Green Thumbs Up

I went grocery shopping today, IN THE GARDEN! While I was feeding the ducks this morning I noticed these weird looking purple-green globes hiding behind some foliage. Upon further inspection they turned out to be gorrrrrrgeous artichokes! I don’t know why I never noticed them before. Its very exciting having reign of someone else’s garden, it’s like finding treasure every couple of weeks. So I raced into the kitchen to get a knife and a plastic bag and went hunting. This is my haul!

5 beautiful artichokes
1 bulb of garlic
6 baby parsnips
A dozen stalks of ruby red rhubarb
Half a dozen oranges
Half a dozen lemons
A couple of limes
A bunch of parsley
A handful of mint
A pocket full of orange blossoms
A tuft of lamb wool

I’m going to seriously miss having a veggie garden at my disposal. I was going to pull a whole ton of parsnips but I didnt want to get too greedy. It’s spring here, so the garden is just starting to get going. I love NZ though, it’s like vegetables get a 5 month head start so the first hint of warm weather and bam– artichokes.

Spring also means, a TON OF EGGS! The ducks are in full production mode. I have about 40 duck eggs now, and thats even with the local hawk helping himself to breakfast every morning. The farm owners are going to come back to a fridge full of goodies, fruit baskets brimming with citrus and a whole basket of eggs. I think I’ll probably make them a couple loaves of bread before I leave so the house smells of fresh baked bread when they get home, and so that they have something to nibble on.

Our friend Elaine came over for a visit and brought me a moon cake! It was lotus seed flavour, with a yolk in the middle, just a little bit sweet, and so pretty. In return we sent her home with all our duck eggs and about 600 pounds of oranges. She’s Chinese and is going to make salted duck eggs for us! And then we’ll have a salty duck egg and beer party!

It takes 2 months, so stay tuned.

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Donk Engs

Look what I found hiding underneath the slide in the ducks abode. About 2 dozen dirty pearly eggs! A hawk has been swooping down and eating their eggs as soon as they lay them. Its probably because they just lay them everywhere, regardless of it being a safe spot or not. Awesome parents, they are.

Evidentally though they arent that stupid, and made a little nest underneath the steel slide where no one can see. I thought there was maybe 5 or 6 eggs in there but I kept discovering layer upon layer of eggs, and their little nest was actually a 8″ deep hole dug into the earth. Cool!

I dropped them all in water to see if any would float. Floaters = stink eggs. All but 2 past the test. I chucked the bad eggs into the field and watched them explode like stink bombs. Then the dogs ran over and had a nasty little afternoon snack, oops. Never fear, I do dislike eating duck eggs, but these wont go to waste. I’ll clean’em up and save them for the farms owners when they return NEXT WEEK! Only one more week left with Poppy and Caramel! Aw. I’ll have to get as many belly rubs in as I can.

Baby Cow Friend Times

 

Laying in the sun like a pig all morning feels the best.

My brain is melted, my body warm, and my skin.. probably going to be pretty red. But it was worth it!

I wandered around to take a few shots of the pigs and saw that the baby cow figured out it’s the only cow that can fit through the pig run into the next field. It had the whole field to itself! Its mom seemed nonplussed about the whole thing, but for the sake of the grass I tried to coax him back. It was curious enough of me to squeeze back through the small gate and see what I was up to with my weird little black box. Poppy and Caramel were having a nap, oblivious to their brand new room mate. I know exactly how they felt.

Bad baby cow hanging out by his lonesome in the wrong field. Poppy and Caramel snoozing in the warm sun.

Thinking about coming back.. assessing the level of Stranger Danger I pose.

Yessss! Coming back in! Good baby cow! I’m like the cow whisperer!

Just standing around, looking at me like I’m the weirdest thing ever. No amount of pandering to his ego could get him to come closer and have a snack of the long grass I was holding out as a peace offering. I will keep at it. He WILL be my friend!

Or she?? Its too weird to check that out and make sure.. either way! I want a baby cow friend to ride around town on, throwing nickels at the laughing faces of the poor below me, bellowing salutations from atop my might bovine steed! Oh fantasies..

Caramel knows what I’m talking about. We’ve both had toooo much sun today…

Munch Time

These are some of the things that I enjoy very much!

This is a little video of the ducks having their evening snack. One of the best sounds in the world. In the background you can hear a parrot screeching like a lunatic and setting off the cows in the field across from us.

This is a blurry, far away, shadowy video of two of the new lambs playing at being rams by pretend headbutting each other. You can just make out their tiny shapes, but I wanted to share it anyway because they are cute tiny shapes.

This is a short video of Poppy munching on some grass.

Mince Pies & Magpies

Such a nice morning.

I’m just laying out here on the deck in a patch of sun, being warm and lazy. There’s a pile of lemon blossoms on my chest and I’m nibbling them like bitter candies. Every so often a breeze waves over me and makes my bare knees chilly, but it brings with it the smell of wildflowers and apple blossoms. There’s a family of swallows who live in the roof of the garage, practicing their acrobatics to my left, like my own tiny air show. They are gorgeous, shimmering blue and puffy red chests. They look just like old sailors tattoos.

I hear a worried whine and put my hand down to find Sophie impatient with me to throw her ball out into the field and alleviate her boredom at having to be a poodle all the time. She’s a fearsome duck huntress at heart. I found out her secret one morning when I came out to find the ducks out of their pen, quacking at me for breakfast. Sophie’s brain went like a switch and suddenly she was dive bombing their very confused duck heads with prowess I didn’t expect from the poodle who’s only hobbies are napping, giving hugs, and licking herself. The ducks were startled.

The house smells of the pork shoulder simmering away in the crock pot since yesterday afternoon. Dinner is done already! Its going to be pork soup if I leave it in any longer. This morning CB and I skipped making breakfast in favour of scarfing down a mince & cheese pie at our favourite bakery in Ranui and a flat white at Millers in town. I had to exercise extreme control not to buy a hundred cream filled raspberry lamingtons. My sweetest kryptonite.

When I got home yesterday morning, the dogs were barking to alert me of a magpie perched on top of the van, trying to get in our sunroof. It was probably after our old pie bags crumpled up full of crumbs in the front seat. Magpies are amazing. I spend a lot of my time here watching them protect their nest in the patch of palms and gorse beside the house. They are just vicious towards this very, very large hawk that is constantly flying the perimeter, looking for a tasty morsel. A scrap of field mouse, maybe a spot of fresh lamb, perhaps some scrambled magpie eggs for breakfast.  I love watching them attack something 4 times larger then themselves with such supreme confidence. This morning one of them was after a fat pukeko, who clearly didn’t even have any interest in their nest and had no idea what to do with being treated so indecently.

I also noticed yesterday that two trees in the orchard here suddenly burst into bloom after the rain. One has little white flowers and one has fuchsia blooms. I think they are apple and cherry trees, but I’m not 100% on that. Either way, they taste nice, and I think I might steep the cherry blossoms in a simple syrup to add to my tea in the morning.

Its already the end of August, which means we only have a couple more weeks left here at the farm. It makes me sad. I will properly miss Poppy and Caramel. Poppy’s little squish face and Caramels wide grin with his tongue forever flapping out the side. I’ll miss the ducks, even though they all have a serious case of the poobrain, they are 24/7 slapstick. And Ill miss wandering around the farm, eating random unidentified plants and being mystified at the farmtime beauty of it all. I feel like I’m just trying to squeeze every last drop of experience before we go. Sometimes literally, theres SO MANY LEMONS! We are definitely moving to the country when we’re grown ups. I want to lay all day in the mud covered in baby pigs, and eating everything that grows around me. Yep. That will be good. I love you NZ!

Sheep & Old Ladies

It’s nice to just be sitting here, singing little love songs to the poodles about killing them in the face with a knife while they jump all around like spastic black toupees. Relaxing. I had a big day out today.. I accidentally thought going to the Mall would be a good idea. All I wanted to do was grab a notebook for my Cheese Diary (Ill explain this, later) and a lunch bag for CB to carry his lovingly prepared meals to work. It was SUCH A FAIL! For the first time K-Mart, you really let the.. ball.. drop.. what is that phrase??  Anyway. I did buy a mystery man Lego bag for CB, which I am addicted to. Its just a foil bag and inside is a completely random lego man. Its awesome! He got a little Lego Anesthesiologist holding a little needle & x-ray. Jealous?

But, I went to six stores, and none of them had a lunch bag that didnt have the Lady Car from that Disney car movie on it. I was so angry for some reason, and made even more angry when I got to the van and the two people on other side of me, had parked about 8 inches away on either side. I had to get in the van from THE BACK DOOR, and crawl all over the mountain of camping supplies and old lunch containers. GRAHH. So then I get into the drivers seat, and start to pull out, when I realize there’s not enough room for me to actually back straight out. So, while Im thinking about this, the people who belong to the car in front of me take the opportunity of me leaving them a bit of space to start loading up their trunk! Awesome! So Im stuck, but if I wait a minute the people in front of me will move and I can get out, it’s cool. And then I notice the 150 year old woman who was shopping with me in Kmart, is now in her car, and backing slowly into me. Very, very slowly. I tried honking the horn, but it’s only for “Sometimes Honks”, and doesn’t always work. She was backing up so slowly into the side of my GIANT BILLBOARD SIZED RED VAN that I had time to roll down my window and shout at her. She hit me. And without even looking in the rear view mirror, she drove away. Off, into the sunset, to mow down some pedestrians, probably children, with speech impediments and chubby knees..without ever even knowing. Anyway, she didnt do any damage to our beautiful van, with her shiny gold BMW.

And then I get home, and the bloody ducks are down on the neighbors lawn again. So I go marching off to call them back in, through the sheep paddock. Usually, Rolly and I are cool. We’re buds. We have a thing. I feed him clovers and the odd orange, and he leaves me alone. But today he decided we would play this new game with me called “Angrily Headbutt Kara Into The Electric Fence Over and Over Again”. Pardonez-moi mon FRANCAIS, but that electric fence is even more of a fucking cunt bastard than Rolly! Jesus! I thought I was going to black out! Goddamn it hurts. It really stops your heart. So I do a bloody ninja jump over Rolly and slam the gate for some protection. Shit man. That did not go so well.  Then I take 3 steps, slip in the muddy grassy, and go sliding about 8 feet down the muddy, sheep-shit covered hill. Yayyyy Farmmmm!

So here I am, in nice, dry, shitless track pants, writing a blog. Yesterday I had a very romantic day on the farm taking these pictures, and today its sheep shit, giant spiders in the sink, and chasing the poodles around trying to get a dead mouse of of their mouths. The mall was a mistake, but I got to bring CB lunch at work today, which meant 30 minutes of giggling on the doorstep eating chicken together and playing with Lego. So.. Im sure there’s a lesson in there about taking the good with the bad, and life is crazy, and stuff like that. But my lesson is, Watch Out For Sheep and Old Bitches, They Be Crazy.

Here’s some pictures that sum up a day in the life on the farm pretty well.

I spent most of the afternoon wandering around the yard with Shalimar as my shadow. Consequently, I have a lot of pictures of her. She’s a good model, and she knows it. She is fierce.

Giant prehistoric looking Magnolia blooms. They are going to be the size of dinner plates!

These are the ducks! They look cute, and super dumb, but don’t let that fool you. On Wednesday I forgot to give them their night time snack. Thursday morning, they had sent a party of 4 duck representatives to quack at the front door demanding breakfast.

This is just some junk in the yard, but I thought it looked nice.

Shalimar striking a pose. I like this picture cause she looks kind of chubby, and it makes me want to pick her up and carry her around by her middle everywhere.

Cows. Moo..

Sunset, with a light rain. I was trying to capture how shiney it made everything, but I dont really know what Im doing with the camera yet.

Fried Chicken for dinner! It came out so crispy, and so juicy inside. Soaked the chicken pieces in the whey that was leftover from my cream cheese making. Dredged it through some flour with some cumin, paprika, salt, and pinch of baking powder. Fried it in a mix of canola and pork fat!

Stock steaming away. I chucked the chicken bones from the fried chicken into the slow cooker with some veggie scraps and let it go over night. It woke me up around 4am, this amazing smell, and in my half-asleep state I bolted out of bed thinking someone was cooking in the kitchen. A cooking bugular! Who steals your stuff and then makes you a nice breakfast before he sneaks out.