Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Morning Rounds

In the morning....
...... breakfast at the outside table overlooking Mt Karioi
...... while Spike has his drink of water from the boat which will, soon, I hope, become my peppermint garden.

After breakfast I take my daily walk to feed the ducks and chooks. On a sunny, early summer morning it is beautiful, almost enough to make me forget my very wet, miserable, head-down-and-run November.

This year we have a reasonable number of plums on the trees,
but not many apples, and no pears at all on any of our three trees.
In the chook run there are Cape Gooseberries (and yes, that is blackberry creeping in there, but I try to keep it down)
and figs
and two avocado trees, that grew from scraps thrown to the cooks before I knew they were poisonous. They are gorgeous trees, and the chooks prefer to perch in them at night rather than use their chook palace, but no fruit yet. This year they were covered in flowers, so maybe we will get fruit set next year, or the year after, or....
The hareheke is finally flowering - later than usual - and the tui have been visiting for the nectar.
The grape vine is flowering, and the chooks seem to have forgotten that they love to eat the young leaves, so it's looking prettier than usual.
The run looks like a hippy jungle, but it keeps the kahu from stealing the eggs from a couple of nesting spots.
The boysenberries are running wild: we don't get many as the chooks and other birds are happy to eat them long before they are ripe enough for my taste.
I love the wild carrot, and they are always covered in pollinators. I notice bees collecting grass pollen too.
There's plantain everywhere, and I love that too - so pretty, and instantly relieving when a crushed leaf is rubbed on an insect bite.
My favourite chook, Chicky, who always comes for a pat, and to peck at my feet. She became tame when she lived outside the back door when she was sick, and now, if ever she gets out of the run she heads straight up to Bob's kennel to see her best friend.
Still small and pretty ratty, the sugar cane I planted 4 years ago has survived frost and drought, and maybe one day we'll get to taste the sweetness.
The nashi trees are not as ridiculously covered in fruit this year, so maybe we'll get some of a decent size this time round.
The scented geranium are supposed to deter codlin moth: I don't know if it's that, but we have never had any bugs in our fruit.
 It doesn't deter one of the chooks, which has made a nest in it.
 At the moment, once I've collected eggs from three outside nests, plus the nesting boxes, I'm getting 12-13 eggs a day from fifteen chooks. The older ladies don't lay daily, but they live out their natural lifespans, as I figure they have given service and deserve it.
 Nastursiums go crazy, and as well as being a visual delight, are tasty in salads, both leaves and flowers.
 It's looking like we will have a good feijoa crop this year.
 The elderflowers are blooming, but I have to be very careful not to pick wild carrot flowers by mistake!
 I love elderflower cordial but with diabetes I thought that treat was gone for me. However, I have soaked them, along with a lemon, and frozen the strained liquid in ice cubes. A couple of cubes in a glass with a couple of drops of stevia liquid, and sparkling water from the Sodastream has proved rather nice.
 The manuka flowers aren't food for us directly, but make healthy honey, and are just such delightful little flowers.
 A quick water of more work needing to be done,
 watched by Bob
 and Spike, waiting for me to come inside for a cup of tea and a cuddle.

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