In search of Spring

As you know I’m a beach fan.  I never tire of visiting the beach and hauling out my camera.

Muriwai beach winter

iPhone beach and cloud magic

morning mist at the beach

iPhone morning mist at Muriwai

birds at Muriwai beach

terns and fishing at Muriwai beach

Back at home, my veg garden is looking surprisingly good. Winter for us means rain and plenty of it!  Not that I’m complaining, as the land is verdant green and our water tanks are full.

pineapple sage in the veg garden

Pineapple sage

pink cherry blossom

In search of Spring

chestnut horse and sunset

iPhone … one of the neighbours

beautiful sunset waimauku

iPhone sunset

morning sky colours

We have been munching on small broccoli, sugar snap peas (eaten in the garden), beetroot, lettuce, kale, spring onions and herbs. I’m enjoying watching the progress of the broad beans which are now sporting flowers and I have promised them a good dousing of liquid fertiliser, the homemade variety. In fact, today just might be their lucky day! I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my spud order. A great assortment of the early variety, which will be dipped in liquid fert and popped in egg cartons where they will reside for a month prior to planting.

It is incredibly hard to believe that even though we are in winter we have already had a broody hen. Normally I would have laughed, scorned her eagerness as we don’t have a rooster and removed her morning and night from the nest for her to participate at feed time. However given the mite debacle last summer, and realising that mites don’t really mind whom they visit for their tucker, I was horrified.

rescued shaver hens

Rescue brown shavers … hilarious girls

Hence Miss Lavender Sussex was removed from chook towers and spent a few days in solitary confinement. It worked a treat!

For all those chicken people out there, mine have cinnamon dusted in their nest boxes, lavender and rosemary strewn on the floor. Their abode ‘chook towers’ is cleaned weekly with soapy warm water with lavender oil and their poo is removed daily from the pine shavings floor. A net curtain is drawn at night to keep those feathered girls out of the nest boxes ..

Hiding in the garden

black cat grooming

I’m sitting in the office with the heater on tapping away on the keyboard and glancing at the clock.  Our black cat is curled up on the floor behind me and I can hear him purring. Occasionally an ear twitches.  If he knew who would be visiting in the next half hour I seriously doubt whether he would be – a) purring, b) sleepy and c) my best friend. Vets can have that effect can’t they? He’s off his tucker and we need to work out why! Wish us luck …

Happy gardening

89 thoughts

  1. I love your views! I also found your recipe for mites something I wish to save for myself if we ever have those terrible things. I sure understand that longing for spring….although I rather dread winter.

    • Hey Linda … glad you enjoyed those views 😀 I’ve tried a host of things to deter mites trust me! I think the problem last year was a super hot January and seven broody chickens who weren’t dust bathing .. shame on them. Today is a beautiful day, hard to believe it is winter! Always great to see you at Frog Pond ..

  2. I love the beach, too. Pity we live so far from one, but roll on the weekend after next 😊. It’s great to get so much fresh produce, even in winter. It must be spring for you soon, though?

    • Ah another beach fan! We have been so lucky and lived near a beach for years .. hubby takes the dog down daily for his morning walk 🙂 Our winter garden is always a delight, although I do tend to share it with slugs and snails 😀 Spring isn’t far away at all. Yay!

      • I grew up by the sea, so had the pleasure of a regular walk for many years 😊 Yes, I can imagine the slugs and snails with the rain you’ve been having.

  3. Thank you for your beautiful shots, they just made my day. I’m a big beach fan too and that first shot is fantastic. What iphone do you use? i hope those girls (the feathered ones) of yours appreciate how lucky they are. Interesting tip for the potatoes, will give that one a try.

    • Hey Pen thank you, glad they made your day! My iPhone is a 6S Plus .. and takes great photos (well I think so 🙂 ) Ha ha I’m sure my hens have no idea how lucky they are, you should see what they get fed! LOL I have chitted my spuds for years, dipping them in my seaweed brew. Great to see you here ..

  4. Beautiful scenery! Interesting to think that you are looking toward spring and here we are looking toward fall. Hope your best friend only has something very minor!

    • Thank you 😀 … I really am looking forward to spring, it’s been a very damp winter! Not great news on our kitty, but I have my fingers crossed.

  5. Marvelous shots in this post! You should definitely post more often.

    I am no farmer but found your writing about mites interesting. I observe birds that come to our feeders and in some years have found some of them come with swelling on their bodies. I often wonder what could be the cause.

    • Oh thank you and I should post more often! Ah mites … horrid little suckers literally! Gosh I have no idea if they would cause a swelling .. but they can certainly cause discomfort and in severe cases anaemia

  6. Julie, you live in paradise! I shall have to forward this post to my baby sis. She has ‘chooks’ too and will, I’m sure, enjoy reading about your exploits. 🙂

    Lovely photos, as always. Happy Spring to you while I eagerly await our autumn!!

    • Hello Julie … thank you! I think it just might be paradise too (certainly when the sun is shining :D) Never a dull moment with those chooks .. ha ha Autumn is probably my favourite season .. enjoy not long to go!

    • So nice to see you at Frog Pond! No evil eye from kitty, although he didn’t much enjoy his visitor!

  7. Fantastic photos. Wonderful bird shots. I love the horse. And your black kitty! Super photos of him. He has a very ornery look about him.

    • Hi Tim … so pleased you enjoyed the photos. Ah our black cat is the most timid thing. Such a shame as he is so sweet!

  8. Dear Julie, what a beautiful post and photographs. they all fascinated me. And cat, amazing Loved so much. Thank you dear Julie, it will be summer there soon, have a nice days, Love, nia

    • Hi dear Nia … always enjoy your visits and your kind words. Our black kitty is such a great boy .. very timid though. Yes it will be spring soon and I’m looking forward to seeing the garden come to life.

  9. Hi Julie beautiful shots. I know I don’t go to the beach very much. As you know I don’t like the sand. But it’s ironic that I’m spending the last eight months by the sea. Still don’t walk on the sand! But your shots are great and brings very fond memories. Like Friday evenings on the beach with fish and chips, and a bottle of wine! Sorry Wiggy hasn’t been well. I will always remember him sitting outside my bedroom in the morning. Waiting to be fed. Yes cook towers is a luxurious hotel. The best fed birds in N Z . I hope that fertiliser isn’t that very smelly one! Just thinking what the spuds will be like? Well today is cloudy and overcast expect rain. Lots love to you both. Bill.xxxxx

    • Hey Mr Bonner .. always great hearing from you! Gosh has it been 8 months already? I know you aren’t a beach fan. But truly Friday evenings at the beach are so nice (well maybe not at this time of year 😀 ) Ha, I have to agree about chook towers! They sure are spoilt .. And they had one of their favourite brekkies this morning too (not garlic and cider vinegar … LOL) No that fertiliser won’t be my home brew don’t you worry. Today is cloudy too, raining and generally damp. Hoping for some good weather over the weekend .. fingers crossed! Hugs x

  10. My goodness, my chooks seem very neglected compared to yours! I’d better up my management, though to be honest, my main concern is keeping them out of the way of the foxes. Beautiful photos as ever – you should get commission from NZ tourism.

    • Hi Anne, I bet your chooks aren’t neglected! I’m just OTT. Thankfully we don’t have foxes, that would sure change things at Frog Pond. We sure are lucky. Glad you enjoyed the photos … 😀

  11. Hi Julie, always great to hear from you and ah, those fantastic landscape moods make me dream! Stunning captures, no wonder they call NZ land of the long white cloud. Sorry to hear your cat’s off form, will keep my fingers crossed. As for the feathered girls – they seem to enjoy 5star accomodation. Our present lot is one of the best we’ve ever had, they get on so well and lay huge amounts of eggs. Won’t be long to spring now for you guys. By the way, I’ll be enjoying spring too very soon, I’m absolutely over the moon! Watch my space :D, big hug for you both xx

    • Hi Annette .. yes they do call it the land of the long white cloud! 🙂 Aptly named. I’m not sure if the chooks appreciate their housekeeper (ha ha) but they sure do enjoy their tucker! Good to hear that your girls are laying and enjoying each others company. I’ve found that not having a rooster often means that the girls seem to have less problems. Spring is knocking on the door now. I saw blossoms on our plum yesterday. I was so surprised! Hmm now where are you off to that you will be enjoying a spring? Do tell 😀

  12. A lovely photostory yet again, Julie. I love the ambience in your photos. That sunset shot is glorious.
    You still sound busy. I guess a farmer’s work is never done. I guess it will warm up soon enough there. I hope the vet’s visit went well.

    • Hi Mr Draco .. I always enjoy your visits. A photostory, gosh I like that! Thank you … The sunset was taken with the iPhone, I was nearly speechless when I viewed the screen. Ah winter sunsets can be so lovely. Just happens to be raining today, oh what a surprise! 🙂 Looking forward to spring. The visit went well although the news wasn’t too good.

  13. Hi Julie. I hope the vet visit went well. Your black cat is lovely. Wonderful photos. I really liked the waves and clouds. Your winter garden looks and sounds similar to our summer garden. We had a salad tonight consisting of grated carrot, beets, tomatoes, kale, onion and garlic – lots of garlic. Looking forward to reading about your gardens in the coming months while mine gets put to bed. Take care. Bob

    • Hey Bob … the vet visit went well, but the news from the blood test wasn’t so good. He is such a gorgeous cat, but so very timid. Glad you enjoyed the photos … my winter garden has really hit its strides and now of course I’m thinking about sowing seed and planting spuds 🙂 Oh that salad sounds so good .. ! Home grown garlic, no rust, I’m envious!

  14. What beautiful photos this month Julie, the sea, the sky, your lovely neighbour and the homeys. Most of all, the photo below Muriwai, it has a really dreamlike quality to me, does it to you?

    • Hi Gilly .. glad you enjoyed the photos. Lots of sea and sky! I really like that shot too .. As soon as I took it I thought, ah that is a keeper 😀

    • Hi Lavinia … it is beautiful, we are so lucky. And trees are just starting to bud and some blossom has already popped out. The garden is waking up. Yes they are such well-cared for girls – real characters. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by

  15. Julie, what wonderful photos! I don’t know where to start – not to mention your little written vignettes – I love them. I hope Mr. Black cat has been diagnosed and treated, and will respond well. As much as i admire the clouds and sky photos, that neighboring horse really got my attention. Wonderful. But that foggy morning photo with the farm in the background, oh boy. When I think of the sea, the gulls on the rocks, the hens, the veggies – it all adds up to a very rich, even lush environment where life prospers. I know that you know how lucky you are to be there.

    • Hello … I always enjoy reading your comments 🙂 Thank you! Ah our lovely black cat didn’t have a very good lab report I’m afraid, but he is responding well with some medication. Oh I’m pleased you liked the pic of the horse (I did have a play with it). Zeph is incredibly photogenic but a tad grumpy. I really like the foggy morning shot too! I woke to see the most amazing sunrise and thought ‘quick go find that camera’! Oh it is so lush and life does prosper. And you are so very right, I sure do know how lucky we are! Thanks again

      • By this time, the meds have done their work, I hope. Good for you for running for the camera that day – it’s too easy to miss great weather moments. THAT one was outstanding. The quality of light around you there seems elevated. 🙂 Have a good weekend!

  16. Those chickies have it made!!! They are so lucky to have you. The Pre-Spring in the garden is just the most delicious time, don’t you think?! So full of anticipation and promise. And the beach is balm for the soul any time of year. So lucky to have all of this around you – as you reflect in your (always stunning) photos!!! Happy gardening!

    • Hi Janet .. so good to see you at Frog Pond. 🙂 Those chooks do have it made, their very own housekeeper! LOL .. Pre-spring is a rather delicious time, you are so very right. The orchard is starting to wake up and blossoms can already be seen. I do so love the beach .. it is balm for the soul no doubt about it. Thank you so much for your lovely message ..

  17. Those chickies have it made!! They are very lucky birds to have you! Pre-spring in the garden is the most delicious time, don’t you think? So full of anticipation and promise. The beach, however, is balm for soul anytime of year. Your appreciation for it all is reflected in your (always stunning) photos!!

  18. Julie have a happy day in your garden…and also with your critters…I love the horse…sending you creative vibes and have a wonderful ride maybe on your beautiful beach 🤓✌️ smiles from Hamburg…I’m a tad jet lagged in a good way 💫🤓❤️

    • Hi Hedy … how I would love to go riding on that beach. It stretches for miles and miles … Funny though, as you get older the fear factor sets in and I know that if I fell off, I sure wouldn’t bounce anymore 😉. Great to see you at Frog Pond, I hope you are over that jet lag!

  19. Here’s something funny for you. I thought how nice to have cinnamon, rosemary, and lavender in one’s nest, so this old human chook put a little of each together and popped them under her mattress cover! 🙂 🙂 Now all I need is someone to bring me my tucker…..teehee. The photos are superb, and spring must surely be on the way if your broad beans are flowering. Hope your dear cat will be okay.

    • Hello lovely … ah your comment really made me smile! I bet your bedroom smells divine … I’m so pleased you enjoyed the photos. Spring sure is on the way, we have blossoms on the peach and plum trees already. Not great news on our kitty I’m afraid, but medication has helped. So nice to see you at Frog Pond

      • Oh, yes, it smells beautiful! My beautiful magnolia was in full bloom last week. It got totally owned by frost over the weekend. 🙁 Glad kitty has something to help.

      • Oh not good news on the magnolia .. thankfully we have only had a couple of frosts this winter

    • Hi Charlotte .. glad you enjoyed the phone pics! I too get dark ones from time to time .. Snapseed is wonderful to use for editing as is Lightroom. Thanks for stopping by

  20. When looking at pictures, I just can’t believe it is Winter over there!:) except when looking at Tree branches though :). Photos of your Amazing Area are really Awesome! & Lovely Cat makes me think to “minouche” we had through childhood…, both are very similar. Merci for your pretty posts. Enjoy your Week Julie 🙂

    • Thank you … lovely to hear from you and I’m so pleased you enjoyed the images 🙂 Enjoy your week too!

  21. Your girls are soooooo spoilt. Lavender on the floor, cleaning of poo daily- I might move into your chook cage. My girls are lucky to have their cage cleaned out once a month, but they do have a new boyfriend named Ketut. He is a handsome young chap and fits in very well: so nice to hear a little crowing from 4 am. when I get a clucky hen, I rush off to the chicken breeders who sell day old girl chicks, and do a switch of chicks for eggs at night.
    Your photos with the iphone are great. I love all those photos of Muriwai and almost feel like moving to New Zealand, for two reasons- the stunning natural beauty, and your amazing Prime Minister.
    Lovely post Julie.

    • Hey Francesca … oh yes they are so spoilt! But they are devoid of a man in their lives (LOL). I don’t know if it bothers them or not … I do miss the crowing though! Ah so you swop eggs for chicks too! I have done it too and it works a treat … I can only imagine the look on the hens face when she wakes up in the morning! Glad you enjoyed the pics my friend we are so lucky living here .. and I think our PM is amazing too!

  22. Nothing quite as special as being able to see and feel winter moving into the spring ~ you capture it majestically with this post, Julie. And amid all your wonderful photos, there too is the magic of capturing a scene like you did with your iPhone sunset. Wishing you a great weekend.

    • Hi Randall … so good to see you at Frog Pond Farm. Spring is knocking on the door and the blossoms are showing off in the orchard. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the photos. The iPhone sunset is a fav of mine too. Wishing you a great week …

    • Hey Celi .. so nice to hear from you, sorry about the late reply we’ve been away on holiday 🙂 Kitty is on medication which is certainly helping. I’m a fan of the ease of iPhones, but I know exactly what you mean about phases. Spring sure is here!

  23. Oh, Julie!! Your pictures are stunning! What an eye you have! I myself have been busy with cats who have been “off” so I wish you all the best and hope your cat is OK. As you can see I’ve not been around much here at WP due to life and my cats …. BIG HUGS!!!! XOXO

    • Hey Amy .. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the pics! Thank you … Our kitty had some tests done which weren’t terrific, but is now on meds and seems more stable. Hoping that all is well with your lovely kitties, I know how busy you are with them.

  24. I don’t blame you for being a beach fan. Particularly not when you can capture beautiful images like this. While you are heading into the spring, on my side of the world we are already well into the autumn. I like autumns, but I still think I envy you a little. Enjoy the season.

    • Always great to hear from you and sorry for the late reply .. So pleased to you enjoyed the images 🙂 Autumn is my favourite season, love the colours! Mind you, I’m enjoying our Spring!

  25. This weekend we were at a garden party(picnic) and one of my friends, makes a plan to travel NZ…. and I told her how beautiful land… I talked about you and your farm,…. They join a special tour organization and she wants me to go with them too… For me it is a long distance and I can’t dare to make travel because of my medical problems… But it was so nice even just talking about your country and about you dear Julie…. Thank you, have a nice Summer season for you all, Love, nia

    • Hey Nia .. at last a very late response. Sorry we have been away. How nice to know that you were talking about our place .. gosh that makes me feel special. Thank you. How lovely that your friend is gong to travel to NZ .. If she is going to visit Auckland then it would be lovely if she could visit us? Wish you were going to come too, I would just love to meet you. I hope you are enjoying Autumn, our weather has been lovely lately and the flowers are blooming!

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