Sunday, December 07, 2008

Craft Markets

This morning Deb- my partner in craft - and I set up shop at the Mahia Seaside Markets, which is just revving up again, after a quiet Winter season. Today I displayed my hand-dyed Rainbow Wrap - all vibrant colours on carefully cut and rolled newsprint - so much fun to make and Phoebe makes her own right beside me - I love it! A couple of beachy diptych-canvas' in blues and white with sun sea sand, etc words...
...some pretty merino fleece flower hair clips and ties...
...Heavenly Hearts - Lavender hearts made from vintage embroidered fabric, ribbon and buttons and filled with Lake Road Lavender...mmmm....
...and pet ladybird rocks and paper/table weights with inspirational words on them (lovely!)...

A Fruitful Orchard

Well, Mum, this isn't meant to make you feel a little jealous, BUT!

How good do these crabapples look? Our tree is COVERED in them - I can almost taste the jelly - hey, didn't I say that last time???

And below is the youngish white-fleshed nectarine, almost ready...mmmm.

We have also discovered we have a pear - not sure what variety, yet - brownish so far. And there is a plum which has heart-shaped green plums on it - fun to try working out what things are...a peach with a bit of a pointy bottom, 2 almond trees, a lisbon lemon, a limequat, a grapfruit, 2 guava, 2 figs, a passionfruit, a black grape, a quince and many apple trees - definitely there are a couple of Braeburn and a Golden Delicious and a massive perhaps Cox's Orange... the oranges and the feijoas.

So our fruit bowl is looking good and we feel very grateful!

I just need to remember how to bottle now...

"I'm 5!" - Phoebe

Recently, we had a totally enjoyable and very special day at home for Phoebe, who is now FIVE!

Much of the day was taken up with the preparations for her tea party in the afternoon, which was fun in itself and lent to a gradual building of excitement - Phoebe is a really great helper + does so many things so ably.

By 3pm we had red and white balloons all over the place, a little bit of pink and white gingham, which you must have for a tea-party, glitter and flowers everywhere - because the birthday fairies had been.

[I must remind everyone out there who may have forgotten about the birthday fairies...they always leave Phoebe a fabulous trail of glitter, flowers, sequins, confetti, shells - always beautiful - and it goes all the way from her bed to the birthday table with the presents on it. This year they were very impish - they made the trail go to the bathroom first - right up to the toilet - they must have known that Phoebe always needs to sort that out first thing - especially being all birthday-excited and all.]

Anyway, it was a lovely birthday, complete with a fairy walk to hunt for fairies (cos we know they were around, since there was the fairy trail for Phoebe) - in the end we took our watering cans and picked flowers and filled up and decorated the fairies' bath and left them some snacks - and when we all came back from afternoon tea - they'd left all the children a tiny gift - I love those fairies!

And at dinnertime, we had our neighbour, Pete, over to celebrate - Phoebe really enjoys him - she chose tacos for her dinner and it was really fun.

Tunanui Stream - our little river...

When we get just too hot and bothered from all our gardening and jobs around our property, this is what we do!

Just at the Northern end of our property is this river-frontage, which is incredible to us.

The name - 'Tunanui' - means "Big Eel" - not that we've seen any...YET!

Our neighbour, also an Aaron, reckons he's caught some Brown Trout here...we'll see. We've seen evidence of the fish babies so far.

And just in case you think Aaron and Phoebe are walking on water, well, no - there are lovely shelves of rock, which are very convenient for lying on, exploring as Phoebe is in this shot, or just for getting in slowly...

...lately, with such a warm November as we've had, the river is really quite tepid - perfect for cooling off!

Vegetable Abundance...aaah!

We have been applying a simple seaweed brew to the foliage of our vegetable gardens and I'd like to think that these lovely looking veggies are because of it. After watching the movie "One man, one cow, one planet", we became inspired to create these vats of smelly good stuff, which we now and especially leading up to the full moon, "flick" out over the gardens in a circular fashion.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just because....

One doesn't really need an excuse for such a pic...and it was Phoebe who styled the shot, really!

Sari Hut

Sorry Mum, we're just too busy to look at you right now! I remembered we had 2 Saris and rigged up a tent over the top of Phoebe's play area yesterday in the gorgeous Spring sunshine. Both Phoebe and Kade gravitated instantly to a game of being a family and added as much paraphernalia as they could to round out this scene.

In the background is my first attempt at making a Balinese-inspired flag/banner from a remnant in my fabric cache. Love this sunny, warm weather.

Froggy Hollow

One morning last week we set off on a new kind of adventure, perhaps spawned by the idea that all the mosquito larvae in our pond (read:manky old bath with murky water and a couple of sad aquatic plants doing their best to survive, infested with mosquito larvae, sunk into orchard paddock) needed a predator.

Romantically, I thought some frogs might be just the thing and everyone indulged me. So off we set with buckets and nets in our gumboots for a lovely pond setting over the road, on Alexander's land.
I have to say it was so much more than I expected, even though we did come home empty-handed, not a tadpole or the tiniest bit of spawn in sight.
As we descended through willows and meadow flora we found ourselves in a kind of otherworldly grotto - it was beautiful - I felt like I was in a film set. The light was soft and dappled, time felt like it was slowing down, it felt warmer, louder and quieter, if you know what I mean and it was as if we'd entered someone else's house and they weren't home. Indeed we had - this wasn't a human habitat. It was pure froggy hollow swampland and even the very surface of the earth here was trying to grab and hold onto us.
When we finally adjusted and stood still and quietly enough, we heard what I'd only dreamt I might hear...the unabashed ribbitting of a couple of frogs mid-courtship (we think! and hope!)! This was very exciting...maybe we will get to have some tadpoles for our pond...?
After listening in awe for quite some time and it was a stretch with a couple of youngsters who really thought the whole gumboot stuck in the mud thing was the best thing in a long time, we dragged ourselves out of this bewitching return another day.
It made me think about our "pond", though - it really does need an upgrade to be even a slight patch on the incredible natural habitat of those frogs - and I'd really like to be able to help the frog population now I'm thinking...any ideas welcome, please!

Mavis has 9 Piglets!!!

Last Sunday afternoon as Phoebe and I drove out of our driveway, ready to go and collect Aaron from the airport we wondered to ourselves at "how Mavis was?" and "I wonder whether she's...Stop the car now! She's got BABIES!!!" So, a must stop for us and we hadn't even gotten out of Possum Bend.

What we discovered was a huge pile of piglets - 9 in total - all squeaking and vying for the best position at the teats and a grunting mother, lying back in satisfaction or defeat - not sure which!

After gawping with wide eyes for about 2 minutes we jumped back in the car and got on our way.

Since then we've found ourselves at the fence often, just staring at the wonder of another miracle of new life and the perfection of it all. Irresistable.

Lulu and Lucas Visit Possum Bend

We have been graced by the presence of our friends recently, who made an amazing journey to come and see us and to whom we are especially thankful - we know it was a major - THANK YOU!

Firstly, we had the little girl convalescing from a protracted illness - whom we thought had just come right - who hadn't quite. Then, her Mum who'd also managed to catch the last bug Miss Lulu had passed on - the day before leaving. As well, there was Jenny, who was 6 and 1/2 months pregnant! And, lastly, but not least of all...Lucas, who really wasn't keen on leaving the Rock to sit in a car for HOURS and HOURS simply to see his friend Phoebe who now lives in the WOP-WOPS!

As you can see from the pics, a wonderful time was had by all - very merry and even fancy dress and running races.

We felt privileged to host Lulu's 5th Birthday and it was special to make her the sponge cake she really wanted to celebrate her birthday with. As you see, I even squeezed in a little bit of pink gingham, for the occasion - I felt rather pleased about that!

Jenny thought it a great idea to give the kids very loud whistles - they fully experienced these new toys everywhere they could - jungly gyms included - they became OUTSIDE toys immediately.

Possum's Back!

What a team! Phoebe with her paint brush and the Aarons with their power tools!

Old Mister Possum was back up in place in no time at all...once we put our collective energy into the job.

the old fella fell from the lofty heights of his "POSSUM BEND" sign back in July.

Now, freshly made-over (well, actually he is completely NEW, as he was completely buggered in the storm), complete with a new brown coat (of fence paint!) for Summer, he is officially screwed (in place!!) and boring his beady, red reflective eyes at all who pass by Possum Bend...

Trip to Lake Waikaremoana

A couple of weeks ago now, we made a dash for Lake Waikaremoana on an overnight trip when we had the chance.

On the way up the weather darkened and closed in, creating a surreal, almost foreboding effect...and then in the morning we awoke to a day that dawned almost picture-postcard-perfect!

We then did several of the smaller waterfall walks and found the landscape to be magical in a wonderfully escapist way...somehow we have no waterfall pics...transfixed by them, perhaps???
Quite incredible.

We all enjoyed watching the excited movements of this young foal we spotted in a paddock on the way there...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Compost Magic

What you see here is a happy child, knee deep in the piles of 'Brown' (leaves) and 'Green' (lawn clippings), helping me to make our inaugural compost pile, of which we have 11 or so to make over the coming months.

We had a lot of fun constructing our 'pie' with the aforementioned ingredients, as well as buckets of seaweed tea and a large amount of dried cowpats, which I'd mown to the texture of dessicated coconut. It was kind of like making a giant lasagne, only a bit smelly and not too tasty looking. I'm sure all the funghi and thermophillic bacteria were licking their lips, though, as that thing has heated up very well and a day later, it was steaming and almost too hot to put my hand in (did I say that???)

Anyway, this was momentous and exciting for me - almost as exciting as getting the chook dome made.

Cherry Blossom Festival at Morere, Hawke's Bay

On a sunny and warm Spring Saturday 2 weeks ago, we packed up some food, donned sunhats and crossed Tunanui Stream from our place over to Geoff and Yuki Prickett's land to meet them under their Cherry Trees for our very own version of the Cherry Blossom Festival, right here in Morere, Hawke's Bay.
The tui sang loudly, the bees buzzed around the blossom above us and we enjoyed celebrating Spring in the sunshine with excellent company, great food and even a glass of local wine.
Alyssia wandered about delighting in so much pink.

Phoebe wore her sweet Cherry dress, now sized as a top, as she has grown lots since last Summer.

Umbrella Houses

Neighbours, Phoebe and Kade, having their morning tea in their "umbrella houses", which they like to have set up quite often for their houses. There is a lot of family role-play type of play happening at the moment, which I think is rather lovely. There are always lots of babies and cooking and making a pretend fire and going to the shop to buy some plants...

Phoebe and the Waterfall's Gift

A sudden downpour the other day led to immense pleasure for Phoebe as she discovered the pure joy of sticking your tongue out and letting the rain water cascade from our bit of un-plumbed guttering down on top of her, her head and then her whole body. Finally, amid shrieks of delight and non-stop giggles she was standing there, shivering, soaked and happy, as naked as the day she was born!

Her favourite book lately has been The Waterfall's Gift, which we finally had to take back to the Library, after extending it's issue already... a waterbaby for sure.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Phoebe's Tree Mural

Inspired by an article in the July 2008 edition of Your Home and Garden magazine which showed a beautiful girl's bedroom with a giant wallpaper tree, I decided Phoebe's bedroom might enjoy being given a painted version...Wendy style... had to have a nest, Mummy...oh, and a butterfly and a Mother bird and a Daddy...

Crabapple Blossom...aaah

We have been blessed with some very warm Spring weather (22 degrees yesterday), perhaps causing such a lot of dew overnight? I had to share the shear beauty of these crabapple blossoms and am wondering, perhaps even salivating at the thought of jars of jewel-coloured crabapple jelly in the Autumn...nature is amazing!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Parsnip ?Person?!

Our inherited garden is generously seeded with parsnips of all ages and stages and as you can see from this (sorry, a bit out of focus!) pic, some curious shapes. I think, judging by the 'state' of the top of it, that it could even be several years old and have re-rooted...I just couldn't help giggling, scrubbing "HIM" up and taking the pic. The parsnip chips we ate with our evening meal last night were the best tasting yet...Phoebe helped chop them into the 'chips' and we roasted them for only about 30mins at 180 C with a lovely coating of olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper - simple and YUM! (oh, and very low GI, apparently, too).

Slug Patrol

The chookies have had breakfast and a high-powered protein hit at that - and we haven't...yet!
I got very excited this morning as we did our regular Slug Patrol and counted up 39 slugs - that is our record here at Possum Bend.

Our method comes from a neat little book I was given at Christmas time - Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener - I highly recommend it.

Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener
And it's simple.

When we eat oranges and grapefruit we cut
the flesh out and leave the skins as 2 cups...or Slug Lures which we place around the garden upside down...and on wet nights (so that is most nights here) the slugs slither in underneath them, making them easy prey in the morning for us to find and dispose of them....and who gets them?

The chooks!

It's a win-win situation...we don't even mind their slimy feel anymore...mmmm.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Snowdrop Child

A few weeks ago I finally made my first "Flower Child" - just as the snowdrops were appearing in abundance all around the gardens. She is residing on the Season Table in our entrance.

Cow Pats and Upside Down Swinging

Today has been another gorgeous Spring day. Sunny and warmer - I even have sunburn across my cheeks and nose - or is it windburn?? Time to apply the sunblock in the mornings again...
Phoebe has had a LOT of fun today - she developed upside down swinging - complete with the special facial expression...
Later we went on a dried cow-pat hunt (I use them mowed to a crumb as part of the seed-raising mix) down the easement to the river with Kade...

Strawberries au naturel

Apparently, strawberries are a forest floor dweller who root rather shallowly...and following this concept, today Phoebe and I planted these into the leaf litter amongst the white violets, fuschia-coloured polyanthus and pink Chatham Island Forget-me-nots under an old grapefruit's hoping!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Spring Lamb

The latest arrival to Possum Bend is the new lamb, next door at number 11. Kade is the proud owner of a very beautiful 1 week old lamb and she is such a joy to watch and be around.
Here Phoebe and Kade are down at the river with the lamb, the dogs and the Dads - the Aarons - both named Aaron, coincidentally.
We have decided we will wait until next Spring to have the lamb experience ourselves - they are quite a commitment at 3 feeds a day - just like a baby.

Kade is Phoebe's special friend and this is a cute pic of him cuddling his Dad, Aaron. Noice.