Finally we’ve had some rain, enough to make  the gardens breath a sigh of relief & us with it. It’s amazing how centralised the rain has been over the last few weeks, we had reports of heavy downpours both sides of Pukehou some days, but not a drop would arrive here.

So far the total for April is 45ml which is not a huge amount but enough to make the grass grow & keep our sheep happy, we’ve been pruning back the willows & orchard every few days to keep them fed. That has been a good system as we have managed to prune quite a few trees in the process. A couple of our native trees have died & the garden looks decidedly ragged but it will all bounce back again.

I love the Autumn, I feel like it’s a perfect time to tackle all those tidying up jobs that have been looking at me accusingly during the hot, dry days of Summer. Time to prune, dig out Blackberries, re-plan the herb & vege gardens. This year we are putting in a new water pump that runs on petrol, Geoff had a brainwave to do this. For ages we have had a pump on mains supply, but because it’s near the road we’ve been paying a separate supply charge for it, talk about slow on the uptake…actually that’s an appropriate pun. We only use the pump in dry periods to top up our house supply & water the grounds, drawing water from our creek, so this new set up will be perfect. I think we got hung up on using our existing pump & getting a generator, or running a cable from the house, which is already at the upper end of power supply.

Didgit 15weeks Rif & Didgit

We’ve been using our still to make hydrosols, specifically Lemon Balm & Bay for Rifkin, our dog. I don’t know if you read that she was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph glands, last July. She had a big lump on her neck that grew fast, & we only expected to have her for a few months. We’ve been putting the hydrosol, 2 caps in about 1.5 L water in her drinking bowl for the last 3 months or so. The lump has just about gone, it’s about 1/10 the size it was. I still am amazed & inspired at the healing power of herbs. Bay is a herb for lymph glands & Lemon Balm is reputed to be a tumour buster. If you plan to try any either of these, please check with health professionals & use responsibly, this is only anecdotal evidence.

Meanwhile, Didgit our new Beardie puppy is growing very fast. She is sweet natured & mostly gentle! when she gets bored she roams the house looking for mischief, & usually finding it. She & Rif have finally started to play together, which is brilliant, lots of silent tooth gnashing & tug of war games.

We’ve picked up about 6 onion bags of walnuts so far, but I see there are dozens more under the tree waiting to be collected. We also have a great harvest of Chillies, we’re leaving them on the bushes until we have ingredients & time to make sauces etc. The Feijoas are just starting to drop, probably my favourite fruit ever. We’ve discovered if we leave the fruit under the tree they keep better than if we bring them into the warm house.

After I wrote this blog yesterday, I went off to pick up more walnuts, & there was a hedgehog ambling around, sniffing the open shells looking for nuts to eat. It turns out that it was responsible for the empty shells, not rats! I’m very happy to have a hedgehog foraging in our garden, & we even managed to take some photos. I love the one of it with it’s tongue sticking out.

Hedgehog 1 Hedgehog 2 Hedgehog 3