Last week, I asked my email subscribers what they’d like to see on the blog.

A regular reader suggested a diary-style post, so they could see what I get up to in a given week. I thought that might be an interesting exercise.

So on Monday, I began recording my week. Here’s what I got up to.


Weather – mostly overcast, occasional light showers.

Went to work as a gardener at a local public facility this morning. That means waking up at 4:40am to start at 6am. I set my own hours, so I only have myself to blame. But this time of the morning is quiet, the wasps aren’t active, and there’s less risk of sunburn.

Normally I wouldn’t go in on a Monday if I can avoid it, but the weather looks flaky this week so I wanted to get a shift out of the way early. At least a little ironically, I spend my morning mulching.

I’m finished by lunchtime and come home. I have a nap; move some mulch; forage some home-grown berries in the berryhouse; feed the chickens; and make dinner.

Berries at various stages of ripeness.

We had home-grown potatoes with dinner tonight. They were simply boiled with mint, then tossed with butter and some more finely chopped fresh mint. Served with BBQ lamb. Delicious.

In the evening I did a bit of preparation for my trip the next day, replied to some emails, made a couple of research enquiries for the historical novel I’m working on, and went to sleep.


Weather: overcast with a couple of showers

I’ve got a regular medical appointment in Whang─ürei to attend this morning, so I drop Richard off at work and head down. The drive was pretty uneventful.

I arrive ahead of schedule so I pop into The Piggery Bookshop, and the Asian grocer where I pick up dumpling-making supplies. Then I go to my appointment.

Good news is all that mulching seems to mean good things for my blood pressure. There’s a positive difference since I was last there 3 months ago. Being 40+ is such fun.

After my appointment, I head out to Onerahi to meet Debbie at Vince (it’s veggie mince, and it’s amazing) who’s currently crowdfunding on PledgeMe to say hi and offer some encouragement.

Then I dropped in on my Dad for no other reason than he’s my Dad, I was in town, and I wanted to say hi. I left him a bag of Vince to try. He gave me a couple of containers of wild goat meat for Hine and Roxy.

Before I turn around and go home again, there’s one more thing I want to do. I head to the Maunu Cemetery to ‘meet’ my great great great grandmother’s third husband, and pay my respects to Hine’s original owner who passed away a few years ago.

Then I drive back, pick up Richard, grab some takeaways for dinner, and come home to let the dogs out for a play.

A wheelbarrow of mulch in front of the sunset.

As the sun was setting, I moved one wheelbarrow of mulch to satisfy the minimum daily requirement. Then I just kinda wandered around the place. Long distance driving always leaves me a bit wired and I need to wind down a bit.

As I’m walking around I notice that the corn has sprouted, my potatoes need mounding, the flower garden and cactus gardens both need weeding. The catnip is almost ready for harvest. The garlic needs me to move my butt and harvest that too.

The structure holding the grapes up has fallen down and I’m not sure how to fix it, and the olives need staking.

But I’m losing light for today, so I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.

My evening is spent working on my latest Deep Dive on biochar for Garden Club members.


Weather: fine

Home day. No going anywhere today. A slow start just enjoying a coffee, reading emails, and flitting through the open tabs in my browser.

But soon enough the coffee is gone and it’s time to begin the day. I knock out my mulching first-thing.

Then I head out to the garden to work on the spuds. Mounding them at this early stage doesn’t take too long, but it’s important to stay on top of it at the early stages. I’ve got some Dalton’s garden pellets so I chuck a couple in on each spud before I cover them with soil.

Then I get into the container and sweep it out. I find enough space to dry some garlic, and rope Richard into helping me with harvest this evening.

Our cows

I use the dumpling-making supplies I picked up yesterday, along with half a cabbage and a bunch of cilantro from the garden to make dumpling filling. Then I fill some dumplings for an early dinner. Richard moves the cows while I’m cooking.

After dinner, it’s time for garlic harvesting. We work through each variety, selectively pulling the plants which are well and truly done. We’re pulling Red, White, and Purple Turbans today (formerly known as Spanish Red, White Rocombole, and Purple Rocombole).

Harvested turban garlic 2023

The bulbs are tiny again this year – quite a disappointment. But they’re there, and they’re not rotten, so that’s an improvement. I don’t bother processing them tonight, I simply chuck them into the container.


Weather: cloudy, afternoon showers

Started out with some morning mulching. The pile is getting smaller and I feel like the end is somewhere in sight (though perhaps still a few weeks, possibly months away in reality).

I got out into the garden to weed one of the harvested garlic beds while Richard mowed the lawns. I’d just finished when a friend video called to talk about her garlic – hers looks way better than mine!

Our neighbour dropped off one of our drying screens which they’d borrowed. Then I made up another round of dumplings for lunch. I always make more than I actually eat and freeze the leftovers. Happiness is a freezer full of dumplings.

A bag of frozen dumplings

The rain settles in over the afternoon, so I pour myself a coffee and knuckle down into the biochar Deep Dive, and get it sent to Garden Club members. By the time that’s done, the rain has passed.

I’ve still got a caffeine buzz going so I go knock out a couple more loads of mulch. Why not?

After mulching, I look at the flower (or rather, weed) bed and get stuck into that. Richard mows around it while I pull the weeds. You can see how far I eventually get here at the top of this post.

The flower bed before I began weeding.

Dinner is pancakes, something easy. I spend the evening writing my grocery list for tomorrow, and working on my novel again. Some interesting things have arrived in my inbox this week, and I find an answer to a question that’s been bothering me on Papers Past.


Weather: mostly overcast, occasional showers

I drop Richard at work and then head off to do the Grocery Gauntlet. It is unfortunate that my regular shopping day has fallen on “Black Friday”, but I shop before most people have finished their first coffee, so it’s not too bad.

I hit the local ethnic store, Farmlands for chook feed, The Warehouse, the local veggie store, New World, and Countdown. Yes, that is ridiculous but it’s also 2023 – I literally drive past all these stores just to get to Countdown anyway, so I split our list in a way that gets us what we need at the best prices/quality.

I stop on the driveway on my way home to swap a box of our eggs for a fresh sourdough loaf with the neighbour.

Two more loads of mulch get moved. Afterwards, I notice the chook’s water is looking a bit green, so I scrub it down and refill it.

Then time for lunch. More dumplings.

The new government is announced. I decide to put on my Christmas playlist, dance around our pine nut tree, and cover it with 600 lights and Christmas baubles.

Pine nut tree covered in small red baubles.

Then it’s time to pick up Richard from work. I take the dogs with me, they love a car ride.

Dinner is meat and three veg. Fresh local sweetcorn was at our veggie store this morning. It’s still pretty spendy at this time of year, but one cob will feed the two of us, and it’s cheaper than a bag of chips. It’s one of our three veg tonight.

As the sun goes down, I finish weeding the flower garden and go hunting for blackberries again.

Pine nut tree lit up at dusk.

At 8.35, the Christmas tree lights up, and it makes me happy.


Weather: Fine, but windy

I start the day by putting on the washing. There’s no drier here, but we did install a washing line pretty early on. So washing day is always dependent on the weather, and I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the t-shirt drawer.

After hanging up the washing, I go and move a couple of wheelbarrows of mulch. I interrupted a mama pheasant with a couple of babies in the hedgerow. Mum flew off and just left her babies to fend for themselves. Luckily the trees are nice and bushy so there’s plenty of spots to hide. I distract the dogs and hope she comes back for them.

Another load of washing goes on. I have breakfast, read John Campbell’s excellent piece about the new government, edit this post a little bit, and think about what I need to get done today.

Then I head out to do something. I tie up the olive trees using some Zeenya Clothing offcuts I was sent a couple of weeks ago. While I’m there I notice another new banana flower.

Both the early and main season potatoes need mulching again, so I get that done using lawn clippings.

I pull some dahlia tubers out of the garden shed. They’ve been there since I pulled them up in autumn, and are now sprouting like crazy. I get 15 separate plants out of them. I put some in a box to take to work tomorrow morning, and let the rest of them dry out.

Dahlia tubers laid out on the deck

The kitchen is clean, so after lunch I take the chance to make some sugar syrup and put together the limoncello I’ve had soaking for a few weeks now.

The sun gets quite intense here in the afternoons. So I come inside and work on this post some more. Saturdays are often (but not always) blogging days.

Then I have a wee nap, make dinner (beef bulgagi on rice with cabbage), and furiously edit the images into this post and sort out the formatting. This doesn’t happen like magic each week!


Off to work again this morning. I do this quite a lot – set all this up to automatically publish and just head off to work. Sundays are quiet and a good opportunity to block off driveways or hide dahlia tubers in gardens as a nice surprise.

And here you are – reading right to the end at whatever time you do that. Thanks for sticking with me.

Later today I’m hoping to get those dahlia tubers into the flower garden along with some garden pellets and compost. Then I’d like to mulch it – but we’ll see how we go.

I hope you enjoyed this peak into what I get up to in a week.