Spring’s a bit earlier this year…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 28th, 2012 by Coffee

Or the trees are just a bit bigger, so they’re off to a faster start than last year by a couple of weeks.

Whatever the reason is, I’ll take it. And also hope that we can manage to get just a little more fruit from the orchard this year!

Not more trees?!

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 27th, 2012 by Coffee

Last lot of trees for this season (we think – for now at least) went in yesterday. A 70m line of Cupressus Arizonica, or Arizona Cyprus. At 1.5m spacing, that was 45 trees. Luckily the ground is still pretty saturated, so digging them in was actually pretty easy. Also made a lot, lot easier than the big trees we’ve just put in by the fact that the roots were still in a very little plug relative to the height of the seedlings. We were thinking that it might take us 2 days to get them all in, but in the end it took us just over an hour. And that included lining up the string to make sure we got them roughly in a straight(ish) line far enough out from the fence to still get the mower in for a while.

Hopefully they’ll cope with the local conditions here and grow, grow, grow. They should do. That’s why we chose them!

Now we just have to work out what to do with all the extras we’ve got still sitting in a bag. Good to have some spares on hand in case the hares have a crack at the run of them, but we might need to come up with another line or two just for fun. Of course we might need quite a few replacements on Monday, but more on that later…

Solitary confinement

Posted in Animals on August 26th, 2012 by Bec

We have a broody hen. She always seemed like she had a tendency towards broodiness since the start, but now all she wants to do is sit in the nesting box whether there are eggs in there or not. You would think she would notice that most of the time she is sitting on nothing, just some straw. Apparently not. But a broody hen really is a pain in the proverbial, unless you actually want one to help hatch some little chooks.

She’s been cluttering up the nesting box when the others want to lay an egg, even though the nesting box is big enough for them to lay on the other side, of course. But apparently they all like to lay in the same two inches of the box. Go figure! So I guess the other chooks must have just been laying their eggs on her head and letting gravity do the work to get them down under her. Which is where we always found them.

So she has currently been placed in the naughty corner to try and get her back to full laying ability. Quite an expensive naughty corner though, as we had to purchase a new house in order to place her on her own. I could think of worse places to be if I was a chook in solitary confinement.

She has been there for two days now and currently no sign of an egg. But then we do think she got quite broody so it may take a little longer, possibly on her lonesome for a month (well so some of the literature tells us). It means for now instead of the two or three eggs a day we are down to only one or two.

And if the time out in the naughty corner does not work?… Hmmmm. What do we do with a surplus chook, since I am not sure I am willing to eat her? Might have to use here broodiness for what it’s actually meant for!

Not quite the extreme version yet…

Posted in Rants And Rambles on August 26th, 2012 by Bec

My current occupation is housewife. It is therefore, apparently, one of my chores of the week to iron ‘the master’s’ shirts for the week so he can look well groomed at work (otherwise there will be a early morning blurry eyed debate on whether he can go to work without ironing said shirt). So this week I asked the wage slave for a new ironing board to ensure I have the best tools to carry out my tasks. Our current ironing board was a cheapy, and it was surely a perfect example of you do indeed get what you pay for: narrow, light and wobbly, and basically nasty.

But he did, he did indeed come through with the goods. Yep, it is the small things in life, but I am pretty happy with my new ironing board. It actually made ironing a pleasure-able experience today. In fact I think I might have been secretly smiling. It is wide, sturdy and even has a place on it to put a flag on it to alert everyone to the fact that ironing is taking place (apparently that’ actually for the cord so it can be kept out of the way). Lets see how long it takes before the novelty wears off.

All in all so far I would say it is well worth paying the extra dollars for a good one. My advice to all you budding housewives out there: don’t skimp on your board!

Introduction to computer programming concepts by way of practical examples 1: Planting hedges.

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 20th, 2012 by Coffee

(This might make slightly more sense if you look at the individual story, and not the condensed view on the front page… Click here if you like.)

Sub PlantHedges

   Dim HedgesToPlant as hedges = 2
   Dim HedgePlants as HoneysuckleBox = 88

    for HedgesStillToPlant = 0 to HedgesToPlant
      Mark out desired hedge line with builders line and rocks
      Dig turf out of desired hedge line
      Fill hole that we've just dug with compost
      Do While HedgePlants > 0 and not at end of hedge trough
         dig hole for plant
         if big stones in soil pile just dug up
            pull out any big stones
            put stones in empty plant pot
            raise eyebrows in surprise
         end if
         push in HedgePlant
         HedgePlants = HedgePlants minus one
         put all soil just dug out of hole back around plant
         move 25cm along row
   next HedgesStillToPlant

   clean up site so next mow of lawn doesn't fire stones everywhere
   sprinkle blood and bone in the hope it keeps the hares away
   celebrate completion appropriately
   feel pretty weary and go watch rugby highlights to recover

End Sub

And that pretty much sums up our fun-day Sunday! Hope you can work out just how much fun we had in the cold, grey day. But at least that’s another 88 shrubs/trees planted. Just the last 100 of yet another size and shape to go. They’re going to follow a similar pattern though, I suspect. Good job we’ve got the perfect algorithm sorted now!

Let’s just hope we have the same level of assistance (i.e. sleeping) from munchkin when we’re planting the next instalment.

We’ve got trees, they’re multiplying…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 19th, 2012 by Coffee

I have no idea why I’ve got Grease songs on my mind at the moment. I suspect I must have seen a promo for an up and coming viewing on TV some time soon. Threw me mentally back years to being forced, forced I say, to endure a showing every weekend as my sister wore out her video tape of it. I think I still might need some professional help for that eventually… But anyway. Onwards to the actual story for today.

Yesterday we went and collected another 193 trees and shrubs. That’s quite a lot. Luckily some of them are quite small, so it only took 2 wagon loads to get them home. But once they were home we had to plant them. First up was the bare root trees, as they’re obviously the most in need of soil around their nether regions. They were also by far the biggest, and therefore most expensive, so worth looking after immediately.

So. In went another two maples (of differing spreading habits) and another two Claret Ash, all out the front joining the previously installed stand of a maple, another Claret Ash, and a Golden Elm that it would appear we didn’t document fully, but two out of three ain’t all that bad. So now there are seven.

We also added another nectarine to the orchard, as we couldn’t quite work out why we’d only installed one last time, while the apricots and peaches got two variants. I’ll save you yet another picture of what looks like random twigs.

As you can see from the long shadow, by the tie we’d got those in it was getting pretty late. So to recap. On day one we’ve installed a grand total of five trees. Only 188 to go! You know what that means. Tune in tomorrow for the next instalment! Unless I don’t get it done tomorrow, in which case find something else to read over your morning coffee…

Just add a dash of lime…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on August 5th, 2012 by Coffee

A bit more of a “before” record than a very interesting post, but at least there’s something for the breakfasting readers on a Monday morning desperate for something to enjoy over the Weetbix*. Today we managed to implement one small part of the “add some interest to flat and boring grass” plan and managed to get a trio of trees installed in one small corner of the place.

Crap photo for now, but it was getting pretty dark by the time we started planting, let along finished. (Not quite sure what’s up with the grass in the pic. It might be a bit messy, but it’s not really black out there, honest!) Must remember to take a decent pic in summer, assuming they get any leaves. At least you can see the stakes, if not the trees.

They’re a trio of tilia europaea, or English or common Lime trees. How they relate to their more fruity namesakes I have no idea. But given how big they can eventually grow I’m not sure you’d want to get them mixed up. I suspect we’ll never see them at their maximum height though.

Digging them in today was about as easy as it can be here as the ground is still soaking from a long period of rain. Definitely the best conditions for digging around here! Might have to try to quickly get on to another phase or two!

* As a side note, doesn’t Monday morning really suck for internet news in NZ!? At least while the northern football season is enjoying it’s 2 week holiday.