Tuesday, 29 March 2016


One of our neighbours keeps bees, and our house is located directly on the flight path. This means I am regularly opening sash windows so one or two or six can fly in and exit with ease, en route to one of our flowering trees or bushes. As I like to talk to bees, you can regularly hear conversations such as "Oh it's you again - didn't you fly in this morning?" or "My goodness you have been busy today, off you go home now". They like as not hover, raise an eyebrow, doff their antenna then buzz off to their hives.

Here are few hanging out on our trees which smell like eglantine when they flower

And speaking of homes, in an attempt to curry favour with our local starling population (after finally winning the battle for the postbox), I have bought a nesting box which I plan to install in our garden. Made by a local man from driftwood, I am hoping this will deter them from pooping all over our mail for two months, then squatting in the mail box for another month.

The welcome sign was made by another local who re-purposes all manner of wooden furniture. We also have an old school desk she painted.

And finally, dessert.

It is quince season. Last year I was gifted quince and made jam. This year I have made a quince custard tart (at least I think I have, it was an experiment!) Thank you Penny for the quince, and the wonderful chard and spinach, which will also be consumed with great gusto at tea time. The chickens next door will get the cooked stalks.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Llama Avenue

The small village over the hill boasts a pub, a bowling club, and infant school and a llama breeder. These gentle animals graze and wander close to the railway line and are a very picturesque addition to an otherwise dull strip of the state highway.

One chap has discovered that the best meal is always to be found at the BACK of the cupboard.

The lovely beast always looks as if it is about to burst into tune

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The remains of this day

This evening, before the storm hits, I decided to grab the few hydrangeas remaining that would grace a vase. The vase was a recent brocante acquisition, for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

The gingers joined me. Mango wasn't impressed by the vase, Cumin spent some time sniffing before backing off and taking some perspective from a more distant part of the verandah. The boy didn't really notice, the girl lingered. Interesting how the animal kingdom so often mirrors our own!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Delicate rocks

Our house is old, and has creaks and squeaks and some of the doors like to swing open when we don't want them to.

Today I found a rock, covered it with a small handkerchief and then with a crocheted doilie. It works perfectly. I cannot say this is my own idea, I saw it in an edition of the British Country Living magazine. It is heavy enough to keep the living room door open for cats to enter and exit the hallway. I am very happy with the result.

Today's letter is brought to you by the letter G

G for Ginger

Yesterday's letter was T for Tortoiseshell. In the middle of an evening meeting in a local community hall, I was startled to see the tip of a tail bobbing through the door and under the meeting table. A local tortie "Miss" had decided she was going to join us, and proceeded to smooch any willing hand offered. It was very distracting, so I reluctantly picked her up and shooed her out. I didn't want a new member of staff for the community hall, however efficient she may be at mousing.

Monday, 14 March 2016

More surprises

The "bull surprise" was followed by the "bulb surprise".

I didn't plant these lilies, but they suddenly sprouted all over the garden.

I feel blessed

Where the buffalo roam.......

We left our house at 8.30am on Sunday to drive to a nearby town. Sauntering down our country road was a handsome young steer. It was dark chocolate brown with a few white patches. In the rear view mirror we could see one of our neighbours on his quad bike, attempting to wrangle the lad back into his field. We thought nothing more of it.

1pm we were driving home, and who should be stood in our driveway but Mr Chocolate Horns. I got out of the car and it ran down towards our house and towards our paddock; the poor lad was spooked. I managed to herd him back up the driveway and out onto the road. Many phone calls followed to various farmers. It transpired the lad had just been weened and he didn't like being separated from mum, who was grazing somewhere else on the road. He had started quite a hullaballu with the other cattle who were also contemplating breaking for it in the field opposite our house.

Sunday evening, I thought I would go for a walk, and blow me down if Mr C H wasn't still wandering up and down the road. He was completely uncatchable and wouldn't stay put in the field when he was caught. As of Monday evening he was down at the river bank still giving his owner the slip.

I called our immediate neighbours to tell them to shut their gates. One neighbour threatened a hangi* if Mr CH appeared on their verandah.

So if you smell wafts of beef steaks coming from the general direction of our bit of paradise, bring a plate and salad.

*Traditional Maori feast cooked in the ground on hot stones

Monday, 7 March 2016

Subtle changes and the anticipation thereof

Most people I know LONG for spring after lengthy and difficult winters. I long for autumn.

The fondness for the season started before I was old enough to start school. The strong smells of decaying leaves, watching my dad prune back the many rose bushes, him ambling around in the mist of an early morning veggie patch and orchard at my grandparents. Later there were the damp walks to school and by the river to church. Powerful evocations of a tinkling sweet childhood.

Today, there is a subtle change in the air. This afternoon we got the first misty rain and quite a strong breeze coming from the mountains. The cats played with the blessed relief of being released from their exhausted stupor - no cat should have to do ANYTHING in recent temperatures, least of all frolic.

So this evening as I pulled up the remnants of the runner beans, three cats charged around in the damp grass, and the "kitten" shot up a variety of trees and finally the washing line post.

Most of the day was making a night gown - a project I could not have faced with hot hands. Nor could I have used our marvellous kitchen table, as the kitchen behaves like a green house, and even with the curtains closed is fit for neither man nor beast.

So tomorrow I expect to dig out the knitting needles and start knitting hats for seafarers. The Christmas tree project will be thrown into 5th gear and I need to make a trip to buy the first load of wood for the stove.

If you see me hibernating any time soon, be sure to scratch my ears and pass me a bucket of hazelnuts for the journey.