Saturday, 19 April 2014

A bit of this and that

Flamingo fairy lights - I love this quirky pink bird.  These are currently hanging from the mantle but will be moving somewhere else once we start lighting the fire for winter.

Stargazer lilies - these have been my favourite flower for ages.

Orange-gate - the orange quilt is the result of "letting" Mr H choose a new bed cover.  I thought he  was joking and trying to wind me up as I wanted a blue one.  He said it will go perfectly with my ugly flower power pillowcases.  It's grown on me and it lets of this unreal amazing glow in the bedroom.......which can also been seen when you are in the garden AND walking up the hallway.

A craft package sent off in the recipients favourite colours of orange and fuchsia.

Making homemade pasta sauce with roma tomatoes.
A London linen tea towel and Harrods Tins found for my collection.
Rugby season has started.  Ah yes, Saturday morning winter.

Obsessing about getting washing dry.  We have had lots and lots of rain.

Long weekend breakfasts.
Easter drawing and the beginnings of story writing.
And Easter making.........thank you Julie for the idea and recipe.

Enjoy your Easter long weekend.  It is also the start of the school holidays for us here in NZ - 2 weeks, can't wait!
Happy Easter! xo

Friday, 18 April 2014


"A portrait of my children together, once a week, every week, in 2014."

I took a series of photos hoping to get all three looking at the camera, impossible.  Funny faces, looking in all directions, then Georgie did a runner.  In the end I think candid photos always work out to be the best.


Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Thursday, 17 April 2014

The ladies

We have had our 4 bantams for about 2 months now.  I love these quirky ladies and their very different personalities. 

They are free range in a large enclosure (if that makes sense) with a shed that holds the nesting boxes (that they don't use) and the roosts.  The two bigger bantams Betty and Roseanna sleep in there at night, but for some reason the two younger ones Clementine (white) and Sunday (grey) choose to roost in one of the peach trees, same branch every single night.  Even with all the rain we have had they won't go in the coop.

Betty and Roseanna are bossy and there is most definitely a pecking order so I wonder if this has something to do with it.  I'm worried though once the cold weather comes if they will be ok on their branch.   With Autumn here now and the leaves falling their lovely peach tree is now looking a little bare.

They are fussier eaters than I thought they would be when it comes to kitchen scraps, but after a bit of online reading I see that this is often the case with free range chickens who have access to lots of grass, weeds and bugs.  They get a good mix of grains, pellets and corn and love bread and apples, but not the skins.

I have also weeded a large patch that they spend their days dust bathing in and they get quite territorial about their spots.  Or if Betty wants a certain spot she goes and gives whoever is laying there a good peck until they move, bossy cow.

Roseanna is the champion egg layer.  And hides in the asparagus patch to lay her eggs.  They have never used the nesting boxes.  I was thinking about using the golf ball trick, have you tried it and does it work?

They always lay their eggs in the afternoon, I always thought they did this in the morning.........maybe I've seen this too many times in movies!

Chicken/bantam lovers and owners - I have some questions that I would love answered.

Are my two girls ok sleeping outside on their branch at night?
Any ideas on how to get them into the coop?
What type of coop (roosting) do you have?
How often do you feed your chooks, Mr H thinks I overfeed them?
Do you recommend any tried and well liked foods?
Any hints/tips you would like to share?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

From garden to plate



Homemade vegetable soup is a staple round here in the colder months and although the weather so far this Autumn is still warm I have been hanging out to put on a pot of vegetable soup.  I have been fighting the flu the past week and all I've been wanting to eat are bowls of soup (and hot cross buns).
I remember coming home from school to this cooking away on the stove top and eating bowl after bowl for afternoon tea and dinner.  It is great to get this started on a Friday evening, then you can help yourself to it over the weekend - perfect to come home to after Saturday morning sport as well.
My raised vegetable garden that sits under the apricot tree needed harvesting and composting so I was able to use some of the vegetables picked in my soup.  Our baby carrots and celery were used.  The coloured silverbeet and purple headed broccoli will be used tomorrow night when I cook a roast for our dinner.
I always make this soup with a bacon hock, which gives the soup a lovely smokey flavour.  Chunky cut potatoes, a packet of soup mix which is full of peas, barley and lentils, chopped onion, garlic and any vegetables you have to hand.  Grating in the vegetables is also a good way to get the greens into fussy eaters.
My kids love this soup, broth and all.  Serve with buttered bread or freshly baked scones and enjoy.
Do you have a dish that you enjoyed during your childhood that you love to cook now?
What is your winter warming go to dish?

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Autumn and a list



Don't let the puffy jackets fool you.  The weather has been so humid.  But the rain has come, thankfully.
Making :  jam, from scratch pasta sauce to freeze and use this weekend with meatballs.....and a mess in my very small kitchen. 
Cooking :  pasta, pizza, roast chicken and stews.  The rain has set in and I'm enjoying cooking warming and filling meals.
Drinking :  tea as always and milo (hot chocolate),  rainy weather always makes me want hot chocolate.
Reading:  NZ Gardener magazine (a Birthday gift subscription - such a great idea) and "The truth about you" by Susan Lewis - a good light girlie read.
Wanting:  a dryer.  Keep telling Mr H it's a need not a want.  We are only a few days into the rain and the washing is piling up already.
Looking:  at flights online to Brisbane, really want to visit my sister.
Playing:  with the racing track.  When set up it takes up the entire lounge.  Keeps the boys entertained for ages.  And I'm an ace at Lego building too now.
Deciding:  on what to plant next.
Wishing:  Mr H would hurry up and paint the toilet and bathroom.
Enjoying:  My childfree mornings.  The time goes so quickly though.
Waiting:  for Mr H to paint the toilet and bathroom.
Liking:  my pink flamingo fairy lights.
Wondering:  when the cold weather will set in.
Loving:  our chickens, their eggs and their quirky personalities.
Pondering:  where and when for a child free night away with Mr H.
Considering:  painting the toilet and bathroom myself!
Watching:  Mr Selfridge on TVNZ on Demand.  And True Crime Stories, which spook me, but doesn't stop me from watching them over and over again.
Hoping:  to start sewing more and using my newly acquired skills.  I've finished sew school and loved it.  Most of my spare time is spent in the garden at the moment.
Marvelling:  at what Tom is learning at school.  He is like a sponge.
Needing:  new shoes.  Went to the podiatrist who insists I stop wearing jandals (flip flops).
Smelling:  star gazer lilies - popped into the trolley with the weekly shop.
Wearing:  short sleeves still.
Following:  the Royal Tour - anyone else a little obsessed.  Just wish the weather was a little better for them.
Noticing:  how tall Bell is getting, she pretty much fits my shoes now, and I don't have small feet.
Knowing:  good things come to those who wait...........
Thinking:  I STILL need to go to bed a little earlier.
Feeling:  lucky.
Admiring:  how easily George has settled in to Kindy.  It's like he has always been there.
Sorting:  my material stash and the bottom of our wardrobe.
Buying:  birthday presents, swap goodies and winter clothes.
Getting:  good night sleeps........finally...........most nights.
Bookmarking:  winter warming recipes.
Disliking:  poo patrol when it's wet, yuck!
Opening:  homemade jam and overseas packages.
Giggling:  at our guinea pigs - such funny little things.  Can't believe the noises they make!
Snacking:  on Roma tomatoes with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Coveting:  pretty leather ankle boots for winter.
Wishing:  I was heading to Oz this weekend for a good friends wedding.
Helping:  Bell with her English homework but not her Maths.  It is beyond me.  She goes straight to Mr H for the Maths work.
Hearing:  rain, lots and lots of rain.

A list via Pip.


Monday, 7 April 2014

The garden share collective - April


Autumn finally feels like it is here, even though the mornings are cold the days are still very warm.  Most days we are outside in shorts and t-shirts still.

I finally got my winter vegetable patch sorted.  It has been sitting under lawn clippings for the last 6 months - the soil previously was so dry and compacted.

It has been turned over and had manure and compost added to it, left to cook for a week with the added help of rain and then I planted in savoy cabbage, silverbeet and kale.  The plants are looking really strong and healthy so that is exciting.

We have had a weekend of rain with more to come over the next week so the gardens are getting a really good soaking.

My sister n law is going to plant different winter vegetables to mine so when the time comes we can trade.
Growing in the garden I have:

Celery - these have done really well from the start.
Carrots - a little stunted - compacted soil further down perhaps?
Savoy cabbage

Herbs - basil, parsley, flat leaf parsley, coriander and a rosemary hedge.  I have newly planted in rocket.

Expecting to harvest/sow:

Strawberries - with the still warm weather around we are still getting these delicious berries.

To do list:

Monthly weed and soil turning.
Compost and manure into the smaller vegetable patch under the apricot tree - I would like to fill in the current gaps with more courgette plants (expensive to buy here in winter) and spinach which we eat a lot of but have never planted before.

Not a lot to do this month compared to others.  The rain is taking care of the watering which is wonderful.

I'm thinking of putting some kind of netting or covering over the plants to keep the white butterflies etc away - any suggestions?

Tom and I want to make a couple of scarecrows too so that should be fun.

Happy gardening!


Joining in with Lizzie from Strayed from the table.

"The Garden Share Collective is a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills. Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably."

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