Friday, 29 January 2010

FSO - Look up, look do

Thinking this week's topic is hard has become a bit of a habit with me.  Each week when I look up the topic I do a "Oh gosh, that's difficult.  How will I do that?  Where will I find photos for that?  How will I approach this?"  Then when it comes to doing the post I find I have really enjoyed it.

This week was like that.  I'm short on time because I'm enjoying the company of a guest this week and then I'm going gallivanting around the north for four days.  But I have enjoyed looking up and looking down, I just had to be careful when I was looking up that I didn't trip over things that I would have noticed had I been looking down. 

Like the old child's bike and the small statue hidden amongst the flowers.  I don't have time to put my photos into order so there's a bit of random looking up and down going on. 

Thanks to My Town Blogger Team and Sarah Lulu for the topic.  You can check out what the rest of the team came up with here.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Sounds of home - FSO

One of the things I love most about living on a farm is the peace and quiet.  I guess I don't take much notice of the familiar sounds, just as city dwellers don't take much notice of traffic noise.  I hadn't even heard the milk tanker (which goes past every day) rumbling past my house so was surprised when I looked out and there it was sitting by my driveway, broken down.  It must have been there for ages because the repair vehicle had already arrived.

But a helicopter does not arrive to spread fertiliser every day - I hear that!. 

If a tractor goes up the road I probably won't hear it, even though they are quite noisy.

But when my granddaughter goes putt-putting past on her little bike - I hear that!

What are some of the other sounds the might get my attention?
 Horses talking might do it.

My son taking a hammer to my roof - oh yeah, that would do it! 

The happy sound of children laughing and paddling?  Yep, for sure.

And when the grand-daughters crank up the music and sing? No doubt about it, I hear that!!  That is the sound I love! 

I'd like to do Nan U's 'blind hike’ sometime.  Maybe I will on our next long weekend when I will be touring further north with a friend.  Will have to remember to pack a blindfold (but I'll leave the silk scarf at home in case he thinks I'm too kinky)! and wander around noticing what I hear and take pictures pointing in the direction of the sound. Sounds (??) like fun actually.  Thanks for this topic, Nan U.  It really had me thinking about what I hear as opposed to all the sounds around me that I don't actually hear. 

Wonder what the rest of the FSO team came up with!  Check them out here.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Shining white tower

That's twice in one week I've experienced that "unearthly clear shining after rain".  I'm sure that's a line from an Australian poem about a plane wreck or the Blue Mountains but I can't remember.

During the week it happened at the beach.  Today it happened here.  Not that there was what you would classify as rain but there was a sprinkle and when it cleared off my landmark, the Vodafone tower, could be seen - white! Yes, it's white.  Who would have guessed!  It always looks grey, sometime I think it might be white around the base but this evening I see it is all white.  I can see it out the window as I type and it is hard to take my eyes off it.  You can even see the little buildings around its base.  Shining white!  Like an evening star.  OK, I'm getting a bit carried away now.  But it really is something to see something you see many times every day looking different. 

Evening shadows

Earlier in the week I spent the night with my son and his family at the beach at Ruakaka.  It's not far from home but worlds apart in some ways.  If we wanted, we could go the beach every day, but it would still be part of everyday life.   But when you are staying just over the road from the beach with no farm distractions, then you are definitely on holiday. 

The little girls were having a wonderful time but when I saw these boys I thought boys really know how to enjoy sand.  The beach is just made for rough and tumble and these three were making the most of it. 

During the afternoon the girls and I had been driven off the beach by squally rain but after that blew over there was that lovely clear shining you sometimes get after rain, when everything has been washed clean.  When I went back to the beach it was about an hour before dark, children were enjoying their last play of the day, people were out walking.

and one hardy couple arrived for an evening dip:

Friday, 15 January 2010

Friday My Town Shoot out - Birds

This week's topic has been chosen by Scriptor Senex.  I don't have the talent or equipment to capture good photos of birds, although I have really tried for this post - with pathetic results.

So I decided to just share a few photos of New Zealand native birds.  The first is one of my favourites, the kereru (bush pigeon), New Zealand’s only endemic pigeon.:

My daughter got this next photo of a kea when she was in the South Island recently.  Kea are highly social and inquisitive birds although their mischievous behaviour  is not always appreciated. They are found only in the Sth Island:

Another favourite of mine is the tui which are common throughout the country, in cities and in the countryside. 
They are beautiful birds which can often be heard singing their beautiful melodies long before they are spotted.

OK, I know the peacock is not a native but where else might you see them sharing their days (don't know where they go at night) with the cows?

This Australian, the magpie, is considered a pest by the majority of Kiwis but I like them.

And, just one more, taken in case I couldn't gather up enough photos for a post, an odd looking bird indeed:

To see the birds of other FSO members, just click here.  I added links to our native birds if anyone wants to know more about them. 

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Tapora magic

The big kid is alive and well in me.  I love walking barefooted on the beach, even when I feel the need to walk far out over the mud flats with the mud squelching between my toes.

At the weekend, my friend Chris came with me for a couple of days in Tapora, where I lived a few years ago.   We stayed with long time residents, Pete and Sheryl, the most hospitable couple you could ever dream of meeting.  Tapora is full of wonderful memories for me, I did so love living there.  It's a beautiful place at the end of a long peninsula in the Kaipara Harbour on the west coast of the North Island.  But there's something special about the place that is more than the picturesque landscape.  The people are so warm and welcoming.

The tide was out in the afternoon while we were there and a familiar sight out at the channel are tractors waiting for their boats to return from a day out fishing in the harbour.  
Around at the beach at the back of Pete and Sheryl's farm we went for another walk, accompanied by their grandkids and cousins of  the grandkids in search of birds for my shoot out this Friday.  Well, I was in search of birds, the kids found something else more interesting to them.  Dead crabs, I think.

We inspected this rather unique crab pot and spotted three nice sized crabs nearby but none inside it:

Another of the pleasures of our two days was eating apricots fresh off the tree, as Pete gathered them for us. Pete also went out fishing while we were there and returned with lots of snapper which we enjoyed for breakfast. 

Thank you so much, Pete and Sheryl, for a wonderful weekend.  I will feast of fish again tonight!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Friday My Town Shoot out - Fences

"A fence is a structure to restrict or prevent movement."

I'm reminded of a bad tempered Irish engineer I once worked with who was berating a bunch of labourers. He pointed to the fence around the site and said, "See that fence, it's to keep the other guys out, not to keep you in, feel free to leave at any time!"  A real charmer he was.  But ever since then I often wonder when I see a fence whether it is to keep something in or keep something out.  Either way, none of my first few fences (two were gathered while on the construction hunt last week) is very effective:

And this one is doubtful:

Some fences serve a specific purpose e.g. a swimming pool security fence.  I'd like to say those skinny legs in the reflection are mine but no, they belong to my daughter:

This fence should have kept the goats in, now it's keeping them out:

The solid security fence protecting Alan Gibbs huge landscape sculptures that I posted about last week.

To keep the birds out???

There are a lot of stone fences around this part of the country, both in town:

and in the country:

Some fences are purely practical:

And then some manage to be both practical and attractive:

This fence marks a spot that means a lot to someone:

And my favourite.  You can't see the wires because I shot this from quite a distance but here are my grand-daughters rolling/crawling under an electric fence:

So, whose idea was it to send us out looking at fences?   Thanks, Sandra Leigh, (Amazing Voyages of the Turtle) for your imagination.  My first construction site photo was taken in the city where I was staying for the last week and a few others were taken between here and there on my way home but most of them I see on a regular basis. Go here to see the fences of the other FSO team members. 

Sorry, my post is late.  I went away for the weekend thinking I had scheduled it to appear but got the date wrong.  Ah well!