Friday, May 30, 2014

FSO - Sculptures

I tried to resist.  Honest I did.  I even went out and took photos of other sculptures, ones I've never had on the blog before.  Like this thing, oops, artwork, which stands outside Forum North, the civic centre in town.  


But no matter what sculptures I photographed, none of them compared in my mind to those at Gibbs Farm.

I first blogged about Alan Gibbs' farm in December, 2009 and again in December, 2012 and there has also been the occasional photo taken from the road.  I said in 09 that my preferred route to Auckland was not via State Highway One but rather the less popular SH16 which twists and turns, following the Kaipara Harbour most of the way.  I still prefer to have a second rate road to myself than to share a first rate road with others.  Still prefer the road less travelled.

One of the big attractions for me about SH16 is the 1,000 acre property, modestly named Gibbs Farm, owned by millionaire Alan Gibbs.  He bought the windswept site in 1991. Since then, he has commissioned sculptures featuring original works by local and internationally renowned artists.

My fascination with the place has been growing since 2001 when a huge wall appeared on the landscape.  I now know it's dimensions - 252 metres longs x 6m x 50mm, made from 56 Corten steel plates.  It has always looked huge to me and now that I've stood beside it, I am even more impressed by it.  And it leans out by 11 degrees from the vertical.  And, contrary to how it looks from the road, it has beautiful sensual curves.   

In late Nov/early Dec 2012 my friend Chris announced she had gained access for us to an Open Day at Gibbs Farm and I tried to prepare myself for a little disappointment - surely nothing could live up to my expectations.   Hah!  It was all I dreamed it would be - and more.

The farm the place used to be didn't warrant a second look.  Since falling into Mr Gibbs' hands it has become a place of beauty.  It's a sculpture park like no other.  The scale of the sculptures are deceptively disguised by the scale of the landscape but approaching them on foot, they grow and become more and more impressive as you draw near. 

 Bermar Venet - 88.5 ARCx8 2012 (on the far right) as seen from the road

I've known this one as the steel struts since it appeared on the skyline a few years ago.  Above, as one sees it from the front gate and below, up close.  The size of it up close just took my breath away.  I felt dizzy looking to the top.  Each of the 8 pieces of Corten steel are 27 metres long, 0.75m square. 


I posted this collage in 2012. My favourite was the one in the bottom right hand corner below, named Floating Island of the Immortals. 


The little handbook we were given said this work was "inspired by monumental office block sculptures in Beijing and feng shui landscape gardening traditions (by sculptor Zhan Wang)  Wang's scholar's rock is an enlargement of the so called "Chinese miniature landscape."  In the past, people would search for an idealistic world or immortals within these landscapes."  That sounds a bit high brow for me but there was something about this sculpture that enticed, and welcomed contemplation.  It mesmerised as it moved ever so gently on the water. 


To say thank you, Alan Gibbs, falls way short. He allows the public to visit, for free, by prior appointment, about once a month.  It blows me away that I've visited one of the world's leading sculpture parks - and it cost me nothing.  I've been up close to monumental art works by some of the world's most famous artists - and I only had to travel an hour or so.  

I'm sure this topic is going to bring some wonderful sculptures to my notice.  I will be checking to find them here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First Frost

There may have already been another frost this year.  If so, I wasn't out of bed in time to catch it.  This morning's must have been a beauty, there was still plenty of evidence when I finally snuck my nose out from under the blankets at 9 am.  Past time for the winter bedclothes methinks.  Pretending winter is not happening is just not working.

 

A bit later when I set out for a walk there was a blue smokey haze across the face of the mountain.


I didn't feel like following the track to walk around the farm, took a shortcut through a paddock instead.  Marvellous what the weather can do for a scene - I even admired the reflection in the effluent pond.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The grass is always greener




I swear she looked guilty when she spotted me watching her - and stepped back from the electric fence.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Visitors

Little Aiden is coming to stay!  For a week.  Just him and me for a whole week, with many visits from Georgia.  We started preparing the minute we heard the news and spent yesterday hard at work.  We printed out pictures and stuck them to the wall of his bedroom, we made signs and a crown and  a book.  The book is a work in progress, you don't throw a book fit for a king together in one day.


In the meantime I have another visitor.  Georgia has named it Peewee, a good unisex name because we don't know how to tell the sex of a pukeko.  The males are meant to be bigger than the females but without another standing beside it, it's hard to tell.  I first noticed it around about a week ago when something odd caught my eye.   I haven't seen a pukeko here before, there are heaps further along the road in a swampy area but around here isn't their typical habitat.  It was happy about the puddle that appeared after  yesterday's rain, but that hard ground is hardly the swampy conditions they prefer.

 
I have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf

They are such communal creatures, I thought they lived in permanent social groups, I know that all females in a group lay in the one nest and it's pretty unusual to see one off by itself.  Is it an adventurous young male perhaps off exploring the world?  Or a rogue, an outcast?  It seems to like the company of my chooks although it doesn't go too close, just stays on the outskirts of the group.  


have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
I have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
I have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
They are birds that are full of character and can provide a lot of amusement for the observer. The white undertail is flirted cheekily with every movement and their high querulous notes run the whole gamut of expression, from curiosity to interrogation to scolding. The naturalist Guthrie Smith maintained that they make great pets and that every country family should rear them. - See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
It's very wary.  I just have to move towards the door (photos taken through the window) and it is off although I don't alarm it as much now as when it first appeared.  To start with it would take off into flight, now it just runs away.  It's even harder to get close to than a wild duck.


If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
Abundant throughout New Zealand, in rough damp pasture near wetlands. - See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf
have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarl
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpu
have come to the conclusion that Pukeko are suicidal. I so often see them on the side of the road, dithering, darting backwards and forwards, looking for an opportunity to cross, only to come back later to see them squashed on the road. They seem to have no road sense at all. However, the ornithologist WRB Oliver had other ideas when he said, “The Pukeko is a bold and fearless bird. It has learned that trains and motorcars are harmless and takes no notice of them.”
If I count the numbers killed on the relatively short stretch of road I drive over two or three times a week, more than a hundred must die there every year. If one multiplies that with the hundreds of similar stretches of road, then one wonders how the species can sustain itself but somehow they do. Indeed they are so common they are often treated with undeserved contempt.
They are of course drawn to roadsides because of the drains there which supply the sort of habitat they particularly like and which has virtually disappeared elsewhere, the raupo swamps. So they are not so stupid or suicidal after all. It is really just that a particularly desirable food source outweighs the risks.
Pukeko, a member of the rail family which includes Weka, is really quite one of the most gorgeous of our birds and does not deserve the contempt bred from familiarity. They are also called the Purple Swamp Hen or Purple Gallinule although they are not really purple at all but, for the most part, a deep almost iridescent indigo blue. The back and wings are black with a greenish gloss and the undertail coverts are pure white. The large scarlet bill and orange-red legs and feet complete a very exotic picture.
- See more at: http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/pukeko.html#sthash.6rjumV44.dpuf

Friday, May 23, 2014

FSO - Street Fairs

I've thought about this a lot.  What would be my local equivalent of a street fair?

I spent hours looking for photos I'd taken at a street parade for the Maungakaramea centenary celebrations.  When I found them I was amazed to be reminded that was five years ago.   Five!  And anyway it was a parade. But there was one photo I took that day that I think just might fit the topic. 


I've trawled through the archives to find a few other shots that have the components of a Kiwi fair. 

lots of people and entertainment

a sausage sizzle


activities


information stalls

and for some, a lot of standing around.

Want to see photos of street fairs around the world.  Just come over here and visit Friday My Town Shoot Out.  Or, better still, join in and show us the street fairs where you live.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The signs

The warning sign has been at the corner of the road for quite a while now and, to be honest, I haven't been noticing it lately.  In the time it's been there I haven't encountered any trucks on the road.  I've seen a couple from the kitchen window but not really paid attention.


I jumped to attention very smartly when one came around the corner towards me yesterday.  There had been a few showers during the day so there were no tell tale signs of dust hanging in the air.  Usually we see the dust and know there is vehicle up ahead.   

They are pretty big on our narrow roads.  I'll be driving a bit slower when I go to town this afternoon.
 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

There's a new batch of hoons

I was reminded a couple of days ago about the risk of using Aussie or Kiwi slang in my posts.  Thank you, Anvil Cloud.  But sometimes a slang word is the only one that does the job for me.  The only word that comes to mind when I see these marks on the road is "hoons".  Maybe hooligan comes close but I associate that with British soccer.  And my Gran would call us little hooligans if we'd been playing rough or dangerous games.  So the connotations just aren't the same. 


Wikipedia says Hoon is a term used in Australia and New Zealand to refer to anyone who engages in loutish, anti-social behaviour.  In particular, it is used to refer to one who drives a care (or boat) in a manner which is anti-social by the standards of contemporary society, i.e. too fast, too noisily or too dangerously. 

Actually I don't hear it used much in New Zealand, here the term "boy racer" is used.  And that seems far too nice and polite to me.  A hoon is a hoon, why have an inoffensive term to describe them?

The term "hoon" has obtained a semi-official use in Australia, with police and Governments referring to legislation targeting anti-social driving activity as "anti-hoon laws".

Hoon activities can include speeding, burnouts, doughnuts or screeching tyres.  I imagine all that was going on here; maybe not the doughnuts, I think the road is possibly too narrow for that.  

I've got no objection to the young having fun and I reluctantly accept that while they are driving like that they are developing skills but I wish they would find somewhere a bit safer (to themselves and other road users) to do it.    I suspect these marks were made at night, at least I hope so.  In the dark of the countryside, in most places along the road, you can see oncoming headlights from quite a distance away.  There's a little sideroad, just a farm access, about where I'm standing to take these photos and I guess the young hoons shoot up there to hide when they see a car coming.  Wouldn't want a passerby to recognise the car and mention it to mum or dad.  And, yes, that is highly likely to happen. 

I just hope they survive their hooning.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Contaminated mud

I thought the construction work at Limeburners Creek Wetlands in town meant there's to be new walkways.   I've only walked through this area once and didn't find it very inspiring and I only stopped to be a nosy parker and see what was happening.  It's in an industrial part of town,  next to a  busy road and the walk is around ponds for the town sewerage system.  Not far away is the recycling plant.  The entrance is opposite the SPCA, the dogs were kicking off when I arrived and I imagined I could hear the one that wanted me to come and take it home.  Fought off that urge!

When I stopped there on Sunday there were almost as many warning signs as there were idle machines.  Contaminated mud a greater hazard than trucks and diggers?  That's interesting.   



Is this part of the council's $4.0M sewage treatment plant I wonder?  I had to find my way past the fences.  The machines were idle but I can assure you I was aware of the mud, and stayed well clear.


I'm no engineer but I can see that has nothing to do with a walkway.  Definitely looks more sewage-ish to me.  


I was tempted to cross over the bridge.  But honestly, not only did that mud smell bad, it even looked threatening.  I do love the little bridge for the workmen though. 


 I explored further and thought I'd found another way into the area but no, it too lead to more signs.  And that darn dog was still barking.
 
 

 For the rest of the day I was stuck with Patti Page warbling in my head:
Change your reckless way of livin', cross over the bridge
Leave your fickle past behind you,
And true romance will find you,
Brother, cross over the bridge

I didn't chase it away, better that than that dog calling my name.

Oaks Road

Thank heavens for retirement.  And being free to wander when the urge takes me.  When I passed Oaks Road on my way to and from work, if ever I thought about it at all, it was to be thankful that I didn't live on the that road, and have to pull out on to the highway from that road with its poor visibility.  Never once did I wonder where it might lead. 

Until yesterday when I wondered if there might be some nice views of the tidal creek and whether the road might lead out to a beach.  Yes and no. 


With a reflection in a puddle and a little shed thrown in.


There are only a few properties up the road and then I came to the Private Property sign and could go no further.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Footbridge progress

It seems the new footbridge (I showed photos on Friday) is 4 - 6 weeks from completion.  Today, while the businesses along Port Road which back on to the river were deserted,  I strolled around until I found access to the river to get a better look at it.  I guess you could say I trespassed but let's not quibble.   


It was easy to see where the new walkway would go.


I followed it until I could go no further.  Strange!  There didn't look to be any hazards ahead, I wonder why it was closed off?  I could have easily walked up the plank in the first and second photo above and surely that would have been quite dangerous.
 

On the way home I stopped to take a photo of the 'nearly gone' bridge.  How long before the next flood, or the one after that, sweep it away completely I wonder.