29 December 2012

After a bit of a break, I've decided to get back into writing.


And to keep me in this writerly mood, we've set up a corner of our bedroom for my desk and other treasured bits and bobs.

This is the first time I've had a special place just for me.
I love it.


Now all I gotta do...is write!


28 December 2012

bye, bye song thrushes

Yesterday I made the hard decision to release Flinch and Perch into the wild.

Their tails were long and they could feed themselves, plus collecting bugs for them was a sad, full-time job.

I didn't want to let them go at home because of all the cats, so we jumped in the car and drove around the shingle roads until we found a dense forest that was far from any farmhouse.

With cage in hand and kids in tow, we climbed over the wooden fence and crept into the forest. 

Exciting stuff? You bet!

For some reason my man didn't think so, but the kids did. Although, they had to be told several times to Shh!
Not good sneaks at all.

My man did point out that we could get shot for trespassing or mistaken for deer. But then I pointed out that with my colourful shirt and purple gumboots I resembled a peacock more than any deer!

Finally we found a tree I was happy with.

I held Flinch and Amber held Perch.
 After a kiss on a feathery cheek we set them free and together they flew up and landed on a high branch.

Tears trickled down my cheeks but I felt proud that I'd helped these two wee birds. 

I hope they have a good life.

Bye, bye song thrushes.


17 December 2012

wee thrush friends

I found them in the rickety shed hopping and fluttering over the hay.

They must have fallen from their nest. 

We're feeding them cat biscuits soaked in egg yolk with the occasional woodlouse and worm.

Once they've grown tail feathers and learnt to peck for food, we'll set them free.

The kids named them, Flinch and Perch.
But I call them Greedy and Guts.

My darling man calls them Dead and Buried!

1 December 2012


A fuzzy helper on the first day of summer.

27 November 2012

a temperamental model!

15 November 2012

November Photo Challenge


A story by Matty

The skeleton was in the forest. 
He jumped on the flowers and pushed the trees and stomped on the bushes.
The flowers, trees and bushes broke.

He was a strong skeleton.
He ate an apple.
The apple rattled in his ribs and fell out.

He came to a road.
He walked along the road.
His bones clattered and a car bumped into him.

He survived and went home.

29 October 2012

Our weekend visitor...

 the miniature dachshund



20 October 2012

Favourite Books

Please ignore this post. I have to load pictures here to copy the URL so I can put them on the NZIBS writing/photography forum I belong to.


Random Pics

17 October 2012

the look of lamb

12 October 2012

a little on the white side...

my kapa haka boy


8 October 2012

Young Pigeons, P1 and P2.

The last few days have seen a hive of activity in the pigeons' nest.
Coos of encouragement from Mr P and wingy pushes from Mrs P as they tried desperately to remove P1 and P2 from their comfort zone.

Success at last!

P1 and P2 perch while Dad watches from above. 
And maybe Mrs P is due to pop more eggs??


5 October 2012

Yam City
(a writing exercise)

I crawled inside my tunnelhouse to breathe in the heady smell of dampness and potting mix and to see what seeds may have sprouted. Tomatoes and gherkins, zucchini and a pumpkin. But no cucumbers...not yet.
Then I spied them. Tiny ants. A dozen or so scuttling over the chitting yams. They were easy to spot against the white plate on which the yams sat, their black bodies shiny in the afternoon sun like minute polished beads.

I scrunched down on my elbows and knees and watched, fascinated by the way the ants carried off specks of milk powder dotted along a yam. I'd been mixing milk for our pet lambs when I'd decided right then and there that the yams were to go to the tunnelhouse.

A couple of ants looked like they'd sunk their jaws into yam flesh. Maybe sucking what juice remained. Do ants suck? I wondered, as the milk powder carriers scurried over the edge of the plate and made their way down blades of grass, clover and daisy stems.

Suddenly a burning sensation filled my cheeks, my head throbbed and a wave of sickness swept over me as the heat in the tunnelhouse became unbearable. But still I stayed, stuck in my ball-like position. What if the milk powder ants told their mates...party at Yam City! They would march back in their thousands, oozing from the ground in a sea of black. But they wouldn't be after the yams...they'd be after me. EEK!

Quickly I inspected my hands, my arms and my knees. Phew! Ant-free! I backed out of that tunnelhouse and hobbled dizzily inside. Then, for the first time in ages, I sat down and wrote. J

20 September 2012

September/October Photo Challenges

'see through'

See Through the lens

See Through

The Letter V


Villain or Victim? 


19 September 2012

Two Pees in a Pooey Pod

Before something disastrous happens to Baby Pigeons 1 & 2, I thought I'd better get their photos...

And a cuddle, too!

His bib is chock-full of food.


17 September 2012

I've developed a complex.

The day after I put up my last blog post a rebel lamb broke through the gate and savaged my row of broccoli plants. He was beheading the first cabbage when he was spotted and chased out. 

I didn't cry or stomp or even swear, but I got his number. He's been moved to the top of the 'Who's For The Freezer?' list.

If that wasn't bad enough, I've had to endure cats digging the leeks and rolling amongst the asparagus, kids standing on the row of pea seeds, and dog burying bones in any dirt I've dug.

Today I planted out ten young fennel and sowed two little rows of french radishes. 
A terrific hail storm hit, bombarding everything with marble-sized stones.

Oh Woe!

But it was spectacular. 
It went from lovely sunshine to darkness in a matter of minutes.
The photos don't do it justice.

I was collecting eggs at the time. The wind was super strong. I could barely walk. The air filled with pollen as thunder bellowed and lightning sliced the sky.   

Then the power went out.

Now it's raining steadily. 
I daren't peep at the fennel, or the radish seeds. I won't even check the two wee pea sprouts who popped up to say, "Hi."

I'll just look forward to planting out my broad bean seedlings in a day or two.


10 September 2012

Spring Has Sprung!


I'm making a real effort to grow most our veg this year.
Every spare moment is spent digging and sowing seeds. My back screams with pain but it's so rewarding when I see the work that I've done. 
And I'm growing plants I haven't tried before, especially herbs.
So exciting  :)

I love peppermint tea.

Gorgeous baby kale.

I planted a whole tray full. And they'll be transplanted into a fenced-off  area where NO sheep, cows, chooks, ducks, turkeys, bunnies, cats, goat or dog can enter!!

A few of the kale seedlings who lost their heads to the lambs in Autumn are growing again. I'm eagerly awaiting my first taste. :)

Yummy asparagus.

7 September 2012

Third time lucky for 
Mr and Mrs P?

I didn't tell you, but Mr and Mrs P had a second disaster in the parenthood department.

They'd built a nest in the black polythene which hangs like a hammock from the roof of the truck shed. Mrs P laid her eggs and was keeping them warm. Every now and then Mr P would fly in and take her place on the nest so she could have a break. 

I also noticed that other pigeons and birds were visiting.

Then one day I found the nest on the floor and two smashed eggs.
Mr and Mrs P were perched nearby looking very glum.

What on earth had happened this time? 

After a short period of mourning, the pair rebuilt a nest on the original ledge where Baby Pigeon was killed. Eggs were laid and Mrs P sat.

But things were still not good.
A pair of pigeon visitors decided they liked the truck shed, too!
They're darker and slimmer. Perhaps a younger couple.

They attacked Mr P constantly. He did his best to keep them away from Mrs P and even I'd rush in and shoo them. But they kept coming back.

Then, over the last few days, the new pigeons have settled. They've built a nest in the black polythene.

I bet it was them who destroyed Mrs P's nest.

At least now they're leaving her alone.

Bestie luck this time round, Mr and Mrs P.


15 August 2012

Pearlie & Puddles

I'm a bit teary and sad.
The ewes are lambing and the weather has been horrific.
Icy winds and torrential rain.

Pearlie was the first ewe to lamb. 
Three days ago she had a creamy coloured girl with brown legs and nose. But the lamb died during that first night.

Then last night triplets were born - two boys and a girl. The mother rejected one of the boys. I named him Puddles.

It breaks my heart to see an unwanted lamb. It's wee tummy sunk in with lack of milk. And the pitiful baa.

I've had success with mothering on lambs to ewes who have lost theirs. But it was always done straight away. Luckily we'd kept Pearlie's dead lamb so even though it had been a few days it was still worth a try.

We penned Pearlie up and restrained her while Puddles had a good feed. His tummy grew round. :)

Next, this is upsetting and gruesome, I skinned the dead lamb and put the skin on Puddles. In an instant Pearlie rushed over and sniffed him.
You could almost see the confusion on her face as she could smell her own lamb but also smell Puddles. She wouldn't accept him and backed away. 

I'm still hopeful that it will work. She doesn't bunt him which is a good start and I will keep making her feed him.

At least Puddles is getting the milk he needs and if worst comes to worst I'll bottle feed him and he can be our pet.


Puddles in his 'skin jacket'.

2 August 2012

Makin' Soap

It was a bit scary!

I heated 1000g olive oil and 250g coconut oil.

Dissolved 172g caustic soda/lye in 450mls filtered water.
To avoid the fumes, I mixed the lye and water outside. 
It heated up by itself and was steaming!

Then came the juggling act. 
The oils and lye solution both had to reach 50 degrees Celsius at the same time. When that happened I carefully poured the lye in with the oils and mixed them together with a stick blender.

And kept blending until it reached trace.

Then I poured it into a greased container.

The next morning, after much wrestling, I prised the soap out of the container and cut it into blocks. 
Next time I will line the container with baking paper.

Not the prettiest looking cakes but they smell lovely and mild...like Sunlight soap.

After six weeks of curing they'll be ready to use.

Note to self.....When dealing with caustic substances, DO NOT use your teeth to pull your rubber gloves off!!!

The result is a singed tongue.


Soap recipe thanks to Rhonda of Down to Earth