Sunday, August 13, 2017

IT HAS BEEN A BUSY YEAR...




Replacing the rusty sections of the flue with stainless steel brings all the maintenance up to date and will be done once spring arrives. The do-up has involved many weeks and quite an upheaval. Decluttering and disposing of things was a drag... with little time lost in the process. Everything is in place now with cupboards and drawers neatly stacked. Knowing where things are is heaven.


New carpet and vinyl planks are proving to be practical and should not date. Lifting the ceramic tiles was an all-day messy job and completed steadfastly by a man of few words. He was amazing! Just wanted to get it over and done with!


Thank goodness we ordered plenty of firewood. It hasn't been particularly cold, but there's something about putting a match to the fire. Homely living and comfort are pretty high on the agenda here.


Here's Kit looking rather pleased with himself and with good reason perhaps. He has two new cat friends. Possum strolls over from next door and they chase after one another. But recently, Kit has been sending her off back home. Maybe it's just a territorial thing or sharing leftovers scattered on the lawn is not to his liking  Birds flocking in for their share is bad enough so chasing after them is to be expected. Possum may be treading on his paws with her shared interests and sending her packing is what any self-respecting cat would do.....


Mabel is his other not-so-little friend. Isn't she lovely? Like Possum she weighs a ton. Don't know what they're being fed... Certainly, they are very well looked after.



The nectarine has been sprayed twice already with Liquid Copper and the last spray will be after petal fall.


 Kit with the cobweb on his head... so funny!



Friday, July 28, 2017

JUST A FEW MORE WEEKS OF WINTER...





Five pumpkins from a few scattered seeds are looking pretty good. After last year's flop which ended up with all being tossed out due to being watery and tasteless. It seemed like a good idea to string them up to dry with air circulating around them... I guess the proof will be in the eating.


Sparrows wait patiently for scraps, bread and so on. Starlings, mynas, and finches join in the daily feeding frenzy while blackbirds pluck worms from under garden scraps... All settle down happily at the end of the day after their last meal.


Thank goodness the flowering narcissus herald spring. It has been a wet and wild winter, but cosy inside by the fire. We are fortunate to be in Tauranga away from the slips and floods. Other parts  have not been so lucky. Climate change is a serious issue.


Violas and pansies with the occasional strawberry plant find a space wherever they can. If it is a case of the survival of the fittest they are all pretty much on a par.




A blueberry underplanted with violas is still dormant, but soon enough the blossom will appear followed by loads of fruit. Three tubs in all and never disappointing.


Kit can't seem to make up his mind about whether he should stay by Craig or dash out and chase off the birds.


This week I will remove dead flower heads and sticks from the hydrangea which will mulch down nicely here and there. With a hot summer ahead of us, all the plants roses and so on should cope well.



An example of dried bits and pieces including bark from the grape vines ensure a healthy environment and encourages earth worms. Everything flourishes in this situation and stays lush throughout the summer months.


Time to rake up the camellias and toss them around. As for the slate in front of the deck... apart from the fact that I like the look of it... falling on it when stepping up to the deck was not one of my better moments. Being carted off by ambulance to have stitches in my wrist hadn't been on the agenda either, but was a timely reminder to keep an eye on the ground instead of gaping around.


Still a few navel oranges left on the tree, some mandarins and a good crop of tangeloes yet to ripen. Meyer lemons still a way off.  Refreshing when squeezed into drinks.


Cheese scones are so easy to throw together. Fifteen minutes or so in a hot oven and they are ready. Flinging a few ingredients together with surprising results makes baking interesting rather that a chore, and of course, there are always birds just waiting to swoop down on anything from the kitchen...  including the odd baking failure.



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

GETTING THINGS DONE...

Autumn is upon us and there is plenty to do. Apples and pears produced a small crop with grapevines in need of pruning. I found a large weta tucked up under the pergola yesterday. Hopefully, he won't come inside when it cools down.



Granny Smith and Royal Gala apples are ripe with just a few on the young trees. I toned it down a bit when putting in this season's tomatoes with considerably less than previous years.

We seem to be on top of the Green Shield Beetle problem for now. Regularly removing by hand before disposing of them is the only way it seems.


Once all the leaves are off the nectarine I will spray the tree thoroughly with Liquid Copper to control the curly leaf. Another couple of sprays later in the year before and after blossom should ensure a reliable crop. Spraying times are essential.  Last year there was only one nectarine left on the tree with lots of small shrivelled fruit and dead leaves falling to the ground.


After yesterday's heavy downpour Kit was pleased to be inside. He is more settled now sleeping away most days before roaming around outside at night. Needless to say, landing home with a few battle scars is not unexpected.

The decorators are busily painting throughout. New carpet, recovered chairs and drycleaned drapes and blinds will bring the place up to scratch. What an uplift this will be!










Sunday, January 1, 2017

THE START OF ANOTHER YEAR...



Just taking it easy today. Kit has had a bad time lately after two or three fights with a cat that always gets the better of him. A large white cat is hanging around at the moment and we are wondering if he may be bullying him. Needless to say,  keeping Kit inside at night is not to his liking, but preferable to the nasty wound he came home with last time. 

As for sprawling comfortably up on the table...  Hopefully, he won't get too used to the idea. Of course he is being really fussed over by Craig with a variety of treats landing in front of him. In fact, so much so, some of those treats lie in wait.....

Our summer jumps from hot to cool at a moment's notice and we are not the only ones noticing it. The strawberries, in particular, are not doing well with other berries lagging also. The fruit trees got off to a bad start with poor pollination, probably due to so much rain and a shorter period of time. Bumble bees work on, but there were not enough of them. Other pollinating insects kept under cover somewhere and by the time the days were clearing up, it was too late.

On the positive side, I guess the rested trees and vines will be at their peak next season. Well, here we are into another year. Wishing everyone the very best for a happy and prosperous 2017.



Monday, December 19, 2016

TEN GREEN BOTTLES.........


Craig headed off down to the supermarket after making his list of things to get. Being methodical, he keeps ahead of things and we never seem to run out of anything. So much so, that we have a considerable surplus of most things......... which is really convenient even if a little over the top.

Recently, we started singing 10 Green Bottles which is always good for a laugh. Such a happy home and fun place to be.


Down to nine.... with the last bottle in the dishwasher at the moment.....


Only six of these.... Better top up. As for toilet rolls and packets of coffee... They always make their way on to the list and there are packets of them everywhere. 🙂

We are expecting a few showers this afternoon so making the most of today was worthwhile. A nice time spent picking a few flowers for the vase before getting on with pruning back some of the roses. Isn't it amazing how they can reach out and lunge at you with their thorns. Beasts of things that they are, but I love them all the same.


Excuse the messy bench... I have been busy dealing with priorities...



This little kitten is so adorable and cute. She is well loved and doted on by her new family who live opposite us. Craig has a good hold on her much to Bernie's amusement.






Saturday, December 10, 2016

THINGS GETTING BACK TO NORMAL...



Strawberries and rhubarb from the garden and a few apples to go into the shortcake. The strawberries seem to be appearing in dribs and drabs and I wonder if adding more fertilizer has caused the plants to throw up more growth than fruit, They need potash so a trip to Palmers Garden Centre next week is on the list of things to do.

Mind you, the only tripping I will be doing this time will be by bus. It's been a month since that heavy fall on to a concrete path followed by another fall a couple of weeks later. This one was onto the flat slate slabs in front of the deck when I missed the step up and landed unceremoniously across them, resulting in a deep gash to my wrist. A trip by ambulance to the hospital and several stitches before we caught the bus home in time to catch up with our favourite programmes.

Now that the stitches have been removed and infection cleared up things are back to normal thank goodness.

There have been so many things happening one way and another. John Key has stepped down and Bill English is taking over the reins. With Paula Bennett as deputy the transition will go smoothly I am sure. All done with the minimum of fuss.

Things seem far less straightforward in the States. The President-elect will be well challenged with a mountain of paperwork to wade through for one thing I imagine, and goodness knows how many aides and advisers surrounding him, for another. Perhaps he will simply end up throwing the toys out of the pram before stomping off.....


Rhubarb and Apple Shortcake just out of the oven and smells delicious. Having the new oven and cooktop has made a difference. So reliable with great results and I do not miss the gas hob at all. Clean pots and the smoke alarm isn't going off all the time. The oven is a pleasure to use with the pyrolytic cleaning feature keeping it clean.


Both are Smeg appliances and once you figure out how to use them they are fantastic. I found by following the instructions carefully and doing a bit at a time it wasn't so difficult to master.


Mmm.....  Time for a cuppa.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE WARM DAYS OF SUMMER




After so much rain spring has finally arrived bringing many birds into the garden and colorful blossoms abound. We are still lighting the fire at night, mainly due to my love of comfort and, before long, opening the door to cool down.


This blackbird is a regular visitor and waits patiently for the leftovers. He's not the only one of course and soon shares the bounty with a variety of birds. Sparrows in particular fight among themselves and give the starlings time to clean up.





It is good to see Monarch butterflies making the most of the nectar from the nectarine and just fluttering about in general. Their quick movements have kept them safe as they steer clear of Kit.


He is on the go all day heading off all around the place visiting. Masses of energy and plenty to do. He doesn't even settle down to sleep throughout the night and has Craig backwards and forwards letting him back in.


Does Craig mind?....... Not one bit. He just makes a great fuss of his cat.



How does Kit feel about all this? ........... I think he would rather tear up and down a few trees...