Darling Buds of May

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Hi buddies!

Its been so so long since Ive written a blog. Usually that means Ive been working too much or depressed (or both!), but not this time, by golly. I’ve just been busy doing good stuff. Life stuff, house stuff, dog stuff, family stuff, love stuff, nature stuff, food stuff, that kind of stuff. Adult stuff!

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We have gotten a lot of Shit Done in the last couple of weeks and it feels good. We sorted out things like insurance and licences for various things, registering vehicles and getting health card crap. We saved up and bought ourselves a washing machine so I don’t have to spend my evenings fastidiously spot washing buttercream stains off my work shirts and re-wearing my socks until their are stiff as dicks. We also bought a very small counter top dishwasher, because that is an area of adulthood that we routinely fail at. We both just hate dishes so much and it often is a point of contention. So now we sleep in a bed that isn’t just a mattress on the floor, we have a $20 robot who vacuums our house for us, a little machine that magically cleans our clothes and dishes AND clean water AND heat all in the same place at the same time. It feels nice..

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3 months ago I started a blog with some Life Goals which I never finished.. so not really off to a rip rollicking start there. But here it is:

I have been mad craving Russian food for some reason so I was really into the idea of making the Russian salad Herring in a Fur Coat. The picadillo vainica is a South American dish of ground beef and green beans that was delicious and will definitely be something we make often. I made pork fried rice for dinner one night that was such good junk food. That butternut squash pasta recipe I have been dreaming about was pretty meh. The Sup Mang Tay is a delicious Thai soup with French influence that was so lovely for lunch. And we had lobster for mothers day with Marie which was such a great day.

Ive been walking most every day with Sweet Pea after dinner. Its so nice to spend an hour outside while the suns going down, listening to the robins and frogs chirping their spring time love songs. The heavy perfume smell of trees and flower coming into bloom. Even picking up the dogs poop is nice because at least it wasn’t in the house!

 

 

Ive definitely mastered French macarons, having made a thousand or two since I wrote that, and I am learning how to do fondant cakes and loving it. Work has been a bit rougher than Id like lately and I was thinking of quitting. But I sucked it up and had a good long talk with the boss lady about what I need and what we need to do better on, which I always find so hard to do. It went well, so I think things should sort themselves out. We will see.

CB dyed my hair magenta, turquoise, blue and purple. It was pretty rad.

And my garden is started!

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They are big enough to transplant, just waiting for the morning frost to pass before I get these babies into the ground! My nasturtiums are looking hardy so they have already made the move to a pot outside. Actually I think its an old metal water or milking bucket or something.

I have been spending 100% more time outside than I have in the last couple of years. CB and I come home after work and play with Sweet Pea out in the yard and then lay down and have a little nap on the mossy lawn. The black flies are out now though, so its hard to lay peacefully on the grass without having to blow blackflies back out of your nose every 10 seconds.

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So far we have a few plants coming up outside, but mostly just beautiful daffodils which apparently the smell of which work Sweet Pea up into a psychotic frenzy with a thirst for human blood. Ah, Spring Time.

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OK because of our slow ass internet this blog has taken about an hour and a half to write, so long past my Attention Span’s point of no return. I leave you with this poem about daffodils, because I hate you.

Lolz kidding. You’re alright.

Love, Kara

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils
– Wordsworth

 

 

 

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Lawn Gnomes

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This is our house! Its a cute wee thing in the middle of the woods and I’m so damn happy to be calling it home. To find it you have to go careening up curvy mountainous roads, make a sharp turn into what appears to be a solid wall of palm trees and bamboo and then go rumbling down a steep, pebbly, homocidal driveway and try not to disappear off either side and go rolling in a fiery inferno onto the fields below. Fun, every time.

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But as the reward, you get this. Nice eh? Not a house or car in sight. Just grass and trees and birds. Tuis, spectacled finches that look like they have googly eyes glued to their heads, wax-eyes, fan tails, hawks, birds that look remarkably like Eugene Levy, little brown ones, little black ones, and one giant fat pigeon named Greg who is seriously exactly like a basketball covered in feathers. He takes immense pleasure in pooping on me when I walk under him. We are enemies. Damn you, Greg!

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Come, walk with me around the gardennssssss…

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Today was the day we Took Back The Yard! It involved a giant bloody pair of shears and a beauty of a lawnmower that’s leftover from some war time era. Did they have any wars in the Victorian times? I also spent the bulk of the morning picking off leaves and stems of every plant, eating them and declaring what they were before pruning or pulling them out of the ground without mercy. Everything turned out to be some kind of lettuce.

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There she is! I can feel everyone in the entire world laughing at how impractical and stupid this is, but holy smokes.. its so fun. Its such a cool, simple, practical machine and it does its job really damn well. As my parents can both attest to, I detest mowing the lawn, but this was actually really fun. And an incredible work out. I didnt realize I had muscles under my arms and in the backs of my knees… ee…

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Here is our glorious pile of clippings that I was very proud of! This is also a picture of our new gym.. I was sore after this.

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A pretty flower. I can’t remember what these are called. Bird of Paradise? Anyway, very pretty and we have a wall of them around the front of the house.

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Doing the laundry. Also the old fashioned way because we are too poor for a washing machine right now.  We do it by hand in the sink.. it takes about a week to get it all done. Thats not an exaggeration.. Anybody in the Auckland area want to donate a washing machine to a couple of broke ass but loveably dimwitted Canadians who seemingly insist on doing absolutely everything the hardest way possible??

Also for the record CB is way better at all of these things than me. Somehow when I do a load, all my tshirts come out smelling like my socks and when he does it it’s like we’re both wearing clothes washed in springtime rainbows.  Argh..

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A tamarillo tree. I can’t tell but I think they are ripe— anybody in the Auckland area want to swap a washing machine for 20kg of tamarillos? Mmmm tamarillos, for when you cant decide whether you want to eat a tomato or a .. grape?

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A little tiny grasshopper thing! I was going to say Weta but I’m not sure. We definitely have wetas here though, they look like prehistoric grasshoppers and are more amazing than they are scary. Greg likes to eat them.

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Nasturtiums looking for the light. Future plans to turn this little shed into a chicken coop until the landlords notice… CHOOKS!

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Looking up into the tamarillo tree.

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This tree is growing beside the tamarillos and I don’t know what it is. It is some kind of fruit for sure. Feijoa??

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The insides taste nice but have that bitter pectin-y taste.. hm..

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An armload of the worlds most beautiful beets!

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The back of the lot, not much going on back here. Just grass and some .. even bigger grass.

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A nice fern that shades our garden.

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This beautiful tree covered in purple flowers is my favourite. They look ultra violet against the green background of New Zealand bush and are so mesmerizing.

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The healthiest silver beet in the universe. We will be eating this everyday forever.

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A look out into our valley.

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Celery! Growing out of the ground! I didnt know it did that!

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Little pink rosebuds.

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These are two of the strangest flowers in the garden. No idea what they are, and they do not taste good.

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Prettiness.

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Mowing down the foot of thick, wet grass.

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A monarch sipping the sweet nectar of this lovely tree. Some kind of rata? I really need to get a book on this stuff..

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Squishing a tamarillo and eating its GUTS!

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All the while, a tui sits and watches me, whistling like a little old man.

Strange Fruit

I gots some GRAPES! Look at them, blushing beauties.

Some tasty rocket!

There is a wimpy little Charlie Brown-esque nectarine tree beside the house and it has produced a total of 3 fat nectarines. I ate one. It was yum.

CB washed his motorcycle so lovingly. This thing has had more baths than he has by now I think..

Grapes SO SOUR. Maybe good for.. bucket of garage wine???

My pickle came out weird..

And I have atleast a dozen japalenos growing up outside the garage! Look at their wee green bums, so cute. One of them is wearing their flower around their middle like a fancy skirt. I cant wait to stuff them with cream cheese and bacon and deep fry them.

Downside to summer time garden times, I GOT STUNG BY A BEE! For the first time in my whole damn life. I was prancing around like a fucking hippy bitch singing a little song, munching on my nectarine and then BLACCCHHH! Nectarine in the air, camera on the ground, bee embedded in my foot. No good. The bee looked like it had no idea what the hell just happened, poor little bugger. Then I noticed every single one of the approximately 80 billion clover flowers had a fat bee on it. Yeah.. oops..

Patty Pan Pandemoniumum

Look at these weird little babies! Aren’t they adorable? John is growing all kinds of zucchinis in his garden and this is one of them, Patty Pan Squash! They are really large, so we picked a couple to have for lunch! I’ve never tried these before, and John heard that you shouldn’t eat them when they are large like these ones. So I was excited to see how they tasted.

This is a wee baby patty pan being born. Awwww…

The garden is out of control. The sunflowers are taller than me, and there’s a half dozen zooks at least a foot long! Green giants and long yellow ones.. They look particularly phallic thrusting out of the foliage, flowers curled around their tips.. ahem. See what I mean?

Then there’s my little pickle… not nearly as impressive…..

Here I have dissected the cute little frilly squash thing to show you it’s seedy guts! It’s soft and white and just like a zucchini inside.

Lettuce is my favourite colour, I think.

CB frying up the patty pan with some butter, salt and pepper.

Lunch is ready! Pork tacos in lettuce leaf shells. The patty pans are BLOODY DELICIOUS! Soft and buttery, with a nutty taste like toasted pumpkin seeds. Super delicious, I wish we had cooked up more. So you definitely can eat these buggers when they are big as your head.

After lunch I watched from the deck as John climbed the neighbors fence to pillage their plums. CB defended him from prickly tall weeds with a pair of wire snips. We got a million! PLUMMMS!

Wasp Nest Hair Do

This morning started off like most great mornings do, with puppies and meatballs! It’s so hard to get out of bed the first morning of my days off, but CB, the clever bastard, has devised a crafty scheme. All week he collects videos of adorable animals doing adorable things adorably, and then plays them as soon as my eyes start to flicker open. Gradually my bitchy, blurry eyed self sits up to watch the antics of the slow loris with itchy armpits, the bucket of baby sloths having a bath, or the impossibly fat bulldog puppy just existing and am eased into consciousness with increasing excitement and overwhelming feelings of wanting to mush and crush baby things faces… thereby bypassing my horrible ultra bitch morning self entirely! GENIUS!

Also the smell of meatballs sizzling away helps too. Mmmm steamy meatballs..

Mmmm even steamier coffees. Check out my sweet Russian(?) dog mug.

Writing some christmas postcards I doodled for my fam last week while taking the train home from work. Yes, Santa is slurping up a baby dolphin in one, an NZ christmas tradition!

And then I took too many allergy pills and had a surprise nap for 2 hours…

I woke up, groggy, face creased and matching the print of the couch arm I was sleeping on. When I got upstairs CB looked up from his minecrafting to let me know my “face looks rough”… AND THEN we went to pick up our christmas ham! YAY! CHRISTMAS HAM! Work was giving out hams, boxes of veg or champagne for christmas, so of course I was like.. I choose you, jambon! YEEEEEEAH!

Minor driving incident occured downtown.. won’t go into details but it ended up with me nearly killing dozens of people, police sirens chasing after me, a full on panic attack and that move from bank robbery movies where the main character’s being chased by the popo and pulls onto a side street and parks as if everythings cool and they’re just a regular person who has been parked there for ages, maybe doing a spot of christmas shopping, and not commiting any major, extremely public, traffic violations…. only I didn’t do it on purpose, I did it because I wanted the police to come with me, park beside me and arrest me for being a lunatic driver…. but we got our HAM MAN! And everything was worth it! And no more allergy medication for me…. I say this nonchalant, but it was actually so stupid, gawwwwwwwwddddddddddddddddddd……………. I actually kept checking my phone after, expecting the police to ring me and be like “ma’am you’re under arrest, please come to jail now for jumpsuits and shower-time sodomy. Also bring your ham.”

Oh also, I planted some plants! Well, CB did most of the work, but I got my toes dirty, which felt very nice. Man’s handy with a trowel!

4 gherkin seedlings, 4 jalapeno seedlings, a little bush of thyme and one of sage! Yum! We planted the gherks in the garden beside the house that is 100% clay soooooo.. we’ll see how that goes. But they are resilient little buggers, should be fine! Its really nice quality clay too, and beyond that are lava rocks. Very cool.

I made this from some of the nice clay. Its got a wasp nest hair do, and a flower for company.

Our wee garden. The pot with the red leafed varigated is actually John’s plant he got as a present from some kiwi actress who’s name isnt Lucy Lawless so I immediately forgot it. I found it dying under the steps and now its doing really well.

One of our wee gherkin plants.

A nice jar growing some moss.

John’s awesome garden. His pinwheels blew apart in our last big storm here, but they are still scaring off the peacock so they’re doing the job. Look at how many little shoots he has coming up already! Jealous…

This one’s a rainbow beet I think.

And then CB and John spent half an hour shooting rocks at a sponge with his birthday slingshot. I sat at CB’s feet with Wyatt the cat, collecting the roundest possible specimens from the rut around the driveway, as soon as he shot one, my arm shot up holding the next rock. John suggested they upgrade to firecrackers and we figured with our luck it was best to just go inside..

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.

Milk, Milk, Lemonade

Lemonade!

Milk, milk, lemonade. Push the button, fudge is made. And then you point to your butt. Classic.

This morning was gorgeous, and after feeding the pigs and ducks I grabbed a basket from the garage and filled it with all kinds of good stuff from the garden. Tiny spicy peppers, long stalks of ruby red rhubarb, dark green leaves of silverbeet, fresh lettuce (mostly covered in slugs…), one giant pearly duck egg annnnd.. lemons! A buttload of’em! And some grapefruits and oranges and tiny limes. It was a very colourful basket by the time I was finished. I made the pigs a special salad, slug covered greens with wrinkly peppers, yum!

CB was out in the driveway sawing away at scraps of wood, making us a shelf for groceries in the back of the van. I puttered around in the kitchen and made a kumera & bacon frittata with purple coleslaw for lunch and a giant pickle jar of lemonade! Twas nice.

Rolly coming to see what’s up and maybe he can score a nice juicy orange perhaps.

     Light Lemonade

8 lemons

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup hot water

8 cups cold water

Put the honey in the jar.

Pour over hot water and stir to dissolve.

Place a strainer over the lid of the jar and ream lemons into it.

Press the pulp to get all the juicy juice out.

Fill with cold water, add ice cubes.

 

 

Lemons, large jar, mesh strainer, kettle for hot water, spoon for stirring, knife for slicing and a wooden stick for reaming out the lemons.
Pretty little bumpy lemons.
Yom