Thursday 30 July 2020

Breakfast Muesli

Everyone has their preferred food to have for breakfast, and one of mine is homemade muesli.  I have tried out various recipes over the years, recording each of them in my recipe book, and this morning I made up my current favourite.

I call it simply Breakfast Muesli and it involves placing into a large bowl 4 cups rolled oat flakes, ½ cup shredded desiccated coconut, 3 tablespoons each of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and ½ cup of dried cranberries(or other dried fruit).

Mix it all together with a large spoon and then store in an airtight container.

I use about ½ cup per serving, adding milk, yoghurt, fresh fruit etc. (basically, whatever you fancy – I often just pour hot water over mine and add a sliced kiwifruit).  If I intend to have a piece of toast after my cereal, then I only use ¼ cup.


Our weather is changeable today.  It began with a mostly blue sky but now, after lunch, the clouds are moving in from the west and the day has become decidedly duller.

Hope everyone is having a good day J


Tuesday 28 July 2020

Town Day

Tuesday is generally the day for me to buy groceries and do any shopping that needs to be done.  Today I went in search of a garden kneeler but was unable to find one that didn’t feel like it would tip over if I used it to help me get up off the ground.  I think I will be donating the ground-level garden-beds to son to care for, as I don’t fancy crawling over the lawn to find something to pull myself up with!


There seemed to be an inordinate amount of traffic on the road, the sort of volume that used to occur around Christmas or on a Friday prior to a long weekend.  So it was no surprise to come upon a recent accident, where a driver had obviously tried his luck when coming out of a side street and had ended up collecting another car.


I went to a new (to me) supermarket this time, intrigued to see what they stocked as it can vary widely between stores, even between those in the same group.

This one seemed to stock a lot of gourmet type foods, so perhaps their customer base is more up-market than the normal stores I visit!


The weather now is so different to what we had yesterday.  Today is overcast and it has tried to rain a couple of times.

We gave Mayo the Rat a proper burial last night, after grand-daughter returned from school.  She picked some white flowers to place on his grave (in the lawn) as he was a white rat.  Very appropriate, I thought.


No post tomorrow as I have a distance to drive to attend a funeral – and I think I have written enough depressing stuff the last few days anyway.

Take care,

Margaret J

Monday 27 July 2020

Monday Sunshine

Sometimes it is hard to look for positives, especially when this past week seems to have been tinged with sadness.

First I remembered the passing of my husband two years ago, then an extended family member died that same evening.  His funeral will be this coming Wednesday.

Yesterday I remembered the passing of my mother ten years ago, and then in the evening son’s pet white rat, Mayo, died suddenly.

Dying is part of living, but that doesn’t make handling it any easier.  And, as I said in a post a couple of days ago, our pets become part of our family and so we grieve for them almost as much.

With so much sadness around us, it has been comforting today to welcome a calm sunny beautiful winter’s day.  The house has been well aired, there is washing drying on the line, and an Apple Crumble has been made for dessert tonight.

I have been unpacking a few more storage boxes and found all the framed family photos that used to be dotted all around the house.  Now most of them are sitting on top of my bedroom drawers and the room feels a little cluttered – time for some selective choosing so only the best are on display.

My mother loved to paint, so I will end this post with one of her paintings as a sort of memorial to her.

Keep smiling J


Sunday 26 July 2020

Checking On My Garden

We woke to thick fog this morning but it had cleared by lunchtime, although it remained cloudy with sun peeping through at odd times.

I thought it was about time that I checked on my little garden and was quite pleasantly surprised.

The peas have finally begun to flower.

There were bees buzzing around the rosemary, tatty though the plant is.

The mizuna (similar to lettuce) I planted a few months ago has gone to flower, but the bees are loving it so it can remain in the garden a bit longer.

Probably my biggest surprise was this cabbage.  It is about the size of a baseball and is a second-cropper.  The first head was harvested about six or more weeks ago but I left the stump behind to see if it would produce more, and this is the result.

My daughter sent me a photo of the Grand Canyon, where she has just spent a few days camping.  I thought it was so atmospherically beautiful that I wanted to share it.

I hope everyone is having a great day J


Saturday 25 July 2020

Pets In The Family

Pets are wonderful to have around the home.  They give companionship, teach children responsibility, make us laugh with their antics, and intrigue us with their different personalities.
We currently have three cats and two rats and they bring a lot of joy into our lives.

Millie likes to curl up here all night - and sometimes all day as well

Mittens and Teenie prefer a warm fluffy blanket on the bed

Mayo and Pepper are son's two rats

The Boys are very gregarious - here they are sharing a drink of water

Over the years we have had different pets – calves, budgies, lambs, puppies – but never a horse.  We have a field behind the house that used to have cattle grazing there, but these have now been replaced with pet horses.

This horse has a beard that would rival any billy goat

What pets do you have in your family?
Margaret J

Linking up with Eileen's lovely page, Saturday's Critters

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Grief Is A Funny Thing

Grief is a funny thing.  Just when you think you have got it under control, it rears up to remind you that pain and hurt are sitting just beneath the surface.

Nobody wants to talk about grief, about the pain of losing someone you love deeply.  It is like, ignore it and they will get over it.  Society expects us to have an initial period of grief and then we should “pick ourselves up” and carry on like normal.

Only life is no longer normal.

It is two years now since I lost my husband of forty-five years.  In the year that followed his death I lost my home, my income dropped dramatically, and I lived at six different addresses as I wandered rather aimlessly around our beautiful country.

I still struggle at times.  Grief can take one unawares – a word someone says, a photo seen, a memory remembered, anything can trigger it off.

Some say time heals, others tell me they still miss their loved one years and years later.  I am learning that it is okay to feel sad sometimes, to accept these emotions as normal and allow myself to feel my way through them.

We all lose people that we love – it is part of life, part of living.  We never forget.  Instead, we learn how to live with our pain as we learn how to live a new different kind of life. 

It is not an easy journey, and, for me at least, obviously not a rapid one. 

I am more than glad that I have so many happy memories of our time together.  And so happy that I have such wonderful loving children and family around me.

Life goes on. 


Tuesday 21 July 2020

Supermarket Shopping

It has been very much a typical wet winter’s day here.  We started off with grey lowering clouds that turned into rain around lunchtime and a torrential downpour about an hour later.

With one eye on the weather forecast, I went our early to do my supermarket shopping.  I am glad I went when I did.

One advantage of city living is that there are several different shopping centres within easy reach of home.  I visit around five different supermarkets to buy groceries, usually choosing a different one each week.  It keeps things interesting!

Most supermarkets seem to have similar layouts – you enter through the fruit and vegetable department before progressing to the meat and fish department.

Only then are you allowed to escape into the heart of the shop to hunt for all those glorious bargains of cans and packets that call themselves food.  (Sorry, I am being a bit sarcastic here)

One of the last aisles will be full of crates of bread.  I like a thickly sliced MacKenzie Country mixed grain loaf, but they can be difficult to find.

Finally, on the far wall of the supermarket, can be found all the dairy produce.  I always find it a clever stroke of marketing genius that when you enter such a place for a solitary bottle of milk, you must weave your way across the whole store before you find it.

I remember my mother placing her weekly grocery order with the small country store several miles from us, and they would then deliver it to the house.  She soon became a fan of the self-help supermarkets when they appeared, and would load our car up with bread once a month and take it home for the freezer (we had a great big chest freezer with very thick walls and a lock on the handle).

I shopped at supermarkets, either weekly or monthly, all my married life and I still do.  They are convenient, but I also like the greater choice they provide and their (usually) cheaper prices.

It is now almost 5pm and the day is drawing in.  We have lit the fire and pulled the curtains, so it is time to feed the cats and think about dinner – and maybe, just maybe, a little tipple to warm up with J


Monday 20 July 2020

Family History : Publication

This is the last of the series I have been writing about what I do with the information I have found while researching the histories of the families of my husband and myself.

The ultimate result of genealogical research is to produce a coherent story about where you have come from – who your ancestors were, where they lived, what they did, the families they had.

I believe most computer programmes allow you to print off such details, but I actually prefer my own system (detailed in this series).

In the year 2000 I printed off the information I currently had and gave bound copies to various members of the extended family (I printed it at home from the computer, and used covers from a stationers to bind them).

I have so much more information now!  Mistakes have been corrected, new families have been added, more stories have been uncovered.  I feel it is time to print out the information I now have, only this time I intend to only give my immediate family a copy (unless others ask – and they can easily receive a computerized copy).

It has been suggested to me that I take my work to the University and see about getting it professionally bound.  I may still do that.

In the mean time I will print a copy here at home and store the pages inside a ring-binder folder.  Each page can be put inside one of those archival envelope thingies, and I can also store birth certificates etc. the same way, keeping each family’s information together.

Genealogy research never ends.  It is like an eternal treasure hunt and there is always something else to find.

I hope you have enjoyed this series – or skipped them completely if genealogy leaves you cold.  I once had a person observe to me that it was a study of “a lot of dead people” – couldn’t argue with that one!

Cheers J



Oh, that last photo – that is me on the left, with the big bow in my hair J

PART ONE of this series, which also lists the other posts, can be found HERE

Sunday 19 July 2020

Me And Some Birds

Thank-you so much to everyone for their comments on my Headache post.  Unfortunately it developed into a migraine but this afternoon I am (thankfully!) coming out the other side.  I still feel rather fragile and have difficulty concentrating (a bit like having concussion), but am on the mend.

I said I would post a few more bird photos from Otorohanga Kiwi House, and I am doing that now as they were all ready to go.

 * * * * * * *

There were no kiwis on display when I visited, but I did manage to see some other birds.

This Grey Teal (Anas gracilis) (Maori name tete moroiti) is a small nomadic dabbling duck that was self-introduced from Australia.

The Blue Ducks (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) (Maori name whio) are now a “nationally vulnerable” species with a declining population.  They prefer clear fast-flowing rivers as a habitat, but their ground-built nests are very vulnerable to mammalian predators (especially stoats and opossums).

The Morepork (Ninox novaeseelandiae) (Maori name ruru) is New Zealand’s most common owl.  It can be found in both native and plantation forests and will dwell in city areas with a lot of trees.  A night hunter, it takes its name from its distinctive call, which sounds like “more-pork.”

New Zealand Falcons (Falco novaeseelandiae) (Maori name karearea) are often confused with Australasian harrier hawks, but falcons are smaller, fly faster, and seldom eat carrion.  Captive breeding and release programmes are slowly having an effect, and once endangered populations are now increasing.

Have a happy weekend J


Friday 17 July 2020


I really hate having a headache.  My head pounds, my eyes hurt, I cannot think straight, and I seem to be incapable of doing anything at all.

I woke this morning with a real doozie and it has totally wiped me out for the day.  I managed to read some blogs, watched a bit of TV, dozed in front of the fire (that son kindly lit to keep me cozy) and have swallowed as many painkillers as I am allowed.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be fine again!

Hugz to everyone J


Thursday 16 July 2020

Summer Memories

Our ears always popped when we drove over the Kaimai Ranges, a low mountain range that separates the Waikato region from the Bay of Plenty, and Mother would give us Minties (a chewy sweet) to stop us complaining about our discomfort.

Hidden away, near the top of the Range, can be found the Ngamuwahine Reserve.

It is accessed by a narrow winding dry dusty gravel road that leads from the main highway into the bush.

Some people like to freedom camp here.

We visited for a quiet picnic lunch on a hot summer’s day.

The river water was cool and refreshing, burbling on its way over the rocks and forming deep pools in the shadows beneath the fern covered banks.

Yesterday we had rain all day (I disappeared into a book – Pawn Of Prophecy by David Eddings) and today the weather is not much better.  That is what makes it so pleasant to remember summer in the middle of winter J

LINKED TO My Corner of the World

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Midwinter Kitchen Garden

Winter can be a dreary time, but there is always something to do in a garden!  We are fortunate here in that our winters are comparatively mild and we can garden all year round.

I thought it would be interesting to see what was happening in the Kitchen Garden at the Hamilton Gardens complex, so I went to have a look.

One section of the garden has had its green-manure crop cut and left to start decomposing and thus fertilizing the soil.  I imagine it will be dug in over the next few weeks.

Another section had young seedlings planted out in it – onions, brassicas and broad beans.  Celery is growing at the back of the bed.

There was Florence fennel, radishes, carrots and beetroot being harvested.  None of this produce is sold or given to the public.  Instead, most of it goes to the local Wintec (Waikato Polytechnic Institute) restaurant where trainee chefs practice their art.  Council staff are responsible for the care of the Gardens but Wintec horticulture students often help out, especially in the Kitchen Garden.

The rhubarb was beginning to go to seed.

The harvest of Globe Artichokes is almost finished.

The grape vines have been pruned.  They are attached to the walls on the sunniest side of the Kitchen Garden.

Espalier fruit trees clothe another wall, and the back shaded wall has a hedge of feijoas along it.  The other side wall is home to citrus and kiwifruit.

On one side of the Kitchen Garden there is a Herb Garden, and on the far side is a Sustainable Back Yard (to give ideas to what can be done in your own garden).  Together, these three gardens cover quite a large area and there is always something interesting to see.

It was a nice little jaunt outside, dodging showers and enjoying the weak winter sun.  Quite a few people had the same idea, but it was not crowded at all.

Stay safe and keep smiling J