Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sunsets, walks, flowers and general catch ups

The past few months have really whizzed by. Ma Fox. has had two major operations and these amongst work and other commitments mean that the weeks sometimes feel like days and the days like hours. So here is a big muddled up catch up from February to May. Gosh it feels like Easter was only a week or two ago.

Gorgeous Autumn Sunset
 This Autumn was mild and had some spectacular sunsets. It was lovely to watch the world settle in for the evening in a colourful manner. The living room window is perfectly placed to view the show.

Some crafting for the home
 A few wee home projects to make the place feel like home. Crafting home decor on a budget.

Take two for the hanging basket

New flowers to spruce up front entrance
 New flowers.  A succulent for the hanging basket is faring much better than it's predecessor. Also using plastic liner before putting in soil is helping so much with water retention.  Happy flowers = Happy me

Oh so that's why the flowers are getting crazy.... remorse whatsoever. Surely her fresh water bowl would be nicer?
 We decided to strip the kitchen drawers and cupboards before using Danish Oil. Naively we thought this would only take a couple weekends. How wrong could we be. We toiled away for a couple of weekends and some evenings. Then I went to Dunedin for three weeks for Ma Fox's operation leaving Mr. Fox to finish up. He worked away sanding, stripping, sanding again. Then oiling them all and putting them back in the kitchen. That man is a legend. Not only did he work his magic in the kitchen but he weed whacked the backyard into submission. Can't wait to marry that dude. He is awesome. Oh and the kitchen looks so much better.
Stripping back the kitchen

Morning sunrise
 One sunny morning we took a short walk around Te Atatu. It was a gorgeous day. Lovely views..shame about the motorway noise. Would love to come back in the Summer. It was good to get out and explore a little more of West Auckland.
Te Atatu walk; looking out to city and harbour bridge

Busy birdies

Can you spot the two skinks hiding?!
 Mr. Fox hung this shelf that I had stripped back and stained. Originally it was very dark brown. Now it is lighter and brighter; the perfect spot to keep a few sewing supplies.

The music scene has been very quiet for us this year. We miss it dreadfully but it was one of the major finacial drains on our funds.  Lol if we ever want to get away on our much talked about overseas trip then we have to save. We did get to Dinosaur Jr and Bloc Party earlier in the year which were both fantastic. At the end of the year seven of us are heading to Fleetwood Mac....oh my gosh!!! So can't wait.  Hmmn I am sure there are many important things I have missed recording here but I need some lunch. x

Other corners of the garden

A new bird table (that's really a shelf!) is creating much joy for us.  Both my maternal Nana and Mum have bird tables that they can see from their kitchen window.  Now that I have a kitchen of my own I wanted to continue the tradition. So when a shelf didn't seem to fit anywhere in the house...the fence outside the kitchen seemed to be the perfect place to hang this birdie snack station. It only took a few days for the birds to realise it was there and now everyday lots of birds come to fill their hungry tummies.

Bird shelf!

We feed them soaked rolled oats and apples. It attracts mostly wax eyes and sparrows but also blackbirds, chaffinches and myna birds. No sugar water as I didn't want to encourage the territorial Tui birds who although natives and very lovely, chase off the smaller birds.  With the weather so cold I am sure many birds are struggling to find enough food. They are very eager to dig in whenever we replenish the supplies. Right now an apple and a bowl full of soaked oats lasts just one day.

Wax eye and sparrow catching up on the morning gossip

The Garden....

Although not blogged about the garden hasn't been left neglected over the past few months. My parents came up for a weekend which was total bliss for me. We got to show them our first wee home and tell them all our plans for it. It was more than lovely to have them here and show them a little hospitality.

A wee mantis that did not appreciate having dirt all over..hehe look at that tongue!

Pa. Fox and Mr. Fox worked on turning some pallets into gardens over the weekend.  While Ma. Fox and I made the most of being together and chatted up a storm.  The boys did an amazing job. Before we knew it the gardens were assembled and in need of filling up.  A couple of trips to the garden store later and two winter gardens were finished.

Dad and I having fun in the garden

A few months later we are reaping the rewards and eating spring onions, spinach, lettuce and silver beet. There are some cauliflower heads starting too.  It is nice to look out the window and see the gardens, even on a wet and windy winter day.  And more than that it is a reminder of that lovely weekend my parents came to stay.

All done!

Get growin babies
The garden looks so different now. I will have to get some more photos soon but it is far to cold and wet to venture outside today. x

And so we brewed...

Months ago I posted about getting a brewing kit.   Mr Fox spent some hours researching brewing and decided upon making cider for the first project.  It was a simple recipe using store brought apple juice, yeast and I think a bit of sugar?

Bottles cleaned and sterilised.

The bottles and other equipment were all thoroughly cleaned and sterilised.  This seem to take a long time. Mr. Fox then mixed everything all in a great big stainless steel pot (which is ever so handy when I make laundry liquid!) and syphoned it into the glass demijohn.  It all looked like fun to me but the kitchen is so small I couldn't get involved in the action.

Brewing in progress

After about a week of fermenting in the spare room we decanted the cider into bottles and popped them in the fridge.  For a total of $12 we got 24 litres of cider.  It was mighty strong and barely palatable but with a bit of lemonade it can make for a cheap tiddly night.  Our Samoan neighbours have been loving a few bottles....apparently it tastes like one of their traditional brews back home!  They drink it straight.

My job was putting on the lids

We are going to try making beer next time.  I don't drink beer but I am looking forward to seeing the brewing process.  I can't wait to try cider again.  We think we brewed it too long and that may be why it is so dry.  Not enough sugar and a tad too much alcohol content.

The finished product