Saturday, 30 November 2013

Welcome back Beau & Sienna

Summer holidays are not far away for us folks here in New Zealand. Cottage Tails Farm Stay is going to be busy - feel free to pass our details onto friends who may wish to bring their cats to stay..
 Sienna & Beau arrived back - fitted straight into the routine here - no trouble at all. Sienna is watching the birds visiting the feeders so far too busy to look at the camera.

Some lovely photos of Beau - he is even smiling for the blog don't yea think?
Beau and Sienna are from Lordy and Cinders but different litters. Sienna is older by 2 years being born 2007

Friday, 29 November 2013

Naturopath in training.

SQUEAL I passed my herb unit with a merit. The college doesn't give out merits or excellences as a rule so I'm pretty thrilled.

Here's one of my answers about preparing infusions.

a.    Describe how to prepare an infusion.

There are three ways to make an infusion, a cold water infusion, a hot water infusion for an herb tea, or a nourishing herbal infusion

A cold infusion

Generally cold infusions are used rarely but are necessary for herbs that are best prepared by cold water infusion. For example wild cherry bark and especially marshmallow roots are best used with cold water infusion. 

To make an infusion place herb in a clean mason jar.
Fill with luke warm water
Place lid on jar and let steep for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Strain and then use 

An herbal tea infusion.

An herbal tea is herbs steeped in hot water for a short time. It is very similar to making a cup of tea but whereas traditional tea the steeping time is usually a few minutes an herbal tea is usually left to steep for 10 – 15 mins. It is best to use a ceramic or glass tea pot, not a stainless steel one.  .

My preference when making an Herbal tea infusion is to use fresh herbs from the garden, I especially enjoy lemon verbena picked freshly off the bush. As fresh herbs contain a large amount of water more herbs are needed than dry – approx. double the amount compared to dried herbs but it is personal preference.

If using fresh herbs chop or lightly bruise to aid extraction
Place herb or herbs into the pot
Pour just before point of  boil, water over the herbs.
Place lid on tea pot this stops the volatile oils escaping.
Steeping the tea is a matter of preference and use of the infusion.
If wanting a refreshing herbal tea and using dried herbs steep the tea for about 20 minutes. If using freshly picked herbs about 10 minutes any longer and the tea can become bitter, again it is personal taste.
Strain using a tea strainer and pour into tea cup.  Add honey if required.

My Herbal Tea of Delight Blend.

25 grams dried chamomile
25 grams dried lime/ Linden flowers
25 grams dried vervain.
12 grams dried feverfew
12 grams dried lavender
12 grams dried peppermint

Mix together well and keep in a sealed container.
To use add 2-4 teaspoons per mug of water
A very relaxing tea blend for periods of stress or to have before going to bed.

Nourishing Herbal Infusion.
Susun Weed recommends that nourishing infusions need to be steeping overnight to get the most benefit, and a large amount of herb at a time.
 1 cup of dried herb is placed in a 1 litre jar.
Bring water nearly to the boil and pour over the herbs.
Place lid on jar and leave to steep overnight.
In the morning strain and put the herb in the compost and drink the liquid a cup at a time. Keep the remainder of nourishing liquid in the fridge and depending on the herb, drink – approx. 2-4 cups during the day.

Susun Weed recommends dry herbs to be used for nourishing infusions over fresh herbs since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying. Drying the plant breaks the cell wall.  When the boiling water is poured over the dried herbs the weakened cell walls open and the mineral salts inside the cells come into the infusion 

What is your favourite herbal infusion?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Ex Farmer's Wife Quilt

 The Farmer Wife Quilt book has been scrapped  and sold. The book is way too churchy

God made so many different kinds of people; why would God allow only one way to worship?
Martin Buber

Change of plan 
 Make any block 6 1/2 inch square block with a 2 1/2 inch scrappy white sashing, with red posts.

21 done 79 to go I'm told.

Hay Abbey what are the block names called? Hack the blog and tell us if you get a chance

Miss Stella the poodle is allowed to do anything! Even get on quilts made by Abbey

G A S P !!!!!

OOh that smile. She knows grandma is having kittens and making a big fuss over Abbey being quite ok with Stella testing out the quilt... This is why I am known as stink grandma around here.
Stella is a great comfort for the rough days. There has been quite a few of late.
It's very hard to not be able to plan your life due to health - the dreams of studying, travelling the world and other things we all dream about at 20.....
Stella is a wonderful companion and helps us all live in the moment of each and every day.
And she likes to shop on line...She sits right up close when they are shopping

Having an Ipad, confined to a bed makes for some good retail therapy - the courier has been arriving daily. Abbey has done all her Christmas shopping on line. While she was shopping on line she shouted herself some quilting stencils - aren't they adorable. All from Quilting Creations International. 

She saw the fan idea off  Camille Roskelley's Simplify blog.

Fresh Figs has a new quilt fabric range and pattern out that is very dangerous to know about when you can shop on line with your poodle.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A walk about

 I don't remember planting these orange poppies, but I'm sure in love with them!

 peek through the picket gate - now who doesn't love a picket fence?

 The roses are just starting to bloom - this one was told earlier in the year it was coming out, 
Threats works and now it's staying.

First gladi of the year - summer is on her way.

I appreciate formal gardens - but a riot of colour in the potagar garden is more me.
These flowers are hanging out in the garlic bed

mm these girls are not meant to be hanging out in the vegetable garden...

Betty my favourite hen she really is a funny old gal.
And the ring leader of visiting the vegetable garden tut tut...

I've put on my Christmas wish a new rooster a lavender araucana  and a lavender girl too so I can have blue/green eggs .....just in case santa is reading the blog...

 I do so miss  hearing a  morning crow and my old Rory Rooster.

Oh look Trade me has Arnie...but he is in the Waikato.. love his name!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cats and movies...


The blog hasn't had photos of the cats on for awhile. Usually I don't have my camera with me when I am letting the cats out.

 We have a routine where the dogs get locked up and the cats get out for their walk about
Our cats are ex breeding cats so have never been socailised with dogs.

Maji is the only cat that likes Stella.
Mack likes none of the cats. (Well he does actually)

Laura is our bed buddy, and I never think to take the camera to the bedroom to get photos.I should as she has such a fun routine. .Laura becomes a kitten again every night as she plays with her strings before settling down to a wash and then a sleep. She is very much a routine cat..

Laura sleeps all night never needs to go outside. However every full moon she races around the room and usually ends being put back out in cattery.

Lordy is the ex stud cat - he never is allowed in the house unsupervised.

Lordy still likes to spray and tom cat pee is something I won't have in the house. Such a shame as he is a beautiful cuddly boy.

Freya is my worry! See she can hear me call..

KNOWS I am calling her but totally chooses to ignores me.

Lets have a close up of that face
doesn't that just say NO!
Get stuffed!
 I'm not coming when you call me.

Here she goes heading off to the busy road again!
The most annoying part is she usually leads the other cats out to the road.
Yesterday she was off by herself
I am seriously thinking of finding her a new home where there is no traffic.
I don't want her to end up a road statistic or the other cats, from her taking them out the front gate.
You would think 3 acres and over 5 acres either side she wouldn't head for the road wouldn't you. Beatrix one of our grey cats did this too. - So maybe it is a grey thing wanting to lie on grey asphalt or something... SHUDDER! Freya causes me great worry!


The kids and I snuck off to the movies - totally spur of the moment and saw One Chance.
We all enjoyed it very much - rating 4.5 /5 Well worth going to see - even my non opera son enjoyed it.

I've just had a lovely read at Paul Potts personal blog Here is the link to his blog. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Cranberry Thanksgiving Tradition

For 15 years it has been one of our families traditions to celebrate Cranberry Thanksgiving. 
It all began when we begun homeschooling 15 years ago with Five In A Row. curriculum.
It has become extremely important to our family to celebrate Cranberry Thanksgiving .

Each year we reflect on the year and what we are greatful for.

We all said Abbey's health that has slightly improved
Abbey said she was greatful for her poodle
Brent said he was greatful for his Mastiff coming back from the dead (it was a bit hairy there for a while)
I am greatful for an easier year - it has been one of our better years
James said he was greatful school was over for another year.

For the kids college (high school USA) They chose subjects via The Correspondence School to get NZ qualifications - NCEA which has worked for our family.

It has meant the kids could get their qualifications and still have time to learn things that interested them (which really is the beauty of homeschooling)

James has had a good academic year with art achieving merits and excellence's (that's his art portfolio that was sent off for the exam)

His very hard work that he put into his English gave him merit and excellence too . Whoa for the system to tell us when he was 7 he was one of the worst cases they had seen for dyslexia.. Homeschooling has really and truly worked for James.James has put in an enormous amount of effort over the years and it has paid off

I do wonder what his English teacher thought of one of his essays on Lateral Thinking - how he shared he grew poppy and tobacco to sell to raise money to build guitars.

Homeschooling has meant James has had time to create - this year he created Goblin Guitars and has been building steel guitars. He approached a local music store Kings Sound Centre who has been supporting James by placing his guitars in the shop on consignment (awesome aye) 

The Goblin DOOMCASTER was brought by Steve Dog the original metal guitarist  for famous NZ heavy metal band Sinate. Doesn't he look thrilled.

We all look forward to the turkey for Cranberry Thanksgiving, so much so that I got the dates wrong this year and we were a week early... Brent jested that  we will just have to do it all again next week.

The traditional cranberry bread, fresh vegetables from the garden and mashed potatoes (SHUDDER only time of the year I cook mashed potatoes - how anyone can like these is so beyond me)

Rice stuffing. (gluten free, egg free, dairy free, nut free)
Cook brown rice
1 cup of dried cranberries (don't be mean heavy handed is better)
1 onion chopped
1 apple grated
rind and juice of 1 lemon or 2 small
Fresh herbs from garden I just grab handfuls thyme, oregano, sage and parsley chop
Salt n pepper
Mix - can add orange juice to bind if not wet enough.

It's been WONDERFUL weather - very hot - a tad too hot to cook a turkey! But we sat outside in the evening eating our dinner being entertained by the animals.
We were all expecting Gus to get stuck into the goat like he usually does, however this time he behaved himself - must have been because he was on camera.

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
Native American prayer

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Sharp Dressed Mastiff

I've just had a bath

And got a new collar after my old collar and lead got trashed a couple of weeks ago.
This is a hand crafted quality NZ made leather collar from Old  Master Craftsman 

Every girl poodle goes crazy over a sharp dressed mastiff. 

Friday, 22 November 2013


I'm just loving my naturopath course - I'm up to a herbal unit and  feel soo at home 

I just can't help myself add folklore to my assignments, for me they add such joy to learning about herbs.

Parsley is shrouded in folklore 

"Only the wicked can grow parsley, and parsley flourishes where the missus is master".

I have no trouble growing parsley so does that me wicked or the boss?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Broad beans

Caught in action stretching another top.
 How else are you meant to pick beans for tea?

Eating broad beans is all a matter of preference of when to pick them. 
For our family we like them young, about a finger size. 
Top and tail and slice and gently simmer.

Broad bean tops are also consumed here by pinching out the tops once the flowers become curly sooty curls and just before the bean pods begin to appear. Pinching out the group of leaves stops the bean plant growing taller and sends it's energy into making beans.

I cook the bean tops as spinach - very quickly lightly boil or use in a stir fry.

Broad beans are known as fava beans - which always makes me shiver - and think of Silence of the Lamb..

Oh Anthony Hopkins sure is scary.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

While you were sleeping

While you are sleeping I'm up each morning bright and early 

waiting for the sun to come up with the birds.

The mornings really are the very best part of the day.

doesn't this fellas face crack yea up.

Collecting my breakfast from the garden,

Fresh silver beet

and fresh eggs .

for eggs on silver beet

Eating outside is always a joy.

I've always got company - (mother sheep and her ram) watching me eat my breakfast and have me cuppa tea.

and of course the beloved Molly goat.- An old girl of 14 years but still waddles up to top of bank to have breakfast with me.