Tag Archives: Macadamia




The pomegranates we hoped to sample have burst.
Firmly secured to their bare branches,
they are still too high for us to reach.

Corpulent macadamia pods fatten ‘on the vine’.
Smooth brown nuts in moss green shells,
each day I gather them from the ground.

The last feijoas lie scattered, rotting away on the soggy earth.
More than one hundred have passed my lips this year.
They still taste sweet.

Across the road, black and white cows munch away on green grass;
One or two have lain down in the sun.
Beyond, the Kaipara is soft in shades of blue and grey.

Yesterday at dusk I heard the chirping of a cricket,
then a cold wind chased me indoors.
Surely June is too late for a cricket’s cry.

Jane Percival, 2015

September at South Head


Spring is finally here.  I can tell by the unsettled nature of the days.  One minute sunny, the next rainy, interspersed with strong winds from both the south and the north.  Today there is only a light breeze, however.

The new garden gate.
The new garden gate.

Garden Gate

Yesterday, Ben installed a wooden gate in the back fence, which means we can now easily walk through to the ‘wild’ area under the Lilly Pillies.  There is a pile of prunings over there that we can put through the shredder for mulch, and also cut up for kindling.  With the change in weather, more warmth in the sun, etc., I am keen to get out there and knock the garden into shape after the winter months.

Growing from Seed


I’ve been sowing seeds for my more tender crops indoors to get them started and have had a really good strike rate with tomatoes, especially.  But also with zucchini and buttercup squash.  I’ve transferred these wee babies to the barn to harden up a bit before planting out.

Fruit Trees

Blossom on the plum tree.
Blossom on the plum tree.

The first plum tree (the one with the dark red flesh) is a mass of white blossom, and I was pleased to note this morning that it’s being frequented by many bumble and honey bees.

The bumble bees are such great little insects for pollinating the fruit trees.  Season after season they are always there.  Sadly, honey bees are less common these days – I think this is a feature for many parts of the country, not to mention the more populated areas of our planet.  But seeing so many honey bees this early on in the season has made me optimistic for the rest of Spring and Summer.

The Macadamias are covered in buds.
The Macadamias are covered in buds.

The last few nuts are still dropping off our macadamia trees, but they are covered in blossom, too.  Again, they are buzzing with the busy little bee bodies.


And finally, it looks like we may get our first olives this year, as there are tiny buds appearing for the first time.

Vegetable Garden

A selection of the lettuces we have at the moment.
A selection of the lettuces we have at the moment.

In the vegetable garden we are eating our first asparagus, and are still inundated with lettuces.  The latter grow all year round and we never seem to keep up with eating them all.

We are getting to the end of our broccoli and cauliflowers – it will soon be too hot here for Brassica, anyway.

Rocket (Erica Sativa) in flower.
Rocket (Erica Sativa) in flower.

I’m allowing a couple of Rocket (Eruca Sativa) plants go to seed, the plan being to collect our own seed and use this for successive crops.  We’ll see, I may get fed up with them sprawling there amongst the ‘soon to be tidy’ (do you believe that?) garden.

A row of green peas.  (The messy leaves are from the Lilly Pillies - they are all through the garden).
A row of green peas. (The messy leaves are from the Lilly Pillies – they are all through the garden).

I’ve also sown two rows of green peas and these are looking great, as is the garlic I put in on the shortest day.  The strawberries are in flower and desperately need to be weeded.  Sadly, a row of Edamame beans I sowed a fortnight ago, have been chewed up by (most likely) slugs.  I had to put some bait out earlier – but I really do hate putting slug bait down in our garden.

Russian Kale in the foreground, with self-sown Dill to the left and Broad Beans behind.
Russian Kale in the foreground, with self-sown Dill to the left and Broad Beans behind.

The other plant successes in the vegetable garden are the Russian Kale  (this, thanks to my friend Maureen who provided me with seeds from her own garden) and the always reliable Broad Beans.  The latter are simply covered with their pretty white & black flowers at the moment.  I can’t wait until we can eat them!!

Early potatoes popping up through the soil.
Early potatoes popping up through the soil.

The early potatoes are up and will hopefully ready for Christmas.  2014 was such a bad season for potatoes… fingers crossed we’ll have more success this year.


The hens are still going well.  All seven of them.  (The three Red Shavers and four Orpingtons.)

We'd toyed with attaching a mobile phone to Lottie's back in order to track her using a phone app.
We’d toyed with attaching a mobile phone to Lottie’s back in order to track her using a phone app.

Lottie is still wandering, but now comes back, which is very odd.  We even installed a low fence along the front and edge of our property – these are the two places the hens can wander out – but Lottie just climbs over it.  She trots off along the newly-ploughed field adjacent to ours, following the fence-line next to the road, until she disappears out of sight.  Later in the day she is back – I never actually see her return, she’s just there.  I’d love to know where she goes and why.  She was missing for two or three months, before one day just turning up again.  Ben and I spend a good deal of time musing on this.


Nuts in June

The nuts are starting to drop from our macadamia trees.  I’ve collected over 100 in the past week, with more falling when it’s been breezy overnight.  Even our smallest tree is producing a few this year.  We still have a decent amount of nuts from 2012, which we’ll have to get through.  It just takes time to crack them but it’s something that can be done in the evening while watching TV.  Once they are shelled, I’ll be toasting them and then grinding them; mixed with a little sugar and coconut oil, they make a really yummy gluten-free, vegan crust for a dessert pie.

Bristly Ox-Tongue

I’ve finally managed to identify a weed we have on our property.  Helminthotheca ecioides, or Bristly Ox-tongue.  It was apparently naturalised in NZ in 1869.  It’s a horrible weed as it grows up with nasty hairy spikes on its stalk and leaves, and these can really hurt if you try to pull one out with bare hands.  We’ve mostly eradicated these from our property, but they still come up here and there.  This is one ugly weed.

The Prodigal Hen

Strangely, Lottie came back last Friday.  It was a rainy, squally day and I hadn’t been outside much, but when we checked the hen house after dark before closing the gate of their enclosure for the night, Lottie was sitting on the very top perch (having evicted Lulu and Leila) as if she had never been away. The poor Orpingtons had had to vacate the bottom perch and were sleeping together on the floor.  We were away overnight Saturday / Sunday and weren’t sure what we’d find when we came back on Sunday afternoon – I was very curious to see if Lottie was still at home, and if she was, what shape she was in.

When we arrived, Lottie, the two White Orpingtons (Francesca and Pearl), and one of the Black Orpingtons (Fatima) were nowhere to be seen.  Lulu, Leila and Hannah (the youngest Black Orpington) were pecking around the property in their usual fashion.  We called and called, at first to no avail.  Then the four wanderers appeared, casually walking back from across the road.  My heart sank at the thought that Lottie might start luring the other hens away during the day.  That night when we shut them into their enclosure, we wondered what would happen the following day.

As it turned out, as soon as I let them out on the Monday morning, Lottie strutted off at great speed, across the grass, past the garage, down the driveway and across the road.  She hadn’t even had the decency to lay an egg before leaving!  Fortunately the other hens didn’t notice her departure, so not one followed her.  She didn’t return on Monday evening, but to be honest, I wasn’t worried as my thoughts were that she was likely to cause more problems if she did come back permanently.

Then surprisingly, later on this afternoon, who should we see but Lottie making her way back home across the road.  Tonight she has been shut in a separate area of our enclosure, and I won’t be letting her out tomorrow.  We’re going to see if she copes with being kept shut in for a few days… it will be interesting to see if she lays an egg while she’s here.  When we checked her tonight, she was sleeping on the top perch of her house – all alone (of course).  At least she won’t be pecking and bossing the other hens around, and nor will she be leading them astray (tomorrow, at least).

Seasonal Fruit

We are still eating feijoas (although surely they will have all finished ripening, soon) and are starting on tamarillos.  There is a farm up the road that sells bags of the latter for $2.  These are so much nicer than any I have ever purchased from a store, and our own orange variety, ‘Tamarillo Bold Gold’ is also producing fruit for the first time.   The fruit is smaller than the reds, but very juicy and sweet.

The bananas look like they are starting to ripen.  They are certainly getting fatter and the top rows are definitely turning a lighter colour.  As these are the first bananas I’ve ever grown, I have no idea what to expect as far as time to maturity is concerned.

Our two young lime trees are a mass of flowers and small fruit.  Typically, a strong wind started blowing in today from the North West.  I’m hoping that it doesn’t inflict too much damage on the new growth.  The lemon trees also look to be producing buds, but not as energetically as the limes.

Garden Diary

It’s been wet off and on for over a week now.  We do get a degree of sunshine during most days, but then the clouds build up and it’s gloomy again.  I think this June our solar generation will be the lowest ever.  Thank goodness it’s not long until the shortest day.

In the vegetable garden, broad beans have come up, as has curly kale.  The Egyptian Walking Onions are looking good, as are our mixed lettuces, beetroot, rocket and radishes.

I don’t know why I grow radishes – probably because the variety I have sown, ‘Easter Egg’, is so pretty when they are small – white, pink, purple and red – but I tend not to eat them myself as they are too peppery for me.  And this from someone whose favourite chili is the Habanero. 🙂

Speaking of which, I am still picking habaneros, and our basil still hasn’t died off, although it’s getting a little straggly as I have omitted to keep up with removing the flower spikes.  I have had absolutely no luck with parsnip seeds this season – nor with leeks.  I’ve sown a couple of rows of each of these, but none have germinated.  Very annoying.