Friday, December 28, 2007
Baking Illustrated: the practical kitchen companion for the home baker (by the editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine) - they not only look fantastic, but taste so divine - one piece is fulfilling, lemony and entices you back for more later.
Monday, December 24, 2007
I haven't sent out any Christmas cards and the tree only has 2 strings of 240 and 320 lights plus 9 large decorations! BUT, I have vacuumed, dusted and washed floors, weeded some gardens, mowed the lawns and put up a few decorations in the dining room.
As well as being Christmas Day it is also Rebecca's birthday. She was the first baby born at North Shore Hospital, on Christmas Day, in 1980. So birthday breakfast tomorrow with birthday presents. Then the food that needs to be cooked (like the chicken) goes in the oven and the vegetables are prepared (for the vegetarians) for a late lunch. We get to open our Christmas presents. This year Derrick and I bought our own gifts to ourselves. I got some timber for the base of the glasshouse. After Boxing Day I will attempt to mow the grass around the vegetable gardens and prepare a space for it - I may even get some help in erecting the frame!
Anyway, we are so happy that Sarah is home. It sounds like she has had an extremely memorable time. She still has an essay to write (worth 70%) to finish this paper and I can't wait to see the photos.
Have a fun-filled time with friends and family.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This is the card which Marion made and everyone wrote a lovely message inside:
I received a pamper pack voucher with my old friend, Pania Ryan, and I may use the voucher for a massage (how divine!). Also 2 beautiful bouquets of yellow flowers - lovely sunflowers, sandersonians and lilies. And cupcakes! amongst other things. I'm a very lucky person to have worked such lovely people for 12 years, 10 months and 12 days - well, I've worked with Doreen, Sharon, Gendie and Margaret for that long anyway.
I don't have another paying job to go to yet, but there are plenty of quilts to finish and the gardens to work on. A rest over Christmas and New Year will give me time to reconsider options.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Here's Alice awaiting her turn - she's our favourite. She comes when she's called and just loves to find bread or nuts in your pocket. She has twins and her wool is a grey/cream colour.
Here is Coco being shorn, she is our 'black' Romney - although her wool is very light brown on top now.
I have kept only Alice's, Coco's and Rosie's fleeces. These I will get washed and carded and eventually spin the wool - I will probably ply Coco's with a brown alpaca fleece I have.
While we were there, Don and Margaret had a baby Alpaca (cria) born. Here is the little sweetie (female) at 1 hour old.
After the sheep were drenched (all purpose worm) we 'drove' them home again - funny how they remembered and were keen to get back into their own paddock.
That's a great job done, but we won't get much for the wool because prices are down from last year :-(
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tomorrow, if the weather holds - dry that is - we can get the sheep shorn and I'm hoping that it will only be a couple of hours 'cause there's only 26 to do.
One more week and then Sarah will be home. She will probably sleep for 2 days, but there is a stopover in Bangkok for 12 hours and she may get a chance to walk, rest, eat some good food, whatever! The airport there is very smart so she may not even get outside :-)
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Pretty wild looking, eh? You can't even see the wine barrel water feature in the middle! So after a few hours, digging, pulling and pruning, here is the result:
From the left: a 1/2 wine barrel with 2 types of thyme, lemon verbena, bay tree in a pot, water feature, lemon balm (that had grown like crazy) and rosemary hedge.
Today I bought some more herbs and planted them out. In a few weeks time, once those plants have established themselves, I will post another photo. I also bought 2 completed hanging baskets and plants for 2 other baskets and 5 sunflowers. The sunflowers I planted in the small garden by the front door - they will get some shelter from the wind and warmth against the house.
What a grand afternoon! I saw a saying at the garden centre that said: "You will meet GOD in the garden". It felt like that today and even one of the cats took an interest in what I was doing!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
So the rounds of work and non-work functions begins. Tomorrow night is a Cocktail Party. Saturday is Derrick's work function at the races in Wanganui - I'm not going because I have rehearsals for a concert. Next week, we have 2 dinners and the concert on Saturday - other things I just can't remember but I'm hoping I've written them in my diary!
We had an email this morning from Sarah. She is on Crete and says that she is the group's Greek speaker - none of the others have bothered to learn the language - but she is having a ball. Lots of swimming, climbing, visiting ancient sites and just loving the coffee and food. On Monday they fly back to Athens and she has her site (Sounion) to present. It is so good to get emails from her, she writes really well, it's like reading a short story :-)
Rebecca is coming home for the weekend for a break - fresh air, green grass, peaceful living, and Ma and Pa of course! Looking forward to catching up with her.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I'm still waiting to hear from her and it is strange not being able to ring and chat any time.
Missing her already.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Now it is completely stripped and sanded ready for varnishing/oiling/waxing (I used a mixture of all three).
Finally, the completed cabinet in it's new place in the dining room. I'm really happy with how well it has turned out - already there are demands to start on another piece of furniture.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The chooks that can fly, will get out and scratch around the yard and that's OK for now, but the Cayuga can't get in and eat their food!
Here's a photo of one of the Blue Andalusian chicks at 2 weeks - still a little bit of down on it's back, but long legs and they are testing their wings.Derrick and I managed to bring Ginger (my Hereford cross 4 year old cow) home yesterday. Months ago she jumped the fence to visit the cows next door. Food has been short and I have been feeding them hay for a while. She seemed quite happy to come home, although we were very worried that she might make a run for it into the neighbour's yard (they don't have fences), but cows seem to remember what is theirs and where to go. We let her munch away in the sheep paddock then made up a course to direct her into her own paddock. She eventually made it with enticement, especially crossing the asphalt driveway. Her son, Biscuit, is now 15 months old, he has horns and hasn't been castrated, so he has to be sold - he is too dangerous to have around us. I have been thinking about selling Ginger as well. She isn't pregnant and I don't know what to do about that (well, how to get her and a bull together, shall we say!), so she is just a large lawnmower that can push me around too easily - have to admit that I don't know enough to keep her around which is really, really sad, because I do love her.
Here is the photo of the Halloween cupcakes Sarah made for Wednesday last week - they are bite size and so beautifully decorated.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This photo is of the Mum with the 3 bantam chicks - this chick has had it's
Friday, October 19, 2007
I now have 10 little Blue Andalusian chicks. Some are black and some grey/blue, but their colours may change. Here are 3 of Snowball's hatching, they are still in the guinea pig hutch.
The bantam chicks are about the same size although a week older - see their wing feathers?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Next, I needed housing for them and hadn't been that organised. Derrick arrived home early and built a teepee shaped hutch, braced and all, from a desk top. This we manoeuvred into the enclosure and I filled it with hay. Two mums, 1 chick and 3 eggs later, all safely under cover and out of the rain. Plenty of hay to keep them warm.
This morning, more chicks, but it's raining really heavily so I'll look at shifting them later today.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Fortunately there has been no sign of the rat, and I have laid another trap outside and under some wood (quite an ingenious trap too, I thought!).
Another few more days before I can expect some action from the other clucky mums and their 'foreign' eggs - these are Blue Andulsian which I bought from TradeMe and are supposed to be fertile.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Unfortunately I've been battling with an unwelcome guest. A
One of these roosters is the father (father and son, here) and the chicken with t
Sunday, October 7, 2007
A few hours earlier Australia lost to England by 2 points - not that I would have liked England to win 'cause Australia is always our biggest rival. But the Aussies didn't even look like they had a game plan to stick to. No rolling mauls, poor passes and catches. And the English team has some very old players with of course Johnny Wilkinson, who anyone would think had made great inroads in the game - he's just a kicker and in this game he missed some 'easy' shots. He also takes the easiest option by kicking dropped goals instead of keeping the ball in play or kicking it towards the 5 metre line for a lineout.
So France and England meet next weekend - go France!
Tomorrow morning South Africa plays Fiji - my money's on South Africa (but I've been wrong twice already this weekend!), and then Argentina plays Scotland (Argentina for that game). This doesn't mean these are the teams I want winning. I'd be so happy if Fiji did win.
So on with the rest of the day. I've shed a few tears and things have to be done now.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
So today it's wet and cool outside, there'll be no catching vitamin D from spring sunshine. I'll make an effort to get dressed and do some work in the sewing room - well, there is more than enough to keep me busy for 6 months in there, and that's without starting new projects. I think that with the head full of mush it will just be little things that don't require too much thinking!
Let's make this a better day and achieve something :-)
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Yesterday I managed to get up reasonably close to a tui in the kowhai trees. You will see that the bird is upside down to get the nectar from the flowers - the beak is slightly hooked and longer than a blackbird's, to get right into the flowers. Later there were more visitors, so I'm hoping that there is a nest fairly close-by.
The tui is a fully protected bird in New Zealand, it has a tuft of white feathers at the throat and a beautiful resonant song with croaks and gurgles.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Here are some photos of the boards going up and the foam being glued on. It takes 24 hours to harden, which is just as well, because we must have used too much glue - we ran out of the stuff with just one sheet of foam!
Using the correct tools is very important!
Checking for the stud to anchor the backing board.
The first sheet of polystyrene is glued in place.
Starting the anchoring of the calico cover sheet.
This is exciting stuff. I will be able to organise the room now, instead of having piles and piles of wool for felting, material, unfinished quilts and miscellaneous pieces of paper. The wardrobe needs to be re-sorted and I will probably look more seriously at selling some of the teddy bears which I made for sale a couple of years ago. I have also procured a set of drawers which is almost the same height as the Horn Sewing Cabinet. It now holds the old Husqvarna sewing machine, the overlocker and miscellaneous threads. With the 2 tops of the cabinets I have a good size area for the cutting board and somewhere to put the ruler rack.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The quilt had only just arrived home on the day of Rose City Quilter's Tote and Gloat here in Palmerston North, so it got a public showing. Our guest speaker was Helen Marshall who arranges for the collection and couriering of quilts for the World Quilt organisers. She suggested that I enter it into World Quilt - well I did make it for that show originally! So I duly sent off the photos again, and lo and behold! it was accepted into World Quilt with 25 of New Zealand's best quilt makers.
There is an article about these quilts in the latest New Zealand Quilter magazine, issue 61 - mine has special mention (page 7) because it was in both shows!I am expecting the quilt to arrive home in late November/early December - it's been away for most of the year!
Pattern is from Kim Diehl's Country Whig Rose. I actually rang and spoke to Kim to get permission to use her pattern and have it photographed - thanks to Amazon.com they had a comment on where Kim lived so I could track her down!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Rosie was becoming very much like a pet lamb - demanding, yet stand-offish. On Friday I tried enticing her with nuts to cross the little stream, through the paddock with my yearling bull named Biscuit, and up into the top paddock with the other sheep and lambs. But no. She wasn't going to get her feet wet! So, I had to wait until Sarah was home yesterday. This time Sarah did the enticing and I came in behind to encourage!
At last success! Rosie performed the hogget's Swan Lake - leapt the stream and ran jumping and baa-ing to the next fenceline. Oh, did I wish I had the video camera, it was a sight to behold.
Now to get into the next paddock! Alice decided that she was going to visit greener pastures (they aren't) so she was through the gate in a shot, lambs right behind. Introductions all round between Alice, Rosie and the twins - a butting of heads, leaping, almost a clicking of heels, I'm sure! Some of the flock wanted to see what all the excitement was about, and came running. Poor Sarah, there she was, acting like a Heading dog, rounding up ewes, lambs and Rosie. What a fantastic job she did too!
Rosie introduced herself to all the lambs - no baa-ing here - a head butt to let them know that she was boss!
Friday night, Derrick and I had to bury the ewe that had still-born twins. Fortunately the ground is not rock hard and he has great experience in digging holes, because this was a big hole to dig! We are now down to 10 ewes, 1 ram, 2 ewe hoggets and 13 lambs - still 2 ewes to produce yet.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
How exciting the Air New Zealand Cup is becoming. Manawatu (my local team) got their second win in true style and in great spring sunshine yesterday afternoon. After achieving a draw last week, and now their 2nd win, the guys should be feeling pretty good about their teamwork and style of play by now. I'm really pleased and impressed!
Then of course the All Blacks blasted Portugal in the Rugby World Cup. Everyone knew that Portugal wouldn't have much of a chance but they NEVER GAVE UP! They even scored a try and played with more determination than Italy did last weekend. Perhaps that's the difference between choosing to face the haka or not! Each to their own.
This morning one of my ewes delivered a stillborn lamb and then spent another hour + trying to deliver the other twin. In the end, Sarah, Derrick and I managed to round her up, and Sarah pulled the other stillborn lamb out. Poor mum. Both lambs were huge - probably overdue - and she couldn't deliver them by herself! But, another ewe delivered twins this morning, so 5 sets of twins (plus one set stillborn), 2 singles and 3 more ewes to deliver (hopefully).
Friday, September 14, 2007
So playing around with Flickr I've got a little selection to show you.Here we have Alice with her twin boy and girl, and Coco with her twins. The ram is South Suffolk and both mums have some Romney. That's why there are black noses, ears and knees!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Rosie does not know how to dance or walk on 2 hind legs - you know what it's like trying to put socks on toddlers? They spread their toes instead of pointing! I somehow managed to get her into the maternity unit compound as this is totally enclosed and has lots of grass. She can spend a couple of days in there until the chooks are used to her being so close.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Today we had the birth of our 3rd set of twins. 7 lambs from 4 ewes and 7 ewes still to give birth (well here's hoping anyway). I haven't even been to have a look yet but must take the camera for mum and babes photos.
The ornamental cherry trees are covered in buds and the Sakura Festival is on 22nd September at the International Pacific College - 2+ weeks of anticipation.
This afternoon my friend Trish gave me a fantastic massage - oh, bliss. I'm making pizza for tea and there is a great game of Ranfurly Shield rugby to watch this evening.
Life's little blessings!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Mt Ruapehu, the Sacred mountain and active volcano, central North Island, New Zealand.
Mt Ngaruahoe, active volcano, central North Island, New Zealand.
Even though the magnolia flower is getting battered and bruised by the wind it still manages to retain dignity.
Here is another magnolia that I can look down onto. It reminds me of a ballgown in reverse - beautiful petal shapes and velvet colours!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
This morning driving to work I noticed how the sun was higher in the sky and there was a feeling of anticipation, spring, new life (ah! now I'm getting all romantic!!). But truly the weather ahead looks to be more stable and warmer - yeah! The magnolias are looking more beautiful every day.