Thursday, December 11, 2008

My spare hour

While having a quiet day yesterday to get over some of the stresses in the past week I decided to have a weed/harvest of the oldest third of my vege garden. I harvested, strawberries, the last of the raspberries, the first boysenberry, the only carrots I have ever grown (carrots hate me), a couple of lettuces, a couple of broccoli, the first of the red and brown onions,a cabbage, some sweetpea flowers and the first of the desiree potatoes.

Not bad for a strip alongside the driveway. Then of course I had to do something with them. I decided to give some to our front neighbours and say Merry Christmas.
I really enjoy the fruits of my labour and one day hope to have a garden that feeds us, our neighbours, friends and family.

Latte gets his stitches out today and my Mum has her operation and gets hers put in. Busy day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Trying times

Sometimes swe focus on the wrong person and forget what is really important.

I am worried about my Mum's cancer and her operation is on Friday so she is a bit freaked out and needs plenty of support.

Of course the kids are really busy with end of year activities. Liam had a beach trip on Monday and school camp Wednesday and Thursday this week.

I of course volunteered to go along - I just like having fun. And agreed to sew more costumes in a hurry for a lady.

What about Kathryn? Don't take your eyes off her. Sadly on Sunday morning while staying at a friends house her friend woke to find her having a seizure. An ambulance was rung, then us and it all got crazy from there.

Kathryn is now fine, probably the seizure was brought about by low blood sugars. I feel wiped out, no costumes, one very upset little boy about his mother not coming on camp as she promised, one sad and still sore bored puppy and a big gardening mess.

We have been told that Kathryn needs an insulin pump. They cost $9000 and are not funded. I imagine that I will spend the first six months of next year fundraising. It seems like such a huge target but if that is what it takes then that is what I'll do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A homemade Christmas

Latte the hyper pup has been a bit sore after his operation but is now recovering well, helped by his bone which he drags everywhere.

This year I decided that all the gifts I give (but not the Santa ones in our house) I would make. So I have been busy sewing, icing small christmas cakes, making hot chocolate and baking. It has been heaps of fun and I look forward to giving them out over the next couple of weeks.

The garden has been growing well and I had extra cauliflower so I decided to give Piccalilli a go. Easy to make but turned out a bit salty. I have noted on the recipe to use less next time.

I have also started the culture for ginger beer. I've never made this before so am looking forward to bottling it up and drinking it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not going to be daddy

Latte the hyper pup is six months old. Starvingly hungry and off to the vets this morning to have the daddy parts of his anatomy removed.

Poor pup.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Catch Up

Life has been so busy since I last posted, complete with ups and downs. Summer has come and with it the better weather and longer days. I'll enjoy them before it gets too hot.
My garden continues to grow and look good. We have been eating raspberries and strawberries by the dozen. Every morning on her way to school Kathryn picks what she can see - I get the leftovers later in the day when I am watering. We have been eating peas, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, silverbeet and potatoes. I am continuing to expand the garden and plant more but it has reached the size where I am having trouble keeping up so I probably won't expand to much more.
We have had some bad news with my Mum's skin cancer coming back 27 years later. The started off saying it wasn't treatable but by the end after all the tests they should be able to remove it all - we are just waiting for a date. SO KEEP SUNSAFE EVERYONE - IT KILLS.
Kathryn hasn't had a great year with her diabetes but we have recently changed medication and she is doing heaps better. She has won four first placings and a third in two swimming meets and qualified for the Bay Champs in three events. She passed her ballet exams, got honors in her national character dance and a trophy for passion in ballet. She has several parts in the show Cinderella next April and will be practicing hard for those in the new year.

Liam really, really can't wait until Santa comes and has a huge long list. He is loving swimming starting again, both club, school and home pools are well used.
I'll try to keep posting so you can stay upto date.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Camping Prequal

Last week the kids and I decided to try out a different type of camping and booked into the camping ground at Little Waihi. Little Waihi has a camping ground and about 30 baches lining an estary with access out to the sea and an ocean beach.
The camping ground is pretty basic with about 20 cabins that hold two beds each. I decided that being early spring the tent might be a bit cold and so booked into a cabin. Very one star - actually half a star might better describe it - but you can take your dog and we loved it.
Nothing to do except have the fun you make yourself. We walked for miles, played on the rocks, played on the beach, the kids and Latte swam, dug for pipis (and returned them), played with the little mud crabs and snails, waded to distant sand bars at low tide, flew kites, played games, had fun.
We'll be going back again as the weather warms up.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I enjoy camping and so do my children. I don't enjoy the cold as much as they do but I let myself be convinced to take the kids and a couple of their friends to our favourite camping spot for two nights.
We camp at Brann's farm. It is a working farm and forestry block out the back of Paenagroa. They have several camp sites and three huts. Running water and composting toilets. Fire pits and picnic tables. And not a lot else.
It is heaps of fun not having anything to do. There is a small river that runs through native bush. They have developed a swimming hole and provided innertubes to float down the river in. The river is freezing cold even in the middle of summer but the kids brave it anyway - I wait until the middle of summer until I dip my little toe. It is also the only way to get clean so the smell of bodies in the car on the way home gets a little eye watering.
There are plenty of walks through the bush and around the farm. We walk for an hour through the farm and bush to get to a ropes confidence course. The kids love trying out their bravery and impressing their friends.
The kids (but not me) grab the sacks and go grass sliding down the hills. Then I get to deal with the dirt, brusies, scrapes and grass rashes but they go back for more.
We look at the glow worms at night, cook on a camp fire, play games and lie awake for hours in the night listening to the Moreporks.
Great fun, very back to basics, but we have been going back for six years and will continue to do so.
Thank you Jill and Jeff Brann for opening your farm to us and many others.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hot Chocolate

It was time to fill a jar for the hoopla stall at the upcoming Fireworks Gala at the school. I hate having to decide what to do so I did a little surfing and came up with hot chocolate.
I really enjoyed making the mix and decorating the jars. These went to the gala but I'll be making some more for gifts.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sewing, sowing, sown

Some silly person (me) volunteered to sew the costumes for Liam's school production on top of the ones I sew to order.
School holidays and camping trips have brought this to a stand still. So I have taken action and packed the kids off to Nana's for three days so I can get them done.
Liam is an All Black in the production and his teacher has very bravely given him a line to say (I can wait to hear his line turn into a twenty minute monologue as he loves acting). Ahh the unpredictability of children with autism.
Off to sew 10 aliens and 5 spacemen.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


How I wish my carrots would grow. I sprinkle seeds, I water, the cats dig them up and who knows what happens to the rest but only a few plants make it. Then they sit there at a few centimetres tall and look at me for months on end.
I need carrots or I am going to go broke buying them.
Liam loves his rabbits, and rabbits love carrots. They need to be feed them a lot (according to Liam) and he does.
I wish my carrots would grow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time to clear my head

Look left!

Look right

Cross the beach.

You are blocking my sun!

While Kathryn was at her Speld assesment today Latte and I headed down to the main Mount beach to enjoy the sunshine.
It is raining heavily now - gotta love spring.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Herding instinct.

What a beautiful spring day. No storm yet but it is clouding over. Yesterday was beautiful too until about this time when the daily storm rolled in complete with thunder and lightening.
I got busy and got planting. I put in tomato, capsicum, cucumber, celery, passionfruit and corn seeds. I planted out some parsley seedlings that survived the storm. I made a compost holder. A great idea o
f my dads. He uses plastic netting and makes a circle, cable ties the ends together and fills it with prunings, leaves and other things he doesn't want in his compost bins and then ignores it for a year or two. I have a different take on it. I am filling my smaller ones (about .8 of a metre in diametre) with my weed, scraps and leaves. Mine only stand about .4 of a metre high. When they are full (all four of them) I will move the first filled to a different spot in my garden and refill it. I figure its a good way to keep unused soil covered and improve it at the same time. But we will see.
Latte has an uneasy relationship with the cats. From his point of view he is better than a cat and they should all be rounded up, chased and provide him with hours of entertainment. Thomas and Knight strongl
y disagree and Doppelganger is prepared to make a truce so long as he doesn't have to be a chew toy. When watching Latte with the cats you can really see his Border Collie instincts.
You will go where I tell you.

Why do you not run so I can chase you. Obey me!!!
Puppy love mummy. (Actually I am holding him down so I can chew him some more)

Disaster 2

We had three cute little chickens. We have one puppy and three cats who lead the cat council over our back fence. The cat council is made up of 23 cats - which is quite a few.
I built a stronger chicken run. I am not at all handy with t
ools but it was cat proof.
I have a dog. Dogs are stronger than cats.
I am sure you are getting an idea of where I am going with this post.
Dog is left outside unsupervised. Dog gets very exc
ited by chickens. Dog makes quite small hole in poorly constructed chicken run. Dog gets bored and goes away. Two stupid chickens go exploring. There are some big fat happy looking cats sitting on our back fence.
So there was one. What to do? What to do? I've given up on building chicken runs. We have a nice strong rabbit hutch. Wave
my magic wand and the chicken thinks it is a rabbit. They love to sleep in a heap - chicken on top.
All safe for now.

A little disaster

Spring is in the air. My plum is growing leaves, my apricot is budding up.My rabbits are hungry for spring goodies.
If you put rabbit cages close to trees they disappear.
The sister fejoia tree. Now you see it.
Now you don't. Let that be a lesson. And stop laughing!


We had a storm today - thunder and lightening.
We had a storm yesterday - thunder and lightening and heavy rain and a power cut.
We had a storm on Monday - heavy rain.
We had a storm on Sunday - rain and very, very windy.
It was the storm on Sunday that ripped apart all three of my little plastic houses. It broke my largest in many places and destroyed most of the seedling that were ready to plant out. I cried (being already stressed with sick kids).
Today I picked up the pieces and put them back together. I replanting any seedlings I could find. I planted new seeds. Spring is here a
nd I'll soon grow a new lot but it has put back planting in the garden by a month. Thankfully friends have offered me some of theirs to keep me going.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

World Famous

Latte is world famous.
Well maybe famous in New Zealand.
Actually only famous to those on lifestyle blocks (or wanting to be).
And who read the Growing Today Magazine.
The photo above made it to the publishing stage in the September addition of the Growing Today. Didn't win but who cares he is cute anyway.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Things really haven't improved much.

Just when you think things can't get much worse - they do. Liam got sick. Really, really sick. Kathryn didn't get any better and my stress levels just kept climbing.
Came to a head last Wednesday when Kathryn went into ketasadosis. I had already spent two days crying on the phone to the hospital that she wasn't getting any better while they tried to reassure me all it took was time. Liam lay on the floor out of it with a temperature of 40.9 and having autism he doesn't do medicine at all. I gave in and rang my doctor - they didn't have any appointments so I took the kids to the walk in clinic. They were too full and turned us away, even though I explained the situation and had Liam unconscious in my arms (he is really really heavy). Then as I was standing there crying in frustration they had a cancellation - but for one only - which one was sicker. In the end I chose Kathryn because medically she was more in danger. Two minutes later I had my referral to the hospital, but still no help for Liam.
So off to the hospital we went. Kathryn's referral got her seen quite quickly, four hour wait to see Liam they said. No beds in wards, no beds in emergency, not even any beds left in corridors, so we got an ambulance stretcher in the ambulance bay (and we were not alone).
I put Liam in the bed as my arms were killing me. He is such a dead weight and hadn't woken yet. The nurses kept trying to give him attention over Kathryn because at least she was up and walking (and very, very sick). Finally Craig got off work and came to get Liam, who was now awake and topping and tailing with Kathryn in the very narrow bed.
Craig took Liam off to a walk in clinic in Tauranga - just in time to have in start power vomitting all over him. There is some justice after all. Ten minutes wait at the new walk in clinic and they were being told it is just a virus go home and take painkillers (ha ha).
Kathryn was finally admitted back to hospital, finally got a bed in one of the adult wards (they had two to a bed space in the children's ward). They sent her home the next evening saying she was better.
It is now a week later and she is still sick. I almost took her back to be admitted yesterday but managed to get our specialists cell phone number and have taken to calling him at all hours for help instead.
Liam has continued to get better and I'll send him to school today because I need a break. I continue to cry at the drop of a hat but am getting through it all.
P.S. We have had a couple of non medical disasters too. It never rains, it pours - all the time, heavily and that is part of the problem. Weather!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tales of Woe

For a week that started with promise it went steadily down hill and seems to still be in a slide.
Monday I ran a homeschool sewing class for a couple of friends girls. We had a great time, the girls sewed themselves a pair of pj's and were very proud of themselves.
Tuesday Kathryn stayed home feeling unwell and her blood sugar levels were a bit interesting.
Wednesday I took her to the doctors and told him no hospitals, I'm sure you can fix it. By 3pm we were in hospital and there we remained amongst doctors and nurses, sick kids and stressed parents, blood tests and drips.
Thursday the promised we could go home at 6pm and at 7pm and at 8pm but we were staying again by 9pm.
Friday we came home to a puppy who'd missed us and a Liam who hadn't that much.
Saturday the bloods were going haywire.
Sunday we tried to find a babysitter to go to my parents 'no kids please' housewarming. Plenty of takers for Kathryn but no one wants to look after small autistic boys. So feeling very sorry for myself as I sit here missing probably my only party of the year. I am going to have to make some more friends it seems.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I saw some bright shiny stuff

It's true! I saw some bright shiny stuff I think is called sunshine. Actually it was beaming in pretty strongly - and I had sewing to do. I only managed one costume before sneaking outside to put up some more bird netting around the chicken run.

I think I banged inexpertly two staples before a friend arrived and made me a coffee. The aforementioned friend's husband is still supposed to be building me a chicken hutch. Before I knew it the morning had gone and I was taking Kathryn's netball team for their exchange with the other local primary school. So off we all wondered and played their best - with very sad results as we were far outclassed. Half way through the game winter came back with vengeance. The local bus company was called to take us all dripping wet back to school.

Once home, changed and drinking yet more coffee the sun decided to come back out. So I abandoned the coffee and went back to the chicken run. I popped the Dixie Chicks out and they loved it. Unfortunately it was not cat proof and the dog had a good go at getting in too. If it is fine enough today I'll see what I can do to make it safer while they are still quite small.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The wonders of the wet

I am still sewing although I'll take some time of today to take Kathryn's netball team on an exchange with the other local school.
It has been so wet that seeds have germinated in out doormat - amazing what nature does.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Still sewing

I am still sewing as fast as I can. I have six costumes of the original 19 to complete by the end of the week so I am doing quite well. I could have sold another couple but the time they had to wait put the buyers off - I'm not to sad about that.
My kitten had a sleep on Saturday and woke up without various parts of his anatomy. He seems to be recovering well and is almost back to normal this morning.
And Latte and I finally managed to walk all the way around the block - yay. I can't wait until he can walk just a little further (and faster) and we can go exploring.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

When will the storms end?

Wow what a wet week. I have to feel sorry for those up north and down south but mostly I just feel sorry for myself as I haven't been able to garden.
I have however decided the rain is a blessing in disguise. I make and sell kids costumes on Trade Me to earn enough money for gardening goodies. I sell about one costume a week and this keeps me going. Ooops this week I sold 19. Help I am sewing as fast as I can but have only got 7 done so far.
Poor neglected puppy and my chicks are sitting in a cage in the garage waiting for nicer weather and me to have time to finish making their run.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Slugs and snails and puppy dog tails

Not only has my garden been ignored but my poor seedlings too. Due to the wetter than wet weather and my cute little time waster, I've not checked on my seedlings in the better part of a week.
This morning I got a call to say my chicks arrive tomorrow. This sent me into a bit of a spin as I still haven't got anywhere to keep them (and the friend building a hen house still hasn't either). So I dashed out to tidy my soon to be chicken yard starting with shifting my seedlings. Only there was not very many left. My sneaky suspicion is slugs and snails, however now there are even less due to the thing with the puppy dog tail. He thought it was a great game and single handedly destroyed about half of those remaining by jumping excitedly on them much to my horror and annoyance.
That said I shifted them to under the deck and started to put up bird netting to deter the cats and wild birds from my chicken run.
Once Latte stopped destroying seedlings
he turned to his next favourite hobby - eating Doppelganger. Soon my poor kitten (who lets him) will have no ears or tail!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

All has been quiet.

Well things in the garden have come to a complete halt in terms of anything new or me lifting a finger. On the plus side I am eating the first of the winter peas, broccoli, lettuce and radishes.
School holidays and wet winter weather are not my only excuses for being so slack.
After 20 odd years of wanting one I have finally got a puppy. And he is soooooo cute. And sooooooo much trouble. His name is Latte and he is a boarder collie crossed with a husky. Yesterday I was reading in a magazine about the best and easiest types of dogs for a family. It read: the le
ast number of characteristics your dog shares with a wolf the easier the pet it will make. Boy oh boy are we in for trouble because this dog is all wolf. Anyway here are some photos to make you jealous. And hopefully I'll get some gardening done soon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

School Holidays

Winter and the school holidays have slowed me down a bit. Not a lot of gardening has been happening.
I spent a few hours today transplanting seedlings and putting in a new lot of seeds. My little plastic houses do an awesome job of keeping the heat in and germinating seeds. The biggest problem is room. I have been taking those seedlings which are not frost tender and putting them in the car port. Unfortunately then they get the cold weather and stop growing.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Snail Hotels

After a week of horrible winter weather - I mean who'd have thought it bad weather in winter - the sun came out and reminded me I needed to get into the garden and have a bit of a clean up.
After mounding up the potatoes and a quick weed I decided to tackle the last of my pet peve in urban gardens, the horrible, snail sheltering agapanthus. So after a bit of digging and sweating I hauled the last from my vege garden.
Being as I am trying to recycle I did put them aside for my mother in law to recycle into her garden to help retain a bank. She can now go into the snail collecting business.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How does your garden grow

This post is dedicated to my friend Hay, just to show her even in mid winter after only gardening for two months I can still get things to grow.
The broccoli is my tea tonight - yum yum (I can hear squeals of horror from the rest of my family). Lettuce we have been eating for the last month. Silverbeet for rabbits and in preparation for the chickens. Radishes, carrots and spring onions for winter salads. Peas flowering, I can't wait to eat them and even Kathryn looks interested. Early potatoes sprouting, these for Liam to cut into his favourite food - chips. Parsley for good health. Cauliflower to horrify my family with threats of it being for tea tomorrow. And finally the single solitary lemon on my tiny lemon tree. I can't bring myself to pick it and will content myself with stealing (with permission) the lemons from my neighbours tree.
Enjoy the photo's and ignore the weeds, it has rained and been freezing cold for the last week or so.
Please no comments on the bad photography.