Monthly Archives: February 2014

Jam Making

Yesterday, being true to my word, I made Black Doris Plum jam.
I doubled the batch and was granted seventeen jars for my effort.
I didn’t have the time to halve them so whole plums were used; scooping out the stones during the cooking process.
I am reminded of my first attempt at jam making when I was twenty years of age; a late starter.

After a day picking blackberries, I followed the recipe meticulously and was so proud of my effort even though I just couldn’t get the dash stuff to set so I boiled it a wee bit longer and then a wee bit longer after that.
Eventually I gave up in disgust and filled my jars aware that the jam would probably be a bit runny but by then I didn’t really care!
Runny jam I could take a liking too I thought.
I fell into bed a short time later so proud of the fact that I was now a ‘Jam Maker.’
The next morning I excitedly raced out to the kitchen in my PJ’s as I wanted to taste my jam.
The cellophane was pulled back and excitedly I thrust my bread and butter knife into the jar; my toast had popped and was just as excited as I; but alas my knife hit an obstacle.
I assumed it was errant stone that had elusively evaded my eye but sadly I was wrong….my jam had set like concrete!
I couldn’t even break a splinter off for a wee taste…
Oh blast, I thought to myself whilst I threw the jars into my rubbish bin, carefully ensuring they were placed under other rubbish so that my disaster was just my secret and my secret alone!

A friend on a neighbouring farm was an expert jam maker and panic did set  in for a brief moment at the thought of her arriving and seeing my ‘concrete’  but then I remembered; ’Bruce’ my trusty dog would  bark if she arrived expectantly which she often did so my anxiety was for nothing.

My confidence being shattered, it was years before I attempted the jam making process again and I must report the second time was a success.

But never again have I made Blackberry jam.

Sandra Hobbs plum Jam Sandra's Take on Life


Mr Key told TVNZ’s Breakfast that he acknowledged New Zealand had a cyber bullying problem and there was legislation going through Parliament targeting it.

“I don’t actually myself think New Zealand is any worse than any other country – I’d be absolutely amazed if it was.”

But it would be very difficult to eradicate social network attacks completely, Mr Key said.

As my family and I have been victims of cyber bullying/harassment I am pleased that this problem is receiving publicity.

There are many ways ordinary folk can help put a stop to cyber bullying.
No 1. Don’t hit the  ‘like button’.
No 2. Don’t add fuel to fire by commenting as what you are ‘liking’ and ‘commenting about’, may be just be a personal attack full of lies  on some poor soul or souls, therefore empowering the bully/bullies.


I have been asked to share the following story on my blog so here goes.

Last night we said farewell to a visitor to our home; a lovely young man: who had stayed with us for a week whilst he recuperated from the devastating effects of cyber bullying/harassment.

A Bully waged a Facebook Hate Campaign on him, writing and spreading blatant lies and shared this vile dribble with his hundreds of ‘Facebook Friends.’

Some of these ‘friends’ were long standing school friends of this young man.

His employer was shown the lies by a third party and he too believed them, making this young man’s job so difficult he was forced to resign.

Even though there wasn’t an ounce of truth in these allegations, people, who should have known better, pressed the ‘like’ button and made appalling ‘comments’ on the Bully’s Facebook page agreeing with him or adding their own personal spin on the lies!

This young man had no one to talk too as his small band of friends distanced themselves from him and he didn’t want to worry his family.

He was totally isolated thanks to the Bully which is exactly what he wanted!!

I’m pleased to say he has a job many miles away from his home to go where he will be happy as I know his employer well.

When his family did find out about the Bullying they gave me a ring and then drove through the night to deliver him to us.  This young man needed many miles between the Bully and his ex friends and a place to collect his thoughts.

It will be a very long time before he completely gets over the devastation of being betrayed by his friends and his Employer.
Many now have realized they were set up which is cold comfort to this young man.
Throughout this, the hardest part for me to deal with is the fact that the lies were so obvious, very similar to what we are going through.

As in our case the Bully had something he wanted hidden so tried to destroy this young man’s credibility so he wouldn’t be believed!
How sad and pathetic is that?
It could be your son, daughter, mother, sister, brother or father next!
Please don’t believe everything you read on Facebook.
Stop and ask yourself; what is this person’s agenda?
Do I really want  to press ‘like’ or ‘comment’.
If it sounds like a lie, maybe it is one.
Do I want to be involved in something so cruel?
Be brave.  Tell the person who is being defamed what is being said as they may be totally in the dark.
We were!

Stand Up Stop Bullying Speak Out!!

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22 Feb


Life is still very busy on the Orchard what with plums and now Cox’s Orange apples just starting to come in.

I love stewed Cox’s Orange apples and custard and I am amazed as to how many folk have never tried or made this wonderful quick dessert.  But then again with all the fancy cooking shows on TV, a lot of folk expect something spectacular to be served up these days!


Many thanks to Jim and his friends who offered to clean out our dam after his wife read on a certain couples Facebook page last week that our dam has a ‘sand bar’.
As he had walked the Orchard many times with Sam and hadn’t noticed a sandbar he wondered what was going on so gave Sam a call.
Actually we received a lot of phone calls that night and over the next few days.
A laugh was had by all but now I must explain to all that this is just another lie generated by ‘the middle-aged couple’ who have made it their life’s work to harass/bully/intimidate us FOREVER!!!!!!
And the fact that we won’t respond to their ‘lies’ appears to be taken as a sign of weakness so they continue.
We are not weak or scared of them;  the reason why we haven’t run around town defending ourselves or creating our own Facebook page is because we have to work for a living with no actual spare time.

Now back to the dam….there is not a sand bar and there never has  been  a sandbar!
The problem was originally with the water not always reaching our dam, not with the dam itself and besides this problem was resolved last year in May, as they fully well know.
They are desperately trying to divert attention away from what they did to Alex prior to his death as they really don’t want this becoming common knowledge.
We were never going to reveal their dastardly deeds but their ludicrous two year campaign of lies/bullying/harassment   and then of course four months ago they added cyber bullying to the mix along with their own Facebook harassment;  all of which has made folk question their motives; so  basically they have exposed themselves!
Not a single thing they have said or written about us is factual and we can prove it and they know this!
A few believe them but they are only the minority.
There will always be stooges, gossips and the gullible in life, I’m afraid.
After Alex, I was their second victim, then Sam, then Ruby and now back to Sam.
The lies about Sam are absolutely despicable and shows how low they will go to cover their tracks. Once again we have the proof that discredits their lies.
I’m worried it will be Lugs (the cat) next……

Grateful thanks to those who let us know what is being said. Without you guys we would still be in the dark and to those on Facebook, please don’t de-friend them as forearmed is forewarned.


Never for a minute, four months ago, did we entertain the idea that we would go public with the  bullying/harassment situation that we found ourselves in but of course that all changed when the ‘bullies’ started their Facebook  postings as dozens of friends and customers were mortified to read such venomous lies about us and so we then decided to break our silence and admit to being bullied. I’m afraid to say our silence isolated us and that is the very thing a bully wants to happen as they gain complete power. Not any more!!!!!!!


I made an apple shortcake this morning  so thought I would share my recipe with you and a photo of the last slice.
Stew up some cooking apples;  sweeten with sugar whilst cooking to get the taste right.
Cox’s Orange are the apples I used.
Any cooking apple will suffice.

Let cool before using them in the following recipe.

Ingredients for Sandra’s  Apple Shortcake  Recipe 1979 ( Too easy)

450  g Flour
2 tspns Baking Powder
250  g Butter
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons Sugar
Milk (just enough to bind…about 3-4 Tablespoons)

Chuck flour, baking powder and chopped butter into a food processor.
Blitz for a few seconds.
Then blitz in eggs and sugar.
And now for the milk.
Be careful as you pour in the milk; just enough to bind; not flood the mixture.
Roll out on a floured surface  and and cut in half.
Press one half of the dough evenly over base of a 30cmx 22 cm pan ; coat thickly with stewed apples and top with the other half.

Brush over with milk.

Bake at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Dust icing sugar over the top as soon it leaves the oven.
Lovely hot with custard or whipped cream or served cold.
I prefer it both hot or cold by itself.

Sandra Hobbs Take on Life Apple slice

The very last slice of the shortcake


This is our second season  hosting wwoofers and I am so glad Sam and Ruby signed us up for them.
Wonderful young folk from all parts of the Northern Hemisphere have camped in our sleepout/cabin over the past year and a bit.
One of our wwoofer’s looked a lot like ‘Shaggy’ from Scooby Doo’ so Aunty Belle was thrilled.  She is even more thrilled now as we’ve told her he is returning for another stay soon.

So many have learnt the art of bottling during their stay  from Ruby as she is the main bottler in our house these days.
One evening I got up at 11:30pm for a drink of water and I found Ruby and Anne (Wwoofer)  bottling!!!
They had to get up early the next morning but that didn’t stop them as they  were determined to get a few batches of Blackboy peaches completed.
The enthusiasm of the young!!!!
I can hardly remember it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow is plum jam day.
Jars are washed and ready for action.
I would make a batch tonight but age and weariness is against me.
I’m milking this “I’m 60 this year.”


Lugs bashed up a ferret the other day right in front of Aunty Belle.

She was most impressed.
The ferret hid for a few days under the storage shed, too frightened to come out.
When he did venture out, the silly boy crawled into a  trap and hey presto …dead.
What a large buck he was!!!
Here’s a photo of a tired Lugs resting  after the beating he gave out and a photo of her standing over said ferret after Sam chucked it on the deck.

Lugs Hobbs Orchard Sandra's Take on Life


Lugs taking a selfie

Lugs taking a selfie!

Thanks Lugs and if you ever go home to your rightful owner, please swing by occasionally to beat up the odd ferret.
And furthermore who else will drop off dead rabbits in the sunroom; who else will sleep on Sam’s bed all day; who else will sleep on the deck waiting for morning so as to be fed and who else will find an empty box on the Fruit Stall counter and sleep in it, not even stirring whilst customers pat you!!!!!
We always said we wouldn’t become attached to you as you are Mollys’ cat but damn you…. we are……


Here are a few photos from this season.

Sam, Ruby & Derrick

Sam, Ruby & Derrick

Jasna, Sandi & Philip with their kids

Jasna, Sandi & Philip with their kids

Jasna & Lugs

Jasna & Lugs

Cat,Barry & kids

Our friends Cat & Barry with their gorgeous boys

Jasna thinning apples

Jasna thinning apples


Jane & some of her beautiful family

Our dear friend Jane & some of her beautiful family

Ruby & Vivi

Vivi & Ruby

Ruby, Aunty Belle & Vivi

Vivi, Aunty Belle & Ruby

Sam Hobbs & Vivi

Sam & Vivi


Sam,Sandra, Ruby, Vivi & Chris

Sam,me, Ruby, Vivi & Chris


Jasna & Vivi

Jasna & Vivi

Sam and our dear friend Roy who is 94 years old.

Sam and our dear friend Roy who is 94 years old.

Ruby Hobbs & Roy

Ruby & Roy


Sandra Hobbs and Roy

Roy and me laughing at one of Sam’s jokes

Vivi, Sam & Ruby

Vivi, Sam & Ruby

Ruby & her friend Jenny. This was taken many years ago. Ruby is having a wee cry because Jenny was moving away that day.

Ruby & her friend Jenny. This was taken many years ago. Ruby is having a wee cry because Jenny was moving away that day.

Here they are now -- all grown up!

Here they are now — all grown up!

Sam, Ruby & Christina having fun

Sam, Ruby & Christina having fun


Be kind to one another and always remember, our time on planet Earth is just fleeting.





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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My son is being bullied at school.

I spoke to the teacher and she smiled and told me it is a two-way tussle between them so she was not going to intervene.

I now find the teacher and Principal are best friends with the bully’s parents.
I have also been told by another teacher at the school that its a not a two way tussle and that the bully was moved to this school after he was asked to leave another school because of his bullying but as she is junior to my child’s teacher she is unable to intervene.

I don’t know which way to turn as the bullying is affecting my son terribly.

He isn’t sleeping, wetting the bed, is jumpy and begs me to let him stay home which is sad as he has always loved school.

The lies this bully has spread about my child are so cruel.

I feel so guilty because I really don’t know where to turn.

What should I do?


Aunty S responds:

Make an appointment to see the Principal today and calmly explain your annoyance at the Teacher’s response to a situation, which is obviously very serious.

If he refuses to intervene, remove your son from the school immediately and enroll him in another school by tea-time.

You could, of course, take this matter higher but after reading additional info supplied, this avenue is not an option so I checked out your area and have sent you the name of a country school which isn’t very far from you, which has an excellent Principal and wonderful caring Teachers.

Sadly there will always be a few bad apples in the Teaching profession but thankfully the good outweigh the bad.

As you are aware it is your responsibility to ensure your son receives an education in a safe environment so I am very proud of you asking for advice as far too many parents take a back seat and expect their youngsters to sort out bullying issues themselves which is an impossible task as a bully isolates and goes in for the ‘kill’ when they realize there is no support offered to their prey.

Both verbal and physical violence, intimidation and malicious lies are all weapons used by bullies.

You are a wonderful mother so keep up the good work my dear.

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When my daughter, Ruby, decided at the wise old age of age of eight that she wanted to work with families when she ‘grew up’ I found ‘Kids are Worth It’ by Barbara Coloroso in a Bookshop in Queenstown.

Reading began on the journey home that evening.
She was thrilled with my find and especially more so when she discovered a few pages into the book that this book backed up my own personal parenting style!
A sheer fluke as I had never read the book!

A few days later whilst at the breakfast table, Ruby proudly informed me that there were three types of parents; Brickwall, Jellyfish and Backbone.
“And you are a backbone parent Mum.”
A proud moment for me!
With each year of maturity Ruby gained more out of the book.
Child Psychology totally captivated her hence the subject was incorporated into our Home School Curriculum.

Every parent and grandparent should have, Kids are Worth It” in their home library along with another book that Barbara has written ‘The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander.’
Both books will enhance your ability and confidence to parent effectively.

“Compliant children are very easily led when they are young, because they thrive on approval and pleasing adults.

They are just as easily led in their teen years, because they still seek the same two things: approval and pleasing their peers.
Strong-willed children are never easily led by anybody–not by you, but also not by their peers.
So celebrate your child’s ‘strength of will’ throughout the early years…and know that the independent thinking you are fostering will serve him well in the critical years to come”

Barbara Coloroso

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I have heard from many folk who have been bullied or are being bullied since I raised the topic and when I replied privately to them I  supplied them with the following; ‘Basic Description Of The Types Of Bullies’ which I found on the web.  It is a very precise piece of writing.

I have now been asked to post it for all to peruse hence you will find it below.

Please remember, if you are being bullied, don’t isolate yourself as this is what the bully wants.  If the first person you talk to says ’I don’t want to get involved’ it usually means, ‘I don’t want the Bully looking in my direction after he’s finished with you’.

Don’t give up, there will be someone strong enough to hear your devastation and to support you as trust me, you will need support.

The bully often acts alone but can work as a husband and wife team if of similar personality or two workmates who have a co-dependency issue.


There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:

  1. Narcissistic Adult Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.

  2. Impulsive Adult Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.

  3. Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.

  4. Verbal Adult Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage – to the bully – of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.

5:     Secondary Adult Bully: This is someone who does not       initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road.

Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.


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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

I have found my Birth Mother after searching for her over a two year period.

Now that I’ve found her, I really don’t like her.

She is horrible.  She had eight kids to four different fathers and gave four  up and has no idea who my father is.   She kept enough kids to live off a Benefit.

She is now wanting to visit me and I am so embarrassed because she has tattoos up her arms and legs and dresses like a teenager.

I wish I never went looking for her and am so angry with myself.

My husband and children are so supportive and as they have met her, they know the pain I’m in.

How do I disentangle her from our lives?


Aunty S responds

Oh my dear, how very sad for you.

As there is distance between you and your birth mother, and it would be your money funding her visit, the answer is quite simple, don’t buy the ticket.

Tell her it was good to meet her but feel there is no way a relationship can develop as you are two entirely different people.

Wish her well and then hang up.   Short and sweet.

On a bright note, if your birth mother hadn’t adopted you out, your life would have been hell on earth so focus on that and all of the wonderful memories of  your childhood with such a loving family as this will help ease the pain of finding such a dreadful woman and trust me I know these women exist.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My life is so boring as I do the same thing every day and I want some excitement.

I have a sister in Sydney and she says come over and get a job working for her as she is recruiting new workers but now I am scared to make the change.



Aunty S responds

It’s just you on your lonesome so take a gamble.

You are restless my dear and sometimes a change is all that is required to recharge the batteries.

If you don’t like Sydney, you may very well come back with a more positive focus and you are in a very fortunate situation as your job and Flat will be waiting for you so tell your Mum not to rent out your Flat, pack your bags  and hop on a plane and check out what your sister has to offer.

Good luck.

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Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My sister is married to a cheat and a liar as he is having an affair with someone he works with and I know this because I caught him with her a week ago and now I’ve found out he has slept with others at his workplace since his marriage to my sister.

When I confronted him he said it was none of my business and that I should keep my mouth shut.

They have been married for a few years and she is trying to have a baby at the moment.

I am in such a dilemma, as she really loves him.

What do I do?


Aunty S responds

Of course this is your business.

Thankfully you have such a close family so tell your other sisters first and then have a family meeting with your sister.

There will a lot of raw emotion as she comes to terms with the fact that she’s been sharing her life with a cheating rat so let her cry and talk her heart out.

As you have a house you are prepared to give her she will not be homeless so this will make it easier but there will be weeks/months of tears and sadness for her to get through.  The fact that there are no assets to divide up will make it so much easier for her.

Your intended generosity towards her is amazing.  You truly are a wonderful brother.

Please don’t waste anytime telling her as it would be dreadful for her to fall pregnant to such a cheating, obnoxious weasel as a baby would only complicate matters as she then would be connected to this scoundrel for life.

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