Picnic Pie


Mum called it Picnic Pie .

Back then it was greeted with great excitement at pot luck teas as a tastier and lighter version of bacon and egg pies.

Now it would probalby be called a quiche.

Pastry – filo or flakey.

Bacon,    1 or 2 onions,  6 -8 eggs,  

corn, grated cheese,  mixed herbs. 

Any other vegetables eg tomato, red pepper, asparagus . . .

Put bacon and roughly chopped onion into kitchen whizz  & process briefly until chopped but not pureed.

Add eggs & process.

Mum used to make her own pastry, I used to too but – partly because it’s lower in fat and patrly because it’s easier – I buy filo pastry now.

Line a pie dish with pastry (four or five sheets of filo pastry, each sheet lightly greased with melted butter, is plenty).

Sprinkle with mixed herbs (about 1 teaspoon).

Sprinkle with corn and grated cheese (as little or much as you like) and other vegetables.

Pour in egg mixture and bake for about 20 mintues at 180 degrees.


Mum used the same mixture to make cheese boats:

Line muffin tins with thin sliced bread, butter side down, pour in mixture as for the pie and cook 180 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Susan’s got talent – updated


There’s no shame in being the second best talent in Britain and Susan Boyle was gracious in defeat.

In last night’s final she sang I Dreamed a Dream, the song she’d sung in her audition.

She has not only dreamed a dream, she’s helped other people dream too.

And while she hasn’t won Britain’s Got Talent, she has launched her own career.

A video of her final performance is here.

The winner was Diversity.

Saxaphonist Julian Smith came third.

Upadte: Youtube has the video:

Deborah Wai Kapohe – Your Love Captures Me


When looking for Po Atarau – Now is the Hour for this morning’s post I came across a version by Deborah Wai Kapohe which led me in turn to this, offered as a bonus song on the last day of New Zealand Music Month.

Deborah Wai Kapohe – Your Love Captures Me:

Kea spotted – no passport


At the top of the Rob Roy glacier walk we met a kea.

It had a red band around it’s left leg, but it didn’t have a passport.

kea hp

We also spotted a family of mice.

We were just above the bushline, there was snow on the ground and wondered what they live on and why they live there.

Update: Rob’s got a much better photo of a kea  at the same spot.

The best day walk in the world


The road from Wanaka travels up the side of the lake, past Glendhu Bay then past Treble Cone, Cattle Flat Station and on to Aspiring Station, into the West Matukituki Valley to the end of the road at Raspberry Hut.

After a fifteen minute amble along the side of the river we came to a swing bridge across the river and in to the bush to start the Rob Roy Glacier walk.

rr hp 2

rr hp 4

After a  good hour’s climb on a clearly marked track we came out of the bushline and less than 10 minutes later we reached the end of the track.

rr hp

One of the signs at the top has an extract from a book written by Maud Moreland who did the walk in 1908.

We were now at the entrance of a gorge that looked as if the mountains had been cleft by some terrific force: on one side they rose black and precipitous with trees clinging wherever they could find a little soil but generally they were sheer walls of rock. On our side the mountains were clothed to within a few hundred feet of the top with dense bush.

Leaving the horses tied below we began a toilsome ascent through a belt of tutu – a stout herb growing as high as our shoulders. This bit was very steep, followed by a belt of fern, then across screeds of slate, shale and faces of bare rock with only cracks for footholds when we clung by our fingertips.

The heat grew greater every moment and the glare from the rocks scorched us and made us terribly thirsty as we worked our way from gully to gully.

After a tedious climb we at last saw the head of the gorge – a wonderful sight on which not many eyes have gazed. It is closed by a semi circle of cliffs, precipitous and black. And wedged as it were between three mountain peaks lies an enormous glacier. Not a long river of ice, but a mighty mass of ice, breaking off sharp at the top of the stupendous peaks.

How much easier it was for us today, on a well formed track and not encumbered by the clothes a young woman would have had to wear in 1908.

This is the fifth time I’ve done the walk, although the first time in winter. Each time I’m awe struck by the beauty from the river flats, through the bush to the view of the glacier.

A friend reckons it’s the best day walk in the county.

In my – biased and parochial opinion – I agree and that puts it up with the best day walks in the world.

The Willow Singers: Po Atarau – Now is the Hour


Tempus is fugiting (fugitting?) faster than ever.

Here we are on the last day of May and day 31 of the tune a day challenge for New Zealand Music Month.

It’s increased my knowledge and appreciation of New Zealand music and musicians.

Since it’s good bye to music month, I’ve chosen a song of farewell: Po Atarau – Now is the Hour – sung by the Willow Singers: soprano Hannah Timms, alto Valarie Tan and baritone Issac Stone.

Congratulations to Keeping Stock and Inquiring Mind who accepted, and succeeded, in the challenge of posting a song a day and Rob who made it on nearly every day.

Their posts yesterday were:

Johnny Devlin at Keeping Stock

Greg Johnson sings Looking out on Monday at Inquiring Mind

Herbs Listen and Graham Brazier, Harry Lyon and Hammond Gamble sing Sea of Heartbreak at Rob’s.



Tonight 10 finalists will perform to claim the prize in Britain’s Got Talent.

Tonight all will be important to their family and friends.

Tonight the eyes and ears of the world will be on just one.

Tonight we’ll wait for the ordinary woman with the extraordinary voice.

Tonight our hopes and prayers will be with the one who has won our hearts.

Tonight, we’ll dream with her and for ourselves.

Tonight she’ll affirm that because she can, we can too.

Tonight’s the night, Susan Boyle, sing your heart out.

Sing for your mother.

Sing for your family, your friends, your village.

Sing for the other ordinary people who have extraordinary gifts.

Sing for us.

Sing for yourself.

Sing your heart out because

Tonight our hearts are with you.

Tonight’s your night.

Tonight’s our night because of you.

Did you see the one about . . .


Recessions don’t hurt everyone at The Visible Hand in Economics

The Wesleys 1 at Musty Moments (numbers 2 -6 are also funny) Hat Tip: found via My First Dictionary at Kiwiblog

Cow breeding 101  at Kismet Farm

A New Zealnder opened a bank account today  at Watching Brief

Wondering at Craft is the New Black

Conversation wiht Myself about Obesity at Dim Post

Road Code Politics at MacDoctor

10 feminist motherhood questions from Blue Milk at In A Strange Land

Sommat Better at The Bull Pen

Extra-Ordinary at Bowalley Road

In which my cake geekery reaches new levels at The Hand Mirror

Saturday’s smiles


Paddy wants a job, but the foreman won’t hire him until he passes a little maths test.
Here is your first question, the foreman said. “Without using numbers, represent the number 9.”
“Without numbers?” Paddy says? “Dats easy.” And proceeds to draw three trees.

tree 1

“What’s this?” the boss asks.
“Have you no brain? Tree and tree plus tree makes 9” says Paddy.
“Fair enough,” says the boss. “Here’s your second question. Use the same rules, but this time the number is 99.”
Paddy stares into space for a while, then picks up the picture that he has just drawn and makes a smudge on each tree.. “Ere ye go.”

tree 2

The boss scratches his head and says, “How on earth do you get that to represent 99?”
“Each of them trees is dirty now. So, it’s dirty tree, and dirty tree, plus dirty tree. Dat makes 99.”
The boss is getting worried that he’s going to actually have to hire Paddy, so he says, “All right, last question. Same rules again, but represent the number 100.”
Paddy stares into space some more, then he picks up the picture again and makes a little mark at the base of each tree and says, “Ere ye go. One hundred.”

 tree 3

The boss looks at the attempt. “You must be nuts if you think that represents a hundred!”
Paddy leans forward and points to the marks at the base of each tree and whispers, “A little dog came along and pooped by each tree.
So now you got dirty tree and a turd, dirty tree and a turd, and dirty tree and a turd, which makes ONE HUNDRED!”
Paddy is the new supervisor.

You don’t know what you don’t know


The ODT reports on an Austrian tourist who had to be rescued after going tramping wearing street shoes with a sleeping bag, a foam sleeping roll and a can of baked beans.

Search & Rescue called him naive.

“The man did not think he was in any trouble, but we don’t think he had an appreciation for conditions.”

You can’t stop people doing stupid things when they don’t know what they don’t know.

But is it possible to train people to think about consequences before they do things when they don’t know what they’re doing?

Deborah Wai Kapohe – NZ Rain


Day 30, the penultimate day of the tune a day challenge for New Zealand Music Month.

Deborah Wai Kapohe sings her own composition, New Zealand Rain.

Catching up on yesterday’s posts:

Fat Freddy’s Drop is singing Wandering Eye at Keeping Stock

Mi-Sex sings Computer Games  at Inquiring Mind

Kea steals passport – updated


It sound a little like the dog ate my homework, but a bird really did steal a Scottish tourist’s passport.

Keas are well known for being cheeky and this one got away with a courier bag containing the passport.


Laughy Kate has a photo of the thief.

Porcospino has a copy of the kea’s passport.

Possums are now paihamu


If you’re old enough you’ll remember that kiwifruit were once Chinese gooseberries and tamarillos were tree tomatoes.

Now there’s been another name change – possums have become paihamu:

Once referred to as Australian Brushtail possum, the industry is returning to the Maori word Paihamu to avoid confusion with the American possum (which is a different species, looks different and lacks the silky and warm fur quality).

Call them what you will, they’re still a pest in forests and on farms.

They compete with native birds for food, eat young growth of trees , destroying forests, and sometimes dine on birds’ eggs and chicks. They also carry tuberculosis which is a danger to beef and dairy cattle and deer.

But their fur is wonderful, and mixed with merino makes clothes which look good, feel better and are very good at keeping winter chills at bay.



Deborah’s post on party pieces – poems you could recite by heart – prompted last Friday’s poem and subsequent comments on her post reminded me that in the dark recesses of my memory there were some poems, learned by rote at high school.

Among them was Cargoes by John Mansfield.


Quinquireme of Ninevah from distant Ophir

Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,

With a cargo of Ivory

And apes and peacocks,

Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.


Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,

Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-grove shores,

With a cargo of diamond,

Emeralds, amethysts,

Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.


Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke-stack,

Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,

With a cargo of Tyne cola,

Road-rails, pig led,

Fire-wood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.


              –  John Mansfiled –

On the road again


The number of stock trucks and furniture removal vans on the roads have been increasing in the build up to Gypsy weekend.

The dairy season starts on June 1. A lot of share milkers, dairy farm managers and workers change jobs with the season so the last weekend in May or first in June is when hundreds of people move home.

The upsurge in dairy conversions in areas previously dominated by sheep farms has changed communities and it is particularly noticeable at this time of year as people move in and out.

Schools can have a change of 20% or more in their roll as some pupils move in and others move out.

It’s disruptive for the school and the pupils.

A principal of a school with around 100 children on its roll, most of whom are from dairy farms, said children can lose up to a term of optimal learning when they change school and the more they change the more they lose.  Because of that a lot of families try to stay within their school catchment area when they change jobs so although they move house without their children having to change schools.

Frequent changes in population make it harder to retain community focus, especially when houses are scattered. Those of us who stay put know each other and even if we can go weeks or even months without seeing each other, we can still call on each other without excuses.

It’s much harder for the gypsies so one of the permanent neighbours and I decided we’d have a district social after gypsy weekend last year.

The only date which suited us both was in July, then something cropped up which meant it didn’t suit then calving and lambing started then . . .  and so here we are a year and many of the people who moved in will be moving out again and we still haven’t had that welcome social.

Maybe this year.

Round up of Budget editorials – updated


The Southland Times calls it a pig of a budget:

The constraints on Bill English’s Budget were such that at times he must have felt like calling in Mike King and a documentary crew, writes The Southland Times in an editorial.

It was grimly inappropriate to hear the Finance Minister say his Budget marked a turning point.

Chance would be a fine thing. Instead, Mr English faced manoeuverability issues that could lead a man to commiserate with any crated pig.

He could trample forwards and backwards just a little, even try a few backflips, but there just wasn’t room for sidesteps.

Mr English simply wasn’t in a position to lead us swiftly out of the recessionary mire and into the meadowlands any time soon.

The Timaru Herald says Mr Prudent gets his scissors out:

No-one could accuse Finance Minister Bill English of delivering a charismatic Budget speech yesterday, but what it lacked in flair it more than made up for in guts.

Against the backdrop of the worst economic conditions in decades, the Budget had to be tough. It was.

The gutsy decisions include deferring the next two planned phases of tax cuts in 2010 and 2011, and suspending payments to the Superannuation Fund in the long term.

These are likely to be unpopular measures but, to be fair, there is no surprise in either of them. The Government has been slick at telegraphing the bad news, and the public has a good level of understanding about just how difficult the times we are living in are. In fact, the softening up programme has been so effective that any hint of a tax cut would have seemed reckless.

The ODT headline its editorial walking the tightrope and sounds a warning to individuals:

Most people will be happy benefits have been retained, and they certainly should be happy that state spending is to be curbed.

They should also be budgeting just as carefully as Mr English appears to be: with household debt increasing by 51% since 2004, and with $168 billion of net debt currently owed by the country to overseas lenders, the halcyon days of recent memory are decidedly over.

They will not return until national productivity improves, debt is paid down, our export trade improves and we pay our own bills.

Mr English is walking a tightrope, and so are we all.

The Dominion Post calls it a Budget for a rainy day:

Labour leader Phil Goff says that, by halting contributions to the super fund, the Government is digging a $20b hole for future generations. The truth is that Labour left National with little choice. For all its talk of Keynesian economics and putting money aside in the good times, Labour spent too much of the bounty that flowed into the state’s coffers during its nine years in office.

The $15b the last government set aside for a rainy day by reducing government debt and investing in the super fund will be consumed in less than two years.

Without the changes announced yesterday, debt would have ballooned by 2023 to the crippling levels last seen in the late 1980s. That would have left the state owing the equivalent of $45,000 for every man, woman and child a burden that would have severely limited the ability of future governments to meet health, education and welfare needs. The solution is not to gamble on international markets.

The Taranaki Daily News says move over Fluffy, here comes Bill:

Those of us who share a bed with a rubber hottie and a fluffy cat will welcome at least one bit of good news in yesterday’s dreary Budget.

Finance Minister Bill English has allocated $323 million over the next four years to insulate our appallingly cold homes.

The NZ Herald says it’s a Budget short on tough decisions:

The recession has shown Labour’s spending levels to be unsustainable, and the more since Labour and National have indulged in a round of tax cuts. Hard decisions on welfare entitlements for the well-off, interest-free tertiary loans, free childcare and the like – decisions Mr Key and Mr English were proud to avoid yesterday – will probably have to be made. Maybe next year.

Nine years of deficits is simply too long. The world economy will surely have recovered in half that time. The Government needs to be looking beyond its cushions. The country needs to be awake and well geared for the first signs of recovery.

The Budget has been constrained not just by the recession it’s also been constrained by politics.

National made an election commitment not to alter various Labour initiatives which turned middle and upper  income people into beneficaries. The direct expense and indirect costs – through the bureaucracy which supports it – of  that increased what had to be borrowed and severely limited spending available for more productive initiatives.


The NBR ditorial is headlined timid steps on a hard road:

Faced with the worst economic conditions in 80 years, Finance Minister Bill English has tried to chart a path to recovery with his first budget.

This was always going to be a difficult task and the government has taken its first rather timid steps on a long road.

The speed of the global recession has highlighted the structural imbalances in the economy, namely excessive household and government spending against insufficient growth and productivity. . .

. . . The government gets another chance next year but politically it gets harder. As Mr English says, there is no long-term free lunch.

The government has been forced to cut contributions to the Superannuation Fund with only partial contributions to be decided on an ad hoc basis until 2023.

To be a wealthy nation, New Zealand has to reward enterprise and penalise waste.

Budget viewed from the paddock


Agriculture Minister David Carter explains the Primary Growth Partnership.

The scope of the Primary Growth Partnership initiative includes pastoral and arable production; horticulture; seafood; forestry and wood products; and food processing.

Federated Farmers said the Budget will assist farm productivity and competitiveness.

“The Government has walked a tightrope in looking to boost productivity and competitiveness without flaming debt.

“That said, business is facing a very difficult environment and many New Zealanders are being insulated at the expense of business.  Its okay to ‘preserve entitlements’ for workers but without business owners, there would be no jobs. 

“Despite this, Federated Farmers is pleased to see the projected debt track trending downwards.  This means we will be returning to surplus a lot earlier than previously forecasted. 

“Any credit downgrade would have seriously impacted the interest rates farmers pay when farm incomes are highly constrained.  Every one percent on interest rates takes around $450 million out of farm incomes.

Feds approved of the funding for research,  is happy with the Infrastructure Board, was delighted to hear Bill English use the word water in his speech, is luke warm about funding for broadband, would like to see wool used for insulation and welcomes the commitment to reforming the RMA, Building Act and electricity markets.

“Federated Farmers understands the tightrope walked by Government in its first Budget.  Fonterra’s revised forecast, announced yesterday, tempered any expectations we had. 

“That said, there are positive indications for the future in respect of infrastructure, regulatory reform, water and research and development.  What Federated Farmers will be looking for is for acceleration in the areas that will drive the economy forward,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

NZBio  supports the investment in innovation. CEO Bronwyn Dilley said:

“Support for New Zealand’s future in the form of $1.1 billion operating and $747.3 million capital investment in transforming the New Zealand economy, including $205 million new funding for Vote RS&T, is a critical step in ensuring this country remains internationally competitive and a desirable place to work. . .

“This is a budget with foresight and strong commitment to New Zealand’s long term success. It signals a step change towards a high value, high skill, knowledge based economy for New Zealand, and the biotechnology industry will be an essential element in achieving that outcome.”

Meat and Wool NZ  welcomed the commitment to primary sector research.

Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen said that the level of investment made available highlighted the Government’s recognition of the sector’s considerable earning potential.

“The budget has signalled that New Zealand is in for a challenging few years with the financial crisis that has dominated the world economies. However New Zealand is well placed for an earlier recovery than other countries with the sheep and beef sector leading the way.

“It’s pleasing to see the Government growing its support to the primary sector which makes up 64 per cent of exports and generates $24.5 billion for the New Zealand economy.”

Science NZ  welcomed the benchtop RS&T increase.

“The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes ($1m pa) and the appointment of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser also signal that the public are being appealed to in a new, high profile, way.

“This will help build a broad, national constituency for RS&T investment and careers. The business sector is engaging as never before, with a 20 per cent rise in its RS&T investment over the last two years. That is the thinking that will create higher wage jobs in New Zealand and build export businesses.

“The Budget recognises that RS&T is critical to improving New Zealand’s productivity and thus our national wealth and living standards.

The previous Prime Minister established PM’s awards for the arts.

I’m not averse to that, but by establishing prizes for scientists this Prime Minister is sending a message about the importance of science and signalling a change of focus towards innovation and productivity.

Beautiful Thing – Christine White, Hinemoana Baker


It’s day 29 in the tune a day challenge for NZ Music Month.

This was a random pick after doing a seach on YouTube – it’s Beautiful Thing  by Christine White and Hinemoana Baker.

Round the other blogs who’ve accepted the challenge:

Straightjacket sing Down in Splendour   at Rob’s

The Chills perform Pink Frost at Keeping Stock

Chris Knox sings Not Given Lightly at Inquiring Mind

Bill’s recipe rewarded by rating revision


Did Bill English get the Budget recpie right?

If you judge it by the reaction of Standard and Poors, he did.

RadioNZ reports:

International credit ratings agency Standard and Poor’s has revised its outlook on New Zealand from negative to stable and affirmed its AA+ rating, after what termed a “sound” Budget.

Does it matter?

A down grade would have resulted in higher interest rates which would have at best slowed the recovery.

Fencing us in


Palmerston North coroner Tim Scott has called for farmers and the Labour Department to lobby government to make fencing compulsory for all farm houses.

Mr Scott said sharemilking agreements should make it mandatory for houses occupied by sharemilkers and their families to be adequately fenced.

He wanted his decision referred to the Labour Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Unit, Federated Farmers, and an appropriate farm worker union, the Dominion Post reported.

Legislation would be needed to make fencing mandatory.

Mr Scott said the legislation could be similar to the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, which promotes child safety by requiring the fencing of some pools.

This follows the death of a three year old who died after she and her brother fell into an effluent pond about 75 metres from their house. The house wasn’t fenced, there was a stock fence between the house and the pond.

The children’s parents, who were sharemilkers, had asked the farm owner to fence the house. He had bought fencing materials but asked the child’s father to wait until the section was levelled before building the fence.

This is a tragedy made worse because of the if onlys:  if only the fence had been built, if only the pond had been fenced, if only the children hadn’t been playing outside . . .

The coroner is quite clear in his findings that the parents were not to blame.

The sharemilking agreement had a clause which said the property would be fenced but it was in the fine print of a standard contract – 119 of 161 clauses on 37 pages.

He recommends that share milking agreements make it mandatory for all houses occupied by sharemilkers and their families be adequately fenced and that this clause be highlighted.

He goes on to recommend that all farm houses should be securely fenced.

But how practical is that and if farm hosues are to be childproof why not every home?

Farms are full of dangers but is an effluent pond nearly 100 metres from a house in the country any more dangerous than a busy road right outside one in town?

And how do you make a whole property completely childproof?

Friends had a deer fence round their house and the children learned to climb it. Other friends had their gate fastened so securely that visiting adults couldn’t get in but their three year old son managed to get out.

%d bloggers like this: