A mighty summer

Frog Pond Farm is looking particularly lush – we have had some rain recently, well quite a lot actually.

The grass is electric green.

Chook towers

Our property is approx 10 acres and being a chicken fan, I dedicated a paddock to my feathered friends. For all those that don’t have chooks you are probably unaware that they have mites, little suckers that stay up late at night feasting on the chickens while they sleep. Chook vampires! Anyway, these guys can be a problem especially for those clucky girls who have stopped their day-to-day beauty regime (think dust bathing). There is a host of ways to reduce the number of these vermin. Keeping a clean environ is a good start.

I learnt something new the other day .. mites aren’t too fussed whose blood they sample. Thanks to the amount of broody chickens we have had this summer, the mite population had grown significantly. So while giving chook towers a good clean, removing and replacing hay from the nest boxes and shavings from the floor, unbeknownst to me, several mites (I hate to think how many) had climbed inside my clothing. Their bites went unnoticed, the scratching that followed didn’t. I’m sure the pharmacist found it amusing when I asked for an antihistamine and soothing balm.

Hubby is back now and has been incredibly busy … the property has been mowed with a vengeance which makes me grin and the dog bark happily. The air is filled with the buzzing of cicadas.

Lost in thought under the pines

I have been busy too …  I’ve made chow chow pickle and an Indian plum chutney both of which will be divine topped on cheese. I’ve also pickled some jalapeño chillies, stewed and frozen loads of plums and peaches.

Not to be outdone, hubby also pickled some plums (this is going to be a hot brew) and has invested in a bread maker, churning out a nice brown loaf the other day.

As the star in our kitchen (Bill) isn’t with us this summer, I thought it was high time that I attempted my first ever pavlova. And it was, I have to say, delicious. Topped with chopped crystalline ginger, cream and lemon yoghurt.

We are having a summer to remember in and out of the kitchen.

And a long shot just for hubby … 

Happy gardening

98 thoughts

  1. What a glorious place you live in- so typically North Island (I’m guessing) NZ. The photo with the Monarch butterfly is gorgeous. I wish you could send us some of that rain.

  2. All the pictures look great and all that rain has worked wonders with the plants, the colours are so vibrant. Andy will have his work cut out keeping the grass down.
    Glad to hear Bill is feeling better and I am sure will be quick to praise your efforts in the kitchen.

    • Hi Roy .. that rain has worked wonders, it sure freshens everything up! Andrew was on the mower the day he returned .. trust me the grass was long! Yes Bill is feeling better and providing tips on our efforts in the kitchen! 🙂

  3. Beautiful photographs, I have missed the summer now… There is delicious working there, I wanted to fly now 🙂 Thank you dear Julie, Greetings and Love to you all , Have a nice day, nia

  4. Your summer pics give me a much needed kick, Julie, as I’m struggling with a serious bronchitis/flue, feeling so weak and poorly…better get back to my old self soon as I’m due to fly to Rügen on Saturday. We too had chicken mites and got rid of them with a miraculous powder. We also paint the undersides (not the top obviously as their feet would get sticky!) of the bars they roost on with sunflower oil which works magic, try it. The mites wonder about the place and get stuck in the oil. Glad Andrew is back to give you a hand. Keep enjoying the summer 🙂

    • Hi Annette. So sorry to hear that you have bronchitis. I do hope that you are feeling much better before your trip. Yes, that powder sounds like diatomaceous earth, which is wonderful stuff. I sure will paint the undersides with sunflower oil 🙂 Anything is worth a go. It is so good having Andrew back .. ! Loving our summer. Hugs

  5. Fantastic photos. All of them, Julie. The sheep and the chicken is hilarious. The povlova wonderfully scrumptious, and the last photo of the woods is exceptionally beautiful.

    • Thanks so much Tim. I have a chicken that loves sitting on one of the sheep’s backs .. she doesn’t mind at all. 🙂 That pav was scrumptious, even better that I had made it! Glad you like that shot Tim .. trees galore! Always great to see you here

  6. Hi Julie
    Well just got home today. Thanks for homecoming blog. Brilliant as usual. Photos so lovely how can I not be there. Anyone who has had the privilege of visiting Frog Pond will know what I mean. Looks as though between you you have a production line going . Trying to beat each other!!! Andrew the bread looked ok but I didn’t know you had bought a bread maker. I used to make a really good fruit cake in the one I had. Just throw all the ingredients in and turn on. The smell of fresh baked bread in the morning to wake up too! Jo has made my bedroom look really nice and comfortable. Did my exercises and quite a lot of walking before I left. So must make sure I carry on a strict regime. Although it’s cold outside the afternoon sun is shing through the window. And when I stand up I can see the sea 🌊. The rain has given you time to do the preserving. But you should try the mustard pickle using some of the fruit 🍈 and veg. Beans courgettes ( forget about the garlic or go and buy some!!!) look forward to see who takes on the challenge!! Well all for now lots of love to you both. Bill xxxxx
    Ps will start to send blog around the world xxxxx

    • Hey Mr B .. good to hear you are home and settled in. So pleased that you enjoyed the photos – it’s been an amazing summer. Ha it is a production line, trust me and I’m way ahead in freezing plums! LOL You can’t beat the smell of fresh bread though, delicious! A fruit and veg pickle, that sounds interesting! Keep up with those exercises .. you will be tap dancing soon! Loads of love back at you ..

  7. What a lovely place, Julie.Once again, I felt as if I had taken a short vacation, hopping around in your farm, smelling flowers and fruits, and trying to stay away from mites 😉 Thanks for sharing, Julie. It’s definitely a great way to start my day…

  8. WOW! Your place is stunning, stunning, stunning. Rich, lush and ever so green. I enjoyed your cute sheeps! I also had to scratch just thinking of those mites…like you I love Chickens. I hope your father-in-law gets to feeling better soon and can make his way out to visit.

    • Hi Miss … oh thank you so much! I always enjoy your comments. Trust me those mites will make you scratch! But I do love the chickens. In fact, I have to go and clean out the coop again today (oh no). LOL … Bill is on the mend and feeling better, thanks Linda

  9. Stop it, you’re making me drool at the thought of the pavlova, plums and chutney 🙂 Your sheep has the most quizical expression, I hope you don’t intend to eat him? and I wonder if the mites make chickens itch as much as they do people. Love the bright purple zinnias, it’s all looking glorious Julie.

    • Ha ha Gilly. Drooling is good. Gosh no way would we eat those sheep … they are rather large pets. LOL I do think that the mites make the chooks itch also, hence they are avid dust bathers. I adore zinnias and this year there is an amazing array of colours and blooms. I think that flower that you were referring to is a fever few – the tiny blooms are past their splendour. Always wonderful hearing from you 😀

  10. The photos of your farm and its inhabitants are always beautiful, Julie! So, lush, green and colorful with bright flowers!

    I love chickens! That is a wonderful photo of the sheep and the chicken! 🙂

  11. Thanks Bill for sending me the blog. So glad to hear your up and about . Julie , lovely to see some lovely sunny pics , yes snap of your sheep , deep in thought is great , sorry to hear about the mites attacking you !! Until the next blog ,Martin and Esther

    • Hi Martin .. nice to hear from you. We are having an amazing summer Martin .. today is another classic day. Ah the pic of the sheep deep in thought – one of my favs too. Yes the mite experience was a different one! Thanks for stopping by …

  12. Hi Julie, Sorry to hear about the attack of the mites. I sympathise as I have often been completely covered in the bites whenever I rescue sick hedgehogs. It’s so incredibly itchy but the good news is the mites, while they like to sample humans, don’t actually like our taste and don’t move in on us as a host. However I have learnt if I’m handling mite infested critters and areas, that slathering myself with a body oil over any exposed skin I don’t get bitten.
    How are the rescue girls? Do you think they may have had mites? I know Kath said they were one of the worst cases of mite infested birds she has rescued and she had to douse them extra well before adoption.
    On a more pleasant note, if you ever desire Dahlia plants or Sweet pea seeds, let me know as my daughter works for a plant breeder and often brings home plants for re-homing

    • Hey Rom … so good to talk to you the other day! Yes, those bites are amazingly itchy – love the idea that they don’t find us too tasty. Rescue girls are doing just fine too. I would love some dahlia plants thanks for the offer 🙂

  13. Hi Julie! Everything looks so lovely. And so green! You must be getting the right amount of moisture to go along with the the warm weather. Sounds like you have more than your fair share of plums. Perhaps you should offer Plum Brandy at the Frog Pond roadside stand. 🙂 Sorry to hear of your mite infestation. Andrew may have to make you sleep out on the veranda – you don’t want those critters inside! We are still dealing with winter. Lisa was shovelling snow yesterday slipped on the ice and broke her arm. She has a cast from hand to elbow. The trick is going to be trying to get her to take it easy. She is not one to stay still. Enjoyed your post. Take care. Bob

    • I don’t think we have ever had so many plums! Ever … As for moisture, we have had rain everyday since I posted this! LOL With loads more on the horizon. Hmm rather like the sound of that plum brandy. I’m quite good at making damson vodka though, does that count? 😀 Oh you are so right, you don’t want those critters inside! Hope Lisa is well in that cast! Great to hear from you

  14. Hi Jules, Stunning pics as always and a pleasure to look at them and read your blog. Keep up the good work. Don’t like the idea of being eaten by chook mites!

  15. Adore your long shot – and remember mites HATE oil. Coat their shells in oil and they die. Oil on the roosts and dip their legs in oil once a day – of course I use olive oil. Please forgive me if someone else told you this. c

  16. Julie, it’s simply unreal from a mid-winter, Northern Hemisphere point of view! All that sun! The zinnias, oh what trip back to childhood that is! I don’t see them all that often any more, and they’re a delight, especially in that photo with the butterfly, wow. I’m glad you took your run-in with the mites lightly, just do what’s required and get on with it – smart! Your 10 acres seem an absolute paradise – I can’t imagine the delicious treats you guys are concocting. Can you tell me what we’re looking at in that last view? Are you on a hill above your property? Were those trees limbed up to let more light in? It’s simply stupendous, a paradise. Thank you for sharing your bounty!

    • Hi, sorry to be so late replying … I adore zinnias too, they are just delightful. And even though it is now the end of the season they are still looking gorgeous. Wish I could say the same for the mites! That last shot that you mentioned, is taken from the olive grove and shows parts of our orchard, creek and pine trees. A jumble of trees! Thanks for visiting 😀

  17. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous — except for the mites. Poor chickens. Poor you. Glad to hear you’re picking up where Bill left off. Will you be making jams and jellies next? Thanks for the treat of the beautiful pictures, Julie!

    • Hey Cynthia .. sorry for the late reply. Oh I agree, poor chickens (and poor me 🙂 ) Yes, I have picked up where Bill left off. But I’m running out of puff .. miss his expertise. Jellies are next on the agenda. Strangely enough, there doesn’t appear to be any left in the larder. Thanks for stopping by …

  18. Seems you live in Paradise! While there’s winter here in Sweden, there’s high summer where you are. Well, do I envy you? Yes! But I don’t dislike winter either. It has its frosty charm. I wonder what your winters are like?
    Ellington

    • I don’t dislike winter either … time to haul out some winter jackets and boots 🙂 ! Mind you, we don’t experience snow where we live. I guess in comparison, our winters are fairly mild. Nice to hear from you, thanks for stopping by

    • Hi so nice to see you at Frog Pond. It is still very lush, something to do with the copious amounts of rain we have been having. Ah, I bet you are looking forward to May. Glad you enjoyed the pics 😀

  19. As always.. a feast for the eyes.. and now I’m hungry..lol
    I’ve been jam making too… had a great crop of crabapples, so made some yummy jelly this year.
    The plums are next!
    Hope you are well lovely lady 🙂

    • Hi Robyn .. so good to know that you dropped by. I haven’t heard from you in ages. I don’t think I have ever done so much preserving .. the freezer is loaded with fruit! Not so many crabapples at our place, but I’ll still get to make some jelly. Good luck with those plums. I’m good thanks Miss … hope you are! 😀 Hugs

      • Hi back Julie.. 😀 Yes, life has been far more ‘offline’ for some time now.
        Still lurking here and there.. and posting if I have much to share.. which is not lots lately.
        Our freezer is loaded too.. and I preserve when the fit takes 😂 Some plums on the stove today.
        Been experimenting with a no added ‘sugar’ jam. Still working it out!!
        Lovely to hear from you too! Hugs xx

    • Oh dear I thought I had answered this Karen … whoops! We did have a lovely summer (except for those mites of course!) Glad you liked the long shot – it is hubbies favourite. Enjoy your Spring

  20. Loved this trip through your garden! Those plums (and pickled plums) look amazing, thanks for sharing all that beauty! Oh, and zinnias are among my favorites 🙂

    • Hey Benjamin … so nice to see you at Frog Pond. I’m busting to try those pickled plums, I have a feeling they are going to be spicy 😀 Glad to share the garden with you. Zinnias are a fav of mine too and they are still happily blooming! 😀

  21. Such a beautiful slice of heaven you’ve captured with your farm ~ mites and all 🙂 There simply is nothing as delicious as home grown food, and then when you actually have a gift of cooking…I’m envious 🙂 Beautiful write-up to go along with the amazing photos of a life well lived, and well loved. Cheers to a glorious autumn for you all.

    • Randall, so good to hear from you! I love it when you stop by. I think it is a slice of heaven too … even with those rotten mites (I finally got on top of them 🙂 ) Oh you are so right, there is nothing like home grown food – tastes great and is so satisfying. Thank you so much for your comment – it is a life well lived and much loved. Autumn is glorious isn’t it, my favourite season

  22. A summer to remember in and out of the kitchen ~

    A wonderful sentiment!

    Gorgeous shots, Julie. And now WE wait for warmer weather just as you and yours head the other way… 🙂

  23. Hi dear Julie, how are you? I know you always visit my blog and leaving a nice words to me. Thank you, I just wanted to stop here, and to knock your door, for a cup of tea 🙂 It would be so nice, have a nice day and weekend, Love, nia

  24. “Lost in thought…” that eyes that seem to think into a new philosophy🤓, or perhaps a rather uncomfortable neighbor 😄 The heat looks so intense, almost solid, make me think in your travel to Greece… although with the relief of forests and the perfumes of your garden. Mighty mites in the sunny summer. Hopefully the autumn now is kinder : ) although here the weather still looks like summer :O

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