It’s a good plum year, and they’re falling fast. I’ve already cooked some and frozen some, now encouraging Mr C to make some plum wine …

09. August 2015 · Comments Off on Blackcurrant jam · Categories: Food, Gardening


Yesterday I picked about 4 litres of blackcurrants. About half went into the freezer on oven trays, so we can have free – flow frozen berries for winter baking and for the kids’ “cocktails” (bubbly water with frozen berries). The rest went into a small batch of jam.

We eat very little jam these days, so I make small batches with low sugar content and freeze it in silicon muffin trays. One jam muffin is just the right size to plop into a jar and keep in the fridge.

Just look at all those lovely currants! I was never a big blackcurrant fan as a kid. I have a memory of them being small, a bit dry and kindof disappointing. Maybe the NZ climate isn’t right for them, or maybe the varieties have just changed a lot over the years. In any case these are plump and juicy and sweet.

One particular bush produces these huge berries, the size of small grapes. A lot of these ones never make it into the bucket!

The only crop the slugs don’t want!  I harvested on Sunday and made the first braid last night.




24. July 2015 · Comments Off on 2015 harvests · Categories: Food, Gardening

I made a decision not to weigh my harvests this year, because I’m so defeated by the slug problem.  But with the exception of salad leaves (there’s been a lot of those from the veranda vege patch), I have been diligent in photographing all our harvests, and I’m putting them all into a gallery, here.


01. July 2015 · Comments Off on First strawberry harvest · Categories: Gardening


They’re late, but at least we beat the slugs to them

30. June 2015 · Comments Off on My veranda vege patch · Categories: Uncategorized


This year I’m doing a lot of veranda growing. Which may sound crazy when you know I have an entire hectare of growing space in front of the house. But I’m feeling very defeated. By these little buggers:


The slugs. Oh god, the slugs. They have eaten my pumpkin plants. They have eaten many leaves off my broad beans. They have eaten my broccoli. They have eaten stems on my onions. They have eaten almost everything I’ve tried to start from seed down there.

I have a longer term solution in the works, but for this season we will be mostly harvesting from the veranda. Bonus: it’s really close to the kitchen.

We went to see the Foo Fighters in Gothenburg on Friday night. You may have read about it on the news, but this is my version of the story. It all started so well, with Dave Grohl running about as he does, up and down the catwalk and all over the stage. Here he is, on is feet, around 20:50, during the first song:

Shortly into the second song, we suddenly couldn’t see him anymore.  The band went into a holding pattern, as bands often do when their frontman decides to have a little rant about something.  But Dave wasn’t ranting.  My friend Daniel, much taller than I, said that he thought he’d fallen off the stage.  What madness, I thought.  Surely not!  Or not?

The seconds ticked by, the band started to look confused, and the big screens blacked out.  Something was up.  Then for a moment the screens lit up again and we saw drummer Taylor Hawkins, and could lip read him saying “What happened?”

And then we heard a “Hey!”.  And we saw this:

It’s 21:00 and Mr Grohl is ON A STRETCHER.  “I think I broke my leg.  I think I really broke my leg”.  He proceeded to apologise, and tell us that they would have to come back another day and play for us.  Words can’t describe at this point how gutted I was.  I have to admit to being something of a “lapsed fan”.  I was a big fan some years ago, but the album “In your honour” was kindof a flop for me, and in a way I stopped paying attention.  Then last year I heard they were coming to Gothenburg and I couldn’t miss it.  I convinced my not-really-a-fan husband to come, and convinced our friends (who are fans, but were a bit financially pinched) that they should come too.  In the months since getting the tickets I had learned to love the music I’ve missed in the last few years.

To say I was disappointed at this point would be understatement of the year.

Well Taylor Hawkins told us that there would be no Foo Fighters show tonight but that he and the rest of the band would play us a few songs before we went home.  It didn’t feel like much consolation to start with.  But holy smokes, Mr Hawkins, what a show stealer he was.  Drumming and singing looks like pretty much the hardest thing in the word.  Doing it when your frontman has just broken his leg and you have 50,000 disappointed fans in front of you, hell I don’t want to think about how hard that is.  But he didn’t just do it, he did it with a smile.

I started to enjoy the songs.  They were damn good even without Dave.  Hawkins implored us to stick around and not go home.  Then they started to play a cover of “Under pressure”, and now I was actually getting pretty happy, since I love that song.  And then we noticed … a chair on the stage.  Surely – they couldn’t be serious …

And then the surreal part.  21:18 Dave Grohl is carried on stage by crew, while a man in a high-vis jacket that says “DOCTOR” holds his bandaged leg in front of him.  They deposit him on the chair, with a guitar, and he throws himself into the song.  WHAT THE HELL!


The doctor sits in front of Dave and holds his leg still while he sings and plays.  He was obviously having a hard time sitting still but that doctor had an iron grip!

A little while later, he left the stage for about 5 minutes to have his leg put into a cast.  After that the doctor was able to leave him on his own.  He finished the show mostly from the chair but also went walkabout on a pair of crutches and did a couple of acoustic songs from the end of the catwalk.


There were so many remarkable things about this whole experience.  The news reporting has been fairly inaccurate, many reports saying Grohl went to hospital, and/or saying that he was gone for “about an hour”.  I checked the timestamps on my photos, which is why I’ve put the timings into my description – the time between him falling and returning to the stage with the doctor was about eighteen minutes.  There was no trip to the hospital.  We guess that the medics went off to get materials for the cast, which then took about 5 minutes to put on.  So all in all he was off the stage for around 25 minutes of the 2 and a half hours of the show.

Dave Grohl thanked us profusely for not leaving.  But I (and I’m pretty sure the rest of the crowd) just wish that I could thank him back, for not leaving us with that bitter disappointment that descended when he first said that his leg was broken.  I can’t comprehend what it must take to keep performing in that kind of pain.

I also wish I could thank that nameless doctor for going out on stage so he could keep playing.

And I wish I could thank Taylor Hawkins and congratulate him for how he held the show together.  For my part there was no way I was leaving the stadium unless it was confirmed that Dave had “left the building”.  I’m sure many others felt the same way, but I think people might have started leaving had Hawkins not been as awesome as he was.  I’m pretty sure that was the best cover of Under Pressure ever played by anyone, ever.

These 3 heros, and those invisible backstage medics, meant that I got to witness rock & roll history, and that doesn’t happen every Friday night.  And my Foo Fighters fandom is completely back to it’s old levels.  I can hardly listen to anything else.

29. May 2015 · Comments Off on More baby owl cuteness · Categories: Wildlife · Tags:

I haven’t seen the baby owl for over a week now, so I guess it has left home.  The day after I took the previous photos, I saw it peeking out during daylight hours, so I got a couple more shots.

Today I happened to see mamma/pappa owl fly away from the nest box and shortly afterwards we saw it being chased around by two crows.  I grabbed the camera but the whole party went over the forest and I saw the owl do a crazy spinning dive below the treetops.  I waited a while for it to come home, but fairly quickly got bored of hanging out the bathroom window.

23. May 2015 · Comments Off on Harvest · Categories: Food, Gardening


Radishes, mint, chives and rhubarb. Harvest time starts at last!

19. May 2015 · Comments Off on Baby owl · Categories: Uncategorised · Tags:

When we first moved into our house 3 years ago we had an owl living in this birdhouse, but since then we’ve only seen wasps and small birds living in it.  This year we have had a new resident, a tawny owl – or possibly two of them.  We started to suspect there could be a baby there, since it’s hatching time and since I saw the parent owl fly up one evening and appear to drop something off in the box before flying away again.  I suspected he/she was dropping off a takeaway.  The next evening we got to see this precious fluffy little bundle peeking out.