Sunday, May 24, 2009

Felted play food

wow - this is a record from this blog - it really has been a drippy, wet, inside type of day...and this is another of our activities today...felted play food for Phoebe. I admit, most of these 'foods' were made over the last couple of weeks, here and there. Today we made the beetroot and the giant strawberry...still working on proportion - although, apparently, Phoebe's rabbits don't mind a bit, which is where it all started.Actually, to be honest, it all started in an adult attempt at halting the hundreds of thousands of TINY pieces of paper of all kinds and colours of paper that were cut up to make all manner of foods for her 'guys'. "GUYS" in itself is the definition of play: cats, dogs, rabbits, kids (dolly-type, not goat), pigs, sheep, horses, etc, etc. The week Phoebe spent up on Waiheke Island with her best friend, Lulu, was my opportunity to release some of this paper food. Well, I had NO IDEA just how many stashes of food there was in and around her room and play area. I found old tea and tissue boxes FILLED to the brim with cut up paper, crumpled tissues (new ones, I hoped!), pieces of fleece and fabric, nut shells, glass marbles and gems, tiny pieces of driftwood - a you name it, it was dinner for someone - kind of discovery ( and quite a genuine fire risk, too!). And I was definitely the intrepid explorer-cum-ruthless-destroyer! You may be thinking how come I didn't know there was all this stuff? Well, I don't know what parents of other highly creative children do - I barely keep up with the phenomenal rate of creation that absolutely steams out of this amazing child of ours - she is continually making something - so it is one of our dreaded parts of the day - tidying up or putting order back into her area of creativity and play. "I know a little gnome, who likes a very tidy home....." Hmmmm.

The Sun did Not Shine It was TOO Wet to Play...

"The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house
All that cold, cold, wet day."
~Dr. Seuss, of course!

So, a bit on the side of wet far 60mms of rain have fallen, which those in more Southern reaches of the Hawkes Bay would be extremely grateful at Possum Bend, well, our cup just runneth over...AGAIN!
This is what gardeners do on days like this when they can't garden - they marvel at how many pairs of gloves they have, dripping themselves fresh and clean on the line...
...and... BLOG!!

Phoebe's Photo Gallery May 2009

This is what Phoebe has chosen from her own photos of venturing around the property with our camera a week or two ago

first frost and a pond update...

Crunching across an icy-crisp lawn on a regular basis is something I'm just not used to, being a more Northern Lass until last year. I am still in the novelty stage with it, enjoying the beauty of the effect. I know this won't last as being a gardener, I'll soon be ruing it's presence as it slowly hamstrings what I can get to grow through the Winter.
It was a mere 3 degrees as we ventured out on our animal-feeding rounds on Friday morning. Phoebe has made sure her pixies are very snug in the basket, complete with coats, blankets and pillows...
...and here is an update on the pond...slowly taking shape. The piles of rocks, driftwood and other wildlife dwelling materials is gradually building up. We have been encouraged by the rare appearances of a bright green frog...and have installed a family of fish, a red spider-lily variety of water lily and plenty of oxygen weed. Around it we've planted red daylillies, some red and some green cabbage trees (tiny at this stage), some red-splashed bromeliads, calendula and chamomile. In the Spring we'll add as many companion-type plants that encourage beneficial insects into our garden - and hopefully control some of the beasties we had finding it way too easy to get a decent meal in our gardens this last Spring and Summer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What to do with all the Feijoas Falling...

Well, when the ground underneath our 3 ancient Feijoa trees began to look like an emerald carpet - and it wasn't grass!!! - we knew it was time to think of some yummy ways to deal to it all before the rain turned them to rotting mush and a big old fruit-fly factory.
We've made Spicy Feijoa Chutney from Digby Law's Chutney + Relish book, Tangy Feijoa Jam from the NZ Gardener Homegrown Edition, dehydrated loads and loads for dried fruit in the Winter, made crumbles, stewed some, eaten masses raw, fresh and juicy...and made this cake many times! It came to me from a friend on Waiheke, Wendy, who got it from another friend on Waiheke, called Liz...we've passed it on countless times and thought...maybe this might be the quickest and easiest way to broadcast it now. Plus Phoebe and I had a huge amount of fun pretending to be food stylists!! Tee Hee!
500gm feijoas, peeled and chopped
125gm melted butter
3/4 C raw sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp gd allspice
1/4 tsp gd ginger
2 Tblsp chopped crystallised ginger (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 C. Combine chopped feijoas, butter, crystallised ginger and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add egg. Sift flour, BP, BS + spices over feijoa mixture. Fold in gently and turn into a lightly buttered (or baking paper-lined) ring tin.[I don't have one of these, so I use a round tin with a latte glass standing in the centre, greased on the outside and 2/3 full with water]. Bake 35-45mins, until just cooked. Cool 20mins in the tin before turning out. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Woo HOO!! Loving the New Swing!

On one of their wanderings down to the river lately, Phoebe and Aaron realised that there was a perfect swinging tree just waiting for a swing to be hung there.
Didn't take Aaron too long to create the perfect round swing seat from a suitably thick piece of plywood, be reminded frequently to buy the correct rope and a few days later...WOO HOO!!!
Father responds to the constant requests of "Higher! Higher!" with yet higher swing-out starts and Mother just has her heart in her mouth!
I guess I know deep down she is safe (!!) and swinging out over the river with loud WooHoo's is incredible fun and all part and parcel of childhood and learning more how make this thing called a body work for her!
[The picture does tend to make it look further out over the river than it is, of course!]

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pretty Pretty Eggs at Easter Time...belated

This Easter Phoebe was given these truly beautiful eggs by her, not the ones in the nest! ...although, I reckon you'd be forgiven for wondering, as apart from the stand-out colours these chocolate eggs are pretty close to bird's eggs, don't you think? [And they are organic!]

The also (I think) magnificently-comfy-looking nest and it's tiny eggs belonged to a family(to-be-that-never-was! :-( ) of barn-swallows and was accidentally knocked down during a Spring Clean Up we were having. Since then it has resided on the Season Table we keep in our entrance way. A place Phoebe displays all the little treasures she finds on her outdoor 'doings' and reminds us of the current Season - although, as I mentioned - this was from Spring and somehow it is just so lovely, we haven't been able to part with it yet...