Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cow shed fences

While I've been out searching for 'new' fences, I'd forgotten about those on my doorstep.  There are many fences at the shed where the cows are milked.  Function comes before form here.




In the next two shots you can barely see the fence railings for the long, recently sprayed grass.  



Close by I found a dead thistle.  It might be dead but those prickles still know how to do their job.


This week I'm travelling to visit my daughter in Taranaki so will schedule this and link to Good Fences when I can. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Little fantail

Twice yesterday afternoon a little fantail flew into the house and fluttered round and round, occasionally perching, before desperately trying to find its way outside again.  Between visits it sat on a cane chair beside my front door and looked in at me.

Generally I am not a superstitious person.  I don't worry about breaking a mirror, walking under ladders or black cats across my path.  But when that little bird sat there on the chair looking in at me I was properly freaked out I can tell you.  They are such lively little bird, I've never seen one just sitting before. 

It went away for a while then I heard its little cheek, cheeks from back inside.

In Maori mythology, the fantail is a messenger, bringing death or news of death from the gods to the people.  The maori say a fantail inside the house means someone has died and has come to say goodbye.  I've read that they are not to be feared but welcomed as their presence gives us time to prepare ourselves for a death.  

I remember when I first came to New Zealand an old maori lady who lived close by took it upon herself to educate me in local ways.  I was a keen listener and loved hearing about her legends and superstitions.  And, believe me, there are many.  Old Rosie is long gone but her words are still ringing in my ears.

She told me about the fantail but I've never had one come into the house before.  There are a couple of places on the farm where there are many of them.  Georgia and I used to visit them when she was a little girl.  We liked to sit and watch them flitting around catching insects.  They are delightful little birds.  When I see them around the house they are around the trees at the northern end of the house. I see them more when the cows are in nearby paddocks.  They like to accompany the cows and catch the little insects and bugs that the cows disturb.


With the superstition on my mind, wondering if someone close to me really is about to depart this world, I stood and took in the sunset last night.  I imagine I saw a magnificent angel in those clouds, reminds me of childhood images of the Archangel Gabriel.  Doesn't the Archangel Gabriel inspire artits and communicators, helping them to overcome fear and procrastination?

Now I've given myself a good chuckle.  The saints of my youth appearing to chase away the myth of my adopted country.  There's a message there somewhere.  I'm just too confused to hear it right now.

 

Now I've given myself a good chuckle.  The saints of my youth appearing to chase away the myth of my adopted country.  There's a message there somewhere.  I'm just too confused to hear it right now. 


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dahlias and caterpillars

No, not the last of the summer wine although sometimes I think I could well be a cast member of that show.  In this case it's the last of the dahlias.  I know each year when this white dahlia flowers that summer has gone.  It's the last hurrah in the garden when it comes to flowers.

  
But there are still a few vegies. The cherry tomato plant has been a real performer.  It grows beside my front steps, so handy to pluck one off and pop in my mouth for a burst of sweetness as I come and go.  I don't have front and back yard rules.  The dahlia is around the back, tomatoes are in the front.  Works for me.  


When I downloaded these photos I discovered a few more I took a couple of weeks ago at my friend, Chris' home.  She had a real monarch butterfly nursery at her place this year although when I saw them the caterpillars had chomped their way through all her swan plants and were a bit on the hungry side.  This fellow was just like the original very hungry caterpillar setting off across the concrete looking for something to eat.



Monarch eggs are laid on milkweed such as the swan plant. In the two weeks that follow the Monarch caterpillar (or larva) will grow almost 3000 times in size. As you can imagine you are going to need lots of host plant! - See more at: http://www.monarch.org.nz/monarch/#sthash.FWCYXz5Z.dpuf


Monarch eggs are laid on milkweed such as the swan plant. In the two weeks that follow the Monarch caterpillar (or larva) will grow almost 3000 times in size. As you can imagine you are going to need lots of host plant! - See more at: http://www.monarch.org.nz/monarch/#sthash.FWCYXz5Z.dpuf
Monarch eggs are laid on milkweed such as the swan plant. In the two weeks that follow the Monarch caterpillar (or larva) will grow almost 3000 times in size. As you can imagine you are going to need lots of host plant! - See more at: http://www.monarch.org.nz/monarch/#sthash.FWCYXz5Z.dpuf

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Strangers

I live quietly.  I like it that way.  I enjoy the interactions with my Monday Tai Chi class.  One hour of exercise followed by gathering at a local cafe for lunch.  A cheerful bunch of women. 

When I go to the gym on Wednesdays, I enjoy my session more if one of two favourite young people are on the desk.  Those two remember my name, give broad smiles and like to share a laugh.

I look forward to stretching with Lu on Fridays.  We chat and laugh as she puts me through my stretches.

So I have a few regular activities that give me interactions with other adults.  But my day is made when there's a totally unexpected connection with a stranger.  

Like last Tuesday.  I was going to a movie theatre that I haven't attended for quite some time.  I drove past and around the corner before I realised I'd been in the right street, so it was once more around the block before finding a park. Pretty good going for me.  I walked up the street past a tall scruffy youth with his grubby red back to front baseball cap, slouching on a plant box clutching his skate board.  Looked a bit sullen and morose.  

While I was noticing the lad I wasn't noticing where I was going and got to the corner all befuddled.  I hadn't found the theatre.  Turned around and went back to where I thought it should be.  No theatre.  Hmmm.  

It was after 5.30 pm but a young lady was decorating a shop window with the shop door ajar so I stuck my head in and asked for her help, telling her with my best nice old lady chuckle that I couldn't remember where the theatre was.  I got no further before she rushed to my side with a big smile, lead me outside and pointed that is was right next door.  The entrance was right in front of the lazing youth.  Last time I was there a food court had been there, now there is a narrow corridor leading to stairs up to the theatre.  I thanked the lass, telling her to stay young as long as she could because getting old is a real bugger. 

The idle youth became interested and when I came level with him remarked that he's done the same thing, walked right past the entrance and he was only 18.  I actually looked at him this time and he was smiling broadly and kindly.  He added there was a lift near the stairs if I didn't want to climb the stairs and did I want him to help me?  No, he wasn't taking the, um, Michael.

I felt like giving him a hug and apologising for my assumptions.  How wrong had I been?  Shame on me.  

Shame is always easier to handle if you have someone to share it with.  Read that somewhere, can't remember where. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

A slow walk

It's been ages since I've wandered around the farm with my camera.  It's a bit hard to find something that I haven't seen dozens of times before.  

The old tractor forks caught my eye.  I guess you might call them pallet forks.  They fit on the front of a tractor and, on a farm, are used to pick up and move all sorts of things.  Sometimes they even lift a pallet.


Not far away sits the old roller.  
 

The weather is on the change.  Cool this morning, warm this afternoon.  What will next week bring?  I'll be heading south to Taranaki and expect it will be a fair bit cooler so methinks the time has come to rat out a few winter clothes.

Having written that sentence I'm reminded of visiting the doctor yesterday.  While he was speaking to me he said,  "The time has come ..."  (You don't need to know the rest.)  I interrupted with a laugh, "said the Walrus, to talk of many things."  Then blathered on about Alice in Wonderland.  Eventually his puzzled expression told me to shut up and listen.    Sometimes it's only later that I realize why I've done something.  I think in that case I really didn't want to hear what he had to say.    But that's another story and, lucky for you, not one I intend to share.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Up Salmon Road

Salmon Road has been beckoning me for a while now.  Every time I drive past, which I usually do twice a week, I tell myself I'm going to explore its length 'soon'.  One day last week I was in slow traffic when I came to the turnoff, so the decision was easily made to do just that. 

I found gently rolling countryside with occasional harbour views.  Maybe I missed my calling, I sound like a real estate agent.  

Lots of cows in the distance and lots of fences.


The road turns into another that makes a loop back to the highway.


Along this road I found a few fences beneath gum trees.


I'll be linking to Theresa's Good Fences.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Barefoot, bikes and boats

Pam came and went.  Thank heavens she didn't make it as far as my place, tucked as I am half way between two coasts.  I feel so sad when I think of the people in Vanuatu, their life is going to be very hard for quite some time.  

Yesterday afternoon I briefly visited the Town Basin.  The marina looked exactly as it always does although I think there may have been more boats than usual.

 Land and sea transport.  The flag, by the way, is Canadian.


I was looking at the water toys secured to the side of the Breeze when I took this photo.  Now I notice the shoes sitting on the gangway.  A few minutes later it was raining.  Hope they remembered to bring their shoes in. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pam is on her way.

Nights are starting to cool down and we are about to wave goodbye to summer in a big way.  Cyclone Pam is making her way south having wrought death and destruction on Vanuatu.  She'll lose power as she hits our cooler waters, of course and is expected to pass to the east of the country but is still predicted to pack a punch.  

Yesterday evening, a couple of minutes before dark, I thought the sky foretold stormy weather.


The night before it was the bright moon that caught my eye in the middle of the night.  There's a big old pine tree in the paddock at the back of my house.  It's an ugly old thing but has moments of beauty when the last of the afternoon sun hits its exposed branches.  Or, at this time of year, when the moon peeps through it after midnight.

 

The first of the wind has arrived, just very light gusts and the old tree is starting to dance around a bit.  I wonder if this could be its last storm.


I thought I'd take photos of the other two trees that are in constant view which could be taken out by a decent wind.  You never know, do you?


I've been out into the yard and moved anything I think might get blown around.  The last of my dahlias could take a battering.  Doesn't matter, they are long past their best. 


The hydrangeas are well and truly finished.  I like them at this stage as much as when they are in full bloom.


I'm ready.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The non church

I spotted it from a distance, its roofline and spire announcing for all the world to see, "Here is a church".  The entrance, when I found it, was a bit rough but by no means the worst I've seen to a rural church.


It was obvious there were some renovations going on.  The whole building and grassed area around it was taped off to protect new lawn and new paths.  I'm so slow sometimes.  "Nice that it is being loved", I thought.  It has had a new paint job and new front and back entrances.  The little tub of flowers was a sweet touch.


First up I wandered around the front to the right.  That was when I started to wonder if perhaps this was no longer a church.  The artifacts in the corner seemed a bit strange for a place of worship.


Back around the front and look to the left.  That back porch is a little un-church like and I do declare that I can spot a beer box on the porch. 

I remember another time when GB and I were church hunting up on the Karikari Peninsula and, after a bit of driving around, found our way to what looked to be a church.  That time a fierce looking and even more fierce sounding dog charged at the car to let us know we had made a mistake.  We didn't hang around to take photos that day.

At this stage on Monday I got back in the car and took the last couple of shots out of the car window with the car facing the road in case I needed a quick getaway.   Nah, not really.  I'm fairly confident that whoever had turned this lovely building that was surplus to the requirements of some religion into such a warm and welcoming home would make me welcome. 

Maybe I presume too much.  One day it might get me into trouble but not this day.
 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A fence at the Landing

A couple of shots taken at Kaipara Landing at Parakai last Friday when I needed to interrupt my journey to Auckland to take a nap. 



 I am linking to Good Fences. 

<a href="http://run-a-roundranch.blogspot.com/"><img src=" http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7211/13317117563_c095d0b958_q.jpg"/></a>

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A slight detour

Can you not sleep well and not know it?  I've always been blessed with the ability to sleep soundly.  It's a rare day, indeed, that I feel tired in the morning.  But that's what happened on Friday.  I was driving to my stretching session (to exercise  my aging body in a battle to overcome the lack of flexibility I have been feeling and increase the range of motion in my arthritic joints).  After driving for about 20 minutes I felt tired.  Strange, I thought, but the exercise will liven me up before I hit the road to drive to Auckland. 

That worked - to a certain extent.  I was fine for a couple of hours and then the tiredness hit me again.  I decided to take a different route thinking the change of scenery and a different road would keep me alert.   And that worked for a while, too.  This time when I felt sleepy I though food.  I need food.  So I stopped in Helensville for lunch.  Nope, I was still tired.  

At last a sensible voice found its way into my head.  Not that the other ideas weren't good.  Just not the right ones.  Sleep, this one said.  That's what I needed.  Next problem - where?  Somewhere quiet but safe.  

I turned off the road to Auckland at the roundabout just out of town and drove to Parakai where the Kaipara Landing called me.  Perfect.  A few vehicles of fishermen were parked there so I pulled in amongst them, wound down the windows a little to catch the river breeze, locked the doors, tilted my seat back a bit - and promptly fell asleep. 



 I slept the sleep of the innocent (shhh!) - for half an hour and woke up refreshed.  I had a little stroll around the landing enjoying the fresh air before hitting the road again.   


Heading back to the highway I noticed a little church I hadn't seen when I went past the first time.  Can you read the sign on the right of the front door?  Acupuncture.  They don't rely on miracles in Parakai.


I considered going back to Helensville to find an old wharf I'd photographed years ago but thought I'd best carry on in case the tiredness overcame me again.  It didn't.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Loved those dinosaurs

I really didn't expect to fall in love with the dinosaurs.  I didn't expect to become so engrossed that I would call out "watch out" when it appeared Andrew was in danger.  I didn't expect to be so into the show that I would forget that I'd known Andrew, the narrator of Walking with Dinosaurs, all his life and see him only as the palaeontologist, Huxley.  No wonder children love the show so much!  The little girl in the seat in front of me had to crawl onto her father's lap and wrap her arms around his neck for comfort a couple of times.  And a little boy somewhere behind us must have asked at least a hundred questions to a very patient father.  I wasn't the only one who was completely engaged. 


Remember The Walking with Dinosaurs TV series?  That showed us dinosaurs as if they were alive and in their natural environment but in this show I was there all those millions of years ago, walking amongst them.  I gasped and wanted to hide a couple of times.  I almost had a tear in my eye when one of them was injured in a battle and joined the others in the theatre who ohhed and ahhed when a giant mother and her babe shared a moment.  

Photo from Walking with Dinosaurs FaceBook page
Thanks so much, Andrew, for the tickets centre front, just a few rows back from the pre-historic action.  

 Photo from Walking with Dinosaurs FaceBook page
 a worldwide tour seen by over 8 million people in 217 cities, the stunning theatrical event WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Arena Spectacular is back!
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes.
It’s a dazzling $20,000,000 arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality set to captivate young and old alike. Marvel at the story of their 200 million year domination of life on earth. Watch them walk. Hear the roar. Be there as they fight for survival and supremacy. From the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will know the dinosaurs really are b
- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.A69FLW2V.dpuf
fter a worldwide tour seen by over 8 million people in 217 cities, the stunning theatrical event WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Arena Spectacular is back!
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eye
- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.DCPgyHmF.dpuf
fter a worldwide tour seen by over 8 million people in 217 cities, the stunning theatrical event WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Arena Spectacular is back!
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eye
- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.DCPgyHmF.dpuf
er a worldwide tour seen by over 8 million people in 217 cities, the stunning theatrical event WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Arena Spectacular is back!
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes.
It’s a dazzling $20,000,000 arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality set to captivate young and old alike. Marvel at the story of their 200 million year domination of life on earth. Watch them walk. Hear the roar. Be there as they fight for survival and supremacy. From the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will know the dinosaurs really are b
- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.A69FLW2V.dpuf



- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.A69FLW2V.dpuf
ter a worldwide tour seen by over 8 million people in 217 cities, the stunning theatrical event WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Arena Spectacular is back!
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes.
It’s a dazzling $20,000,000 arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality set to captivate young and old alike. Marvel at the story of their 200 million year domination of life on earth. Watch them walk. Hear the roar. Be there as they fight for survival and supremacy. From the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will know the dinosaurs really are bac
- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.A69FLW2V.dpuf
ter a worldwide tour seen by over 8 million people in 217 cities, the stunning theatrical event WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Arena Spectacular is back!
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes.
It’s a dazzling $20,000,000 arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality set to captivate young and old alike. Marvel at the story of their 200 million year domination of life on earth. Watch them walk. Hear the roar. Be there as they fight for survival and supremacy. From the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will know the dinosaurs really are bac
- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.A69FLW2V.dpuf
ter a worldwide tour seen by over 8 million people in 217 cities, the stunning theatrical event WALKING WITH DINOSAURS – The Arena Spectacular is back!
Internationally renowned designers have worked with scientists to create 20 life-size dinosaurs, including the terror of the ancient terrain, Tyrannosaurus rex! Be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes.
It’s a dazzling $20,000,000 arena spectacle of unprecedented size and quality set to captivate young and old alike. Marvel at the story of their 200 million year domination of life on earth. Watch them walk. Hear the roar. Be there as they fight for survival and supremacy. From the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will know the dinosaurs really are bac
- See more at: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/#sthash.A69FLW2V.dpuf

Friday, March 6, 2015

Beach fences

This week's fences were seen while walking on the beach at One Tree Point last weekend.  It was the retaining wall that caught my eye and I took a photo looking one way and then the other. 


I'll be away again this weekend but will catch up with Good Fences when I return. I'd like to thank Knipsa for linking me up last weekend.  Not only does she take wonderful photos but she has a kind heart as well. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Return of the dinosaurs

No, not old fossils like me.  The real thing.  Or as close to real as they are ever likely to get.  

The dinosaurs will roam once again in Auckland this weekend and walking amongst them will be young Andrew, a man I nursed as a baby.  Back in the day his parents were the first of my friends to become parents, I was in love and very broody for a little one just like him.  I never dreamed he would grow up and be part of the Number One worldwide stage tour (according to POLLSTAR).

The show, Walking with Dinosaurs, is based on the award-winning BBC Television Series, has toured worldwide and been seen by more than eight million people in 243 cities.

I'm looking forward to seeing Andrew again.  Last time I saw him was in North Queensland when he was in the stage production of the hilariously funny Over the Top with Jim. We've also seen him in many Australian TV dramas.  It always amuses me that every time I spot him the first person I see is his maternal grandfather, old Mick Tanner.  I didn't see my parents as being interesting when I was growing up but I thought my girlfriends' parents were wonderfully colourful.  
 
Old Mick and Mrs Tanner ran the newsagents and Mick delivered our morning newspaper.  We lived in a typical Queenslander style house that distinguishes Brisbane's suburbs from other capital cities.  They are made of timber, built up on stumps to catch any available breeze (but also to deter termites) and have at least one veranda.  Between the house and the road was a lawn, a fence and a footpath.  Old Mick would come up the road in his little truck and with the drivers seat on the far side of the house he would flick that newspaper over the top of the truck and land it nine times out of ten on the front porch or front veranda - with a roll-your-own cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth.  Don't forget the fag, it was a permanent part of his face.  

Isn't it strange the things you remember when you let your mind wander back in time?  I knew I was 8 or 9 years old but thanks to Google I can tell you old Mick missed the veranda on 22 June, 1954, the day the news reached Australia that John Landy became the second man  to achieve a sub-4 minute mile.  It was a school day and I was looking for the belt for my school uniform when we heard the little truck go past and Mum commented that Mick had missed the porch and sent me to pick up the paper.  I saw the headline and read all the details carefully so I could tell Dad when he got home because I knew he'd be interested.  And got a good growling from Mum for wasting time and still not having found my belt. 
 
(Not much has changed I still wander around the hourse looking for things and being distracted by something else.)

I'll tell you all about the dnosaurs when I get back home.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

From a distance

On Saturday, while I was staying at my friend's home, we went for a walk at One Tree Point, a bit further up the harbour from where I usually take photos.  The tide was way out, just turning to come in.

  
We were surprised to see a pair of paradise ducks at the water's edge.  That's the female leading her male.  She is the prettier of the two.  It's not unusual to see them around but they are usually on land, grazing on pasture or on wetlands.  Fresh water wetlands, not sea water.  We have a lot of them here on the farm and don't take a lot of notice of how noisy they are.  I don't think I've ever seen them at the beach before.


The heron was every bit as noisy as the ducks - and a lot more wary.  The little oyster catcher took no notice of us, leaving it to its noisy neighbour to sound the alarm when we got too close.


Other than the birds, one lady walking her dog shared the beach with us. And then, as the tide came in, the birds disappeared, too.  It was hard to remember that there in the distance, to the right of centre, is a city of 50,000 people.  And right in the centre of the photo we spotted my mountains.


I used the zoom to be sure and yes, there they are, the Uppity Downities.  The peak closest to here is the middle of the three on the left.