Nearly one year later….

Ninja-tree-2011Just over a year ago, Ninja joined the family. Her early exploits included climbing the Christmas tree, as you can see here.

Ninja-tree-decorations-2012Earlier this month she ‘helped’ me sort through the Christmas decorations, before we brought our potted tree indoors for the holiday season. Fortunately, she hasn’t tried to climb the tree this year – she’s a whole lot bigger than she was!

Tales of a feline weight watcher

Ninja’s diet and exercise programme resulted in her losing the grand total of 70g in her first month of the new regime. This isn’t as much as she needs to lose, but any loss is better than a gain, right? I worked it out in human terms, based on percentage of body-weight, and if I were to lose the same percentage, it would be around 800g. I think that’s significant enough to count, don’t you?

More ‘tales from the scale’ after her next appointment (19 November). The food part’s going well but the exercise part has fallen away (yesterday she ‘didn’t hear me’ when I called her to accompany me on a walk!).

Ninja goes walkies again

It’s been a while since I did a Ninja-centric post, and as her fans may be wondering how she is getting on it is high time for an update.

I am sorry to tell you that she weighed in at 5.2kg recently, and the vet declared she needed to lose weight – at least a kilogram. Oh dear! Since that visit we have been gradually changing her food over to a higher protein/lower carbohydrate formula and undertaking an exercise campaign. Fortunately she still loves to accompany me when I walk around the grove, and the call of “Ninja, walkies!” brings her outside and ready for an expedition.

I wanted to visit the hazelnut orchard to see how these trees were leafing up in the warmer spring weather, and to take some photographs for the Fantail Grove website.

Someone got into the act though:

So of course I ended up taking a whole lot more photos of Ninja than of hazelnuts!

She spotted a bit of damage from the most recent of the equinoxal gales (a lovely phrase to describe the windy conditions we experience in spring):

We’ll have to go back with the pruning saw and paste to tidy this up, and be ready for more damage like this, as we are sure to have another gale or two during October and November.

Ninja loved the hay bales, as from the top she had a good vantage point and could survey her surroundings:

On the way back to the house I opened a gate but she didn’t want to come through it when I did. Perhaps she wanted to prove that she wasn’t too fat to slip underneath it, as I am sure there is a smug expression on her wee face here:

This next photo is probably my favourite of the day – and it also gives you a real sense of how rampant the grass is around here in springtime:

When we got back inside, the first thing Ninja did was rest:

This rug is immediately inside the door!

Pick Your Own

I remember having fun as a child, being taken to various orchards to gather fruit that my mum later preserved or turned into jam. I had such good experiences of fruit picking that in my teens I even went on a summer holiday camp titled Levin Pick In – we stayed at the Tatum Scout Camp, picked berry fruit every day at Brown Acres, and made good friends in the process.

I’ve a feeling things have come full circle, as we have opened the grove each weekend since Easter, for people to come and PYO grapes. Thanks to wonderful weather, it’s been a huge success.

We have had family groups of all sizes, people of all ages, and it’s been fun to host them all.

There are the exhibitionists:

Those who take it very seriously:Those who will pose for the camera:And nearly everybody eats at least a few (and that’s OK)!

The grapes are still going strong, so as long as the weather stays fine, we’ll keep on opening! If you’re really observant, you may see one other inhabitant of the grape vines:Note – all those photographed gave their permission and knew they’d be featured on my blog (with the possible exception of Ninja, who would probably not answer if asked, simply because she’s a cat and that’s what they do).


Last week it was finally time for our hay to be cut. This usually happens in mid January, so it’s very late this year (blame our ‘summer – what summer?’ weather).

As Ninja (the kitten) has been growing up a feature of most days has been a walk down the property (10 ha so lots of it to explore). I call “Ninja! Walkies!” and her small black frame appears from wherever she’s been sleeping, as she is eager for these adventures.

Once the hay was cut I wanted a photo for my Project 365. The hay paddock is beyond all our tree plantings, so it would be further away from the house than Ninja had been before, but I knew she would enjoy the trip, and I was interested to see whether she would play with the cut grass.

Past the olive trees (stopping to climb one or two of them), and into the first hazelnut plot. The nuts are ripening and falling thick and fast – the ground under these trees was clear a few days before the photo!

Through the long grass…

Time for a short rest and a look around…

Past the burn-up pile…

Running around and over the dirt-pile, trying a bit of digging too. Does your cat love loose soil and like to dig, roll and play in it?

Finally next to the hay paddock. These wide open spaces feel a bit scary though…

Definitely too scary for a small black kitten! Time for a hasty retreat!

Maybe next time we go down (to count the number of bales, now it’s all been parcelled up) she will be a bit braver and stay long enough for a photo.

Close Encounter

Right from the start, our kitten Ninja has been fascinated by Martin the lamb. At 8 weeks old, on only her second visit to ‘the outside’, she tried stalking him.

After six more weeks of experience, Ninja is now an old hand at lamb wrangling (although she still hasn’t decided quite what to do with him)!