Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Christmas Angel
We have just had a German HelpXchange couple stay with us for a week.  What a pleasure!  They painted the house, pimped my car, taught Shayni about what's under the hood of her little Jellybean car, made a meal, cut my hair, helped in the kitchen and weeded the garden.  Yup, all in a week.   A dynamo duo!  And they were just great company!  We laughed together and made great cross-cultural jokes we could both relate to.  We were sad to see them go.   One of Daniel's jobs was dismantling an old wooden kiwifruit bin veg-bed.  As he did the job, he was discovering potatoes in the soil.  So when he yelled out "Look what I found!", I expected to find a humungous potato but instead, there was a hedgehog mama and her 4 little babies curled up under the base of the veg bed.
A stash of hedgehogs

Trying to curl up

Squirming out of Mike's grasp

Little baby opens his eyes
What a prickly situation!!  Amelie and I set about immediately making a hedgie-house out of wood, into which we carefully placed mama and baba hedgies.  Then we set them up in a corner of the garden to snooze the rest of the day away.  Mid afternoon, we spied mama hedgehog wandering around the garden, looking for a safe space for her little spikey family - I don't think she quite like the new house we had made.  I fretted for them, wondering if they would make it.  But the next morning revealed a heap of snail shells dotted around the garden - evidence of their midnight snack foray.  They must have found a new, safer place to sleep as the house we made was empty.  What joy and bliss.  A little wildlife in our garden sanctuary.

Verocious Snail Eating Machines
So our week together with Daniel and Amelie flew by and before we were ready, we were bidding them farewell.  The down-side of opening up your home and hearts to travelers, is that eventually, they must resume their travels and you have to say good-bye.  While I was busy making a  recycled document pouch for them, they were secretly banging away in the garden shed, creating a beautiful wooden bird house for us.  It has opening doors to remove the old nest from one family so that the next spring, another family can move in!  What a wonderful gift!
Daniel and Amelie's Creative Bird-house

Garden art.  Some old tiles I framed for effect.
The garden is looking spectacular.  And spectacularly overgrown!  The underplanting of German Chammomile is spent and due for some serious clean up.  The persistent rains that normally bless all those living at the foot of the Kaimais has made for a burst of growth, not only in the good plants department, but also the weed department!!  Given that I am on glorious home holiday for the next 4 weeks, I will tackle one area, one wheelbarrow at a time.

Bloomin' Lovely Sunflowers!
My dearly beloved sister and I have a little ritual we developed of leaving singing telegrams on each other's answer phones.  The last one she left went like this: "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...."  I did berate her for an entirely unsuitable message for vegetarians...... "couldn't you have transposed carrots for the goose??"  I cheekily asked.  Way more appropriate, don't you think??  Think of the millions of animals all around the world that are slaughtered so we can celebrate the traditional Christmas banquet meal!  So we can feast, feast, feast on rare Who Beast!  (words of Dr. Seuss in How the Grinch stole Christmas).
The culling in our backyard includes some darn fine berry, berry delicious fare!  Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  Yum!
Christmas is coming, the grapes are getting fat....

Ballerina fuschias

Our Christmas celebration was stretched over a night and day.  As our son and his girlfriend were here for 2 days, we put some Christmas music on and opened some of our presents by candle-light at about 10pm on Christmas eve.  We had Rooibos Chai and chocolate slice before bed at mid-night.  Then this morning, we opened up the last ones under the tree before they had to head on off to meet with his girlfriend's family for lunch.  A great time was had by all, precious time of connectedness for families all around the globe.  Every family has their own traditions, we may just be creating new ones to fit our changing family situation.  Our children's gifts to us were thoughtful, generous and surprising!
Christmas meal fare from the garden: rhubarb, green beans, lemons, leeks, radishes, silverbeet and some flowers for the centre-piece.

Home-made Bird anti-theft device on ripe strawberries 

Be-jewelled harvest - potatoes, beans and berries

Interesting hydrangeas or Christmas flowers

So whatever your table spread, may y'all have a very Merry Christmas.  May your hearts be filled with joy, love and peace.  May your bellies be adequately full and may your dishes all be done!  And to one and all, a Good night!

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