“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Dog days of summer

Ruby and Fargo at Bethell's beach, about 18 minutes from our house.

The weather has been warm and sunny. It hasn't rained substantially in weeks. Everything is looking rather brown these days. Our weekend tree-watering in Maungaturoto is now a necessity. Now that our garage is finished, we took advantage of the holiday on Friday, Waitangi Day, and took a trailerload full of stuff up there. Our futon and frame, two sleeping bags, a spare cot, a folding table, our gas stove, two folding chairs, and the lantern stayed up there. We camped overnight so that we could take advantage of the cool evening and morning weather to get our work done. We took turns pushing the mower around the orchard in the evening, then watered the trees in the morning. The creek is getting really low, but there re still areas where the dogs can swim. In the morning, an unsuspecting duck flew into the stream directly in front of Ruby, and of course she went after it. I didn't see it fly up, and it wasn't in her mouth, so I looked for it. I found it lying perfectly still, blending into the mud and algae, trying to be invisible, before it spooked and took off. The water, with the level getting so low, is looking really yucky. There are areas where no water is moving through, and this multi-colored scum is... growing. We would really like to see some rain flush it away. We're still able to get water from the stream with our bucket, but our plan is to get a water tank connected to our garage to collect rainwater. That will drain downhill to the orchard at some point in the future. We had another holiday 2 weeks ago; the Auckland Anniversary Day. This was the opening of the new toll road on the 1 motorway going north from Auckland. This saves us about 10 minutes on our drive to/from our land, and has a really cool bridge and tunnel, so we're happy to pay $2.

Anyway, we managed to get our bedroom painted during the Auckland Anniversary holiday. The color is called "canopy" and we're so pleased with the color. Before, it was white and marked up and totally BLAH. Nice bedroom set, right? That's Rimu, a NZ native. Now, the bed has mosquito netting over it, so we can keep the window open at night and not get sucked dry by mozzies. Still, they manage to get in, but at least the temperature is tolerable.

One thing about the windows in this room: This is a very old house, and the windows are pretty worn out. Darin had to replace the ONE that opens, because the frame cracked and was in danger of falling off. Fortunately, we had a spare in the lounge because of the rumpus room add-on. Unfortunately, the frame is warped so the window required major effort from Darin to plane it down to fit properly.

The tomatoes are ripe! I'm eating them every day, yum! I planted two varieties, and of the two, the cherry tomatoes are doing best. They are prolific producers, and the fruit is sweet.

So what have I been reading lately? I read Merchants of Fear, which was interesting but too text-book-ish. Again, the Waitakere Library got a book at my request: Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food. This is a really good reference, and I've used several of the recipes. One we enjoyed while camping in our new garage was Herb Butter, specifically, basil from my garden. I made it, chilled it into a log, then cut it into pieces and froze them. I used it last night over steamed green beans, with, you guessed it, cut up cherry tomatoes. Delicious. The other book I'm currently reading is The Tortilla Curtain, recommended by my friend Roberta. It is SO GOOD, very compelling. I also LOVED The Kite Runner, so I've been doing well lately. I had to wait quite awhile to get The Kite Runner from the library, and I didn't see the movie. No wonder it is popular.

Two movies I've seen recently are worth mentioning: Kenny, an Australian pseudo-documentary about a port-a-loo maintenence man, and Zac and Miri Make A Porno, a Kevin Smith film that reminds you that Seth Rogan is a really good imitator of Kevin Smith. This movie was really funny, the sort that you find yourself chuckling when you remember scenes from the film.

By the way, I just have to bitch about My Sky, which is the only NZ option for digital recording. It cut off not only the end of the freakin' super bowl (and you know it was close), it also cut off the end of the movie Fright Night, which is an ok 80's vampire movie. I never got to see if the boy saved the girl from the vampire.