The last weeks of autumn

It’s nearly officially winter but we have been experiencing some beautiful weather still. The Awatere Valley is beautiful in all it’s golden autumn spendor, the vineyards will soon be bare, the garden will soon just be bog but for now everything is just lovely. These two photos are of each end of our street.

The view at the end of one end of our street. I don't know if this photo shows very well the old Seddon Flax Mill built during WW2, in anticipation of needing to produce our own fibres. It was used but not for long.

The view at the end of one end of our street. I don’t know if this photo shows very well the old Seddon Flax Mill built during WW2, in anticipation of needing to produce our own fibres. It was used but not for long

Looking down our little street, you can see Roger's dead blue truck parked outside our place

Looking down our little street, you can see Roger’s dead blue truck parked outside our place, it’s next to the cream house on the corner

Roger has been tidying up the garden, pruning back all the fruit trees, berry bushes and boundary trees. I took this last weekend, he is in there somewhere. all of this along with all the others has been stacked into huge heaps, sorted into firewood, long straight branches to use for staking etc, all the finer stuff put onto next seasons garden spaces, it will kill all the weeds and shed its leaves directly onto the soil which he will then dig in. What remains to be burned will be done at the end of winter.DSC02271

I sit on a little step out the front on a nice morning to have my coffee. Everything is dying off but still a nice place to enjoy. This, down the front of the house, is the feeder trough we took out of the old shearing shed that was being pulled down. We grew strawberries in it.DSC02281We have heaps of Chillis growing in the glasshouse and I need to make more Chilli Sauce, I have made two batches so far and not liked either so if anyone has a tried and true recipe for Sweet Chilli sauce they would like to share….?


Feijoas and Figs are still coming thick and fast. Most have been frozen but I have made lots of Feijoa and Walnut cakes, Feijoa and Fig crumbles and a large quantity of Feijoa Wine, which at this stage taste more like a cider than a wine – and a wickedly potent one at that! The Feijoas have been huge this year.DSC02246One of my readers and dear friend Linne (A Random Harvest) recently sent me money to buy stock to raffle for the people of Vanuatu, recovering from their cyclone. It raised $160 which was awesome, thank you so much Linne. Another here, who I feel would rather remain nameless, gave a very generous donation to a fund for them and I thank her on behalf of our friends there xx you lovely ladies.

DSC02222When I do my wrappings I make alot of mistakes and have been frustrated at the waste involved so decided to try and recycle those mistakes. My first effort at handmade paper drying in the sun, it has dried Calendula petals and Lemon Verbena in it. I wanted to experiment with something I have plenty of before I use precious Rose petals etc….I need lots of practice!


Other than that I am still busy making soap etc, seeing to Freeconomy which now has nearly 750 members, still drying herbs and flowers and working a little. We have had another spate of quakes so all our stuff has been taken down and lies around the outsides of the rooms, the house looks a mess but better than risking losing everything again. My heart goes out to the people of Nepal who have lived with such terror and lost so much, I can’t imagine what life is like for them these past few weeks!

I almost forgot to say – tomorrow Syd starts his new job as a rest home visitor, a petting dog. I am hoping we both enjoy it!IMG_3178

27 thoughts on “The last weeks of autumn

  1. Good to hear from your corner of the world again Wendy, you sound very busy and I am especially pleased to hear that Syd is being gainfully employed – makes me wonder if I could send Siddy off to earn his keep πŸ™‚ I am a little envious of your beautiful country setting! We have enjoyed a lovely long autumn this year too – but the temps have dropped with cold southerlies making themselves felt despite blue skies and sunshine over the past two or three days – I guess the inevitable is imminent!


    • Yes, even today with is beautifully clear is very cold and we have had the fire going for weeks now in the evenings. We had a lovely elderly woman brought out a few weeks back by her daughter to visit him – Mum has dementia and I had mentioned I had thought of taking Syd to a rest home as he loves cuddles. Mum kissed, cuddled, squeezed, pulled his face, did all sorts and he just sat and gently let her – we will give him a go. They would love snuggly Siddy!!

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  2. I raise a glass of feijoa wine to you, even though I haven’t got any; wine that is. We still have plenty of feijoas to eat as fresh fruit. So much productivity happening at your place. Wonderful. And it will be lovely to hear how Syd gets on. I am sure he will be splendid.

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  3. Autumn is absolutely, positively the very BEST season I think. The heat of summer has gone and settled into a sort of cool sunny routine where you get “some” rain but not enough to dampen your spirit. It’s amazing to walk the dog wearing gloves and a scarf, to smell that incredible damp and bracing air, and to just simply be alive. I LOVE this post. Your garden is amazing, your ethos, equally amazing. Sid is AMAZING and you are doing the right thing. Just read a blog post about how the internet is taking over our lives and we are losing the real things in our need to be constantly online. It’s true! I was only saying to Steve the other day about how downhill Serendipity Farm has gone and while I was thinking about it today, I realised that the downward spiral is directly in relation to how much time we are both spending (voluntarily and through studies) online. Time to work out some strategies methinks. Your strategies are apparently going really well. Try making chilli and capsicum jam, it’s gorgeous πŸ™‚


    • Oooh yum, that sounds nice, will do! I love Autumn too Fran, I love the colours and the feel of it. I can find the internet compulsive viewing but I find a direct correlation between the time I spend on it and the size of my backside lol. Syd did not like the rest home, the minute we go inside he became fractious and wanted to leave again so his big first day turned into a quick 10 minute visit unfortunately. No idea why because that isn’t like him.

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      • I am guessing there was too much going on, or there was some negative/bad energy. Dogs are able to pick up things and perhaps he got a bit nervous about all of those people or maybe even the dog version of stage fright ;). Maybe start him off just visiting a single person. Our boys would be AWFUL! I am covering my eyes just sitting here thinking about it (and they are safely upside down in bed with Steve as I type this!) They would leap all over everyone and knock everyone down in their excitement to “visit” doesn’t even bear thinking about! I pulled out a doona cover from the cupboard the other day and wondered why it smelled so delicious. I had put a bar of your gorgeous soap in with it and now I get to smell that lovely fragrance as I am drifting off to sleep :).

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      • Yeah, we just visited one elderly woman and then he got a few cuddles on the way out but he was really scitterish as soon as we entered. I dislike the feeling of rest homes so….! What should feel like peaceful havens never does. Oh, nice you still get to smell the soap πŸ™‚

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  4. I have no idea what feijoa’s are?? I’m assuming, some kind of fruit. You are going into winter, we are headed for a VERY hot summer. I do not do well in heat. But I love the gardening part. Your place looks so lovely and inviting. We seem to be getting major quakes everywhere these days. Been through a few bad quakes myself and not a fan. So you have a Siddy too? Pauline’s has a little one. That picture is priceless. Dogs are instinctive creatures and know about people more than we realize. He will do well visiting the seniors. I look actively for my doggy fix since I no longer have one. If I could find a shelter close enough to drive to, I would volunteer. Still looking.


    • I love dogs RT, they are beautiful creatures. Syd did not like the rest home, he liked getting petted but didn’t like being in there. He is very intuitive and is very empathetic if we are sick or worried so am thinking maybe the energy just felt wrong for him. The quakes everywhere are scary and we have never seen a period like this, ever since the bad ones in japan and here in Christchurch it’s just been rattling away…makes me rather anxious.Yes, feijoas are fruit and often called pineapple guavas in other countries, they are delicious. Enjoy your summer garden πŸ™‚


      • I’d bet it was the smell in the nursing home he didn’t like. I don’t like it either. If he were visiting them outside, he would be better. I’ve know dogs that I swear were psychic. They know things we don’t and I trust them implicitly. I’ll keep good thoughts for you with the earthquakes. I like them least of all catastrophes. I’ve been though most of them. Not experienced a volcanic eruption yet. πŸ™‚


  5. Yes, I would agree there Marlene, I don’t like the smell either. Syd is very intuitive, he also talks but generally just in the car. He sounds like Scooby Doo and says Hello, Where are we going? Ok, Oh, and he is learning to say in his very soft voice I love you. Lol. He’s a darling. I have yet to experience terrible flooding or a tornado, the thought of each makes me appreciate that I have only really experienced quakes!!


  6. Hi Wendy!!!That is me jumping up and down excited to see you posting. I have missed seeing your posts. I have been weeding and weeding and weeding…get the drift:-) lol. I have not even posted in two weeks. I am grateful for all the rains for weeding is so much easier when they just slip out of the soil:-) I have been planting and getting everything done. I finally cleaned the inside this weekend. I have a few more garden beds to plant/weed and then I get to sit back and enjoy the show:-)
    Your photos of your valley are stunning! what a beautiful place you live in and I blew them up to see them a bit closer. You really do live in a paradise. Your gardens are inviting:-) It does remind me a bit of California /Nevada Mountians where my cousins live in USA.
    I am so sorry about earthquakes ( poor people in Nepal). I remember the first few months I was visiting your blog, you posted pictures of all your broken dishes. It was startling. We had sirens going off last night for tornados but we get a warning…an earthquake just happens…no warning for those people.
    I love making paper, I have not done it in a few years but what a great project. It makes me feel like a kid playing outisde! well, we had rain all weekend, so finishing weeding this week:-)


    • Oh, you sound busy, busy πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Our house tends to get a bit neglected in summer lol. That is the scary thing about earthquakes, they just hit with no warning and you have no idea how big it will be – just a flutter or one that will bring down your house. It’s the unpredictability that gets me. YES, we do live in paradise Robbie πŸ™‚ I didn’t think so when our neighbours were yuck but they moved on and all is peaceful again, it’s very beautiful here in autumn and summer. I will try the paper again, wasn’t very happy with my first attempt πŸ™‚ Stay safe with those wretched tornadoes!

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  7. Wendy I can see you have been very busy, and loved the photo’s I enlarged them on my screen.. The paper making is awesome and those figs.. πŸ™‚ look yum.. I have to say I am not a chilli person,, I add chilli flakes very sparingly πŸ˜‰
    Oh and what a lovely job for Syd.. πŸ™‚ the rest home will not want him to leave..
    Wonderful results for the fundraising too Well done.. and thanks sent to Linne..

    I hope your Winter is kind.. And sending lots of love from a rainy day here today… But I have been enjoying lots of Sun this week and lots of relaxation time..

    Hugs your way Wendy.. Love Sue xox


    • Hi Sue πŸ™‚ Syd did not work out at the rest home, he got jittery the minute we walked into it, very unlike him. We have had freezing nights but lovely days still mostly, a lovely autumn. Plenty of relaxing by the fire this past few weeks and enjoying a new puppy πŸ™‚ Hope your garden is productive this year, I am soooo behind in my reading Sue but will catch up soon. Love to you πŸ™‚ xx

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