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Monday, October 31, 2011

A very big catch up.......

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted here ~ 7 months have gone by, in the blink of an eye!

There's been so much going on here I'm not sure where to start ~

We had a reasonable winter apart from 2 very heavy snow falls, somehow the Winter seemed to be very short. Luckily we had a new log burner installed and the first major thing we did to our new home was insulate everywhere as there was no insulation whatsoever in it. We did the roof space, underfloor and also the exterior wall cavities. We were as snug as bugs compared to what we had experienced over the past 3 Winters. I still find it mind boggling that most NZ homes, especially the older ones have no insulation. Saying that when we first arrived in New Zealand we rented a house that was 8 years old and there was no insulation in that house either, it was often colder in the house than outside. I had honestly forgotten what it was like to live in a warm, dry home. We still have a log burner with a wetback to be fitted in the kitchen diner but that will be done after Christmas.
Mostly every spare minute I can find is being spent in the garden. The place hadn't had much done to it for over 3 years and the garden as you can imagine was very unruly and out of control. We have been digging and laying paths, digging out and building raised vegetable beds (2 completed, 2 more to go), the formal garden is fairly large and the weeding alone is a full time job. However, we have been laying weed matting and bark chips in an effort to conquer this. The garden is looking much better than it did 6 months ago.
Spring has sprung and we have had spectacular cherry blossom, tulips and daffodils (although ours were out in the Autumn strangely). The flower beds are full of peonies that are fit to burst any day, rhododendrons of all colours and varieties, the rose bushes have put on a lot of growth over the past few weeks and the Camellias have been and just about gone. We planted a few fruit trees in the Winter months ~ quince, fig, bramley apple,  peach and a beautifully perfect damson tree that my boys bought me for mothers day that I was thrilled with.

The raised beds that are completed have just been planted with raspberry canes, beans, peas, lettuce, silver beet and bok choi, we are now eating the broad beans I planted back in Autumn. The asparagus bed is supplying us with plenty of spears ~ enough to eat them daily. There is nothing better, in my mind, that goes as perfectly with asparagus spears than a freshly laid brown egg:
We succumbed and got 10 laying hens. My clever Hubby built a posh coop to house our new girls:
This is Minerva, she is top chick. I named her after my dear Grandma. Minerva was the first hen to lay an egg ~ she did it under the cherry tree on her first day with us while we were faffing around sorting out the water dispensers etc. I was shocked when I turned around and saw her stood there with an egg at her feet. She keeps all the other hens in order. We have only named 3 of them so far, there's Minerva, Matilda (who is the scrawniest looking hen and is the first out of the coop on a morning and last in at night she runs to greet us when we approach) and Maisy who is a pale golden brown and white colour, Maisy is the prettiest of them all.

The hens are very entertaining to watch, they go absolutely crazy for the scratching wheat in the afternoons and eat any table scraps we may have, left over and gone to seed veg from our garden, weeds etc. The hens love over ripe avocados and kiwi fruit. They are currently in a large fenced off area in the side paddock but after another week or so when they have got completely used to their environment we can let them fully free range on the paddock. My girls are making me so proud, they are laying at least 6 eggs a day.

There hasn't been much on the knitting/dyeing/crafting front going on at all. I keep knitting little things such as fingerless mitts or hats. I have spun a little bit of the alpaca fleece and I finally finished spinning the shetland combed top, all 900g of it. I seem to have been spinning it forever. I'm going to knit a hap blanket from it, maybe in the fall because I can't imagine knitting something like that in the Summer months.

There has been lots of baking going on too, however I haven't taken photographs of any of it. I made the most yummy sticky toffee cupcakes and an apple shortcake that is out of this world. I will bake them again soon and post the pics and recipes here, very soon.

I have lots more to say, but maybe tomorrow ;-)

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