Sunday, May 29, 2011

Home Improvements

Well we saw the guys from Fletchers the other week and over the past couple of weeks have had visits from the timber floors guy and bricklayer who had to scope their special work. So I'm hoping that sometime in the next couple of weeks they'll come back with a schedule and we'll get some kind of idea what will be happening when. Which reminds me that I need to check our insurance to see if we have any cover for having to be out of the house while they work.

Sort of sounds like an excuse for a holiday except that Nick is ever-reluctant to leave the horses for more than a day and of course we'd have to find somewhere for kiwi to stay also which is less likely to be covered in the insurance. I rather fancy a few days staying somewhere posh like the Hermitage as I'm feeling quite unwell at the moment and could use some decadence.

In addition Nick and Ollie have been making excellent progress on the paving. Well actually they only had one day at it but have made a great start, completing about twice what Nick and Bob had done. I thought that Nick was making some fancy tool but it seems to be a fairly long section of square pipe that they are using to squeegee the sand away. Anyway for once I feel good that progress is being made and if we keep getting weekends like the last few we might actually have an outside area by spring.

We are also waiting to hear from our land-mover man Mark who is going to finish the drive for us and make Nick an area, to the south of the house, by the shed. Now that the container has gone there's a good space there and it will probably be 20x30m. We looked at a few areas but that has the advantage of being very close to the house and already pretty flat so it shouldn't require too much digger work. Also being close to the house if we want to we could put night lights on it fairly easily.

With the paving progressing well I have also started thinking about what I want for that area outside the bedroom windows to the north of the house. I just bought a load of Compleat Anachronist booklets including the Medieval Gardens one and my design is going to borrow quite a lot from the medieval garden including the ubiquitous turf bench. Around the south side of the house I am going to plant my native 'bush' with a curving path that leads to a glade with pond and seat. So far I have one kowhai planted that Joan Isaac gave me from her garden. But now at least I have a plan.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tess's Chocolate Fondant

Our friend Tess was down last week and it was great to see her as she moved to Auckland a while ago and the last time we saw her was when we were there a year ago for the winter coronation SCA event. She's going to Europe soon on a working holiday so its probably going to be a while before we see her again.

Tess is a professional patissiere and made us these delicious fondants for which she left the recipe. Quantities in brackets are for the catering quantity: makes 300.

151 g  (2600) butter
4 (60) eggs
5 g (80) baking powder
162g (2800) dark chocolate
17 g (300) cocoa
116 g (2000) icing sugar
78 g (1350) flour
1 egg yolk (400g)
  1. Melt chocolate and butter
  2. Stir in eggs and yolk(s)
  3. Sieve & stir in dry ingredients
  4. Bake in cups for 10 - 12 minutes at 180 degrees C.
Kept well in the fridge for a couple of days and heated in the microwave.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SCA participation up part two.

So I said a couple of posts ago that I was getting more into SCA things and detailed some of my projects but what I didn't mention was that I have taken on an office again. I have been enormously frustrated by wanting to help & be more involved but at the same time worried that if I took something on that there would be times that I wouldn't be able to actually meet my commitments. Its one thing to sit helplessly on the sidelines and watch and quite another to have people expecting you to be doing things when you really can't. Of course everyone gets sick from time to time and that's what deputies are for but I do feel that one should be able to have a reasonable expectation of doing a job that one takes on.

Anyway, the office of web minister came up and I thought about it and asked for the job description. Then there was an earthquake. Then there was a final call for applications, none having yet applied, and I had a look at the description. Which was pretty much what I do at work anyway, so I applied and now am the new web minister.

I went to my first council meeting last Tuesday night and it felt really odd to be back at the table, especially as it was with many of the same faces - not really but that's how it felt. Its like ten years on people from the same households/groups are still filling most of the positions still. I probably won't be able to go to many meetings, but it was my first, and I had stock clerk books to distribute, and it wasn't too long. Same old issues too. Its going to be interesting I think.

Working from home
Its nice being able to work in one's PJs. Not that I do much. I actually have developed what I think of as my 'farm' PJs - tracksuit bottoms, long-sleeved T, sports bra - its comfy like pyjamas but I can walk kiwi without having to get completely changed. And its great being home for her most days, and being able to walk at mid-day rather than at night in the dark. To be honest I really don't want to work in an office again. Still we do what we must, and I must start making dinner.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Horse update

We had a bit of a big weekend last weekend. Nick took the Friday off work to supervise the removal of our container. We had bought the container very early as a place to store stuff and feed and it had continued to serve that purpose as we built first Nick's workshop, then the house, then the hayshed. We had both agreed that it would leave one day and while we'd had a couple of folks interested there hadn't been any urgency. But Nick's friend Al who owns the Budget Tools shop was moving and so it one off to his place. Removing it also meant that the yards next to t had to be pulled out so now there's just a naked area next to the workshop.

But the big bit of progress over the weekend was that Twilight went on his first ever outing, to a western riding training day. He had been on the float before but never with it moving. On Friday Nick drove him (and aunty Zoe) around the block, but the trip to the Mandeville arena is about 45 minutes from our place, so quite a considerable distance. Anyway apparently he handled it very well and also went pretty well at the training. Its great, he is almost self-loading onto the float already. Anyway that's another milestone and indicative that Nick's training of him is progressing nicely.

The previous weekend (Easter) Nick had weaned Dawn and Hrothgar, putting them in the stock-yards for the week. That allows us to get close to them and hand feed them so that they get used to being around people. Dawn has a bit of her mum's distrust but Hrothgar has none of that so he is quite happy to come up and take grass out of your hand. Dawn is beginning too, but would rather take it from Hrothgar's mouth. Anyway after a week they have now been integrated with Tyr so we have the three unbroken young horses together.