Thursday, January 26, 2012

A party

We had a great time on Sunday, lots of friends turned up and even though the wind was strong at times we enjoyed hanging out on the deck. The sun even came out!

Josh and I spent a few hours beforehand setting up sails and a fabric tent outside, laid a carpet on the deck and spread lots of pillows, cushions and mattresses around. It looked really cool and everyone enjoyed lounging there while sipping some champagne. The kids had the whole house to themselves and the next day it looked like a big box of toys had exploded everywhere.

I made some special candles for the occasion too, which I was very happy with. Tutorial to follow!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book review: Koanga garden guide

I started gardening when we moved to Gisborne 4 years ago. For the first time I had a backyard I could dig up. In all respects I am a total beginner. The first year I dug up a 10mx1m trench during Tahi's nap times, filled it with the compost the previous owner had been making and bought some seedlings. They grew well. The following year nothing grew much though, so I figured I should start from the beginning and learn to make good compost, which I am still learning of course, but getting better at it.
The great thing about being a beginner is that you can see how much better you're doing with every gardening season. The downside is that it is often through trial and error. So far, I manage to get one crop right each year. Three years ago it was zucchinis, we were picking three a day minimum no kidding. The next year it was beans. This year it was salad. We were eating big bowls of lettuce twice a day. After a month Josh stopped saying how great it is to eat fresh salad from the garden in summer.
I was lucky to be given a few gardening books and I kept from buying any because it seemed pointless to add yet another gardening book to our library. Then a friend was talking about the "Koanga Garden Guide" and how it was her partner's bible (a fellow keen gardener). Then I decided to buy it. Then I got the other books and gave them away.

If you live in New Zealand and want to or already garden organically, then go no further. This book has all the information you need. From how to make compost, to how to save your seeds, including seed sowing, garden prep, growing instructions for each type of vegetable, heritage seed information and gardening by the moon. It's clearly written, well explained and it's from here! A table of contents would make it more user friendly, I just end up marking the useful pages.
The author, Kay Baxter, is an accomplished gardener and seed saver. She runs a heritage seed saving business from which you can purchase a variety of heritage seeds from, grown in New Zealand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not there yet

Ok, I'm still cleaning up, sort of. It's our birthday this Saturday and we like to have an excuse to party. Since achieving anything with two kids takes a looong time, I'm also busy getting food and decorations ready for the said party. Bits and bobs. Promise, this time there will be photos.

A few things coming out of the workshop, mainly custom orders.

 AND, I finally made a decent mozzarella!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Here I am!

It's about time I showed up, isn't is?
well, we went away for Christmas this year, spent it with some of Josh's family. It was very nice, the kids got spoilt. then we did a bit of a road trip around the East Coast, which I'd never been to before. I loved it, stunning!
Our little box! 
What's in that present

Tahi and Clementine, wearing the best tutu ever

Unfortunately it wasn't much of a holiday for Josh. He'd built a cool little box (he ended up saying it was my xmas present, probably because he didn't have time for making anything else let alone think about what to get me!) with bunk beds so we could sleep in it during our little adventure. It worked a treat except for the trailer it was built on. It turned out the two metal bars that link the trailer to the car weren't solid enough, don't ask me for the technical term (although you'd think I know it by now).

There are many ways to ride a skateboard

The first time it happened we stopped for lunch on our way to Whangamata. Josh noticed a crack on one of the bars. Fixed it with some metal rods he found, and also changed the bunks around to make them more comfortable. We left, then spent some time with some friends who live up a river, i.e. there is no road access to their place. It was a rocky ride to get there to say the least. Tahi was screaming with joy and excitement and it felt like we were on one of those adventure rides you pay to go on at the fair. The trailer didn't like it either, and when we left Josh (doing his usual little check before getting on the the -tar sealed- road) saw a new crack on the same bar. Luckily he'd kept the leftover from that same rod he used for the first crack, and even more luckily he'd bought a power drill from the op shop in Waihi a couple of days earlier (the one he used on the earlier repairs was craping out). So, an hour and a bit later, we're on the road again.

We spent a few days, including New Year's eve, with our friends who live on a farm with no electricity in a 10m2 house. We had a great time, the kids played all day and we just hung out (except for Josh who as building a bunk in the box for Tahi).
When we finally set off to go home along the bumpy east coast roads, 20 minutes into our drive we heard a big "CONK" and felt a bump on the rear of the car, then a noise like metal being dragged on the road. Well, there was some metal grinding the tar seal, it was the two bars that linked the trailer to the car!

Luckily we were going downhill (I get the shivers down my spine every when I imagine what would have happened had we been going uphill instead...) and Josh managed to stop the car then drive it on the side of the road. He spent 3 hours fixing the trailer, no kidding. Meanwhile we were hanging out in the car on the side of the road. When we finally set off we were starving and tired and really looking forward to getting home in one piece.
It wasn't exactly the relaxing holiday we'd envisioned but a special time none the less. I'm sure the kids will enjoy hearing about our Christmas 2011 adventures on day.
So here we are two weeks later, 6 washing loads, house clean up and de cluttering. I've spent the last week clearing the workshop, getting rid of fabric scraps (20kg taken to the tip!), rubbish and unwanted fabric. A friend and I have organized a clothes swap this Sunday. Aaahh, finally some space, I feel inspired already!