Friday, December 24, 2010


I'm on holiday. Somewhere in my luggage my little camera lurks. We've been staying in Silverstream in the Hutt Valley near Wellington for the past few days. Now we are in Ngatimoti, which is up the Motueka Valley near Nelson. I'm wondering how the garden is doing without me, and I miss our lovely house, but it is being looked after. I'm sure the birds are keeping a close eye on my raspberries, and the daikons are becoming enormous.

This morning Miss Dog and I did our first training mission for a triathlon in 2012. As you know, I'm not one for sticking to things, so if I actually do a triathlon it will be a MIRACLE. We did trot along with the best of intentions, met a lovely horse, trespassed (well one of us did, the other was yelling frantically), and generally had a good time. I was wearing my new sneakers. They are comfy, although probably wouldn't win any prizes for adding to my sporting prowess.

Today we are going into Motueka to help Mum and Nanny finish their Christmas shopping and to meet the Golden Bay relatives for afternoon tea. Johnny let fly the horrifying revelation that he doesn't like berry picking at the berry farm. I love it. So I let some other family members go instead. Hopefully I'll get to go on the berry picking expedition before New Year.

Looks like Mum and Nanny are almost ready to go. I'll hunt for the camera and take some photos for next time. XXX

ps. Merry Christmas- Happy Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thank you treats

It has been a very busy week with a class of very tired and niggly students (and sorry to say, one grouchy teacher assistant). Fortunately there have been some treats coming my way to make me very happy indeed. It isn't even the last day and I've got some gorgeous thank you presents already.

Two wonderful soaps (my reindeer patchwork cushion snuck into the photo because I love it so much).
Roses. You know how much I love roses.
I also got a very special thank you from one of my very precious former students, who is now 21 and is leaving school. He is severely intellectually disabled and he and I have been very close for a long time. I'm sure we will get together again in the future. He (and his mum) gave me this very large, deliciously fragrant candle.
Plus this amazing bouquet of flowers. More roses, Christmas lilies (one of my favourite flowers) and tucked here and there - chocolate!!!!

The photo does not do the flowers justice, but I couldn't drum up the energy to muck around with the camera. Only one and a half days to go until the holidays!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So proud

My four feathered babies have left home. On Monday morning when I popped out to check on them there were only three, all standing eagerly in their nest. By the time I got home from school they had all flown away. How strange to think of them spending their childhoods cowering together in their nest, never leaving to explore the branches in their immediate vicinity. Then suddenly they are so big they barely fit together, their bodies fully feathered, so they all leave home, never to return. I've been left with a rather stretched and soiled nest, perched in the little maple tree. I do miss them because they were so fascinating. I never imagined tiny creatures could grow and change so fast. I hope they return to pull out my seedlings, slaughter the local insect population and to rampage through the raspberries. Hopefully next year I'll have the pleasure of another nest to observe and worry over.

As you can see, the birds have left a few raspberries for us to enjoy. The wooden compost bin has raspberry canes behind it, and I had to climb on top of the compost to hunt for the fruit. My foot nearly disappeared into something hideous, and when I climbed down I caught my foot in the bird netting and nearly had an embarrassing spill. It was worth it because the fruit is perfect. We had them for pudding.
I was also impressed with my first radish crop of the year. I've had great success with the daikon radishes. These are just a standard mixed radish pack. The red ones were eaten first because they grew super-fast. I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I pulled out this purple one. It was slightly woody in the centre and totally edible. Not all nasty and hot like they usually become as they grow bigger.

I had the last judging session at the Canterbury Eventing Twilight Series on Wednesday night. I can now judge show jumping. I was really sad to see the end of the competition because I enjoyed every minute of it. I saw some amazing horses and a wide array of riders, some fantastic, and others not so good. I hope to be invited back in February for the next Twilight Series.

Heather and Francis are coming tomorrow, for afternoon tea and a tour of the garden. I'm on a go-slow for some reason. Often happens after a creative period and is rather frustrating. Tomorrow I'll try to ignore the go-slow and see what I can do. I think I'm bogged in panic over the many Christmas presents I have to purchase. Family members- your Christmas lists please!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Merry Christmas

Take a look at what I got for Christmas! My babies are positively huge! Actually they belong to the very hard working Mr and Mrs Blackbird (Johnny said he saw a pair of thrushes feeding them, but unless they are an interspecies family, he got it wrong). There were four eggs and, to this point, there are four impressively sized baby birds. They are the strong, silent type, and hunker down peering back at me with their beady little eyes when I take a peek into their nest. I think they've got used to it now because they never look panicked when I'm nearby, and their parents have given up on the raucous alarm cries too. My raspberry patch is taking a hammering to feed the greedy hoard before the fruit is even ripe. I threw some bird netting over the top, but I'm sure that won't give them any trouble whatsoever.
Johnny scrambled up into the attic space to hunt out my Christmas tree. I had lots of fun putting it up while Johnny and The Crafty Neighbour reclined on the couches making "helpful" suggestions about where I needed to fill gaps. My tree is multi-coloured, mainly because I'm not keen on spending heaps to purchase the latest fashion in decorations each year. Plus I meant to buy clear fairy lights, but accidentally got colourful ones. They are very pretty. I especially love bird decorations, and buy them when I see particularly lovely ones.
I got two small strips of interesting Christmas fabric from the remnant bin at Cottonfields a couple of months ago. I was trying to decide what to make when I was suddenly inspired to make a Christmas cushion for the living room to go one of the new chairs. The colours in the lounge are traditional red Christmas colours, but red doesn't go with the softer colours in the living room, and this matches perfectly. I like the little reindeer.
I had three strips leftover, and I've been wanting to make tiny bunting flags for ages so got out the pinking shears and a long strip of ribbon. The bunting is over two metres long, and I have no idea where to hang it as I don't want to stick it to the wall and mark the paint. The bunting is so sweet, and I would definitely make it again, even though it was rather fiddly.

Today I planted carrot, pea and pak choy seeds, plus clipped the box hedging and did some serious tidying up in the garden. The poppies are getting scruffy and leggy, so I decided to pull out the worst offenders and cleaned up the dried out bulb foliage. As I was scruffling around in some daffodil leaves a mouse popped out and raced across the lawn, right between Miss Dog's legs and into the undergrowth. She didn't even notice. I hope the dear wee creature doesn't enter the "man vs mouse" war zone, that is our house. It wouldn't stand a chance against Johnny's arsenal of lethal poison pellets and traps.

We've got the end of year production tomorrow and Tuesday. I'm going to need all of the patience, calmness and organisational skills I can summon up. Grim. I hope the children have fun and don't get too bored, stressed, hot or otherwise bothered, or there will be trouble. I'm very excited about the upcoming holidays as I'm in a highly creative phase at the moment. I've got one more show jumping judging session. I did about half of the judging last week. It was great fun. I hope to do some horsey stuff in the holidays too.

Have a great week. Eat a candy cane, purchase or make a new decoration for the Christmas tree, and don't forget your sunblock (read "thermal underwear" if in the Northern Hemisphere). XXX