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I am delighted to report that the owl bird scarers are working wonderfully well on the apple trees in our orchard.  Flocks of birds had been descending on our fruit but as soon as we hung these holographic birds up they disappeared.. well.. they disappeared to other trees that didnt have scarers in them.  Must find more scarers!  From memory, I got them from an Innovations catalog.  I would say these are the most effective things we have tried; better than the Big Eye ball or hanging CDs & flapping plastic bags in the trees.  Time will tell if it lasts.

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My youngest has just turned 6. Hubby & I attempted a vintage style party at a local reserve with half a dozen other 6 year olds & their mums.  I strung balloons & streamers between the trees, we cooked up bbq sausages & I produced a homemade picnic lunch which included fairy bread, pizza, mini quiche, cheese & pineapple sandwiches & our own fresh apple juice to drink ..

… the mums reaction to the juice was interesting.  One asked how much sugar I added ;)

I made toffee apples & lolly kebabs …

.. the kebabs disappeared VERY quickly but the toffee apples were all left behind with little nibbles out of them.. not so cool for modern children apparently.

We attempted to play cricket.. that lasted about 10 minutes.. the concept of running after a ball seemed to be unappealing.  The egg & spoon race was enjoyed by most but the highlight of the day, I suspect, was a large puddle they threw things into & made mud with.

I found a fabulous looking Popcorn Cake on this site.  It was so easy to make, although I wish I’d had someone to take a picture of the sticky mess I got myself into with the melted marshmellow.  I think most kids enjoyed the kinda sweet & sour taste.  Well, anything with lollies goes down well doesnt it?

Cake in the Making

Not sure if the party was a great success but it was a lot of work.  I felt the need to recuperate the following day with some ‘me’ time reading through my stack of magazines. My tower is getting out of hand so I’m ruthlessly ripping out the pages I want & recycling the rest.  Now my pile of pages waiting to find their way into a scrapbook is starting to get out of hand!!

It occurred to me that the home & garden magazines had some lovely full page photographs of flowers, interiors & enticing cakes, & so I have saved them to use as wrapping paper.. how is that for thrifty?


What a Monty…

3 years ago we were given a little stick of wood from a friends Monty Surprise apple tree.  We grafted it onto our rootstock & now have several young trees.  This is the first time we have seen the fruit and.. woah..  I see why they called it Monty!  I thought the Peasgood Nonsuch was a big apple but these are huge.

Monty beside a Gala

1 Monty apple weighing 854 grams

Young grafted tree 'groaning' with huge Monty Surprise fruit

Sadly I am not so excited by their flavour but since Montys Surprise is reported to have high levels of antioxidants & help prevent cancer I will be eating them for sure.

You can read about this variety & the cancer  prevention research here  & here

Apple Season

We are knee deep in apples here at the moment.  Not surprising when we have dozens of trees and many many varieties.  Today I collected the last of the Gala’s off the tree & a garden bag full of Liberty which had dropped on the ground.  The animals scored a few and the rest I am slowly making into juice.  My boys gleefully stuffed the cut pieces into the juicing machine and very excitedly watched the container fill with juice. It’s amazing how many apples it takes to make a litre of juice. 

Liberty is a gorgeous dark red skinned apple and it made a beautiful coloured juice which we had with our hot cross buns for lunch today.. being Good Friday.

Happy Easter everybody :)

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Plum Muffins

I just have to share this recipe with you.  Its from the from the NZ Womans Weekly site.

I saw our plums were all dropping & thought, what can I make?  

Cross Pollinated 'Coes Golden Drop" & rootstock Plums (on same tree)

Did a quick google search (my recipe books are getting lonely)  & this recipe attracted me with a small amount of butter & the yoghurt which I know gives muffins great texture … mmm.. soooo good.

Plum & Coconut Muffins

I would have to recommend you cut the plum pieces much smaller than I did. I used the very abundant dark rootstock plums & they were quite tarty.. I liked the sweet & sour effect buy my little boys did not.  

Tomorrow I think I will try this same recipe with some diced Peacherine instead of plum .. oh.. I am salivating at the thought.



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I have just whipped up a little pot of devine jam made with my two favourite things.. Peacherine & Raspberries.  It seriously only took 10 minutes.
I had just over a cup of fruit, microwaved it with a squeeze of lemon juice for 5 minutes, added 3/4 cup of sugar, microwaved again for 4 minutes, stirring half way &, then …. well…. I love raspberries but I have a serious dislike for lots of seeds in my jam so I pushed it all through a sieve & then into a jar.  
Tah dah!

PeachBerry Jam

P.S    The seeds will not be wasted.. chookies will get them for tea!

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Yup, it was scones for lunch on Sunday again. Date this time..

.. so delicious with my homemade Apricot  Lavender & Plum Orange jams.

I made them in our mini oven. Actually, I use it for just about everything these days. Its so convenient,  it heats up really quickly & it must be more economical to run than the large oven.  Being thrifty, I bought it second hand from Trade Me.

Sunbeam Pizza Bake & Grill

Speaking of thrifty shopping, I had a great day garage saleing on Saturday.  Usually the dealers are out really early & beat us to the good bits but maybe they had a week off because I found some treasures at crazy prices.  A large damask tablecloth & napkins, a vintage colander (to grow a succulent in), some never used cut work & embroidered pillow slips, some vintage embroidery to make myself a needle book like this and

Garage Sale Finds

.. the china. I couldn’t believe finding these gorgeous tea sets late in the morning on our way home.

I have a real china addiction, with two cabinets full.

I just love to look at it & dream about the friends I could make afternoon tea for. Some we use everyday because I think that’s what it’s really for.. to be enjoyed. And behind the door in the middle? That is some of my vintage linen collection.. another addiction! ;)



I have just had the first Peacherine of the season.. I have been drooling over this beautiful fruit for weeks & I can say the taste was worth the wait.


Now to work my way through the tree before they drop on the ground & get gobbled up by the chooks. . they love them as much as I do!

Peacherine Tree



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Well, I’m a bit late with this post but I just wanted to share the Valentines day biscuits I made for my boys.  

They are basically Edmonds Belgium Biscuit recipe with a couple of modifications.. like using cherry jam & mixing with some icing sugar for the filling.  They certainly went down well :)

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2012 Summer Show

Last weekend was the Brightwater Summer Show.  We were asked to put in some entries to help make up numbers. My dahlias, & most of my garden, were looking quite sad after a windy storm followed by a week of dry.  I picked a bucket full but was told most were not “show” flowers.  

I entered about half of them anyway.  I figured I had pretty flowers that show visitors would like to look at.. the perfection of them or winning  is not important to me.

Dahlia 'Nuit D'Ete'

Dahlia 'Edinburgh'

Dahlia 'Fuzzy Wuzzy'

Dahlia "Arabian Night"

Dahlia "Idaho Red" (i think.. please correct me if I'm wrong)

You can imagine my surprise when they rang to tell me I’d won Premier Rose.. that’s the best rose in show!

After winning, I thought I should find out what this lovely rose was called.  It is one of many plants that we have given refuge to over the years of our gardening business. Once unloved & unwanted, this fantastic easy care bush rose grows to about 2 metres high & wide & smoothers itself repeatedly with beautiful creamy lemon blooms on long pickable stems.. what is not to love?  Ok, well the thorns maybe, but you can’t have everything. The most likely name I could find was ‘Limona’.  If anyone out there knows different, please do let me know.

Rose 'Limona' ??

The boys entered Sand Saucers & Vege animals.  

5 year old Kelby making his Sand Saucer entry

Sadly there were no other childrens entries.  Times have changed.  Sand saucer competitions were common when I was young. I guess many folk don’t have the flower gardens to pick from now.

We also entered some veges & fruit. I was pleased to see a good amount of entries in these sections. I think it was only my cabbage & my cucumber that got first places there. 

Our Placing Cards

Our garden seems really behind this season.  We have only just eaten the first of our tomatoes.. & they are in a glass house!  It’s been a great potato season here tho.. good quantities & size.  We’ve been eating them for a couple of months now.  We really like ‘Heather’ reds & will definitely grow them again.

I must remember to fill in my Garden Diary. Mid Feb & I haven’t even taken it out of the wrapper yet  :O

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