Monday, April 26, 2010

ANZAC Surprise

Here in New Zealand it is autumn, so these spring flowering soldier poppies were a wonderful surprise flowering for ANZAC day, along with their companions, the cornflowers. So in my garden in Prebbleton I had my own little tribute to the fallen and returned ANZAC soldiers, and also to my dear grandfather, Poppy, who died on ANZAC day. Mr B and I went down the road to the war memorial to commemorate ANZAC day with our community. The twinnies were there with their mum, so it was lovely to share the special day with them. Miss Biddy and I put a rose from my garden on the memorial. We had a look at the old photos inside the memorial hall. The photos showed young men with such confidence on their faces. Had they known the horrors to come I'm sure the pictures would have told a different story. Mr B and I are watching The Pacific as Mr B was a fan of Band of Brothers. It is on tonight. I find it hard to watch the soldiers dealing with the death of their mates. Saving Private Ryan was on on Saturday night so we watched that. The deaths in that are possibly the most realistic in war movies because they are not all a quick drop in a volley of bullets. The futility of the whole thing, and the insignificance of each individual person to the whole operation strikes me when I watch anything about war. Peoples lives should be treasured, not wasted.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Welcome Rain

Today we are having a lovely rainy day. We have't done much around home. I was lucky enough to get a doggy walk in this morning early, before the rain set in. We then went to the Federation Coffee House which is owned by our friend and his son. They purchased it as a going (barely) concern and are going to build the business. It is on Manchester Street. Chris is an expert barrista and the drinks come in lovely plump cherry red cups with a giant jaffa. Well worth a visit.

Last Sunday I had a very busy day, despite the ominous threat of the beginning of Term 2 hanging over my head. I made a big batch of yummy soup.

With some ciabatta to go with it. Fabulous result and no dog lips went near the uncooked dough.

I also pickled some red cabbage. I love red cabbage with a passion. This batch turned out really well. I've been into it even though I am supposed to wait a month or so.

I also potted up my mixed tulip bulbs and rudely evicted some violas that self-seeded from the garden so that I could top them with colour. Plus I planted masses of polyanthus. Hope they are pretty colours. This is a wee sample of the pots. The pelargoniums will finish soon so I wanted lots of colour on the deck area to replace them over winter.

Here was a wonderful find in the garden. My artichokes, unharvested due to a very busy end to the year, flowering merrily. Actually, the word might be regally. They are gloriously mauve and sort of fuzzy, but with structure.
The furry child is shouting in a very aggravated way. Mr B broke the filter on the drier so is furiously engaged in a repair job. I have to admit I left him to it as it looked rather grim. Monty has lost me I think, and is mad no-one is there to make him warm and cosy. I am off to a 21st birthday party for a delightful young man who is extremely autistic and completely non-verbal. I started teaching him when he was 15 and even though he hasn't been in my class for the last two years we are still good mates. Oh, Monty has just pooed so that explains all the yelling. Well must go and get ready to depart for the party. I'm sure there will be some loud music as the birthday boy loves a dance. Hopefully I'll have an ANZAC report tomorrow. XXX

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Harvest Season

I love autumn, with the warm, fresh days, noisy birds, and treasures to be found. Last week I took a trip to the Nelson area, to the family farm. What a perfect time to go as the weather was perfect, and my little nephew was still a wee man (6 months old) and utterly delicious. I hope he stays as sweet and good natured as he is now. It seems daunting to think of him growing up.
While I was on holiday I helped my gorgeous mummy plant some of her daffodils. I have a pile to plant in my own garden too. There were edible goodies in the garden, and things to be made, plus a wander around the farm revealed treasures to be harvested.
Here is the vege patch, newly built last spring. I was very impressed with the vast swathes of beans and the enormous basil plants. Mum's reached at least 50cm high and my tiddlers are only about 15cm. Mr B is not that keen on beans so would be very pleased my plot has limited quantities.
Take a look at these amazing shallots! I must grow some this year. The onion family has done well in my garden to date. Clearly not as well as Mum and Dad's ones.
Mum was busy boiling up a brew of tomato sauce from an old Edmonds recipe book. Just like me she cooks her smelly pickles and sauces outside on the side burner of the barbeque. Stops the vinegar smell getting through everything in the house.

Sorry to say I haven't got a picture of the finished product as I was whisked away to Nelson to stay with my sister and family.

This sight warms the cockles of my heart. Curling up by the fire is one of my greatest pleasures. Even better if I've got a good book and a cat for company. Thanks for the firewood, Dad!

I love to hunt for food when I'm out and about. Driving back from Nelson to home I spotted masses of apple trees and other fruiting plants on the side of the road. I could just imagine Hugh F-W leaping out of his landrover to harvest some wild food. I was in the company of a less enthusiastic scrumper so had to window shop instead. Fortunately I had these beauties in my possession from the farm. Walnuts.
And sweet chestnuts.

I can sense a few nutty recipes being tested. I have to do a bit of baking for school lunches tomorrow. I thought I might make soup for tea and try making bread again. Unfortunately Miss Dog found my last loaves rising merrily into plump cushions and decided to help herself. No ill effects from the raw dough either. Her furious father made her stay outside for most of the evening. Hopefully tomorrow will be a success. I've got lots of school work to do, plus a whole pile of red cabbage salting currently to pickle. And the weather is so glorious for bike rides, doggy walks and gardening. Needless to say school is going to be a rude interruption to harvest season.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Inspired again

Here I go again. Back with the blog. I tried a special blog about our new town, but have decided that my heart lies with Poppies and Daisies. Blogs are so inspiring. Reading about the creative adventures of other people makes me excited and gives me a "can do" attitude. Since it is over a year since you have heard from me, I had better share some of my current interests.

  • Vegetable gardening. Oh, to grow veges to feed the nation.
  • Dahlias. Wow they give a lot of colour for no effort (especially when passed on to me by my lovely neighbour).
  • Cooking my own produce.
  • Embroidery. Still creating gardens out of thread.
  • Biking. Mr. B helped me fix up my old bike and I have started exploring the village.

On the "Still into it but could do better" list

  • Playing my 'cello.
  • Knitting and crochet- yes winter is coming.
  • Sewing. I have the Cath Kidston Sew book.

  • Creating art.'

  • Making my house lovely.

    These very orderly and well behaved vegetables are now a vast mass of green. Any ideas on what to do with spinach and rainbow chard to make it delicious to less than enthusiastic husbands?
      My most special man. We have had some dramas, but you are still with us. He is rolled up like a cinnamon bun, and twice as delicious! Soppy mother!

    And a special tribute to my darling Merlin. 11 or 12 years old when he finally died quietly. Here he is on his last weekend, and looking surprisingly good. He is actually buried exactly under the spot he is sitting in the photo. He is now fertilising the flowering cherry tree that he loved to sit under. What a special man he was. He had lots of cuddles and scratches around his ears and along his back. He never went hungry and was only ill in old age. XXXXXX Mr Bunny.

    PS. Sorry if the layout is a bit rough.