Monday, May 31, 2021


 We woke to a thunderstorm on Saturday but it didn't last long and the rain stopped so we went to the  Growers' Market.  When we got home I looked through the Venetian blinds and thought there were black clouds coming but when I lifted the blind I realised it was thick black smoke from a house on fire a few streets away. 

I dialled 111 and luckily it had already been reported and we heard a fire truck shortly after but we could still see flames.

Luckily there were working smoke alarms and everyone got out safely.  There were four fire engines and 20 crew.  Everyone has been rallying around the family.

Sunday was sunny and I finally managed to do some work in the garden and got about 15 of the broccoli and kale seedlings planted out and did some weeding.  I also collected leaves from the park behind us and put them into various compost bins.  Some of them have been nicely chopped up by the mowers.

Doug went on the Parkinson walk today but I stayed home and baked a cake then when things warmed up I collected more leaves for the compost.

While all this has been happening the South Island has had a red alert storm and there is major flooding in Canterbury with bridges washed away, roads and farms under water and people being told to stay home unless they have to evacuate.  The storm is not over yet but we just saw on our news that Lake Taupo in the middle of the North Island is almost at its lowest recorded level and rain is desperately needed there.

Our forecast for tomorrow is fine but only 16°C.  

Friday, May 28, 2021


Patrick from the home insulation people came this morning and gave us a quote for putting fresh insulation in the ceiling, insulation under the floor as well as a ground moisture membrane.  
There is an 80% government subsidy for this so the cost is not too bad.  

There is some insulation in the ceiling cavity, it may have been put there when the house was built in 1973 as I think that is when people started to insulate their houses or it could have been a bit later but it is no longer doing its job so an extra layer will be put on top of it.  

The only downside to this is that they are not able to do the job until July 22nd - eight weeks away.  I will be putting everything back in the airing cupboard in the meantime.  

It has been a nice sunny day again and the butterflies are enjoying our new plants.  I also put three caterpillars in Doug's cage.

The largest box under the house contained old bottles.  I got around to unwrapping them this morning and look forward to giving them a wash and removing the last of the paper to find out exactly what they are.

Thursday, May 27, 2021


Finally, we got some jobs done.  It was a sunny day and tomorrow we are having our house checked to see what extra insulation is needed so we had  to make sure that under the house and the way to the roof area were both clear.

After doing some washing I emptied out the airing cupboard as that is where the access is to the roof.  Meanwhile, Doug had removed the lawnmower from under the house as well as several boxes.

When he moved here 13 years ago he put a few boxes under the house so it was interesting to see what was in them.  We still have several to sort through but got rid of quite a bit that was no longer needed.  Lots of cardboard is folded ready for the recycle collection.

I had hoped to plant out some of the kale plants but by the time these  jobs were done we were tired and, after lunch put our feet up.

If tomorrow is not raining as forecast we may get into the garden.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


Finally, I think we are on the mend, not coughing as much .  It is just over 4 weeks since we cancelled our flu jabs because of the cough/cold and we have still not had them but we did go to the Podiatrist yesterday and it was lovely to have my feet tended to as well as my annual diabetic foot check.  

We also went to the vets to get a further supply of antibiotics for Bobby as, although he started to improve, he then started sneezing again.  He is happily lazing in a weak sun at present.

The weather has not been good - cold with intermittent showers - so we have not done much at all.  Morning crossword and Sudoku and, later in the day, the code cracker.  Apart from that keeping the fire stoked and cooking lunch has been enough for us as we have not had any energy.

I did manage to get outside about a week ago and re-pot three hyacinth bulbs into a larger pot.  Once we are fully recovered  and we have some sunshine I have kale and broccoli seedlings that need planting out.  A while ago I hurriedly sowed several different varieties and they could do with pricking out.

The Tagetes Lemmonii and Pyrostegia give a nice splash of colour when looking out of the dining room window (photo through window).

Sunday, May 16, 2021


We are very pleased with the new plants we obtained this year for the Monarch Butterflies.  The Tithonia Diversifolia is huge with large buds but the Tagetes Lemmonii is now flowering and, when we looked out earlier, it was covered in butterflies.  Of course, many flew off when we went outside to take photos but it is great to have something flowering at this time of year for them.

Our mandarin tree is so heavily laden that Doug has put a support under the main branch and I have removed some of the smaller fruit,  they should start ripening soon.

We are still coughing and sneezing and in "survival mode" only going out for essentials and just coping with the necessities like getting meals etc.  We did take Bobby to the vet at the beginning of the week as he had started sneezing and was not looking well.  A locum vet started by talking about euthanasia which had crossed our minds as he seems to have so many problems.  After checking him over I am pleased to say we came home with Bobby and some antibiotic paste and cream for his bad eye and he is looking a lot better now.  We have also gone back to the tablets for his thyroid problem as he takes them well if put in a piece of heart and it means we can feed him "normal" cat food instead of the special Diet.

When out we also called in at the Library and, next door at the petrol station, bought some red kiwifruit at their fruit stall.  We also bought some golden kiwifruit and persimmon at the supermarket (all well masked). 

We just had some of the kiwifruit after our lunch and I will have the persimmon with a sandwich later with salt and pepper like a tomato.

Friday, May 7, 2021


I pinched this from Octoberfarm blog as it really rang true.  I am constantly surprised when I realise that I am no longer in my 40's, 50's or even 60's.  

Thursday, May 6, 2021


Today is our fourth wedding anniversary, how time flies.  I was certain it was only three years.  So glad it isn't our wedding day today as we are still laid low by our colds.  

Since we stacked the firewood on Saturday we have just been in "coping" mode.  Just getting meals on the table, keeping warm etc.  I have been lighting the fire at about 5 a.m. as it has been below 10°C at night and the early mornings.  We do not keep the fire in for long though as the daytime temperature has been in the early 20's.

Luckily, we had done our weekly shop on Saturday and I always try to have lots of "ready meals" in the freezer - at present it is lamb casseroles so that is what we will be having for lunch.  I have been cooking  a pot of potatoe, kumara (sweet potatoe) and squash every three days which makes it easy on the other two days to just fry it up.  We have also had lots of meals of the snapper we were given just baked.  

The main problem is the constant sneezing and, at night time, coughing which makes sleep difficult.  I suppose it is because there were no viruses going around last year with lockdown that it has hit us hard this time.  I mentioned previously that we cancelled appointments for flu vaccinations on Tuesday last week because Doug already had the cold and I felt it coming on so we need to get better and get the flu jab then the two Covid 19 ones.

Saturday, May 1, 2021


We had a phone call last night from some friends who were going to bring us a load of firewood today as he had cleared out his old shed.  

The four of us unloaded it and they did offer to help stack it as well but we knew they had other places to go so we sat and had a cup of tea with them and when they left we stacked the firewood in the woodshed with some in containers ready for the fire.  I load the wheelbarrows and Doug stacks it, he counted 16 wheelbarrow loads.  

The sack on the left is dried pine cones.