Sunday, February 27, 2011

Be Prepared!!

The devastating Christchurch earthquake last week was a reality check as to why we need to have emergency survival plans in place.  Fortunately we discussed this as our January street meeting where we talked about water supplies, food, portable cooking equipment, generators, batteries and generally "who's got what" and would that be enough to sustain us all for a few days until, say, utilities were restored. 

As a follow up action, the Street Mayor asked us to update the Inventory List.  The Kapiti Observer published a very handy "BE PREPARED" list this week so at our goal is that at our next street meeting let's ensure the Inventory List has been updated and that we comply with the recommended emergency list of equpment. 

And it's probably a good idea to have the supplies in a couple of locations just in case you can't access parts of the property.

And, just as importantly, talk to your children about how to keep safe and how to make contact in the event of an emergency.  (See

Here's the list:

  • 3 litres of water per person, for 3 days (you can add bleach to tank water if needs be)
  • Food to last for 3 days
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Transister radio and spare batteries
  • First aid kit
  • A barbeque or portable cooker
  • Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Pet supplies
  • Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for an emergency toilet
  • Face and dust masks

Monday, February 14, 2011

Standard Composting Bins

During our recent bottle crushing effort, where there was a good view of our backyard, comments were made about the compost bins, and a general discussion on the benefits of gardeners doing their own composting took place.

I decided to place this article on our blogsite in order to pass on to our own street my experience/advise on this subject, albeit we do have quite a number of our members who compost as a matter of course.

The old style methods of composting taught by our parents and grandparents still stand the test of time, and what I learned as a boy has stayed with me all my life.

You can see from the photographs, our double type compost bins, constructed of wood and cut to join into each other, to make it simple to raise or lower the bin as required, and to shift over to a new bin when your compost can be transferred. Composting is so simple it is just a natural process. All your kitchen and garden waste, your hedge trimmings cuttings, lawn clippings, newspaper. Anything that has a cellulose base.

All that is needed are clippers or loppers for larger stuff, and a slasher to cut up vegetable waste. Interlay with newspapers, coffee grounds, soil and keep covered to produce the heat. You will soon produce beautiful black soil full of worms, a joy to behold.

These bins are very easy to construct, and you are guaranteed to produce magnificent soil from your waste.

Also pictured another very old one. The old rubbish tin, with the sack full of horse manure topped up with water, makes the best liquid manure, another simple one. The liquid should be approximately the colour of weak tea, when used, (by topping up the bin).

Coffee grounds spread amongst your garden vegetables, (or flowers) contain heaps of nutrients sweetening the soil. There are any number of gardening books that contain information and guide lines on composting, including designs on how to build.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Macadamia Nut Harvest

Sunday 16 January was designated as a Street Harvet Day.  It was our first organised project for 2011 and on the basis of "many hands make light work" the focus was on harvesting macadamia nuts and our seedling project.  The Street Mayor allocated the ladies to the Macadamia Harvest and the men to pot seedlings.

Fortunately we only had two trees to harvest but they were quite substantial and were laden with nuts.  So armed with gardening gloves, poles, loppers and a gardening ladder we set to work and quickly organised ourselves to the tasks.  We were helped along by the arrival of Terry who scampered up the tree and dealt to the higher nuts.  And with one tree harvested we downed tools for lunch.

This was, of course, a barbeque and the produce was mostly grown or reared in the street.  The Mayor took the opportunity to hold an informal meeting and then we rallied up more energy and harvested the second tree (men included this time!!)

I can report that we got 17.6kg of nuts from the first tree and 11.5kg from the second tree - dehusked, bagged and now drying - and these will be distributed in a few months' time. 

Thank you to all who helped!

Sustainable delivery !!

Didnt get a pic so have come up with an old one to give you an idea. Just collected pears scraps from Sheila for the pigs with pony, the gig and Wyeth and delivered back a cauliflour !!

Was fun and Wyeth loved it.
The Yummiest and Easiest Fruit Cake recipe

Set fan bake oven to 150 celcius


300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
200g brown sugar
100g white sugar
dash of vanilla essense (optional)
500g Sultanas
250g butter chopped up small

Place dry ingreds in bowl - Mix

Place eggs, sugar, and vanilla essense in another bowl . Beat with egg beater.

Cover sultanas with water and boil for 10 mins - Drain
Melt in butter
Add to sugar/egg mix.

Fold in dry ingreds gently with knife

Pour into baking paper lined cake tin

Bake for 55 mins.

Wyeths Garden

Wyeths Garden January 2011. Having been given child sized shovel, rake and broom for Christmas obviously the logical progression was a garden for him.
Learning about gardens from a young age has got to be good !! And Mum needs to learn too !!
We planted beans, peas, carrots, corn and spinach. Looking good a month down the track but no luck on the spinach. Anyone know how long it takes to come up ???
Wyeth takes alot of interest and how its developing and cant wait for the corn - Yum Yum. With all the rain we are having, lack of watering on my part hasnt caused a problem - Yet !! haha

Ruth to the Rescue

I have a little problem with aphids on my lettuces.  I don't worry about them in the garden - hoping my companion planting will do the trick - but when I open my fridge door and aphids fly out, it does make me wonder just how vegetarian my salads are!

I don't like to use too much water in the rinsing process so was interested to read Ruth Pretty's advice in the DomPost a couple of weeks ago.  She said to add quarter of a teaspoon of white vinegar to the rinsing water.  So this weekend I put it to the test.

I had washed the lettuce as thoroughly as I usually do and just before pulling the plug I remembered the vinegar and gave it a go.  (And I just happen to have some because I bought it for making my own cleaning products.) Horror of horrors!  You would not believe how many aphids floated to the surface - and a slug.  Well that has me sold.  Thank you Ruth.  Now we really can enjoy vegetarian salads!!