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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Summer, already?

Well, it's not officially summer yet, but it sure felt like it was!  The wind wasn't as bad as the last week and we hit 22 degrees, it was really hot in the sun.
We spent part of the morning at boot camp working on our fitness, I don't think I will ever enjoy exercise, but I do need to do it.  Sleep better and other things work better too.

After we got home, had lunch then straight back out again.  We went to Willowbank as planned and while some of the animals we normally see weren't too bothered about being fed we got some great photos.  I wish I had a DSLR, the current point and shoot really doesn't do a good job on things like wallabies 20 metres away; I wanted a photo of that one as she had a pair of back legs poking out the top of her pouch.
We did get some photo's worth showing here, the first one is of turtles, normally in this pond you might spot one in the water, today we counted 7 of them, 2 in the water and 5 on the shore

Next up was the otters, when we're earlier in the day we often see them sporting in the water, this time we could only spot one, but he was a complete ham and really knew how to perform for the camera.   NZ's top model, here's your next contestant, selling pond scum!
Next up was the farm area, and we were greeted by these cuties; they're so ugly they're cute and they love being fed!
How about that nose?  And then there's the hungry version.
Those teeth look pretty formidable!  You kind of drop the food in from above, it's the safest way.   The sheep, llama and donkeys were really polite about their nibbles, these guys on the other hand....

On the way through to the native area we spotted this guy, he was hungry too, but a lot more delicate about the whole thing than the pigs.
He's a little harder to see on the other side of the mesh, but this wee guy is a Weka, a flightless NZ native bird.   Apparently there's some guy who wants to breed these guys for meat.  Not sure that's right, but if it boosts the numbers I guess it's not all bad.  At least if they escape into the environment they won't cause the damage that possums did.  Still seems wrong eating our native birds, after all that's how we lost the Moa.

Getting off subjects that are a little controversial and our final picture is of a beautiful white heron at rest, seems the right way to end this blog post seeing as my boys are about to head for bed.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What a Lovely Day!

Computer is mostly fixed now, just got to work out some sound issues so DH can watch his YouTube stuff.
Early wake up this morning to get ready for the bus trip.  Took 2 knitting projects with me and got quite a bit done on my Whisper, I had under an inch done, now this is what it looks like:
I'll have to check my gauge soon, it's probably long enough to get some idea.
I also got to the gusset increases on my second Spiral Bound sock, that was about 15 rows.
Still a way to go on both projects, but I've got next weekend to work on them along with spinning and another knitting project.  I did all the above knitting on the bus on the way to and from Cave, inland of Pleasant Point in Canterbury.  A lovely trip with a great bunch of ladies.  My only gripe would be that the seats on the bus were not designed for healthy weight New Zealanders.  Joanne and I were a little squished in our seat, but we still managed to knit anyway.

We arrived at White Rock farm just before lunch, got shown 3 lambs which hadn't managed to feed off their mum yet.  One set of twins that had problems with their mums teats as they didn't stick out the right direction and one that was a little weaker who's mum I believe had lost some teats so could only feed one of her babies.  This one would most likely be hand reared; very labour intensive.
After we'd looked at the lambs it was time for us to go and look at fleeces; I had not originally planned to buy any, but in the end I had to.  Luckily I didn't have a lot of money with me so I only got 3; 2 of which I got half shares in.
I got a black first, which I got all for myself; yummy!

2nd one I shared with Joanne, she spotted it first so it was really nice that she was happy to share.  It's a latte coloured fleece and is beautiful!

The 3rd one I shared with Jan who only wanted half and as I have a thing for grey it seemed meant to be.  It's a lighter, bouncier fleece and should be beautiful.

All of the fleeces are Perendale, I think the top one may have a wee bit of Romney in the breeding.   Luckily I like Romney as well.  So all of them are in the laundry until I can get a chance to wash them.  I wish I'd taken the camera with me, but I completely forgot it.  We got to see some lovely sheep with their lambs and the farm dogs were very well trained.
On the way back we stopped off at Geraldine and got to go shopping, I got some lanolin based handcream, some caramel icecream topping and some plum sauce.   I'm back there next Sunday so might get some cheese on the way back too.
This is a good way to start the school holidays in my opinion.  The boys had a good day with time on the Wii, though George has lost that privilege for tomorrow after doing something his father had just told him on no account was he to do. 
Tomorrow we've got our workout, then might go to Willowbank in the afternoon to get our family pass.
Monday I have to drop into work, then I think we'll start tidying the house and maybe do some baking.  Tuesday I'm not sure yet, Wednesday we have a picnic lunch at a friends place, Thursday not sure and Friday will be Gym for the boys and then I'm going to Raincliff for the weekend while DH looks after the boys at home.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's going to be a long day

Had to redo XP on the PC yesterday, unfortunately some of my backups hadn't worked so I'm now going through 45,000 emails that were luckily still on the server, but it's rather a mission.   I also have to redo the budget from scratch as that wasn't saved either.  However, once all that's done the whole thing should work a whole lot faster.  Certainly my typing is going faster, I was having to type and then wait for it to catch up!
No longer having to do that which is good at least.

Ian's currently on the Xbox while I get this done, that and it's his last chance before the holidays to just have some fun on it without George constantly telling him what to do.   He's loving it!

Got a guild trip tomorrow, $25 for a bus ride to Cave where we'll be visiting a Perendale farm and I'll be knitting on the way, just got to decide if I'm taking Whisper, Catamount or Spiral Bound to knit.  Can only really fit in one, at the most two.  If I haven't finished the colour change part on Catamount that'll get left behind though.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yet another applicance dies

You'd think we'd had enough bad luck with the appliances that have already died, plus more importantly our poor wee kitty cat (still missing her), but no.  Yesterday morning while getting the dishes ready to go the waste disposer went put put sigh.  It then refused to do anything and water took ages to drain out.   After a wee discussion with DH we decided we needed a replacement as we use it quite a bit despite it being not that eco-friendly. 
Went online and was a little surprised at how expensive they were.  Most of the ones in the Consumer tests didn't seem to exist anymore.  Insinkerator which was our dead one were over $300 for the cheapest one and that was only galvanised on the inside; I wanted one that would last which meant stainless steel.  I wasn't prepared to spend $500 to get it though.  Ended up on Kitchen Things website, since they did come to the party with the washing machine in the end I decided I'd still buy from them.  They had Smeg ones for $299 for 1/2 horsepower which did everything I needed.  When I got in there the price was actually $249, however they were out of them.  They offered the 3/4 horsepower version for $280, normally $369 on the website so I got it.

I found myself wondering this morning what people normally do with left-over milk and cornflakes when they don't have one.  I determined that it would be replaced tonight after DH got home.  After dinner I did replace it, with minimal help from DH and also cleaned out the overflow for the drain board which was disgusting!  It's now all clean.  Only downside is it fits in slightly differently from the old one so the pipes had to be skewed slightly which made it harder to get that overflow in place, and now the shelf in the middle doesn't fit so I'll have to trim that tomorrow.  Unfortunately the bit that has to be trimmed isn't the bit with water damage from the previously mentioned overflow pipe.

Anyway, here's the new installation.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Knock, knock, knock

At 10.30pm at night that's never a good sound, unfortunately this time ran true to form.  2 people were on our doorstep to ask if the cat they'd just hit on the road was ours.  It was a grey tortie and sadly it was our lovely Smokey cat.  The only good thing was that it was quick, they'd moved her off the road and now we knew.  Not their fault, not Smokey's fault either; possibly the fault of the aftershock shortly beforehand.
How on earth do we tell the boys though?  Ian adored her and we'll never find another cat as good with him as she was.  She's going in the vege patch tomorrow morning, she's in the grave already, we just need to let the boys see her before we cover her up and say goodbye.

Smokey, RIP, you will be missed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spring has definitely sprung!

The earth may still be dancing from time to time, but at the same time it's giving life to beautiful things like this
Isn't it gorgeous?  It's just outside our front door, so each time we go out there we get a lovely splash of fragrance as we go; much more pleasant than those ladies that stalk you at the malls with their bottles.
Last week also saw some work on the boys playhut by all of us (mostly Thomas).   It's now in position with 2 walls installed and a floor in progress; the boys love it and have now discovered they can use it to see next door.   I took several photo's but unfortunately there's not a single one with everyone's face showing.  This one George was hiding.
We need to get more timber to finish it, but I think it's going to be the boys Christmas present from us.  We need probably 2 or 3 more sheets of ply, some more decking timber (we used 25mm from memory) and something for the roof. 

On the knitting front, I've finished stage two of the Stormy Catamount and am now waiting for the next section to be posted on the blog so I can get on with it.  Here she is so far, bust increases done so just the yoke to go and then the sleeves.

I've almost finished my first Spiral Bound sock, but will post a picture once it's finished.  Still on the gusset for Bug Off socks (second one), but hopefully will get more done on that in the next day or so and will post pictures of that too.   I really need to get the cardigan and one pair of socks finished so I can cast on my Whisper cardigan for summer and of course my Bug Off mittens.

Boys are back at school, yay!  Work is also back and the aftershocks are much less now so all is going well.  Our guild is now without rooms though so I won't be going in each Saturday until we find new premises, hoping that'll be soon, although I do have things on for the next 3 Saturdays.  The boys will be home though. 
This Saturday is the sock classes with Morag from Vintage Purls, designing and pimping socks which will be brilliant.  The following Saturday is a bus trip to see some Perendale sheep and then the next weekend after that is the last organised thing.  A bunch of us crafty ladies are heading south for a retreat for the weekend.  Most will be sewing, Joanne and I will be spinning and knitting.  I'm also going to be teaching spinning, how cool is that?  Life is getting back to normal I think now for most of us, or at least a close approximation of it.  Unfortunately there are many buildings that have been damaged, some will never be fixed and indeed some have already come down.  Fingers crossed that the heritage ones can be saved and reinforced so this doesn't happen again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Time for some good news

Nothing major, but we went into town this morning to check out some of our favourite shops and make sure they're ok.  Luckily they all were, so for those who are interested...
Comics Compulsion on Worcester St is open and fine, they had to pick up a couple of board games, but that was it.  It is a bit complicated getting to them though if you ended up parked by Gloucester St, took us 20 minutes to get there and they're only one block away!
Fabric Vision, Bernina and Kutwell fabrics are all fine.
Knitworld is also fine.  

I spent some money at Kutwell, got a couple of metres of a black waterproof nylon to go with the black polarfleece I already have.  DH will be getting a new vest out of that.  Also 4m of a nice grey wool blend for trousers for DH and possibly something for me.  Spent $23.00 all up which is pretty good.

I did not spend anything else aside from $1 for parking so I'm quite pleased about that.

On the knitting front I've not got a huge amount done, but there is a bit more done on my Forest Floor socks, the second one is now halfway through the gusset, and I'm into the second part of the pattern for my Stormy Catamount cardigan.  Here's how it's looking so far

It's being knit in 100PureWool Merino 3-ply which is a worsted weight yarn.  The contrast is my scrappy handspun which is various colours.  As a result of using the scrappy yarn the sleeve cuff area will be different on each one, but that will just make it more interesting.
I've also been getting more work done, work is closed till Monday morning which I suspect may be a result of the biggest aftershock going off while everyone was at work which would have been rather an interesting experience.  So, back to work on Monday for DH and myself, school reopens (Yay!), then 2 weeks later it's school holidays. 
Monday will be busy, as well as work I've got to drop a heater off and I have an appointment in town to see a doctor for George's assessment; hope I can find the form I'm meant to take in.   Will take my knitting in I think, maybe my spiral bound socks.

Oh, and while I remember I did some dyeing last night for a fibre swap.  I was aiming for a chartreuse, but I think I tried to dye too much in one go and the colour split a bit, it's a spring green with yellow which is beautiful.  Unfortunately my recipient doesn't like yellow, so I might have to keep it and go stash diving instead.  Normally I'd find something at the guild shop, but that's shut atm so not an option.  I do have several options in the stash though so all is not lost.  I've also got to find something suitable for another scrappy yarn swap; might send a little more in this time so the resulting yarn is longer and I can do something more with it.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Like everyone else in Christchurch and surrounds we are over the aftershocks.  There was a big one yesterday morning, over 5 on the Richter scale and only 6km down (this is from memory so my figures might be slightly off), it was also very close to us.  We now have a small amount of property damage, some new cracks in the garage.  Unfortunately it didn't see fit to get rid of the old cracks which have been there for ages, but it did make some of them bigger.  We now have a claim in with EQC, an assessor will be out in 2 weeks or more.  I guess we'll find out then if it needs repair or not and if so how to repair it, the thing is concrete block so might just need new mortar, or it might be more serious.

This morning we dropped into the Welfare centre at Addington and dropped some stuff off there.  I had lots of baby stuff in a suitcase that was clean and being saved for the next baby in my side of the family.  Almost all of that has gone now, we kept the heirlooms (my baby blanket and the cardigans that Gran knitted for me), everything that Mum or I knitted for the boys went though, as did all my old and some new jeans that I didn't really need, some towels that we could spare, sheets for single beds etc.  Everything clean, though some baby stuff had stains from dribbly boys.  We then went and left 2 cans of kitten food on top of the SPCA letterbox as they weren't open for another 30 minutes.  I know that they have a lot of extra residents atm and our kitten is now on dried food so we donated them too.

I'm about to head off to a guild get together of a few ladies, need some time off and this is just what does that best for me.  The guild rooms are not going to be available again, the Arts Centre suffered too much damage for our rooms to be safe; I think for a while at least we'll just be meeting at people's houses. 
School probably isn't back till Monday and Thomas won't be back till tomorrow at the earliest.
Hope everyone is doing ok, see you later.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Shimmy and Shake

As most of you probably know by now on Saturday morning at 4.30am Christchurch suffered a major earthquake.  7.1 on the Richter scale situated 30k away from Christchurch and only 10k down.  Those are the dry facts.
The reality was that we woke up suddenly, even Thomas didn't sleep through it.  Normally in quakes we leave the boys in bed, not this one!   We both reeled from bed to doorway, then reeled to the boys doorway; it's very hard to walk or run normally when the whole world is moving like that.  We could hear things hitting the floor and smashing.  I ran to the boys bed, they're now in bunks.  George was awake so I lifted him down by feel (no lights on, we didn't even think to try them at this point).   Handed George to his Dad and they went to our bedroom doorway while I got Ian out of bed.  He was still asleep; I don't know how he managed that one!
We sheltered in the boys doorway with me curled over him for just in case while Thomas did the same with George in the next doorway. 
Once the main pair of shocks was over, the boys went back to bed, both in the bottom bunk as we figured that was the safest place.  I don't think Thomas and I really had time to be scared, we were both pumped with adrenalin, but too busy thinking about the boys to really feel scared.  It was 5am at this point.  I grabbed the small torch from the bedside cabinet and used it to find the big torch which had fallen down.  Luckily it wasn't broken; we store it up high so the boys don't use the batteries up without us knowing.
I checked the house, almost everything that had fallen down was fine.  I think we lost 2 ornaments and a plate in the house, I picked them up along with all the medications that had fallen down so the boys wouldn't be in danger in the morning.  All this by torchlight as the power was out.
Thomas went out to check the neighbours, we have overhead powerlines here, but luckily none of them had gone down so more than likely it was a transformer station that got killed.  Neighbours all fine which was good.   We went back to bed, didn't get back to sleep though due to the aftershocks.
The one neighbour we didn't speak to we figured was ok as we could see a light in their front room (torch), he came around and checked on us later.

We got up when it got light and did a quick tidy up inside.  Determined that while we had water the flow was significantly reduced and still no power.  Found the battery radio and turned it on.  Informed that power was out for 70% of Christchurch, many places had no water and to conserve it if you had it.  We have an emergency kit including water, but I still filled saucepans for later boiling as the water was probably contaminated.  Sewerage systems are also down, so please don't flush toilets; that's easier said than done as it's habit for everyone except Ian.  However everyone except Ian managed it.  Ian usually rarely flushes, he wanted to each time he used it yesterday though; why is that?
Checked the house and no problems structurally thank goodness, a few broken things in the garage but also mostly fine.  The car picked up one new dent from a bed falling on it, but not worth claiming on insurance.

Listening to the updates on the radio we determined that most damage was in Kaiapoi, New Brighton where they were flooded and also in the CBD where lots of buildings had some pretty major damage.
Managed to get hold of all our family except my parents.  Everyone had breakages, but nothing major and all our houses are fine.  I went over to check Mum and Dad, I was pretty sure it was just that their phone is a portable and they were out of power, but had to check anyway.   I was right and they were fine, Mum was talking to the neighbour when I arrived and Dad was already at work helping with the cleanup before Mitre 10 opened for the day.

Our power finally came back on at 5.45pm, in the meantime I'd been doing my work as it requires good light to do and there was no guarantee on power anyway.  We'd gone for a walk to the dairy at about 2pm, some ground damage and fallen chimneys in the area; a lot of cleanup going on.  Just as well it was a fine day.  We got to see the news, which brought home to us just how lucky we'd been that it happened at the time it did.  Most people were at home, not many hurt and the only person who died was a heart attack victim.  It could have been so much worse.  Though some houses will get worse with the aftershocks which have ranged from 3.2 to 5.1 on the Richter scale, we had one just now which was fairly sharp.  We're also due some very nasty winds today and it's going to rain tomorrow, expecting I think it was 150mm.  I'm not really expecting school to be on tomorrow, but we'll wait and see.  I hope work is ok, but I'll leave checking on that up to the owners, I'm just a lowly outworker.

Geonet gives the quake details, you can't see the original quake on the first page as there have been so many aftershocks.

Here are some pics, none of ours but they'll give you some idea

I hope everyone reading this is well, and maybe that you might get your emergency kits together.  Luckily we didn't need much of ours, but the water was handy.   Also the full gas bottle and single burner gas ring and bbq.  And having a fire for heating with the lack of electricity.  I'd done the grocery shopping the previous day so we had plenty of food, but if we hadn't we have supplies in the shed for that too.  Had the house been badly damaged we'd still have been ok, not great, but ok.

I do hope they get the sewerage on line soon though, I really want a shower!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Horses and RAK

Just a short post. 

On Friday's Ian doesn't go to school yet.  At the moment he and I do groceries every second Friday which he seems to enjoy and we often end up doing a drop off and pick up at work as well.  This is precisely what we did today.  Ian had bread and cheese for lunch while I had bread and smoked salmon; yum!

At 1pm we head off to horseriding with the RDA (Disabled Riders Association), Ian's been telling me he doesn't want to go for the last term.  Today I spoke to the organiser and we've decided he'll stop at the end of this term and maybe consider trying again in a year or so.  He has enjoyed it, especially at the beginning, but he has an allergy to horses which probably doesn't help.  He's still got his gymnastics after school gets out and that he really enjoys.  I think it's more important that he does stuff he enjoys at this age.

It was a hard decision, but I'm glad I've made it and I'll confirm next Friday so they know to let another child have the opportunity next term.

This evening I put my little pattern wishlist up on the Ravelry RAK group, about 30 minutes later someone has emailed me 2 of the patterns!   I wanted a few, but Manu and Myrtle Cardigan were among them.  Both are 4 ply (fingering) weight patterns and both are really pretty.  Manu already has some yarn chosen from my stash; it's going to be purple but I don't know the brand or anything as it was bought sans ball bands.  They're both now queued and I'm really looking forward to knitting them.  Manu will be a lovely Autumn cardigan and Myrtle will be wonderful in the summer months.  Whisper cardigan does come first though and of course current WIP's and DH's socks.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Autumn 2010 Interweave Crochet

I had plans this morning.  Dishes (by hand), washing, guinea pig clean up and then some Xbox time.  Unfortunately that all went south after a call from school saying George was sick.  Went and picked him up, apparently he'd been sneezing and coughing all morning, well at least for the hour they had him.  I dosed him on honey and garlic after which he said he'd been tricking and wasn't sick.  He is congested in the nose department, but not a single cough or sneeze all day.  He's lost the Xbox for the weekend, he's been clearly informed what the consequences will be if he tries this again and I might have to try and go and see his teacher tomorrow morning if I can; you would think that she'd have enough experience to spot a faker, but apparently not.
Funnily enough I didn't get any Xbox time as the game I was planning on playing is not suitable for children.

When I cleared the mailbox the Autumn Interweave Crochet was in the box, that made me feel a bit better until I actually had a closer look.   I think I can safely say my sub will be let lapse once it runs out.  I will do a quick review though, there are a few things that are ok, but nothing says "make me now!".

Blue Ridge Hoodie:  This one is actually really nice, however it's not in the magazine, it's a free download for a limited time.  It's a nicely fitted hoodie so not suitable for anything bulky underneath, but would be perfect for slightly cooler days and would look great with jeans.

Sage Jacket: I'm not sure on this one.  I love the stitches, but it's a bit shapeless and has the wide neckline which will let all those cold breezy bits through.  I think if I made it I'd pass on the collar thing on one side, it just doesn't work and maybe lengthen the sleeves.

Magnum Jacket: I like the shape of this jacket, but not in this weight of yarn.  Using a super bulky yarn in crochet makes this slim woman look like she's carrying extra weight.

Sangria Cardigan:  I would love to see this cardigan with the fronts actually in the same position as they are in the diagram.  The way she's wearing it you can't see the shape at all.  Based on the photo taken I wouldn't crochet it..

Pink Cosmos Coat:  Shapeless coat with big collar and pockets on the widest part of the body.  Unfortunately this is not flattering and the wide front band also widens things.

Birch Vest:  This is really nice, it's got the right shape, a more solid pattern on the top and it's pretty.  This is the only thing so far I actually want to make, but in a different colour.  Love the lacey bottom part.

Helping Hand Walker Bag:  It's a rectangle with straps; nuff said.

Five Spice Hat:  An online project, quite cute and should be warm.

Acorn Cap:  It almost looks knitted, nothing wonderful here

Pinata Bag:  Can we say too bright?   Might be nice in more muted colours, but the ones they've chosen are fighting eachother.

Sycamore Poncho:  I'm sorry, but I can't find anything nice to say about this, shapeless, colourless, boring.

Sugar Maple Shawl:  Unfortunately with the yarn they've used I can't tell if I actually like the shawl or not, they should have done it in a plainer yarn.

Honeycomb Socks:  Cute I guess, but not worth the price of the mag.

Autumn Rose Pullover:   I quite like this, the knitted body should be warm and the crocheted sleeves and yoke in the contrast yarn actually works quite well.  I might make this sometime.

Coco Holly Topsy-Turvy Doll:  I rather like this, would be great if I had a wee girl, but I don't think my boys would appreciate it somehow.

Pink Asters Scarf:  I rather like this too, it's a wonderful blend of knitting and crochet; very pretty.

Lacy Cables Scarf:  A bit more subdued than the Pink Asters Scarf but still very nice.

Oak Leaf Vest:  I like the square neck on this, the shape is nice, has potential but needs to be rather longer.

Snow Queen Hat:  I love this, very pretty, the knitting sets off the crochet very nicely.  Might actually queue this one.

Snowflake Sweater:  I think this would work better if the central crocheted section was in the same colour as the knitted section, the two colours just don't work.  The sleeves are the wrong length too, need to be either longer or shorter.

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