Friday, June 26, 2009

Composting and Compost Bins ..And Sparrows !

I've been building another compost bin ... Bin #1 was filled up to the top and left a while to compost down ...Bin #2 now built and put in place, is for turning bin # 1 into ... This ensures and even composting as the top of Bin#1 is now at the bottom of bin#2 ... It also aerates the compost pile ensuring a good bacterial attack :O)

We built both compost bins using a interlocking thingy-majig... You buy them as per the picture and nail them to the ends of the wood ... Very versatile as you can then build different sizies and shapes for all sorts of uses....And you can also deconstruct the bins as you empty them rather than bending into the bin to get spadefulls at the bottom.....

The bins are a little over a metre cubed in size which seems a good size to have in a small garden .... Certainly by we got to move the bin#1 contents it had dropped about a quarter down into the bin and was already looking like good compost should ...

I'm contemplating building a compost bin#3 as a staging bin for the final result compost.. Come September onwards, through spring and summer, the compost making rate can and will be pretty fast. .

excuse the mess in the background...One of my projects while unemployed

I'm adding much more than the usual food scraps. While perfect composting material, it would take a 'yaks age' to fill a bin up ..So we're buying bags of pea straw, and untreated sawdust and plenty of manure from the local 'lifestylers' plots..And, for this year only as I'm only doing the paths, I'm raking up mainly NZ native beech leaves from the piece of bush we own.. Only from the paths as I have no wish to interfere with the forest structure beyond that...I've not done this for about 5 years, or never further into the forest so quite a bit there to use. I have to say that with the smallness of the leaves (about a 10cent piece in size) they are the perfect composting leaf mould.....

So a rich compost to add to the veggie plots and around the garden really ... I'll also get a kit to test for acidity and add lime if necessary as compost tends to be very acid.


We've not seen many sparrows around the house in recent years ..About 10 years ago they suffered a viral attack that was named by the press as 'bird aids' ..Anyway this year they are back in force .. It's been a good couple of years for them ...Good for all birds in the area actually as they did a poison drop on the forests and killed off the possums ...

We now have an abundence of native and introduced birdlife around the garden. A few I've never seen before and had to go to the reference books for identification .... I know many people are against the poison they use (1080) but the results really are dramatic and beneficial in the long run .....

McD started to feed the sparrows much to Pepsi Dogs' annoyance ... Bread drops are being taken away by her and dug into the garden borders ... A good composting dog is Pepsi :O) But not so good if you come across a rotting lump of it when gardening ....

Talking of which, McD and I were rescuing a tray of iceland poppy seedlings that had been knocked over in the yard (amongst the other trays and rubbish ).. Me in bare hands rummaging through the soil to get the partially burried pants .... I grabbed a pile of what I thought was soil !!! It was a dead and bloated RAT !!!!!

"EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKK" I commented in a very low and manly voice ...

Not ....

Still after about 8hrs of hand washing in dettol and other cleansing substances I think I'm safe to use the old left hand again ....

errrr - maybe just another wash to get the very thought of it away again .....


Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's Time For A Holiday!!

We're planning a short holiday for the end of July. With all the crap I've been going through and all the hard work and long days McD has been put through this year it's time to get away and relax. 

So McD has been feverishly looking at options ....Because of course when I say we are planning ...It is teh royal 'we' and McD is spending hours each night playing around with the options ... She should have been a professional holiday planner should McD

Originally we were looking at Vanuatu and then Raratonga but the costs were too high for what we would get from it ...So we've decided on ausdtralia again , but this time further up the north east coast. Flying to brisbane and the  gold coast ..

McD wants to visit the theme park(s) there and also the casino (!!)...Then we take a 2 day drive up to Cairns  and Port Douglas. McD is looking at staying at a spa hotel beside the river there about 20 mins from Port Douglas .... Sounds awesome :O) HEAPS of wildlife so better clean up the camera :O)  

Hotel Spa where we will be staying

Of course it wouldn't be without it'sdangerous wildlife ... Like the Cassowary !!!!!


But whats a little danger when on holiday !!! 

Along with the crocs, and Snakes, and spiders, and jelly fish , and poisonous octopuss, and cane toads, and sharks and the rest of it  


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Winter Weather and CV Writing. Plus the Rest

The New zeland Winter

We’ve hit a few cold spells … It’s an early winter for us in New Zealand this year. The weekend before last a freezing cold squally southerly front past through carrying with it snow and hail that actually stayed with us on the ground for some time …. At one point thick enough for McD and me to make a rough snowman of about 12 inches high on the decking…


This is the first time I’ve done this in the almost 20 years of living in New Zealand… I do not want to be making a habit of it …. 

Then in true Kiwi weather fashion It reached 18.8C in my township and my garden in the week.... No wonder the plants and birds get so confused .....

I’ve been telling McD that we need to move North …Much further north…To a much warmer climate … My poor old feet, ankles and knuckles do not like cold weather ……


I like the idea of moving to somewhere like Perth in Austalia ….. Not sure if it’s possible … But worth look at me thinks ….. Not sure if McD agrees or not ….


The Job – Or Lack of it


Meanwhile, I’d been working on a counter proposal to the so called IT review … While we got some positions re-instated mine wasn’t one for them … My notice of redundancy will be on July 1 with one months notice.. I’ve spoken with the senior management and they have agreed to let me go at that point and pay me off the 4 weeks notice … So I’m a house husband from July 1 onwards … A kept man !!!!!! I’ve always told McD that when she earns my salary I would do this and now against her will of course … It’s now happened…   Of course That also means I get to keep a tidy house (for once) and cook warming homely meals for the workers’ return each evening ….. A house husbands work is never done ....:O)


But I feel like I need something else !!! So might have to start a home study course as well ….I don’t do staying at home well …And certainly don't do "Nothing" well…  


So - Gardening leave soon …And God knows it needs it!  We started on the front yard last week …what a mess …Embarrassing really but we will get it sorted pretty quickly …Spent a while moving ½ wine barrels full of soil and plants ..(my poor back !!) The idea being to have square foot gardens between them along the fence ..Not necessarily for vegetables … The wine barrels have fruit trees in them or will soon …….




The Plight of the Bees


I’ve read a lot of items online about the decline of the bumble bee in particular but bees in general … Especially over in the UK… They will keep using these damned sprays ……I intend to make some Bee Homes around the garden … It would be of mutual benefit ..the bees get lodgings and I get my Broad Beans etc pollinated


If you want to do the same …>And why would you not !!?? …. Then here is how by the Beeb




Interesting Food Programme


We have two local chefs who run a restaurant in Wellington called Logan&Brown .. They also have a great TV series called Hunger for the Wild. It’s not on at the moment but I did a search for some of their recipes and came across some stuff….


I like the intro music…..




If you want to see a bit of the programme

Man I love Crayfish :O)


Garden Ponds


Back on the garden aspects … Another thing all gardens should have is a pond …. Insects and birds and a whole lot of other garden inhabitants require access to the water … and A garden just doesn’t seen the same without having water in it … We have yet to have a pond or two ….Looks like I’ll have some time to put one in soon …


Again – help from the BBC

BBC Breathing Spaces - Ponds

Ok - Enough of this ...Have a CV and Cover letter to complete and a Job to apply for .... Wish me luck :O)