Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What's the best age for Christmas?

To me any age is a good age for Christmas.  I loved it as a child, one of a large family with little money for gifts.  I loved it when my children were young and it was a bit of struggle (and often not possible) to give them what they dreamed of for Christmas.  

And I love it still.  

This year all my grand-daughters will receive hand made gifts. If I were more imaginative, I'm sure I could come with things to make for my two grandsons, too, but I come up blank.  Every year I do the made by me theme I worry that the grand-children, who receive so many wonderful gifts, will think their old grandmother is a bit of a let down.  But, so far, they have been appreciative, so I am trying not to worry about how this year's gifts will be received.  I worry that the three 13 year olds will have outgrown what I make for them.  

But I know the eight year old will appreciate her gift.  She has made decorations for my Christmas tree and while doing so tells me it is more important to make something yourself than just "go into a shop and spend money".


Some might think my Christmas tree is a bit of a disgrace.  It's small and artificial. But to me it is perfect, decorated with love.

It has a few little silver balls that I've had for years and a few decorations my youngest daughter made a few years ago but the rest of the decorations have been made by Georgia.

And we had to add the moose for the "Canadian connection".

We will be working on an angel this afternoon.  And goodness knows what other ideas she won't come up with.  Doesn't matter, really, because they will be made with love.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Election Day

Here in New Zealand, it is Election Day.  In a few minutes I will go up and over the hill to the polling booth and have my say.

I keep my political views to myself but it is obvious that little Georgia is a fan of John Key, our current Prime Minister.  For the past week she's been talking about the election and explaining how it all works.

Thursday afternoon the phone rang as we were playing.  It was a recorded message from John Key and I quickly saw the opportunity to impress her.  I took the phone to her, put my hand over the mouthpiece and whispered, "Georgia, it's John Key!  Listen!"  She put the phone to her ear with a grin as if to say "What's she playing at now?"  

Oh, the expressions that played across her little face.  Idle interest, intense interest, deep concentration, wonder and delight.  Then she whispered to me, "It's him, Granny.  It's really him!" 

I took the phone back, thanked John for calling and said goodbye.  

You should have seen the look on her face!  "Oh Granny, you must be so important!  John Key rang you!"   And who am I to disillusion an enchanted child?

Ten minutes later we were watching the News and there was Mr Key.  "He hardly had time to get dressed after talking to you to go on the News!"  Obviously we don't dress to talk on the phone around here.

What would I do without this child for entertainment?

Today, out my kitchen window,  I spotted the first opened passionfruit flower of the season.

 And out the window at the side of the house, free range cows.  There is long grass beside the track the cows were taking to their paddock, so my son left the gate to the paddock open so they could wander there at their own pace.  It's only a couple of hours till the next milking time and some of them haven't bothered walking the extra distance to the paddock, are happy to be free range today.

Friday, 25 November 2011

FSO - Lawn Tools

You can think again if you're thinking I'd post photos of my lawn tools.  If anything goes anywhere near the lawn, I'm bound to run it over with the lawnmower.  But if I had one like this I'd be moving a bit slower.  On second thoughts, no, I'll leave that in the shop.  Looks a bit like hard work to me.

Shame I don't have any use for a blower.  I think that's what this is.  It's not very heavy and I have visions of the fun I could have weilding this and chasing the grandkids.

A new rake?  Nah, I don't have much use for one of those either.  Shame, I really like that shade of green.

I do have one of these.  10 litre capacity and not a knapsack model.  I am seriously tempted by this. 

I really do need a new pair of gardening gloves.  But, honestly, don't you think these are a bit too pretty?  It would be a shame to get them into the state of my gloves.


I'm sure the rest of the FSO team will have been a lot more imaginative than I was with this topic.  Just pop over here to check them out.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Strange how once you’ve done something you never expected to do, you realize how much fun it is.  You get to my age and you think you know what you enjoy and stick to doing things like that.  Then an overheard conversation here, a Facebook comment there and the idea starts to form to go to a burlesque show. 

So last night that’s what my friend, Chris and I did.  And were very glad that we did.  We might have been the oldest ladies in the pub but I managed to make myself heard by one of the performers.  I believe the MC had been told to announce no photography but if he did I didn’t hear him and couldn’t understand half of what he said anyway.  And I was there to see my friend perform, not listen to him.

No would guess from the audience reaction to her act that there were only three of us in their midst who know her.    We were joking with her before the show that she didn’t have many friends – she had a whole lot more by the time she finished.  The young men at our table were quite besotted with her.  Said hers had been a classy act.  I work with her and can assure you she’s a class act alright!

She can now cross that off the list of things she wants to do before she turns 40.  Good on her, I say.  Haven’t had so much fun in ages!

Friday, 18 November 2011

FSO - Symmetry

Symmetry. An exact matching of form and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a boundary.
I needed a bit more help than that.  The dictionary said: "similarity, correspondence, or balance among systems or parts of a system.  Maths, an exact correspondence in position or form about a given point, line or plane."

I knew I was on childminding duty this week and wouldn't have much time for photography, so started looking last weekend.  Tried to find symmetry at home on the farm.  

Umm.  I think the maize crop is stretching it a bit, but maybe.....

I had this vision of a long, straight road and there aren't too many of them around here. So I decided to drive the nearly 20 kms to the nearest stretch of straight road.

Then coming home I crossed the railway lines - why didn't I think of that rather than driving all that way?

I know there are going to be some wonderful examples of symmetry by the rest of the FSO team.  Go here to check them out.  Wish I'd had more time to spend on this topic - it was fun!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

On duty

I have big responsibilities this week.  But if all goes as smoothly as it did the first two mornings, I will have no complaints.

The dawn chorus is louder at my son's house than it is at mine.  Two huge old trees stand guard and yesterday morning a tui joyously greeting the day, woke me half an hour before the alarm clock was due to rouse me.  I must be mellowing, I didn't mind one bit.

When I stepped outside with the camera to see if I could spot the tui, I was distracted by the early morning sun hitting the tree the tui was in.

There were a few disruptions at bed time last night - darn near an eruption as well.  The girls' cat decided to give birth in the room next to theirs but then bring each of her babies in to their room to meet the family.  Girls and kittens!  Somehow I missed that Awwww gene and have never been able to see the attraction.  Finally I said "Turn that light out" in a convincing enough tone and they got to sleep.

But they were awake and out of bed before me this morning.  Thankfully not tired and grumpy.  Still on a high choosing names for their babies.  

The next two shots were taken yesterday morning as I sat on the deck with a coffee as the girls walked down to the school bus stop.  (Thank heavens I've arranged to start work later this week when I have extra duties looking after the girls!)  Breathing that in would sooth anyones frayed nerves! 

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Just another walk

She has grown in stature but is still the same little girl she was when we first starting visiting the creek regularly about five years ago.  

Her legs are longer now.  She no longer gets as wet as she used to.  She no longer strips off her clothes and walks home nearly naked. 

But she still spends a lot of time picking up and peering under rocks:

hauling 'interesting' ones to me for closer examination.

She still asks me questions I can't answer.  Anyone know what sort of larvae this is?  Found under a rock, under water?  She said there were 34 of them altogether.  And didn't buy my "rock grubs?".

She still looks in the mud for footprints:

And points out weeds and grasses for me to photograph:

I know that soon her interests will change and she will want to be jumping into waterholes with her friends rather than puttering around in the shallows with her grandmother.  Krystal and her friend were oblivious to us as they played further down the creek. 

Krystal assured me the water was deep between her friend and the bank.  She leapt into it over and over again, enjoying the sensation of flying.  How long before Georgia wants to fly too?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Liebster Award

Sarah at The Secret Life of an Unknown Housewife has very kindly bestowed upon me the Liebster Blog Award.  Liebster?  I thought it meant lover but looked it up - sweetheart?  It's been a long time since I was anyone's sweetheart and that is not usually a term that is applied to me.  I know people to whom I would apply that tag but think it would really stretch the imagination of everyone I know to have it applied to me.   But I must not be ungracious and so, Sarah, I graciously accept.  Those who know me well will have difficulty accepting that, too.  But I do thank you, Sarah. 

This award is given to blogs with fewer than 200 followers, with "good content" that warrant more support. Sarah is one who really does deserve more followers.  She's articulate, funny, hardworking, sensible and practical and a loving mum to a young family. 

Liebster Award Rules

1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them. Thank you, Sarah.
2. Reveal five of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. 
3. Post the award on your blog.  This solicited a groan from me.  I did it a while ago - how do I do it again?  I hate it when I forget how I did something not so long ago. 
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!  Keep posting, keep commenting and keep being positive.

In no particular order, here are my nominations for the Liebster Award.

1.  I wouldn't be blogging were it not for Bev at Kainga Happenings.  I am blessed to have a friend like Chris with a sister like Bev who inspired me and helped me so much when I was getting started in the blog world.  I call Bev the evangelist quilter.  She has tried hard to convert Chris and me to quilting.  She didn't succeed, but she did re-ignite my love affair with my sewing machine.  Bev posts about her sewing, quilting and her garden.  If you love crafty things and gardens (her roses are beautiful) you must visit her.  Bev lives in Western Australia.

2.  My daughter, Justine, when she was 15 ventured out into the world as a Rotary exchange student. Jessie at The Farmer has a Wife is one of the many friends she made in Murwillumbah on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia.  These days Jessie is married to a farmer and loves on a property miles from anywhere but closer to Dirranbandi, South West Queensland than anywhere else.  She is an English teacher and knows her craft.  I love reading about her life with her young family on an isolated property.  She's a city girl who has made the admustment to country life and her sense of humour is second to none.

3.  Here's another blog from Queensland -  Cattle, Kids and Chaos.  Fiona describes herself as "working hard on a rough little block, trying to breed some good cattle and raise some happy kids."  Her story telling and photography of the cattle and her children has me in total awe.  I have yet to see any signs of chaos but it must be there with a family of six.

4.  As anyone who follows me knows, I love photography.  I'm not very good at it but what's that got to do with the price of fish?  A recently discovered blog is Suzy at Photos are Fun.  Suzy is from Wellington and showcases New Zealand from a different perspective.  When you visit her you will see a vibrant New Zealand city, a stark contrst to the rural life I try to portray.

5. For photographic excellence and because I simply cannot believe she does not have more followers, I'm going to the Northern Hemisphere and Dawn Treader's Beyond the Lone Islands.  She hails from Vastergotland, Sweden, a truly beautiful city which she captures skillfully.  Believe me, she makes her new camera sing!

I have other favourites, of course, with few than 200 followers but I know some of them to be "Award Free".  I might have to go that way myself because it did take me an age to remember how to add the award.

Friday, 11 November 2011

FSO - The letter A

Never has a shoot out gone so smoothly for me.  I've never been able to get all my shots from the same spot before.  Mind you, I had to go to the Big Smoke (Auckland) to do it.  I'd rather wander around the car park at shops with a camera than go inside and get frustrated.  So Georgia and I elected to wait outside while my daughter-in-law and the nearly 13 year old twins went clothes shopping. 

New Zealand is still basking in the after glow of the Rugby World Cup and their world champion national team, the All Blacks:

Hold on a minute while I climb behind this fence and get my air con units in a row:

The Atomic Car was there - who would have thought?

And Amy was inside shopping too:

No, no, that's the way out, we might get lost.  We don't know our way around the city.

By then Georgia was getting into the spirit of things and dived into the truck to show me something else beginning with the Letter A. Branding is everything, even to an eight year old!
 Eventually we got tired of waiting and joined the girls inside the shop.  I still had time to try on and buy a couple of items before they were finished their shop-a-thon.  And Georgia had time to find something for her baby cousin, Aiden.

Aiden!  Why didn't I think of him?!  Here he is asleep on an aeroplane, on his way to meet his other family in Canada.

Just pop over here to see what A things the rest of the Friday Shoot-out team have found.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Love thy Neighbour

I was clanging away at the kitchen sink, making a lot of noise and singing "I'm a Rock Star" above the clatter.  No, don't try to imagine it, not if you want to sleep well tonight!  I looked up at my pretend audience and my neighbour was standing stock still staring at me.  I grabbed the camera and fired off a shot through the window.  You have to admit, that window is pretty clean!

She just stared and stared and I thought she might stand still if I went out the back door for a closer shot.  But she moved off still looking back at me.

I'm not too sure she returns my feelings of neighbourly love.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Calf Club

Calf Club began in the early 1900's, when nearly every rural school and community in New Zealand drew together, once a year, to celebrate the special bond which develops between children and young animals.

Today, with fewer children having access to 'farm animals' and the space to raise a larger animal, the day has become known by other names - Country, Pet, Livestock or Agriculture Day, with events for all classes of animals, pets and handcrafts.

One of the many joys of living in a rural community is giving our children the opportunity to learn to love and care for animals.  Aside from owning and caring for an animal, Calf Club is about fostering human values like motivation, commitment, responsibility and compassion, which will stand our children in good stead for the rest of their lives.
Calf Club is a very special day on the local school calendar.  Not only is it counted as a school day, it is also a chance for all of the community, pupils, family and friends to celebrate the efforts of our local children.  Indoor exhibits are displayed in the classrooms.

Raising an animal can be great fun and very rewarding but is a lot of hard work and a large commitment for the child to develop a partnership with their animal.

When my children went to school it was all about calves and lambs and I remember very clearly the pride a child feels when their animal wins.  Prizes aren’t won just by selecting animals that are well bred.  They are also judged on the grooming of their pet and how it leads.  Winning a prize is invariably about the hours the child has put in feeding, caring for and training their animal. 

Shayde didn't win any prizes with her calf but then the judges weren't around when she was just hanging out with her calf.

Krystal wears her lamb like an accessory:
Georgia's lamb came to an unfortunate end a couple of weeks ago.  Her father backed the car over it as it slept, not knowing it was in harms way.  She took it well, accepting it was an accident.  And became an enthusiastic entrant in the indoor competitions.  I loved her muddy pigs in her Edible Scene.

And today I saw the end result of a drawing of a dolphin she was working on at my place yesterday:

I'm so proud of Shayde.  Others may have put in more time training their calf but I didn't see any who loved their pet more. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

FSO - Signs

I'm linking to FSO under false pretences this week - I have nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing funny, unusual, strange or spooky. 

But I know where you will be able to find plenty - just pop over here.