Sunday, December 23, 2012

happy holidays

Yesterday morning we went for a bike ride on the newly opened part of the cycle trial that is being established in the region. It's known as the Great Taste Trail, due to the Tasman-Nelson region being renown for growing all sorts of crops, livestock farming and fishing.

The small part we did was from Rabbit Island over the Waimea River to Lower Queen Street in Richmond. It only took about an hour return which was more than enough as the sun was getting quite hot. Living on the hills to the west of the Waimea Plains it's nice to get out on the flat for a ride.The boys in the family don't mind downhill mountain biking, but us girls don't like having to do too many gear changes so are much more into refined biking along nice paths!
 This is looking west, we live somewhere out there probably on the far right. It's about 10 minute drive in the car, it takes a lot longer to get four bikes secured to the bike rack! In the foreground is part of the estuary, the tide was out so there wasn't much water to be seen.

 The cycle trail goes around the edge of the estuary, so it's good for bird watching, on the other side is farmland. This is looking south, it was a great day for clouds. I just wish we'd get some rain, but think we are in for a long, dry summer. We get out water from our roof and store it in three large tanks, so we are more fixated about rain than we used to be!

Near the river there was a paddock with a herd of Clydesdale horses. I could only get a photo of these two, the others were too far away. These horses are still used by the family that has been breeding them for over 100 years.

 Here's Miss L riding onto the new swing bridge. It's a lovely blue colour which doesn't show up with the bright sunshine.
On the way back we stopped at this old tank that has been restored. Hubby thought it was an old water tank, but as H pointed out why does it have a door and windows! Good point, unfortunately there wasn't an interpretation panel here so we are none the wiser.

 After packing the bikes back onto the bike rack, we headed back the way we had biked to a berry garden. This is one of our favourite pre-Christmas rituals, picking raspberries and boysenberries. I think we may need to go back on Monday to get more for Christmas Day.

We have had our tree up for two weeks, we have an artificial one because of allergies. While I miss the smell of a real tree I don't miss the mess, as in the heat it doesn't take long for needles to start dropping. The kids decorated the tree, with some input from me! Miss L loves tinsel, as I restrained her tinsel use on the tree, I let her decorate a driftwood branch with some, no restraint there! The felt hearts I made a few years ago, they were the first crafty thing I'd made, and have lovely old buttons on them.

This year the only decorations I've made is a garland of felt circles from an old jumper. I like how the red matches the red in my painting.

Wishing you and yours, where ever you are, a very Merry Christmas.
Sally xx

Friday, December 14, 2012

feathery friday

I'm taking a leaf out of Tammy's book, she has a regular feature on her blog Our Neck of the Woods called Feathered Friend Friday, and devoting a post to our feathered friends.

We have kept chooks since we moved back to Nelson 7 years ago. It's been a bit ironic as both of the kids are allergic to eggs. Miss L sometimes watches us eat a fried egg and asks us what it tastes like. Now that's hard, as I don't think there's anything comparable.  Hopefully one day they will grow out of the allergy, but at 10 and 12 years old now I'm not sure if that will happen. At least she has grown out of her dairy and peanut allergies.  

When we lived in Brightwater there was a council restriction of only having 6 hens and no roosters.  Since our move to the country we now can keep as many as we like, including roosters! We brought 5 chooks with us, two gold-laced Wyndottes who are four years old, so are getting on a bit and don't lay every day. Two Light Sussex who are three years old, and slightly more regular in the laying department, and are also very good at going clucky (broody). And Molly, a buff Silky, who we got for Miss L to have as a pet, but unfortunately she never became friendly, probably due to the bigger bossier girls chasing her a bit.

 That's 4 out of the 5 on the nesting box!! Molly the Silky can just be seen in the bottom left as a few fluffy feathers poking out! They all use the same box, I've never had any luck with getting them to use more than one so have given up. It's not usually this crowded, but the Sussex were clucky again! I could have got some fertile eggs for one of them, but I'm not to sure how they would be as mothers, as I've always had a bantam as a mother.

We were waiting for Molly to go clucky and get some fertile eggs, but that hasn't happened this summer yet. On Sunday while setting up my stall for the Christmas Fair I had a wander around the other stalls and a lady was selling two hens with 2 day old chicks, so we thought we'd avoid the 21 day wait and buy a ready made brood! We chose the Dorking-Araucana cross mum with 7 chicks, 4 white leghorns and even more exciting 3 Orpingtons - two blue and one black.

 Here they all are tucked under mum in their new house, which is an A-frame coop we have inside the main chook run. I usually use it for locking up anyone who has gone broody. After a few days of not having a nest box to sit in they usually un-cluck and get ready to start laying again.

 The mum is quite a large sized bantam, not much smaller than our other chooks which hopefully means she won't be bullied by them. Although we are planning on keeping a rooster if one of the Orpingtons is that way inclined.

I was going to write this earlier in the week, but thought no I'll wait till Friday.  But boy can things change over the space of a few days (stop reading now if you don't like sad-endings!). Yesterday morning while I was having my shower Miss L went to feed the babies, and came running back saying she could only see three of the seven chicks. So I grabbed some clothes and ran down to see what had happened. Yes there are now only three, 2 leghorns and the black orpington. We found two others dead in the coop and no sign of the other two. So I think a stoat or ferret must have killed them. We never had any problems with these horrible predators at our old house, but here there is lots more space for them to live in.  Its all been very sad, and especially as the kids were going to surprise their dad with them when he returns from two weeks away on Saturday. So now each night we have to catch Mum and the chicks and put them in a large pet carrier box for safety. Something she doesn't seem to appreciate, as she is very protective of her remaining babies, but it's the only way to stop this happening again. We will now get a trap to try and catch the culprits.

So as not too end on too sombre a note, here's Mumbai not wanting to miss out on anything in the chook run. He is constantly trying to break in as he likes to eat their pellets and also the plants growing through the fence. We had to make the pop hole for the girls to go out into the paddock, as we couldn't leave the gate open. What a silly goat!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

op shop scores

The lovely Max of Blackbird has Spoken, has started a linky of op-shop/secondhand finds. And it would be rude not to join in so here I am.

The large jars (which are slightly green tinted) and the wooden rulers (additions to the collection!) were from the recycling centre last week. I got the jars for the kids to make terrariums in these school holidays. The smoky glass cheese board I got a few weeks ago from the Hospice shop. I thought it might be Holmegaard but no amount of googling of images has confirmed it's identity! I'm using it to display the beach treasures we found in Australia, along with a few from closer to home.

The same trip to the recycling centre also yielded the Cathrine Holm Lotus saucepan. It was one of those moments where your heart stops beating for a few seconds, as you can't quite believe you've spotted a piece of Cathrine Holm amongst the rusty cake tins at the dump! I didn't even look at it that carefully, just casually grabbed it and tucked it under my arm. At home I cleaned it, and it's not in perfect condition, there is a bit of staining inside and one small mark to the enamel on the outside, but as they say "it displays well"! It's not my favourite colour either, but now my teapot (which I got from the Sallies a couple of years ago) is no longer lonely.

I've been having a teal period over the last couple of weeks. First up is the planter from the Sallies, I think it's German, but can't quite read what's imprinted on it's base. It was followed by the birdcage from the recycling centre, then the Midwinter bowl from the Sallies again. I already have two identical Midwinter bowls along with some other pieces in this range, but they are still packed away in boxes from the house move. But at $1.50 how could I leave it behind! I got the birdcage to use on my stall table to display my felt birds in, as the one I currently use takes up quite a bit of room. However, this one is too small to actually hang the birds in, so I have another cunning plan for it.

Lastly I thought I'd just throw this photo in, of a wee display I had in my craft room (when it was tidy!) all items are op-shop scores.

So thanks Max for giving me the motivation to write this post!

Monday, December 10, 2012

weekend that was

Phew! The Christmas market season is over. Between the 4th November and 9th December I had tables at four markets. They have been of mixed success from totally blow me away I can't believe I sold so much (the Great Christmas Market) to the one this weekend where I sold very little, but it was still a nice day being out and next door to my bestie!!

Linking up with {tinniegirl} for Sunday Snippets, with some clicks from the weekend.

The last photo I took on Sunday evening looking out our bedroom window of a reflection of some trees on another hill, overlaying the view to the mountains - surreal.