I'm heading off tomorrow, heading for Taranaki for Christmas. Probably won't post much over the next week or two, poking at the letters on my tablet requires too much patience. And, of all the genes I inherited from my father, my lack of patience is the worst. To my patience has two sides. With people and with things. I'm fine with people (well, mostly) but have a very short wick when it comes to things that annoy me.
I had a lovely dinner last night with the birthday girls and the family. The only way I could get a photo of them was to ask them both to put down their phones, the damn things are like an extension of their hands. Krystal had already given me the evils when I was trying to sneak a photo of her.
And then what do I see? What is the world coming to when Danny is trying to sneak in sending a text?
I suppose I annoy them as much with my camera. Hope so!
It seems to me a lot of farming is a matter of timing. Or good luck. Or a mixture of both. I was reminded of this at the weekend when I noticed lots of bales of haylage sitting in the rain waiting for pick up. There wouldn't be any baling going on at the moment no matter how ready the grass is, it's been raining for a few days. The happy farmers are those who got their crop cut early. I remember the feeling of satisfaction when the hay was baled before Christmas and on one occasion dreading that it might not be completed on Christmas Eve and wondering how to break it to the kids that Christmas would be postponed. (All was well, we finished just before midnight.) That was back in the days of little hay bales when most farmers had their own equipment. Now the equipment is so huge and expensive its the domain of contractors so their availability is added to the good luck mix.
On Sunday morning there was water where there is usually none.
Closer to home the creek had only overflowed its banks in a couple of places. Which is just as well, as my son's maize crop which is coming along nicely so far, is right beside the creek. The plants would have loved the rain but wouldn't have been so happy under water. Bit of good luck there.
I wasn't about to get out of the car to check the creek level at this spot and ended up with a shot I like of the flax bush. Good luck.
On Saturday my friend Chris and I went to the Ruakaka Surf Beach Markets, a special event for the holidays. Such a disappointment for the few brave stall holders. It was only drizzling but that was enough to keep most people away. Most of the action was at the bouncy castle.
You know how you get the feeling someone is watching you? I should have had that feeling when I turned from taking a photo and was startled to see a cow in the paddock on the other side of the road staring intently at me. Really staring. Her concentration was a bit freaky.
I crossed the road to get a closer shot and was very close before she turned to move off, but even then her eyes were still on me.
This is what I stopped for. When it's not power lines getting into my shots. it's fences so I've decided to embrace Good Fences hosted by TexWisGirl.
I read on a couple of other blogs that the requirement for word verification to leave a comment has been appearing on their blogs. Turns out the gremlin has visited me, too. Nice to know I haven't been left out I suppose. I checked and word verification is definitely turned off but I tried what Tabor suggested and the comment goes through if you just ignore the verification thingy.
I slipped my little Canon Powershot camera into my pocket yesterday, just in case I saw something I wanted to photograph but not really expecting to. To my surprise I discovered there were a few shots on it so just had a look. Not having a good memory is not all bad news. It means that sometimes you get a nice surprise. Now I've seen the photos I remember that when I was in Australia in August it started to rain as I stood at the entry to my grandparents old home when I went "up the creek" from Laidley, up the valley where both my parents grew up, where my grandparents lived for so many years, the place I think of as my spiritual home.
I spotted Uncle George's old shed through the trees. Old sheds always appeal to me and I often wonder how old they are, what purpose they served. I know the purpose of this one years ago, it was a comparatively cool haven on fiercely hot days when we were sorting freshly dug potatoes; I know that much. That was back in the days when children were expected to pitch in and work alongside their relatives. Potatoes, pumpkins or onions were stored there until the truck arrived to transport them to the markets. I don't know how old it is but it's been there all my life anyway.
I moved around to get a broader view to include Uncle George's old house. That rain I just mentioned was gone in minutes, of no use whatsoever to that parched earth.
As well as the nice surprises that are sometimes revealed there are other total surprises and mysteries. I have absolutely no recollection of this and no idea what it can be. Pretty though.
Two weeks to Christmas, one week till I
head off to Taranaki. I'm all prepared but keep thinking there's
something I've forgotten, I can't possibly be so well organised. 90% of
my gifts I've made myself - being retired is fantastic!
I thought it was for a minute. Sprawled on the ground, blood dripping from my forehead, gingerly testing arms and legs, concerned that my glasses are broken. All my silly brain could think was, "I've had a fall. A fall. Old people have falls. This is the beginning of the end."
I think the jolt must have scrambled my brain for a minute or two. I very soon came to the conclusion that any idiot who walks around in jandals (thongs, flip flops) could trip on a lead that has been laying across the path for about five years. I can't count how many times I've tripped on it before. Which reminds me I must do something about the mat in the lounge room that often trips me up.
I'll take this trip as a hint to fall proof my home. After the last time my back was sore I rearranged my kitchen so I can avoid bending and reaching. Don't know why I didn't do it years ago. It doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense to anyone else where I keep my saucepans.
The twins had an early birthday party yesterday. 16! Doesn't seem possible that it was Christmas Day, 16 years ago that I fell in love with them. Best Christmas presents I've ever had. They were busy during the day preparing their sleeping arrangements.
All is peaceful around the back of the house. The passionfruit vine has gone nuts in its bid to take over the house. If it keeps going it may succeed. It is covered in blossoms with tiny fruit just starting to form and gently emerge from their flower homes.
But around the front all is not well. Just look at this little girl. Does that look like a happy chook to you? No! She's all ruffled and discombobulated. Love that word and it describes her perfectly. I checked her nest looking for the reason for her state of anxiety and sure enough her nest has been robbed. Of the 7 eggs on which she was happily sitting, only one remains. There is no trace of the others. I doubt she will manage to hatch the one egg that remains as she is now super nervous and flighty, takes off from her nest every time I step outside.
Here's what was under yesterdays photo of the striped material. I should give up on humour, I thought the material looked like PJ material. It was a pillowcase that I picked up for 50c at a thrift shop and turned into a cover for the machine the minute I got home.
I love the new machine. My old Elna finally packed it in, aged about 47. I wonder what the equivalent would be in human years. This one is the bottom of the range whereas the Elna was the top. The lady who sold the newby to me said this one is unlikely to last as long as the Elna. I told her no worries, neither was I.
Everywhere I look lately things seem to be waiting.
Waiting for the festivities
Ducks waiting for food
Realising the wait will be a long one
Jumps waiting for horses
I've been in a waiting mood, too, except I know not for what.
Georgia and I have been working on our Christmas gifts for the family and are all but finished. Having a few difficulties with an artwork design. The difficulty being we can't agree. Last year that would not have been a problem she would have just done what she wanted and it would have been wonderful with its childlike charm. She's starting to grow up, starting to listen, starting to be influenced by the opinion of others and I'm not sure it's a good thing. She's not as confident, not as spontaneous, has less flair. Last year she'd have an idea and any doubts I had about whether we could accomplish it would be simply dismissed, there was no such thing as an obstacle to her creativity. Now she thinks and thinks and decides whether something can be done or not. Her world of possibility is shrinking. Makes me sad.
I've treated myself to an early Christmas present - and made it some PJs.
Here in Northland we know summer has arrived when carrot weed makes its appearance along the roadsides and often in pasture paddocks, too. It has a botanical name, of course, oenanthe pimpinelloides, and is also known as Parsley Dropwort. I don't remember it being around years ago but it certainly is part of every summer now. Shame it's such a pest because it can look quite pretty.
One day last week on my way home from town, I decided to take a short drive up a no exit road along the way. I like the view from the stockyards near the end of the road, the hills of home. The highest peak is close to where I live.
I've had a quiet weekend. Literally. It's surprising how quiet it is when you live in the country with little noise from the outside and there is no power. It's my reasonably new fridge that makes the background hum that I don't notice until it isn't there. Saturday afternoon I had power at one end of the house, sort of half power with flickering lights in the middle and none at all at the other end. When I rang the power board, the recorded message said there were power outages all over Whangarei so I presumed my problem was connected to that.
Sunday morning, after I was reminded that my power comes from the Dargaville side and is in no way connected to Whangarei, I realized the problem was mine and no-one else's/elses' (where does the apostrophe go in that word? No-one, so it's singular perhaps?), I rang the power board and was told someone would be here "soon". Yeah, right, I thought. No-one comes from Dargaville quickly. It's only about 40 kms away but the road isn't 'fast' for half that distance.
To my surprise the linesman appeared in about 45 minutes. He listened to my story, nodded wisely as if to say no biggie and up the pole he went. The power pole that feeds my house is right beside the house (is always getting in the way of my photos) so I didn't have to go outside in the wind to watch what was happening.
Looks pretty straight forward.
Gets a bit more complicated, needs a poke with the long stick.
Oh no, this doesn't look good, he's on the phone to HQ.
He explained to me the twirly thing he is looking at was barely holding together and broke in two when touched. He's had to call for someone to come from Dargaville and turn off the power between the next transformer up the road and here on down the valley so he can replace the broken bit. I guess it's lucky we are on the outer edges of the Dargaville region, there only a few more properties before the line terminates, so not that many people will be inconvenienced. The problem was just deterioration from old age.
So now there are two and some brand new twirly things.
But wait, when all is put back together and no 2 departs to go back up the road and flick the switch to on again, nothing happens. Further investigation reveals that the whole transformer has been fried, hit by lightning probably in that storm we had a few weeks ago.
So now a truck with a crane must bring a new transformer. It's now well after lunch time and the guys take advantage of the wait time to eat their lunch. I appreciate how industrious they have been.
It didn't take long to lift off the old and replace it with the new.
But before that happened my camera battery went flat, so the after photo had to wait till this morning. And the sky is totally different from yesterday. That must be the updated model, different shape, very new and shiny.
So there I was yesterday afternoon with all the power I could need and what happened when I sat down at the computer? The blankey thing started doing the same as last time I took it to the computer workshop. When my vision cleared from fiery red I vowed I wasn't going to pay that robbing computer guy another small fortune to repair it yet again. I indulged myself with nasty thoughts about a suitable demise for this machine. No, not really, I couldn't think of anything nasty enough. Anyway, my dodgy memory told me to check the date settings and sure enough it thought it was 1957 again. Fixed it in a couple of secs. Now I'm totally convinced that computer guy ripped me off.
Maybe the thought of a lightning strike so close to the house has played with my nerves. About an hour ago as I was downloading these photos I saw a flicker of light out of the corner of my eye and before my poor old brain had registered what it was, there was a crash directly overhead. I can't remember when I last got such a fright. I've always loved a good storm but didn't appreciate that one little bit. It rattled around for a couple of minutes, a heavy shower followed and then it was gone again. Weird.
Saturday, Nov 1 - Sunday, Nov 2 Overnight, four
letterboxes on Moore St and one on Christy Brown Pl were stolen. Police are
asking anyone who hears any letterboxes being stolen to contact them through
the 111 system so the offenders can be held responsible. Waikato Times
I've been listening but haven't heard anything.
That's one of the drawbacks about living rurally - because of the distance from town, it takes a while for help to arrive in an emergency. Because of the distance between houses, we can't hear our neighbours' letterboxes being stolen. They could scream all they like, I wouldn't hear.
The letterboxes around here aren't worth stealing really. Like the fences, they are purely practical.
Here are a few more fences I found on Tuesday at the stockyards in Maungakaramea.
While out and about yesterday I did find a few fences to photograph. These I found at Portland, around Golden Bay Cement. This one disappeared into the mangroves at one end:
and into the undergrowth at the other:
Golden Bay Cement are New Zealand’s largest cement manufacturer and
supplier. From Whangarei, bulk cement is distributed to their eight distribution centres around New Zealand, then trucked
to customers. Cement works aren't a pretty sight but mostly are hidden from view by trees just within the security fence.
I followed that rough, seldom used unpaved road through the mangroves to the old wharf. Its later model is in the background.
While I was wandering I decided I might as well turn into Old Stone Road.
I don't know if this rock is connected to the name of the road, there is one on either side of the road just before the road enters private property.
My attention very quickly turned from the rock to the fun tree.