In the garden

How has your week panned out? It’s been a lovely week here, the weather holds. It’s still nice and warm, and although rain was forecast this weekend, it has not arrived. School and after school activities are now in full swing, and the pace of life has picked up to match, as have I – needs must.

Today I’m going to share a little more of my garden, but Ill be back in a day or two with some crafty progress and other happenings from around the place.

My vege garden has found a new lease of life, consistent watering and the continuing long hot summer has given it a second wind. We have water restrictions so I’m getting up at 6am every second day and turning on the sprinkler for an hour or two.  I’ve got another round of summer crops in, the tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers are still going strong and many autumn crops are beginning to take off too.

Here are some garden shots taken over the last week…

Leeks, interspersed with coriander, silverbeet and zinnias:Garden feb 2014A second crop of potatoes… hope there are lot’s of lovely taters under those leafy heads! Garden feb 2014 potatoes

A golden courgette flower:

Corgette flowerBee on the wing, they love these borage flowers:

Bee and borageCinnamon basil, the first time Ive grown this variety, it seems to be very abundant… must make pesto this week before the basil all turns the corner:

Cinnamon BasilA drooping sunflower head in the late afternoon sun. If you’ve figured out an easy way to harvest the seeds please let me know:

Dead sunflowerThe second crop of raspberries, even better than the first!

Raspberries ripeningMarigolds, basil and tomatoes, wonderful companions, all have thrived this summer:

Marigolds tomatoes and basilDill seed heads… one of two herbs I never plant but always have in abundance due to self seeding (or lazy gardening!) – the other is coriander:

Dill flowersI think they are so beautiful too…Dill seed head 2

We’ve an awesome crop of golden queen peaches this year – YUM:

Golden queen peachesFinally the perfect antidote to these hot afternoons… a little sprinkler action:

In the sprinklerWhat’s been happening in your neck of the woods? Do tell… Jxx

Heavenly hydrangeas

After a somewhat sedate start to the new year, things really have picked up to the point that I now feel like I am constantly running to keep up. From early morning till (sticky hot!) evening, life is more than a little chaotic and I feel like I’m racing from one task to another… there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day! I took a few minutes this afternoon to ‘just breathe’, and wandered around the garden taking photos – while the children were playing under the sprinkler!

I couldn’t resist sharing these hydrangeas with you…

Hydrangeas Hydrangeas Hydrangeas HydrangeasThey are, of course, past their best. In a day or two the petals will start to brown and curl… but for today I feel happier that I took a few moments and I reveled in their beauty.

So do tell, how is the new year treating you? Has 2014 hit it’s stride and racing along at your place too? I’d love to hear! Janette xx

This and that

Here are some photos from the last few days, it’s a bit of a random update I’m afraid. The weather has been so nice and we have been so busy I haven’t been spending any time near a computer. Grapes 2014The children painting, and (in the foreground) our stupendous grape crop. We are patiently waiting for them to ripen… the color is just starting to turn so they shouldn’t be far off.

Rose and grapesThe last of the summer roses, Ill be sad to see them go. Roses in swan vaseI will dead head the bush this weekend, but I don’t think it will bloom again before autumn sets in.

Crochet throwAfter a week trawling wool shops (both online and around town), I’ve finally purchased the yarn to complete this cheery throw. I love the bright circles, and spent a long time trying to decide what order to place them in so the colors are balanced. I think I’ve settled on what’s shown in the pic above.Carter, Maia and their new pjsIm still sewing up a storm, including these new PJ shorts for Maia and Carter. Carter is so not into having his photo taken right now… shame, I love taking photos of them! This was the best of a bad bunch: PJ CollageBilly the cat playing with the crochet mouse family (ok maybe not playing, more tolerating Carter annoying his nap time). Billy cat and crochet miceA poppy head (random :) )Poppy seedThese guys are growing up so quickly… and they are so cute, but it’s a battle of wills right now. They are convinced the best place to hang out is on our deck. Unfortunately we don’t agree with them…Chicks Feb 2014Eating so many cucumbers I may well start to look like one…Apple cucumberStill waiting for my tomatoes to ripen, they were planted a little late this year and so the wait seems extra long!

Ripening tomatoesWhile the heat lovers (like grapes and tomatoes) are thriving, the flower garden is looking far from its best… although these dying hydrangea blooms are still quite beautiful. Dying hydrangeaHow’s your week going? Jxox

Cheep cheeps

Chickens Jan 2014We have extended the chicken family and now there are six pekin bantams…I’d like to introduce Myrtle, Sonny Bill, Cheepie, Blossom, Sun, Cloudy :)

This week I’ve been doing a bit of sewing, more pillowcases for the children (simply so I can get the Christmas ones off the beds!) New pillowcases 2

Getting a sensible photo of Carter is almost impossible right now.New pillowcasesYes they chose their own fabrics. I also made Maia’s headband, Im thinking of posting a tutorial for these shortly. DIY headbandsAnd yesterday I whipped up one of these bags, love the pattern and tutorial… I can see myself making lots more of these. Reversible bag free patternWhat projects are you working on this week?

Janette df

Sunny thoughts

Thanks for all of the kind thoughts and wishes sent my way in the past 24 hours, it really means a lot to me, I appreciate you taking the time to let me know you were thinking of me and my Mabel.

It’s the eve of Christmas eve and today has been a pretty hectic day. I’ve only just arrived home from my last outing of the day (9pm), officially checking off my last pre-Christmas chore  – grocery shopping. Seems I wasn’t the only one trying to get my last minute Christmas shop out of the way (so I can avoid the shops altogether tomorrow) as the supermarket was mad. Half the city must have had the same idea.

Ive just popped some (more) Christmas cookies in the oven (today’s final task), so while I’m waiting for them to bake Ill post a few pic’s from today and a few more of earlier in the week.Cookies

My that oven IS dirty (its ok, I’d notice it to) try focus on the cute Christmasy tea towels!

The tree is up, the presents are finally all wrapped and waiting…

TreeI love that we get to enjoy Christmas in the sun, but to be honest its almost a drought already so a few minutes of rain (strictly for the garden) wouldn’t go amiss!

I dug up a bucket of spuds for Christmas dinner, not quite the tiny new taters I had in mind, but we had some for dinner tonight (along with the very first sweet corn of the season) and they are very tasty. PotatoesThe garden is looking good, along with the potatoes so far it’s also been a good season for raspberries…RaspberriesAnd we are going to have bumper crops both of grapes and passionfruit later in the summer…GrapesI picked this posy of sweet peas and pink geraniums to give to our neighbors this evening. I wish I could share the scent with you…. its so sweet and summery.Sweet peasThe hydrangeas are also heavenly this year… even the bees agree with me! BumblebeeNow for a few more holiday pics…

MT Drury 2photo The weather was exceptional… sunny and warm, although a little windy. This panoramic of the Mt Maunganui main beach will display at full size if you click on it: Mt Drury2013The children had a ball; fishing, swimming, scootering, playing, sand castle building – we were on the go from dawn till dusk (literally, they were up at 6am) each day.half way down the mtphotoSo how’s Christmas shaping up for you, I’d love to know… is it summery or wintery? Are you all ready and waiting, or do you still have a long list of tasks to complete before you can relax? J xox

PS. Ive just taken the cookies out and sampled them (tasty!) Ive promised the children they can sandwich them together with peppermint cream tomorrow morning :)

 

Spring

It seems like life to have picked up the pace a notch or three recently… here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to the past week or so.

Enjoying being outside:Spring in our yardMaking lots of these:Rainbow bands bracelets 3 maia and rainbow bandsWatching the bees hard at work:Bee in the borageCrocheting (starting a lot, finishing a little): Doily 100Loving the ripe juicy sweetness of spring strawberries: Strawberries in a chipEnjoying foxgloves in my vege garden: FoxglovesWaiting patiently for my potatoes to be ready:Potatoes gardenSmelling this gorgeous geranium every time I brush past:Geranium pinkEating lots of lovely light meals now the weather is warmer:Veges and dipMarveling at the eggs that fell when a blackbird nest blew out of the tree in our yard:Blackbird eggMore crocheting (I must confess that while I’m quite fond of these wee mice, my children inform me they look like goblin mice. Thanks guys, tell me what you really think why don’t ya):Crochet mice in a tea cupLoving self seeded aquilegias:Aquilegia purplePlanting (well need to get planting) these verbena:VerbenaFeeling more than a little bit tired, and glad tomorrow is Friday! How is your week going? x Janette

Gardening

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a garden update, now seems like a good time because everything is stirring from the winter slumber (including me).Garden Sept 13 10This winter I all but turned my back on our garden, and despite the mistreatment, it still provided plenty.

Garden Sept 13One advantage of neglect is that there are always plenty of self sown seedlings popping up. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve brought a lettuce plant, but we always have an abundance of Marvel of four seasons (the reddish one) and Buttercrunch. Not to mention miners lettuce which grows all winter in almost weed like proportions.Garden Sept 13 2This artichoke made a delicious addition to our dinner last night, and was enjoyed by all, steamed and dipped in lemony butter. Don’t you agree that the first of the season always tastes best? Garden Sept 13 5We have three main beds, last week I dug one over with plenty of compost in preparation for planting early potatoes. I know, two spades, impressive huh?!Garden Sept 13 4These are ‘Rocket’ seed potatoes, I got them in yesterday and I’m hoping they will be ready by Christmas! I realise this might be a little ambitious. I chit them in egg cartons, this protects the delicate shoots and then makes transferring them to the garden easy.Garden Sept 13 7My best girl Mabel kept a watchful eye and snapped up any worms silly enough to linger near the surface. She’s a pretty bantam with a big personality, she will be five years old next month, so she’s really part of the family. Whenever I’m in the garden she’s always at my side (and sometimes, on my shoulder).Garden Sept 13 8Borage is such a wonderful companion plant in the early spring, it brings in lots of bees, and despite its prickliness I think it’s quite beautiful.Garden Sept 13 9I’m waiting in anticipation for the broad beans to pod up. Not only because I can’t wait to eat them, but also because I need this garden free so I can get my tomatoes in. I won’t plant so many this year, honest. Garden Sept 13 6I’ve been blown away by the huge response to my little giveaway! I’ve loved reading all the wonderful comments, they make me smile (and some even made me laugh). You still have time to enter if you haven’t already.

Enjoy your weekend, the school term finished on Friday so we are away for a few days in Whangamata staying at a friend’s beach bach. I don’t think it will be warm enough for swimming, but we should get in some nice long walks on the beach. xox J

Snippets

I thought I’d share some photos from the last few days…

Spring has indeed graced us with her presence… today we’ve had sun, rain, wind, and weather so hot Ive had to strip off, only to find it so cool a few minutes later I’m reaching for my sweater! On the bright side, this blossom on our Golden Queen peach tree is breathtaking.Peach blossom2 For my birthday I received a cake pop baking pan so the children and I took it for a test run. Before this weekend we’d never had cake pops, but I’m sure we will be having them again soon!cake pops CollageI seemed to spend a lot of time in the kitchen over the last two days. These two shots are of my kitchen windowsill, and just outside my ‘pet’ dragonfly. The stock and freesias smell lovely!!Kitchen windowsillKitchen windowsill 2Maia’s class topic for the term is ‘pay it forward’ so they are decorating bags which they will fill with games and activities they’ve made themselves and will give to Starship children’s hospital. Guess who spent the weekend cutting and sewing 25 bags?Book Bags 1Some children watch TV… here are mine watching ‘muffin TV’! They’re not so patiently waiting for strawberry muffins to cook for dessert.  We used this recipe (I’d recommend you try it!!).Watching muffin tv Carter has just got a spinning top which he is loving. So simple, but so much fun.Carters spinning topWhat to do with all those empty jars?

DSC_0147Fill them with orange, lemon and ginger marmalade and plum jam (the plums were frozen last summer). I’m sure Ill be making these yummy treats again soon now my marmalade stock is replenished!Marmalade and Jam Fresh plum jam and homemade yoghurt. Is there anything nicer?yoghurt and jamFinally check these crochet cats out. They are made using my Caity Cat crochet pattern… aren’t they just awesome?

These ones are from Just made with love:resizer-nl4ec3990cbc09932And these ones are from Stip & HAAK:

IMG_0011I love LOVE love them! I think they are better than the original!

Ok that’s all for now, back soon, hopefully with a finished project to show! Have a happy week! Love Janette xx

Sunday in photos

Sorry for the silence, there’s been a lot going on here which has kept me away from home and the computer. I thought Id share today with you… from morning till night. A quiet Sunday, the last day of the school holidays before the new term.

:A cup of green tea and a new yellow begonia:

Yellow Begonia and green tea:after breakfast, a family bike ride:Family bike ride:essential supplies:What we took to the park:some of us chose to read, and eat our morning tea:Maia reading at the park:in the beautiful sunshine:Maia July 2013 Small:some of us built dinosaur houses:Carter and his dinosaur house:some of us took photos:A tree:the boys went to a birthday party, and the girls spent some quality time baking something special to have for dessert:Maia baking:lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite desserts, and a good use of plenty of lemons:Lemon meringue pie recipe:here’s something of a family tradition. When my Nana had any pastry left over, when she was baking a pie crust, she always made little jam tarts. Waste not, want not! My Mum did it, and now I do it. Just push small pieces of dough into mini cupcake pans, add a dollop of jam, and a small piece of pastry on top:

Leftover pastry jam tarts:there really is not much better than a sweet raspberry tart straight from the oven!:Maia eating:a wander around the garden, my first daffodil is almost out: First daffodil:and the first small bloom of Daphne:First daphne :we are blessed with winter bounty right outside the door. Some cabbage:Cabbage :and cavelo nero, together with broccoli and plenty of herbs are keeping us going through winter:   cavelo nero 6:not to mention, plentiful citrus:Plentiful citrus

:a spot of reading:Reading:beautiful early cheer, brought by a friend to brighten my day:Early cheer 2:make your own pizza for dinner:Making pizzas:so delicious straight from the oven:Pizza straight from the oven:in goes dessert:Pizza and lemon meringue pie: out comes dessert:Lemon meringue pie:better be quick, its going, going… gone!:LMP going going gone:turns out mabel our favorite chicken, loves pizza as much as we do:Mabel eating pizza:the day is done:Goodbye chickens:and now, I’m going to watch a little tv in front of the fire and then early to bed:Fire:How was your weekend? xx :

This weekend…

Pinecone close up Poncho 2Polyanthus2Maia's poncho and bike hamilton lake parkphotohamilton lake ducksphoto Mandarin treeMandarinsPolyanthus potsIt was a bit of a quiet weekend here, so I thought Id share some random photos. I finished off a poncho for Maia – sewn with a crochet trim – which Ill write up a bit more about and post in a day or two. We went to the park on Saturday and fed the ducks…and the children had an ice cream, as you do mid-winter. This afternoon I picked a huge basket of mandarins from our tree and made lovely fresh mandarin jelly for dessert, this was the first time I have made a real fruit jelly and it was a hit with the whole family.  That distinctively tart yet sweet mandarin taste is my favorite right now… ours are of the old school fixed skin variety and have a gazillion pips.  If you have any suggestions (recipes?) let me know, we’ve hardly made a dent in them. There is not much color in my garden, but these gorgeous polyanthus which are in pots by the front door are making a lovely show.

How was your weekend?