Friday, 30 October 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Park Landscapes

This week's subject for the Friday My Town Shoot-out was chosen by JarieLyn from Nevada. Pay her a visit to see her park landscapes.

I've chosen to focus on two sports parks and a park in the middle of Whangarei.

This is Kensignton Park, on the north side of Whangarei, the hub of winter sports in the region. My granddaughters play netball on the courts in the foreground, while other youngsters play hockey and football in the background.

On the south side of the city Okara Park is the home of rugby union and cricket. The rugby grounds are undergoing a major revamp and there was no way the construction workers were going to allow a lady in heels to wander around their site taking photos. So I went to the cricket club instead. I thought my heels would be just as unwelcome if I wandered past this sign on to the grounds.
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Especially when a group of official looking men strode out to inspect the pitch.

I've never before actually noticed the cricket pavilion and how very colonial it looks - especially when I remember this area was a carpark in my younger days.

One day during the week when I had more sensible footwear in the car I visited Mair Park after work.

The weather was cold and windy with scattered showers (I sound like a weather report!) which was fine by me because I like to have places to myself. But the playground looked a bit forlorn.

Just across the grassed area is the entrance to a lovely, tree lined bush walk.

And right next door to Mair Park is another sort of park, for holiday makers.

I wanted to include this park because last year, during a winter storm, here on the farm we were without power for six days. My biggest problem was where to have my daily shower and the lovely lady who runs this park said I was welcome to use their facilities for $2 a day. So, if ever you find yourself in the north of New Zealand looking for a place to clean up, I can highly recommend this park.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Confused lamb

There are times when a camera should never be out of reach. I just missed a golden opportunity.

I heard the farm bike stop out front so went to see who had arrived. My daughter-in-law was standing beside the bike, laughing. No one else in sight. She looked at me and nodded in the direction she had come from. And there was the girls' pet lamb, running as fast as it could, trying to catch up with the bike. I've posted before about how pet lambs get confused about their place in the scheme of things. This one thinks it is a dog.

I had the camera in my hand by the time it decided that it was coming to visit me, probably thinking the girls were here. Managed to take these photos before stepping back inside and shutting the door in its face. That's what happens to the farm dogs, too.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Let's play brides

This has been a long weekend with today being Labour Day which celebrates New Zealand workers' proud history of campaigning for fairness at work.

In 1839, Samuel Parnell, a carpenter, organised to introduce the eight-hour working day – making New Zealand the first country in the world to achieve such conditions. Herbert Roth describes Parnell`s first job in New Zealand in 1839, when a shipping merchant, George Hunter, asked him to erect a store for him.

‘I will do my best,’ replied Parnell, ‘but I must make this condition, Mr. Hunter, that on the job the hours shall only be eight for the day.’

Hunter demurred, this was preposterous; but Parnell insisted. ‘There are,’ he argued, ‘twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for men to do what little things they want for themselves. I am ready to start tomorrow morning at eight o’clock, but it must be on these terms or none at all.’

‘I arrived here in June, 1841,’ a settler told the newspaper in 1885, ‘found employment on my landing, and also to my surprise was informed that eight hours was a day’s work, and it has been ever since.’

By 1890 the eight-hour working day had become standard for tradesmen and labourers. Trade unions publicised the campaign for shorter hours by holding annual processions late in October on what became known as Labour Day. In 1899 Labour Day became a public holiday and became a suitable occasion to pay tribute to Parnell and the other pioneers of the eight-hour day.

(thanks to Herbert Roth and the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand for the story)

Labour Day weekend has become the traditional time for tidying up the garden after winter and planting vegetables for a summer crop. I've ticked those tasks off my list of chores for this weekend, today was to be sewing day because the good weather wasn't predicted to last until today. And indeed a bit of sewing has been done but not at all what I intended. Ten year old Krystal and six year old Georgia decided they wanted to be brides.

An old petticoat was quickly turned into Georgia's frock but Krystal was a bridezilla, she actually knew what she wanted. Blue didn't figure in her plans but when she heard that this material had come from her aunt's wedding dress she became more enthusiastic. Thankfully I had screeds of mosquito netting which added the required authentic touch.

Add a twisted scrap of gold satin and wallah....

Finally, after the brides went on their merry way to other games in other places I got on to the sewing I had planned. I think Krystal will like her birthday bag.

I've just remembered today is my brother, Bernie's birthday. It's hard to imagine my sweet little brother is 56. Happy birthday, Bern.

In Pace

In Pace
By Dorothy Foster

Respectfully, as they lower
her husband into his grave
I take off my hat/my apron
to that woman
who at eighty-four
can toss her heavy
shopping/washing basket away
and quietly breaststroking through
tears of relatives
without guilt admit to joy
- being able at last
to please herself.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

New neighbours

I've had new neighbours in the paddock this week. Or, to be more accurate, previous neighbours have returned and some new ones have moved in as well. This year's calves were in the paddock beside the house a couple of weeks ago but they have grown and returned, cuter than ever.

For the first time ever the horses are grazing in the paddock around the house. For a long time the only horse on the farm was this beautiful blonde,Nugget.

She came here to be Krystal's horse but Krystal's craving for a horse diminished with familiarity and her twin sister Shayde is now the horse rider.

My daughter-in-law recently bought another horse for herself, Flint. Flint and Nugget have obviously fallen in love.

I love how she accepts his adoration so demurely.

but on other occasions protests if his attention is unwelcome

Yesterday Heather took Flint off on a cross country trek and Nugget was unhappy all day. She trotted up and down the fence line, looking up the road in the direction Flint had disappeared and calling for him.

I tried to distract her with lawn clippings but she refused to even look at me.

My daughter and her cat, Lola were visiting last week. If Lola looks a bit strange it's because she doesn't have a tail, it was missing when she was found, abandoned in a quarry, aged about 6 weeks. Now a little city cat she's never seen a horse before and was a bit dubious about going out the door until she'd checked them out.

A few days later she was perfectly at home in the garden watching the birds in the trees, completely ignoring the horses just a few feet away.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Classics of Childhood

Thank you, Ellisa from Michigan for the topic this week. I think I'm a bit overawed by that word "classics". Don't think any of my photos fall into the classic category but here is my interpretation of the theme.

Much loved books

a much loved pet

and "my sister cut my hair"

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Manners Vs habits

A friend and I have both wondered from time to time whether what might be regarded as bad manners is still bad manners if there is no-one around to see or hear.

Luckily for me little Georgia has spoken on the matter.
One day I was in the kitchen and Georgia was playing with her little animals on the floor not far away.
I said "Pardon me" after I burped out loud. The conversation went something like this:
Georgia: Hmmm?
Me: Pardon me (I repeated)
Georgia: What did you say pardon me for?
Me: Because I burped.
Georgia: What did you say pardon me for?
Me: Because I burped.
Georgia: But why did you say pardon me?
Me: Because it's good manners to say pardon me if you burp out loud.
Georgia: You only have to say pardon me if someone hears you and I didn't hear you, so why did you say pardon me?
Me: I didn't know that. I thought you had to say pardon me every time you burped. Maybe I am being old fashioned again.
Georgia: Mmmm, probably. It's probably a good habit.
So I now go along with the theory that something/anything is only bad manners if there is someone around to think so. It's really just a matter of good or bad habits how you behave when you are on your own. And I don't worry too much about that. I figure I still have my wits about me enough to check myself if one of my bad habits is about to show itself in public.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Summer Sunday Markets

There's nothing like doing something a bit different to keep life interesting. A friend decided to have a stall at the first of the Summer Sunday Markets to be held at Ruakaka. Nothing spectacular, just to flog off knick-knacks, odds and ends that have been in storage for ages. Another friend and I volunteered to help.

My friend's little stall

The weather in October can be a bit changeable and today was true to form. It wasn't too bad to start with, a tad cold and windy but it just got worse. A few light showers of rain, stronger winds. There weren't all that many people wandering around and very few appeared to be buying. When we'd been there about four hours a nasty squall passed over, no, passed through. (I'm not very good at describing the weather, am I? It's not something I tend to focus on.) My mate's umbrella suffered a broken stay, although we managed to get anything that could be damaged by water under the table and out of the rain.

That little event sorted out the true market people from the oncers. People like us who had a little stall set up under an umbrella decided this wasn't such a great idea and wasn't all that much fun anyway, so they packed up and headed for home. The regular market people, in their more sturdy structures obeyed the rules and stayed. (Yes, there were rules that said stall holders must not leave until at least 2 pm.)

Hopefully, the Summer Sunday Markets will grow and become a success. By this time next month there will be a lot more weekenders and holiday makers around and maybe people will be buying for Christmas.

Anyway, I was happy. At the stall right next to us was a lady selling well established plants and I found a couple of young trees that I have just the right spot for in my garden. At another stall I scored a wire basket and now I will smile every time I see it because to me one of life's cheerful sights is a wire egg basket.

As GB commented on my previous post, "To be happy with the simple things can take many years of devoted practice." And I'm now reaping the rewards of my years of devotion.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A little girl in a big paddock

Usually I hear Georgia and her sisters approaching before I see them but this morning I looked out and there was Georgia trudging in her best party dress and gum boots across the paddock on her way to my place. Turns out she wasn't on her way to anything special. The hem on her best party dress had come adrift and needed mending and she wore it so she wouldn't forget to bring it for me to fix.

She was in one of her moods that don't require anyone or anything to entertain her. If you ask her what she's playing she will tell you it's "magination" play where she sends her "magination" (which is about as big as a nit) into her head to find something and then she plays it.

This part of the game looked rather serious.
My dog, Lewey, knows how to follow Georgia's instructions.

Even when he's not required as part of the game, Lewey is never far away. If she wanders from sight I just have to call the dog and whatever direction he comes from, that is where she will be. He's as devoted to her as I am.

Except, when she goes to visit the calves in the paddock beside the house, the dog knows to stay well away.

After playing quietly by herself all morning, she came inside and suggested we bake muffins. By the time we finished baking we could here the thump of a post being driven into the ground up at her home, so she trudged back home again to see what was happening there.

So I've had a lovely morning. Hope everyone's world is just as happy!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Sunrises and Sunsets

I'm not an early bird. Early morning and functioning are not things that work together for me. Therefore, I don't have any real sunrises. These three are about as close as I get to sunrise.

But a glass of wine and a sunset over the water - oh yes, I'm into that.

All the rest of the photos are taken from either my front deck or back steps. Back steps photos first:

Front deck, hope you don't get tired of that one tree and power lines that are in every shot.

This one was taken from a different spot on the farm:

Thanks, Sherri for this week's theme. Who doesn't love a sunset? I guess early birds love a sunrise too but I wouldn't know about that. I can't wait to visit others' blogs. I bet there will be some amazing shots this week.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Licking the bowl

Yesterday I had extra help in the kitchen. Little Georgia and her Best Friend Ever, Archer made muffins. Georgia was very bossy, demonstrating her superior knowledge of my kitchen and telling him off for licking his fingers.

But isn't the best part of baking with the kids watching them licking out the bowl?