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Friday, 21 April 2017

Bottling fever in full swing

Dear Diary,


Jesse:  This is a long weekend in New Zealand and the lads decided to make the most of the time to put up some of our early harvest.




Angelo:  I did the carrots and peas from the garden.  We bottled them with Rosemary, Thyme, Coriander and a pinch of salt.  They will taste delicious.  I'm just shifting them across the bench top to get them closer to the pantry for storage.


Armand:  I bottled the bread & butter pickles, using the gherkins and onions from the garden.  B&B pickles aren't well known in NZ but the people I serve them to all want seconds! Here, I'm putting the labels onto the jars.




Adam:  This year the cherry (which unfortunately don't come from our property) crop was about 2 weeks later than usual but it's also lasted later into the summer.  The cherries this year are beautiful: big and plump, dark and crisp and very sweet.  I bottled 14 quarts to eat this coming winter.  Right now, I'll eat the last of the cherries which wouldn't fit into the jars.  Lucky me!




Hans: My job was to make cordial from the black currents in the berry patch.  This makes a delicious drink when mixed with either water or a clear carbonated beverage just before serving.  Now that I've finished, I'm going to mix some up and serve it to celebrate the completion of our hard work.

Angelo:  As the sole Italian resident, it is my responsibility to monitor the supply of the salsa di Marinara (red tomato sauce) which Papa makes from scratch from his Italian mother's recipe.  Pasta is a staple in this house.  We just finished 24 quarts and there is still some left from 2015.  I've overheard Papa saying that he's going to bottle another 24 quarts next week.

"Yes, all accounted for!"
Jesse: You may notice the stretchy cord running from one end of the shelf to the other.  This is to keep the jars from crashing to the floor in case of an earthquake.  There are many negative effects of a major quake; we learned most of them when we lived through the Christchurch quake 5 years ago.  One of the worst is the awful mess and no water to clean it up.  The shelf also has a lip to keep the jars in place.

Friday, 14 April 2017

A suiting wardrobe

Dear Diary,

Jesse:  I suppose most everyone with dolls and their extra clothing struggles with storage of the latter.  I have tried all kinds of things: plastic containers both large and flat, doll trunks, suitcases, dressers both large and small, doll wardrobes and others I've forgotten.  But, none have really been all that satisfactory. The chief reason for my dissatisfaction has been that doll clothes are small and I like to keep everything in strict order: jumpers with jumpers, trousers with trousers, jackets with jackets and separated from coats, dress shirts with dress shirts and not with casual shirts - you get the picture.  Keeping everything organised and yet easily accessed challenges me constantly.  I do not like to dig very far down in a drawer or container to find something. Each boy who lives here has his own small dresser but even these drawers are too deep for my satisfaction.  

When Hans arrived, I knew I needed something better.  As luck would have it, I discovered this piece of furniture in a local antique shop.  I knew immediately that this would work nicely as the drawers are not deep and so I could find different articles of clothing easily.  The drawers remind me a lot of the old fashioned department stores in the men's wear department.  Behind the counter there were rows of these type of drawers which held merchandise such as handkerchiefs, gloves, underwear, ties and shirts.  Every time I visited this shop, I coveted this piece of furniture, assuming wrongly that it was to display store merchandise and not for sale.  Imagine my delight when I accidentally discovered the price tag on it.  It went home with me the same day! 




The dimensions are:

  • Overall:  Height 100 cm x width 70 cm x depth 45


  • Drawers: Height 9 cm - 12 cm graduation front to back x width 33 cm x depth 35 cm


Here you can see how easy it is to access clothes.  The front sides slope upwards from the from to the back, making it even easier to find, select and retrieve items.



Hans doesn't have a lot of things to wear yet but he does have some jumpers.  See how nicely they fit and how practical this wardrobe is.

I have my eye on another one - if I can talk the person into selling it to me.

Just for kicks, here is how I store doll shoes.  This is one of several cases of Angelo's footwear.  Sadly, there are several more cases just for him.  And, then there are those cases for the other dolls...!



Sunday, 9 April 2017

Making apple pie

Dear Diary,

Adam:  Autumn seems to be the busiest time of the year around here.  The fruit and produce all conspire to ripen at the same time and we have to stay focused to get all the processing of the food done so nothing is wasted.  Spring and summer this year were bleak and rainy with most days having cloudy, grey skies and very little sunshine.  These conditions, coupled with the frequent strong winds, produced harsh conditions on the orchard and all the fruit trees suffered. Even so, we did get some apples.


Angelo:  Now comes the real work.  Because there is so much to do, even we dolls help out.

"I'm putting the jars into the water bath."
"My job is to peel and core the apples.  Luckily, I have this handy gadget to do most of the work."
Angelo:  I like the feeling I get when we've finished and have something to show for it.  We are a self-reliant household and take pride when we make our own food.
"Here we are with the final product."

Next comes the pie.

And, now the best part - the eating.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Around the world in 730 days

Dear Diary,

Jesse:  I am gobsmacked that this blog has been on the internet for 2 years now!  I can't believe that all this time has passed already and we're headed into our third year of sending goodness from New Zealand around the world.



I've kept a record of all the countries which have visited the blog.  The statistics don't show if these visitors return or if everyone is new.  Some countries seem odd and I can't explain how or why someone came by to take a look.  But, for whatever the reason, we've been viewed around the globe.  Here are the 76 countries which have checked us out:



Algeria, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bhutan, Botswana, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatamala, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldavia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Republic, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.

That's been quite a ride and without the jet-lag!  We hope that we've made some friends along the way.  Our visits keep increasing; the highest number of visits in one day is 578.

To end, I'll wish "Happy 2nd Birthday!" to A Boy Doll Diary.