Sunday, 30 March 2014

Not the Copacobana

As you can see, we were fighting off the crowds this morning. Neither of us are beach bunnies, but both of us had managed to wake up with sore backs this morning, so a long walk was in order. We saw one dog and its owner and a lot of seagulls eating shellfish. It's what passes for crowds on a Monday in the Horowhenua!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Mouse sitting

Ms Ginger is on self appointed mouse watch in the woodpile. After a very sleepy morning, she went out for a walk with my husband. A noise obviously drew her attention to the woodpile, and there she has taken residence, probably until the poor creature ventures out. Gingers are very patient.

Friday, 28 March 2014

A new tenant

I don't think it is a coincidence that the words "toil" and "soil" resonate. I am not a natural gardener, but today I had my reward.

I was busy digging this morning, trying to get the final patch near the strawberries weeded. About an hour into this, I heard my husband call me to come quick! Not sure what to expect I found him on the veranda, pointing to our large gravel driveway. There, crossing with a degree of bewilderment, was a young hedgehog.

My friend who treats sick hedgehogs will be delighted about this new resident of Coneysthorpe. We had discussed releasing some of her recovered treasures into our garden, but as they aren't native to NZ, I wasn't sure how the Department of Conservation would view this (we are close to DOC land and have to be mindful of native species). It seems the research I was going to do on this is now a bit redundant, as Mr Moses Prickles has already moved in.

He looks a youngster, and probably about to hibernate for the first time. I had just removed snails from a plant I was digging out, so I went and retrieved them, put Moses in the bushes (ha ha) and covered him with lots of leaves and a bit of hay. Then I took him breakfast in bed (sorry Mrs snail).

A delightful start to the weekend.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A pea by any other name

In the village where I grew up in N. Yorkshire, there weren't many shops. There were several pubs, a newsagent and a small row of shops purpose built in the late 1950s. If I recall there was a hairdresser and greengrocer in that block then a little further along the main road a fish and chip shop.

Fish and chips for our family was a Saturday treat about once a month. It was still in the days of being able to wrap up the meal in the "York Press". Amazing, no one ever died of an overdose of newsprint in the '60s.

The Saturday lunchtime feast would not have been complete without a dollop of mushy peas. They were gloopy and other worldly, resembling alien cuisine of galactic origin.

But oh the taste! Nowt like it.

This evening, I made soup. Not an unusual occurrence, but this soup originated with a box of Batchelors dried peas (the staple for mushy peas). My husband, being of aristocratic stock AND a southerner, wouldn't have dreamed of eating mushy peas. So I disguised them.

Here is the result. Three ingredients only, dried "mushy peas", onion and vegetable stock. Absolutely delicious and my husband enjoyed the soup.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The remembering

Today I am missing my dad TERRIBLY. The grief hits me at the weirdest times. Today it was in two waves, the first when I found an old photo of him, the second when I imagined him walking around the garden here at Coneysthorpe. He would have loved the garden far more than I ever could. I heard the conversation we would have had together. He would have not been able to help himself. He would have got into his old clothes and got to work. He was a man of the soil.

I was struck today how modest a man he was. He lived simply and modestly. He never boasted, was always hugging or laughing or giving. He couldn't stop giving. And I am ashamed that I didn't appreciate him more and recognise what a man of stature he was - a giant in every way.

Every time I arrived home from whatever part of the world I was working in, his first words were invariably "Eee lass, I have missed you."

Wherever you are tonight Dad, I do miss you. It tears me apart.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A walk to the Post Office

It takes around 40 minutes, but it is a glorious walk, so come along with me.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Nectar of the gods.

There are some events / things / smells from my youth that endure in my brain in a mega pixel, full throttle, hi-fidelity / 3D kind of way. One of them is the memory of eating a LOT of digestive biscuits during my finals at University. Essays on Pope, Dryden, Chinua Achebe and phonetics were usually adorned by the crumbs of the previous night's consumption. At least the addiction was legal.

I live in a country that doesn't make Digestive biscuits right. They are full of cheap and horrible ingredients and leave the alarming sensation in the mouth that I imagine would be left after eating horse oats.

Facebook provided me with a link to a blog which was advertising a recipe for chocolate digestives. Who could resist? I made them sans chocolate (I don't eat chocolate much these days), eh voila, the memories of thirty years ago came thundering back.

They look boring, but take my word for it, my tastebuds were translated.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A road trip

Sometimes, a half day wandering in the vicinity is as good as a holiday. Today we took a road trip to Feilding (yes I did spell that correctly), Marton (where our house originally stood) and Bulls (named after a person not a 2 tonne creature with a temper and horns).

Here are a few shots of the day, starting with Marton. It is a small farming town which appears to have fallen on hard times. The shops along the main high street are functional at best and of the second hand type at worst. However, if you lift your eyes from pavement level, some interesting history greets you.

Oh and if you are wondering who the statue is, that is Captain James Cook. The town is named after his home town in England, Marton-in-Cleveland.

Then on to Bulls. The town has adopted the corny approach to its name; as per the signpost. But there are some seriously good antique shops in the town, where I purchased the funky rolling pin (I'm guessing this is either to make pasta or to cut strips of pastry for decorating).

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Vocational surnames

The local chimney sweep has a rather unfortunate name for his profession.....Bloxham

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Paddock Diary 4

Yesterday a neighbour came and helped us with a tree that we needed to cut down.

We threw the branches into our paddock and caused a bit of a stir with our Highland ladies. They ran down from the top end of the field - the charge of the Hairy Ginger Lassies, with calves hot hoofing behind. I joked on the phone with the farmer who owns them that "The waste disposal unit arrived", as soon as the branches fell on the ground.

Here they are having morning tea!

Paddock Diary 3

an unusual sunrise this morning over the paddock. It was 22 degrees celcius at 6am and we are expecting the tail end of Cyclone Lusi today

Friday, 14 March 2014

A little bit of seasoning

Our local village has a market on the third Saturday of every month in the community hall. I went for the first time this morning and was thrilled with the variety of stalls.

Outside you could buy home made cakes, home grown veggies and bedding plants, inside there were Devonshire teas, handcrafts, antique toy sellers and toy makers. There was also a lady selling her mother's salt and pepper pot collection. They were going for $3 a pair so I bought a couple for the coffee machine.....yes you did read that correctly. Seasoning cruets are definitely not fashionable any more, but as I told the lady selling them, "it's all in the marketing". I told her to sell them as cinnamon and chocolate powder dispensers for the coffeeholics.

Here are a few that were for sale when I arrived.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Cyclone Lusi

We are being told to expect very heavy rain and high winds on much of the N. Island over the weekend. A case of splicing the main brace and battening down the hatches. Sadly, it doesn't mean an end to the drought, as the land is so dried out and hard the water is more likely to run off it and flood areas rather than quench the soil. More issues for the poor farmers.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I have just left a lamb bone for our neighbour's dog in their post box. It is my good doggy deed for the day.

Otto doesn't mind that I cherish creatures great and small; he got a fruit box to play with today.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Evening stroll

The rooks are cawing, the parrots are doing colourful and illegally low fly pasts, and myself and two cats went for a stroll. The buttercup came with us.....