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A woman with time on her hands.......

Back in August 2021, New Zealand went into covid lockdown level 4 again, and that means for all of us, we can only leave our bubble to go to the supermarket, or leave the house if you are an "Essential worker".

This time the weather has not been as conducive to get outside, however we are fortunate to have a large property, and that leads me to get cracking on sorting out cupboards, a bedroom overhaul, crafting, and gardening when the weather has been in our favour. I had every intention to interview Al Scott from Essential Garden, however as Auckland is still in lockdown we are unable to visit, I am hoping to interview him for the November issue.

It was a great feeling tipping our bedroom upside down, and having a good clean up, however, I had way more satisfaction, re upholstering our window seat squabs, (Macy our Catahoula pup, and the harsh sun had deteriorated the original fabric), the only downside to this was, I had to have a ferret through the fabric I had and use what would work, as with no online or physical shops open, I had to make do with what I had. I am very happy with the fresh change, and lift in colour.

I had a project that I have been thinking about for some time, a mini cloche, with an old window lying around I roped in Te Kani, my husband to give me a hand, on the first fine day, we set to work, the best things about all these projects we had to use what we already had, with no way of purchasing any materials I had to be creative to make them work. I was very excited about this mini cloche, as I visualised that I could plant out seedlings all year, and have a steady supply of edibles if needed...I have for many years liked the idea of one day being organically self sufficient. My old neighbour Renée, had her husband build her a mini cloche, so I had a chat to her and googled a plan and came up with a template, I am really happy with the end result....such a great idea. Click on the arrow on the right hand side of the photo below to see all of the slider photos.

One of my other outdoor projects that had grabbed my attention and needed to be rebuilt, was the rotten feeder base on the dove cote, every morning when I would feed the white pigeon doves, I had to precariously place their food around the edges so that the food did not fall down the rotten holes. Once again, I had to see what materials we had lying around, I found some thin ply, and managed to cut two hexagonal bases out of this piece of ply, and because they were not the thickness of the original piece, I clamped and glued the two bases together, and then bought them inside to paint (as the weather was very iffy) I then painted two coats with a white undercoat paint we had available.

Once the paint had dried, I resurrected the dove cote, and again I had happy doves.

We are really blessed at A Deer Cottage, when Auckland goes into lockdown we can easily social distance and still have the space around us without feeling hemmed in. Kaukapakapa is such a lovely little village with the essentials, so we don't have to travel far, and as we have a decent size property, there is always something to do. We have a most gorgeous harbour view, and often such lovely sunsets, we can wander around without meeting our neighbours and certainly keep our 2 metre distancing if need be. We can almost forget we are a part of Auckland and less than an hour from Auckland's CBD. If you wish to find out more about A Deer Cottage click here.

One of my favourite garden projects I have completed in the last few weeks, is my antique cast iron"Wall Fountain", I purchased this through Lily and William @elsiewolfe_wondrous Antiques and Antique Store in Pukekohe, to check out their website click here

These antique "Wall Fountains" lined the streets in Europe, they would enable the people to wash their hands if they wished. I fell in love with the look of them, and decided I could easily make a pretty cool bird bath out of one, however I soon found the most challenging part of this project was "how to bung up the drain?" I thought about all sorts of caps, and found a 50mm drain cap online and thought it would be perfect however as we did not have access to online shopping I had no guarantees when I would be able to order, and as I have mentioned before in previous newsletters, once I have a project in mind, I am very impatient, I asked my mate Shawn, my "to go to bestie", what to do, he suggested cutting a piece of Manuka, and silicone the Manuka into place, It took a few attempts before the bung finally managed to hold water. I am really happy with the end result, and have plans to plant a climbing rose which will eventually ramble over the fence, completing the look. (Let's hope the birds are as excited about it as I am) on the arrow on the right hand side to see all the slider photos..........what do you think?

On the same garden kind of theme, I have had the time to totally clean up the pottage garden, it was so overgrown, and desperately needed this time to sort it out, my sister Frith gave me a trailer load of rotten horse poo, fortunately we could do this contactless, they left it at the top of the kerb and we emptied it, and the next day they came and picked up the trailer, what brilliant service!

As we were at this stage still in level 4 lockdown, I could not purchase any seeds or seedlings which I found really frustrating, the beds looked great, the weather was perfect for planting, and they sat empty.

Last week, (as we are now in level 3), I thankfully purchased some "click and collect" veggie seedlings and seeds, I planted the heritage purple carrot seeds into the cloche. With our weather so unpredictable at this time, I am sure we will experience some rain, and as I do not like to use chemicals in the garden, and I know snails LOVE newly planted seedlings, and rain, I grabbed some handfuls of crushed shell from the pathway and sprinkled around all the new seedlings....(snails do not like the surface of the crushed shell as it cuts their foot, such a great deterrent).

Yay! my garden gives me so much joy. 🦌❤️🦌.

Many years ago, I taught my younger sister Rachael how to cross stitch, she has become a very accomplished embroiderer, and is now very passionate about this craft. She has made magnificent "Santa Sacks" for all her nieces and nephews, some of these stockings are nearly 40 years old. Last Christmas, my son Lachlan bought his wife to be, Hisa over from Japan to not only meet us, but also get married, I asked Rachael if she would make Hisa a "Santa Sack" , Rachael very kindly said she would, however she wasn't so keen to do this on a regular basis for the extended family and when my daughter Briar asked if I would make a stocking for her fiancé Kellie, I thought it would be a lovely idea to do this for her Christmas present, I have enjoyed picking up an embroidery needle again and have found when I bought out all my old embroidery bits n bobs I have rediscovered the stitching bug once more, and have quite a few new projects on my agenda, watch this space.

I know if you are in New Zealand, and especially Auckland, this latest covid situation is frustrating, however let us remain positive that more freedoms are just around the corner for us all. Take care and keep safe.

(I definitely miss having guests at A Deer Cottage, and can not wait to see you again.) 🦌❤️🦌

My Subscriber special: book two nights or more at A Deer Cottage and receive a 10% discount. To find out more and to receive your booking discount click here

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