Friday, December 28, 2007

A Pinata and Lemon Bars

We had an extra treat to celebrate the birthday - a fabulous pinata filled with sweets, chocolate coins and party poppers. This sea horse was a difficult one to break - it even defeated the cardboard rolls from the wrapping paper, but we had fun and in the end it succumbed to a broom handle (actually even that got broken!). The chocolate coins and the party poppers didn't survive the bashing!

This Piece De Resistance are Lemon Bars that Derrick made from his new cookbook, 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

Wishing You All Merry Christmas

Tomorrow is the big day and Sarah arrived home safely on Saturday.
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.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tomorrow's My Last Day at the Library

Today my work colleagues gave me a farewell morning tea. Here's a photo of the morning tea. We've always had a reputation for putting on good morning teas!

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

The Sheep Are Shorn

We got it done this morning - thank goodness! Last night we drove them to a friend's (Don and Margaret) place - they have a shearing shed and live about 1.5kms from us. So with the help of Nolan and his dog, Meg, plus bodies on bikes to stop them from veering into driveways, the little flock scurried along, and were shedded up for the night. About 8:00am this morning, young Danny from Feilding, arrived with his gear and the lambs were shorn first - not that there's a lot of wool on their backs, but the summer will be easier to bear.
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

11 Days and Counting - Not!

I feel like groaning, but the sighs are getting heavier instead. I haven't got up the Christmas tree, but last night I did clean the front porch so some decorations can go up. Just need to get something to spray and keep the spiders away, they do make it look untidy!
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

The Herb Garden

Monday I had a day off work - extra hours worked so some TOIL (Time Off In Lieu). After doing the household chores, it was time to have a go at tidying up the herb garden. I hadn't touched it for months and as a result, this is what it looked like!

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!