Garden, Soaps and Councils!

Things have been a little bit hectic around here and I have been popping in to have very quick reads of other blogs but I fear I am not keeping up to date, either with reading or posting.

The garden:

Is running riot and doing very nicely with not alot of help. Everything is planted but weeds at present are getting a little out of hand. Generally I do the front and Roger does the big garden but he has been so busy he hasn’t had time so this weekend hopefully we can catch up. The weather has been warm but really gusty, this time of year in our area it blows for a couple of months. The herbs are growing quickly and today I brought out the dehydrator for the first time of the season to dry some to keep them contained. The raspberries are ripening and about to be covered to protect from the birds. Everything else has fruited and it’s interesting to see the difference having the bees has made, we have fruit on trees that haven’t fruited before!

Look at the size of these broccolli!

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This afternoon I am going to pick what looks to be hundreds of broad (fava) beans, pod and freeze them. Everything else is fruiting and flowering despite us πŸ™‚

We took trays out of the beehive last week absolutely full of honey but have no idea how we are going to harvest the honey. Roger tried to make a homemade spinny thing but it didn’t work so we froze the trays after googling to see if we could. You can see it here going into the contraption, and spinning but it didn’t have enough speed.IMG_4221IMG_4222

I did do one slowly in the oven and got 500 g but some was wasted so I think we will hire an extractor from the local beekeepers club.

Soaps etc:

I did my first market two weeks ago and really enjoyed it. My friend came too and also my granddaughter came to help.

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That is me squinting into the sun while my sun took a photo, it’s awful πŸ™‚ I have been busy making more to be ready before Christmas but they still have at least two weeks to cure. We were supposed to go again tomorrow but rain is forecast. A problem with being 28 km away from the market and reliant on Roger taking tables in for me in the truck means I can’t get there every week because he has other things going on. We had alot of fun but you need to get there at 6 am to get a space, it was a long morning by 12.30.

Councils!

I don’t think I have ever mentioned we have very poor drinking water here. We drink it from the tap during summer if no rain but in winter it is filthy, we need to go to the school and fill up bottles. It’s disgusting. The government have passed a law to say everywhere in NZ must have safe water systems in place by 2016 so our council are now required to do something about it. Roger was asked if he would go on the town representative committee to assist the council in coming up with a decent option for us, he said yes and has been run off his feet the last 2 months as they put together an application for a government subsidy to help “us” pay for it. It seems the council expect the town ratepayers to pay a large amount of the cost for whatever system we end up though they will loan the town the money at 7% interest over 20 years. So, if we get the subsidy we can expect to pay an extra $700 a year on top of the $800 it already costs us for our water rates, if we don’t it will cost everyone an extra $56 a week for drinkable water. We will be drinking the most expensive water in the country someone said.

There is no way the community will accept that happily (including us) so I really don’t know what will happen over the next year or so except it is taking up an awful lot of Roger’s time. I don’t know what happens in other small towns but I think it’s shocking. Our town rates 8.5 on a deprivation scale (out of 10) for the country, there is no money here. There’s alot of concern from everyone, alot of anger expressed at the last town meeting, it’s all quite yuk.

Other than that life is OK and plodding racing away πŸ™‚

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41 thoughts on “Garden, Soaps and Councils!

  1. A good update. Don’t worry about keeping up. We bloggers will keep plodding along. πŸ™‚ If you can’t figure out what to do with those honey trays, just ship them to me. How hefty could the postage be? πŸ™‚ And the broccoli… I initially thought they were soap florets!

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  2. How exciting you + your granddaughter-) You all look great+ I like how you set it all upI am so excited for you. I finally opened my package:-) PERFECTI want to take a picture of it in the morning—too pretty:-) and the scent-amazing! I want to get some for my family , so I’ll do that soon.
    I have no doubt that selling at market is a long day. We have an indoor and outdoor here which runs year round. Some Sellers stay outside until they are unable to tolerate the cold. Others rent a booth inside.I can see it is not an easy job.They have to arrive early as you + they don’t get done till noon. Those tables + tents and products are not easy to unload. Some travel several hours to our market, if they farm on the outskirts of the city.A long hard day. Shoot long day farming,too!
    Drinking water is so important-I hope you get that solved soon. I remember when we lived a few towns over and the water was HORRIBLE. It tasted so badly that I was grateful when we moved in town. I do have bottled water from a natural spring which I have been drinking for years. Some of our water has issues, too. But nothing like your situation.
    You take care + keep us updated on your business…I am in for the winter now—too cold out there to do much. I did harvest some greens for dinner tonight but they are getting scarce out there! brrrrrrr…..I am inside making plans for next years garden.

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    • Yes, I see on the news how cold it is over there right now and the terrible snow in NY! Poor people!

      Pleased you liked your things Robbie πŸ™‚

      Markets are feel good places and very social so I did enjoy it but I was so weary in the afternoon I had to have a nap! But yes, a Farmer’s Market would take a good deal more work, they have to harvest everything before they set off all that way and unload – would be hard.

      The water thing will take a couple of years to finally have something up and running…just an ongoing saga right now.

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      • also your bees-how exciting! My friends has a few hives but the bees kept leaving so they had to give them up. The honey they harvest we enjoyed-YUM…nothing like local honey+ even better when your own:-)
        Oh I have no doubt you are tired, too. You make all the stuff you sell-that is a A LOT of work+ you grow a lot of your food + cook +++LOL….hang in there , I feel you will be a big success!

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      • I can relate to this comment—-I find it especially when I take care of my 1 year old grandson! I am tiredzzzz-lol:-)
        How do older mothers do it???

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      • Lol, I am like that when I have my granddaughter too πŸ™‚ I don’t know how older mother’s do it but I also seriously don’t know how grandparents cope when they have to raise their grandchildren. You would do it in a heartbeat if you needed to but man it must be hard.

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      • one last comment- I was thinking my last teenager was done when I was 50 he went off to college! My mother was done by the time she turned 40 —but our generation had our kids later + boy am I glad, I did not go any later:-) Some people waited until 40 to start a family-YIKES!
        I admire the fact you included your granddaughter for you are teaching her about making a living + being resourceful:-) priceless!
        Well, over the bridge I go today—brrrr…it is cold out there today-you have a great day/night:-)

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  3. Broccoli, honey, herbs drying, council issues – local politics are guaranteed to be unpleasant affairs. And all the gorgeous soap and etc making, selling, sharing! What a wonderfully diverse and interesting life you are having. Choose which bits to put your attention into and let the rest go – it will all sort itself out. I still can’t get over the size of the broccoli heads – mine aren’t doing anything yet! You guys have green fingers to go with all your other talents xoxo

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    • They are huge ay! Yes, local politics are guaranteed to be unpleasant and yes, things will sort themselves out πŸ™‚

      I must tell you Pauline, Mittens has learnt to open the front door all by himself, to get both in and out. He has just been doing it the past week. We have a shoelace hanging from the key and he puts his paw through the loop, pulls the handle latch down with his other paw then pulls the key cord to open it. He’s a clever cat!!

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  4. That’s terrible about the water. I wish you every luck with getting it sorted. I have a friend who only drinks water he has collected when at home – he coarsely filters it from the roof (stores it in a regularly-cleaned water butt) and then passes it through a ceramic filtration unit. Sounds like your tap water needs the same treatment!

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    • Yes, that would be a good idea for winter, through summer we wouldn’t get enough. My husband balks at doing something like that though and I don’t know why, I have asked him before about collecting the grey water for the garden as we have to pay for water and he is very resistant – maybe if I harp enough I can get him to research it at least. I am not sure if he feels he can’t figure it out or what….!

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  5. Lovely post. Have you tried warming up the room in which you are doing the honey extraction? Folks in our local beekeeper’s club will sometimes place space heaters in the same room when extracting. It helps the honey flow more easily from from the frame. (We do our extraction in our room with the house boiler and it really does help). Did you sell lots of soap at market? Looks like you had a great day for it.

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    • No, we didn’t try that. We did it outside on a very warm day but we will give that a go, thanks for that – we did think it should’ve worked.

      Yes, I sold quite a bit, was very happy with the day πŸ™‚ And I learnt alot….like I like herbal soaps myself, they don’t need to smell just feel nice, but the majority look at it first then sniff it and buy it if it smells nice. So, have had to make alot more scented ones πŸ™‚

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    • πŸ™‚ I have no idea! We have had plenty of broccoli that have straight to seed, our last lot did and we have had others that have been pretty average, these just grew perfectly and all we can put it down to is that it was a good season to grow broccoli this Spring.

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  6. I have been meaning to stop by so often as I see your comments on the few other blogs I follow. I have to thank you for following and I will be doing the same. I’m finally getting to where the brain is relaxed enough to read more and more. I took a peak at your store and saw you had some of Pauline”s note cards. I saw all your salves and such on Lois’s blog, the Eco Grandma. As soon as I get back home and catch my breath, I’ll take another look. I understand about the water problem. My son’s water here in Southern California has a horrible smell to it and he has placed a filter under the sink at great expense for drinking water. There may come a time when wars are fought over water as they have been over oil. I sure don’t want to be around to see that. It seems most everywhere we still have to filter our tap water and most of the lakes are running low or dry. I admire your husband for at least trying to help. Politics are a difficult business. Your veggies look wonderful.

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    • πŸ™‚ I have been meaning to drop by your blog as well as I see your comments on others too πŸ™‚
      You would think basic, decent drinking water would be a right in developed countries where people pay alot of council rates, wouldn’t you? Our council has just built a $20 million down hall so people can go and watch shows but us, in an outlying area don’t even have decent water. Such are their priorities. My husband always says that, that wars will be fought over water. I don’t know why more money isn’t being put into developing decellinisation (sp) plants especially with the water levels going up. No-one who should thinks of the future.
      My late husband got Bell’s Palsy for 6 months or so and I feel for you, it’s a most uncomfortable condition in many ways. I hope it heals and liked that you mentioned Louise Hay as I have also used her books when ill. Best wishes to you.

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  7. Eibhlin says:

    Love your blog. Hope the soap venture is a great success!

    Here in the Republic of Ireland there are protests right across the country about the government trying to impose extra charges for water.

    All the best
    Eibhlin

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    • Oh really?! I think it’s disgusting! It may well cost a council alot of money for upkeep of water systems but it’s a basic right and our rates should pay for it. Councils spend so much on unnecessary things…pretty parks, murals etc are all very nice but they aren’t basic needs, that should be among the first of priorities when allocating what spending goes where. Grrr!

      And thank you very much πŸ™‚ All the best to you also!

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  8. Wendy your garden produce is looking great.. Its good to know our gardens keep on doing their own thing without us.. πŸ™‚ And that honey looks yummy, I hope you sort out a way to extract it, you don’t need to waist a drop of it.. ..

    You are looking good set up on your Market stall.. I saw the parcel too you sent to our mutual friend Lois.. just in time for her wounded finger!… Perfect timing of arrival! πŸ™‚ with your Wound Slave..

    As for Roger, seems since he has allowed the Flow to FLOW in the Universe he has never been busier lol..
    I didn’t know that about your Drinking water situation.. I hope a suitable solution with the minimum of costs involved can be found..

    Here in the UK we pay nearly Β£400 per year for Water rates, and then we have the council rates on top of that which is Β£ 1,300 per year.. and they keep going up and up..

    So I don’t know what that converts to in your Dollars $..

    Wishing you well Wendy with all your soaps sales, and hope you get plenty of dry sunny days when Roger is Free to drive you and your crafts to the Market days..

    Love and Blessings
    Sue xxx

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    • Hi Sue, I haven’t caught up with you for ages!

      Your rates are far higher than ours, that’s terrible! The water is about the same as $400 of our rates are water then it’s metered on top of that to around another $400. I think we are still around $2 = 1 pound.

      Yes, Roger does live in the Flow and has never been busier πŸ™‚ He has ended up working 4 or 5 days a week instead of the three but at least that’s his choice.

      Harvesting the first of the raspberries today and that is always a reminder that we need to get our act together before everything starts coming in lol

      Now, I am heading over to see what you have been up to πŸ™‚

      Take care xxxx

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      • The raspberries Wendy were still on the bushes the second week of November, but we left them for the birds, as I have been overrun with freezing them.. And will make Jam with some of them throughout the winter..
        I made lots of Blackberry Jam though which I gave away loads and they all came back for more πŸ™‚
        I know by the end of Autumn I was sick of seeing raspberries lol.. but that’s how it goes, a glut and they all come at once..
        Hubby as now pruned and tied up for next year..
        Keep in the Flow, both of you.. πŸ™‚
        Love back.. ❀
        Sue

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      • πŸ™‚ We were on our second to last bag of frozen berries and have had them all year in our morning smoothies so are pretty pleased they lasted that long. We just freeze right through the season and the berries I don’t mind but yes, I hear you…some things you just can’t be bothered picking anymore, you’re just over it lol.
        Aye, you too Sue πŸ™‚

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  9. look at that lovely table of soaps! It’s a shame you have to travel so far to the market. Maybe you could set something up near your house, (front yard?) and invite others to join you?

    Your garden is thriving by the looks of the broccoli. It’s winter here so all I have is food I’ve put up, nothing fresh at the moment.

    I am shocked by your water quality! My water bill will work out to around $400 a year but if you count in the sewage costs it’s double that amount but at least I know my water, while not perfect, is at least safe to drink. I do filter it with a gravity fed charcoal filter system because I like my water to taste better than regular tap. Good luck with the council.

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    • Hi Lois πŸ™‚ Someone has apparently started a local one with only one stall, but once a month, I am thinking of joining her. Also or local information office has local crafts on commission so I am taking some down tomorrow.

      We do need a water filter system, that may just be the next purchase….the new system (whichever they go with) won’t be up and running for at least two years.

      The garden is going great, we have already picked around 7 kg of raspberries in 3 picks so it will be a good season for them.

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