Follow by Email

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Stone Store, Kerikeri, New Zealand

Old buildings in New Zealand are just babies, compared to the rest of the world, but this one is solidly built, and I think will be around for a very long time.
The Stone Store in Kerikeri was built in 1833. Currently it is still a store, selling wonderful well made, authentic items that would have been for sale during the 1840's.



The building next to the Stone Store is Kemp House - the oldest building in New Zealand - built in 1819.

The Stone Store, Kerikeri, and Kemp House




I bought a couple of brushes for my kitchen.




The store staff are in period costume and they take tours through the building every hour.



I loved that they even had glass jars of old fashioned boiled lollies for sale behind the counter.


Years ago Derek collected some of the hand made nails that were used in the original shingle roof, as they were tossed away by the builders doing the reroof.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Happy New Year, DIY Healthy Diet Tonic

Happy 2017! I hope it is a good one for all of you. 
For many 2016 was not so good, but personally, I had a great year. It was the year that I got in with some like-minded people to make a difference to our environment - further here about our plastic-free market project. Our band had it's best year ever, and generally, life has been sweet.

If you look at what is going on around the world it is easy to feel alarmed. I find that taking as much action as I can, and seeking out positive news helps to keep a balance mentally.

One little, spontaneous thing we did on Christmas Eve gave us such a buzz of enjoyment.
As Derek and I drove home from town, we came across a straggle of Te Araroa walkers, (more about them on a previous blog here), while they were still 15 minutes walk from our place. We decided to make a surprise Christmas morning tea for them, so as they rounded the bend, they were met with a hurriedly set up table and chairs, Christmas cake, chocolates and chocolate biscuits, stollen, cherries and iced orange drink. 



The looks on their faces were priceless, they were so excited. They were all from countries overseas, and they said they had not felt like it was Christmas (no snow for a start).
After stopping with us for nearly an hour, they trailed off to walk the rest of New Zealand, our Christmas decorations (donated) hung from various parts of their packs. 

So 2017? Well no resolutions, as usual, as I just jump in and do things as they occur to me. But this year my Derek retires (early), and we have a couple of overseas trips planned. I plan to use these trips to look at ways that other people are doing great things and clever ideas, plus have fun and catch up with family.
I plan to continue eating healthier, getting moving more, and doing my utmost personally for a better world - writing letters, being an influencer, not buying new, making as much as I can myself...
So on that note - here's my recipe (thank you Wendyl Nissen) for 

 DIY Diet Tonic

juice of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp stevia powder
1 tsp honey
10 drops of angostura bitters

Mix together and add to 1 litre of soda water (that's where my bargain soda stream machine comes in).

It's low calorie and so much nicer than bought diet tonic - let alone cheaper and more environmentally friendly if you make the soda water yourself.
Needless to say, it goes great with gin.



Cheers - here's to 2017!



Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Christmas Edition

How the year whizzes by. It seems that I am doing a slow Christmas this year, partly due to recovering from a backpain episode that left me weeks behind schedule. 
Thank goodness for online Christmas shopping, as I knew that I wouldn't be up to it otherwise (all the packaging gets reused or recycled). 
I'm back on my feet now, but could only watch as the tree was trimmed. Last year I merrily bought a living tree, with great plans to use it every year - clever eh, but no - it's still alive, but not looking good enough to bring inside. So back to the beautiful shaped St John's Ambulance charity trees.




This year we decided to decorate with a marine theme in white and gold. A little gold spray paint brought these shells up beautifully - better than store bought if you ask me! 
The gift wrap followed the theme with gold starfish that I stamped on salvaged white and brown papers, making little gift tags to match, and decorating with decorations that I have bought by the bag from a charity shop, and gold crepe paper - also from a charity shop.



We are having a very quiet Christmas day - mostly just Derek and me - so we're planning a picnic lunch at this spot. The forecast is for sunshine and the Pohutukawa trees are a mass of crimson. This is the estuary - the surf beach is on the other side of the houses.


 

Then Boxing day we are off to see the rest of the family.

I've managed to make some of the Christmas presents to go in their gift hampers - quite safe saying that here - no family will read this.

Christmas Bark with pistachios and cranberries


This White Chocolate, Pistachios and Cranberry Bark is so easy and so festive looking - you can find the recipe here.

I've had a great crop of beetroot already so found a recipe for Beetroot Chutney. I saw it only scored 3 stars out of 5, so I made so many changes to it that I think I can call it my own recipe. It's supposed to sit for 3 weeks to develop, but it tastes great already. 


Beetroot Chutney
6 medium fresh beetroot
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp  ground cardamom
4 large green-skinned apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
10g fresh ginger - grated
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of malt vinegar (I used half malt, half white vinegar)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp coarse cooking salt
8 peppercorns and 8 cloves in a mesh bag.

Boil, steam or bake the beetroot until tender, cool a little and peel off the skins. Chop, some finely, some a little bigger.

Combine apple, spices, onion, garlic, ginger, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring at times.

Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add the beetroot and continue to simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until the chutney is thick. Remove the bag of spices.

Spoon into hot sterilized jars, seal.
Refrigerate after opening

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. May 2017 bring a cleaner, greener, more peaceful world.
xx Anne





Sunday, 4 December 2016

Calico Bags - Gift Wrap

Last week our order of 500 calico bags arrived, to sell at the market. This is part of our group's mission to have our local Grower's Market go plastic bag free.

We have progressed from sewing bags ourselves from curtain off-cuts (we couldn't keep up with the demand), to then buying reusable bags from large local stores, you know the ones - made from recycled plastic, to ordering them ourselves online (much better deal), finally getting to these better quality, biodegradable calico bags. We couldn't afford to get them printed, so they are beautifully clean skin.
I was a little nervous that they wouldn't sell, as I had invested $1200.00 of my own money, but last weekend proved that they will sell just fine at $2.50 each.

I decided to create a little promotion for pre Christmas so that people will see the bags as useful for environmentally friendly giftwrap that is actually useful afterwards, or for Santa sacks.

Calico wrapped gifts with cool little chalkboard gift tags - reusable!

If you like that deer head silhouette that I stencilled - you can make your own with the free image from Madeinaday.com

The market manager has just secured 10,000 cornstarch, biodegradable bags for the market sellers to replace their plastic bags. While this isn't the perfect solution, it is a whole lot better.
At the market this weekend 97% (my estimation) of people had their own bags or bought them from us. Plus there was co-operation from sellers to provide produce without plastic. I feel that 9 months of our effort is paying off.😊

One of the things that plastic bags were useful for was picking up rubbish in. We still get a little supply from family members who don't manage to use reusable bags 😩, but mostly I give them to the lady at the market who sells plants, so at least the are reused. I decided to upcycle Munta's dog biscuit bags by sewing on handles to them for rubbish collecting missions - they work great, being big and sturdy.

They are also great for collecting seaweed off the beach for the garden.

Just an update on the rats - I bought one of those cage traps, which I bait with home made mixed nut and seed butter on a crust, leaving the trap where we know they are going outside. We have caught 8 so far (ew). So thank goodness something is working.



Thursday, 17 November 2016

In the Wake of the Quake

Early on Monday morning NZ was rocked by a series of earthquakes, the biggest being 7.8M near Kaikoura in the South Island, with loss of two lives. It was extremely fortunate that the earthquakes occurred in the middle of the night, or the toll would have been worse.
Since the earthquakes, there has been torrential rain and flooding in the affected areas to add to it all.
We feel very lucky to be safe and free from shaking up here in the North of the North. As for the big quake 4 years ago, we are offering a place to stay for people affected by the earthquake.
The infrastructure damage is huge, plus there are a lot of buildings in the capital city Wellington that have been deemed unsafe.

So just a few pictures...but there is such a lot more damage.
A map showing the New Zealand earthquakes




Photos from the album of Aaron Woolley



It will be a long slow recovery.

Sorry if you got triplicate posts - gremlin in the works.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

DIY Socks, My Year Of No New Clothes Is Up.

My second (but not consecutive) year of No New Clothes For a Year has just ended. This time I joined the Facebook group of that name, which made it more interesting to be doing it in conjunction with many others.
I managed to go the whole 12 months without buying any clothes or accessories at all. In the in-between year I am only buying preused, except for underwear and some shoes. 
There are lots of reasons to do this - breaking spending/shopping habits, it's better for the environment and it saves money just for starters.

While I was in my not-buying year, I came across a pattern for DIY fleece socks. I decided to make my first pair from an old cotton t-shirt. I found the pattern was really too big, partly because of my choice of material, but partly because the person who blogged the pattern had already enlarged it - finding the original had been too small. So if you choose to make them, be aware that you might need to alter the sizing. 
I added the top band myself - it wasn't in the pattern

The site that I got the free pattern download from is..Salty Peanut Stitchery It is easy to figure out and not difficult to sew.
I plan to make a lined fleecy pair next.

Charity Shop Find of the Week: The not-buying-new ethic translates to all parts of life - not just clothing for me. I have been keeping a look out for a soda stream machine, to make soda with a squeeze of lemon, to help me drink fewer wines to help with my weight loss plan. I was just delighted to find this one in the Hospice Shop for only $12. It has paid for itself already. It came with a full gas bottle even!


Part of the weight loss plan has been stepping up the exercise too, so Derek, Katie, Munta and I are walking for 30 minutes/ night. We are driving to a different part of our road, and we pick up rubbish as we go. In the past week we have filled a rubbish bag and our recycling bin with what we have picked up, the place looks much better, and we are all better for the exercise too. 

My blog writing has been (pleasantly) interrupted twice this afternoon. We are on the route of the Te Araroa Trail, which is a linked walk the whole length of New Zealand. 


We sometimes have trail walkers call in asking if they can camp, because we are between camping spots. 
This year I have put little signs down on the road that we are TA Trail walker friendly, because we think it's fabulous what these young people are doing and we love to meet people from all around the world. We've just filled the water bottles of an American couple, and sent them off with a lime and some lettuce, as they don't get a lot of vegetables or fruit because they have to carry everything. The first couple in today were Japanese - they just came to say hello.
The walkers take approximately 5 months to walk the full 3,000km length of New Zealand.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Guava Moth Traps, Transition Town Seed Swap.

Hi All! Small positives for Plastic Bag Free when I was shopping last week. First I came across this sign in our local library



Then my local New World supermarket have started giving a 5c/bag discount (up to 5 bags) when you bring in your own bags (unless you are already getting their discounted coffees). It's not huge, but at least moving in the right direction.

In my last post I had made a Guava Moth trap - I can now report that it does definitely work - so here's the recipe.

Guava Moth Lure

Mix: 1 litre of boiling water
       1 tsp of vegemite or marmite
       100g sugar
       1 tsp vanilla essence

then add 1 tsp of ammonia (available at the supermarket).

Divide the mixture between 4 x 2litre milkbottles (or similar), with windows cut as per picture.


Tie the bottles into your fruit trees, using a short tie so they don't blow about and spill.

The lure will last about  month, but may need straining every few days.
It reportedly takes two evenings for the moths to find the traps.

This is what Guava moths look like...

Image from local matters.co.nz


and the damage they do...
Image from Kerikeri Garden Centre


We went to a Transition Towns Seed Swap in the weekend - Guava moths are ruining everyone's home fruit crops, so the lure recipe was really popular.
I kicked myself for not taking photos of the Seed Swap for you. There were about 20 people, everyone bringing along seedlings, cuttings, seeds and plants to share. It was our first one, and we came away loaded up with tarragon, basil, hydrangea, cherimoya, hellebores, tomatoes, tobacco (to kill chewing insects apparently), seeds of bean,cress and a weird courgette variety.

Yay! free plants


The host's garden, on a standard town section had 50 varieties of fruit trees and berries.
If you've never heard of Transition Towns, and international organization promoting positive grassroots community projects then here is a Wiki link .