Monthly Archives: November 2013

More Garden Photos

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Haymakers Pie Recipe


Sandra’s Haymakers Pie  (1976)


4 x squares of flakey or short pastry or filo pastry if your prefer.

1.5 kg of potatoes, cooked and mashed (salted)

1 x large onion, finely chopped

400  gm bacon or ham, chopped

400 – 500 gm grated cheese of choice (I use edam)

5 eggs

4 Tb plain flour

1 ½ cups of non fat milk

salt & pepper to taste



Line a Le Creuset  or similar  dish (31cm x 21cm) with pastry.

Fry the bacon/ham and onion gently in a small amount of oil for a minute or two.

Mix together in a large bowl; the mashed potato, chopped onion and bacon/ham, grated cheese and flour.

Beat the eggs and carefully stir into the mixture.

Add milk and seasoning to taste.

Spread the mixture over the pastry.

Bake at 160 degrees fan bake or 180 degrees ordinary oven for about an hour.  Sometimes you may need an extra 10 minutes.  Just keep an eye on it towards the end of cooking.

If the top browns up too fast, place a sheet of foil over it.

This is delicious the next day as well and is wonderful with a salad.

Occasionally I put chopped tomatoes through the mixture for a slightly different flavour and if you like, you can replace the bacon/ham with chopped smoked chicken or if you want a vegetarian version, just omit the meat.  It tastes just as good.

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Ask Aunty S

Dear Aunty S

My son wants to leave school and work fulltime on the farm where he works part-time after school and weekends.
He is only sixteen.
I have told him he has to stay in school until he is eighteen as he has failed all his exams so needs more time there.

A concerned Mum


Aunty S Responds:

Oh dear.
You may not like my answer as I’m on your son’s side.
From the added information you have given, you should be proud he has a job to go to.
What a fine responsible young man he is.
He is hard working with a strong work ethic and doesn’t drink or smoke and furthermore is going to live at home as the job is only five minutes away.
So many young men at eighteen haven’t a clue what they want to do when they leave school even after passing their exams!!!
Be proud of him, as I know you are, hug him tight and set him free to follow his dreams.
You have raised a fine young man.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My husband suffers from sleep apnoea and has been told to lose weight as he has other very serious health problems.
I have attached his medication list.
He has a bad temper and I believe he is in the early stage of dementia as he is so paranoid and nasty.
I thought making him stand in front of the mirror would make him realize the size of himself and how it revolts me but all he did was cry.
He has to lose weight but with this dementia he just yells and says he has to maintain his weight.
He isn’t thinking straight.
He will not let me go to the Doctor with him.
He yells and screams if I say I am.
I am tired of pretending to our friends that we are a happy couple.
We even sleep in separate beds except when visitors stay and then I have to endure this overweight lump in my bed.

What do you suggest?


Aunty S Responds:

Oh my dear.

Make an appointment with his Doctor and tell him what is going on immediately.

Once you explain the seriousness of the issue, I am sure he will come up with a plan.
It is a shocking situation to be in and I am so sorry that I can be of no help as this is way out of my area of expertize but I’m so glad you have written in as you are no longer alone with this problem.

Be very careful not to provoke him and certainly no more humiliating him in front of a mirror.
You are lucky he has not attacked you and furthermore to reduce him to tears is not the right way my dear.

You definitely need a support system so do you have a friend who can support you through this, as sooner than later you will need to make some serious decisions.

Keep me posted.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

I was unfriended on Facebook recently by a woman I trusted and I am so upset as my other friends on her Facebook have read it and it is a complete fabrication.

I am so embarrassed as her Facebook has over 300 friends and everybody will believe her.
Should I confront her or let it go?

We are all in our fifties so she should know better.

Aunty S Responds:

Oh my darling girl.

I would rather have no friends than have friends who can be swayed by a liar.
I despise shallow people and I go to great lengths to keep them away from me.

Let it go.
You will wear yourself out trying to counter what she is saying.

You are feeling very vulnerable but you must put it into perspective.
She lives just down the road from you yet you have never been in each other homes.
Shouldn’t it be called Facebook Acquaintances… People who I would never socialize with but I still want to know their business, rather than Facebook Friends.

You have a lovely family; would you really want your daughter or son to associate with such a person?
Of course you wouldn’t.

You need to take a deep breath and think of what I’m saying.

This subject is very emotive especially as you have wasted two years on checking Facebook morning and night when you should have put your energies into your true friends and family.
You have missed out on a lot of living my dear.

And another thing, there are a lot in this middle aged group who are so bored with their time that they private message a select few who they know will do their dirty work when it comes to slandering or just being b***hy.
What goes on behind the scenes can be venomous.

I have a blog, which is open for all to read with no hidden agenda.

I personally would never sign up to Facebook as I have been involved in helping many young people recover their self esteem when something similar has happened to them.
They collectively agree they will never return to Facebook.

Go back to personal emails, phone calls, dinner parties, etc.
Connect back into the real world.

Don’t worry what Jackie, silly Milly or Jo are doing.
It’s probably made up anyway.

Disclaimer….. There are a lot of people on Facebook who would never use it as a tool to hurt others.

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Throughout the past few months since my blog has been up and running, I have received many emails and phone calls from widows both young and old.
The common theme, being how harsh life is now without their husbands and how surprised and hurt they are by family and friends’ cold indifference to their grief.

Whilst I am sure there are many widows who have wonderful supportive friends and family, there are others who are not so fortunate and this is what I want to talk about, as it appears to be a taboo subject.
Many widows feel very alone and are unaware that others are being treated just as harshly as they.

One woman described how she had more sympathy offered when her dog died.
Another told of how she and her husband had for many years holidayed overseas each year with friends and after he died; the thought of the holiday in seven months time gave her something to look forward to.

Then out of the blue her closest friend told her that she was no longer welcome as it was for couples only.

An elderly widow told of how she is not allowed to mention her late husband anymore as her family is ‘sick of hearing of him.’

The most vocal of the bunch was her son.
He then lost his wife and finally understood her pain; now the other siblings are picking on him as well!

One woman received ‘attention’ from her best friend’s husband and when she rejected his advances he went home and told his wife that she had come on to him.
Her friend believed her rat bag husband and severed their sixteen-year friendship.

Another was told that she was no longer welcome at the monthly dinner parties as it was for couples only.
She had hosted and attended them for fifteen years.


A young widow came home after the Funeral to find her house stripped of all the furniture and her husband’s belongings.  
Her mother in law had organized a removal firm to attend to it whilst they were at the Funeral.
The mother in law insisted that she had furnished the house for her son not for her so everything belonged to her. 
The widow was too devastated to fight as she had two young children to care for her so she went home to Australia within days.


One son asked his mother the day after her husband’s Funeral to move into a “Home” as he wanted her house signed over to him now rather than when she is dead.  She is only in her late 60’s!!

A widow arrived home after burying her husband to find her family had already started dividing up her furniture as they had decided she wouldn’t be needed it all now that she was on her own.

Another widow wrote to say how her brother in law turned up the day after her husbands funeral and told her he would look after her late husband’s restored Valiant and when she asked about it a few months later, she found he had transferred ownership into his name and it had been sold.
He insisted she had given it to him!

There are many more stories to tell but I think you get the picture.
Where is the empathy these days?
Are we becoming more and more a materialistic selfish society where possessions are more important than people?


Things to say and things not to say to a Widow


‘I am so sorry’ is all that is required if you truly don’t know what to say.

Don’t gossip about a widow as this is cruel and unnecessary and when she comes out of the horrendous black hole of grief, watch out!!

‘When are you going to smile again?’ is a really stupid thing to say.
Try being a widow and see if you can smile!!!!!!

Chatting about how you and your husband are going on holiday to Sydney for a week or moaning about your husband’s shortcomings isn’t really appropriate.

My personal favourite:
‘Sometimes I think I’d like to be on my own too Sandra.’

‘I am so sick of my husband.  Sometimes I wish he would die.”
(“I am sure he feels the same about you my dear,” is what I wanted to say but of course as I am a lady I bit my tongue.  Silly me…)

“You will find somebody else”  Oh really, will I?  Maybe I don’t want anybody else. Do I get a say in it?

‘Life will get easier after a few weeks.’  And you know this how?

“I wish I had only me to cook for.”  Gosh it’s great to know that you thought I starved Mum, Aunty Belle, Sam and Ruby!!!!


On a personal note since my husband died, I have seen the best of people and sadly the worst.

Rather a sweeping statement you may say but it is the simple truth.

97% of folk were and are still brilliant. 
No problems with this bunch. 
It’s the 3% who did the damage and sadly some are still doing so.
They will eventually find another dog to kick so my family and I must endure it a while longer.

Within hours of Alex’s death we were inundated with food, which was gratefully received, as the thought of eating or shopping didn’t enter our heads.

I focused on keeping the same showering, watering and feeding routine going with Mum and Aunty Belle as neither could comprehend where he was and their devastation was huge.


As there was no warning of my husband’s death, the shock was tremendous.

Being self-employed we were unable to take the time to fully comprehend our grief.

The fruit wasn’t going to stop ripening and we needed our income.

Money wasn’t going to fall from the sky; we had to work.

The very day Alex died, Ruby and I were sorting cherries in the Fruit Stall whilst Sam picked.

Our customers, town folk and friends inundated us with either food, kindness or both during those first horrific weeks.

A busy Orchardist taught Sam how to spray; a job Alex had always insisted was his domain; a retired accountant spent a day ensuring our books were up to date; offers of assistance came from all quarters…we were so humbled by the caring.

A huge bird dropped off on Xmas day fed us for two days.
Xmas meant nothing as our minds were preoccupied with the Funeral for Alex, which was organized for a couple of days later.


A few weeks after Alex died, our Haven peach trees were stripped under the cover of darkness.
Robbing from a widow is a bit low I thought.
The odd apricot tree close to the road was stripped every now and then as well.
One car pulled up one night at 10pm just when Sam was coming up from the river block.
The poor man scrambled back into the car whilst the driver gunned the motor and took off at high speed.
It was a bit of light relief that Sam needed at that point in time.

There were other areas of thieving that affected the running of the Orchard but the ”what goes around comes around’ philosophy paid off in the end.
It was a long wait but eventually they were exposed, much to their horror as they thought they’d gotten away with it.
Pathetic revenge tactics seem to be their new strategy so yes I know what it’s like to be taken advantage of when you are a widow and I know they wouldn’t have dared do this if Alex had been alive.

Dreadful things have happened to me and are still happening but not to the scale that some poor women have to cope with.
We are all in the widows club; a club we never signed up for, membership was thrust upon us by the death of our husbands.

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Morning time

Our early cherries are only a few weeks away as are early spuds.

Of course this is all dependent on the weather.

I may have mentioned before that all growers require ‘nerves of steel’ as we are at the mercy of the elements.  Hail, gale force winds and torrential rain can ruin everything in a matter of minutes.

The alarm clock rings at 4:30am as there is much to do on the Orchard.

The bird scarer (Big Bertha)   is turned on at 6am just as the birds are deciding ‘what’s for breakfast?’ and at 6:30am Sam and Ruby head away thinning.

Long days but they are young and fit and love the work.

Great news!  I will be sixty years old in November next year so have time on my side to organize my pink hair streaking kit and black lace clothes which I intend to wear from sixty on.

A wee bit like the Queen Mum is the look I am aiming for but without the pastel colours.

A friend gave me a black chiffon scarf in preparation of the big day.

Another gave me a black lacy blouse that her Granny wore which is simply gorgeous.

Alex would always smile when I talked of my fashion plans for my sixties and he would be so proud that I am carrying on with said plans.

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Bird Scarer – Big Bertha

Here’s a photo of Big Bertha.

She is our faithful new friend and all she demands in life is for her gas bottle to be refueled every now and then.

Without her we would have had our cherry trees stripped by Starlings by now; even though they are covered by nets as these nasty little sods will chew through them with a smile!

Last season was a nightmare as the starlings moved from the cherries to the plums and then onto the apples.

Our apple crop was well down, with some orders having to be cancelled as there is no market for bird pecked fruit!

Big Bertha is turned on at 6am and turned off at dark.

Folk in Central Otago are well accustomed to the ‘sounds’ of income and jobs being saved and very few complain.

In the early years on the Orchard I tried scarecrows, scary looking balloons, silver strips, hawk kites but nothing worked.

I wasted so much time and money on these contraptions!

Birdshot, shotgun blasts or bird scarers are definitely the only way to go!

Just over twenty years ago a little old lady from town came out with an Xmas gift for Sam and a fruitcake for Alex and I.

As she entered our driveway the bird scarer went off and panic descended her as she thought she was being shot over so she put her foot down and roared up our drive like a lunatic.

During that few seconds of speed she had time to reflect as to what she had actually heard so when her car came to a screeching halt, it had well and truly registered that it was the bird scarer, not a maniac with a gun that had made the ‘boom’.

Alex was there to greet her as she struggled out of the car with a very embarrassed look on her face and as she had mocked many of her elderly friends throughout the years when they had been caught out by the same sound, she knew she had to save face at any cost so after an expletive was exclaimed, she then proceeded to swear him to secrecy as to her ‘mistake’ whilst thrusting the cake and toy car into his hands.

He assured her he wouldn’t tell a soul.

I don’t think she ever mocked her friends again!

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Good Friends


Sam,Ruby & Kimmie

We had a lovely surprise visit from Katrina & Kimmie late this afternoon to wish me a Happy Birthday and to give me a very important gift….a tin of M&M’s!

My favourite!

Love you both.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My two children aged 5 & 7 refuse to eat vegetables and insist on takeaways most nights of the week.

They are not overweight so I feel it is ok. What do you think?



Aunty S Responds

Oh my giddy aunt…your 5 and 7 year old are dictating to you what they want to eat!

You need to be a hands on parent, not a hands off parent!

Of course it is wrong to feed them takeaways most nights of the week.

The fat levels in their blood will be off the scale.

You are guiding them to a life of diabetes if you are not careful.

Why do they hate vegetables?

Have they heard a friend or a relative say this as negative comments against vegetables will stick in their minds.

I have emailed you a diet sheet and all meals are easy to prepare.

Good luck my darling and keep me posted.

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