Schoolboy error.

Posted in Plants and Gardens on July 31st, 2011 by Coffee

I just realised I should have checked the veg seed website before I planted the peas. I appear to have planted the tall ones to the north of the small ones… Doh!

I guess I’ll have to find some way of staking sideways or something to get some sun to the short ones.

A bit more light construction…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on July 28th, 2011 by Coffee

Another stunning day, so out we went to the garden to keep ticking the chores off. First up was a gentle poking of gro-tabs into the fruit tree root areas, with a bit of mulching on top.

That was followed by the erection of the first temporary compost bin so we could empty the increasingly smelly food scrap bucket. These pallets have come in quite handy. First they were the steps from our rooms, but now the deck is in they became surplus to requirements there.

Then we whipped up a bit of protection from birds and scraping kitties for the seeds that we (I) just had to plant now we’ve got protection for them… Peas today, both normal and sugar snap. I might consider adding some frost protection for them as well, but I’ll do a bit more research on that later to see if it’s needed. We even managed to get the spacing perfect to get another 2 rows in in a few weeks, and be able to shuffle the netting down.

Back to work

Posted in Plants and Gardens on July 27th, 2011 by Coffee

After a day playing in the snow today the weather turned warm and clear, so while the snow gently melted around us we got around to planting all the remaining fruit trees that have been darkening the front doorway. And what a collection it was. Fig, medlar, quince, the remaining apple, apricots, peaches, pears, plum, cherry, prune, nectarine, peaches, and almond… think that’s it!

A bit hard to see in this pic, but all those stakes have a tree attached somehow. Some straighter than others! We were a bit stupid though. We have some grow-tab things that we were meant to place below the roots somewhere as we went along. We remembered that at the time of planting the last tree today. Doh! We’ll have to go back and gently insert them under the surface tomorrow. At least the four we planted last time and today’s medlar have them in the appropriate place!

Now we’ll just have to patiently wait and see if they manage to sprout leaves and make and attempt at growing some fruit some time in the next few years! Though we still have a few extra patches of dead grass we sprayed that could still do with a tree or two poking out of them. If we could just work out what we’re missing!

It did! It did snow!

Posted in New Zealand, Rants And Rambles on July 26th, 2011 by Coffee

We were promised it, and unlike most of the forecasters in the UK they managed to get it right! We did indeed get a fair bit of snow over the last day or so. About 15cm over most things. More than enough to have a lot of fun with!

We spent an hour or so out there making Rusty the snowman. (If you want to know why it was called Rusty, ask Bec sometime!) The kitties tried to help, but chasing snowflakes was more fun.

But there were many other pretty things around the place, but taking photos with frozen fingers in a blizzard where there’s not too much light is not a fun job, so you get nothing. Sorry!

It’s now the second time I’ve seen the plot here covered in snow. When I raced back in 2006 to first look at it I met the estate agent out here and it was totally covered then too. Can’t remember how deep it was then, but I’m pretty sure this was deeper. Way more fun this time though!

Taking a break from veg, we move on to fruit…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on July 20th, 2011 by Coffee

Today we planted the first four of the fruit trees that have been standing at the front of the house waiting patiently for us to get around to dropping them in the dirt. We started with the easy ones that were in pots rather than bare-rooted. Two feijoas and two apples.

Only another 18 or so to go. I can’t remember exactly how many and what kinds of trees now. I guess I better check so we can make sure we work it out properly so they all end up in the right places in the rows that we’ve cut and sprayed in the front patch of long grass. I do know there’s one more apple to go in the middle of the two that we’ve just planted. That’s a a start!

Our First Herb Garden

Posted in Plants and Gardens on July 18th, 2011 by Bec

Well I have made my first official garden on the ranch all on my lonesome. Hmmmmm perhaps not, if you are being technical. What I mean is I planted the plants. I did have some help with the digging and refilling of the plot though, and Mike did an OK job at that. So welcome to our herb garden with a few pansies thrown in for colour at this stage. Of course the herbs in there will increase over time as we install what we need. But the pansies add a nice bit of simple colour to the place for the time being, as it is currently a very barren block that we live on.

Plot B3: Complete

Posted in Plants and Gardens on July 18th, 2011 by Coffee

It’s been a bit of a long haul, what with welcome interruptions by various very welcome visitors, but plot B3 is now complete.

For some reason we managed to dig this one out a bit deeper than all the others. Which just meant that we had a much bigger job filling it in again. But with Rene’s help for the last blast we finally got it done.

And the eagle-eyed among you will notice that plot B1 has started sporting the now standard look around here of a stone border. One thing we’re not short of around here is stones! But it will hopefully stop anyone driving over it.

Pinot caught a mouse, two mice, three mice!

Posted in Animals on July 18th, 2011 by Coffee

Yes, it had to happen sometime. Some of the local wildlife have succumbed to the hunting prowess of Pinot. (Fidget still prefers playing with tall weeds.)

On Friday she caught her first mouse, but didn’t really seem to know what to do with it, so Fidget took over and played with it. Like he does whenever she gets hold of any toy.

But on Saturday she caught another mouse, and this time she wasn’t going to let him anywhere near it until she’s finished with it. I.e. it was dead. At that point she thought she may as well go find another live one. Which she did.

So that’s three. So far. That we know of, anyway. Luckily they’ve all stayed outside so far, and haven’t been dug up again once I’ve buried them either. I wonder which animal or bird will be next. She certainly eyes up the magpies that come wandering around like they own the place, but I really hope she just leaves them alone until she’s got just a bit more weight behind her!

The day the deck was done.

Posted in House, Plants and Gardens on July 16th, 2011 by Coffee

[I can’t believe that we left this in draft and didn’t let you know it was all done!]

Yes, that’s right. It’s all done. Finished. Completed. You’ll no doubt be relieved that we can now bring this blog mini-series to a close!? Well, almost to a close. The photos I took earlier are crap, so you’ll have to wait for a pictorial entry sometime when I get around to it. Until then you’ll just have to take my word that it is indeed done.

Now we can look forward to the next project. Whichever item on the list we finally decide that will be. No doubt you’ll hear about it…

Meet our first home-grown lemon!

Posted in Plants and Gardens on July 13th, 2011 by Coffee

And isn’t she a beauty?! Firm, glossy, yellow skin, just like it should be, and the zest tasted just great in our dinner last night. Juice to be used today.

But home-grown might be stretching things a little. Home-ripened is possibly a more accurate description. When we bought the tree it had about 5 green lemons hanging off it. Excellent! I think all fruit trees should come pre-loaded. But there are a couple of baby lemons that have appeared since we’ve had the tree home and re-potted it to a bigger pot. We just have to keep remembering to shift the tree around to keep it out of these very gusty NW winds, but put it back out in the sun when they’re gone.