Monday, February 18, 2008

Bits and Bobs

It’s still pretty hot in the garden…  A very long spell of Dry weather had resulted in crirtically low water supplies. Grassy hills have turned brown and in some places have turned to the dead grey brown I've only seen in australia.

But this last week the temperatures fell a little and rain came over all parts of the country on and off and the rivers are higher and the plants in the main are looking much releived for it.     



In General

Over the Christmas period I had written a newsletter using MS Publisher..Quite successfully really ... Unfortunately have only just gotten around to sending it off to my rellies over seas... Perhaps I should post it and show it off ...As quite some effort was put into it ...

Work is work and no one seems to be happy. It's a sad state to be in but I think we will all start to move on this year ... 

We too a day off last weekend and had 3 days holiday on the north of the south island ... Just for the fun of it we too the 3 hour ferry trip across a choppy Cooks strait to the port of Picton. From there we drove the scenic route to Havelock where we found a very nice cafe specialising in Mussels and scallops and enjoyed every mouthful ... Our next stop was to be at one of the lakes at a place called St Anaud .>We stopped at a comfortable motel there that was nestled into the forest with our 2 level unit being beside a stream ... It was very relaxing listening to the bubbling water in the night and the birdsong in the morning ... Unfortunately the weather turned overnight weith low cloud and rain . But we did manage to do a walk through the native beech forrest along the lakeside. Effectively a 30-40 minute walk with another 10 minutes to read the information posts along the way and a further 2 hours taking pictures .... all good fun :O) 

St Anaud lake,New Zealand



 moss,St Anaud lake,New Zealand



 Moss,St Anaud lake,New Zealand



 Moss,St Anaud lake,New Zealand


With the weather failing we decided to drive past the mountains a bit more and drove into an old mining township called murchison....It was here in the early part of the last century that a large earthquake struck causing significant damage. The small Museum was of interest with plenty of black and white pictures of the event. We took a drive that afternoon but the rain found us again and we were unable to do the walking or photography we had hoped for. 

The next day we decided to head for Nelson at the very top of the south island ... We visited the Hoglund glass centre for McD to buy some more glas  ornaments and then we stumbled across a small vinyard that had a cafe/restaurant and so had a lesiurly lunch of anti pasto and steamed mussels before the short and very bumpy plane ride back into Wellington and home .....   


St Anaud lake,New Zealand




















Our main part of the garden has been a mass of multi-coloured flowers. Mainly dahlias. We have had a great showing. The rest of the garden still needs work on it which we are slowing getting done. As a sampler to having a fully fledges garden vegetable plot we have had tomatoes and potatoes already and last night I was able to pick a bowlful of Black Berries from overthe fence ... With the tomatoes (that were mainly cherry tomatoes) and the potatoes grown in large plastic ductbins we bought for the purpose, I made a chicken dish putting everything into a large roasting pan covered wit htin foil.... McDs Mum and a Neice visiting wellington to play softball had dinner with us and our out of the garden meal. 



Vegetable Plot

 Before tackling the main part of my vegetable plot in the making I have to remove a heap of gorse growing on the bank beside it … the bank has a 'step' cut into it where I had originally planted some camellias and rhododendrons and some Ozzy plants that thrive on the clay there … But we’ve not been near the area in two years and now the gorse is taller than I am … So in 28C of heat I’ve been there hacking it down …. Completed about a ¼ of it so far … While working away there a day or three back I looked up and saw a face looking back at me … Just over an arms length away from me ….It was a Rat …Fully grown clean and slinky Rat with a long nose and sharp pointy teeth …. “EEEEKKKK “ I cried out in my usual macho male way as I turned abruptly as I could and stumbled away as fast as I could while perched on a 6” step that has camelia and Rhodos and the like growing out of it … Trouble was there was another slinky brown think coming towards me again from this side …. “EEEEEEEKK””” !! Oh, no it’s micky the hunter cat running past me to take the rat on …… Go get 'im Micky !!!! Both cat and rat disappeared into the gorse forest I’d been lopping down … A bit of a rustle and then I could see micky at the bottom of the bank heading into the house …. Now we’ve been there before with live rats in the house thanks to the cats …But this time Micky was empty handed and empty mouthed too…. So – There are rats in the garden at the top of the bank ….Cats Micky and George are up there often enough for there to be a rodent free zone …. But of course all they do is make a grass nest and sleep the day away … Not that calm now when working on the bank … even a medium sized spider running at me had me doing an about turn before realizing what it was …………………..

Since then the cats have caught and killed 4 half grown rats .. While they are very clean looking country rats we have no desire to have them around our property ..So we may have to get an vermin exterminator in to lay poison around the place ..I don't want to but the cats aint catching mar and par ratus ratus  so thebreeding cycle will continue ... 

This morning at 6am more commotion as micky the cat had brought another half grown rat into the house still alive ...luckily we had all doors shut so it was just the hall way they could get into ... turned out micky had broken the rats back and while still alive was unable to move it's back legs .... So my awakening to a sunny sunday was to dispatch a rat as humanely as possible (which I did) and wonder just how many more are about the property.............   


Bit of a disaster really with McDs daughter staying and us having to taxi her around to where she has a holiday job etc .. But walkinmg up and down the back to the vegetable plot and the gardening are definately helping all round ... March will be better


Again not so good - it's proven to be very hard to do with visitors in the house ... Though I do think I've lost weight. I'm nearly two belt notches down so if no weight loss then I'm redistributing it about elsewhere :O)






Friday, February 01, 2008

Hot Work For Some

It’s pretty warm here in my valley … The local weather station, which is coincidently just further up the hill from where our house is, says its 28C … Too hot for this old guy to be hacking down gorse and scrub ……

My latest project is to tame a section of my garden currently covered in overgrow grass and gorse bush and who know what else … And turn it into a vegetable garden … Of course that needs to incluse some small fruit bushes of gooseberries and red current and the like …

Vegetable Garden day 1

I did think the area was larger than it actually is … We’ve not been up there really in 2 + years …. Hard to explain but I live on the side of a hill. That faces the wrong way as in it face south rather than north but the views are nice … We look over the local township of Stokes valley a one way in valley nestled into a U-shape if hills … We also get to see down the Hutt valley and the Hutt river that doesn’t stop until it reaches the Wellington Harbour some 15 minutes drive from us …. We can actually just see the harbour from the house …Just.. Anyway, the house is on a section that has 4 tiers with our two story house in the middle tier (large garage underneath the house) …

So, Bottom section is in Native forest (bush) we have a path now over grown running through it …eventually it meats a tiny stream which is our boundary. Past that and it’s forest reserve and long may it stay that way…

Vegetable Garden day 1 View

The next tier is where the house is sited. We are at the end of a 3 house right-of-way that leads to our tarmac yard a flower garden to the side (full of dahlias), A garden at the back of the house (also in need of a good tidy up ) and a long pathway beside bank at the front of the house that leads to the 3 tier ..this tier is small and runs along the length of the house … it sits between the house and a 15 foot or so bank that we planted up … This again needs a tidy up … but won’t take much to do it ..

At the end of that tier there is more native trees in a small stand. In the middle of this stand is the circular path way which takes us to the 4th Tier . the 4th Tier is higher than the roof of the house and has great views of the valley…It would be a great place to have a BBQ spot and I may well include that into the plans …. This area is where I intend to have my vegetable garden… Raised beds separated my small pathways … A BBQ area in the middle perhaps… It’s the hottest part of the garden and through the summer it gets all the sun … the winter is a different matter as none of the garden gets sun. it is just too low in the sky to show over the hill side …. Having said that we get perhaps 1 0r 2 light frost a year which are gone right after daylight …the hill ensures a breeze most of the time which stops frost forming…..And our winters are June to august only …. The rest of the year is mild… The southerly wind can be a real problem for us … Cold and gale force …But not often … The prevailing northerly never makes it to us due to the hill we are nestled into…..

Summer Rose

So My vegetable garden is becoming a reality … All I have to do is clear a forest of gorse, cut down the grass and get it removed piece by piece, fork full by fork full done the woodland path, past the house and into the forest beside us where it can die and compost, but never to return to the garden ….

Blackberry nip Rose