Friday, 31 January 2014

the caterpillary part 2

We have had a lot of butterflies hatch in the last few days
the swan plant

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

the girl's Garden

Last winter Hannah,Renee and I decided we needed more garden

 this was the only available space
so we weeded it
and planted tomatoes,pumpkin and lot of flowers

  here are some of the tomatoes

by Bryony

star wars

star wars has been the latest thing around here everyone has been making light sabers and things like that.

 a pastel Jedi Princess
                             Darth Vader

Clone trooper
a Jedi battle

by Bryony

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Musical pioneering

The kids have discovered a new instrument!


Petra has grown out of the princess dress.  It is now Eva's.
Grandma and Grandad got this dress in the US (I think), for Renee, who was 2.  It has lasted really well, through Renee, Hannah, and Petra.  Eva's pretty pleased that she can have it now

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Baby Bunnies

Our beautiful but slightly stupid rabbit Autumn had babies a few days ago, four of them.  A couple of days later we found one wriggling across the grass trying to catch hypothermia.  Luckily it was a warm day and he is ok, although we had to put a board across the doorway so he can't get out again.

Thursday, 16 January 2014


We had a caterpillary on our windowsill.  Now it is more of a chrysalis collection

This (above) is one branch, the other has even more chrysalises on it.
They are quite beautiful, close up.  In a week or so they will all hatch out and we'll let them go and lay eggs somewhere, hopefully not on Renee's swan-plant.  For the first time ever we have managed to keep a swan-plant alive long enough to grow seedpods, and Renee is keen to collect the seeds.  She'll probably have to put a net over it to protect it from voracious caterpillars.

Sunday, 12 January 2014


Our cherimoya is flowering!  That might not sound very exciting but it has never flowered before, and we planted it 7-8 years ago.  I suspect it may be because I dressed all the trees with potash last year.  We're waiting with bated breath to see if it has fruit or not.  This is uncertain because Cherimoya flowers are female when they first open, then male.  So I have been out in the evenings with a paintbrush, taking pollen from the well-open flowers and applying it to the just-opening flowers, and marking them to see if it works.  In South America, where it comes from, there is a wee beetle that crawls in and out of the flowers, but in NZ you have to do it yourself.  We'll see if it works...

Credit where credit is due: Thanks to Carolyn Armstrong for suggesting potash :)

Saturday, 4 January 2014


Our garden is filled with productive plants.  I only put flowers in to attract beneficial insects as we're trying to produce as much food as possible.  But recently I have started looking after the church garden, which means I can plant whatever flowers I like.  I'm still figuring out what works, and what doesn't, but it's nice to be able to indulge my "flowery side".
The first things I added to what was there already were cornflowers, which are easy to grow but all fell over.  Maybe I should have pinched the tops out, or maybe a dwarf variety would be better.
There are hollyhocks all over the place, which come up every year from seed

and a very flamboyant Hibiscus
The iris that was stuck under a great big daisy bush flowered this week.  It's not quite 2 feet high. I only noticed when I accidentally knocked the flower off...
My favourite flower this week is the Coreopsis Amulet which has finally flowered, and looking at all those buds is going to keep on flowering for a while.  I don't know what the yellow one is called, I've had it around for years.

There is a mystery plant at one end of the main bed which I've been told has yellow flowers - anyone know what it's called?  It dies right down in winter.
I've also put in lots of poppies of both kinds.  One has fluffy purple flowers but I'm still waiting on it to produce any.

And of course, snapdragons.  They come up everywhere from seed, lovely things

Friday, 3 January 2014

Bryony's Dolls house

Bryony's Dolls house
My dolls house is about 1 meter tall and has 8 rooms. I made it with Dad's help, then painted, wallpapered, carpeted and furnished it.

Next to it is Renee's dolls house (which has got some of my stuff in it anyway).

 It is about the same height and has 6 rooms. They are (at the moment) home to lots of sylvanians and cardboard Hobbit people.

1) The Sitting Room
Until about two weeks ago the sitting room was a very formal room 

but then the cardboard Hobbit people moved in which meant the whole of both dolls houses had to be redecorated.

Now it is a kind of elves' drawing room I think.

2) the kitchen
until about two weeks ago the kitchen was a kitchen

but now it is more like a bed room with food in it.

The food is made out of polymer clay and the floor is reed matting.

3) the girls' bedroom
Until about two weeks ago the girls' bedroom was a girls' bedroom.  It had a bunk bed and a chest of matchbox drawers.
Now it is a junk room.

4) The treasure room
This used to be a bedroom

now it is a treasure room.

The treasure consists of clay, tin foil, and any other small gold/silver things I could find.  There is no dragon...

5) the spare rooms
These two rooms are not really for anything.At the moment one is a bedroom

and the other a kind of dining room.

6) the attic
The attic is divided into two parts: the bathroom
and  a very spare bedroom.

Thursday, 2 January 2014


Petra and Eva's favourite thing at Rotorua

Rotorua report 3

On Tuesday we went out to Wingspan. We meant to go 2 years ago but the weather was far too wet.  We arrived just in time to see the flying display, which was fascinating.  The first falcon, Ozzy, was very small, and flew very low over the heads of the spectators (there must have been 50 or so people there).  Daniel got to wear the glove and feed him
Hannah and Andrew also got a chance to feed a falcon, when the next one came out, a larger female.

There were 2 wee baby falcons, only a few days old

The presentation was very informative and we all learned a lot.  As we were leaving there was a guy with a harrier, they are huge birds up close, with beautiful plumage.