Wednesday, February 27, 2019


This morning I looked out of my bedroom window to see Kim fast asleep on a small shelf above the door of her run.  It was unusual to see her there as she is usually on the deck outside her cat door.  When I was in her run later she came out and I shut the door.  The weather has cooled down considerably but I am happy with that.  The forecast for the next 10 days is in the early 20's which will be why Kim found some sun to sleep in this morning.

We have had a busy week and busy day and it was only late afternoon when she didn't appear for her meal that I realised that neither of us had opened her cat door this morning and she was locked out.  She still seemed content though and was lying on the cat deck outside her door.

I am still busy with the peaches and tomatoes and today we have been putting the new furniture into the spare bedroom.  Tomorrow is the last class for the Defensive Driving School and we have homework to do but I think we are both too exhausted to do it tonight.  I still have the peaches I cooked this morning to bag up and freeze.  Tomorrow as well as the homework we are going to look at a property for one of Doug's daughters and buy a couple of duvet covers as the ones we ordered were no longer available.  Pity we weren't told that earlier as we could have looked yesterday when we were buying curtains.  Oh, and there are still plenty of peaches to cook and tomatoes to freeze.

Saturday, February 23, 2019


The Defensive Driving class for two 2 hour sessions on Tuesday and Thursday nights was most enjoyable and interesting.  We also had homework to do and then another two classes next week.  This is followed by a one hour driving test.  I was an extra in with Doug so did not expect to do the test which was fine by me but after Thursday's class the tutor told us that he would give me the test as well.  Hoorah, hoorah.  I have done very little driving lately as Doug tends to do the driving so had better get some practice in. 

The weather has finally changed.  We did not get cyclone Oma but have had a reasonable amount of drizzle, hopefully enough to thoroughly wet the soil.  I started harvesting the peaches early and have been processing them.  I stew them and then bag and freeze.  They are mainly used on my morning porridge.  I am still freezing tomatoes just put in bags with the core removed.  If time permits I will also make some chutney. 

Today we went to the Growers' Market as usual and among other things bought 8 corn on the cob.  Doug blanched this and then removed the corn from the cob and froze it in 2 person serving size lots.  We still have a little left from last year but I am using it in fritters and frittatas. 

The house is still full of trays of tomatoes and, in particular, peaches gradually ripening ready for processing. 

On top of this we have finished decorating the spare bedroom and yesterday went out and bought a trundler bed and the bedding to go with it plus a bedside table and chest of drawers and an old fashioned coat rack for visitors to hang their clothes.

On Wednesday we have our first (of three) load of firewood being delivered as well as the furniture we purchased yesterday. 

So it is more peaches and tomatoes to process, do some more homework for the Defensive Driving Course and get the shed ready for the firewood - well, they are the top priority anyway.  What ever made me think that retirement would mean having time to sit and relax.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Yesterday  the Parkinson walk was at Abbey Caves.  It was a lovely walk although it got a bit hot towards the end.   We didn't go in the actual caves but just walked around the perimeter.  This lovely lady met us at the start of the walk.  There are some lovely rock formations.

and near the end of the walk some Llamas grazing happily.

The weather forecasters are unsure whether Tropical Cyclone Oma which has just battered Vanuatu is going to head down to us or to Australia.  In any case we have rain predicted from tomorrow getting heavier at the weekend.  This morning we picked a lot of our peaches as we don't want to lose them to the weather.   Luckily, with the Golden Queen type peaches they can be picked early and will ripen.  

This is a very small portion of what we have picked today.  They should ripen over the next few days and I will stew them and then freeze.  

Tonight we are going to a Defensive Driving Course.  Doug asked about it at AA and was told that it was only for young drivers about to sit their licences and was referred for a Seniors Refresher Drive with an instructor.  Just before the date the Instructor phoned to cancel as he was unwell.  When Doug mentioned that what he really wanted was the Defensive Driving Course he was told there was no reason that he could not take it.  It is 2 hours tonight and Thursday and Tuesday and Thursday next week followed by a driving test.  The instructor suggested that I could join in as well just for the course which suits me fine.  I just hope that I can cope with sitting for 2 hours at a time.

Friday, February 15, 2019


Today it is two years since I moved in here with Doug - it took us another two and a half months to arrange our wedding so that anniversary is yet to come. 

We have accomplished a lot in that time - well Doug has with my back-up.  Completely forgot about Valentine's Day yesterday until I remembered in the late afternoon as we were driving home from appointments.  

This morning I baked some interesting, and tasty, blueberry muffins made with oats, yoghurt, bananas, eggs, baking powder and baking soda  and, of course.  blueberries.  A friend came around and we enjoyed them with a cup of tea.  She brought Luisa plums with her and left with tomatoes.  27 degrees today.  No sign of rain.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Today's official temperature was 29 although they are taken at the airport which is always cooler than in town.  On our deck this afternoon it was in the late 30's.  It has been hot all week and the forecast only goes down to 25 on Saturday.  It means watering every day.  Light rain is forecast next week but then it was forecast this week as well.  We had the odd drizzle shower but not enough to do any good.

Today I did manage to get some weeding and dead heading done as well as removing the cucumbers - next in line is the removal of the courgettes as they have virtually stopped fruiting.  The tomatoes are loving the weather and are cropping really well and the beans are, once again, providing sufficient for our needs.  The beetroot have been good and I came across a recipe where they are peeled and diced then mixed with olive oil, ground cumin and ground coriander then cooked in a covered tin in the oven for 30 minutes.  We have been eating them both hot and cold.  We have finally emptied the spare room and Doug has just painted the ceiling.

These photos were taken just before it was completely emptied.  The large shelves had already been moved to an outside shed.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


The wintry weather is continuing with rain most of the day and a temperature which, apparently, reached 23 degrees although it didn't feel like it.  Luckily it was fine early this morning for our weekly visit to the Growers Market, then walking Sophie and doing our weekly supermarket shop.  I did an early wash but no sooner had I put it out than the rain started and eventually I brought it in, put it in the washing machine to spin dry and put it back out under cover.

But to the tomatoes.  We have our fingers crossed and Doug does a regular copper spray and so far they are doing really well.  Last year I froze a lot by just removing the core, cutting them in half and bagging in bags that took roughly the same size as a tin of tomatoes.  I was really pleased with the result which I used in mince and casseroles so I am doing the same again this year.  We have been picking mainly Russian Red but yesterday picked our first Black Krim.

The Russian Red are doing well.  It is like that right along the row.

The Black Krim alongside the Russian Red.  We ate it last night and it was delicious.  I picked another couple today.

In Nelson at the top of the South Island they have major fires.  Apparently it all started with a spark from some farm machinery.

  • Pigeon Valley fire continued to "burn actively overnight" as it heads into its fifth day.
  • The blaze covers 2100ha with a perimeter of 27km.
  • About 100 personnel fought the fire overnight.
  • About 1000 houses and 3500 people had been evacuated.
  • With 22 helicopters battling the blazes, it is the largest aerial firefight on record.
  • It is also the largest forest fire since a blaze in Canterbury in 1955.
With winds of 50km/h forecast in Nelson tomorrow, concerns are the conditions could fan the flames of the massive Pigeon Valley fire and prevent helicopters from flying.
Nelson-Tasman Civil Defence management controller Roger Ball said anything over 20 or 30km/h winds was pushing the fire over the control line.
Helicopters could fly in conditions of up to 50km/h winds, but they had to stop for safety reasons in winds above that, he said.
A declaration of emergency remained in place in Nelson today.
Ball told a press conference this afternoon that the situation remained "dynamic" with a risk to life, animals and property.
He said the focus remained in the area of Wai-iti, close to the township of Wakefield.
Police Acting District Commander Zane Hooper advised Wai-iti residents to prepare to evacuate.

Thursday, February 7, 2019


The heat has continued this week.  We have been clearing up following the garage sale.  Some things went to the S.P.C.A.   I am getting some more ready for Womens' Refuge.  One man who came to the sale was a dealer and he bought some chairs we had not included in the sale but when he offered a good price we accepted, he also bought some of Doug's Crown Lynn Swans and turned up again on Tuesday and bought some more.  He is going to come back again and could buy more swans, good quality Carnival Glass (the blue coloured) and some Beswick animals.  These are all things that Doug and his late wife collected.  He has been offering good prices and it saves the cost of listing on Trade me and then packing to send away.

The tomatoes have been producing well and the beans have started to produce again.  Still digging potatoes.  Having to water every day until today as we had rain showers overnight and during the day with a cool wind and much cooler temperatures.  Down to 22 degrees Centigrade which seems quite cold after the mid 30's.

Doug has taken down the storage shelves in the spare room and put them up in a shed and is transferring things there.  Still a long way to go until we have a spare BEDROOM but we are getting there.

Saturday, February 2, 2019


We have had a great day today.  We had a Garage Sale.  I don't know what they are called in other countries.  We have a spare room which has been used to store the excess "stuff" that I brought with me, on top of this Doug had a lot stored in a couple of sheds on the property. 

I have a friend coming to stay in the next couple of months and we need to make the spare room into a bedroom so things needed to be sorted and disposed of.  We have been talking about it for a while so last weekend took the bull by the horns and placed an advertisement for today's Garage Sale which meant we had to get on with it and get things sorted.

We have had a busy week deciding what is to go and setting tables up on the back porch and then pricing everything.  The start time was 7 a.m. but, of course, people started arriving just after 6 a.m.  We were quite surprised as items we thought we would be lucky to sell sold straight away and some items we thought would go quickly did not sell.  Not much remained when the last customer left at about 1 p.m.  We now have some cash instead of items we did not use and also met some lovely people, some of them near neighbours.  

A few of the items for sale.

There were two boxes of material lengths that we expected interest in but none sold.