do when my kids are not with me, especially if they are on the ocean. I'd keep them cuddled up at home, but their Dad taught me some years ago that the best thing was to give them the full experience of life and not to molly coddle them too much.)
He ran in, "Mum look at the Kahawai that I caught!!!!"
I was gobsmaked! That fish will feed the whole family tonight. We had the story of the catch and so, the appreciation of where the food comes from. It also provides a boy who needs adventure with the buzz he needs without searching for some kind of artificial high. If I could get him anything he wanted for Christmas it would be life long adventure. Thank you to my neighbours on both sides and up the Valleys for helping me out with that.
He approved the showing of his face and his fish on the blog.
Also divine local food, wine and music in a magic setting.
All proceeds to child cancer and Moutere Hills Community Centre.
I hope they have a clear windless day and that the local community come out in support of treading lightly on the Planet.
The stabilising factor has been staying in their own home and continuing with all their routines.
In the midst of winter after days I'd rather forget, we went every Thursday to tap practice.
As spring came we went to exams and extra practices for the recital.
Her feet grew and her shoes got tighter, she put plasters on her heels!
She tried so hard without any complaints, (OK, maybe a little tired sulking)
It all paid off for her yesterday. She smiled till her cheeks got sore, as her Dad watched in the audience and I cried in the wings.
Her name got called for a prize. Fantastic exam results, and much improved confidence for the year.
Well done my girl.
Sewing like mad for Christmas.
A friend who I really admire has raised 5 lovely children , one of whom has special needs after an horrific accident involving a fall when he was two years old.
I was telling her about my tiredness at dealing with constant silly tattle tailing. She said "look this is what worked for me: Every time you get a tattle tale say to the child something like Oh dear that's no good, just a minute let me wipe your face it's really grubby"
I LOVE IT!
I still listen, don't get me wrong, but those silly tales (she did this, he did that) get forgotten after a good scrub of the face.
Helps them solve their own disagreements and they are playing much more happily while I prepare dinner, which with the warmer weather and abundance of veges in the garden is probably an 80% sustainable meal most nights.
That's gotta be good! Skatey boy is even stepping up to do some cooking!
Oh happy days.
The other night I made something with pasta and veges, sprinkling on some chopped parsley at the last minute. The teen, who was setting the table said sarcastically "f a n c y Mum. You finally learned something from Masterchef"
Cheeky little begger!
I do like making concoctions for keeping, like ginger beer, Elderflower cordial, jam, sauce, syrup and cider. Got some of them going on this week.
I know there are recipes for these all over the web but here's my ginger beer recipe followed by one from my Dad:
Ginger Beer 1:
To make the plant:
2 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp grated ginger
strained juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp of lemon pulp
2 cups of cold water
Put all ingredients in a screw top jar. Leave for 3 days in a warm place. It should show signs of fermentation (bubbles) Then feed the plant for 7 days with 2tsp ground ginger and 4 tsp sugar.
Making up the ginger beer:
3-4 cups of sugar
1 litre boiling water
juice of 5 lemons
strained ginger beer plant
7 litres cold water
Mix sugar and boiling water and stir until dissolved, then add the lemon juice.
Strain the plant through double muslin, squeeze the muslin to get all the liquid out. Add the plant liquid to the sugar, water and lemon juice. Reserve the plant left in the muslin.
Now add cold water and stir.
I bottle into saved plastic bottles to avoid glassy explosions.
Fill bottles and add a sultana to each. Store in a cool place for two weeks.
To make a new plant halve the plant residue left in the muslin and place back in the jar. Add 2 cups cold water. Feed daily as before.
usually freak out about the sugar quantities adding less sugar at stages.
Feel free to experiment or offer some other ideas.
Dad's recipie: (More simple, less wholesome)
16 cups of cold water
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp lemon essence
1 level dessertspoon of DYC Active yeast
Stand overnight (or at least 12 hrs)
Strain, bottle and cap.
Stand 24hrs at room temp, then keep refrigerated.
I haven't had time to do a lot of seed raising, planning or planting this spring, but luckily for the last six years I have established many of the herbs and fruit trees we need. Radishes, kales, beetroots, lettuces etc self seeded last autumn and are now providing us with tender salads along with the addition of a few choice self seeded weeds. I've also been indulging in some local olives and oil just to top them off.
( Just need to find a source of nice local feta to barter.)
It is interesting that Motherwort and nettle are thriving in my garden at the moment. My friend who is a herbalist once suggested to me that all the plants you need for your well being at any point in time will colonise your surroundings, this might also explain why I just cannot grow some herbs despite much persistence while others rampage out of control. The nettle is being taken as tea for the iron and vitamins, while the Motherwort is helpful for woman's cycles.
Other herbs and medicines also thriving are: Elderberry and elecampane, chickweed and calendula, comfrey and hop plant, lovage, marshmallow, borage and lemon balm. Listing those herbs makes me really think about all their properties as well and how I must "make hay while the sun shines" so to speak. The warm, windy weather is quite favourable for harvesting and drying them.
Pj needs new tap shoes and her term fees paid. Practice, practice, practice before the end of year concert.
Skatey will be off to school camp on his birthday. Trapping possums, eeling, orienteering, camp fire cooking and other adventures.
The school book and Country Fair. Fundraising for the solar heating on the new pool.
The teen will sit his exams and go on summer holiday early.
Grandpa will need help picking strawberries and peas at the farm.
I will sew for markets and events and grow a garden full of beautiful food.
Pj asked tonight " Mum when will we have raspberries and cream after dinner?"
Our future is uncertain here. But I can grow sprouts and herbs anywhere.
Mum gave me a plaque which I like:
"No matter what
No matter where
It's always home
If love is there."
I've realised that techniques I learned for observing children at Playcentre, come automatically
We're in the middle of school holidays as well. This is what the teen has been doing. His homework folder is out but I'm fairly certain from the earphones, pocket knife and dreadful computer game case that NCEA English is not at the top of his priorities.
I've had to focus on a few things I'd rather not be doing, so my Mum took a few days off work to look after the children. I came home the other day to find they'd started making some puppets, an idea from a Living crafts magazine. It's so lovely to have a Mum who wants to do things with her Grandchildren, they adore her for this. So does the dog who walks around looking for her when she leaves.I managed to put the finishing touches on a bag last night, I'm off to put it in the shop after a couple of very much appreciated purchases last week.
Very brave at the hospital, worse break this time, but got it x rayed quicker.
I missed the Playcentre AGM which I had been looking forward to for awhile as it would have been my last one, having gone to most of them over the last 16 years.
Heaps of buds getting ready to burst on the Nashi, one of my best performing espaliers. It's pollinated by neighbouring pears.
Yay the asparagus is up, might be having it for tea tomorrow night. I like it wrapped in Proscuttio or lightly steamed then in with my sushi. Better pull out those weeds, they'll take off in this weather.I'm excited about this little purple one. I grew these form seeds three years ago so I get to cut and taste some of these this year.
Have you been saving your egg shells all winter? They're doing the trick for me to keep the slugs
Kids are looking foward to strawberries, plums and raspberries, cherry tomatoes and corn too I imagine.
The red head stayed home most of the week with me after his eardrum burst on Tuesday night. It was just as well he hadn't gone to see the Parachute band with the other kids that night. His earache came on so quickly but his fever and pain depreciated equally as quickly once the ear burst. So now I add burst eardrum to my long list of parenting experience. Gotta love it!
Thanks for the kind comments and emails I received after my last post. The blog community have been a lifeline at times over the past few years. Please accept this as a personal Thank You.
I understand too that my less than " perfect" relationship status got me dropped off a few peoples favorites as well. Walk a mile in my shoes before you judge me is all I ask.
The red head likes the beater,
And PJ looked the part with her Grandmas apron as they teetered on the stool without fighting to watch the mixer going round.
My teen is alot better behaved than I was 20 years ago. My goodness 20 years seems such a long time. Music takes me back. We were doing " Annie get your Gun" at High School. I loved Art, U2 rocked, I loved Led Zep, The Volent Femmes, Joe Satriani, Marianne Faithful, and I was going out with the postman's son ( naughty, naughty) about to go totally off the rails with a bad boy from Oamaru. I hitch hiked to parties and spent weekends with friends. I quit violin and began to wear leather. If I was my mother I'd have been totally insane with worry. I also quite fancied a red head for a bit. If I could go back to 16 I wouldn't change a thing! Except I'd be confident that I was awesome as me and I'd love myself a bit more. On the eve of 36 I adore my kids and move forward with no regrets! I treasure these kids for their gifts, how lucky am I to know them.
My school report read " Gillian is a walking jewelery display and likes to be involved in activities. Can be distracted by others.",
"Gillian is an expressive worker but demands a high standard of herself. This can inhibit work at times but over all effect is good."
Mrs Bolt told me I wasn't going to pass my school cert music exam, so when I did I rang her to gloat.
She is still there at the teen's school, my school councillor is now the acting principal. The crusty old History teacher now teaches my son computer studies and my third form English teacher who I quite liked for debates about anti vivisection now teaches my son 5th form English and he is totally uninspired. Go Figure!
I'd quite like to teach textiles. My younger cousin teaches PE. J*** said to the teen, "hey Teen have you seen the hot new PE teacher? Teen said Dude she's my Mums cousin"
Man I loved High school. Skatey boy is off there next year and i finally fit in with a few mums my age.
Skatey loves Art and music and is sensitive.
Watch out Gilly!
It inspired me to collect up some pink items today as it was far too wet outside for gardening.
Actually I was surprised how hard I had to look to put together a pink collection.
My Remote Treechanger friend Linda tagged me a few days ago too, I thought I'd better say I really appreciate the gesture but I'm so hopeless at following those things up. It wouldn't be the first time I've failed to respond. SORRY :)