31 August 2017

August 2017

It has been a long month but it is finally over. Winter is over and we had a week of really spring-like weather to give us all hope that this year summer will be a good one. Of course, now that it's actually about to be spring it's raining again and isn't forecast to stop for days (so everything is muddy again). But we had some warm weather and sunshine. My daffodils are all coming out and my peach tree has its first flower budding. I bought fruit trees and now we have another peach, a plum, an apple and a lemon tree getting established. The peach and apple are duals so they will grow two different types of fruit each. And I have finished clearing my meadow slope. I ordered wildflowers to plant there, under the fruit trees, but they went to our old address. I changed the address but only the billing address changed, not the shipping address. Which is weird because I have ordered other stuff from my favourite garden website and had it delivered here. Somehow my profile must have reverted. I'm pretty gutted that I won't be getting my flowers.

Work has been rough this month. We have had a lot on our plates for the whole year really, but this month we have had a team restructure announced. There was no consultation or warning and it comes at a really bad time - with the election coming up who knows what could change, we could have so much more disruption coming. It would have been good to have at least a little bit of time with nothing major going on. It's had a big impact on the energy and mood of the team and it's not much fun.

Luckily we are going on holiday soon. I am so exhausted, I think I probably have not had enough breaks this year. We are going to Australia at the end of September, in about 4 weeks, and it can't come soon enough. Townsville we be pretty warm, much warmer than here, so it will be like a summer holiday. I have a list of a bunch of stuff I want to do there, it includes a stay on Magnetic Island, visiting the aquarium, going to the night market and ice-cream parlours. I'm not sure what all the family will be doing - it is my Granma's 80th (and her twin sister's) so there will be some sort of party, and there will be various family members around for the week prior to that so I assume we'll spend some time with them. But it's also a holiday for us. And luckily the pet-sitting problem is sorted for this time around thanks to Nathan's family.

We've also been making more progress on work around the house. I have almost finished making curtains! 2 out of 3 windows in the living room have curtains (3rd will be done this weekend) and the spare bedroom is half curtained too. It will be finished before we leave on holiday. Nathan finally finished his shed and now his tools are finally out of the house! There is so much empty space along the walls now, it looks so strange. We will have to fill it with furniture. And he also made a gate to keep my naughty chickens in. I moved their fencing out and they have been clearing grass from below our bedroom window. Next I will plant native trees there. The last few days they have stayed in their area but when they really want out they find a way. They squeeze under all sorts of gaps and go on adventures down to my veggie garden. I have had to put netting around it so I could put my seedlings in. I have tiny little broccoli plants in there and I hope they survive. Soon my carrot seedlings will be big enough to plant, so I will have to put netting around the second raised bed. I hope that I manage to be a successful food gardener.

Time to go. As always, I'll leave you with photos. Then I'm off to bed for an early night.


01 August 2017

July 2017

This month started with the car breaking down. Not a great start to the month but it's like one of those stories you write in primary school, with a series of really unfortunate and fortunate events. I was driving home from work and the car started playing up - the engine light came on and it was like the accelerator just wasn't doing anything. I was going over a bridge with a line of traffic behind me. I managed to coast along at 30k until I got over the bridge. It seemed a bit dire, I didn't want to risk breaking down on the way up Wainui hill. Luckily, I had stopped right outside an auto electrician! They were still open, they looked at the car right away, and reassured me that it would be ok. But, they needed to keep the car to look at the next day. Luckily, the shop owner lives in Wainui and offered me a lift home. So I managed to organise a ride to the train station the next morning, but unfortunately that ride got cancelled with no prior warning due to a massive allergic reaction. Luckily, there is a bus and my manager was away so not really a big deal that I was late to work. And after worrying for most of the day, it turned out that there was simply a leaky house letting air in, so it was an way fix. Took awhile to find it so not as cheap as it might have been, but could have been so much worse.

Unfortunately, for most of the rest of the month the engine light has just been on all the time. Doesn't seem to be causing a problem so I am ignoring it. In the last few days it has been off more than on so I'm feeling hopeful.

After all that right at the start of July, we went to Auckland for mid-winter Xmas with the in-laws. It was fine, quite relaxing to be away from work and doing nothing. It rained a lot, we ate a lot, I crocheted and we got to meet our 2 month old nephew. He's pretty cute. We stayed in an air-bnb so we had our own space and a bit of freedom to gossip about everyone, as you do when families get together.

While we were away a friend looked after our house and pets. I'm sure the dog loved it but the cat isn't keen on new people. He didn't come inside for about two days and I reckon spending those nights outside was detrimental to his health, because next thing you know he had worms! When I found a wee white worm on his fur I thought surely he picked it up outside. But then he puked a few times, and then I noticed he was hardly eating. So it was definitely time to worm the animals. Cher was happy enough, because taking pills means she gets peanut butter. I didn't trust the hunger-striking cat to eat a pill though so I got the stuff you squirt in their mouth. He didn't like it. All better now though, it took a few days but he's back to normal.

We also had a few storms to get through here - so much rain, everything around the house was just mud. I got a cold so I had to stay home sick on the stormiest day, which suited me because travel conditions wee terrible. It was so cold that we finally went heat pump shopping. That didn't help though because we had to wait about the weeks for installation. It was meant to be two but they had none in stock. Apparently she called me and left a message to let us know but I am 100% positive that there was no missed call or message. I don't know who she called but it wasn't me.

Well I'm out of stories and the train is about to arrive at my station. I'm glad winter is 2/3rds over. My daffodils are coming up, our heat pump gets installed this week, curtains aren't finished yet because I stopped to make a costume for a friend's play, but they will be finished soon! Here's some pictures:

My chooks in the rain

This is my meadow - daffodils will grow all over it, and I plan to plant wildflowers on it too. My veggie garden beds are at the bottom and my naughty chooks are down there too.
And here is Cher being cute, asleep under the island bar

My very handsome cat, stalking around the chicken coop

My naughty chickens again, making a mess of my new garden bed. See how our grass is coming along

This is Blondie, all bedraggled on a rainy day - for some reason the chooks don't take cover from the rain