Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Autumn Leaves

When out walking we had much fun crunching the first of the autumn leaves.

We collected fallen acorns and their caps.

At the greengrocer's (love that word!) we bought a tiny wee little squash.

We got out oil pastels and black card and created autumn leaves to tape to the window.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Country Girls

Eat your heart out Nellie Oleson. These country girls have style and class.

I splurged and ordered the country doll kit from Alicia. Four of the girls are nestled next to the kids sewing and knitting baskets out of reach of little sticky fingers.

There is one more little sweetie who is just waiting for the finishing touches on her apron.

Anybody care to take a guess as to their names?

Hint #1 Little redhead should be easy for those who know my family ;)

Hint #2 A city girl who makes an alpine friend.

Hint #3 She's not so plain and ended up mistress of the manor.

Hint #4 Aqua girl is loverly.


"Charlotte is a spider and Laura's doll"

C3's random comment while we were reading neither of the abovementioned novels on the couch today.

Choccy fish for correct ID of the novels...and while I'm at it I MIGHT remember to finally send the choccy fish for Kate and Sharon from last year!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Garden Diary #1

The sun was shining, the air was clear.
We spent the day in the yard. A very productive day was had by all:

J and O6 concreted in the fenceposts for our "Keep E20 months from escaping" fence.

All four kiddoes grabbed their kid sized gardening tools and helped dig/weed/ transplant etc.

I decided that the flower garden really was getting past its prime...dug out the summer annuals and dug in the winter colour.

O6 and J found all manner of weird and wonderful bugs/larvae and other slimy things hidden in the freshly tilled soil and pondered together whether the white grub was an earwig larvae or some kind of insect queen.

We walked to our local garden centre...500 metres down the road, got the third batch of winter vegeseedlings to plant out, identified that yes indeed the flower gardens were full of self seeded Calendula and that the huge glossy fronds under the neighbours rimu trees were not weeds and could be rightly considered an ornamental plant....and began to make decisions about the fruit tree plantathon happening next weekend.

So far we have decided upon:
Feijoas- 3 different varieties which will double as a hedge to screen the neighbour's driveway.
A range of berries- and over winter we will design and build a netting thingymabob to cover them when they start fruiting.
Lemon, lime and mandarin trees.
An Apple tree which I am going to attempt to espalier on the fence.
I would like to put in some olive trees and a plum tree
J really wants a nashi tree also.

Lavender (already planted) with random leftover brassicas filling the gaps until the lavender grow. I resisted buying a cushioned kneeler pad and found a cardboard box works just fine.
My herb/salad garden with flourishing rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley and perpetual spinach, getting there mesclun (under the netting at the end) and barely-hanging-on-cos-it-has-been-ripped-out-by-the-E-monster-numerous-times basil. New plantings to fill gaps of Pak Choi, and silverbeet.
The square foot garden with established silverbeet, small broad beans growing, carrots just beginning to show, last minute hopeful peas and some grimly determined brassicas that I grew from seed and planted out a bit too early. New plantings of bigger brassicas to fill the gap until the seeded ones take off, more silverbeet and New Zealand spinach.
Flower grden at the front of the house. Calendula which self-seeded, transplanted to one area by the step. New plantings of violas, primula and polyanthus for winter colour.
The leftover patch... J dug out a very sad looking carpet rose and I dug over the empty spot and threw in all of the leftover brassicas to fill the space that I am still deciding what to plant out with permanently.

Now if only gardening were a once every few months all out endeavur rather than a daily tending and nurturing I'd be set. I can do the gung-ho get it all planted bit great...still working on the ins and outs!

P.S. If anyone has an organic, no dig way of getting rid of every kind of broad leaf oxalis you can think of pleeeeaaaase let me in on the secret!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Are You Being Served?

Grab some play money, a few Op Shop baskets and lots of random toys and books artfully displayed...and voila you have O6's wonderful store.

J got the bargain of the century when O6 sold him C3 and E20 months for $5 the pair.

I thought I was doing well when I got $100 change on my $50 purchase!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Balloons Over Waikato

We didn't brave the chilly Autumn air to go down the road at 6 am to see the Balloons...but we did watch out of the windows and don slippers and go out on the porch to watch the Balloons sail past on their adventures.

The kids loved the Pirate Balloon best of course.

O6 taught the Science lesson for the day by informing the littlies that the fire makes the air in the ballooon hotter, and hot air rises so the balloon goes up. When they turn the fire down the air gets colder and the balloon floats downwards. I chimed in with the info that when Hot Air Balloons were invented some of the first apassengers were a chicken and a dog ( I think!)...but Mummy is not so interesting a teacher as I quickly stopped trying to "make everything a teachable situation" and left O6 to it.

Eeeking Out the Last Days of Summer

For the third year running I have spent an entire day getting grumpy and frazzled packing the whanau up for a holiday at the beach. Once the gear and kids are squeezed ino the car, the trailer is filled to the brim and the house is sparkly clean (cos you can't come back to a messy house!) I relax and let J drive!

We met up with our fave family at our fave beach, Whangamata for five days of beach bliss don't think 8 kids under 6 is bliss?


*Having my first ocean swim in about 5 years...loved it...forgot how much I love it...bobbing out past the breakers!

*Five kiddoes bunking in together and (mostly) settling off to sleep without any nonsense!

*Catching up with good friends and old friends.

*Going out with the girls for dessert and forgetting to pay, feeling very happy when the restauarant was surprised we came back to confess and pay up!

*Talking with J in the car to and from.

*O having a go at riding his bike with no trainer wheels.

*A riding her bike all the way to the dairy and back ( with trainers ;) )


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Hibernation Preparation

We have just returned from a lazy holiday at the beach (pics to come later). I even went for a swim in the ocean...delicious.

This morning I awoke to the distinct chill of autumn and spurred on by online friends discussing winter preparations I have formulated the Big Chill list.

* Complete the winter knitting - 2 pairs of socks for O6, vests for A3 and C3, beanie for moi, scarf for O6, sweater for moi.

*Sew up merino skivvies and long johns for the family.

*Make polar fleece dressing gowns for the kiddoes.

*Draught stop the windows with draught stop window stuff.

*Make draught stoppers for the back and front doors.

*Source firewood - Dad and J's work first, then buy if necessary

*Apply for energywise subsidy for further insulation for the oh so cute, but rather old and draughty cottage.

*Plant out the remainder of the winter vege garden, and plant cover crops for the empty spaces.

*Give the ornamental gardens a good prune and plant bulbs for the spring.

*Replace the old cotton curtains in our room with thermal backed drapes.

*Stock up the craft boxes, make a sewing basket and organise the spare room for indoor activities.

*Sort out the read-aloud booklist, essential winter viewing and audio books.

*Stock up on hot chocolate and marshmallows.

*Make a huge pot of pumpkin soup with the pumpkins we have been gifted and freeze in family sized portions.

Just Breathe...I can do it!

Buy Nothing Challenge - April 2008

Last month my challenge to myself was to stay away from the supermarket. I did pretty well...only went once when we had guests over and once or twice to grab milk and rolled oats.

This month I am going to give it my best with the buy nothing challenge.

Okay...I admit that yesterday I did buy TWO glossy mags, but in my defence I didn't see this challenege until this from today until the end of the unnecessary purchases.

That means...

No new clothes

No new gadgets

No new furniture or housewares

No salon services

No makeup

No tools

No whatever the hell else people buy

If you must absolutely acquire something non-edible or not essential to growing your own food or for your survival, then you must borrow, barter, or buy it used. If you end up buying something new that is non-essential, I'll be hosting a weekly Sunday Confessional for you to justify your purchase. So, just think about having to confess to the world what you couldn't hold off on buying.

Wanna join me?

I am also continuing my NO plastic bags into the house other half even remembered the other day...what a guy!