Happy Ramblings: January 2016

Sunday, January 31, 2016

My green green vegetable garden

I never tire of looking at the greens of nature. It is very restful for the eyes on hot summer days.

Today they promised thunderstorms, but instead we got a hot, balmy 28 C with just a spot or two of rain. When the clouds started to clear a bit I took the opportunity to venture outside with my camera, accompanied by my cat Oscar.

We went into my vegetable garden to see how things were coming along...

Everything is growing so fast in this weather, it is unbelievable. The cucumber plants are now escaping from the vegetable garden and onto the pathway. I discovered my first cucumbers growing very nicely with not a sign of mildew.

The caigua (pronounced "kai-wa") is growing rampantly over the fence. This is the first time that I have grown caigua. It is a relation of the cucumber family which originated in Peru.

Some people say that caigua tastes a bit like green peppers and asparagus, and some say it is like eating green beans. I wonder what it will taste like for me?

The flower buds have formed and a few have opened into clusters of tiny cream coloured flowers. I can't wait to harvest it. In the meantime I am researching on how to prepare and eat them.

My herb patch is also doing well. There is a good crop of dill and coriander. My parsley and basil are the only things that are being slow this year.

The variegated marjoram has taken over the lemon thyme. I need to take some cuttings of the lemon thyme, or layer it, before it is totally lost.

I never expected my lemongrass to grow so big! It is so exciting that I grew it from a few stalks from the supermarket.

Here is my lettuce which I am growing like mesclun. All I do is pick a few leaves, from each plant, at a time whenever I need it. My perpetual spinach and coloured silverbeet are ready for picking now, also leaf by leaf.

The snow peas have been providing me with another good crop this year. I gather a couple of handfuls each evening. Tomorrow I will need to freeze some because they are piling up in the fridge.

The beans and tomatoes are growing nicely. I picked the grand total of four beans today! The first of the crop.

I wish that the tomatoes would hurry up. There is an abundance of flowers which are keeping the bees very happy, but not much sign of the fruit setting yet.

We have been getting courgettes galore since I came back from my holiday. They grow so fast that if I miss picking one one day, it will have grown the size of a marrow by the next day.

So far we have eaten courgette bread, courgettes sautéed in butter, courgette salad, and stuffed courgettes and we have given some away. I need to find more recipes for some variety before the glut really starts.

Dad trimmed my artichoke plants down, after I had picked the last of the crop, and they are looking really healthy with lots of new leaf growth. Artichokes are one of my favourite vegetables. Cooked by steaming them and served with butter, delicious!

Oscar approves.

See you again soon.

Hugs Rose x

Monday, January 25, 2016

My holiday in Hawkes Bay New Zealand

I have returned from a very enjoyable holiday in the Hawkes Bay area with my older brother and sister-in-law. My younger brother and his wife drove me down there with my little 6 year old nephew. It is about a 5 hour drive, so we decided to stop overnight at a friend's batch (holiday home in New Zealand language) on the edge of Lake Rotowiti in Rotorua to break the journey up a bit.

The weather was glorious. When we arrived at Hawkes Bay, where my brother has built his new house, it was 32 degrees C and remained around this temperature most of the time that I was there.

My sister-in-law breeds miniature horses and has now got 22 of them. They are delightful, especially the young foal who loves to be cuddled.

Here are some of my sister-in-law's bantam silky hens plus a speckled bantam. They occasionally lay around 2 to 3 eggs a day between them.

For my birthday my younger brother and his wife took me to the UB40 concert which was held in the Havelock North Tuki Tuki Valley with views of Te Mata Peak. When the band arrived the sun came out from behind the clouds and the wind dropped. We had an amazing time.

Then a couple of days later my older brother and his wife treated me to dinner at the Terroir Restaurant which is in the Craggy Range vineyard in Havelock North. The food and atmosphere was excellent.

I spent my days relaxing at my brother's new house reading, chatting, taking photos and being taken on day trips around Napier, Havelock North and Hastings.

Here are some photos that I took from the top of Te Mata Peak which is 399 metres above sea level. The weather again was glorious.

See you again soon

Rose x

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A pleasant evening walk on our land

It was a lovely cool evening this evening, after a rather hot and humid day, so I decided to go for a walk around our land to cool down a bit. We live on 10 1/4 acres of land here in New Zealand and our house is in the middle of it, surrounded by fields and trees.

This is the view from the top of the land. The woodland in the distance is native New Zealand subtropical rainforest known as "bush".

I took the following 3 photos near to the house and they are part of the view that I look out on from my bedroom window.

The tall spiky trees are native New Zealand trees known as Cabbage trees. These trees seeded themselves here amongst our feijoa bushes (pineapple guava).

Our grapes have grown wild and happily ramble over the trees which keeps the blackbirds happy.

Fennel seeds itself everywhere, and the patch on the left has been kept for their flowers to attract the bees towards my vegetable patch.

On my walk I came across one of the many pukeko birds that live on our land eating a kumara (sweet potato).

Our pukekos are very cheeky and don't fly away from us. I have grown quite fond of them, though many people dislike them as they wreck gardens, especially vegetable patches, pulling out small plants to eat their roots.

We have a fence around our vegetable patch to keep both the pukekos and our cats out. Although the pukekos can fly they tend to walk most of the time.

I found that my artichokes have started flowering. They look beautiful, but I will need to pick them all to keep the plants strong for next years crop.

Below is another view that I can see from my bedroom. The pink roses have almost finished flowering now but they put on a glorious show in early Summer and the scent is heavenly.

As I am writing this it has gone dark outside and I feel refreshed and so much cooler after my walk. I think I will have a relaxing evening reading my book and cuddling my cats. Then do a bit of mindfulness meditation to wind down completely.

Until next time,

Rose x