Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, Baking Day

We've moved into a bit more of a weekly rythym, Miss Phoebe and I, heading towards a homeschool rythym that we can achieve in keeping with our Rudolf Steiner Education philosophies and meet the requirements of the MOE - once she is 6.
With that in mind, Friday is baking day at the moment, measuring, thinking about shapes and sizes, what happens if it is a bit wet or a bit too dry, etc...lots of science in there...and yummy fun!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

beginnings of a Food Forest

We've been rather busy over the last few weeks with lots of planting in our orchard, filling in the gaps and hoping to create an edible forest - a Permaculture Food Forest is our aim. There is still far too much grass for our likeing and we will soon be fixing that. As well as another bunch of beautiful heirloom varieties, we have been adding in Kowhai, a native with a very attractive yellow flower and the very useful attribute of being a nitrogen-fixing, slender, lacy tree (will still let in lots of light) and are about to add small tagasaste(tree lucerne) plants, which also fix nitrogen from the air into the soil. Even more amazingly as we found out this effect is increased as we 'chop and drop' the trimmings/prunings where they fall as mulch, as the plants then release nitrogen from their root systems to compensate for being pruned! Cool! Clever Mother Nature - we love her! For our lower layer we've ordered loads of kumara plants, which will grow as a thick ground cover and we have an excess of tiny strawberry plants - they may like to ramble around under the trees?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

thinking about house colours...what do you think?

there's something so happy and honest about simple colours singing out. And living in the countryside echoes of barns and hardworking farm buildings feels like a comfortable colour fit.

An organic make

With an overflowing box of yarns and lots of small balls of different pinks I have had a lot of fun this Winter putting together this cardi for Phoebe from all the bits and pieces I already had, rather than buying new. Phoebe seemed to really like giving me instructions about which colour to knit next and what the pockets needed to have on them, etc. Next time, however, I would buy a pattern!

Iced Strawberries

I don't seem to be able to escape the fact that nearly every photo lately has a very cool 'bloom' to it - we really do see the change of season here. Hoping our strawberries are still happy to be getting so chilled and well watered as well.

What WE Do On Frosty Mornings

It becomes a dash outside on frosty mornings in Midwinter to race out and water all the tender plants like lettuces and our teeny things like newly planted seedlings before Father Sun raises his big bald head up over the mountain and defrosts them so quickly their cells would explode and DIE! Maybe a little dramatic.... I think Phoebe was checking the depth of the ice on the pond - and probably poking a hole or two so the fish are ok - there are still fish in there - very hardy ones, I guess!
Apologies again for the pic - still getting the hang of my new camera...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hoola-hoop fun and games

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago play began to degenerate into what might we bash with sticks and I wasn't prepared to sacrifice ANYTHING in our garden to THAT sort of behaviour, was I?
One of those moments when I sometimes feel as though I'm grasping at straws - and then I came up with...such high tech equipment as...hoola hoops! You heard it here first!
All we did was space out about 5 of them on the lawn and presto! we had a fabulous playtime of firstly running from one to the next, kind of hopping, then spacing them wider apart to make it more tricky, then making them in a wiggly line for variation, then jumping between them and they were off - so much so that we then needed some reminders about waiting for each other and taking turns - so enthusiastically did they take to this kind of fun - and I tell you - Phoebe certainly got to bed early and slept long that night!! :)

Recent Road Trips

Amid the chaos and pace of gearing up for Spring with plenty of gardening activities, doing repairs, maintenance and renovations on our house and beginning our homeschool journey with Phoebe, we have managed to grab two small breaks away this month so far.
Our first trip was to Levin and involved a lovely stay at Annandale Manor (a cracker of a charming B+B, where Phoebe asked if we could bring Luke "next time we come") on the way there and a night catching up with Unca Ray and Auntie Raema on the way home in Napier. Very cool - we even managed to collect our (reasonably large - as in the car was completely full!!) order of bare-rooted fruit trees from the Edible Garden Nursery in Palmerston North on the way back home.

Our second journey was this week and we got up through the Waioeka Gorge to Whakatane, via Opotiki - compulsory stop at Rostcards Cafe, of course! I love the powder room - oh, and the coffee's really good - oh, yeah - and service with spark!
We stayed at the Thornton Beach Holiday Park in a cabin and enjoyed walking the windswept beach and just relaxing a little.
Pretty grainy shot - Phoebe LOVES jumping/trampolines/circus-influenced play, etc - so this massive jumping pillow was right up her alley!
After meeting a wonderful couple on a biodynamic and organic farmlet in Whakatane we fitted in a dip at the Awakeri Hot Springs before driving back home.
This cute guy is a beautiful native owl, our Morepork, perched high up in a Mamaku in the fernery area of the farmlet we visited - we were very surprised to see such a rare daytime sight! Again, not the greatest pic - am learning how to drive the camera....

Mad Dog Luke

Not really sure (how could one, ever?!) what Luke was thinking here... one of our zero degrees mornings early last week...I mean, he had a room temperature bowl of filtered rain water right by his dog bed all night and still here he is trying to lick a frozen trough with sediment of goodness knows what, bugs and pine pollen...go figure! Luckily, he did NOT get stuck.