Saturday, March 31, 2018

A change of scenery

There's nothing like being busy to make the time fly.  It seems impossible that I haven't been back to The Paddock since 10 January.  And this is only a fleeting visit.  I've been beavering away writing about my ancestors.  It's been time consuming but very rewarding.  I've loved finding out more about the amazing bunch of pioneers who came before me.  It's made me wonder a few times about how closely linked are bravery and craziness.  

Yesterday, I felt I just couldn't sit at the computer for a day longer, so I grabbed my camera, which hasn't seen the light of day for so long, and headed out.

I enjoyed a walk in the bush.  We've had a lot of rain lately, the ground is very damp and all the plants and trees looked so clean and shiney.  I was taken by the many shades of green.


And then the back roads called.

It always feels so good to stand by the side of the road, not a soul in sight, and take in the view. 

Back at home, the last dahlia of every summer is on its last legs.  Winter is coming!

Now back to this week's ancestor -

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

52 Ancestors

I've done it!  Created another blog to dedicate to 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  I'll be lucky if I can stand up straight, I've spent so long at the computer doing that and writing the story of the first of my featured ancestors, my grandfather Jesse Noah Osborne.  

It's over here if anyone wants to have a look

But I warn you.  It's long and it's a very personal view.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Update before the side road

I've lost the blogging mojo.  I can think of a few reasons why, none of them are very interesting.  But I want to keep the blog going as a diary for myself.  I've often found what I've been struggling to remember on my blog.  Thank heavens for Labels.    

So, before I head off on the side road I intend to take, let me first do a little update.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I took a few friends for a visit to Pouto.  A young relative, Christine and her charming husband, Andrew welcomed us and showed us around in true hospitable Pouto style.  

Pouto never disappoints.

Bernie and I also had a day trip across to Glinks Gully on the west coast.  It was a windy, blustery day, quite chilly on the beach.  I've deleted my photos by mistake but they weren't very clear anyway.   It was too misty. 

Bernie was home for Christmas and we had lovely, family togetherness in the forest.   Lots of fun and activity.  Thanks to Georgia, Justine and Heather for organising the Family Survivor games for us all. 

The six year old testing one of the Survivor challenges

 Every Survivor game must include a puzzle.  The Pippa Pig puzzle took ages with so many fingers

  On a hot day a water slide is almost compulsory

And now it's 2018.  The highlight of the year so far has been a beautiful wedding at the lodge.   A bunch of energetic, creative young people turned the lodge and surrounds into a magical venue surrounded by bush.

They erected platforms and canopies and a "poruwa", a beautifully decorated, traditional wooden platform.  My introduction to Sri Lankan wedding customs and one I thoroughly enjoyed, despite the rain.

The poruwa
Quite a number of wedding guests camped in the nearby clearing and survived the storm which swept over the country quite well.

My favourite shot of the handsome couple.

The side road I mentioned above is a 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.  I don't know how it works but the first hint is:  Week 1 - Start so I will start tomorrow and find out.  I needed something to kick me back into family story mode.   I'm thinking I might do it on a separate blog.  Will ponder on that overnight. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Mental soundtracks

A few days ago I was up at the lodge in the early evening after the last school to use the lodge this year had departed.  I walked around to the confidence course and was struck by the silence and a haunting sense of loneliness.  In my imagination I could hear the shrieks of excited children and picture them unleashing their inner monkey on the different challenges. 

Is it just me or does a place designed for youngsters always look desolate when all is quiet and we are just left with our mental soundtracks.

The next evening I was out by the dam, another place  where my mental soundtrack has splashing and laughter playing.  The blue raft in the middle of the shot looks wrong sitting there amongst the rushes. 

Bring on Christmas I say.   Then what plays in my head will be matched with what I see.  Bring back the children.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sights of summer

For Kiwis nothing says Christmas like the pohutukawa tree.  Its blazing red flowers have earned it the title of New Zealand's Christmas tree.  It starts to flower in November and usually stops by Christmas and New Year, with its peak in mid to late December.  This is a great time of year to find myself with time to kill.  It's a joy to wander looking for flowering pohutukawa.  I found them blooming right on time along Princes Road, Ruakaka earlier last week.

 Providing a beautiful canopy over the road down to the beach

Framing the view out to The Hen and Chickens (that's Taranga, the Hen, pictured.  I think.) 

 Looking across to Whangarei Heads

Legend has it that if the pohutukawa flowers early it will be a long hot summer.  I've noticed the cabbage trees flowering.  That has always been my go to for a predictor of summer.  And, yes, I thought they were early.

The only blight on my time at the beach was this oystercatcher.  I think it was injured, it didn't fly off as I approached as I expected it to and didn't move in the time I watched it.  I think it was keeping a wary eye on me.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Make hay while the sun shines

or before that rain in the mountain comes down here.

How different hay making is from my introduction to it in the early 70s.  Back then the sight of that rain so close by would have caused great consternation. Back in the day hay making was a lengthy process.  The grass had to be mowed, turned and aerated, turned again and combed into tidy rows before the baling.  With delays in between each activity for drying to take place.   And much discussion between everyone involved about the timing and the weather.  The whole business took days with the 'haymakers' needing to be fed and watered on a regular basis.  It seemed like the more people involved in the picking up of the bales the better.  A baled paddock would be swarming with people. I kid you not.  The bales had to be lined up so the truck coming along with an attachment to pick them up and load them on to a truck could do so without much manoeuvring.  If you were lucky enough to possess such a device.  Otherwise, brawn was required to throw each bale up on to the deck of a truck for transporting to a haybarn where it all had to be unloaded and stacked.  My younger son paid for a good proportion of his university study by haymaking during his summer holidays.  For the farmer's wife who had to feed the masses it would be hard to get an accurate headcount to know how many to expect for dinner which often had to be served at 9 or 10 o'clock at night when all the hay was finally stacked in the hayshed. 

This morning Campbell, the young farm manager, mowed the grass in the paddock opposite my house somewhere around 8 am.  (I think. I should have looked at the clock.)  He moved on to the paddock behind the house and before he had finished there the baler and the tedder had arrived.   I used to think 'the tedder' was my ex's nickname for the machine, I have no idea where the name originated because it doesn't say 'machine that turns and aerates the grass' to me. 

Anyway, it looked like these two were chasing each other around the paddock.

By around 10 am they had finished baling the two paddocks near my house and now, not yet lunch time, I can hear the machinery working away on the hills on the other side of the farm.  Nearly finished.  No rain.  There were three men involved and three machines.  Sometime soon these monster bales can be easily lifted by a tractor and moved elsewhere for storage. 

Neatly wrapped baleage, or silage in a bag, sitting in the paddock.

I'd noticed a neighbour's new bales neatly stacked on the far side of this paddock earlier in the week.

We are seeing the typical sights of summer a little earlier than usual this year.  La Niña is doing her thing.  It seems ridiculous that after all the moaning I did about the wet, wet winter to say it is now quite dry.  Alarmingly dry.  Cracks are starting to appear in the ground.  I'm becoming even more weather obsessed than usual!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Little niggle

Something is niggling at me and I don't know if I should worry about it or not.  I'm not a born worrier, it's my nature to not sweat the small stuff.  And I don't see any point in thinking about something too much if there's no solution to be found.  

I know I've always talked in my sleep.  I think it was at its worst when I was a teenager.  If my younger sister wanted to find out anything that I would not tell her about, she would wait until I was asleep, then ask me.  And I'd spill the beans.  I can remember having stern words with myself to NOT tell her,  to keep my secrets to myself, that which boy I liked was none of her business, to not give her ammunition to tease me.  

To this day I sometimes wake myself from a good sleep when I hear someone talking and I wake up to find out who it is.   Sometimes it is a shout that disturbs me.  I go straight back to sleep when I discover it is just me. 

One of my younger brothers not only talked up a storm in his sleep but also walked (and on one occasion went outside and rode his bike down the street) in his sleep.   I don't think I experienced sleep walking until I was a very sleep deprived mother of two and woke one morning to discover that the bottle I'd prepared for the baby the night before wasn't in the fridge.   It was empty in the baby's cot and I never just left it with her in the cot, I always picked her up to feed her.  My husband was at work on night shift and if it was the good fairy who had let me sleep that night, she never made a return appearance.   The other possibility was that her barely two year old brother had taken it and given it to her but there's no way that child would have accepted cold milk.  So it had to have been me. 

All my children talked in their sleep and the youngest, for a few years, also walked around the house quite often.  The sliding door that lead outside was very heavy and noisy and I remember the panic the night we heard it open and found her wandering up the path.  On one occasion we found her standing under a cold shower in her winter pajamas!  

So my situation is not really serious!   I'm just more puzzled as to why, now, in my 70s I should suddenly start sleep walking.  I'm not sleep deprived, far from it, very few people sleep as well as I do.  I don't have any ill health, there has been no change to my medications.  Trouble is, I don't know how often I do it.  I've only caught myself out twice.  One night last week I can remember dreaming my daughter was coming to visit, that she had  sent me a text saying she would arrive shortly after midnight and that I got up and put on a light on the front porch and unlocked the front door for her.   The next morning I was puzzled when she wasn't in the spare bedroom and checked my phone to re-read her text message.  I shrugged and realized it had been part of a dream but was startled when I found the porch light on and the door unlocked.  

On the other occasion I woke up to find myself sitting in the dark in the lounge room at 2 am with my glasses on and a book in my lap.  I had no idea why I was there and I was shivering with the cold.  My nightgown was on the floor beside my bed.  What the hell had I been doing and why?  

I know I should not have gone near Dr Google.  If I were a man I'd be really worried as I read that middle-aged men who physically act out their dreams while asleep are five time more likely to develop dementia.  No, even that wouldn't apply to me as I'm past what is commonly known as middle age.  And anyway, the link is not as strong in women.

Image result for cartoon sleep walking

Sunday, October 22, 2017

And so to Langs

I could really feel the fresh breeze from up on the hill above Langs Beach and it appeared to be keeping people off the beach, too.

But down on the beach it wasn't as cold as I expected.  Although I did think that young fisherman was a bit hardy being out in his shorts and teeshirt.  They hadn't caught anything but had that laid back attitude shared by a lot of other fishermen - "not yet" - as if they expected to do so at any moment.

The shadows were lengthening, the tide was going out, the surf was flat, it was a lovely, gentle evening.

I realized that if I wanted to get home before dark I couldn't linger for long as I still had an hour or so to drive.

What a lovely day out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another long way home

Coming home from Matakana last Thursday I decided the day was too lovely to waste coping with all the traffic on the highway, so I came home 'over the hill' to Leigh and then carried on the long way home coming via Mangawhai and Langs Beach.  

Mangawhai was in sparkling form making it easy to understand the 'Magical Mangawhai' marketing.   All was quiet down by the estuary.  The tide was running out and the late afternoon lengthening shadows reaching out over the sand.  Although it was school holiday time, the holiday makers had mostly gone for the day. 

Around near the parking lot at the surf beach,  there was a stiff breeze so I didn't linger on any of the seats to enjoy the view, either down the estuary or along the beach.


I hoped to get to Langs Cove before the sun was lost for the day.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A clean sweep

I didn't get to see the finished Catwalk Art entry as it appeared on the stage.  I know the results, though.  My daughter-in-law, Heather and her friend Pam made a clean sweep of the prizes.  They won the Open Section, the Supreme Award and Peoples' Choice.  I'm not at all surprised.  This is the top and skirt put together but the skirt, made from dried and dyed New Zealand Flax (phormium tenax) is still rolled up.  When the pegs are removed the flax curls bounce and dance to resemble ocean waves. 

On her arms Heather has a nearly completed boat.

 and Pam works on a way to secure the sides at the back.

When she opens her arms she is transformed into a glorious bird.  I can't imagine how her arms and shoulders must have ached after holding her arms out like that for hours.  Once those arms were in place she was inside the wings/boat until the end of the show.  For three shows. 

And, of course, to crown it off, there is a crown.  It's nearly finished in the photo below.

I hope to see some catwalk photos soon.