July at our place …

I was wandering about my garden yesterday admiring my vegetables as I do, hoisting the odd weed, mounding brassicas and promising those voracious feeders, that I would be back soon with some homemade fertiliser.


The veg garden and duck pond

Did I return? Yes, I waltzed back camera in hand, parting leaves to gloat at the purple Sicilian cauli or the  broccoli. The latter may be super tiny, but they are growing!


Bashful brassica

So with watering can in hand, today I sloshed about liquid fertiliser.  Garlic and walking onions were the lucky recipients. Standing back to admire, I wiped my hands on my pants (nasty habit) and with an eye to the sky, opted to leave nature to it. The rain had started again.


Gorgeous garlic

brassica art-1250617

Brassica art


Do you have ducks? We have two ponds, one of which is located near the orchard. This is home to several pairs of wild Mallard ducks. Given that our chickens receive restaurant tucker, the ducks arrive at meal time unannounced and uninvited.


So with this in mind, it is no surprise really that we have ducks – several. Given the time of year though, it won’t be long before Mrs Duck will be laying her eggs and then sitting tight for the next 4 weeks.  While they appear to be on the ‘smart’ side, they aren’t given for being particularly ‘street smart’, so it is super important to watch out for Mrs Duck and her ducklings. Oh the joys of living on a lifestyle block. Would I give it up? Not on your life …


I’m sitting at the kitchen table tapping away on the keyboard. Hubby is busy cooking dinner from a Dish magazine, we are having braised pork with chorizo sausage and white beans. Sound rather nice doesn’t it? I’m thinking I might be naughty and have a glass of Pinot Noir with it. Good idea?

Raiding the freezer before, I hauled out some figs, poached quince and peaches (Bill you will be pleased to know, those frozen peaches are amazing!). I’m going to bake the fruit drizzling it with lemon juice and some honey, topping it with a divine crumble made with white chocolate, macadamias, coconut, butter, rolled oats, honey and and … Pictures to come promise.

But I do have some beach pics to share


Winter swimming .. oh so cold


Morning walks at Muriwai



iPhone magic 



Keep off the dunes .. please


Salty the pup

That’s it from me

Happy gardening friends

105 thoughts

  1. Well good shots as usual, the place is looking just great can’t wait to see it again. Well as I said it seems garlic is the answer to slugs snails white cabbage flies. Looking at another gardening program they put garlic granules on their carrot plants every two weeks. This was a vegetable grower on a very large scale. So get spraying and finding granules. Summer has arrived for at least three days so as they say make hay while the sun shines! Nice shots of Gracie and Dan. Lots love to you both Billxxx
    Ps glad those peaches were a success

    • Thank you Bill! The place doesn’t look too bad does it? I’m going to try that garlic too btw. Very organic! So good to hear that your summer has arrived .. it hasn’t been a good one has it? Glad you like the pics. And those peaches were so good as were the preserved pears in cider! 😀

  2. I have a few things to say to you Miss Julie. You are one spoilt lady. They should clone Mr B and his Dad. Ok I noticed that you are making a wonderful dessert! Also, your winter garden looks fabulous. Ours is rather sad as I haven’t been up to doing the winter things that are required. That purple brocolli is a winner.
    we have our share of wild ducks: they have taken a fancy to the pool! All the shooing in the world won’t remove them, despite the attractive dam nearby. Love that beach shot with white dog, gorgeous as usual.

    • I know, they should clone those lads for sure! I have plonked the dessert in the oven and will serve it with some hokey pokey ice-cream. And you will be pleased to know the dinner was delish! You are a fan of the Dish mags aren’t you Miss? Oh boy, ducks in the pool! They are persistent little devils aren’t they? Thanks for stopping by Miss 😀

  3. Beautiful photography, Julie. And a seemingly magical lifestyle us city dwellers can only hope to glimpse. Thanks for serving a small slice of serenity to us.

  4. Gorgeous photos as usual Julie, love the glimpses into your little piece of paradise. The only problem is it makes me a little depressed looking out at my unruly patch! Never mind, one of these days I’m definitely coming to visit and pick your brains 😝Xx

    • Hey Sue … lol you are funny! My garden is unruly – well I think so. It is so hard trying to keep things in order in winter, especially given the garden is on a slope and it seems to rain all the time! Bet your garden isn’t bad at all! Yes get here, but wait until spring or summer when the place looks nice (well I think so). Glad you enjoyed the pics Miss. Always nice to know that you dropped in.

  5. Another wonderful tour of your picture perfect garden – aren’t those smart ducks! Garlic does seem a wonder food – have been adding concentrated powder to my horse’s grain and it’s helping to repel those awful horse flies – chemical free😊. Your beach shots are gorgeous.

    • Ha ha they are smart ducks. The have it totally figured. Even down to feed times. I’ll go into the chook coop to tidy it up, and I’m no sooner out of sight and the are into it! Garlic is such a wonder food. The chooks got it again this morning, wish I could say they are enamoured with it! I think my neighbour adds it to her horses tucker too. Interesting that it helps to repel those horse flies. I use it and cider vinegar as a general tonic for the chooks.

  6. I have to repeat myself. A stunning, beautiful place to live. We have some (millions) of ducks everywhere, but not on our private ground. Some very nice and moody shots, Julie. Swimming in the ocean sounds great. I have the choices of swimming in an ice cold lake or the ice cold North Sea… in summer!!!! I prefer my ice cold cocktail. Enjoy you wine and dinner. Smiles. Reinhold

    • Hey Reinhold .. always lovely to know that you dropped by. I’m so pleased that you find our place beautiful. I do too, even in the winter months. Are moody shots … 😀 Good! That lass swims every day in the ocean, and trust me it is cold. She is amazing! I’m tempted to leave her a box of chocolates on her towel. No way ice cold anything for me – has to be warmish! I loved my dinner and the glass of Pinot, such a nice way to spend a Sunday night. 😀

  7. Beautiful photos as always. We get a few stray mallards here and there, but don’t have ducks otherwise. It’s amazing how green your winter is. I love your kitty looking out the window. Who does Salty belong to?

    • Hi Tim, thank you! Those mallards are fairly smart – they know when they are onto a good thing. It is so green here in winter – green all year round. We are very lucky. I love that shot of Grace too – looking longingly out the window. Ah Salty, belongs to a lady that like us, loves the beach walks. He is such a character! And of course, seeing as our dog Dan doesn’t think he is a dog, he completely ignores the little guy! typical

  8. My dad bought me a walking onion plant recently (there had been one in his family garden when he was a kid and he had been charmed by it). As we haven’t grown them ourselves, how much space would you say they need? I’m trying best to plan where to put mine.

    Your winter veg garden looks superb, by the way.

    • You will love these Helen. They are so much sweeter than normal onions. Being me I over plant which I did a few years ago and lost a lot of my onions. We had had lots of rain and humid conditions. I plant mine now probably about 8 inches apart or thereabouts and about a foot between rows. They get shoved in the dirt end of Autumn and I don’t harvest until a good 6 mths later – much like garlic. Not sure what it would be like for you in the UK. I planted some again this year to keep my seed going. 😀 Glad you think the garden looks super!

  9. Gosh your place is beautiful! Rich and green and STILL GROWING. Your July looks like our spring…oh to live without winter…what a gift!


    • Hello Miss Linda! Thank you! It is so green and still growing .. LOL July here is about the worst month (well I think so). The weather is usually lousy – just like today! 🙂 But we are still very lucky. It sure is a gift!

  10. So fantastic at your place this time of year! I love the autumn and it seems like your autumn keeps going on…a little like some Vancouver winters. I’m making a roast lamb for supper tonight and have some fresh peaches for after. It’s nice for me to think that we both had peaches for our afters. 😀 those beach photos are amazing and even more so for me when I”m away from my Pacific and land locked. I’ll have to get to the river soon! Big hugs, and thank you for always checking in on me on my blog.

    • Hey V .. we are mid winter now. Right smack bang in the middle! I didn’t know you were a cancer? Wish I lived closer, I would have invited myself around for dinner .. 😀 Glad to share those beach pics. And make sure you get to that river soon. Big hugs V. I so enjoy your blog … btw. How is Robert?

  11. I wish I had read this after my dinner and not before it. My other half is actually cooking a prawn risotto and now I am SO hungry. Lovely photos – I really like the one with the tree silhouettes.

    • Prawn risotto you say! Divine … love the stuff! Ah so your other half likes cooking too! How lucky are we? Fantastic … And my hubby has just started using cook books too – double bonus! So pleased you liked the pics. I really like that tree shot too. I took it, glanced at the view finder and smiled! Thanks for stopping by

  12. Beautiful greens make a wonderful Winter, Thank you, Julie. n_n Your cat is one that asks to be hugged 😀
    Loving as well the infinite sense in your beach views, with the clouds promising rain.

    • Francis! Hello … oh I miss your blog. Are you coming back soon? Hope so. Yes that cat does deserve to be hugged. She is a chubby gorgeous thing – Grace. So pleased you enjoyed the beach pics, it is seldom that I go there without my camera. Always rain .. more of it today. I hope you are well my friend 😀

      • Oh, a she. ^^ Grace is gorgeous indeed. Hello : ) I am fine, and happy to see your world, quite precious, and your post, it tell me you are well, aren’t you?. I am still without devices to be honest, Julie. Time will tell, but I love to visit you and that’s not going to change never. Take care so much, Julie. A hug from far away, from the other corner of the Winter. ^_^

  13. Hi Julie, it looks like your winter is better than the summer we have been having. Your garden looks great! I can see some kale in there. We just had our first feed of kale on the weekend. The purple cauliflower (or is it broccoli?) looks interesting. I also noted the leaves look like they haven’t been touched by any bugs. White butterflies can be a nuisance here. Wonderful photos! The beach looks lovely. Looks like Salty marches around like he owns the place. Tell Dan to let him be, and that he is the real boss of Muriwai. Take care. Bob

    • Nice to hear from you Mr E. So your not having a good summer? Bill isn’t having a good one in the UK either. Yes that sure is kale, and I juice it in the morning. Wicked stuff! There are holes in those leaves, but only on the bottom ones .. Lol. That tiny purple veg is a cauliflower and a very tasty one at that! Yes, Dan needs to chill .. That sure is a cocky little puppy! Take care Bob ..😃

  14. WOW! Your veg. garden is great, and the photograph fascinated me, I felt as if I was there… We are in summer days and you are in winter days… Always impressed me these differences. Your lovely little friends are so nice, so adorable, loved their photographs too. Thank you dear Julie, have a nice day, Love, nia

    • Hey Nia .. thank you! So nice to see you here. I’m with you on the seasons. Mind you I love seeing pics of summer, when we are in the throes of our winter 🙂 So pleased you enjoyed the photos Nia, I hope you have a lovely day too. Thinking of you

    • Hello Mr Richmond … Dan is looking amazing! Back to his old self. Spinning on the beach and barking like mad! You would never imagine how sick the lad was. Super nice to see you here 😀

    • Hi Steve … I was just staring at your gravatar pic. It is a beauty! Yes there are some gannets, not many, the majority fly over to Australia for some warm weather. The ones that remain I always feel sorry for – namely as the headland they reside on gets absolutely hammered by the weather. I have no idea how they take off when the wind is blowing a gale – but they do!

  15. Such vibrant greens. I love the light in your photos.
    One of my duck has been sitting on a clutch of eggs that gets smaller by the day as crows are raiding her nest. Found a rather flatted duckling yesterday so goodness knows what happened to that. Sometimes I wonder how ducks survive as they’re such bad mothers.

    • Hey Anne … yes those green sure are vibrant. Something to do with the copious rain that we get in Auckland. And the light is special too … you should see it today. 🙂 Ducks what it is with them? They make the worst mothers possible! Bizarre – quite different to the hens which can be incredibly fierce protecting their chicks! Good to see you …

  16. Hello hello Julie – glad to hear you are getting rain. Hope its just the right amount.
    Everything is looking gorgeous as always and your dessert sounds YUM!!!! Bet you enjoyed it.
    Where did you find this divine recipe?
    Yes we have ducks. Wild ones. I love watching them mowing the paddock and swimming. One day I’ll see if I can get some worthy pics.

    Its always inspiring to see your garden. Nothing is growing here presently – too cold. Well except for the lichen 😉

    • Hello Miss .. ah that recipe, it is one which I tore out of a Gourmet Traveller – must be years old. An oldie but a goodie. Have you seen your ducks ( 😀 ) feasting on snails? Laughed when I read you love watching them mowing. I get a kick out of their swimming antics. Oh do get some pics, would love to see them. Loved the lichen shots by the way. My garden grows – thankfully, winter never gets too cold. It just gets a bit buffeted by the wind and rain. And yes we get plenty of the latter. Great to see you Robyn!

  17. You had me at “Veg garden and duck pond”! Magical shot! And those clouds!! Pinot noire is always a good idea … But I wouldn’t mid a taste of the promised crumble!! Cheers!!

  18. Always a pleasant stop to see your farm. All looks so beautiful there, even in winter. We see a lot of ducks and geese fly overhead, flying towards Foster Lake. I had them when I was a youngster, and enjoyed their company.

    Beautiful kitty!

    • Hi Lavinia I’m glad you enjoy stopping by. We have never actually had our own ducks as such .. but instead have been adopted by many 🙂 She sure is a gorgeous kitty (needs to be on a diet though).

    • Hey Nexi, we sure do. I’m partial to gris too – probably as I enjoy spicy food and Pinot Gris goes so well with that! Chilled with fish sounds fine though 😀 Isn’t Salty a brilliant name for a beach pooch!

      • Should have called Rick Stein’s dog that …! Had a look online – didn’t realize there were so many pinot varieties.

  19. A winter garden; it is to dream! My PEI garlic – in fact the whole garden- looks about like yours. Love the shots of the flying bee, of Grace and of the swimmer.

    • We sure are lucky to have a winter garden … might have something to do with all the fertilising it gets! LOL Pleased you liked those photos .. I really like the one of the swimmer too. She amazes me. Each day she does this – regardless of the weather!

  20. Such majestic splendour- what a tantalising post. And that winter-swimmer has the right idea- that surf is perfect!

    Haha I love the opportunistic ducks you have- and I do not blame them for moving in at Frog Pond 😉 Such charming creatures. Wild mallards live just down the street, here, occupying two retention ponds and the many canals. There are blue-eyed cormorants and snake-necked anhingas too. One time, one of the retention ponds filled up with pelicans. Now, that was different.

    Beautiful images, as always. The fine feline looks to be the most content cat in the world, there. What a lovely shot.

    Happy gardening to you,

    Smiling Toad

  21. Oh Smiling Toad .. I love your visits! What a lovely comment … And I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the images – thank you! Yes Grace sure is one very content and much loved kitty! Thanks for stopping by 😀

  22. Oh my! That first photograph just blows me away. I stumbled upon your blog and am so happy I have! I went to your home page to see where this gorgeous garden and duck pond is located. Honestly this looks like a dream life. And as for the description of the dessert… Where do I sign up for that? Yum.

    Funny as I was just talking to a friend who moved back to New Zealand a few months ago and we are thinking of visiting her in Jan 2017. We are relocating to Asia from the U.S? Soon, and certainly hope to make it over to your part of the world.

    Simply lovely post. I will be signing up for your blog.

    You might be interested to take a perk at ours:



  23. This is what natural living is all about ~ a freshness with both your writing and photography that shines. A lifestyle that so few ever experience but in many ways one that takes us right to what is important in this world. Great post. Continue enjoying 🙂

  24. Your photographs are just magical, Julie. There is such a sweetness, an innocence, pure Energy about them all. I LOVE the way your eye sees “art” in your garden …. so does mine!! It’s so much fun to find treasures in the gardens and make art, just not a photo. Incredible shot of your pond nestled in a little valley. That perspective is awesome as I stared at that photo for a long time. It looks something straight out of a fairy land. I stayed here a long time soaking up the serenity and I SO thank you. I know you understand that all of Nature is sacred (I wouldn’t go so far to say that about those nasty insects who harm my pretties and yours ….yet … how can I fault them for being just themselves?) Anyways, thank YOU for this glorious post. I feel refreshed!!! <3

    • Hey Amy .. What a lovely comment. Thank you! Yes I do see art in the garden .. And I adore nature as I know you do. Isn’t it great being able to share? So pleased you enjoyed my post .. 😃

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: