Happy Ramblings

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Have a very merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas wishes

Wishing you and your loved ones the most wonderful Christmas. May you never be too old to search the skies on Christmas Eve! Enjoy your celebrations, stay safe and take care.

With lots of love from Rose xxx

Friday, December 17, 2021

Silver and red, vintage and antique, Christmas tree decorations

table top Christmas tree

At last, here is my little tabletop Christmas tree, decorated with silver and red, vintage and antique, Christmas tree decorations. 

The shiny baubles are made of mercury glass and the little figures are made of chenille and spun cotton. I found them on eBay many years ago when I became addicted to buying Christmas decorations online. I get so much joy from them. They remind me of my childhood Christmases when we had a real tree with real candles on.

I have had a very busy 2 weeks looking after my mum, taking her to her doctor, audiologist and optometrist. Her blood pressure was extremely high, but now has lowered below the danger level, with new medicine doses, which is a big relief.  

Also, mum's hearing has deteriorated by 50% in a year and she was struggling with her old hearing aids, one of which she lost. So she now has new ones in time for Christmas. It is a bit of an ordeal for her getting the hearing aids to work as needed though, so yesterday I went to the audiology clinic to learn how to program them using an app on my cellphone. Then yesterday afternoon I managed to adjust the settings so that she can now hear me and dad with no difficulty 😊 I will need to do another program setting for the hearing aids at Christmas, when the family is all gathered together, as hearing will be a challenge for mum in a group setting.

It is hard to believe that it is only 1 week to go until Christmas! The time has flown by quickly since my last post. Everything is ready now apart from a delivery of groceries next week for Christmas. I have my fingers crossed that they will be able to deliver everything I need, otherwise it will be a last minute visit to the supermarket, which I imagine will be a crazy time.

In the meantime, I have been watching the Chateau Diaries Christmas Advent vlogs every day on YouTube. It is a lovely channel to watch and is making it feel like Christmas 🎄

Have a wonderful weekend. 

Hugs, Rose x

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Getting into the Christmas spirit

I have been slow with putting up my Christmas decorations and getting into the Christmas spirit, which I am finding a little bit difficult, this year. So yesterday I decided to do something about it. 

I put on some Christmas music from YouTube with pretty Christmas scenes and gathered up all the gifts that I had bought throughout the year. Then I got out my Christmas wrapping papers, sellotape and scissors, and I was all set to get wrapping.

It didn't take long for me to realise that I was thoroughly absorbed and having fun with this activity 😊

I had one dilemma though, my brother's Christmas present, which I ordered in October, hadn't arrived in the mail yet. I phoned the company that I purchased it from and was told that, unfortunately the parcel was delayed in transit from overseas and it would be another 12 days before they got it to send on to me...😕 This will be too late to give to my brother as he is going away for Christmas to his in-laws shortly and he is coming to visit and pick up the presents tomorrow.

So I had an idea.

I found a picture of the gift that he is going to get eventually, then printed it out on glossy photo paper and turned it into a little card. Inside I explained that this is a picture of his gift which he will receive next year, as unfortunately Santa was a bit delayed this year. All will be fine.

The next thing on my to-do list was to start rearranging my desk to make it look Christmassy. I added a red gloxinia house-plant which came into flower last week. It isn't quite a poinsettia, but it is the right colour and very pretty.

I then placed my new tabletop Christmas tree on my desk. I bought it recently to replace the little white tree that I had. The white tree had turned light brown and looked awful. I had wanted another white tree but couldn't find one that was suitable. Then I found this little green tree with white flocking which made me very happy.

Tomorrow my father will get my vintage Christmas decorations out of storage and I will be able to decorate my trees...Yay! I won't be putting up my large tree this year, as there isn't room for it anymore, which is a shame.

I also received my first Christmas card yesterday, so added it to my desk too. I plan to make garlands again with my favourite cards which I have saved over the years.

The menu for our Christmas Eve meal is now planned and I have bought all the non-perishables for it. (It is very hard for me not to tuck into the pfeffernusse biscuits and mince pies!) I also made a list of things that need to be bought a few days beforehand. The food will be hit-and-miss this year with not knowing what groceries will be available or not. But the main thing will be that we will have a good time together.

How are you getting on with your holiday plans this year?
Have you managed to get into the spirit of things?

See you again soon. 

Hugs, Rose x

Monday, November 22, 2021

My vegetable garden is coming along well

French Breakfast radishes

The first radishes are being picked and they are really delicious. These are French Breakfast radishes which are mild and juicy, not hot like other radishes can be. I like to eat them with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of salt. Yummy!

Tabby cat Otto amongst the poppies

The Flanders poppies are taking over, much to my delight. We are planting vegetables around them under Otto's close supervision. 

In some places you could easily think that this is a flower bed with a few vegetables dotted around lol.

Vegetable patch full of poppies

More flowers in the veggie patch

Courgettes growing
The courgettes are flowering too and there are a few baby courgettes, but for some reason they are rotting. I don't know what is going wrong. Maybe the weather has been too wet for them, or the flowers haven't been pollinated well enough? I will just have to wait it out and keep my fingers crossed. The plants themselves are looking really healthy.

tomato and runner bean seedlings

The tomatoes are growing well. Dad started them off from seed and kept them under cloches until they were big enough to plant outside. Since taking this photo the tomatoes now have flowers on.                                                                                                                                    

feverfew flowering

I like the white daisy-like feverfew flowers growing beside the veggie garden fence. They are attracting plenty of beneficial insects to the garden.

The potatoes are now ready for harvesting. Their leaves are turning brown now. At first I thought there was something wrong with them, but dad dug a few up and we have lovely baby new potatoes 😊 Now we need to decide what to plant after the potatoes have been dug up.

The leeks are being harvested a few at a time and I am making leek and potato soup, chicken leek and ham pie and leek and bacon quiche with them. I suppose I could use the leeks in other recipes instead of onions...hmm that is an idea. 

Do you have any other ideas on recipes that use leeks?

veggie patch

The cavalo nero kale is flowering nicely. I am keeping them for seed to grow later as I love kale chips made with olive oil, garlic and salt roasted in the oven.

nasturtiums growing near the compost heap

Dad turned over the compost heap and used some of the mature compost on the veggie patch to return nutrients back to the soil. 

The nasturtiums grew here, by themselves, not far from the vegetable garden. It is a good place for them because they attract pests away from the vegetables and also bring beneficial insects to the garden.

It is now evening and the heat of the day is passing. It has been very humid today. Otto is lying near the open window loving it. 

This morning Otto's friend Ginger brought a live mouse and presented it to Otto by dropping it at his feet. Luckily this happened outside. I have never heard of a cat giving food/playthings to other cats that they aren't related to lol.

Now it is time to water the veggie garden, it's getting dry and some of the seedlings aren't big enough to survive untended with this heat.

See you again soon. Have a great week.

Hugs, Rose x

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

An evening walk with Otto and his friend


Orange and yellow nasturtiums

It is still spring and yet it feels like summer has arrived here. The temperature was 27 C yesterday and it is the same today. There is no humidity and not a cloud in the blue sky. We have all the windows open to let the gentle breeze in to cool the house down.

By evening-time yesterday the temperature was very pleasant, so I decided to go out for a walk around the garden with Otto. We were soon joined by Otto's friend, who we think is a neighbour's cat, or maybe a stray.

We call him Ginger or Gin-Gin, but he is very shy and won't come any closer than 5 metres to us. 

I managed to get a long-distance photo of him which I enlarged. It is rather out of focus, but here he is. He is rather a cute cat with a sad face.

Ginger cat amongst poppies

Purple cineraria flowers

The cinerarias and nasturtiums are in full flower now and I love the contrast in colour between the purple and the orange.

View over the grape vine

The grape vine is creeping over the feijoa bushes again. We let it grow wild and it produces many kilos of red grapes each year. Plenty for the birds and for us. 

We cook the grapes to make juice which we use to make kissel, a Russian dessert, which is quite delicious. Which reminds me that we still have 4.5 L of grape juice in the freezer to use up from last year.

Comfrey flowers

I discovered a patch of comfrey that has planted itself under the grapes. Comfrey is great to use as a fertiliser as it is very high in nitrogen. But I don't fancy the putrid smell of rotting the leaves down in water to make the fertiliser.

Otto tabby cat

Here is Otto. It is very hard to take photos of Otto because he is so lively and doesn't keep still very often. But I managed to take this one of him.

I think Otto and Ginger are about the same age, still quite young. They play together, pouncing on each other and making trilling, purry meows. Then they run up trees together. It is lovely to watch Otto with a companion since we lost Abby.

View towards the vegetable garden

While I was walking I saw quite a lot of wildlife in the garden. Rabbits, Canada geese, quail, pheasants, rosellas and of course the pukekoes. I wasn't fast enough to get photos of them though. 

It is lovely to be so close to the wildlife. Very enjoyable and relaxing.

Over the canna leaves to the orchard

Here is a view over the canna leaves towards the orchard where the trees are now green. 

I need to pull out the kikuyu grass which is starting to swamp the cannas. It is a crazy grass that smothers everything in its path. (I always find things that need to be done in my photos!).

Philadelphus flowers

The mock orange (philadelphus) is flowering beautifully this year, and the scent it gives off is glorious. I wish the flowers would last longer so that I could pick them to bring into the house.

Pink roses

I shall pick some of our pink roses instead 😊

Cats bumping noses kissing

I shall leave you with another blurry long-distance photo of Otto and Ginger kissing. They do really like each other. 

Mum has just told me that Ginger came into the house and walked past her in the sitting room and then out through the window. He was very scared when he saw mum, but he is being quite brave coming into the house!

I hope that you have a great rest of the week. I will see you again soon.

Hugs, Rose x

Saturday, October 30, 2021

New unusual mushrooms have appeared in my garden!


Shaggy inkcap mushrooms

Yesterday dad called me to come quickly into the garden, with my camera, to see what he had discovered under the trees, near the shed. 

I was really surprised to see a clump of large white mushrooms, which are about 20 cm to 25 cm tall, surrounded by younger small ones. They were happily growing in the damp decomposed leaf litter. 

The weather here in Auckland has been very wet and warm this spring, quite often around 19 C to 21 C during the day, which must be ideal for these mushrooms to grow here.

coprinus comatus mushrooms

The mushrooms are huge. I had no idea what kind they were. So after taking some photos I ran back inside to search the internet for a name.

Shaggy ink cap mushrooms

I wasn't quite sure from my photos what the mushrooms were called because they hadn't opened up and I didn't know if these were fully mature or not.

Shaggy ink cap mushrooms also known as Lawyer's wig

Then early this morning, before it started to rain, I went back to the mushroom patch to discover that 2 had opened up at the bottom and had a lip of black curled up around the bottom of the cap.

coprinus comatus in my New Zealand garden

After my search on the internet, I found that these mushrooms may be the commonly called shaggy ink caps, shaggy mane or lawyer's wigs (depending on which country you are in), with the scientific name of coprinus comatus. Though I may be wrong. (No matter what the these mushrooms are I will not be eating them!!!)

I wonder what surprises my garden will give me next month!

Do you have any idea if I am correct in my identification? 

I hope your weekend goes well and that you have some pleasant surprises too.

Hugs, Rose x