What I’ve been up to, May edition

I can’t believe 2018 will be halfway over in a month in a half!  It seems like it just started.

I’ve been very busy, as evinced by my slightly slower blogging rate.  I’ve kept you (mostly) updated with my sewing (lots of shorts, Georgian accessories, and Regency unders), Scroop Pattern-ing (Otari Hoodie & paper patterns!), historical research (swimming in Edwardian wool swimsuits), and photoshoots (30s blouses, geekiness , Edwardian, and bathing suits).

But we’ve been working on a lot of other stuff too.

We’ve had the kitchen that was destroyed in the Great Black Bean Pressure Cooker Explosion of June 2017 fully fixed and replaced – ceiling done, walls painted, floor replaced.  That took lots of organising and following up, so ate up huge amounts of my time.  And it turns out they used the wrong kind of paint, so I’m going to have to repaint it.  Grrrrr….

But it does look lovely!

We’ve also been doing our own home renovations.  We sanded back the terrible old blue door, and filled all the gaps and scratches, and sanded, and sanded, and sanded to make it smooth:

And then we painted it bright red:

We love it, and it goes beautifully with the grey we painted the rest of the house.

We’ve also been doing lots of gardening.

And cooking with the things we grew:

It’s slowing down now that autumn is well and truly settling in, but I just picked my last crop of tomatoes:

We spent a lot of our free time this summer at Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, enjoying all the birds and the views, and making friends with their new takahē couple: Nio and Orbell.

TakahÄ“ are flightless birds about the size of a chicken.  They are members of the rail family, and are native to New Zealand.

They were thought to have gone extinct in the 19th century, but in the 1940s keen tramper Geoffrey Orbell became convinced that they might still exist in some very remote areas of the South Island.  He researched and drew maps of valleys remote enough for takahÄ“ to have have remained hidden for over 50 years.  On 20 November 1948, his search paid off, and he found a surviving colony of almost 400 birds.

Unfortunately New Zealand’s conservation policy in the 50s & 60s was one of non-intervention, and the takahÄ“ population declined to just over 100 in the 1980s (primarily due to competition from introduced deer, who eat the same grass takahÄ“ do) before real steps to assist the population were taken.

I was originally nonplussed about the idea of  takahÄ“.  How exciting can a purple chicken really be?

As it turns out, I LOVE  takahÄ“.  They are flightless grass-eating purple chickens that form very devoted relationships with their breeding partner.  They groom each other and coo at each other.    They get used to people and just hang out with them.

Unfortunately, with a population of only 100,  takahÄ“ are so critically endangered that there is so little genetic diversity in their population that every death is a major blow.

It’s a real illustration of the slim line between total success as a species, due to luck and exact circumstances.  TakahÄ“ would actually be ideal suburban pets – much better than chickens and ducks (both of which you can have on not very much land in NZ).  One pair would be perfect for keeping a quarter-acre lawn mown, they are nice and quiet, they don’t fly…

If they ever want to start a takahÄ“ cloning programme, just to prevent their total loss, I’m in!

I wonder how Felicity would feel about a  takahÄ“ friend…


  1. Ooo! I’d love a pair of takahÄ“ to mow my lawn for me! Perhaps one day someone will be allowed to farm takahÄ“ and they’ll become as common as dodos in a Jasper Fforde novel.

    On the other hand, I’d also like a sheep, because then there’d be the mowing and the free wool. But I feel the council bylaws might have something to say about that. I’m pretty sure my cats would like a sheep, though: what could be better than a central-heated sheepskin to sleep on?

  2. We got a new front door ourselves. Working on the old one would not have done–it was not a solid wood door but was kind of pieced together, and the pieces were trying to fall off of it. Now we have a solid wood door with brass hardware that looks great!

  3. Deanna says

    Hooray for your kitchen being fixed & having such nice garden produce to use in it! Takahē look so round and cuddly!

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