Saturday 30 July 2022

A Cat In The Garden


Mittens is my constant companion these days.  She loves to come and sit in the garden with me when I go there to soak up some of our winter sunshine.

I have an appointment up at the hospital next week, so hopefully they can figure out what is wrong with me.  It is not much fun not being able to do anything – I feel like I’ve become a living vegetable!

Hugz to all my friends,

Margaret 😊


Tuesday 19 July 2022

Lake Karapiro


First, let me apologise for having been absent from Blogland for so long.  I’ve just not felt up to visiting here, or doing much else for that matter.

It was reasonably sunny a few days ago, so Younger Son popped me in the car and took me for a drive out into the countryside.

We stopped at the lookout over Lake Karapiro, formed when the Waikato River was dammed here in 1948 to build a hydro-electric power station.

Today, this Lake is famous for the rowing facilities it provides.

Because of the recent rains, dams along the Waikato River are reaching capacity and water has to be released down-river.  Karapiro only had one spillway operating when we visited, but at times lately they have been operating all four of them.

There is a road over the dam.  It is only one vehicle wide and has traffic lights to control the flow of small vehicles.  Larger vehicles are prohibited.

Along the way home we passed this lovely old church at Kaipaki.  It was built in 1871 and used originally by Methodists and Presbyterians.

In 1901 a traction engine was used to tow it to its present site, and these days it is used as an interdenominational worship centre and wedding venue.

I hope you are all keeping well, and I look forward to being able to join up here again soon.

Margaret 😊


Tuesday 12 July 2022

A Herb Garden For Me


It is raining heavily here this morning and the dark night has lingered far longer than it ought.  But, then, it is mid-winter so I will not complain.

Before this current round of wet weather arrived, son helped me to set up my little herb garden.  We bought plain storage cube boxes and he has drilled holes in the bottom before filling them with potting mix.

The cubes are sitting atop what will become another storage place for firewood.  The herbs should look good when looking out the window here.

From left to right, I have so far planted pineapple sage, upright rosemary, English lavender, garden mint, and common thyme at the far right. 

One of the two empty boxes is designated for some salad burnet, but I am not sure yet of the other one.  I am thinking maybe sweet violets or lemon balm.

Mittens is quite unimpressed by it all.

May your day be a happy one 😊



Sunday 10 July 2022

Beer, Pizza, Rugby, and Garlic


The boys in the family got together last night to enjoy a beer and pizza together (pizza so I never had to cook for them), before settling down to watch the Irish rugby team thrash the All Blacks.

It was not the result they were looking for and all the yelling sent both cats fleeing outside for most of the game. 

For the first time in rugby history, Ireland beat the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.  My friend Susan (originally from Ireland) will be thrilled!

Out in the garden, I have two tiny green shoots of garlic peeping through the earth.

Joy is watching your garlic growing 😊



Friday 8 July 2022

Our Daily Bread


We have had steady constant rain all day today, with grey overcast skies and a little wind.  A typical winter storm, in fact.  But it isn’t that cold, and the house smells of fresh bread, thick vegetable soup, and cottage pie ready to go in the oven.

Believing that I am ultimately responsible for my own health, I have begun looking more closely at my lifestyle.

Perhaps I have been a little smug – over the years I have had two separate nutritionists examine my dietary intake and tell me I was doing great.  But, obviously, it wasn’t that great as I am now suffering a heart murmur.

I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I do eat some and I want it to the best I can get.  During World War II, English food rations included the National Loaf which contained 85% wholemeal.  This was meant to provide the optimum healthy loaf for consumers.

So, today, I made my own Wholemeal Loaf in the breadmaker.  It has only just finished cooking, but I am pleased with how it looks and it smells so delicious! 

I won’t be able to cut into it until it cools down, but I’m sure it will go well with the thick pottage-style vegetable soup bubbling away on the stove 😊



BREAD RECIPE (86% wholemeal)

Into the breadmaker pan place, in order, 3 tsp Surebake yeast (i.e., yeast plus improvers), 300g of 100% wholemeal flour, 50g high-grade white flour (a strong flour suitable for making bread), 1 tsp (5g) salt, 1 Tbsp (15g) instant milk powder, 1 Tbsp molasses, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and 280 ml cold tap water.  Select the Wholemeal Cycle and wait 5 hours for the magic to happen.

A word of warning though.  Not all breadmakers are alike (mine is a Panasonic SD-2501 model) and you may need to adjust the recipe to suit your machine.


Wednesday 6 July 2022

Not So Healthy


It has been rather a strange day today, and I am feeling exhausted. 

Lately I have been having a lot of shortness-of-breath issues whenever I do anything (I soon recover when I sit down), so I went along to the doctor this morning for a check-up.

After several conversations, blood pressure readings, stethoscope listenings, blood tests, and an ECG, it looks like I may have angina.  The doctor has referred me to the cardiac specialists at our local hospital and said, until we know exactly what is happening, that he wants me to avoid stress, not drive anywhere, and not to go out unless I have someone with me.

Looks like I am now on holiday at home!

It rained all day yesterday but today has been cloudy with some sunshine.  I sat in the garden for a while and admired the beautiful silverbeet.  It is growing so well at the moment.

Until next time,

Margaret 😊


Monday 4 July 2022

Camarosa Strawberries


I recently made a very productive visit to a Mitre 10 garden centre and came home with several seedlings and some seed packets for my new garden.

One of my purchases was five Camarosa strawberry plants.  I chose this variety because it is meant to give a long fruiting season (light in early summer, then another heavier crop in mid-summer), is a vigorous grower, has good flavoured large fruit, and displays extra resistance to wet weather.

I have also planted chives, garlic chives, dill, calendula, Red Oak lettuce, and celery, as well as sowing some snow peas and perennial spring onions (also known as Welsh onions, or bunching onions).

Still to be planted are thyme, rosemary, and pineapple sage.  I have another area for them that is not yet finished.  My plan is to establish a small herb garden in some cube containers.

Son has given me some mesh to cover the trough-beds with, to hopefully give some protection from both birds and cats.

Last night was spent very pleasantly, enjoying good company and a delicious dinner with a brother, his wife, and a visiting relation.

The older I grow the more important family becomes to me, and so I love these times of being able to get together.

Margaret 😊


Sunday 3 July 2022

Go The All Blacks


Sorry to all you Irish rugby fans out there, but we were quite happy to watch the All Blacks win their game last night.

At one time there was so much yelling and jumping up and down in our seats, that poor Millie Cat fled outside.  Not Mittens, though.  She slept through all the excitement, snuggled into a fluffy blanket on my bed.

We stayed up and watched the England vs Australia rugby match as well.  There seemed to be a lot more ‘scrapping’ in this game, which was a shame to see as it always drags the game down.

Australia came through in the end, but it was a close thing for most of the game.

We have thick fog again this morning – neighbours, other than the ones immediately beside us, have almost disappeared under the heavy white blanket.

It is meant to turn into rain later in the morning, but the forecast is for a sunny afternoon.  We shall see.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, stay safe and enjoy yourself.

Margaret 😊


Friday 1 July 2022

Winter in Hamilton NZ


On average, July is the coldest and wettest month of the year here in Hamilton – it is our main month of winter.

New Zealand is broadly classed as having a Maritime Climate in a Temperate Zone.  The maritime part is because our long skinny country sits between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, and we are Temperate because we are situated just below the Tropic of Capricorn.

In reality, our weather ranges from near sub-tropical in the far north to near sub-Antarctic in the far south.  It means almost anything can be grown in New Zealand.

Hamilton is an inland city, no more than an hour from the coast, and situated in a large relatively open area of country.  It generally experiences high humidity, warm summers, cool wet winters, and occasional frosts and very rare light snowfalls.

We are surrounded by peat swamps, have a lake in the middle of the city, and the Waikato River flows through our heart.  All that moisture combines together and gives us about 92 nights of thick fog each year, crowning us with the title of Foggiest City in New Zealand.  Sometimes the fog will last all day, or roll back mid-afternoon only to return again by the evening.

An average July will bring Hamilton around 120mm (about 5 inches) of rain, give us 90% humidity, a fair amount of strong wind and some heavy frosts.   Being more sheltered, we don’t receive the gales that coastal areas do – giving us another national title: City with the lowest average wind speed. 

However, the lack of gale-force winds doesn’t stop the odd tornado coming through – not as severe as other places around the world, but we do carry the dubious title of being home to the most severe tornadoes in all of Australasia (that was something I didn’t know before!).

The last time we had any appreciable amount of snow here in Hamilton (not in the mountains or further south) was in 2014.  It caused a lot of excitement and put pressure on our electricity consumption, but not much else.

Hamilton’s average high temperature in July is about 14 degrees Celsius (57 deg.F), with a low of around 4 degrees Celsius (39 deg.F).  Sunshine, which occasionally peeks through between grey dreary days, averages 4 hours a day.

Thunderstorms can occur at any time of the year, and give Hamilton yet another title: the most thundery city in New Zealand (there are other areas that experience more, this is just cities).

We don’t call our wet winter the Rainy Season as we receive rain all year round – it is just a bit more frequent and a lot colder at this time of year.

Today, the first day of July, the day dawned cloudy with a red sunrise.  Now, this afternoon, there is a stiff wind blowing, lots of clouds in the sky, and occasional bursts of sunshine.  There is a small chance of rain tonight, but tomorrow is meant to be much the same as today.

Hope your day is a good one 😊




Broadgreen House is situated in Stoke, near Nelson.  It was built of cob (a mix of straw, sandy soil and small gravel) in 1855, and is now used as a museum to showcase family life in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.    The site is also home to the Samuels Rose Garden.