Monday, 24 April 2017

Countdown mode

In four days I will be on a plane to the UK. After a horrible summer, the weather has now decided to be kind, and I find myself already wistful for these gloriously warm and dry days. So this morning I took myself off on a stroll down the road, to enjoy the scenery and creatures along the way. The story with the coos is that I saw one rather quizzical steer who stood and watched me for a long time. I approached the fence and had a bit of a chat. The next thing I knew, all of his mates, who until this point had been huddled under a distant tree, ran to join him. They were like giddy young puppies. I didn't think it was possible for cows to run and dance and kick. So, a dozen of them stood and we had a very one sided conversation.

The road continues to surprise me with the variety of wild flowers and birds. We have several resident kingfishers, pukeko and pheasants as well as ducks and geese.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Laundry and weather

We live in an ideal part of the country to dry laundry. We lack the maritime howling gales of Wellington, and rarely get sudden deluge type rainfall. Yesterday was an exception. It was glorious sunshine when I hung out the washing, and a few minutes later we had our own personal weather system in the specific direction of the woodpile and washing line. The compensation was the rainbow!

The rain meant that Mademoiselle Hunter was able to flush out a mouse and the little minx insisted on exhausting it by chasing it all over the wet grass. By the time she finally retrieved it, it was well marinaded from running on the sodden lawn.

Meanwhile, "large ginger" was content to play with various items under the secretaire.

He has been very subdued for about a week. He got into a horrible fight (his first real bust up) the night Cyclone Cook rolled through. We took him to the vet first thing on Saturday morning and he was covered with wounds, one of which, near his tail, had caused it to droop in a very alarming manner. He has the most unusual tail normally. It has the stiffness of a coat hanger, even when he slumbers, so to see 6.9 kgs of despondency moping around with a sagging tail was really sad. Happily, after three days it is almost back to normal and obediently curls up around anything it bumps against.

And as if to confirm that all was now right with the world, and the weather, we had a cat shaped cloud hovering over the house yesterday. Do you see it?

Monday, 10 April 2017

Tree dweller

We thought we had escaped the "cat that spends its life in trees" by avoiding acquiring a Norwegian Forest cat. It would seem that our ginger boy has one in his ancestry and is never happier than when he is running up a tree. He's such a show off.

For most of the day I have been sewing linings inside a pair of huge curtains. This necessitated moving furniture away from our long kitchen table. It didn't take long before THIS happened

He likes to keep an eye on the property, just to keep me safe. Lovely boy!

Friday, 7 April 2017


It has been a busy week. I would be more accurate if I said our nights have been busy, due to the superb hunting skills of our cats, and mostly our lady cat.

We have considered having a score board installed in the hallway:

Mice brought in
Mice killed
Mice brought in dead and dumped
Mice brought in and lost
Mice brought in, retrieved by humans and evicted.

This afternoon we realised we would need to add another category;

Mice deposited in shoe to be played with later.

Our ginger female has made mouse retrievable easier recently as she has become obsessed by inserting bewildered vermin inside various shoes in our hallway. As our bedroom is immediately off the hallway, and the door is directly opposite the shoes, I frequently hear her chirruping and playing with her evening companion. Large yoghurt pots are now strategically placed, with their lids, close to the shoes for the mouse to be tipped out and sealed in until one of us distracts the hunter and evicts the poor creature out of one of the windows. They live to be caught another day. Some of them choose to grip the shoe lining so as not to be chomped on. However, this is even more tantalising for our furry torturer, as the tail dangling amongst the laces gives her a real buzz. Chirruping becomes yowling interspersed with other deathly gurgles. Our house is nothing if not interesting!

Onto other busynesses. We are preparing for our imminent departure to the UK and Israel to visit a variety of elderly relatives. So far the evidence of this is a pile of seemingly unrelated items on the back bed, ready to be packed, and various diversions I have put in place to keep myself sane and avoid the inevitable (packing, organising things for the house/cat sitter etc). One of those diversions was today, I went to a fabric sale. I need more fabric like the Pacific Ocean needs more water. Open any cupboard or drawer in our house and there is likely to be a neatly folded piece of retro fabric waiting to be made into something.

The next diversion is a deep dish pie with celery, onions, mushrooms, potato, kumara and corned beef. The before shot minus pastry lid.

Diversion number three just showed up. Two cats on the desk, fighting for the woollen mat with a view of the driveway. Tabby cat with only 3mg of courage to his name is hiding from our resident pheasant. The desk gives him a cats eye view of the bird.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Memories of Great Granma's pine chest of drawers.

For the first two weeks we had Cumin, she lived in the spare bedroom. She was a tiny, sick kitten and really quite helpless. As we had another cat, we felt it wise to keep them apart for a while, until he could get used to the smell and sound of another cat in the house. He was also still mourning for his recently departed sister.

Each day I would go into the bedroom and play with the kitten. She came out to the kitchen to eat and then I would put her to bed, like babies of old, in the pine chest of drawers. She had the middle drawer, which was filled with old sweaters and a big furry possum tail - her kitten snuggle up to go to sleep with.

This afternoon I was doing the annual "sock audit" in my husband's sock drawer. I turned my back for a moment, and this happened.

So, we had a chat, as you do with a small child. "Do you remember when you were REALLY tiny, and you used to go to sleep like this?" She kept looking at me. We talked about possum and the Big Black and White Daddy Puss who was waiting to adopt her.

When she did finally come out and explore the rest of the house, and meet our dear sad Otto, it was love at first sight for her, terror at first sight for him. She weighed less than a small bag of sugar, he was the size of a well fed piglet. His shyness didn't last long and she became the love of his life. He was completely besotted with this brave, funny, petite ginger clown.

And now she is snoozing kitty thoughts amongst socks, I suspect dreaming of her old dad, and possibly another midnight mouse snack. So long as she doesn't decide to swop her Mouse Storage from shoes in the hallway to socks in the drawer!

Fourth Autumn

We are experiencing our fourth autumn at the house. This has been a strange year. The summer never arrived, and now we are full throttle into misty mornings, daylight saving and doing a stocktake of winter clothes.

It's also a time of year when my baking gene reboots. I never have any inclination to bake during the summer months. It is too darn hot. Our kitchen becomes a sauna without adding a further 180 degrees to the equation.

Yesterday I read a recipe in a magazine at our local cafe. Today I remembered to take my notebook and pen to jot it down. Here is my version of Hallongrottor (which I believe is a Swedish traditional biscuit). It translates as "Raspberry cave", but as I used plum jam, I guess I will need to rename mine as Plommongrottor!

The recipe I made called for slivers of almonds, but as I didn't have slivers, I toasted some whole almonds then made them into ground almonds and sprinkled them. So here is the new improved (!) Smeltzplommongrottor