Friday, December 26, 2014

Season's greetings

Season's greetings to everyone, hope you had a lovely day. It's always a bit of a rush in the build up to Xmas day, especially here in NZ as it coincides with Summer and school holidays. We had a really nice day with family, the weather was warm and overcast and it was pleasant to sit outside on the deck without cooking in the hot sun!

I successfully made a gingerbread house this year. It took quite a bit of time but I did it in stages - baking the gingerbread (cutting out the parts of the house with special cutters) then I froze the cooked gingerbread, before icing it closer to Xmas day.

I will now share a photo of my first attempt at a gingerbread house from last year. You will see just how truely awful it was.....!!!

Some things I learned since are to use my usual gingerbread recipe, not the one I found online containing molasses which no one liked! Ice the house pieces first before assembling, and use the correct sort of icing - royal icing - which is icing sugar, egg whites and creme of tartar. Lastly, put the house together in stages so that the joins are dry and it can withstand the weight of the roof.

Anyway I was pleased with the outcome, will do it again next year. D enjoyed helping me with the icing so it was a lot of fun.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


At last we have our new piglets. These two are quite small, only a few weeks' old. They are the first pigs to be in our new pig area, a large grassy paddock with an electric wire running round just a little way off the ground. They have rings in their noses to stop them turning the ground into mud!

They seem to be very happy and content in their new area, although as yet they are not eating any grass! Guess they haven't figured out what it is yet. Meanwhile they are eating all the scraps we give them, and chomping down the kumara (sweet potato) which they love.

They're small, but won't stay small for long!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Farm roundup early December

Yikers where does the time go......? and sorry once again for slackness in posting...!

It has been hot and very windy during the day here on CTF. Not my favourite time of the year I have to say, the wind drives me nuts and is very tiring. Everything is getting very dry and I am bad at watering my plants. Still there's no point moaning!

On the plus side everything is looking very pretty with lots of flowers out now in the potager garden.

Nigella 'Love in a Mist'

Nigella self seeds freely and makes for a pretty display

'Pinks' - these have also self-seeded


Sweet peas

I'm harvesting loads of peas, we're eating them fresh and also I'm freezing them for later.

Looking forward to harvesting the garlic next month, it's doing really well, just need to give it water now!

On the pig front, we're enjoying delicious bacon and pork from our last lot of pigs. I will be cooking one of our hams for Christmas lunch.

Sadly though the little pig died - was squashed by the big pigs when they broke into his pen. We were all very upset about this. Makes us realise how very strong pigs can be to break through corrugated iron fencing!

Currently we have no pigs but are hoping to get some piglets soon. Will update on that when it happens. These piglets will be in a grassy paddock with electric fencing and rings in their noses - hopefully will avoid the 'too much mud' situation. They have a shelter and water supply hooked up ready to go, G has been very busy with getting that all ready.

The relocation of the pigs means we have freed up the last pig pen area. This will now be a fenced vege garden. At the moment we are using it to grow pumpkins (pig food mainly) but next year I'd like to have raised beds in there - it's a nice flat area and has some hedging to provide shelter from the westerly winds. The bulk of the tomato plants are in the other pig pen (where the little pig was). Anyway, the raised gardens will be a job to add to the list for next year!

That's all for now!