Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Living in the country, a day at the country fair

 This time of the year, October till December there are a lot of school fairs and country markets.
On Saturday Henk and I went to the Ngatimoti school fair not far from were we live.
The Ngatimoti school organizes this fair every year as a fund raising event and it is really successful.
On the way to the fair scarecrows were pointing us in the right direction, so we could't get lost.
I love country fairs, it is such a  part of the New Zealand culture and everyone is relaxed and families enjoy themselves.
One of the scare crows on the fair.
Of course there are always animals to admire and especially for the children.
But I must say, I love them too!
This little piglet was still bottle fed and so adorable!
So cute!

A pony with a pony tail!

Old fashioned toffee apples
Walking past all the stalls is enjoyable and to find the old fashioned toffee apples, very sweet, but a country treat and home baked cakes in different flavours and sizes.
Hard work!
The wood chopping and sheep shearing are always part of a country fair and we admired the wood chopper, not that young anymore, but coming second chopping through the log.
Very Kiwi!
I  loved the wool shed, very unique! We watched the sheep shearing and the fleece  of the Perindale sheep is a heavy fleece, but fine wool.
shearing in action
The Morris dancers were entertaining to watch. Morris dancing is an English folk dancing using sticks and wearing bell pads on the dancers shins. One of the dancers explained that during the Reformation in England this dancing was forbidden and if dancers were caught they could be hanged.
Mmmm, not a nice ending after a dance party!
Morris dancers
We had a nice morning at the Country fair and in the afternoon back to painting walls in the cottage.
No rest for the wicked!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Cottage in the country

Only one week ago we moved into our cottage in the country.
We have more then half an acre of garden with big trees and lots of scrubs, a small orchard, a garden pond and a paddock sloping down the hill.
The cottage and garden need a lot of T.LC (tender,love,care),but first the inside of the cottage.
This week the old carpet glued to the floor got removed by my loving husband with lots of sweat and afterwards sore hands and the carpet layer came and put new carpet down in the bedrooms.
I painted the inside of the wardrobes white and now the walls of the living areas will get a fresh coat of paint before the furniture is placed.

Spring blossom in the orchard
The grass of the lawns is very long so I opened the gate to the paddock and the sheep came to visit and checked the place out. Sadly after only two days they had enough and didn't return, so the lawnmower has to finish the job.
The neighbour sheep mulching away
The trees in the orchard will need a desperate prune in winter, because most trees have tangled branches and dead wood. I am very curious coming autumn how much fruit there will be. I spotted apple, almond, plum,fig,hazelnut,olive trees. Also red currant and blue berries and my favourite feijoa trees.

This one wasn't happy meeting me.
Today I weeded part of the vegetable plot, nicely covered by bird netting and planted tomatoes,lettuces and spinach seedlings.
Under the verandah I found different bottles of fertilizer,so I used the fish liquid fertilizer for my vegetable plants and pot plants on the decking.
Beautiful view from our deck over the hop fields.
After all the hard work nothing is better then sit in my swing seat with a coffee and carrot cake enjoying the view over the hop fields!
I am feeling blessed!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

'Super food' Dutch curly kale recipe

Its a funny idea that suddenly Curly Kale becomes a "super food" while growing up I have consumed Curly Kale since  I was a toddler and I am now 58 years old.
Curly Kale or called "boeren kool" translated "farmers cabbage", don't know why, is a staple food during winter time in the Netherlands.
The winters can be long and cold and not much grows in the bare soil over winter except curly kale and endive, also one of the healthy foods.
Curly Kale is packed with vitamin C and other goodies, so we eat this vegetable a lot during winter mashed raw with potatoes and bacon.
Isn't it great that my parents not only grew their own vegetables but also fed me this "super food" and they didn't knew then how much we now crave for all this amazing food been around for years.

Curly Kale growing in my garden bed
After picking the curly kale from the garden I mostly soak the leaves in cold salty water for a while, most bugs,like little snails, hate salty water so they pop up to the surface and I can get rid of unwanted extras. I don't spray, I rather put up with little bugs then chemicals on my vegetables.

Soaking in salty water to get the bugs out.
The winter in the Netherlands is cold and mostly this dish is served with extra protein, like sausages and bacon.
Frying the sausages and bacon.
 The bacon and the very fine cut raw Curly Kale are mashed through the cooked potatoes.

Steamed Curly Kale.
 My Curly Kale has been in the garden since autumn, because the flavour really intensifies and the leaves can get a bit tough, I steam the leaves for 3 min to soften. Also I remove the stalks.
Then I  mash the Curly Kale and bacon through potatoes and serve with sausages and applesauce. Yummy!
A plate with yummy food.