01 November 2008

Our Hydroponics System

A few weeks ago I mentioned that our hydroponics were down for maintenance and that I missed being able to pick my daily salad. Where it was located is now almost always in the shade thanks to the trees in our neighbours place growing over the 10 years we've been here. So we've shifted it to where it's mostly in the sun and added another couple of rows. As you can see it's all home made (brilliant DH) with the battery that's needed to pump the water running from a solar panel (the large white thingi). The pump comes on 4 times a day for 5 mins and that's all it needs, the water with the nutrients is pumped up from the tank below and runs down the 4 channels and back down into the holding tank again.
The plants you see have been in for a week and already the strawberries have a flower. There are also my favourite fancy lettuces, mustard, parsley, chives and yesterday in went two round patty green courgettes and three different coloured cherry tomatoes, they'll probably need tying up to the fence later - hopefully! Still more room yet so I'll probably get a few more herbs and a dwarf spinach or two. This little corner of the garden is always where the grandchildren head for first in the summer, they even beat the birds to the strawberries!
If anyone would like to know the ins and outs of running a hydroponic system just let me know and I'll get all the details from DH.
Note: Okay I'm an idiot, I didn't even notice there was no solar panel on the white thingi, apparently it broke and we're just waiting to be able to afford a new one! I also knew all about it breaking according to DH!

New Plymouth 24-10-08

Back to our weekend in New Plymouth. After we'd settled in we were enjoying a cuppa outside our cabin - all bundled up against the cold but there was more room outside than in - when we were entertained with these old planes practising their aerobatics for a display they were giving over the weekend. Oh good, an excuse to get out the tele conversion lens for my camera, it's only a x1.7 though so this is as close as I could get.

And then these birds thought they'd get in on the act!

Soon after that it started raining and didn't stop all night, it just bucketed down and the cold was blowing straight from the South Pole!

To cheer ourselves up we read in the local paper there was a 24 hour book sale on that night so we found our way there and spent a happy two hours searching through all sorts of books. I'm into audio books but didn't find any of those, however, I was delighted to find these two Peter Mayle books, the first two in his series about buying a house & living in France, that I've wanted to read for awhile now. I can get the third book on audio from the library but the first two haven't been made into audio books so I was loathe to start with the third one! I wasn't even looking for them and there they were side by side. Along with the two other books on old NZ that are both loaded with old historic photos and another small very funny book that I read over the weekend I was a happy chappy - until we stepped outside the door to be confronted with the pelting rain, we were soaked to the skin by the time we ran to the car - and to top the night off there was nowhere in the cabin to hang clothes so we had them hanging from the curtain railings and all sorts of unusual places, hoping they'd be dry by the morning! BTW if you're looking for a delightfully funny book that doesn't take too long to read let me know and I'll post it to you, it's called "This Blessed House" written (in 1989) by Da'Vella who is a popular NZ artist. She bought a historic Catholic church and along with her 9 year old son built herself a house from it and another church she bought later at the beautiful Lake Hayes in the South Island.

And so to bed, looking forward to not hearing the rain when we woke up!

My Hero

How's this for confidence?

Note: You may have problems with the video stopping & starting. If you do watch it to the end then play it again, I've found that it's okay the second time around.

31 October 2008

Next Stop.....

.....New Plymouth 12.27pm

7 hours 37 mins to do a 5 hour drive wasn't too bad! We stayed in the Belt Rd Seaside Holiday Park right on the sea and brother was it cold the whole weekend! I lived in my warm raincoat that I'd thrown in at the last moment just in case! We did have a very nice view from our cabin although looking at the port of New Plymouth spoiled it a bit.

Next Stop.....

.....Tongaporutu 10.23am

I'd read an article in a Motorhomes magazine about The Three Sisters at Tongaporutu so I was hoping the tide would be out when we arrived because you can only access them at low tide - we were in luck. You walk out along an inlet towards the sea and just around the corner are the Three Sisters - now jokingly called the 2 1/2 sisters because the sea has worn away one of them, further along is the Maori rock carvings and Elephant Rock. I didn't find out about the Maori carvings until after we'd been there so I was disappointed I didn't get to see them.

There's a really lovely photo of the area on this website that shows Mt Taranaki in the background.
Next stop.....New Plymouth

30 October 2008

Next Stop.....

.....just out of Piopio 9.12am

We didn't stop at Piopio but I wish we had now as I missed seeing this sign, found it on the Internet.

Piopio is named after the now extinct NZ native Thrush, all the streets in Piopio are named after NZ native birds.

Somewhere around Paemako by the Mangaotaki River we spotted these unusual rock formations so another unresistable photo stop!

I was surprised to see this tree was full of plums, I hadn't noticed them at the time!

Next stop......

Next Stop.....

.....just out of Te Kuiti 8.50am

I couldn't resist stopping to take a photo of this beautiful scene.

Next stop.....

New Plymouth Here We Come!

Last Monday was Labour Day here in NZ so we decided to take a couple of extra days and have a break away. DH has an Aunty who moved to New Plymouth last year so that was our destination. Would you believe we left Friday morning at 4.50am, no I didn't think so, I didn't believe it either, but we did!
From New Lynn West on the map

First comfort stop - Huntly 6.11am & the first light of day

Sunrise over the Waikato River.

The Huntly Power Station - the largest thermal power station in New Zealand, supplies around 17% of the country's power.

Second stop for breakfast - Otorohanga 7.36am

Shopping centre, hardly a soul stirring.

Both sides of the long street had these lovely hanging baskets all the way along.

A painted wall on the side of one of the shops.

This is the side of the antique shop, shame it wasn't open yet!

I had to laugh at this one, some of the kiwi icons that make us Kiwis!

Next stop Te Kuiti....