December 25, 2012

Wrapping up 2012

Wow! what a year.

We had a cracking Christmas day with our little niece Ivy and our sister Caroline. Magic breakfast of Brookies yummy pancakes with lemon, sugar, yogurt and banana..yum, yum, yum.
The morning was quite a sight as the dogs unwrapped their pressies. Kodak and Murphy were a little indifferent this year, but Finn was in heaven as she ripped the paper off hers and the others pressies in record speed. She then proceeded to gather all 'her' new toys together and declare total was fun times.

My family (well my Mum) is such a treasure, she always sends us our wee parcels which always look and feel similar to the other one. Its always with anticipation we unwrap the Scottish bundle. A pair of tartan slippers each and a hoodie, along with some wee Christmas tree decorations and T towels...what a gem she is. They are all awesome. The slippers are perfect for the house. We did a wee jig when we first put them on, seemed apt.


Kitchen demo and reno DIY job final pics.

Well, we got there. The hard work, the bashing, trashing, painting, sawing and hammering finally paid off. We are really happy with the outcomes of our DIY kitchen reno/demo. The green splash back came from Mitre 10, straight off the shelf. We glued it up and crossed our fingers it would still be there in the morning. It was. The nice dresser, as I said before, came from trade me for $42, all it needed was some TLC and hey presto! enjoy.


Prepared and ready for the next stage

Here's Brooke preparing her onions for the dark, shady resting place to let them dry out. There are so many onions and garlic, I can't wait to start cooking with them.

And this is the hanging garlic in the kitchen, what a sight and what a smell, it's awesome. It's a real tangible measure of the hard work she has put into that glorious garden.

Speaking O' gardens...

check out the awesomeness of the sweetcorn, lettuce, coriander, parsley and courgette. Brooke has staggered the planting times of the sweetcorn in order to provide us with a sustainable resource throughout summer. The courgettes have really taken off, so much so that I had to download some recipes: recipes for bloomin boomin courgettes. I made the chutney the other night Easy peezy Chutney. The only issue I had was in the apple cider vinegar quantity. It is quite a powerful flavour, so I just put 50mls and topped it up to 350. It is awesome. I made enough to fill 4 jars (the size of pasta sauce jars). You gotta store for 4 weeks to really appreciate the 'chutneyness'. good luck if you try it.

Bee arrival:

Yes, we got bees. Brooke has been talking about getting a hive for a wee while, and recently got in touch with an apiarist (bee keeper) just round from work, and on Saturday we went round and picked up our very own hive. The chap was awesome and really knew his stuff. He secured the base of the hive with some wood and advised we take it easy going home as there are hundreds of Bees in the chamber in 'our back seat!'
Well, we got home in one piece, quickly unloaded the hive and established it at our top paddock near the manuka trees. We then left them to settle. It's been 5 days and all seems good in the hive o hive o.

As I mentioned earlier, we had our adorable niece and our sister Caroline here for the week. Here is a couple of snaps of Ivy Knight and her 'new' best friend Finn.
Pretty much everywhere Ivy went, the dog was sure to go....

And finally -

There's no show without Chicken news!

First picture of Khalesi and her babies..all 14 of them. She is a fantastic Mum and has managed to retain all 14. There are 5 yellows and 9 blackies. Still not sure which and boys and which are'll be a wee while yet.

Well friend, I've really enjoyed sharing the first chapter of our 'new life' with you all. Reading through the many posts I've written, it really brings home the joy, happiness and progress we have made in only 10 short months. I do hope you too have enjoyed the journey. I'm new to blogging, but I can absolutely appreciate it's sincere value. There is no pressure to be a fantastic writer or photographer. It's a life we live and a life we share with you.

Thank you and sincere best wishes for 2013..

And as JK says.......... See you there!

December 03, 2012

14 out of 14 WOW!!!!

Newsflash. Kahlesi is the proud mother of 14 chicks.
I know, we can't believe it, all 14 eggs hatched, Harry is forgiven, his guns are loaded after all. Photos coming real soon. They are a mixture of yellow, brown and black and they are sooooo cute.

catch ya.

December 02, 2012

Some Summer Stuff

Boom! Roses are everywhere......

This photo is actually the wall of Roses that surrounds our water tank, it smells wonderful, and most days we cut a few down and place around the house. These flowers are all around the area, you'll see them along roadsides, in parks and just hanging our wherever they seem to feel like it. Stunning.

Mama and Sal...

A lovely wee photo of Mama relaxing with the gang. Here she is with Sal, the confident wee chick who will often be seen catching a lift on Mamas back. They are all changing and each definitely has their own personalities.

Kitchen 'n things.....

We had Monday off work and decided to do a little bit more homework! the old shelving we ripped out of the kitchen was sanded, painted, cut and re-established beside the window. We are really happy with them.
Along with our lovely lamb chops tonight, thought I'd share the yummy stuff from the garden with you. Check out the sweet peas and crunchy lettuce, then there's Brooke's special marinated Beetroot. Summer really does allow for healthy eating and living eh?

Monday, well it brought us Sunshine and Roses, and to you , I share the joy of both. Take care.

November 30, 2012

Ist for many things

The first.

December 1st is officially the first day of Summer, and it's a glorious day here in Warkworth, New Zealand.
We visited our neighbours Sue and Karyn to help bag and tag our very first home killed sheep. It had hung in chiller for 1 week and today was the day we were taught the fine art of what's what from loin chops to shanks and how to trim them neat and tidy, then onto heat sealing into bags and labelling. Then the best bit was, we kept a few 'ends' aside and marinated them for BBQ lunch and fine sald from their garden as thank you to the beautiful animal. It was sensational, it was also really special to appreciate that the life an animal lives is very evident in the food it eventually provides. Thanks to our teachers.

'Dreamnight at the Zoo'

Last night at the Zoo, another very special first occurred: Dreamnight is a world wide, very special evening for chronically ill and disabled children and their family members to come to the Zoo after hours and spend the evening with a Zoo staff member or volunteer and experience a night to remember. They get up close to some very special animals and enjoy fun activities like face painting and bouncy castles and for free. No one is paid for attending and I can tell you, there was so many staff and volunteers it was a humbling experience for everyone.
Rufus the Red Panda and one of our Dream kids.
Big up the my pal Sally, in the costume for 3 hours, she was a trooper. Many parents said this experience will be the high point they remember during the many low points they will face in their journey ahead with their little ones.

Kahlesi and the 14 eggs update:

Going out today to check on our girl I did hope to see some chicks had hatched, but alas there is still nothing to report. The 21 day hatching period is fast approaching with no change. Gulp! maybe Harry is not firing...and we send Jedi to a new home! cross your fingers for us peeps.
Signs of Summer
Butter cups sprouting up everywhere....
I do hope all of you out there are having a fine Summers day, well those in the southern hemisphere anyway. For those in the northern world, wrap up warm now or move to New Zealand.

November 27, 2012


We are really happy with our choices of late. Our new plan that I shared in my last post was to buy preloved furniture that could look good in our place.... with a little tweakin that is! So, we purchased a brown tall boy, good condition, good size and the drawers worked well, we then took a wee bit of time had fun with a sander and paint, then distressed it a bit and hey presto! In a 24 hour period   

It went from this

To this..not bad eh!

Kitchen choices

We had plans drawn up by several companies for a new kitchen, although we did like what we saw, we know what, we can do so many other cool things with the money a new kitchen costs, let's have a go and do our own thing, doing this means were not giving our money to someone else for a job that we can at least try to do ourselves, right?
Good choice! so, yes you got it, we bashed, scraped, sanded and painted what we had with the end goal being to achieve a lived in kitchen look with as many authentic features as possible. We are still working on this, but here is a wee sneak preview of how we are doing.

Pantry gone, shelving ripped out, great fun.

Result - paint throughout, old ladder as pot hanger

Cost: $111 + labour.


The ever expanding flock.
Mama 1 has officially abandoned black beauty, she is now on her own and doin just fine, we were a little worried at the start because we thought she wouldn't, even couldn't do well on her own, well not quite yet anyway. But alas, here lies the divide between humans and animals, we think we know what's best and they know what best for them. Brooke has been encouraging her to come close and it's just lovely to watch the interaction.
Mama 2 has a flock of 5, we actually bought 5 baby chicks from a local breeder and gave them to Mama 2 at night time to 'do her thing'. She is an amazing Mum, probably better than Mama 1. The wee ones are even having a wee fly if Mama gets to far away from them, instead of running, they just do a bit of a superman and run then take off, often landing on her back. It's beautiful. They all mingle with the residents in the day time and at night time Mama takes them all to the their own beds to sleep under her protective wings.

Vege garden gone wild! woo hoo..

This is indeed a dream come true. Having all of your own vege's at hand and fresh as, is just so amazing. Salads every night, the beans are so tasty and crunchy. Brooke has officially gained title of Miss green fingers, she tells me her Grandfather had green fingers, she certainly is producing some great results. The tomatoes and flowering, so watch this space...

Green is good



Wild roses, just growing around the place..


Murphy Brown has  had enough for the day.


I've got much more to share with you friends, check in next time and see the progress on the Cottage beside the tracks....look after each other.





November 02, 2012

Updates from the Station Masters Cottage.

Vege garden:

Brooke has been working away every night on her vege garden and the return is about to be revealed...onions and garlic are days away, and the rocket might well shoot to the moon if we don't eat it quick enough, might have to barter some with friends. The potatoes she picked last week are wonderful and I made a cheeky wee Gratin with them, boy was it good. Carrots, corn, beetroot, tomatoes are all taken shape nicely. This is going to be a fantastic yield, lots of yummy Annabel tomato sauce to make..any glass jars you lovely people have out there, I'll take them off your hands.


Check out this beautiful little creature. Our friend Karyn asked us to look after him and another wee lamb for the day, how could you resist the absolute cuteness of him. He was found all alone and barely alive, but a few days under Karyn and Sue's care, he is a cracker. He will be going to a great home where the family want him as their pet and all the good lovin he has had to date will continue..

         cute or what                                      and legs to match

 Out with the old, in with the older....

I know, sounds crazy, but it's true. We sold pretty much all of the furniture we brought from our old place as it was never, literary going to fit into the house and it was the wrong style for this type of home. Trade me is it has all gone and we have started to search for the 'right' stuff. We have bought a couple of items that are great for bedside units. The wood look doesn't look right, but the actual design does..1 hour later, sander, paint, turps, lots of sneezing and hey presto...wishy washy white....
                                From this                                          

To this

Old meets nice         

Chicken news!
Check this out..little beauty is out and about with mama and she's doing just fine. Mama is a great mum, she drops food for her, she even mimics perching on a wee branch and little beauty jumps up too. They are now spending their daytime with the others and so far, it's been fine. Day one was interesting when Franny challenged mama and they got into a chick fight that mama won. She was protecting her wee one and boy did she do a fabby job...since then all has been well at chook chook cottage.
Our other Sussex, Ivy is sitting on 6 eggs, which are due to hatch any day now...we can't wait to see how many actually survive, but I'm sure she'll make a magic mama 2.
Our other rooster Jedi, has a new home with our friend Andrew and his family. This means Harry is now officially the Man of the house...

Mama and beauty on a wee walk 

And, change of direction

Handsome Harry

Day time at chook cottage, boy, to be a Chicken eh?

Well friends, we have had a really productive, industrious time of late..progress is everywhere and life on the lifestyle track is going really well. We must always remember to celebrate the successes we create, the friends we have, the gifts of family that surround us  and the unconditional love our animals provide us.Try not to let things drift too quickly into the past and know that we cannot have today without yesterday...and tomorrow will always be a mystery. Today is all we have.

It is said, that those who have passed are always with us.
1 year ago on Nov 4 my beautiful Lucy passed away....for anyone who has lost a pet, boy does it hurt.
I remember feeling angry with myself when I realised I hadn't thought about her for a couple of days, it was then that I understood why. My heart was taking over and ever so slowly was gathering all of my Lucy memories and securing them is a safe place forever. Now with every beat of my heart...she is there.

"forever in my heart and always on my mind"

October 15, 2012

One door closes...another open.

New to the world.

Welcome little one. We got some baby blue eggs from Karyn and Sue a few weeks ago, and here is the result of Mama sitting for 21 days....a beautiful little chicken.
We had 4 eggs in total, but she must have kicked 2 out as they had wee Chickie's in them, but they didn't make it. The other wasn't fertile. So we got lucky with little black beauty!

                            Meet Beauty.


     Farewell little Jessie yellow legs!

A few days ago, Jessie became very bloated around her abdomen. She was a really social wee thing, and started to just sit around. The vet prescribed antibiotics, but  it sounded very like peritonitis. She did perk up after the antibiotics, but slowly got worse the days following. Coming home from work on Saturday we decided enough was enough, we were prolonging the inevitable. Life can be so cruel, but from a life where she was confined to a cage then dumped when no longer required to free ranging with new pals (all be for only 6 months) she was Free, right until the end...farewell my feathered friend.
Sheep family expansion plans are well underway..
Some of the new kids in town. We purchased some breeding sheep from the neighbours at Streamland, check it out: Friends with (benefits) sheep.. 
Our plans are to breed the girls and have a year round sustainable flock. Karyn and Sue are pretty clued up on all things sheep, very handy to have as friends.
Some of the new sheepies.

New springs lambs inspire hope, life really is for it up.

September 28, 2012

Progress and Development....

Spring into action..

Spring really is the turning point of the year when you start to think about what, when and how to develop your house and land. Well we do anyway!

What's new?

Meet Weezle
We got sheep... Yes we really did, our lovely neighbours, Karyn and Sue sold us some Perindales. They also let us borrow squidgy and Weezle  to show the new boys how to do things. We are stoked with the progress, and we are actually ok with the fact that the boys will live a great life on the land until ' that day comes'?.
Our sheep are staying in the bottom paddock for a wee while until they have eaten the grass, we will open up paddock 2 after that. Due reckons we need more sheep, maybe even some girl sheep that can start our succession plan. We are super keen.

Weezle, Squidgy and the boys

Veggie garden grows....

Competition is hotting up on who can produce the 'best veggies in our gardens'
Sue, Karyn, Lloyd, Sam, Brooke and I have entered into a Veg off competition between ourselves. Bring it on I say!
To make sure we have a fighting chance, we just had to build another 2 gardens. This will allow for a wider variety of yummy veggies.

Preparing foundations, using some chicken poo manure
We uses the old fence posts we dismantled in Feb and as usual got the magic duck compost to ensure success! Not that we are competitive.

Duck compost going in..the magic ingredient!!!!shhhh 

Gotta get it right Brookie, focus.
All done....3 hours, not bad at all.

Brooke applying the finishing touches..good girl.

SKYPE reaches Glasgow!!!

So, we all know what Skype is, yes? Now imagine if you can... Family in Glasgow that includes Mum, wee sister , big sister and Dad all crowded around the computer screen trying to make some sense of how this see, hear and talk things works. We spent the first session saying can you hear me, can you see me, can you hear me now.... Oh man, what a riot! It was a grainy picture and honestly nothing of any quality was achieved regarding conversation, but I can tell you, I laughed so much after it, because it's just what I needed, it was funny family times. Since then, we have managed to achieve conversation and colour.. It's awesome to be able to see all my family at one place and time.

Say hello to my Dragon....
You know one of my favourite characters from 'Games of Thrones is  Khalesi, the dragon lady. Well here is one of her Dragon's the cutest thing. I haven't given him a name yet, but will soon.

We are truly inspired by the people around us and the progress we are making. I think it's important to be in an attitude of gratitude especially when you know you have worked hard to have the things in your life and they have not just been handed to you. Summer is approaching which means long, hot sunny days for doing work on the land as well as paddle boarding and all things summer...
keep well friends, and sorry it's been a while since my last update...