Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Haircut for Jarvis!

It had to happen, Jarvis couldn't actually see out from behind his gorgeous long hair, so it had to have a trim.

He looks like a little boy! Not a little baby boy, but a proper little boy...and he's 10 months old today. Where on earth has the time gone?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This was posted on facebook this morning, I had to put it on here to spread the love!! A really beautiful clip from a 1970's episode of Sesame Street, Buffy explaining breastfeeding to Big Bird. If stuff like this was still on kids tv, maybe breastfeeding wouldn't be such an alien thing to so many women. Maybe it wouldn't be so tough for them to get started.

Anyhow, have a look. It really is gorgeous :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Christmas Tent, New Teeth, Sneaky Activities...

Thank you Aunty Bec & Uncle Cairn for the wicked tent!! So wonderful - we join the Cardboard Box Hut to the back door & it's like a secret tunnel :) We sit inside, making obstacle courses with blocks for Jarvis's wooden animals to conquer, peeking out the door from time to time to see the chickens shuffling around under the walnut tree. BoomBoom the cat is allowed inside too, in fact Jarvis has kind of worked out how to say her name which is pretty cool. It comes out boo boo, but he says it whenever she comes anywhere near him, so I'm thinking that there's some meaning attached.

My little friend has had a week exploding with new achievements! He's worked out how to climb over my makeshift Jarvis Barrier (a big wooden trunk...), I heard a strange noise a couple of days ago, turned around & found him on top of it, arms & legs flailing, quite close to going all the way over & landing head first on the other side. I have absolutely no idea what the next plan is, I'm thinking there isn't one & we'll just have to Jarvis Proof everything! We also have two more teeth, totaling six now. We have somewhat uncoordinated but very enthusiastic clapping, and wonky waving.

Yesterday I caught him grabbing a tissue (favourite naughty thing to get hold of), he peeked sneakily over his shoulder, but didn't see me hiding just out of view. He got a HUGE smile on his face and went to shove the whole thing in his mouth...I leaped into view, and he threw the tissue away!! Totally pretended he'd never had it in the first place. Absolutely hilarious!

In other chicken news, one of the orange chickens (who are known as the Spiders from Mars these days!), mysteriously disappeared last week without a trace. Not an orange feather to be seen. The total absence of evidence led us to suspect the large dog who lives next door, he's a serial wanderer and a breed designed for hunting fowl...Anyhow, this dog seems to have had his freedoms taken away, since our Spider disappeared he's been locked up, and I've never ever seen him locked up before in the almost four years we've lived here. Co-incidence? I feel a little sorry for him, he's not a bad dog, just one who needed better fences to stop him investigating the hectares of vineyard on his back doorstep...Until his confinement I wasn't totally sure if it was him, but the timing of it all makes me more suspicious. That and having the lady next door peering through the half closed curtain at me as I walk past in the mornings!

Goodness, quite a long post today. The internet is going at the speed of a snail, I don't think the satellite cares for the murky day. Most of this was written whilst waiting on the photo upload!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A New Website

Ahghhh what a long afternoon...I finally got around to updating my work website, only to discover that the free version of the un-named hosting thingee (it's not nice to say mean things about web providers!) I use had shut down a whole lot of its useful features! Nothing like trying to upload a pdf registration form only to be told 'to use this feature you must upgrade your account'. Wicked.

Anyhow, after an afternoon of staring at the computer screen in 28 degree heat (thankfully Jarvis had a wonderful afternoon nap today!) I have a new & improved website, complete with registration forms. So there un-named hosting thingee.

Pop by, have a look, email me any feedback you have - I'm definitely not a pro web designer and I'm very open to suggestions :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sushi for Beginners

And I'm not talking Marion Keyes!

The perfect lunch for a small boy who likes shoveling food into his mouth. He's de-constructed it a little here, but he started out with 8 or so little balls of sushi rice, avocado & tuna. Mummy's pretty keen on it too. Yummy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Relishing Freedom

The chickens are really getting into being free range! At last they've been released to explore their new home, and they're finding it to be most satisfactory. The three orange chickens follow DeeDee around, kind of like they're waiting for instructions. She's chosen one to be her deputy (funnily enough she's the orange hen with the most feathers), she seems to have a little big more authority than the other two, but DeeDee is firmly in charge.

Seeing them check out the rain for the first time was priceless, I guess they've never experienced water falling from the sky - they all ran around in their run flapping & clucking, very cute. They seem to have worked out now that they don't actually have to stand in the rain, as being wet isn't actually very fun when you're a chicken, so today they're hanging out inside their luxury chicken accommodation eating their room service (porridge, rice, a slightly knackered pumpkin) and laying us loads of eggs! Yesterday they were far too busy digging dustbaths in the garden for egg laying, kinda glad today's rainy and they're happy to stay at home!

Loving the chickens. They are fantastic.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lovely things to drink!

On these hot & sunny days it's nice to have something lovely to drink...A couple of gorgeous things on my mind today, both non-alcoholic, but could be jazzed up if you were feeling daring :)

Vanilla Lemonade

Make a sugar syrup (much like my gingerbread one!), with one cup of sugar, one cup of water, and a couple of vanilla pods cut open & scraped. A tablespoon or so of honey is lovely in there too. Simmer until nice & thick & syrupy. Juice enough lemons for about a cup of juice, mix into the syrup, and strain the whole lot. I like to mix it with fizzy water, I'm sure it would be just as nice with still water, and nicer still if you put a little vodka in!

Hibiscus Fizz

I was given a beautiful bottle of hibiscus flowers in syrup for Christmas. It's really meant to go in the bottom of a glass of champagne (which is delicious, see New Years Eve photo below!), but I put one pretty flower & a little bit of syrup in the bottom of a glass of fizzy water the other day & it was superb. I imagine they would be gorgeous in all sorts of cocktails...may just have to do a few experiments! Thanks Bronwyn for the photo :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wonderful Things to Eat #2 - Epoisses

The best cheese I've ever eaten. A Christmas treat - it's about $25 so not something we eat every day, but worth every cent :)

Wonderful Things to Eat #1 - Roti

I love Indian food. Really really love it. I make it myself, having never discovered anywhere in Gisborne that makes it the way I want - they're most definitely catering to a western palate, which is a bit sad. It does however force me to keep up my addiction to spice blending & experimentation, which is great.

One of the things I love about Indian food is the bread! It's primarily a Northern Indian thing, but I happily make Roti to go with Indian food from any region. In fact I'm quite happy to make Roti to go with Mexican food - food just tastes so good when it's all bundled up in a warm fresh Roti.

I make my roti using strong white baker's flour, it's hard to get hold of proper chappati flour here & wholemeal flour makes hideous crumbly bread. Not good. Roti is an unleavened bread, and the way I make it is much like making playdough! I use a cup or so of flour, and mix in boiling water with a wooden spoon until it all comes together. After that I put it on a floured board & knead it for 10 minutes or so - it feels wonderful & soft & elastic, the boiling water has a pretty big impact on getting the beautiful texture in my experience! You can put in a bit of oil or salt, or some cumin or nigella seeds if you like - they're perfectly good with only flour & water though!

A cup of flour makes enough bread for two people to eat greedily! A tiny bit of dough stretches a long way. I fry the roti in a hot dry frying pan, either a cast iron pan or a cheap but wonderful bread cooking pan I picked up at an Indian food store in Wellington. They puff up & go a gorgeous golden colour. I'm making myself hungry just thinking about them...So easy & fast, if you can make a batch of playdough you can do this! I actually made a batch with a class of year 3 & 4 kids (7/8 year olds) a few years back with great success.


Harvesting the Alliums

Ready for harvest! The shallots, onions & garlic have come out of the garden! There's nothing like some gorgeous new season's garlic. Last night some garlic & shallots found their way into a Thai curry paste, and it seems we grew them quite nicely indeed.

Jarvis seems quite taken with his bounty, although I don't know what he enjoys about chewing on their green stalks.

Jarvis on the Move!

A momentous achievement for the little guy over the Christmas period - the ability to pull himself up. On EVERYTHING. Note the mischievous expression on his face. For the past few days, I've spent almost every moment pursuing Jarvis around the house and waiting (without him realising I"m doing it) for him to topple over. He hasn't quite worked out that he needs to be hanging onto something in order to remain upright, and lets go with the intention of walking away. He then looks astonished when he finds himself sitting (if he's lucky!) on the floor. Really looking forward to him working out how to get down from his adventures in standing up without plummeting.

His newfound love of standing up has meant that the safety sleep has had to come out - I've never used it before & wasn't terribly keen, but if it's a choice between having him strapped in or highjumping out of the cot & hitting the floor, we'll go with the strapping in for now. He was using the cot as a trampoline before we made the safety sleep decision - seriously bouncing up & down like a gymnast whilst holding onto the side & shrieking with joy!

He's also worked out how to properly crawl, although he still prefers the fast slide crawl when he's inside on the hardwood floor. The grass outside seems to be a little scratchy to slide on, so he sighs, gets up on all fours, and crawls the old fashioned way :) Nice work!

Merry Christmas! (okay, so it's rather late...)

This is the first moment I've had to sit down & write anything since Christmas! I may have to make a few posts today...

Anyhow, on Christmas Eve our newest family members arrived from Palmerston North - fondly known as DeeDee & the Death Squad (death to cockroaches & other crawling creatures that is...). I've been coveting everyone else's chickens for years, and now we finally have some to call our own. I spent a long time tossing up whether to go for a fancy breed or to go with the rehabilitated battery hens I saw on trade me, and eventually made the choice to buy the slightly mad but very nice orange battery hens. In a bizarre twist of fate one of the hens I bought met with an unfortunate end before she was picked up by my father in law, and in her place came a gorgeous big Black Orpington (one of the fancy chickens I really wanted all along!). What an excellent surprise!! I named her DeeDee, after my lovely Dorothy chicken from Cromwell. She's a great chicken & keeps the other three under control. They're currently living in a little run Shane built them outside of their palace, and once they've worked out where home is they'll be free to roam the vineyard.

Within hours of their arrival we had an egg. How great is that!

Christmas morning arrived, Jarvis woke up nice & early (he usually wakes up nice & early, but we'll blame it on the Christmas excitement...). His Nan & Grandad from Palmerston North were already here, but Nana Anne & Uncle Mike were coming later on in the day from Napier. He got some pretty cool treasures, and they're all things which will last the distance & remain interesting for him as he gets bigger :)

We had such a gorgeous day, Mum & Mike arrived in the afternoon, gingerbread cocktails were consumed, a feast was had, the sun was shining, football was played. Magic. One of the yummiest things on the table was a Kumara & Pumpkin pie which I'll post a recipe for sometime soon. So good!!

I have a great family photo but will have to ask the stars of it before I post it on here :) There are a lot of other photos in the pipeline too - I took very few pictures over Christmas, but I know my mum took lots. Christmas Photos Part Two to come at a later date.

In all, Jarvis's first Christmas was a great success.