Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye, Bye, Boris

Today was Boris's last day with us and I thought I would try to capture a few pictures before departure.

As always, he was a bit camera shy, but I did manage to get a couple of shots with his eyes open even though the morning sun was against me.

A little later I noticed he was taking a nap on the cane chair that was one of his favourite spots and seemed a fitting last shot to take of him.

The buyer had sent a cage for him and I was successful in placing him in it so my sister and I could transport him to the airport for a 40 minute flight to his new home.

He was not happy about the car trip one little bit but imagine my surprise when I turned in the car to see that he had forced the cage door open and was making a bid for freedom.

Oddly enough Bella had done something similar before she left us, forcing a bar in the cage to manage an escape before being recaptured for departure.

We were able to pull over in the car and get Boris back in the cage and I held the cage with him in it while we returned home to reinforce the door before embarking for the airport once more.

This time we were successful and after a bit of paperwork he was on his way. Last reports he was tentatively surveying his new surroundings.

Have a long and happy life, Boris, we wish you well.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Boris and Bella

When we decided to combine households, combining cats did not seem to fit. Two cats in a house is good but four - just a tad too many, I think.

So, after postponing the hour, Bella and Boris were advertised on Trade Me (our New Zealand brand of eBay) and I had well expected Boris to be first to go.

In fact, he did sell first, but the buyer has asked me to hold him until the end of the month, when he will be air freighted to Wellington for a new life.

My sister spoke to the people at our local vet clinic and told them we had a cat looking for a new home and amazingly, via word of mouth, an expression of interest was made for Bella and she actually went before Boris.

For one normally so shy and retreating I was amazed at how readily she took to her new cage and seemed really interested in what was ahead for her in her new life.

She has a new home, backing on to a reserve which I feel will suit her fine. Her new owner lives on her own and once Bella has adjusted to her new life style will probably think she is in cat heaven.

Today's image is the last photo I took of Bella before she left us.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in our New Home

When the children have grown up and flown the coup, the need for presents and Christmas Trees and decorations is not quite the same, but family connections are the constant, for me, anyway.

With three sons in Sydney and one in Dallas, there was not going to be a get together with them this year, but, instead, our brother Norman was with us and it is many a year since we have shared a Christmas with him.

This was our first Christmas in our new home and so we shared a lovely, relaxed day. Just five of us with some visitors who came briefly for a midday drink.

Sister Linda cooked up in great style with what has become something of a tradition in our branch of the family, roast turkey with all the trimmings followed by lovely trifle, strawberries and cream.

The table was set in classic style and with a lovely outlook whilst we ate, what more could we ask for.

There is a small established rose garden on our new property and Linda was able to pick two beautiful apricot roses at the point of perfection. They had a delightful heady scent and harmonised just nicely with the table setting.

Friday, December 25, 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas

when my sister, brother and I went for a walk up our street.

On the way we observed this blow up nativity scene which took me on a trip down memory lane to Dallas, Texas some four years ago.

I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas and their street had similar adornments in most of the front yards.

For me it was something totally new and I had decided that this was something that happened only in America. Not so! Someone in our own street, in our own town, in New Zealand obviously likes to do the same thing.

Along with the sentiment of the scene, Merry Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another of Life's Little Surprises

Just recently our garden presented us with another lovely surprise.

We have had a succulent growing in a pot which looks like a miniature of a cactus you might find in the desert in the northern hemisphere.

I don't recall it ever having flowers but, suddenly, this year the circumstances must be just right for it to do so.

The blooms are majestically red in colour and with the use of my brother's new camera I thought the images I took were particularly good.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're Moving House

We needed to get an en suite done for my Mother before we could entertain moving to our new home.

As I write, the bathroom alterations are in progress. We are assured they will be finished for Friday and so, crazy as it may seem, we are moving on Friday.

It will be so good to pool our resources and put our energies into getting our new home in order as well as the garden area.

My image of the day is that of sweet peas. This is only the second season I have grown them and I have to say I love the mix of colours as well as the heady perfume they surrender when in full bloom.

I think we can find lots of space for sweet peas to be included in our new garden too.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gazanias, Gazanias and more Gazanias

Gazanias are another plant which I did not think much of at first but which have taken me by surprise.

The ones pictured today came with us to our current home in a copper pot from my Mother's place.

I am not sure how old the plant was when we came but this is its third summer here and the blooms this year are the best yet, with masses of buds just waiting to pop open.

I have bought gazanias in hanging baskets and then transplanted them into other parts of the garden during dormancy. The rewards have been more than I could have asked for.

One plant in particular did not have any flowers at all when I transplanted it and I was convinced it would never come to any good but yesterday I was in the garden and there were at least six of the loveliest, brightest gazania flowers you could hope to see. So nice to have such pleasant surprises right here on our own door step.

These plants are such good value. The ones we have start to flower in the spring and will continue, most probably into autumn. A brief respite for winter and they will be back, as bright and cheerful as ever.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Humble Cornflower

Last year was the first time I planted cornflowers.

I was probably influenced by my sister who had embarked on creating her own wildflower garden and cornflowers were an integral part of the whole scene.

I had not given much thought to this plant becoming part of my garden but I decided, because they are some of the taller annuals that I would use them as a backdrop to other plants and when they did flower I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only do they provide a good backdrop they flower prolifically over a long period and so I have come to believe they are really good value in the garden.

The other thing I hadn't appreciated about them was the lovely range of colours, soft pink, bright pink, lavender, deep purple and last but not least the true cornflower blue.

I try to keep up with removing the dead heads and am amazed at the number of buds that continue to appear.

Being cornflowers they volunteered to come back in the same spot as they had been last year, so this year I now have them in two different parts of the garden.

The new plants for this year are near the front door. They have taken very well and the flowers are in abundance.

If we were going to continue to live here maybe cornflowers would eventually take over the whole garden but with plans to move on I guess we will never know.

If you look really closely you can see a bee on the cornflower in the bottom right hand corner.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Accidental Gardener?

I am never quite sure how to describe my gardening abilities but sometimes the things I like best in the garden happen more or less by accident.

Last year was the first time I planted poppies and I just loved them.

I had to give them another go this year but was not at all confident that I would do as well a second time around.

More by good luck than good management, I decided to plant some dwarf echium in amongst them and what a pleasant surprise, when just this last week I noticed these lovely lavender shaded flowers appearing just below the poppy flowers - magic. I had no idea what a lovely combination they would make - just a bit of accidental gardening, I think.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Sister Said,

that I should have yellow flowers at the door to welcome prospective purchasers to our home.

I found these Osteospermum at one our of local plant shops. Lovely daisy like flowers in the palest shades of yellow. Very warm and inviting.

Fortunately the transaction for buying them was pretty well stress free. On two previous occasions I have bought this plant at other stores and when I got to the checkout they had great difficulty in being able to process the transaction. Something about the name of the plant that doesn't seem to sit well with having it in the database for the checkout. Glad it did not happen this time or I may have given up on ever buying this plant again.

In spite of its warm and inviting flowers, I did not get any visitors for open home today. Hope the flowers still look just as good for next week.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The View From Home Is Better

My sister, Linda, and I had the opportunity this week to go and spend the night at The Chateau, courtesy of my son, David, and his wife, Lisa.

It had been a Christmas gift to Linda and her husband but he was not well enough to go so I got to go in his place.

The Chateau is a lovely old hotel, built in the 1920's during the Great Depression to provide employment for some in difficult times. Built along the lines of the Art Deco era, the decor and ambiance is just lovely.

Our room was well appointed and we dined in the Ruapehu Room. The food was excellent, our surroundings very peaceful and throughout the evening there was very pleasant piano music to listen to.

The Chateau is situated in the Tongariro National Park at the base of the three mountains grouped there, Ruapehu, Ngaurahoe and Tongariro.

Normally the views are spectacular but for all of our visit was overcast and so we did not get to see much of them, but never mind - we knew that we could see the mountains so easily from afar when we got back home.

If you ever happen to be in this part of the world it is well worth a visit to The Chateau, even if it is just to sit in the lounge, look out the windows at the view and have some tea or coffee - the peace and tranquility will do your heart good.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The weather is miserable here today. In fact we have had several days of inclement weather and it is not over yet. However, the month of November was particularly dry so the rain is welcome for both the gardens and lawns.

To brighten my day I have been looking at photos I took in our new garden.

The foxglove is out in abundance at the moment and is looking very pretty and bright amongst the green foliage.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The reason for our weekend at our new home.

My nephew, Graeme, had entered the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

This challenge has been going since 1977 and now attracts over 11,000 participants from all parts of New Zealand and from overseas as well.

It was the first time for Graeme and he got such a buzz out of the whole event that he is keen to do it all over again next year.

The route around Lake Taupo took approximately 7 hours to complete and Graeme said it was a tremendous feeling to come back into the Taupo township and pass over the finish line.

By going to our new home for the weekend we were able to give Graeme and his family the use of our unit which worked out well for all concerned.