Friday, November 20, 2009

Sweet peas smell wonderful and how about this rose?

The rose is called Old Port Mackati and has a wonderful scent. As the the sweet peas, they bring back childhood memories because they really smell like sweet peas. They are a heritage seeds from Niche seeds.

More planting and hope the lousy weather is nearly over

A rotten spring, cold and windy and early November was no exception. Will summer ever arrive?

I am glad I planted Russian tomatoes, they are doing quite well in this climate. While the east of NZ swelters and South Australia is on burn alert, we continue with mild temperatures. But we had a good rain and the day after I spent four hours in the garden.

Today need to plant two blueberries but I really should plant them in peat and I haven't any.

We are eating broad beans and we pick four or five declicious strawberries every day. I must say they make the bought ones seem like cardboard. I have 28 tomato plants in, mostly heritage and of course I have lost half their labels, what with putting the glasshouse ones out in the wind to water them. Darn. Jaune flame, a beefsteak called Marmande, Oregon Spring, Abraham Lincoln, one Sweet 100, one Moneymaker.

Have been given some red currants by a guy at bridge, and I bought a couple of raspberry cuttings at a stall. They are planted but I am not sure if they are in the right place. Trying to imitate a food forest to eliminate work..

Corn is in, have three lots of peas going, all staked and have constructed structure for the beans to climb up. We took out a paving stone and put in a grape which may climb onto the wires between big posts out the back.

It is a pleasure turning the compost and I have put compost round all the fruit trees.

Most of the apples I grafted have taken and I have bought 1000 labels (for sale 100 labels for $5, I don't need them all) and finally I am using the correct waterproof pen.

Big mistake was not to take out the forget me nots. Yuk they now have burrs and I get them all over my clothes.

The damson plum has about 30 fruit on it. boysenberry is spreading as are the two thornless blackberries. One apple badly needs espaliering and I have no idea what to do and keep forgetting to organise it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Still planting and bringing in new patches of garden

Fortunately the spring has been cool and wet, so I can still plant fruit trees. Perhaps today was the last one planted for the winter, a second mountain pawpaw tree. They apparently need two to pollinate. Hope they grow well. Have mulched up some and need to mulch the rest before the dry sets in.

With all the shredding of silver birches that Malcolm has done, there is a heap of mulch ready to use and half rotted. Today I moved three or four barrowloads over to the southern boundary, put some compost on, and planted pumpkin seeds I bought from the soil and health meeting today, together with a cucumber. Then sunflowers. And nearer the house I dragged some wet cardboard from the bottom of the compost heap and spread it on the grass. Then I covered it with half rotted mulch and compost and planted some corn and some cosmos plants.

So the vege garden has spread. And today I had the mower man deliver grass clippings so that should grow good tomatoes. Have been putting wood ash on the tomatoes.

We have the following heritage tomatoes growing: Russian Silvery Fir, Abraham Lincoln, Jaune Flamee, Marmande, Matts Wild cherry and Oregon Spring. All grown lovingly from seed by moi.

Couldn't resist buying some raspberry plants, a whole heap for $5 at the Soil and Health meeting. Heaven knows where we will put them. Already we need a structure for the two kiwifruit built, and I need a place to grow beans. Everything else is in, but the kumeras look a bit sad after the cold. Hope they perk up.

And today we had our first two strawberries! I made a structure to keep birds away. Couldn't wait for Malcolm to do it, so I got some bricks with holes in, laid them round the edge. Then I found the number eight wire, struggled with wire cutters unsuccessfully so ended up bending it in hoops and draping netting over it all. Seems to work well. Found the cat under it the first day.. But strawberries are finally ripening. Feeding them worm wee.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The kale which keeps us healthy

We have been growing it all winter and always have it there. Malcolm would eat it raw sometimes three times a day. Anyway here is a photo taken by my iphone.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blossoms and flowers as well

Yes we have cherry trees down our drive and lots of rock roses. It has been a delight to watch all sorts of unknonw plants come up and burst into flower.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kids in twisty willow tree

Three of the older boys came with Alistair and had a ball up the tree.

Rupert and Malcolm clean up silver birch wood

Another month another lot of cleaning up felled trees. We seem to have killed a lot of grass but Malcolm will get the stuff off this week he says. I am not allowed to do it because he says it is his job!

The big log with red on it is for Simcha Delft, an instrument makeer. She will keep it five years to dry and then use it for mending instruments.

An Alistair will bring some pallets soon to sit the wood on. We already have heaps and have had to buy another tarpaulin.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

An early view of the vege garden

The colour is a bit artificial but it shows the eight plots. Potatoes are now coming up in the far two beds, all Maori pototoes. The next one awaits kumera later and is being fed with all sorts of goodies. The nearest plot has both garlic and red onions and some of it is surrounded by strawberries, though this experiment is not altogether successful as the birds scratched out quite a few. I transplanted the strawberries nearest the garlic because I read a book on companion planting which recommended against them together. Anyway I have broad beans in one bed and peas in the next one together with some healthy looking beetroot. I noticed the peas didn't like horse manure and burnt up (so I took the manure away, as well as it was possible). I planted some snow peas yesterday but avoided too rich soil. Hope they grow well.

In the back garden we have two thornless blackberries and a good looking tamarillo. The passion fruit is near the compost heap. Then silver beet and curly kale, celery, parsley, great coriander find their homes among the lavendar. I planted six small cabbage there too, though I put toilet rolls round them to protect from slugs.

The little garden outside the kitchen is being saved for tomatoes, I have grown Russian silvery fir tomatoes (NICHE seeds) very carefully and lovingly inside. So I will have to put some ash and urine on the tomato bed, as well as dig in bokashi and the new compost before planting out the tomatoes. I have Alderman climbing peas about to go up the post and need to put netting round it soon. But the soil there was a bit stony.

And nearby the roses are underplanted with chives and parsley. I empty washed milk cartons on them and give them some worm wee. It goes almost everywhere actually.

More on tree felling silver birches gone now

So it was only the silver birches to go now. Alistair downed them very quickly last weekend and Malcolm has spent hours trimming them and sorting them on the front lawn. It enabled the planting of two citrus but I had to plant the damson plum in the vege garden meanwhile. Hopefully the larger trunks will be sawn up soon. We had a big rain so bought a tarpaulin and tied it down for the last storm.

A friend who is an instrument maker has marked some of the birch and will keep it for five years before using it to mend instruments.

End of planting season nearly now

Well lots have happened since I posted last in mid July. The cheesy photo of Malcolm is to show off the Pyroclassic woodburner a great replacement for the old burner which chewed up the wood. From Napier it is a great addition to our warm home.

And the sawdust photo is more recent.

Planted recently are figs, grapefruit and lemon, and today it was two Hayward kiwifruit, one male and one female.

Lots of good compost has been made as the bought stuff is nearly all used up.

Friday, July 17, 2009

New fruit trees being planted

So far we have planted the following. Three figs, all coming in at different times. Early one San Pedro went into a container this morning to constrict its roots, then comes the Brown Turkey then comes the Adriatic.

Christabel sourced a King David apple for us, originated from Nelson maybe and grafted by Mark Christianson of Wanganui. We also have in the healthy one, Monte's Surprise bought from Stewart Dixon

Then the soft fruit two thornless blackberries, one boysenberry.

We have four feijoas ready to plant. One is from the local Bell Street Watson's gardens without a name, one is Wiki Tu, late and large. Then there are Unique and Apollo. Then we will plant a lemonade and a grapefruit and finally a damson plum which Wendy kindly gave us. Next winter a Hawera plum.

Two trees go at the front

For sunlight and warmth. Already sun comes onto thw lawn. Soon we will be able to plant the fruit trees there. A gum tree and a very old lilly pilly. Felled by professionals.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Another view of the garage

Gradually starting to grow things in the garden.And now we have a whole lot of fruit trees to plant. Have already planted two apples, one tamarillo, one passion fruit, two thornless blackberries and one fig.

The garage is up now

It was quick and painless. Three days and it is up. Then Malcolm dug the trench for the power line and the electrician connected us up. Next the plumber has to instal the water tank and dig a soak hole.

We are now transferring stuff from the carpetted area in the back to the garage and have already used the smooth concrete floor to make bokashi from sawdust, bran and 2% EM and 2% molasses.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just a photo of Malcolm for the record

it might be a few years old but here he is. He goes to the gym as often as he can. Twice a week for ages and ages. He does 30 mins on the rowing machine and is a legend there at 83 years old!

The garage starts

After all the consents and letters from neighbours and $$s to the council, it is now underway. Roger the concreter was a poem to watch. So fit and strong.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jendre helps with creating new garden

A lovely young German woman worked for us for three days under the wwoofing scheme. Here Jendre is helping scatter mulch after marking out the new gardens. These will be great in the spring.
I have planted garlic, red onions and strawberries in the first garden and scattered lupin seed in the second so we can plant in the spring.

We need to go to the racecourse and bag up some horse manure, quite an effort to two oldies with colds. Unfortunatly Jendre has already gone. Cold night and 10 degrees today after a frost, no sun much.

Deciding which feijoa to buy when the garage has been finished. It arrives today and shouldn't take too long. Then we have to get a water tank for drainage.

The firewood looks good

But the fire is so inefficient that it burns up too much wood! We are replacing the woodburner with a pyroclassic. This involves slightly altering the hearth and tomorrow a brickie does that with some old bricks out the back.

Malcolm loves chopping wood. He really enjoys the exercise and does a great job of it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There is a first time for everything

Deirdre brings in plants

Yes here I am with my Stanley Handcart loaded with plants that Christabel has been looking after for me. I wheeled it to and from her place down the road.

We have ordered a truckload of compost and have already had Kath Irvine in to advise on making a garden.

Still regular visitors who come to have a look at the place.

Now have the office nearly ready for work and Malcolm is still putting books carefully in our four bookcases. We had six and a half at the last place. One of them at the new place is really big so we haven't really got rid of any books.

The fort is the first to go

Malcolm is keen to get a vege garden established and so one of his first priorities was to get rid of this children's climbing structure. He will later make sure that the soil under it is taken out because it will have all the residues from treated timber in it.

Alistair couldn't do it till the school holidays so Rupert kindly stepped in an spent a hard afternoon dismantling the structure. He went home for tea and brought back Alistair with his trailer and it is now gone! Just the sandpit left and a few flax plants.

You can see the gum tree on the left. We are going to build a garage where the car is and so the gum tree, which is always precarious in high winds, will go. That will mean we will get a heap more morning sun in the winter too.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We moved in last Wednesday 25 March 2009

It's been quite a week and we have made remarkable progress already at settling in to our new home. We feel so good about it and friends have been absolutely wonderful to us.

First Bernadine and Hannah were great in cleaning and helping on moving day, doing the nasty job of clearing out the garage and the big implement shed. Fortunately it was a wonderfully fine day. Leigh and Hamish were moving here and we were moving to their place so the four trucks just shuttled to and fro for most of the morning and we then proceeded to shake down for the afternoon.

The most wonderful thing was that Mig came and helped sort out the kitchen so by dinner time it was workable. It is a super kitchen. I love it and Mig has found good place e.g. cups and glasses in drawers instead of teatowels which are higher. Then Christabel arrived on her bike with dinner and it was enough for three of us, lovely meal too. I was in bed by 8pm and Rupert visited on the way home from Wellington.

On Thursday we drove up to Levin to buy ourselves a new supertub for the laundry, the plumber visited and ordered a small cylinder for the laundry as it only has cold water.

Friday was also busy. Miriam visited, the real estate agent brought a basket of goodies and we sorted bedrooms, started the bathroom, unpacked till we dropped. I had a lovely bath each night. The TV aerial man came to sell us his Freeview box and get it going for the weekend till he puts a better one there on Monday. We shuffled round furniture in the sunroom and can sit in the sun.

Saturday saw us up early to drive to Paraparaumu to buy things for Bryan to put up. A bathroom cabinet to replace the ugly one on the wall, another towel rail, a guest towel holder. Bryan was magnificent, not only doing this work but teaching us all sorts of things re TV, showing us what to use for borer in the bathroom. He also managed to get the Airport and modem beside the piano and be invisible. Now the computer works in both house and office.

Was too tired to take photos, or when I wanted to take one today, I couldn't find the camera.

And today Rhys came to fix locks, cut duplicate keys and organise our locks generally. Nice to get organised.

Tomorrow Rachel and Jamie are coming, Rupert and the wardrobe man from Lower Hutt on his bike ride.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

This is so much fun

Another visit with camera

Deciding which furniture to take and which to get rid of and how...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wide hall, an old house

Looking from front to back. The newer living area is at the back, the dining room on left, the bedrooms on left and right. Built in bookcase means we will sell some of ours.

And the front is lawn with children's play equipment

Silver birches on the street behind white picket fence. Driveway of stones. Lawn at front and on side.

more photos but the battery ran out!