Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Madness quilt

I have been working too hard today for much but I did find this pic of a quilt I made by hand a couple of years back - that is I finished it a couple of years back. I think I'd been at it on and off for about 8 years before that!

I was a bit deranged when I designed it I think!

Of course I just had to get the obligatory ladder into the one shot that looks ok :)


Thursday, August 26, 2010


The hen run is still rather emptier than it was with both the old rooster and hen (over 10 years old) dying followed rather surprisingly by the young rooster. That was unexpected so now we have to consider what to have next. I still like the idea of fresh eggs every day even although I can't eat them (allergic). The boys still devour what the elderly girls provide so the need is still there.

I think I'd still prefer bantams just because they are less destructive in the garden when let out and I'm hoping that perhaps one of the old girls (yougest is 6, older three are 8), might oblige by being broody with a new batch of chicks.

The senior hen (named Houdini because of her escape antics when younger), has started to crow. It looks a bit odd but I think she feels that as the dominant hen she should stand in for the deceased males. She sounds quite realistic but quite a lot quieter than the real thing.

The photos were mostly taken by the boys a couple of years back.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Pumpkin soup the easy way

Todays photos are Karitane beach north of Dunedin

Take a pumpkin of any size, shape or type and chop, peel and core it. Small pieces for fast cook or big pieces for slow cook. Add one or two carrots, sliced and one or two onions, sliced. Cover with beef stock and cook on stove top until tender. Blend and serve with salt and pepper to taste and a swirl of sour cream if you happen to have some or some grated cheese if you can be bothered :)

I have been known to add a little fish sauce for extra bite or a splash of worcester sauce. I have also been known to add a leek or two and a clove of garlic if I felt like it.

A large pumpkin might go towards two pots of soup or some roasties. Apart from getting the #$%^%$ skin off the pumpkin, the whole thing can be done in about 30 minutes flat from go to serve. Which is great if you have unexpected guests (I fed 8 peeps with one pot the other day)

Hint - If you are doing the fast method it might pay to fry up the onion and garlic in a little oil first. It cooks down better that way. Or you can just add the onions/garlic to the stock when you prepare that! (if its home made that is).

viv in nz

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunday - again!

And tomorrow its back to work although not for the usual stuff - there's a meeting instead.

We did a birthday party yesterday in rain and dense fog. This did matter as the boys (and girl) were going to walk the Mt Cargill track top down. Well I got them there ok and the view was....minimal. The fog also made driving rather interesting! Shame in some ways although m did get a few nicely atmospheric photos.

They got to the bottom in about an hour flat. 12 year olds move fast! Then I collected them and fed them pumpkin soup and omlettes with cheese and a caramel slice pretending to be a cake with one beeswax candle on it (because I couldn't find my birthday candle stash). They didn't care as long as there was something to blow out. That was it. There was a little computer time for a couple of later pick ups and they all went home happy - no sweets, no party bag, no junk and most of the presents were hand made by the kids themselves and were a minimal part of the whole deal.

I've come to the conclusion that complicated parties just aren't worth the finance. They just want to do things together - mostly active things!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

More moutains

I've been really working at the dyed cloth with lots of free motion embroidery and I have to say I think it looks not too bad. I moved the sewing machine to a better surface and the improvement is much greater than I thought. I also took a class in edges and finally learned how to get to the rest of my fancy stitches :) I could have just read the manual of course but it appeared to be in chinglish. Or maybe japlish :)

For years and years I've only hand sewn things so this rather cheap and nasty machine is the first I've tried to use in my arty stuff. I think I'm getting to like it :)

The piece of cloth was one I did some time back and then put away because I made a real mess of the upper part. It just looked wrong. I finally decided to cut it into two pieces and remove the top bit altogether. Much better. The pieces are not large - just a bit over A4. I haven't decided whether to add beads etc yet. I'm going to hang them where I can see them and contemplate the whichness of the why until it resolves. The one on the left has photographed better than the other for some reason. I seem to have lost too much detail on the other - maybe I do need to embellish this one :)

viv in nz

Monday, August 9, 2010

green mountains

Potato mountains no less. A great way to eat yummy spuds so I thought I'd repost about this.

Apart from that nothing much has happened round here and I don't have anything of burning merit to say :). I was working rather a lot last week (kindy kids are great fun) so there wasn't much time for anything else. However I did spend Sunday at the fibre arts group and achieved quite a lot. I assume a post will go up fairly shortly about that at the site and I know there was an occasional photo taken (not by me :).

We are considering the ways of doing some snow dyeing this winter but the snow has been a bit noticeable by its absence. Chilly bins from inland might have to be resorted to yet.

i learned a heap about beading from an expert instead and that was really good. I have done quite a lot of beading but it is nice to know some of the proper techniques - especially the one for making straight lines - mine always tend to look too organic even if I don't mean them to be.

I think I'll add a Chinese garden photo from last year. This is the Dunedin Chinese Garden and it is rather good.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Green living

These are photos of our local gardens during rhododendron week last year. Can't wait for this year :)

One of the things which really annoys me about trying to be green is the number of sites that suggest you change this and that without a thought about just how this and that can be made affordable. As a person of limited means I find this highly irritating as I have no way to get to the supposed nirvana suggested.

The suggestion that most green livers come from the middle classes has an obvious basis in that only this group can afford to be green. The rest of us just have to be brown I suppose... This is not to say we don't live as green as possible or that there aren't good sites out there for everyone else. It is just an attitude which seems to be on the rise - a snobby sort of thing that says we're trendy and hip because we can afford to be green.

We need to rethink some of the attitudes we put out there and perhaps take a closer look at what we are really aiming for. Possibly before the whole thing becomes a sort of green washed nightmare instead of the planet saving we thought we were booked for.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mt Cargill with plastic

I keep thinking I should be a little more serious on this site but then there are so many really good sites out there that I think I perhaps should give the really serious stuff away :)

On the other hand, I do try to live by all those lovely green principles and cut my planet space to that which I feel I can live with. Plastic is a bit of an issue at present. Quite a bit of the stuff we use just doesn't come any other way for those of us who are monetarily challenged. It would be easy to live without plastic if we could afford the hand made bread (mine or the farmers market) and the expensive veg instead of the baggies of cheap seconds which only come in plastic but these are out of reach as long as the boys are eating like young horses.

Then there are the battles you just know you will fail at. Like biscuits. They come in plastic and I have no way to make them at home at present because we need an oven first. The small benchtop one I have just doesn't cut the mustard when it comes to baking. Men just don't seem able to resist the biscuit aisle :) The one plus is that the local dairy at least sells their sweets loose in paper bags! (although some are individually wrapped at point of manufacture just to annoy)

Its these little things that get to you when trying to make a difference.

Anyway enough of that. I still have a heap of photos to share so hope you like this one. It is the view from the top of Mt Cargill. There is a really nice walking track down into our valley from here that the kids love to do. We mostly get dropped off at the top and then picnic at the bottom (a whole 5 minutes from home :)