Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Suddenly right handed

I am what the Americans call a "south paw" - morbidly left handed. With the exception of ironing and cleaning my teeth, I do everything with my left hand.

Not for the next 6 weeks! I now have a brace immobilising my thumb. I hurt myself in April clipping our VERY long hedge. I didn't do anything about it at the time, thinking I'd just overdone it. Then it got worse. By September, when my dad became ill, I was a one armed bandit. This was devastating when I needed strength the most, to nurse my dad, I was helpless. Then I had to drive a manual car for 3 weeks. It got worse. Then we started to pack up and I couldn't sleep at night because every time I rolled on my arm, I woke up with the discomfort.

I finally got to the doctors yesterday and now I'm strapped up like a Thanksgiving Turkey.

It is going to make moving next week INTERESTING.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Shaking a tail feather

A vineyard local to our property has two self appointed watch dogs; well cockerels to be more accurate. They arrived one night, took up residence and now patrol the cellar door. It would appear there is the inverse of a rooster rustler in the vicinity - a nocturnal menace who gifts these noisy hoodlums to his neighbours.

And this pair know they have landed in clover. They are admired, cooed over and chased by children, and a certain amount of good natured dodging goes on when customers park or carry Sauvignon Blanc back to the car. They would make such a natty wine label. "Roving Rooster Pinot Gris" anyone?

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Two kitchens, one brain, and Random Access Memory

I am in danger of losing my Christmas cake.

I haven't made it yet, but the ingredients are currently 65km apart when they should be sitting cosily together on my work bench.

The problem is I am living in two different kitchens. The new house needs cupboards and drawers cleaned to receive stuff, the old kitchen is being de-cluttered, cleaned and ingredients packed up to take north.

Somewhere in all of this, I've lost some of my Christmas cake ingredients. They've gone on holiday, sultanas with their suitcase, prunes passepartout, and currants back to Corinth!

Sigh. I wonder if James Martin has this problem?

Friday, 22 November 2013

The "local"

New Zealand is a nation of coffee drinkers, and they know what is good and what isn't. You will most likely have heard of the All Blacks, but our Long Blacks and Short Blacks are just as much a part of the Kiwi psyche.
This establishment on State Highway 1 serves GREAT COFFEE and amazing food. The owner, Neil Cohen is from Brooklyn (the NYC one, not the Wellington one). He travelled the world, married a local lass and opened up this amazing hostelry. Even on weekdays the car park is packed by 10am. Hubby reckons when he retires he'll have a seat at one of the corner tables with a brass plaque on it stating it is HIS table.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

You don't know, until you try

Little bull preferred the blades of grass on the lawn on the house side of the fence. He also figured out how to move his head sideways to free himself. Pretty smart for a kid with such hairy ears!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Wood stoves, and dreams of autumn

In the basement of our current home I have been collecting kindling.......for 8 years! We don't have a wood burner here, but I have been dreaming of one. So I couldn't bear to throw away good branches when clearing the garden. The result is we have taken a number of boxes of well dried kindling to our new house. Not that there is any shortage of any wood at Coneysthorpe; there are MANY trees to trim.

But the boxes of twigs are like the fulfilment of a promise, that one day I would own a wood burning stove. I was very attached to the small stove in my Austrian apartment and also the funny old iron stove in Grandpa Hoad's house by the lake. So the smell of wood burning on a long walk through country lanes has my brain spinning like an autumn kaleidoscope.

The previous owners at the house have very considerately left us a good stack of wood to start our winter. I suspect it will be a place of entertainment for our mice loving cats too.

The view from the garden gate

It's a pity there isn't sound with this picture, because the noise of birdsong and bees was more than just background static, it was really quite noisy. The white patches are hundreds of large daisies. Gee, it's tough being overlooked by daisies....

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Parsley, sage, rosemary and wow, what's that?

This is our local vegetable shop on State Highway 1. It is one of probably a dozen such stalls between the capital and our Rural Delivery road. Mr Brownacres also sells herby bedding plants still my heart.....a herb patch cometh.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Paddock diary

I just happened to have my camera in hand when this chap landed on a paddock post. It was taken on a very long zoom setting, so I'm grateful he didn't decide to sneeze as I pressed the button.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The neighbours are friendly

The girls in the paddock are inquisitive and quite communicative in their own way. I spent at least ten minutes chatting to them this afternoon. I got a few melodic moos and twitches. However, I'm not sure they are correctly raised, because they STARE! I was raised it was not polite for a lady to stare. They also pee with gay abandon, and that should NEVER be done in public.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Unlikely guardians

My husband was born in the centre of one of the largest and most cosmopolitan capitals in Europe. He claims he didn't see the sky until his late 20s when he moved to a less congested part of the city!
I have lived and worked in Africa, E. Europe, India and the Middle East.

He and I don't use screwdrivers, if we can help it, and need counselling after trying to decorate, especially if we do it together. We employ people to do our DIY. DIY - Destroy, Implode, Yell a lot!

But we still bought a 100 year old house, with all its quirks and requirements for TLC. It was a moment of inspired insanity.

The day we took ownership, my husband stood at the end of the driveway and breathed a big sigh of contentment. "Look at all that sky!" was all he could say. He waved around his mobile phone at the garden gate and the reception was as advertised, ZERO.

I investigated the overgrown and untended veggie patch and wished I could consult dad. I managed to identify strawberry plants and some random herbs, but that was it. The lemon tree was easier to work out, due to it having lemons hanging from it.

This was going to be a steep learning curve. The highland cow in our back paddock (the cow belongs to our neighbour) had a knowing smile. Great entertainment for her.....a reality show featuring two bumbling late middle aged professionals with big hearts who went slightly soft in the head when they found Coneysthorpe.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A home that heals

We bought our new home between bereavements. My husband lost his mother early this year, recently I lost my dad. Both suffered greatly before they died. We think having our new home will be part of a healing process for us.
We have named the house after a village where my great grandparents lived and worked. It wears the name well. It will contain many memories and keepsakes of previous generations. I hope they will be a balm to us and to the house as it journeys with us.

Friday, 8 November 2013

This will be the story of a house

.......of those who lived there
.......of those who stayed there and fell in love with the trees, the hills, the native birds
.......of the cats who caught mice and all the creations in the workroom, the kitchen and garden.

Welcome to a house with a verandah, daisy strewn lawns and bobbing plum trees.

Welcome to Coneysthorpe.