Wednesday, March 11, 2009


About 2.5 years ago my daughter Justine and her Canadian husband, Bill were my first guests in this house. I say "my' guests but in fact I hadn't yet moved here. I'd moved my household goods into the house in June and then gone off to look after the Coastal Cow backpackers at Mangawhai for the winter ( It was Justine who first referred to my home as "the paddock". When they left, she left on the dining room table a self made guest's questionairre in which she rated different aspects of the accommodation. I thought I'd kept it but, having just spent half an hour looking for it, I now know that if I did, I don't know where I put it. Bugger! It was very funny.

She referred to the sound of cows softly chewing their cuds in the paddock outside their bedroom window as keeping them awake at night. It's not that long ago but back then there was no fence or trees around the house, so the cows could be in the paddock less than 6 feet from your head as you lay in bed. And, in the absence of any other noise, you could hear them pulling the grass and munching it. I liked that but realize it's not the sound others might enjoy as they wait for slumber to take them. And I wanted trees to give me some privacy from passing traffic. Hell, there could be 10 vehicles a day going by!

Justine has just spent another two nights here with an old friend of hers from her time living and working in Canadia. Lovely girl, she seemed to appreciate the things about living here that I love! Thanks for your company, Jodi. It's nice to be able to offer visitors the opportunity to see what life on a real Kiwi dairy farm is all about. To sit on the deck at night to hear the call of my favourite bird, our little native owl, Ruru (commonly called the morepork because that's what it sounds like it is calling) floating down from the forest. To me it is calling "all's well" and when I hear it's call I feel happy, I know all is well in their little bit of bird heaven.

Strangely enough, in Maori mythology, Ruru is associated with the spirit world and if their call is high and piercing it is thought to herald bad news and their ordinary call indicates good news is on the way. So obviously I'm not the first resident of this land to think as I do.

Guests may come and go but little Ruru is a constant of my life in the paddock.

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