Happy new year to you all

Tena koutou katoa. Happy new year to you all…(namely Jules and Dedda…my 2 loyal followers!) I had an amazing new year`s day with my wee whanau. Started the day with singing auld lang syne with 3 others at 12.00 midnight, to bring in the new year.

It was a stunning summer`s day, so t-shirts and shorts, with a hat, was the attire for the day. Being invited by my 6, nearly 7 year old grandson to play cards in the back yard, seemed like a perfect start to the day.

3 colours of zinc sunscreen, were daubed on my face, accompanied by sunscreen cream and spray, generously lathered on my arms and legs. This was topped off with anti-mossie spray. The two of us resembled Indian braves, preparing to go on the war-path!

Show poker was the name of the game, and A. was on a winning streak. My maternal grandmother, taught me the following ditties to recite, with cards in hand, “Rub them on your knee, come to me and rub them on your bum and your luck will come!” Chuckles from A told me he enjoyed that!

A. suggested we harvest the raspberries and strawberries from around the garden. (The word harvest suggests perhaps, there were a lot! We collected around half a dozen of each…most of which I ate!) As I devoured the raspberries, as usual when this occurs, my memory went to the days of our wonderful summer holidays in Taihape, a town in the centre of the North Island of NZ. My paternal grandparents lived there and we would journey to visit them at Christmas.

From left: author, Nana (Mrs Elizabeth (Kennedy) Watson, nursing Bruce, Pop James (Jim) Stevenson Watson nursing Brenda (Dedda) and older sister, L.
Photo taken Christmas break, 1959, on the occasion of the twins christening at St Andrew`s Church, Taihape, NZ.

This photo has been included, mainly to show the raspberry canes growing along the fence line of the backyard. They grew the best raspberries, (probably due to the harsh winter conditions, that had a magic ingredient to ensure delicious and tasty fruit come summer`s harvesting time.)

These photos are from our garden. We have some Raspberry Leaf Spot, however it doesn`t stop good growth of the berries and new leaves coming on. Raspberry Leaf Spot is a plant disease caused by Sphaerulina rubi, an ascomycete fungus. Early symptoms of infection are dark green spots on young leaves. As the disease progresses, these spots turn tan or gray in color. Disease management strategies for Raspberry Leaf Spot include the use of genetically resistant raspberry plant varieties and chemical fungicide sprays. We have used Neem Oil, as it inhibits the laying of eggs, on the damaged leaves, by other insects.

This photo of the underside of the leaves, highlights the extent of damage to the leaves. Like rust, fungi and insects never sleep! Check out the small pic of me, in the top right-hand corner. It is the latest in selfie photos!

While eating the delicious, juicy raspberries back in 1959, I was not at all concerned with Raspberry Leaf Spot.

If you are fortunate enough to have spare raspberries to make into a topping, try this Raspberry Sauce.   Use the back of a spoon, crush the clean and dried raspberries through a sieve, sweeten the pulp with some fruit juice (orange or apple), cool and serve with ice-cream or plain yoghurt. Bon appetit!

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