Oh the view

I was so pleased with myself the other day. I shut the office door, grabbed my camera and headed off to the coast. I couldn’t resist taking some pics of the amazing views we have not far from where we live. I still have to pinch myself .. I love this place.


Oaia Island West Coast


Maori Bay, gannet rock 



Back at home, the veg garden is looking pretty as a picture too, something to do with the gorgeous array of flowers and TLC in the form of seaweed brew and daily watering.


The zucchini at last is pumping out veg daily, the corn has grown a foot in a week (bet I didn’t tell you that I had planted any) cucumbers are in abundance and there is a variety of spuds which taste divine. The beans are past their best, so I’ll poke some seedlings in the dirt for round two. I hauled out a couple more tomato plants in disgust thanks to fungal nasties, but I nailed the woolly aphid in the apple tree – woohoo and I’m gloating!


We picked a load of unripe fruit over the weekend,  think plums and peaches which are now ripening indoors. I would have preferred to leave them on the trees, but the wildlife were having a ball. I think every bird in the valley had been enjoying daily visits to our orchard.

My father-in-law Bill is back in front of the stove again making plum chutneys and more damson jam. Did I mention he makes the best panna cotta?


Not to be outdone yours truly located a rather tasty plum sauce recipe from the internet, but it wasn’t until the end of cooking time, when I tried the sauce that I realised in horror that the recipe was devoid of sugar! The fact that half the recipe contained plums in varying degrees of ripeness probably added to the fact that it tasted much like plum vinegar! To top it off, I broke the mouli and splashed sauce all over the place. Why I never used my Dad’s tried and true plum sauce recipe I will never know! Did I add sugar? Of course I did.




Sunday reading …


We don’t call it Frog Pond Farm for nothing!

Happy gardening

111 thoughts

  1. Well folks im here and are the first I hope to reply. It’s slave labour here cooking supposed to be every third night! Julie photos are beautiful and so real and show the amount of time you put into looking after Frogpond! I’m trying to be first so must close. Bill xxx

    • Mr Bonner .. no doubt you were the first leaving a message. And where is my dinner! LOL .. Thank you, so pleased you enjoyed the pics. Frog Pond Farm sure is a work in progress. Thank you so much for all your help xxx

  2. This was a lovely post from beautiful New Zeland, summer there and winter here… I missed summer now. And you almost took me to the blue sea and beautiful coast… You are living in amazing place dear Julie, I wished that not to be a long distance…Be sure I would have been so happy to visit there. I love your cat, seems very serious and also I can see who is dominant in this farm 🙂 Blessing to this lovely one. And welcome for Bill! I would be so happy if he could visit us too 🙂 Seems he is a big chef, this is great. Thank you for this journey (yours life, my journey at my desk!) , Blessing and Happiness to you All, Love, nia

    • Hello dear Nia! Thank you so much. I know you are in the throes of winter and I’m sure you are missing summer. You would love NZ .. it sure is beautiful. I wish that the distance wasn’t so far too. Would love for you to come and visit. Eric our cat is so beautiful, but has attitude (scaredy cat). I will give him a huge pat from you. I shared your welcome with Bill – you would love him in your kitchen. He is such a great cook! (pics to come). Lots of good things to you too Nia … Julie

  3. Hey Julie, fantastic images of a fantastic location. I always get a flash back shock looking at your images. I think have nearly an identical image of that coast line with that rock formation. Absolutely stunning view. Could you please pass one of these glasses through my screen. It looks so tasty. A shame that I have given up eating sugar and sweets. Julie, what happens if you kiss that frog? Smiles. Reinhold

  4. Looks like you are having a beautiful summer. Great photos. I love your kitty, and the frog is adorable. It’s good to s a frog on Frog Pond Farm.

  5. I would pinch myself also…your world is stunningly gorgeous! I love the kitty and your frog…But I most enjoyed your account of cooking…oh my, have I ever been there myself!


  6. What is the zinnia seed you use: I love the raised crown of stamens at the center. I have been looking for those in every seed house without success.

    • Hey Marie … I have been saving seed for years which I think I originally got from Kings. But I also bought organic seedlings from a friend this year. I’ll ask him where he got his seed from. Where are you living? 😀

  7. Glad you took some time away and headed over to the coast! Those are beautiful photos of New Zealand at the height of all it summer glory! Love the photos of the farm and gardens too. My favorites are your gorgeous cat and the little frog. 🙂

    • No sugar! Lol! I’m very happy about the apple too Dr Hb. Now about that blossom. I thought it might be a plum tree so I asked my hort teacher. She thought it might be too .. but wondered where it was shot and when. Something a bit different about those blossoms 😃

      • Thank you for trying to solve that riddle Julie! That picture was shot in the foothills of the Himalayas, in mid October. It might be a wild plum tree?

  8. You’re a very talented photographer Jules! Gorgeous pics. Shame jams and sauces require so much sugar. Vinegar much better for you or a glass of Toi Toi!

  9. Lovely photographs Julie! I was freezing in my office as I started to read your post, but your photos with summery greens and blues have warmed me up! Willow is still curled into a tight little ball though. I really like the photo of the gannet with the crashing waves below. Looks like you might have been a little close to the edge yourself. Wonderful looking produce! And finally – a sugarless plum sauce! What are you thinking girl? And what are you doing in the kitchen anyway? Bill is back at Frog Pond Farm, stay out of his way and let him take care of the preserving! Geez! 🙂 🙂 Bob

    • Hey Bob .. thank you! Glad to know those pics warmed you up. Ah I like that pic of the gannet too .. trust me I wasn’t too close. They were so smelly that day LOL. I laughed when I read your comment about the sauce. I know what a pratt. And more importantly, what was I doing in the kitchen. Great to see you at Frog Pond Mr E 😀

  10. Julie I’d be pinching myself too if I lived there, it’s such a beautiful place! You obviously work very hard to grow all those veggies and flowers, animals to care for, you deserve to take your camera out in the neighbourhood and I’m delighted to see it all. Oh and I’m not the least bit jealous of those pannacottas 😉

    • Hi Gilly … I loved sneaking off trust me. Something I don’t really do, but intend to do a lot more often! As for that dessert .. it was heavenly, I believe there is another on the menu tonight 😉

  11. Magnificent scenery, beautifully captured. Of course, panna cotta could potentially tempt me to lengthen my visit to Middle Earth and venture in your direction. The stomach knows best. 🙂

  12. 1000 apologies Julie for my belated comment. I half read this post then packed for the beach. Life has been hectic. I think when i got down to those gorgeous panna cotte, made by Mr Bonner senior, i started drooling with envy and remember his visit this time last year when he made all your preserves and beautiful meals. I also remember suggesting that he should be cloned. Send him over.
    The beach shots as usual are stunning.

    • Hello Miss .. gosh don’t be sorry. Seemed ages since I had seen you .. I know what you mean about hectic too. Oh you would love the panna cotta just heavenly, I’m sure I’ve put on weight since he has been here! LOL Yes we should clone him .. great idea!

  13. From all your lovely photos you have shared with us on your blog, I would say you live in paradise. Critters in the orchard was always a problem with us too between deer, turkeys, porcupines and birds. The worst was trying to get enough cherries to make at least one pie each season. Sorry about your plum sauce…those things do happen occasionally.

  14. Critters in the orchard and our veg garden. Thankfully we don’t get bothered by deer or porcupines, but the turkeys, rabbits, possums and birds make up for it! 😀 Oh no, I can just imagine how you would have felt about that one cherry pie. I bet it is a beauty too! Fingers crossed the plum sauce turns out ok. Thanks Karen

    • Hi Cynthia … you are most welcome 🙂 I couldn’t believe that the frog was so disinterested in us and not bothered in the slightest that I wanted to take his photo! I bet you are looking forward to spring ..

  15. Hi Julie – To live in places where you can maybe walk or drive to the edge of the sea and take in views like this (and also for me here in Jervis Bay) compensates for so many other things like building a house and worrying about it all. I can imagine the night sky here looking west would be spectacular at sunset. Also I can imagine living in one of those very nice houses I saw on Google Maps around this spot where you overlook the island – unfortunately when we visited Aukland and Rotorua I never had the chance to drive myself to see anything “off tour”. One for a future trip I think. Wes

    • Hey Wes, oh yes one for a future trip for sure. NZ has the most beautiful scenery. Ah so you checked it out on Google? Good for you. Yes some of the homes are divine with serious views – mind you, they also cop some wind! We are so lucky having this view not far from home. The sunset can be just amazing .. you are so right!

  16. LOVED this post, Julie!!! How it did my Heart so much good to see COLOR and flowers and the beach and your gardens. How you must LOVE where you live. Thank you for bringing sunshine into my day today! 🙂 <3

  17. Ha! That frog! Look at him. So content. And the zinnias ….. What a joyful image. It’s no wonder you love that place. I think it’s safe to say that we (your followers) are, through your posts, falling in love, too. I know I am.

  18. For the expression I’d say the cat is reading the business section 🤔😃 I have not seen a frog like that… in Peru or they are totally dull in their colors, or they are quite colorful in the jungle, the latter tend to be poisonous, so I’ll be in doubt to touch it. xD Fantastic view of blue n_n

    • Hello Francis … that is a green golden bell frog, not native to NZ. And not poisonous either thankfully .. I even stroked the beauty. Love that kitty sprawled on the paper .. (reading the business section LOL)
      So good to see you here … 😀

      • I got to get more time to come to see the dear friends which I miss in their adventures, among them specially for you. Thank you for the data, Julie. Nice to know n_n and a bit scared as non natives species can be harmful to the native ones :0

    • Hello smilingtoad .. How I love your visits! And i’m pleased that you liked to see your cousin. He was such a beauty and not at all concerned about me gardening around him. Glad you enjoyed the visions of the coast 😀

      • Reminds me of a tree frog I encountered in the wilderness last night. I heard them singing away in the quaggy bilge amongst the forest detritus. No one alive can resist a singing frog…I dutifully hopped from sagging branch to branch, sloshing into the mire now and then because I am an oaf. I found a perching place, at long last, an old piece of rotted boardwalk long discarded in the middle of the dank slurry beneath a night sky of hurrying clouds. I listened to the symphony of frogs, dizzy with joy, when, to my astonishment, I heard a series of approaching “plunk” noises. I caught sight of the movement when I turned on my LED lamp. Ever closer. Plunk! Plunk, plunk! And then, clambering up a tangle of dead branches before me, a speckled olive-and-green frog peered up at me with wide golden eyes…inches away. I reached out and patted him on the head (who can resist?) and he did not mind! The toad in me croaked with delight. I turned off my torch and watched him in the flashes of blue moonlight, a wheeze of fireflies swimming by now and then. The wind was up and branches creaked and clattered above us, uttering strange cries like dying birds…it was wonderful. And nasty ol’ Sir said it was too windy for frog-gawping. HMPH. Never. 😉

        I am so glad you recently enjoyed a lovely amphibious moment, too. So gorgeous…ugh, I do not know what it is about them, but they are absolutely enchanting. Toads and frogs. I can never get enough. Big fan of newts and mud-puppies, too, for that matter!

        I trust you shall have a lovely week filled with such creatures. The touch of fall is beginning, yes?

        😀 Regards!

      • They really are quite beguiling…their sweet and lively songs evoke a kind of joy in me like no other. I am the same…it is impossible to resist…

  19. Lovely, lovely! Your beach shots are to die for. I’m green with envy that this is your ‘back yard’. 🙂

    Love the zinnias (I think that’s what they are) and your swimming duck and loafing frog photos as well.

    Our seasons are on opposite spectrums, are they not? We’re nearing the end of winter but wow, what a ‘winter’ we’ve had. Highs in the 50s, 60s and even 70s. Scarcely any snow whatsoever. I actually miss having a good old fashioned blizzard. Seems like forever since we’ve had one.

  20. Everything is so fresh, bright, and colorful! So there IS a frog there! LOL What a beautiful view over the water, you need to close that office door more often. 😉 Yay for victory over the woolly aphid! It appears your cat likes to keep on top of things!

    • Wonderful comment .. thank you! Yes there are frogs .. and they seem to appear when I least expect it. Sometimes you won’t see any for months, and that day I saw 2 😃Yay for shutting the office door

  21. Wow! Julie you have such a gift with photography loved the seagull and the froggy awesome place. I wish I was closer to the ocean it has such a calming effect. Thanks for sharing your world.

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