First day of winter

Well it was yesterday and the good news is, there is only 3 months to go!

I’ve decided it’s time for another rooster ..  my girls seem to be suffering from ‘Rooster blues’. They appear to be missing male companionship and are in need of a lad to curtail their ‘hen pecking’ ways.


Meet Polly .. 

Me, well I miss my 5.30am alarm crow. I’m thinking a Langshan rooster … a fine looking black chicken.


At last, all my brassica seedlings have finally made it into the big wide world and are ensconced in raised beds topped up with homemade compost full of worms. They have had a good dusting of rok solid fertiliser, woodash and a sprinkling of coffee grounds. A couple have even been stuffed into plastic milk bottles for added warmth and protection from those slugs. As I loathe sharing with the slimeys, I have 2 slug traps at either end of the bed full of water, sugar and yeast. I’m yet to catch one …


I sowed some broad beans the other day into a raised bed with more homemade compost. I spaced them out approx 15cm and poked them into rows about 5cm deep. This bed has had a variety of fab organic matter added and dug in, think seaweed and food scraps from my Bokasi bin. Plus, there has been a thick layer of mulch on this bed for ages which has been breaking down and adding more tucker for the soil life. It will be interesting to see how long the beans take to wake up and get growing, as I normally plant seedlings much earlier than this. Winter weather will no doubt slow this whole process down – let’s see.


Self seeded unripe pumpkin … LOL

Ah but those peas are showing off and have grabbed the trellis and are doing a fine job of flowering, which given they get a ‘shake up’ from the destructive northeast wind is encouraging.


The salad garden appears to be on steroids .. which is amazing given the time of year.


Massive fennel plants, large healthy beetroot, self seeded coriander and lots of lettuces (thanks Bob), herbs, bok choy and spring onions which have been given a haircut and are going to get stuffed into this space tomorrow.


I’m still hoisting out weeds, taking photos of fungi, poking daffs into the dirt (yes I’m very late), trying to prune the olive trees when rain isn’t on the horizon, thrusting cold fingers into gloves and keeping my eye out on those chilly mornings for Jack Frost!


How is your garden? I hope you are enjoying it … Have you planted your garlic yet? I haven’t …

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More beach shots 😉

63 thoughts

  1. Gorgeous photography. Beautiful bird! Our first day of summer has turned into a howling storm that is going to last for a couple of days.Your winter looks so much better !

  2. Ah Julie, your posts are always enthralling. And you included a winter sea shot too. Thank you Missy.My heart jumped when I saw that shot- so well captured, so wild, almost like something out of the Isle of St Kilda in Scotland, not gentle New Zealand. Ok, it deal steal the show for me, but the other shots of luscious dirt ( almost edible) and fungi and Polly were so beautiful too.
    Speaking of roosters, my old silky by fell of the perch and died while I was away and although the family welcomes the peaceful wee hours without him, I miss that call. I think my girls do need a chap in their house- none of them heeded the old Silkie boy- I don’t think he got much action,he just strutted about, but they seemed more peaceful.

    • Hi Francesca .. I’m glad you think so 😀 And a winter sea shot too! LOL It was a wild day and I snapped the shot just as the wave leapt up. Muriwai beach is coastal and can be wild at times. Ha ha ha .. I think that dirt is nearly edible too. You should have seen me playing with it! Sorry to hear about your rooster .. I miss ours and that self assured crow. I do know that the girls miss their bloke too. He used to sort them out when they got catty! LOL

  3. Hi Julie. I went out and bought some new garden gloves, the soil was just getting that little bit too cold to be poking about in. I think I’d miss our rooster too. We’ve had him 7 years and he has such a lovely nature. Although some of his offspring have been pretty nasty. I hope you end up with a well natured fella for your girls.
    Cheers Sarah : o )

    • Isn’t that funny about having nasty offspring. We had a super nasty Plymouth Rooster ‘George’ who used to love chasing me or leaping up when I would have my back to him opening the gate. What a horror he was! Thankfully all his offspring were ok. I’m sure I will find a good fella .. 😉

  4. Miss Polly does have a foul-like forlorn look about her. You definitely need a nice black rooster. Our neighbor’s, who have decided to stay another year in NZ, decided to get some chickens and a rooster a few years ago. The rooster was a stitch when he was learning to crow, but I miss hearing him crow. I’ve thought about getting chickens again, but I can’t let them roam freely on the property because the raccoons will kill them, and I don’t really want to cage them. We are going into summer, so we’ve been working on our garden with lots of kitty help. The porcupines have been eating the new growth on our rose bushes and breaking the new canes, so we’ve started spraying the roses with killer hot chile sauce than we make from Insanely Hot, hot sauce. This stuff is so hot that I dipped the spoon that we used to measure the sauce into the sprayer into a bowl of soup. The spoon only had a film of the hot sauce left on in and the soup became so hot it made me sweat. Hope it makes the old porcs sweat as well. Wonderful set of photos as always.

    • Hey Tim … I’m certain that the girls are missing male companionship. If nothing else, he would keep them in line. Stop the hen pecking stuff. Thankfully we don’t have raccoons. We are so lucky that our girls can free range 24/7. Oh I love the sound of that sauce .. go get ’em. Sounds seriously hot! 😀 Glad you like the pics

  5. Hello Julie. Fantastic photos and update! The blues of the ocean and sky in the beach shots are terrific. I can almost feel the seasons turning. Very nice photo of Polly. Is that a purple kohlrabi seedling. If so they are delicious. My kids used to eat them like apples. Thanks for the shout out, however, you may get annoyed yet by the lettuce coming up in unexpected places. Lovely Cosmos – one of my favourites. Looks like even the winter gardening is good in your neck of the woods. Take care. Bob.

    • Hey Bob! Thank you .. so pleased you like the beach shots. It was one of those days. No that was a broccoli – but I have grown kohlrabi before, wonderful stuff. No I won’t get annoyed, I can’t believe that I haven’t let them go to seed before … lots of them in the salad garden now. Perfect! As for that cosmos .. they are self seeded and thoroughly enjoying their time growing in with the leeks. I just can’t hoist them out they are too pretty. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. I’ve often wanted to give rooster a good home here with my ex-battery girls but really can’t risk a hidden stash of fertile eggs hatching and perpetuating the problem of unwanted roosters. Your set up is ideal in that your hens have loads of room in a contained area so you can keep on top of the egg laying. My friends Kath and Bill have a rooster sanctuary just north of Auckland. They are overflowing with roosters. If you ever want to adopt a rooster in need, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

    • Hey Miss .. I contacted Kath but they don’t have anything up for adoption at the mo. She did give me someone else’s details. Don’t you worry – I’ll adopt one if I can. Thanks so much Rom. Nice to know you stopped by 😀

  7. Wow, you are one busy lady. How do you fit in the time to take photos? 🙂 Sorry about winter starting but it does seem to get around to it, whether we want it to or not. Take care and have a great day. -Max-

  8. Well it’s the second day of summer here. It’s raining and blowing a gale. Glad I’ve done most of the planting can’t cut the grass its to wet. They say it’s going to get better later I the week and going to warm up! LOL to you both.

    • Hello Mr Bonner! I hear that you have been having some nasty weather. Good news that you have done the bulk of your planting. So have I! 😀 I hope it warms up quickly .. it will. And lots of LOL back at you xx

  9. Your winter looks a lot better than our June day (which feels more like autumn than the start of summer). My hens are definitely happier when they have a rooster to trail after, though I do feel roosters are rather full of their own self importance.

    • Hi Anne … I’ve heard that your weather hasn’t been great. I agree, I’m sure my hens are much happier having a boy about. Ha ha .. even if they are full of their own self importance (and they are!)

  10. Everything’s still looking wonderful Jules, with a few bonuses thrown in 😃
    Hope you find your new Rooster soon.
    I dont have my garlic in yet either 😜 Gorgeous beach shots too!

    • Robyn … always great to see you here Miss. Ha ha .. so you don’t have your garlic in either. I can’t believe mine is still in the garage. LOL Mine is usually in the dirt in April (I’m an early planter).
      Glad you like those beach shots .. what a day it was!

  11. That is a marvellous shot of that rooster like thing at the top. What are ‘rooster blues’?
    The path forward is now clear to me. It starts by me robbing a bank and never being caught. Ever.
    Then, I shall live in Delhi from October to March, and in NZ for the rest of the year…

    • Glad you like the pic of my hen. That is called a comb. Ah, rooster blues … I think you need to own chickens to get what I mean! 😀 Hard to explain .. LOL The path is clear .. except that you would have to live here from January – April. Perfect!

  12. Oh wow, your winter garden is looking fabulous! How cold does it get in your corner of the ol’ globe Julie? I have such a small veggie plot and demand so much from it that I usually give it a rest over winter with some clover or winter rye green crop to till in in the spring. Also, loving your compost! Black gold, that is! My straw experiment is working out beautifully, and, funny, I had several old dear lady gardeners come to me last weekend and tell me that’s the ideal way it was done in ____ (insert name of dear old country), and now I can’t help but think that I might get away with a few winter crops if I insulate really well with the straw! Mind you, it really only gets to about -7 here for about one January week! 😀 Big hugs for a great week ahead. Me…I’m gonna rest, see if I don’t…lol.

    • Hey V … Auckland is fairly temperate – thankfully. But in the South Island the winters are much colder. That straw experiment sounds very interesting. Cover crops are so good aren’t they? My poor gardens don’t get a chance .. well not this season anyway. I might sneak in a buckwheat crop in spring. Wonderful stuff – the beneficial insects love it, mind you, so do I. Big hugs back at you Veronica .. you have had such a busy time lately! 😀 Yay for Chloe …

  13. Lovely shot of the coast!

    I so wish I could have such a productive garden in winter. I hope the slimeys keep off your brassicas….

    • You should have seen me when I took that shot. LOL … Very happy! Yeah those rotten slimeys – they are having a field day. I’ll get them yet. I read that they really dislike seaweed .. guess where I’m going this afternoon 😀

      • You are so fortunate to live close to the sea. I grow up on the coast but now live in land, so I can only get seaweed very occasionally. Anyway, I can imagine that slugs and snails would hate the stuff as it is so alien to them 🙂

  14. That is one fine looking rooster, Julie. It looks like you must have received some decent rain in the autumn. Good to go for winter, I hope. So far we appear to be headed for a mild, relatively cool summer. Cool by me. 🙂

    • Jim … a big hello to you! No that is my favourite hen Polly. 🙂 Yes we have had loads of rain lately … and it keeps on going. We had a fairly dry summer, so it is making up for it now. Ah, you enjoy that cool summer of yours 😀

    • Our winter is fairly mild certainly compared with down south. There are less pests (except for those slimeys 🙂 ) … So pleased that you like the pics! Thanks for stopping by …

  15. No I haven’t planted my garlic! It’s sitting on the table looking at me reproachfully 🙂 I’ve yet to get a rooster….I keep a strict nunnery for my girls!

    • Hey Sarah … hello!!! Ha, someone else that hasn’t planted their garlic. Good! I must must – poke it in the ground this weekend. Means hoising out my chilli plants though. Ah a nunnery … LOL I do miss my rooster they are great to have and keep the order! 😀 .. Happy garlic planting when you do!

  16. Hi Julie, nice pictures! I love your beach shots, very beautiful! We have summer now and I’m dreaming of water and swimming.
    Our garden here is on a good way, it seems as if we will have a lot of fruits this year. But of course we have parasites as every year…
    We have a lot of fun with a couple of woodpigeons visiting our garden every evening. Don’t know where they come from but I think somebody feeds them. They both are big and overweight and it’s always a great show when they try to take off into the air again with a lot of noise and effort! 🙂

    • Hey Josephine! we get loads of pests in summer too. Not many at this time of year, except for the slugs and snails. Oh you have woodpigeons too! So do we .. .they are gorgeous large birds that enjoy our native forest … I wonder if they are the same? So pleased that you like the pics … 😀

  17. You have a rooster! That is just so sweet. I didn’t know they controlled the pecking. Interesting … and stay warm!

  18. Yes- you’re not looking very winter like there. Looks pretty bearable 🙂 I’m literally having rooster nightmares where I’m getting attacked. I try so hard to be loving and gentle and respectful of Junior (he’s a Wellsummer) but he terrifies me. And that annoys the hell out of me. Any tips for nice roosters? Or maybe that’s just not part of their job!

    • Hey Wendy .. lol no it isn’t very winter like, very bearable indeed. Ah out of control roosters! I have had one of those who used to love ambushing me. He was a nightmare. Worse considering I was his housekeeper .. that’s gratitude for you. Truth is Wendy, once they get into the habit of being nasty, they seldom change. Don’t put up with it, not worth being scared, and trust me I was! We got ours replaced .. There are some breeds which make top roosters, Orpingtons are one of them. Big, but very gentle. 😀

  19. Well, I’m guessing you made it through Winter all right. 🙂 These are lovely photos.

    It sounds like you grow a lot of your own food. Are you aiming to be as self sufficient as possible?

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