Sunday, 28 February 2016

Crime hits hard

Well hot on the heels of the post I did about our new and upgraded roadside stall...
we have today put this poster up in it....

Up to now we've had the most excellent customers, several of whom I've bumped into when I go down to stock up. We know that they value our stall, like buying our produce, and are good honest folks who pay for what they take.

But when you get ******* visitors who do this.... Well.
I can tell you it hurts. It isn't nice to think that someone came along and used tools to deliberately break into our honesty box and get the takings (which would have been a meagre few dollars).

We don't make a lot of money doing this.
So far it's covered the cost of buying chook food, compost and seeds.

But we enjoy sharing our produce with locals that (mostly) seem to enjoy having the opportunity to buy it. It means we have a lot less waste as well. We've been able to sell plums this year which in the past would have just been left to rot into the ground or swept up. I have been able to share extra seedlings that I don't need - rather than just ending up putting them in the compost pile. 

And, up until now, it's been an enjoyable hobby that our whole family were getting involved in.
We had plans to continue to decorate the stall, make some bunting to put up in it.
After we put a note out saying we were looking for empty egg cartons and plant pots, we have received SO so many donations of these.

So thinking of those good things, the good feelings, and the large majority of good people;
We will continue.
We'll try and come up with a fix for our box that will put people off tampering with it.
And we'll continue to live our Kiwi Good Life and share our produce with those that wish to share it with us.

(note: the police came out to visit and have taken this crime seriously. If you are ever unlucky enough to have something similar happen to you (or anyone you know) please do report it. They urged us to pass this message on.)

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Venturing out - with a roadside stall

If you follow Kiwi Good Life on Instagram (here we are.. right HERE!) you will have noticed a fair bit of mention of plums lately.

That's because our lovely orchard of plum trees is a particular variety which ripens at a most particular time each year - we can almost put it in the diary and time it!

I wrote a blog post last February about our lovely Luisa plums, you may want to read up on that one first if you missed it: Meet Luscious Luisa, she's just plum

So once again, as we'd just finished turning the calendar page over to February, the first of the early plums started to drop from the trees.

The birds visited for regular feasts, greedily sucking juicy flesh out of one plum before they move onto another - never finishing one completely, rather preferring to leave many half eaten fruits on the tree for us!

And we started raking up the windfall and residue plums that the birds had decided to knock out of the trees for us.

Then we decided to pick some and see if they'd sell on our little roadside stall that we'd recently established.

Tubs of plums ready for our stall

Our very humble roadside stall (version I)
So - of course (as they're simply delicious) the plums did sell.
In fact we could hardly keep up with the demand. Everytime I walked down the lane to check the stock, we'd have sold out. So I'd go pick more and take them back down. And the pattern repeated.

The stall had been something we'd wanted to do for sometime as we usually have a fair amount of surplus that we thought we could sell off to help cover costs e.g. buy more compost and seeds, chicken food etc.

The first version I guess was just to see how it worked and if our produce would appeal to passers by. We live on a reasonably quiet country lane but there are an increasing number of residents plus an excellent and booming cafe nearby that attracts a lot of visitors.

It soon became apparent that our little trailer was not the best way to display our produce - plant pots were drying out quickly in full sun and the eggs would also benefit from proper shade and cover.

Plus it was pretty heavy to lug in and out each day!

So super Sam went to work and built us a fabulous new roadside stall......

A work in progress - roadside stall (version 2)

And here we are...
Still scope to decorate a little more - but very functional & practical

Meanwhile, we continued to pick plums.
A local wholesaler said he'd take some so one Sunday we borrowed in ladders and all got busy picking. My Fitbit said I did lots of stairs that day!

Meer Cat was also keen to help!

plums - plums - plums

'watcha doin?'

Several hundred KGs off to the wholesalers
And then... just like clockwork... the plum season was over.
The only plums left on the trees were way to high up for us to reach so the birds got to finish them off.
I raked up today and there were reduced numbers of fruit on the floor compared to days over the previous few weeks.
And the sweet sweet aroma of plum juice is starting to disappear.

We've closed up the stall for a few days to give ourselves time to tidy up, restock and prepare for the next crop....


Then Pumpkins.

We're on a roll!


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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Swelling Giants of Squash

We have once again planted a range of squash and melon in one of our paddocks.

Last year we had two large beds which we planted up and then by the time Autumn rolled around we were inundated with pumpkins and butternut squash.
This year we decided to just plant up one bed (although they are big at approx. 100m long) and added to this year's mix of varieties, one giant pumpkin plant.
As in the big, big, big, orange pumpkins.
We've not grown these before but our daughter was super keen to do so, so we thought we'd give it a go.

It's fair to say all the plants established quickly and and it wasn't long before we started seeing fruiting flowers and then a range of small pumpkins appearing.

The giant pumpkin plant seems to have produced two main pumpkins (there could be more hidden under the leaves that we haven't spotted yet!) and it's astonishing to see how quickly they are growing.

I swear if you stand there long enough you could visibly have seen them growing!
Check out the two dated pictures here - taken just 28 days apart......

3 January 2016

31 January 2016

This is a second pumpkin growing on the same plant
They are both HUGE!

Sheila on pumpkin watching duty

Pumpkins and squashes everywhere

18 February 2016

I think the growth has slowed down now and we've noticed the colour is starting to change a little now, with blushes of yellow and pale orange appearing.

I'll report back once we start picking the smaller ones - and we'll see how far our giants can go!

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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

We've been bathrooming

It appears that I've been absent from the blog for a wee while - oops!
I must try harder to post more, but you can always follow the Instagram page for the most regular updates.
(It might appear a bit 'empty' as I've just started a new dedicated Instagram page so you will only see relevant #KiwiGoodLife on there - and believe me it will soon be FULL!)

Anyway we have been busy with all the usual things.
You know like;
  • chopping firewood in the middle of summer heatwaves so we can stock up the shed for winter..
  • picking plums constantly for the two week season (that's what it feels like)..
  • continuing to build our new extension which will house the new kitchen..
  • painting the outside of the house (this will be ongoing for a quite a while!)..
  • planting, weeding, picking, weeding, digging, weeding in the vege garden..
  • enjoying a wonderful kiwi summer - it's SO hard!

But what I'm going to focus on today is.. bathrooming (it's a new word)

As part of our house renovations we've changed around our internal rooms quite a lot.
Like major changes.
Our old living room is now the master bedroom. 
And our daughter's old bedroom has become our ensuite bathroom.

We decided to ramp up work in the ensuite so we could actually have a bath.
When we renovated the existing family bathroom we decided to make the cosy room a little more spacious by taking out the bath and going instead for a large shower. 
So we haven't had a bath in the house for approx two years. And I missed it.

The ensuite room is a lovely size for a bathroom... with a bath.
It was a terrible size for a bedroom and it's hard to imagine Abi ever used it as such. I recall her bed didn't fit well between the walls, we had to push it down into place and it sat, wedged, on the skirting board, not  the floor!

So the room was stripped, new bathroom gib, plastering, painting and a wee bit of plumbing then we put in the fittings. 

Love the original doors in our house - we're slowing changing them all back 
Bit of sanding and varnishing on the old floorboards

Our $25 Op Shop find from last year that's been waiting for it's moment to steal the show!
I found this hutch / dresser on Trade Me for $80 - we had a plan!

We chopped, sawed, sanded, painted, fit new handles & taps and gave it lots of love and a pride of place position.....

Our new/old bathroom vanity - love it!
A standard bath from the DIY store was fitted and given a touch of Kiwi Good Life styling

Finished... and ...

(this was THE most anticipated and talked about bath-time in history!)


Here's a little look at the preloved handbasin and old cupboard we picked up for our 'outside' toilet
(it's accessed via the porch and laundry)
not bad for $8

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The Kiwi Good Life blog and social media pages are run by Vicki Annison (aka KiwiVix)