Showing posts from October, 2011

shortbread & gardening

I've given up sewing. I got up early today and began more work on my yellow Colette crepe dress. Yesterday I had to resew both seams on the armhole facings but I managed to fix them. Today I discovered that the facings for the neck don't match the dress - they are out by about two centimetres. Given that this is only out of a sheet and as I'm less convinced that I love this pattern on me after all, is probably going to be only for wearing round home, I decided to pack it away. I will pick up sewing again sometime, as I have some things to make for birthdays and maybe even the C word, but no more sewing for me for a while.

I thought I'd get cracking on this cleaning the house lark, only I got as far as hanging the washing out and didn't come in for hours, except to eat. The washing line is a useful escape route to the garden. I cleaned up the chicken coop, changed their water, gave them many many snails and slugs which I collected as I gardened and even a pott…


My favourite sister in law and brother in law are visiting in just six days time. This is wonderful. There is that not so small glitch in between in which we have to magically transform the house into a place with space to put things. Like feet. "We" means what it usually means round here and so I am in avoidance. Instead, I emptied almost all of the mending & altering pile and sewed some more of the Colette crepe yellow dress. I came back from Auckland with some clothes which used to be my Mother in Law's and I'm slowly making them mine, whether by pairing them with different things to make them 'mine' or by adjusting them to fit better. I opened up the waist band on two skirts and resewed the elastic more tightly and fixed a couple of holes on the skirt which I like best. As for the Colette crepe, I am a bit sick of it hanging around. Much as I love dresses, I don't think I'll be sewing any more in the near future once this one is done.


Garden: I went outside with a torch and a small container last night and found three large snails at work on my vegetables in the punga raised bed. No doubt they are responsible for the annihilation of the beans.

Chooks: These ones have been unkeen on being caught after a session outside the poultry palace so I've hardly let them out at all. But tonight I trialled letting them out not long before dusk to see if it was much easier to return them to the palace. It was.

Kitchen: I tried the greek pumpkin spread for my ten new meals project. It was awful pumpkin and too much fennel. I am going to try it again with decent pumpkin, no fennel and maybe even some coriander in it. I made pizza from scratch tonight. I haven't done that for ages, certainly not since Dominos Pizza moved into Wetville. But as, most irritatingly, there are more days until payday than is ideal, I opted to make it at home. It was better than the bought stuff and did leave room to buy some wine.


The 99% and a personal biography of class

Some very interesting stories about the effects of rolling 99% of people together:
Megan's story on her blog Craft is the New Black. I loved reading her story and I totally endorse her call for all stories to be heard.

Megan cited her inspiration as this piece by Tiger Beatdown called The Percentages: A Biography of Class. It is brilliant. I loved every short and every long sentence in it. I may have to buy a new printer so I can print this out and stick on my wall. When she writes about middle class students seeing the working class as an idea, I was nodding furiously, right back at university remembering the way unions were exalted as the pure and wonderful way forward for working class men (tactics for making working class women invisible were widely practised and could be a post by itself). It didn't entirely square with my memories of watching the TV news in scared silence to find out if Dad would go back to work the next day or not. That's silence while Dad list…

Labour Day at Blackball

Yesterday I went up to Blackball for Labour Day celebrations. It was fantastic. I was completely humbled by the awesome job Denise had done on the care workers' exhibition. I was pleased that my small contribution of Brenda's story was there because I am so proud of what Brenda does for our community. But the story Denise had woven with her information on care throughout the last 100 years or so was both fascinating to me and clearly very engaging to the people who were there and who had been through earlier in the weekend.The very talented local artist Tony Manuel has made a beautiful carving for our building which you can see in the photo above.
The choir was fabulous as always.

I felt sad that I wasn't able to do more for this project as I enjoyed the afternoon talking with lots of wonderful people and admiring what has been achieved in recent years on this site. You can see the memorial wheel for the Pike River 29 behind the choir. At the same time, I have to…
We won the Rugby World Cup! I've got the kids into bed after a memorable 80 minutes watching the game I must have first seen when I could barely lift my head by myself.

I'm so pleased for so many people whom I love and who love rugby and love the All Blacks. I especially am pleased in memory of a woman who adored the All Blacks. I don't have a literal vision of an afterlife where my Mother in Law could watch from the heavens but I do have a sense of pleasure that her great desire for the ABs to win this world cup has been realised.

Other news seems to pale by comparison, but we did have a wonderful few days in Wellington, where the kids enjoyed riding on buses, the cable car, a rugby world cup simulation activity and Te Papa and I loved all that plus catching up with my friends whom we stayed with. The children were a bit fatigued and Fionn had asthma, so we took it easy and I even forswore the fabric shops because the kids were tired.

I've been gardening. I weeded r…

almost writing about privileged food movements and pastoral idylls

It's not quite Godzone, or the land of milk and honey, these days is it? Pike, the Christchurch earthquakes, Rena. Bryce Edwards has assembled a number of very interesting images commenting on the Rena crisis here.

I've been mostly focused on my own family, especially my children. Tomorrow we head away for a while, partly to visit my grandparents and partly to give the children some new experiences in parts of New Zealand we've not taken them before. We booked and paid for this trip before our sad and sudden trip to Auckland and I hope it lifts everyone's spirits.

I finished The Long Song by Andrea Levy. It was quite good, but lacked the magic of Small Island. Now I'm reading Jeanette Winterson's Lighthousekeeping. I've also started to listen to her South Bank lecture which is found on her website here.

I read today of something called Blog Action Day, which this year is to be held 16 October, which is also world food day. I've not enough to say to…

Petition to Facebook to remove pages promoting sexual violence

It was time to do more completion and less starting of new projects. I was sort of successful.

1. The ironing board is now functional. It looks like this:

There were indeed some plain blue and even plain beige covers in the shop. I did not care for them.

2. One shirt belonging to Favourite Handyman now fixed. Jackie at the Bernina shop advised me how and didn't charge me a cent for it. She is shopkeeper of my year.

3. Planted slenderette dwarf seedlings, celery seedlings and some polyanthus. Watered my basil and tomato pots.

4. Cooked loads of fried foods for dinner. I almost didn't provide dinner at all, because the garden was so much more interesting. Fried sausages, bacon, onions and mushrooms, plus I added butter to the steamed broccoli and asparagus. Only the carrot escaped the butter or oil treatment. It tasted beautiful.

Not quite done:
1. I began weeding the strawberry patch and bought a netting cloche to go over it and protect it from the birds. Probably ano…

Irises, cardies and love.

Never go into the kitchen before the garden when rain looms. Starvation takes a while to set in.

That's how I overcame the hurdle of the noisy tummies and sowed carrot, beetroot, pea and alyssum seeds outside and tomato and basil seeds inside today. I would normally have sown the tomato seed earlier but now has to be good enough. I am hopeful of a good growing season this summer. I came back from Auckland to huge and lovely-tasting broccoli. The heads were lots bigger than the supermarket ones (brag braggidy brag brag). Last years' broccoli was shameful and almost inedible. This year I grew it where a compost heap had been not long beforehand and also in a more sheltered spot. I also cut the irises which were prone in the garden due (I presume) to recent winds and put them in a vase in the dining room. Thanks to their prolific division over the last 2-3 years, I now have lots of iris bulbs, but they are still too spread out in the garden. Next year I want them in clum…

Attempt at being sensible in vain #301

Or maybe some higher number. It's true that I dare not keep stats.

Today I went to Mitre 10 to buy some coat hangers. I did this for three reasons: 1. I was given some new clothes up north and need hangers for them. 2. I hate shopping at The Warehouse. It gives me the wibblies. 3. Miter 10 is closer, so ethically favourable.

While I am at Mitre 10, I find replacement ironing board covers. As I have been meaning to make a new cover for our ironing board for about three years, and I accidentally cut the fabric of our current one not long ago, buying a new cover seems very sensible. After all, the laundry mountain at my place currently seems to be on growth hormones and there is a garden waiting for some more seeds, some weeding, some tender loving care.

Twenty-three dollars later, I get home, take it out of its packet and finally remember that we have an extra long ironing board. It doesn't fit and the wrapping is torn so no returns.

So now I have spent money and I am making…

A seismic shift

Ten days ago I got a phone call which has changed all of our four lives here at the Messiest House in Wetville. My sister in law couldn't say the words out loud and with a thumping heart I guessed. My Mother in Law died of a heart attack, cuddled in the arms of the man she married over 50 years ago. The man she loved and the man who adored her. We have spent the week since that phone call in Auckland, farewelling a much loved woman along with almost 200 other people in a small wooden church in the lovely leafy suburb they made home as they raised five children. All the 13 grandchildren were there, all the children, her siblings and squillions of other relatives and friends. The vicar of their church was a very good friend of my Mother in Law's and that made for a particularly lovely farewell service.

My Mother in Law loved to shop, but until I was asked to help go through her clothes and to pick out some things to take home for myself, I had no idea what a marathon evente…