Sunday, February 15, 2015

Back to the Market then into the Garden

Waiting for the bus with all our veges

It was back to the Paraparaumu Beach Market yesterday to stock up for the week.
We had hardly anything left over from last weeks shop, just a few onions, carrots and some cabbage.

Salem has been helping me a lot with the cooking, he's doing a lot of the grating, mixing and even the cooking of some of our meals.
It's so nice having someone else cook.

Three of our lovely girls - Creme Egg, Whittakers and Zebby

The weather has been getting a bit cooler, especially at night so it is nice to have a hot meal with plenty of veges in.  Luckily the chickens have still been laying eggs, not as much as usual as one of them (Caramello) seems to have been broody for a while.

Our two retired girls - Tiger and Ted

We keep taking her out of the nest so she has something to eat and drink but she is so grumpy and likes to boss the other girls about.  She is so not impressed when we remove any eggs from underneath her.

The remains of the celery planted in the garden.

Our girls, the chooks and our duck, get most of our vegetable scraps but we do save a few to plant in the garden.  Quite a few will grow back.

Celery will grow back quite well, along with bok choy, spinach, beetroot tops (you can eat the leaves that grow back) spinach and spring onions.

The bok choy is growing back very well.

We started off growing them in pots but now are putting them out in the small gardens that we have under the eaves.   Along with other seedlings that we have popping up all over the place.

No longer neglected.

Salem has been doing lots of weeding and clearing out the very neglected gardens so we can re-grow our vege scraps.

He's doing such a good job and is very pleased with himself.  He spends hours out there pottering around especially later in the afternoon when the sun is on the other side of the house.  It has been far too hot.

Another garden ready for planting.

We have called these little gardens, his Victory Gardens, we are definitely recycling and re-using.

Clearing another garden to be planted.

Salem has so many plants in pots on our deck.  His tomato plants are growing well and have fruit developing on them, we should have plenty of tomatoes in early autumn.

Tomato plants.

We are attracting the bees with plenty of flowering herbs, oregano is a favourite and the flowers are great with fried tomatoes and an egg on toast for breakfast.

Tomato plants with flowering herbs.

We have been saving seeds from fruit such as tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, apples, plums, you name it.  Anything we eat, Salem will pop it in some soil and things have been growing.

All sorts of seedlings, even pawpaws.

He has also been carefully removing the laterials from the tomatoes and been planting them out too, so we have even more tomato seedlings.  They are doing extremely well.

One of our small rhubarbs.

We love rhubarb!!!!!!
I was picking some rhubarb the other day and as I was pulling off a stalk, part of the plant came away with it.  So off it goes into a pot of soil and we have another rhubarb plant.

Rhubarb is such a great plant,  not matter how you treat it, it keeps coming back with lots of delicious stalks to have with some custard.

Our latest addition to the rhubarb family.

It survives the chickens eating the leaves (which are poisonous but doesn't affect the chickens), nesting in it or getting dive bombed by the duck.  I was wondering why the rhubarb was looking a bit flat the other day then I spied my naughty little duck flying into it and having a bit of a play in it and the comfrey.

The dive bombing duck - finger nibbling time.

Another free food which is growing very well is puha, otherwise known as sow thistle.
A very edible "weed" which is popping up all over the place and we don't mind at all.

Puha is great cooked with other greens, in soups and boil-ups.
The chooks and duck love it too.

Puha growing with a cherry tree in a pot.

This summer has been very, very dry.  I can't remember how long ago we had any decent rain.
We recently had the local council install water meters and are now charges for our water.

Salem was so worried about how much the water bills were going to be so he was put off from watering his plants, so many died.

We had been catching rainwater off our garage roof but there has been no rain so now we store every bit of grey water, water from the washing machine, in buckets, bins, even jars.

Our grey water collection.

Salem can now water til his heart's content and doesn't have to worry about the water bill.  I just received our bill yesterday and even though we have a household of three people, we use as much as one person who is indoors, no garden or lawn.  Our water conserving is making a huge difference.

I can't wait until is rains again as we use the clean rain water for the animals drinking water and duckies "pond" water.  But I've had a look at the 10 day forecast from Metservice, and there is no sign of rain.

Yummy dinner - a plate full of veges.

Wow, I have really rambled on this time.
But I am very proud of Salem and all his hard work in the garden and getting lots of things growing.

There is nothing nicer than just stepping out of the door and picking something fresh and tasty to eat.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rationing Is Great For The Budget

Shopping at the Paraparaumu Beach Market.

I can't believe how quickly this year is passing, it's well into February.
This year we are are back on wartime rationing, even though we have still been sticking to rationing last year to a certain extent but with, I fear, too many "black market" goods.  A bad habit to get into.

2015 is going to be a very tight year money-wise as my son, Salem, will no longer have a scholarship for his dancing.  So it means sticking to a very strict budget and what better way is their to make a little go a long way than wartime rationing.

The Paraparaumu Beach Market

Fresh produce has been very overpriced for quite a while now in the supermarkets and not of the best quality.  One supermarket in particular, which is cheaper than the others, is not the best for quality fruit and veg.  The produce might look nice but is often bland, lacking in flavour and goes off quickly.

Usually seasonal fruit and veg is a lot cheaper to buy but there has not been the noticable difference in price of previous years.  We only eat what is in season.

We have in the past, loved going to the Hill Street Market and the Victoria Street Market in Wellington, but due to our budget, can not afford to go into Wellington as much.  But out in this neck of the woods is the Paraparaumu Beach Market which is held every Saturday morning.

Walking down to the market.

So we have been going to the market every Saturday morning to get our fruit and vege needs for the week.
Ahhh the joy of having a fridge to keep all our goodies fresh!!!!!!

So have been taking our old fashioned bag on wheels with us to load up but have found we need an extra carry bag as well, two hungry teenaged boys eat a lot!!!!!!!

Our trusty carthorse.

So we have been buying lots of lovely fresh fruit and vege, mostly vege, and lots of lovely tasty tomatoes which are in abundance at this time of year.  Salem is growing tomatoes here at home but they are only in flower at the moment so we will be getting some late season ones which will be great.

The previous two weekends, we found some delicious old-fashioned strawberries.  Smaller than the modern ones and they pack so much taste.  There were none at the market yesterday, even though we arrived an hour earlier than usual.  They must be finished now, luckily we saved some of the seeds so I have planted them out.  Fingers crossed!!!!!

A treat for the chickens.

Another great find at the market, is the "Happy Hen Natural Grain Mix".  It comes in handy 2.5 kg bags and costs only $5.00.  It contains peas, barley, maize and wheat.  It makes a nice treat for our hard working, and not so hard working, chickens.  A bag lasts us two to three weeks supplementing their usual mash and wheat.  The chickens love it.

Doing the weeding with two of our nutty chooks.

We have a duck now too, but she likes soft food.  We raised her on watery chicken mash and porridge supplemented with grated carrots and leafy greens so she and the chickens get all the outer leaves of our lettuces, cabbages etc.

It's been an interesting experience raising a duck, we rescued her of a road, cars were going over her, when she was only a couple of days old.  She is a lovely wee soul who gets on with the chickens and cats.  She loves following the cats, I'm sure she wants to nibble their tails.

It will be lovely to have duck eggs when she is older.

Our lovely duck.

Any way, back to the market, we have been topping up our collection of herbs and buying at least one or two pots of herbs each week. They only cost $2 each.
I love cooking with fresh herbs, great for adding extra flavour.

I was in need of some mint in from backyard, we usually have masses of it but on closer inspection, spearmint had taken over.  I also think the spearmint has cross-pollinated with the mint.
Luckily I also have sweet mint which has a softer "fuzzier" leaf.
So I'm going to have to look out for some more "real" mint.

Some of our market herbs.

So market day was yesterday, our fridge is jam-packed with goodies for the week, loving the salads and salad sandwiches for lunch.  Vege stir fries, casseroles and a yummy vege loaf which I created the other night, for dinner.

It was tomatoes on toast with some of our butter ration and plenty of salt and pepper for breakfast. Yummy!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Say Cheese - A tasty cheese spread

Tasty cheese sandwiches.

The adult weekly ration of cheese was 2oz (57g), while for vegetarians, as this was a source of protein instead of meat, their ration was 5oz (approx 142g).
So you would do your best to "stretch" your cheese ration.

Today Salem and I had some very tasty cheese sandwiches for lunch using very little cheese.
I used margerine and a few other ingredients to come up with a very tasty filling.
An adult's weekly ration of margerine was 4oz (113g), which when there are three of us, is quite a bit.

I'm sorry I can't give you exact measurements of the ingredients as I don't really measure when cooking unless I really have to.

Tasty Cheese Spread

Grate some cheese ( I use a fine grater as it makes the cheese go further)
Equal amount or more of margerine to the grated cheese (don't squash cheese when comparing)
Finely chopped spring onions, onions, fresh parsley or whatever fresh herbs you have
Worchestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
A small amount of warm water

Place in a bowl the cheese and margerine.
With a fork, mix the cheese and margerine together adding a little hot water to help mix and thin it out a little.
Add a good swig of worchestershire sauce, salt and pepper and the onions/herbs.
Spring onions are my favourite.
Mix together.
Taste and see if it needs any more seasoning.
Spread on your bread as thickly as you like.

Tonight's dinner.

A tip for spring onions - as soon as you get your spring onions home, put them in a jar of water (as in the first photo) and you will have spring onions growing for months.  Just cut off the ends like you do for chives and they will keep growing back.  Just remember to water them.  I've got some that are now flowering so I will be able to have the seeds to plant out more.  Free food!!!!!

Tonight I had some leftover rice which I made fried rice with.
Fried rice is best made with leftover rice from the day before.  It doesn't go gluggy.

The following recipe is roughly how I made it tonight, adapt it to how many serves you want.
This serves two very hungry teenage boys and me, with leftovers.

Egg Fried Rice

dripping or cooking fat or oil
1 or 2 onions
2 or 3 carrots
2 cups leftover rice
1 - 2 cups fresh or frozen veges (corn, peas, beans etc)
Soya sauce (optional)

Beat together some eggs with a little cold water and salt and pepper.
Use how many eggs you have left from your ration or some powdered egg, it works well for this.
Fry this in a wok or large frying pan with a small amount of dripping or cooking fat/oil.
When cooked put aside in a bowl, chopped into smallish pieces, for later.
Add about 1 tablespoon of dripping or cooking fat/oil to the wok/frying pan.
Then add in chopped onion and carrots, stir often and cook until tender.
Add the rest of the veges, keep stirring through.
Then in goes the rice and the egg.
Stir through and cook until rice is hot.
Add seasoning and soya sauce if you have it.
Serve hot.
Actually it is very nice cold too in a packed lunch.

These recipes are very easy and are great if you are on a budget too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mmmmm...... Egg Sandwiches

Today's lunch.

During WWII, in England, eggs were rationed to one per week, vegetarians had two.  You really had to decide what you wanted to use your egg for.
You had to make do with powdered egg for the rest of the time.
If you had your own chooks, like we do, you weren't so restricted but you had to give up your egg and egg powder rations for chook food which would be hard in winter when they hardly lay, if at all.

Last night I boiled up some eggs so I could make egg sandwiches for me and the boys today for lunch.  Well needed after this mornings ballet lesson.  We came home starving.
I slept in a bit to long to make porridge for breakfast and toast just didn't fill us up for long enough.

I know putting in a recipe for egg sandwiches seems a bit silly but this way you get more sandwiches for your egg.  And very tasty too.

Egg Sandwiches

Hard boiled eggs (as many as you want or have to spare)
margerine (1/2 to 3/4's the volume of the eggs)
fresh herbs -  parsley and/or chives, spring onions or celery leaf 
salt and pepper

In a bowl, place your shelled hard boiled eggs and the margerine. 
I like to have the margerine at room temperature as it makes mashing easier.
Mash both together with a fork so it is nicely combined but not too smooth that you loose the nice bits of egg white.
Add finely chopped herbs, what ever you have.  No set amount, I like lots.
Plenty of salt and pepper.

Make sure you do season well, as you want your sandwiches to be tasty.
It is ready to spread on your bread, no buttering necessary, as thickly as you like.
The flavour developes more if you leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours before spreading.

Cut the crusts off your sandwiches and cut into triangles for a posh lunch or afternoon tea.
Remember not to throw out the crusts, use them in something else, like croutons.

I hope you enjoy this as much as the boys and I just have.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to Rationing, Making Poppies and WWI

In the local paper.

Yes, we are back!!!!!

Back to WWII wartime rationing, not that we fully left it but we have been having too much "black market" and convenience food due to a hectic shedule and not having the time for all the cooking etc, a lot of time spent away from home etc.......
But I am going to make the time.

Over here in Kiwiland, it has been a cold winter so I have been making lots of pots of warming vege soup which is a meal in itself.  Served with either toast or crunchy croutons.

Yummy vege soup.

Vege soup is so easy to make, just use what ever vegetables you have at hand and how many you want.
This is how I made it last night.

Vege Soup

3 medium potatoes
2 onions
2 large carrots
3/4 cup of soup mix (split peas, lentils, pearl barley)
1 or 2 cups frozen or fresh veges (corn, peas, spinach, beans)
1 or 2 stalks and leaves of celery
2 oxo cubes (vege, chicken or beef)
soya sauce and/or worchestershire sauce (whatever you have)
parsley fresh (if possible)
salt and pepper.

In a large pot add your potatoes, onions and carrots which have been sliced and diced, along with the soup mix and oxo cubes.  Full the pot half way with water, sorry I never measure the amount.
Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for an hour.

At this stage, I grab a fork and mash some of the potatoes and carrots against the side of the pot.  This makes the soup thicker.
Then add a good swig of soya sauce and or worchestershire sauce, celery (chopped) and the other vegetables.  Stir in well.  At this time add parsley if you only have dried.

Leave simmering until needed.
Add fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  
Your soup should be well seasoned.

Serve with a little grated cheese on top if you have any.
Also with hot toast or croutons.
I will post our yummy crouton ideas next time.


Eggs from our lovely ladies.

Our lovely ladies of the backyard, our chickens,  have been laying lots of lovely eggs for us.  I've got some serious baking to do over the next few days.

Also keeping us occupied on our many train rides and any spare time in the evening, is our poppy making.
We are helping our local libraries with making 2,721 poppies for a display next year commemorating the 2,721 New Zealanders from Kapiti (Paraparaumu, Waikanae and Otaki) who died in WWI.
So far Salem and I have made 900 and we are still going.
I came up with a nice easy crochet pattern which I will post soon, so keep an eye out for it.

Not bad for our first blog post for a while, nice to be back.

Monday, April 22, 2013

In the Pilot's Seat and the Life Flight Air Ambulance

Being given instructions on how to fly the plane.

At Wings Over Wairarapa, Salem got to have a go sitting in a small plane and was told how the plane works and what all the controls were for.

Checking the wings.

He loved sitting in the plane imagining that he was in the air flying.

Then it was off to check out the Life Flight Trust Air Ambulance.
This is the Wellington based plane which looks like it has been all bandaged up.

The Life Flight Air Ambulance

The design on the plane was created by Weta Workshop.
Check out more information about the work this plane does at:  and .

Salem got to have a look inside and saw all the medical equipment that it has at the ready.
It was very impressive.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Going to Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 and We are Back and Blogging

Wings Over Wairarapa 2013 was held over the Wellington Anniversary Weekend ( January 18th - 20th) at Hood Airport in Masterton.

We had to get up very early and catch the train into Wellington and then caught the specially put on train to Masterton.  It was the train that is used for the Capital Connection from Wellington to Palmerston North.  Much more comfortable than the usual Trans Metro train.

On the train.

It was a very nice trip, Salem has only been out this way once before and that was in 2007 which he doesn't really remember too much.

I prefer the train as the car ride over the Rimutaka's to get there is very winding I always get car-sick.
Salem was very excited about the train ride and getting to see all the planes.

Making tiny paper planes.

He spent a lot of time looking at the scenery and making minature paper planes.

Over the next few posts, I will be posting some of our photos that we took at Wings Over Wairarapa.
I used up nearly all my SD card and Salem who was using a proper film camera, used up many rolls of film.

It was very mild when we arrived in the morning but turned out to be a hot scorcher of a day.
Even though we both put on sunscreen, be both got very, very sun-burnt.

When we first arrived we were greeted to planes flying above us in formation.
The joy and excitement was written all over Salem's face.
We found a good spot to watch quite a few flyovers before we went off exploring.

So the photos on this post are of the sight that greeted us as we arrived.
There were so many people there, and more and more arrived as the day went on.

Luckily I had made us a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks, a flask of tea and plenty of water.
There were long lines of people at the food and coffee venders.  I was dying for a coffee later in the day but I couldn't be bothered waiting in line for half an hour or so.  Though it would be something I would have had to do during wartime for everyday items.

It was a fantastic day out and we would have loved to go back the next day.
Can't wait until next year!!!!!!

We have been very slack with our blogging lately, life has been very busy but we are back into blog-mode
so watch this space..............

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wright's Hill Fortress on Waitangi Day

In Gun Pit One

On Waitangi Day, the 6th February, we walked up to the Wright's Hill Fortress, boy what a mission that was!!!!
We walked from Karori Road, up Campbell Street and then turned into the road that went up Wright's Hill.
It had been many, many years since I had been up here and the last time was in a car.

View from Wright's Hill

It wasn't that bad so far, but the 2 to 3 kms up the hill was really hard.
It was very sunny and getting quite hot, we were carrying jackets as it was really cold when we caught the train into Wellington early in the morning, so we were getting hot and hoping that we wouldn't get sunburnt.
It was a very steep walk.
There wasn't a footpath so we had to keep stopping while letting the many cars coming down the hill get by, we didn't want to fall off the side of the road down the hill into the bushes.
There was loads of cars going up and down the road.
We were very high up.

Taking a closer look

When we finally got up to the fortress, we had a bit of a rest before going in.
The electricity was down and the generator had stopped working so we were given a torch to go exploring.
It was so much fun going through all the tunnels in the pitch black by torchlight.
Salem was so excited.
We explored the engine room, gun pits, plotting rooms etc.....
We didn't stay as long as we would have liked to but plan to come back next time it is open and we will catch a taxi up!!!!!!

We were lucky enough to be offered a ride down the hill and then the lovely people took us right to the Railway Station.  Just in time for a train home and we were able to quickly by some icy cold drinks for the ride home.

Checking out the Tank

Open days are on:

Waitangi Day - 6th February
ANZAC Day - 25th April
Oueen's Birthday - June
Labour Day - October

Opening hours are from 10am - 4pm

Wellington's 9.2" coastal defence battery.
© Darcy Waters 1999

        In 1935 the top of Wrights Hill in Karori, Wellington was chosen as a site for a 9.2" coastal defence battery.  Although it was not as large as some overseas fortresses such as that on the Rock of Gibraltar, it was fairly extensive with 2,030 feet of tunnels linking magazines, gun pits, engine room, plotting rooms and more.
         In March 1942 the authority was given to construct the battery.  Engineering reports and cost estimates were submitted to Army HQ in July and  preliminary site work including roads was started in October. Downer and Company of Wellington got the contract for the underground work and started in November with the driving of the tunnels were completed late 1943.  On the 13th of April 1943 Downer and Company were  awarded the contract to do the concrete work for the pump chambers and gun pits.  The gun pits were completed in December 1943.
         The first gun was installed during June 1944, with the 2nd gun shortly thereafter.  Due to the improved situation in the Pacific theatre of the war the third gun was cancelled despite the gun pit and underground works for it having being constructed.  The only time the guns were fired was when they proofed them to ensure that they worked properly  The proofing consisted of 3 shots fired - each shot at a different elevation and bearing. The No.1 gun was proofed on the 28th of June 1946 and the No.2 gun was proofed on the 26th of March 1947.   The only damage caused by the proofing was some broken windows at the fortress and in the suburb of Karori below.
         About 1950 the Fortress Battery was put into care and maintenance with crews from Fort Dorset visiting weekly or biweekly to service and maintain the guns and equipment.  In August 1957 the Army decided to decommission many of the coastal defence installations including the Wrights Hill Fortress Battery.
         During the summer of 1960/61 the guns were cut up for scrap and the Battery was stripped of nearly all of its equipment.  The scrap dealer was from Sydney, Australia and they were also responsible for the scrapping of guns at Palmer Heads and  Fort Dorset as well as those emplaced in Auckland and Christchurch.  Ironically the scrap metal salvaged from the batteries was sold to the Japanese. 
 The Post Office took over parts of the former defence occupied area and used it as a receiving station.  The Post Office was later split up into Telecom and N.Z. Post.  Telecom still has a small presence on Wrights Hill.  
          The Karori Lions cleaned up the inside of the Fortress Battery, and they opened it up for public viewing for the first time on ANZAC day 25th April 1989.  The Wrights Hill Fortress Restoration Society Inc. took over the custodianship of the fortress in 1992. The incorporated society's aims are "To restore and preserve the Wrights Hill Fortress as a historical monument for the benefit of the community."

Down in the tunnels

Map only viewable with graphics on