Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Weekend of gluttony

A few weeks ago I turned 31.  Not an exciting age but also not too distressing.  Marty built me a tackroom in the garage for my birthday which is super awesome.  Now all my stuff is tidy and away from the birds and dust.  The dog thought it was all quite exciting and that he was the project supervisor.... 

He does like a project.  I am yet to take the absolute 'after' photo but I now have 4 saddle racks, 2 bridle holders, a couple of hooks for halters, helmet hooks and a cover rack.  I am so happy!  Here's the first of the saddle racks...

On my actual birthday it was a stunning day and Nora and I had been talking about a few different rides that we wanted to do.  So that day we decided that the 20km round trip to the Norsewood Pub was in order.  We set of in the early afternoon...


And arrived as the sun was starting to create a few long shadows....


It was such a ice ride though.  We're very lucky that a lot of the back roads around here have wide verges on either side so it's great for a trot or canter and also lessens the likelihood of being run over by a truck!  Zen was very interested in my beer and chips once we arrived at the pub though and also could smell the bananas in my bag so tried stealing that as well!  Perito, as usual, was perfectly behaved.

That weekend we had a few visitors up and an extreme Hors and Baking session had been discussed.  Oh my did we bake!!  Emma, Andy, Jen and Greg all arrived on Friday evening and we had a mountain of homemade pasta with a choice of sauces.  I meant to document all the meals but completely forgot that night.  You really can't beat homemade pasta though!

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early to begin the real cookathon.  I had my heart set on making doughnuts again.  I made them a while ago an they were SO good.  Filled with creme patisserie and coated in sugar and cinnamon. I should also mention that Marty had made a chocolate cake for our friend Gasper who had turned 30 a few days before me, I had made a cheesecake the day before my birthday and Nora had dropped off a buttercream cake as well.  So that was 3 cakes already that we were in the process of eating that week.  Once everyone was up Emma started on an apple/chocolate cake, Jen was on bagel duty and I set about making the doughnut dough...


Happily risen doughnuts...

Marty and Greg started on a hare stew that was going to cook on the fireplace for several hours...


Lucky because there was no room in the kitchen!  Breakfast was bagels with salmon and cream cheese as well as hashbrowns for those opposed to bagels.  Immediately after that we were ordered to eat the apple and chocolate cake.  It was amazing but I had to have a sit down afterwards and I was so full I was starting to feel sick.  But there was no stopping.  Nora, Murray, Emma and Warwick were due over later so as soon as we were physically able to move again we continued on with the doughnuts, arancini balls and we decided to hold off on the pakoras until the next day because we were all going to die.

Arancini balls pre deep fry.... (they were coated in bagel crumbs - so amazing!)


A couple of kereru were obviously aware of the furious cooking going on in the kitchen so came and supervised from the wisteria....


I deep fried the doughnuts (with a lot of criticism from Jen and Emma about the optimum shade of brown they should be) and then filled them with the creme patisserie.  God they are good...


And, in the background of that photo is the pav that Emma G as well which took our cake count to 5 for that week.  I think that is ample cake.  Amazingly we got through it all though!  

The next day Jen, Nora and I went riding and Greg had a little ride on Zen.  A while ago Nora, Emma and I had our inaugural Hors and Baking Pony Club Rally at Emma's place which was great!  Kim instructed us in flatwork and jumping and gave us some tips for saddle fitting and jump grids.  Zen was SO lazy though.  Must work on momentum...


I've been riding quite a lot although the weather has turned to shit now and is meant to stay this way for the rest of the week.  Probably a good thing as Zen over-reached the other day and cut his front foot.  Not badly but might be wise to give it some time to heal.  

This recent weekend gone I was down in Wellington for the SLIANZ Conference.  It was great to see my fellow interpreters and listen to some really interesting presentations (and getting a free massage) as well as doing a brief presentation myself about working in rural areas.  I met some great contacts and became a member of the SLIANZ committee.  So it was pretty eventful!  Last Thursday Marty and I picked all the kiwifruit off the one vine that we have and ended up with over 100kgs of fruit!  Madness...


And as I arrived in Wellington on Friday night I made some octopus cookies for Sea's birthday party which I couldn't go to.  So cute...

 I'm now back home and have had a day of rest.  Tomorrow will probably be the same seeing as the weather is so crap.  The poor horses are soaked and looking miserable.  The pigs slept ALL day.  When I went to feed them at 4.30 this afternoon they hadn't moved from their bed.  Probably wise.  What a life!

Almost bed time for me.  Ciao!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The beginning of the cold season

Although we can't really complain about the weather recently seeing we are in the middle of quite a severe drought it definitely does feel like summer is quickly coming to an end.  Well, officially it has been and gone but occasionally it lingers for a little bit longer.  

But now we approach one of my favourite times of the year - autumn.  I think CHB is particularly stunning in autumn and I revel in the sight of Pukeora vineyard's vines losing their leaves when I drive to Hawkes Bay.  Already there are trees on our property stating to change colour and soon the scenery will become like that of a painting.  I can't wait.  

Pete and Rach got married a few weeks ago in Waikanae in a lovely ceremony.  Jen and I were official photographers.  A few shots of the happy couple....

Over the last month I have been transitioning my habits to suit the cooler months.  I've started knitting and crocheting again and am preserving the last of the summer fruit.  I scrumped some crabapples in Waikanae and made some very pretty crabapple jelly and I finally the seemingly endless batches of zucchini relish have ceased.  The field mushrooms are starting to pop up so some frozen  containers of mushroom soup are no doubt on the cards.  Some knitted egg cosies....

And the tea cosy I am attempting to replicate....

I really need to get the seedlings that are in the greenhouse into the vege garden.  I've become really lazy - seeing as I have stocked up the pantry for winter my body is trying to tell me that now the vege garden needs no attention.  But that is not true.  I will get there eventually.  Maybe one more lot of wwoofers is needed. 

I feel like this summer has been the first summer that we've actually had a really successful vege growing season.  I'd like to take some credit for that but I have a feeling that perhaps it was solely due to the amazing weather and some very hard working wwoofers.  Thanks guys. 

Also just in the last week we (well, I) have acquired a new temporary horse named Zen.  I love him!  His owner is off overseas for a wee while and kindly offered for me to look after him while she's away.  So stoked!  He's enormous (17.2hh) and I love it.  I've always dreamed of having a horse 17+hh.  He jumps and floats and does a bit of dressage.  Perfect.  It's going to be hard to give him back but I'll just have to manage!  Here he is the first time I rode him...

And up on the hills today...

Poor Dino isn't quite sure what's going on.  They're in the same paddock now and I'm just hoping Zen doesn;t decide to eat Dino's cover as he has a tendency to do.

Anyway, I'm off to continue on the tea cosy and perhaps a first attempt at a fuchsia.  It looks complicated.  Wish me luck!

Kerry :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Best summer ever

2013 has been spectacular so far.  I am loving this summer.  The weather has been unbelievable (we're officially in a drought at the moment and we're about to run out of water at the farm but I am not complaining after last year!!  I have spent a huge amount of time with my bestest friends and celebrated some wonderful milestones with them all.  And it's not over yet.  

First up Emm and Andy got married on 16th Feb.  We were all bridesmaids and heavily involved in the planning of the wedding although the bride herself did most of it! 

They got married officially the day before because their preferred celebrant, my mother, is not actually qualified to perform that service legally so they just pretended on the actual day.  Here they are officially getting married.....

The next day we all converged on their newly purchased house and had our hair and makeup done, had a glass of bubbles, got dressed, sorted the flowers for the flower girl, plated food and had a relatively stress-free time.

Then we all got to the venue, the Begonia House in the Botanic Gardens, reliased mum didn't have the vows, silently panicked (bride and groom had NO idea, of course!) but it all worked out in the end.  Vows were transcribed and the wedding went ahead.  Awwwww....


Cake cutting...

Rosie came over for it!

Then a fortnight later Jen got admitted to the bar.  Doesn't she look spiffy?!

We had a 'Legal/Illegal' themed party for her.  She, of course, was a judge.  Pete came as 'evidence', I was David Bain, Emm was a fashion crime and Andy was a policeman... there were others as well, cat burglars, prisoners etc.  Good times :)

Not nearly as exciting but still pleasant was a walk that the dog and I went on yesterday.  Not much of a walk but it was just the perfect evening.



We have Katie Kershaw and Tony's wedding this weekend in Ashley Clinton and Pete and Rach are getting married in Waikanae on the 30th March so knots are still being tied this year.  Other than that things will start to calm down a bit now.  This weekend is actually only the 2nd weekend this year that I will be at home.  Then next weekend I will also be at home and have nothing  to do.  Can't wait!

In between all of these weddings and celebrations we have had a HUGE amount of produce this year.  I think I mentioned the 36kg of raspberries that we harvested.  Plus tonnes of zucchini, cucumbers (normal and mini), beans, pumpkins (first time really!), spinach and potatoes.  So in the evenings I have been preserving my little heart out.  We have so many jars of raspberry jam, zucchini relish and gherkins.  I've given away quite a lot and also sold a few things. I also bought (because I am a sucker for punishment) 8kgs of tomatoes to turn into 2 different kinds of tomato chilli jam.  They worked well but I'm a little unsure about one of them due to a fish sauce issue which I won't explain in detail.  Needless to say I may need to buy more tomatoes ad make another batch.  Here's some jam

Ok, off to the office.  It's freezing in this cafe.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A story about a pig named Porcellus

WARNING:  This is quite disgusting so the squeamish may wish to pass on this story.

Porcellus is one of our 2 kunekune pigs.  He and Pybus are brothers and the best of friend until food time.

Until recently both were very happy, healthy pigs who needed minimal vet attention (minus the small issue of castrating them when they were little).

But all that changed a week or so ago when I got home from Wellington and found that Porcellus had a huge lump on his head.  It looked like an enormous abscess.  He didn't seem to be in pain but it was definitely uncomfortable and he was shaking his head around a bit.  I thought maybe he had been kicked by Piwaka or Marty suggested it may have been one of the sheep bunting him too viciously.  Anyway we decided to leave it for a night and check back in the morning.

The next day the lump was still there and looked to be about the same size so I called the vet and asked if I could bring him up.  Appointment booked, I went to pick up the horsefloat from Emma, loaded Porcellus on (so easy with food-obsessed animals!) and off we went to Waipuk.  He was not happy in the float and felt like he was throwing himself around in the back.  Anyway, we arrived and I met the vet Jamie to explain the situation.  Porcellus didn't want us to touch him after the journey but he eventually succumbed and rolled over for a tummy rub (much to the vet's amusement).  The vet had a good feel and a squeeze and said he thought it was probably an abscess but he would have to put him to sleep to have a good look.

I had to go to work and said I would be back later to pick him up.  Little did I know this 'surgery' would take place in the back of the horsefloat.

When I got back to Waipuk Jamie met me and said that when he'd put Porcellus to sleep he had stuck a needle in to the lump to drain it but all that came out was really stinky air. GROSS.  Porcellus is an airhead.  He went on to explain that while he was studying he had seen a few cases where kunekunes (and this is where it gets really disgusting - you have been warned) have a hole in the back of their jaw and occasionally food gets trapped and travels up through the jawbone into their head.  YUCK.  And then the food rots and releases gas (hence the giant head bubble) and eventually that the food would burst through the skin.  Rotten.  Rotten food bursting through his face.  Charming.

There is no 'cure' but it's not life-threatening.  So I am hoping that he will recover.  Of course, this could just keep happening.

So, typically, we were due to go to Wellington for Emm and Andy's wedding that weekend and the vet had said the food would come through in the next week or so.  So our lovely wwoofers, Lucinda and Tracy, were left to deal with this possibility.  The day before we left we noticed that a very different lump was forming next to Porcellus' eye which looked like it would be the food lump.  Sure enough the next morning it was starting to seep a bit.  Nothing too disgusting but definitely something there.

Lucinda and Tracy kept us informed while we were away and sent us photos each day.  When we got home they said that it had burst and that there was green stuff coming out of it.  It looked like cow poo.  Dark green and slimey.  And smelled terrible.  Bleugh.  Porcellus was pretty unhappy about it and kept rubbing his head on things.  So now it looks even worse.  It's like a massive crater in his head (like 2 inches deep and 1.5 inches across) with a flap of crusty, slime covered skin.  And all the disgusting green goo has now turned into pus and it's all in his eye.  And has bits of grass and stuff sticking out of it.  It is SO nasty.  This photo is the tame version....

My worst fear is that he will get fly strike in his wound.  At least at the moment the flap is covering it but I don't think that will last long with him rubbing his face on everything.  It looks SO awful but there is nothing I can do.  I spoke to the vet and he said to just leave it and hopefully it will sort itself out.  We just need to keep an eye on his mood more than anything.  If he starts looking lethargic or stops eating we need to get back in touch with the vet.  In the meantime Pybus is being a good friend/brother and giving him cuddles.  Cute!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome 2013

Another year.  No doubt another handful of posts.  I have realised though, seeing as we dropped our external hard drive last year and lost ALL our photos, that things like Facebook and blogs are quite useful for at least retaining some of them.  So I really should be more diligent at uploading stuff to the interwebs.

Last year was a complete rollercoaster.  Huge highs - a month long trip through Europe, and huge lows - Dad dying.  So I am hoping that this year will be a bit calmer (busy is fine but let's try to keep the emotions in check).  So on that note here's my dad in his younger years flying a Skyhawk

I posted most of the places we went to in Europe and have since got the ones back from Slovenia, Rome and Hong Kong so here we go

Skocjan Caves in Slovenia were amazing.  I had to leave mum behind because she's not a huge fan of cave-like places. 

We hung with Gasper in Ljubljana

We had osmizza in Trieste with Angus and Iga.  Here we are eating the mandatory boiled egg beforehand

And we at suppli in Rome which are my new favourite thing.  SO GOOD

Another day in Slovenia we went to Lipica and saw the beautiful horses.  Unfortunately some of them are kept in stables 24/7 which is not so cool.

Then via Hong Kong on our way home.  Crazy bustling city.

And they have dodgy looking scaffolding.  It's held together with plastic ties.  Oh god.

So when we got back we had a week with Dad before he passed away.  It was a pretty horrendous time but in some ways we have to be glad that it was sooner rather than later.  He was suffering a lot and no one wanted to see him go on like that for much longer.  

We held his funeral at the Island Bay Surf Life Saving Club.  A bit of an odd place for a funeral but Dad would have loved it.  It had a view out over Island Bay, a place he held dear to his heart, and so many of his friends, old and new, turned out to farewell him.  Some amazing stories were told about his incredible life.  I think he would have been proud. 

Token creature shot.  Marty and the band found this beaut male Hawkes Bay tree weta hanging out on the back on the sofa in the garage.  Don't see many males around here so that was quite exciting.

Marty's board making skills are improving rapidly.  

This is the A & P Show that Dino and I went to.  He looked beautiful....


And behaved atrociously.  He was fine to start with and then got himself completely worked up and had a mental.  Not much fun.


Emma and Max did really well though.  They got many ribbons :)


6 ducklings were born - we have 2 left.  We don't have much luck keeping ducklings alive.

Detour played at the Sanctuary Sounds Music Festival

And I drank beer in the sun

Found a velvet worm!  So exciting.  Quite rare.  Love them.

We had 2 wwoofers, Ali and Laura who were super helpful.  Here they are helping Marty carry the Christmas tree home

Along with the velvet worm we found a tree with honeycomb inside.  And many bees

I got my first taste of Polo X just before Christmas.  I rode a lovely horse called Trevor.  Hopefully will do a bit more of that this year.  Not on Dino though!  


Angus and Iga came to visit for Angus' 30th birthday.  We saw them again in Awaroa over New Year but I don't have those photos yet - I forgot to take my camera.  Dumb.

Dog was overwhelmed with Christmas

Christmas morning before everyone arrived

Boxing Day bagels and lox

Unbelievably Isos, the ancient, earless cat caught a mouse the other day.  then he accidentally let it go and caught it again.  Then he dropped it and it got away.  Good effort though for an 18 y/o!

Last weekend Marty, dog and I went fishing up at Tangoio Beach.  The only things we caught were 3 crabs and a foul-hooked fish that was smaller than the hook.  There were some stingrays out there though.  So beautiful! but scary as well. 

We went to Marine Parade first but the dog was way too hot.

Marty fishing at sunset

The minuscule fish

                                                  Burgers on the beach at Marine Parade.  

Also last weekend we decided to spontaneously rip up the carpet in the TV room so reveal the beautiful rimu (we think) wood underneath.  Here is the transformation....


The final coat of polyurethane will go on today.  It looks SO much better.

Yesterday we heard an almighty crash outside but we couldn't figure out what it was... until I went to see the horses....

Piwaka v Bath.  Amazingly Piwaka only came away with a tiny cut on her back leg.  Unbelievable.

And that is it from me.  Time to go and help Marty with the floor.