Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Growing Old

I'm shocked when I look at pictures of myself because I see a grandmother and not a young wife and mother, like I was a good twenty years ago.

In fact, I see through my mind’s eye that woman of the past and when I look in the mirror, I want to look away quickly because I don’t like what I see or who I have become.

The lines are there, they could be squint lines, but I am trying to convince myself that they are actually smile lines around my eyes and mouth.

There are those nasty age spots appearing on my face and have done so for sometime now, on the backs of my hands. I thought only old people had them.

In fact the other day, when I glanced down at the hand holding the steering wheel, I sort of took a second look as I didn’t want to believe it was really my hand.

I wouldn't have plastic surgery or botox as that is just not really being the real me. So am I just living in a fantasy.

The weight has poured on over the last few years and I don’t seem to be able to shake it off. I try and lose a bit and then it all just comes back.

My body is not coping and so it is telling me by aches and pains, stiffness and swollen knees and ankles.


It’s really only me who can fix it.

I'm growing older, nearly reaching the three score birthday in a few years.

Life hasn't always turned out the way we had planned; there have been heartaches and sorrows, times when I have been in such a dark place I have felt very alone, and a lot more physical pain than I could have ever imagined living with - but always grace to choose joy in the midst of it.

This year there has been the arrival of yet another beautiful grandchild – we now are blessed with seven.

I have finally had some appointments at the hospital for tests but still there does not seem to be answers to all the questions of,
"Why do I feel so tired?"
"Why do I wake exhausted and with headaches most days?"
"Why does the weight just keep coming on all the time?"
"Why doesn't my sinus ever dry up?"
and just generally troubled with the way my body is becoming.

Even if I don’t eat much in a day for days on end the weight doesn’t budge.
To walk now requires support stockings and lots of pain relief beforehand and a ready supply through the night and the next day as well as anti-inflammatory tablets.
I have a daily nasal wash and a nasal spray as well as antihistamines.

And now I am on tablets to reduce my blood pressure.....

I don't know all the answers, only the questions, lots and lots of questions.

But I know who holds the future, and who knows what the answers to the questions are, and so I continue to trust, that even with each passing year, my heavenly Father has already worked it all out for me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pumpkin-Raisin Tea-bread (Or Muffins)

I love pumpkin and I have finally got my hubby to decide its not so bad after all, especially when it is roasted.
How ever if you grow pumpkins, (which we often do, by accident you know ... the seeds just sprout from the compost or an old hen run) what do you do with all that pumpkin once you have cut into it?

As long as you take the seeds out you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for quite a while. You can also de-seed it (making sure you have scraped out all the soft stringy center) and then if you cut it into serve-size pieces, you can freeze it without having to blanch it. Great for just grabbing a few and throwing them into the roasting pan with other roast veges and they only take about half an hour.

Another way is to use some in baking.

You first need to make some pumpkin puree. I just simply bake it in the oven in large hunks that have been de-seeded but not even peeled while cooking something else. (like a roast or casserole in a separate pan.)
Once cooled you peel the skin off and then can either puree it straight away or store it in the fridge for a few days.
I then puree it in my kitchen whiz (food processor).
You can use it for baking or either freeze it or store in the fridge for a few more days until you are ready to bake. In airtight containers.

This recipe can be made as a tea-bread or muffins and is lovely and moist.

1 cup caster sugar
125gr butter
2 large eggs
1 cup (250gr) cooked, pureed pumpkin (about 400gr raw)
Grated rind of 2 oranges
1 tsp vanilla essence
⅓ cup (60gr) raisins
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line a 23 x 12 cm loaf tin.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until light and creamy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time and then gently beat in the pumpkin puree, orange rind and vanilla essence until just combined.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg and fold in with a wooden spoon (do not beat).
Gently stir in the raisins.
Spoon mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
Bake for I hour until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Transfer the tin to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before turning out on the rack to cool completely.

This mixture can be made into muffins…

Preheat the oven to 200 °C
Grease or line with paper cases, a twelve hole muffin tin.
In a large mixing bowl mix the sugar, flour, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, grated rind and raisins together.
In a separate container melt the butter and beat in the eggs.
Then using a folk, beat in the pumpkin puree and vanilla essence.
Fold wet mixture into dry ingredients until a lumpy texture (Do not over mix)
Spoon mixture into the muffin tins/cases.
Bake for 15 mins or until golden and cooked through.

Monday, September 14, 2015

An Airport Trip With Nana

Jennifer was off to Christchurch for some work training so I was asked and willingly took up the request to look after her two adorable children until her hubby got home from work. She had said she would take a taxi to the airport but I thought it would be good for us all to go and see some aeroplanes and wave good-bye to Mummy as she flew out.

Waiting for Natalie to wake from her afternoon nap, Jacob had a few last snuggles with mummy and then we woke Natalie and she greeted me with some sweet smiles. It’s always something special when grandchildren become old enough to greet your sudden arrival or being there when they wake, with smiles or cuddles knowing that you are someone special in their family.

So we loaded the car seats into the back of the car, buckled the children in and off we went in the rain.

Once we arrived Jennifer set to checking her bag in and herself for a seat with one of her colleagues helping her at the self-check stands. The bag was then put on the conveyor belt next to one of the check in staff and one wonders why you would want to just use a machine instead of the pleasant check in stewards and so miss the personal touch and conversation.

There were plenty of ride-on coin machines to distract the children but after a quick try-out we went upstairs to settle in to aeroplane spotting.

Armed with snacks the children checked out the airport view windows and moved some square seats around for use as tumble blocks, seats, resting spots and height increasing props.

And then the call came out for Jennifer to board her plane. She hugged and kissed and waved to the children who seemed quite happy to send Mum off. 

I wondered how much they really understood.

We waited at the window and watched for her to emerge with others to walk the short distance to the boarding steps to the plane. She looked up and waved a couple of times and then seemed to be swallowed into the plane.

It seems forever when you wait but we waited patiently for the plane to do its thing and take off. There was even time for a starling (or maybe it was a blackbird) to have a little check out of the plane.

Finally, after a little plane was allowed to fly off first, her plane started up and headed out down the run way.

Jacob and Natalie hung from the window frames watching the plane taxi out and then almost disappeared off the end of the runway, but we could just see it turn and rev up its engines.

Then, although we couldn’t hear - you knew - that it took off with full power, throwing all its passengers back into their seats as it roared down the runway and launched itself in the sky at speed. Once airborne it seemed to slowly ascend and out of sight as it headed south to its destination.

I was unsure if the children really understood what had happened and that mum was in there and would be landing later that evening to begin a few days away, but soon returning after two “sleeps”. But as the saying goes out of sight - out of mind...

... They were soon distracted by all the slot games and activities and though we didn’t spend any money they were happy to play and ‘pretend’ they were shooting, driving and generally winning games.

I wasn’t quite sure if I would be able to draw them away but eventually they came with me back to the car and home to their place.

When I visited a few days later Jacob asked me
“Guess how Mummy came home?”
I answered, “In another plane.”
“No”, he replied “She came in a taxi”
Oh the simplicity of a child’s thinking.

After I had helped put the children to bed the first night and come all the way home, I was just jotting down in my diary what I had done that day and recorded “Took Jennifer to the airport….” And I suddenly thought ‘car-seats’. Hmm I don’t remember taking out the car seats. Sure enough I looked out the window in to the dark and saw that the seats were still in the back of my car…here in Tirau. Even though Jason and I had stood there discussing the dent in the front of my bumper that some angry man had kicked in we had never noticed the car seats.
So it was another trip to Hamilton to return them as they were needed the next morning.
I was able to climb into bed that night shortly after midnight!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Girly Grey Cardigan

A request for something with silver in for all the girly things little girls wear had me looking hard for something to edge a basic grey cardigan Sarah had asked me to knit for her Evelyn.

We needed it to be something easy to wash so I chose an acrylic from Spotlight - 4 Seasons Marvel 8 Ply Yarn Light 100 g in grey. But the silver trim was a bit harder to find . In the end I just used DMC Perle Metallic Thread in silver as I just was using it around the edges and crocheting it rather than knitting with it. I used to lengths of it to make it thick enough to match the thickness of the wool I had used.

I had numerous patterns from my collection so was able to find a basic drop should cardigan pattern in double knit and the size I needed.

Some time ago Jennifer had given me a huge collection of buttons she had been passed on from an elderly lady and I had fun finding a set of silver buttons to match.

I wasn't completely happy with the way the silver thread 'sat' once crocheted but I'm hoping it will be better after a few washes and being acrylic it can be done in the machine rather than hand washing.

And Evelyn seemed pretty pleased with the end result which is good as she had mentioned to me, one time I had visited, that she couldn't wait for her knitting to be done! Something a Nana quiet likes to hear.

It maybe a little big but that allows for growth and also the chance of it lasting more than one years worth of seasons

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Little Things On The Day

So while the men were doing what men love to do with diggers and the such when I was invited to "Come For A Ride To Paeroa" I had my new tool and filled some of my spare time with a few shots.

Just the little things you notice but some times actually just ignore....


Monday, August 17, 2015

Come For A Ride To Paeroa

Harry asked me after August’s South Waikato's Four Wheel Drive Club meeting if I would like to come for a drive with him to Paeroa. He had volunteered to take up some cut down concrete power line poles to Paeroa. So I thought why not - the weather wasn’t supposed to be very good for doing much outside in the garden so a ride with Harry for the morning would be nice.

I woke early with the alarms going off (we were supposed to meet in Matamata at 9.00am) and had a cuppa. After the alarm-going-off countless times and Harry pushing the snooze button, I decided that enough was enough and at 7.30am he needed to be up for some breakfast so we could get there in time. “We still needed to fill up on fuel” he said, so he had less than hour.

Needless to say we were late…

Once in Matamata Kevin loaded the sawn off poles into the three trailers with a forklift. Steve and Harry helped ‘direct’ the poles so that they would sit well in the trailers.

We travelled up to Paeroa, through the Karangahake Gorge and up past the Waitawheta turnoff.

Memories of primary school camps for the cherubs came to mind as we drove past the Waitawheta

Well it seemed that we were going a lot further than just up from Paeroa but as I said it was nice to go for a drive and I had my latest knitting project with me so I was happy. It was getting chilly but we had the Isuzu’s heater blasting to keep us warm and to cool the engine down as it was struggling a little with the load in the trailer as we wound up and around, the now dirt track, to our destination.

When we arrived there was the digger or “dig” as Harry referred to it. It was unloaded from its trailer and proceeded to unload each trailer of poles stacking them for when they would be used.

The South Waikato Four Wheel Drive Club (SW4WDC) had volunteered to help with an issue arisen with work on the Waitawheta 4WD track.

There has been a lot of misuse of the track and it was getting worse. The Department of Conservation (DOC) closes the track from 1st May to the Friday before Labour weekend but someone (or a group) have been breaking the locked gate and using the track.

DOC have been trying for some time, to keep the track locked but the culprit keeps breaking in and the track is getting worse with huge ruts filling with water after rain and just getting bigger and making the track quite impassable.

With DOC saying, if it doesn’t stop they will close the track completely, the club decided to help as they like to use it when it is open for its allocated season.

The SW4WDC are putting the concrete poles into the track path to stop vehicles going past and will help fill the huge ruts in the track so that by the spring/summer season the track will be usable for all.

This is all well and good but I didn’t know that this little exercise was going to take, what I would call, (I hear echo’s from Miranda) all day!

I would have at least brought the thermos of hot water and makings for a cuppa and a bite to eat. All we had were some lollies in a bag and the glove-box and by 12.30 we were in to them.

As it now seemed we were here for the day I joined the guys and the “dig” as it dug and graded dirt to fill some of the first rut and then finally insert the posts, ducking for cover as a couple of squally showers passed over us.

We finally made our way off the hill at 4.00pm calling in at the Joker Café for some well over due lunch.


The following is a little entry of what the big boys do when the big toys come out


an exercise in good citizenship towards the environment.

You can click the You Tube clips in the corner to enlarge them and make sure you have  the sound on 

Bringing up the poles
View down to the car park

Working out the spot for the barriers 

First post hole

Second hole; Note: a frozen Harry


Trying to pick up the second pole

At last the poles are in 

As seen from the car park.