Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Even colder this morning....

Frosts are rare here - not as rare as they were when we were in the Far North but rare all the same.  This morning it was even colder and my lawn was white - quite an event, especially this early in the season.

                                            We walked Sophie in Tikipunga Park again.

It was quite frosty here and there was a mist rising from the river as the sun arrived.

Last night I noticed an advertisement for free Avocado Firewood so phoned the gentleman this morning and Doug took me out to Maungatapere after our dog walk to get a load.  We burnt a lot of avocado when up north.

We are hoping to get another load tomorrow.  I am actually waiting for a delivery at present as Harold phoned me last week to see if I wanted to buy another  load as he is going to be away.  Firewood never goes astray.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Frosty Dog Walk

While the south island is having  snow and freezing temperatures we continue to have wonderful autumn weather.  It was a tad colder this morning though and when walking Sophie in Tikipunga Park there were patches of frost in the shade.  It is, however, a wonderful day.

                                                  Frosty leaves in the shade

                                       Wonderful autumn colours against the blue sky

                                                             More frost

                                                  The shadows are lengthening.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Saturday Dog Walk

On Saturday morning Doug collected me early and, after we had been to the Growers' Market we headed down to the Town Basin.  Our autumn weather has been just wonderful although I see we are forecast to have some showers in the next few days.

An excerpt from our local paper - the Northern Advocate.
Whangarei's $32 million bridge across the harbour Te Matau a Pohe has taken out the supreme award at the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards in Auckland.
The Lower Hatea River Crossing, which was completed in July last year, is modelled on the traditional Maori fish hook, hei matua, which represents strength, good luck and safe travel over the water. The bridge provides a vital road link to Whangarei City as well as a clearway for marine traffic.
The bridge was created by McConnell Dowell, Transfield Services, New Zealand architect firm Peters and Cheung, top UK bridge architect Knight Architects and UK based Eadon Consulting.
It was up against 38 of the country's top commercial properties vying for awards on Friday night and won the Supreme Award and the Gold and Value Awards over $15 million in the Commercial and Civic section.
The structure was described by the judges as a clear example of an outstanding commercial construction, demonstrating that functionality and aesthetics need not be mutually exclusive.
"The project team - with input from the other side of the world - worked collaboratively to deliver an outstanding result for the Whangarei community. Not only is the bridge practical and economical but it is also striking. Its architectural form blends seamlessly with its function", the judges said.
Te Matau a Pohe was one of 31 Award Winners at the Civic Trust Awards Ceremony in Blackpool, England, in March, and one of only seven international projects to earn awards.
It was commended in the 2014 New Zealand Concrete Society Awards Infrastructure Award, was highly commended in the Roading New Zealand Road Excellence Awards - Z Excellence Award for a Major Project (greater than $25m).

This is a photo I took last month of Te Matau a Pohe as it was being raised to let a yacht through.  The pedestrian bridge under construction is  in the foreground and in the above photo taken on Saturday it has progressed very well.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

More on the Monarch Butterfly

A couple of nights ago I noticed that the last of the Monarch Butterflies that I had indoors had emerged.  To start with I thought it was deformed as it had very small wings and a large body.

Sorry the photos are a bit blurry but they show the butterfly as I first saw it with very small wings, then with slightly larger wings as the fluid from the body apparently transfers to the wings and then with the full wings.  I left it indoors overnight and then put the whole plant outside in the morning before heading to the market.  It was still on the plant when I returned but flew off shortly after.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May Flowers

Yesterday I went in search of some flowers for the house.  I came back with some deliciously scented pink Luculia, some rust coloured and white chrysanthemums, a piece of native fuschia, a lovely blue hydrangea, a flower from a bromeliad and a nice cream rose.  Not bad for an autumn vase of flowers.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New oven and microwave.

The oven and microwave were not in the best state when I purchased nearly five years ago.  I expect I would still be putting it off if Doug hadn't volunteered to do the necessary carpentry work for me.  I had put the whole idea in the "too hard basket".

Anyway way back in February (can it really be that long ago) I purchased a new oven and microwave - apart from Doug's offer there was the fact that I saw a Bosch oven advertised for a little more than half price.  When I went to purchase it the sales lady suggested a Panasonic microwave that almost matches the oven.

The week before last I helped Doug remove the old ovens.  We were not able to separate them for removal but were able to bring in a trolley and put the whole caboodle on that and wheel it outside.

Of course, the new oven and microwave are different sizes to the previous ones so Doug has methodically been getting the area ready.  Finally, last night, the electrician connected the new oven for me.  No cooking as yet but I am looking forward to it.

The old ovens

Was surprised to find this old wallpaper in behind the ovens.

The start of the process with a new lining on the back.

The timber moulding and shelves  in place

Then the back panel was painted and the moulding and shelves given coats of polyurethane.

Ta raaa - the finished product

and with the little drawer made at the base for cookbooks opened.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Up at 6 a.m. and after breakfast I headed to the Growers' Market.  Stuck to my shopping list this time (quite difficult as there is so much on offer).

After the market I went straight to Doug's where he was just finishing his breakfast and we had a pleasant walk with Sophie around Tikipunga streets.

I then did some pruning in his garden (started it yesterday).  He has been so busy doing jobs for me that it has been neglected.

After going across town to pick up his grandson and take him to work at Countdown, Doug stopped and bought some mussels which he cooked for lunch.

It started to pour as we drove across town and the temperature has dropped considerably with thunder, lightening and hail.

I headed home and left him to clear out his workshop.  Not a lot done this afternoon apart from phoning a couple of friends,  sorting out my purchases and lighting the fire.

Last night I took a photo of the Tamarillo tree I purchased a couple of years ago.  Pleased with the crop this year.  Picked a couple yesterday to see if they are ripe enough.  Looking forward to tamarillo and apple crumble.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


I have been making periodic checks on my bananas but obviously not in the past few days.  On Monday I bought two bunches in the supermarket and last night Doug went down the garden and told me that the bananas are turning yellow.

We checked today and some had started to split so we picked the bunch.

I have cut off all the bananas that had turned colour or split and the remaining bunch is now hanging in the third "woodshed".

I weighed the bananas that I cut off and there were over three kilograms so it looks as though there could be about 10 kgs altogether.

Have tried one of the bananas and it was delicious.  

Just as well I like bananas.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


It was a bad summer for the Monarch Butterflies - no-one seemed to have any caterpillars until autumn.  With bad weather forecast over Easter I brought the few caterpillars I could find inside.

I ended up with 8 chrysalises inside.  Two butterflies emerged on Thursday night.  Here are some photos.

I was pleased with this shot of the one chrysalis with the butterfly about to emerge and the other still green.

This is the same one just after emerging and still has crinkled wings.

This is the other one the next morning just before being put outside in the sunshine.

I was able to put fresh flowers in the vase once this one had emerged.