26.12.09

Giveaway

This won't take a minute.
Pop over and see my friend Melissa who is having her first giveaway. It's cool Kiwiana.

21.12.09

Holiday


Merry Midsummer Christmas to all from the prettiest corner of New Zealand.

Sk8tey, teen, PJ and the red head will be with their Dad.

Gilly will be without her babies for the first time in 17 years.

It aches already.

12.12.09

Sharing

I set up my handcrafts at the "Country Occasion" a couple of weeks ago. My photography skills on my son's camera do not do the scenery justice. We were set up in the middle of the beautiful Neudorf vineyard with a view of mount Arthur in the distance, on the only fine day amongst a week of rain. Setting up- around 8am.

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.

The kind words said about my work were enough to make the day worthwhile but by far the best, was a European lady who saw me knitting once the crowds were settled and listening to Jazz and later good old 60's and 70's covers. She said "I'll show you continental knitting it's heaps faster"
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.

6.12.09

Our Agricultural and Pastorial Show

The kids had prize winning peas and Broad (fava) beans with their dinner tonight. I reminded them on several occasion's that they were the best in the district. (Tongue in cheek) Though the "red head" still didn't eat what was on his plate. He did appreciate the fish that the neighbour gave us. I text my Dad to gloat and he quipped "just as well for you I didn't have anything entered" Garden rivalry runs strong in our family!!! Makes it all the more worth the hard work.

I got up early this morning and carefully selected my best vegetables for the Agricultural and Pastoral Show. My organic peas and Beans took "first" from the old fellas who entered almost every vegetable category. My mixed collection of no less than 8 varieties didn't place, which made me all the more determined for next year.
Entering the A and P show is very "Nana" but I really enjoy it. I have missed it the past two years but set my alarm today to enter even though I really could have done with a weekend sleep in. My handcrafts also scored two seconds and two thirds making me determined to have another crack at the Nana knitters again next year.
Our little local show is great, but nothing to compare to the ones held in large New Zealand farming communities. We went with my Dad, in my (only daughters') opinion- the best farmer in the world, every year to the A and P show in the Wairarapa. It was about 5 times the size of our little Motueka show and featured real stud animals and serious farming business. Of course I was a pretty stuck up farmers' daughter when I moved here, and anything less than about 1,500 acres was a hobby farm. ( Tongue in cheek again) I honestly do remember laughing to myself at kids who said their fathers were farmers on 250 acres. I am so glad that life did take the path it did as I don't think I would have liked myself much if I had continued to be that person with those attitudes.
I do remember so fondly though those Solway Park shows with fantastic Rams, Bulls and Roosters in the 70's. The handcraft sheds were full of beautiful homespun crafts, making an awe inspiring impression on little Gilly, while the animal sheds had angora rabbits, cashmere goats and merino lambs.
Shearing displays in Masterton, the home of Golden Shears were of course supreme. A few seasons in a shearing shed as a Rousie will always remain the best of my youth. Try it, hard pysical work throwing fleeces all day, skin covered in fresh Lanolin, music and laughter, you can't beat it. Good people and good money, it's nearly the perfect lifestyle job for a teenager in my opinion.
Today my Pj loved the piglets the most. She said to me "Mum remember when I asked you for a little piglet pet?' I love piggies too. The miniature Schnauzer puppies stole my heart as well.

All memories and moments making for a pretty awesome day. Never mind the rain, farmers and gardeners LOVE it!

5.12.09

Insects. Goodies verses baddies

Spotted in the garden this morning, oodles of honey bees, several types of hover fly, ladybirds and tiny wee praying mantis. On the baddies list not too many aphids but a growing population of green vegetable (stink) bugs.
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.

1.12.09

Miss my boy

Skatey is away at school camp. The "red head" and I are missing him alot, I think Willow the Jack Russel is missing him the most (no one warm to sleep with)

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)
XX

Moist Chocolate cake.
(Never failed in 15 years)
4oz butter
2 eggs
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.