We're going to the zoo

Actually we've been. Yesterday we took Poppy to the zoo, we'd been looking forward to another trip and had been promising Rach and Russ that we would take Poppy out for a trip, so off we went.

Auckland Zoo is a great place to spend a day and is very popular. We've been before and Poppy has been loads of times, so she guided us round, telling us which way to go, what she wanted to see. So we found the hippo, the rhinos the baby giraffe and the tigers.

We had a great day, Poppy nearly lost me in the mercat tunnels (oh to be three again and not the old, fat woman I felt trying to keep up with her as she ran and I crawled) but we spent several hours walking around and enjoying the place, stopping at various points for snack as you do! She was very very well behaved so a trip to the shop for a wee gift was in order -  shut for stock taking, so another trip may be in order.

Winter Gardening

Tis a confusing place to live is Auckland. They tell me it's winter, it does feel a bit chilly in the mornings and we celebrated our midwinter solstice (with a very lovely roast pork and roast veggies, followed by trifle, fire in the garden and mulled wine), but my garden is clearly confused.
The growing has certainly slowed and I've noticed the change in seasons in that way, the carrots are growing at slow speed as opposed to springing up everywhere during the spring and summer. The raspberries have shrivelled, and I've cut them down (thinking about moving them round the corner to the sunnier spot very soon).
The squash I tried to grow failed early in it's life (going the same way as my courgettes I fear). The celery I planted hoping for a summer crop is just about ready now and rather tasty _ we had our first harvest - and a very good celery, mint, feta and tomato salad. This was especially good, as apart from the feta, everything came from the garden, grown and picked by my our fair hand. Helped on my a squeeze of lemon- my first picking from the tree!
The tomatoes are the odd ball, why, despite the death look of the plant are they still producing, ripening and tasting lovely. This is my no means a complaint, just a confusion to add to my strawberries!
The strawberries did great in the hanging basket, but I got greedy and when we moved in this house and I dug (well, that's a lie, Adam did the digging) a vegetable patch, I planted a whole host of strawberry plants. We got strawberries, but I'm not sure if the bugs got more than us. They were tasty but not as clear a success as the hanging basket the previous year. The joy of subtropical Auckland is that they still flower and I see a strawberry from time to time, always eaten by bugs at the moment I have to say. So a decision was made and a small shopping spree saw four hanging baskets and a bag of strawberry mix (you see why are the garden centres selling strawberry plants and strawberry mix) sitting happily in the garden where I had a great time replanting the plants and with Adams help of course, hanging them up. All looking rather great, and should be much easier in terms of picking (standing up instead of bending down).
And who would know that this is lemon season, my tree has at least 5 lemons looking great, I'm so delighted I'm off to buy another one.
As for other winter veg, carrots continue but I clearly need to ensure I plant seeds regularly if I want a constant crop - it pains me to buy a carrot having grown and tasted my own. Parsnips look more promising than last year, I had a dig and a peak to see if any where ready to go with out midwinter roast, they are there...they are small......so the way my garden seems to produce should be having them spring time I guess.
The rhubarb looks set to keep going forever, the blueberry plant has been re-homed in a half wine barrel, so hoping for a bigger crop next year

The Adventure of the Blowhole

Like my spelling my time keeping with this blog is never going to be accurate! Last weekend we took the van for a try at some winter camping. I packed a ridiculous amount of blankets, Adam brought a camping electric cable and a heater, as we'd not managed to find a gas heater for the van. We headed to Muriwai Beach, not that far from Auckland but a world away. I written about our visits before and it has been on our minds for while to spend a night in the motor camp here. We arrived Saturday afternoon, the rain had started in short downpours but stopped for us to walk the expansive beach in sunlight. Admiring the huge numbers of kite surfers and watching the sand kite thingies whizz past us.

We ate early and well and then stayed warm and snug as the wind and rain howled around us outside. It howled and blew, we rocked and swayed so put the roof down for the night and snuggled into the bed and blankets (we did use the heater to make sure it all worked but it really didn't get that cold).

We woke Sunday morning to blue skies, sunshine and a fresh calm day, we could see folks were already on the beach so off we went. A paddle and a stroll along the beach early morning is hard to beat it has to be said. We headed round to the rocks, meaning to walk up to the ganet colony, but were side tracked by the blowhole. Despite our numerous previous visits we've never ventured down to it. I am foremost a coward so why would I. Obviously today was the day, I braved the smooth wet rocks, the crashing waves and stood admiring the power of the sea and the beauty of the rocks. I did not get wet, but the same could not be said for Adam. I had then the title for my blog post, which had been playing on my mind over the trip but had not become more exciting than 'a nights camping'. So there you have it. Not really winter camping, but we mean to take the van out again over the midwinter solstice in a couple of weeks.


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