Tuesday, 31 July 2012


It's not so much the rain that is annoying me, it's how wet everything is.  I'm going to need a hovercraft to get in and out of my yard soon.  I'm already in need of a hovercraft lawnmower, my regular lawnmower would get bogged in my lawn at the moment.  It's impossible to get from the car to my front door without stepping in mud or squelching into the grass so much my shoes get muddy anyway.  Here are my tyre tracks, they don't look so muddy when they are full of water!

I'm not complaining about the new neighbours.  The wild ducks have been tempted closer to my house by the abundance of puddles.  The plover probably isn't as happy about that as I am but they seem to be learning how to get along by ignoring each other. 

 At the weekend the weather gave me a rainbow to cheer me up.  Well, not me, the cowshed actually!

Never mind, I'm running away for my mid-winter break in a day or two.  And where we will be staying there won't be any mud, just sand.  Only two more sleeps!

Friday, 27 July 2012

FSO - Complementary Colours

 I discovered there is even a dictionary entry (Collins) for complementary colours - one of any pair of colours, such as yellow and blue, that give white or grey when mixed in the correct proportions.  I was going to do the mad scientist thing and get out the grandkids painting set, but can't find it.

Our FSO guides tell us:
 "When placed next to each other, 
complementary colors make each other appear brighter
 by creating maximum contrast.
In art and graphic design, 
using two complementary colors together
is said to create a more aesthetically pleasing image.



I hope Georgia doesn't see that last one or she might guess what I am making her for her upcoming birthday. Yes, I have some sewing to do right now.

I'll be back later to check the entries from the rest of the FSO team.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Surprise fog

It always seems to me that we get heavier fogs here than anywhere between here and town.  This morning there was a hint of sunshine outside my back door and a light misty fog on the hills.  

About half way between here and the corner there didn't appear to be much sunshine and the fog appeared slightly thicker.  Sorry about the gate across the shot but when I'm on my way to work there's no time to get out of the car to look over the gate.

Just as well I didn't or I wouldn't have had time to stop for this shot after I drove into a real pea souper closer to town.  

So the trip to work was very slow.  But not as slow as the trip home.  The skies opened just as I was about to leave work - and my umbrella was in my car.  Thank heavens for lovely work colleagues who offer their umbrella!  The rain was absolutely bucketing down, it was difficult to even see the centre white line on the road.   And worse than the rain were the occasional flashes of lightening which seemed scarily close.  I wasn't stopping to take any photos, I just wanted to get home.

Home has never looked so good.

Monday, 23 July 2012

After the rain

I like when I can be surprised when going about my everyday activites.  Good surprises, that is.  

Every morning when I drive down the road is a bit different but mainly the same.  There might be fog, or mist, rain or bright sunshine, bright sunshine through the fog.  You know, the countryside is the same, but the weather conditions cast different hues upon the it. 

Then there is the odd occasion when I get a surprise.  This morning was one of those although thinking about it, I should have expected it.  I knew we'd had a fair bit of rain over the weekend but sitting inside,warm and dry, I hadn't noticed exactly how much there was.

I remember thinking as I pulled out on to the road that the world seemed very still and the sky was so low and heavy looking, there could be more rain. But I wasn't expecting to see the creek had overflowed it's banks.

Luckily, there was no more rain or the road could have been flooded by the time I returned from work. But all was well, the creek was quietly slipping back between its banks.

At home, the springers, the cows due to calve in the next day or two, were around my house.  I was met by this lovely sight as I got out of the car.   

Georgia arrived home from school and immediately went to check the "action".  This time last year the whole calving thing was way over her head.  This year she is really into it.  Amazing how much she has learnt in just a few weeks of being with mum and dad in the paddocks, asking questions, watching and listening. 

At one stage she came running and shouting into the house, "Granny, Granny, cow down!  Cow in trouble!  Come quick!"  I went with her and had a look and convinced her to give the cow a little longer to give birth before sending for the doctor (her father).  But within the hour I conceded she was right, and agreed she had best run and fetch her father.  Her dad agreed the cow would never have managed to give birth to that calf (it looked to be a small horse!) by herself.  But how the hell did she know an hour earlier when the cow had barely started pushing?

How cute is this guy?

 Seems to be non stop action outside my kitchen window.  Even after dark my son is out there with the tractor lifting a cow that has gone down. 

At least it isn't raining!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Always one opportunist

It's been one of those days when I look out and see my son and daughter-in-law trudging around in the cold and driving rain and think, "Who'd be a farmer?"  I see them riding the quad bikes standing rather than sitting (to keep bums dry), heads down and shoulders hunched and hope they can see where they are going.  While I sit inside warm and dry, reading a book. 

Most of the time the cows don't seem to mind the rain but today even some of them are seeking shelter.  One opportunist has decided there's not much grass under that tree, she will eat the tree instead.

Hope it's a bit better tomorrow.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Public Art

I've only taken two photos all week!  And neither was of art.  I think I better go take my temperature - maybe I'm not well!

I've found a few in the archives that I think fit this week's topic, Public Art.  I've posted some of them before and have chosen them this time because each is made from a different material to resemble things that are typically Northland.

 Concrete seabirds

 Aluminium bush canopy

 Poles, steel and rope eel trap

A kauri moth (I think)

And now I'm going a bit random, believing that art is in the eye of the beholder.


I'll stop now before I get carried away and go see what public art the rest of the Friday Shoot Out team has found to show us.  They will be here

Monday, 16 July 2012

A new season

This is the time of year the new season begins on the farm and its the busiest time of year for the dairy farmer.  The start of calving coincided with the school holidays giving farm children another opportunity to learn about the miracle of birth.

Georgia came in and said, "Did you see us pulling that calf out?"  (referring to an assisted birth)
I told her I'd seen her in the paddock with her mum and dad but no, hadn't seen that.
"Do you know why the other cows gather around when we are in the paddock with a cow that is giving birth?"
Knowing there was a gem of wisdom on its way I said no, why did they do that.
She explained that they do it to for protection.  To protect the cow while she is pushing out the calf, or to protect the calf when it is born.  "You know, from wolves and that."
I smiled and said, "But we don't have any wolves in this country!"
She tries so hard to be patient with me, although her impatience with me is barely concealed as she tells me, "Granny, they are cows!  They don't even know what country they are in!"

No matter how many times I see an aminal being born, I never tire of it.  I love watching motherly instinct at work, the compulsive licking to clean up their offspring and the gentle lowing as they talk to their baby.


This one is a few hours older than the two above but still tired from his birthing ordeal and refusing to get up and move.  His mother was nervous at my presence and positioned herself between me and her stubborn little one.

There are a number of calves already in the calf pens.  I thought for a minute I was going to get these four in a line but there's always one who doesn't co-operate.

In the paddock opposite the pens are the babies' big sisters, last season's heifer calves.  They are quiet and curious.


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Little stream

There's a little waterway that comes down out of the mountain then twists and turns its way through the farm to the junction with a larger stream.

I don't usually walk there.  On Saturday I felt like a change of scenery so that's where I headed. 

It's just a little creek but when there's heavy rain it carries an enormous amount of water down from the mountain.  It changes after each heavy rain/flood.  Look at the precarious angle of that young totara tree.

I doubt it will survive another flood.

Evidence of previous floods:

Down near the shady bend in the creek where Sammy was distracted by some movement or smell on the other side, there are some large, gnarly old poplars.

I took this shot leaning with my back against the tree and pointing up.  Freaky!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Charm and faith

"Are there usually this many people here on Thursday?" - man to lady in queue
"Everyone in the whole town must be in here today." - little girl to mother
"Should have guessed it would be busy when I took so long to find a carpark." - mother to man
"Gee, you're lucky.  I'm not allowed to drink juice.  Too much sugar. " - little girl to me

I was only in the supermarket to get the juice for a work function and I'd obviously picked the wrong time to come.  But the delightful little girl made the wait enjoyable.  She chatted on and managed to keep me, the man and her mother all engaged in the conversation.

The days of paying for groceries while chatting seem to be gone for me.  I paid for the juice separately and went to use my bankcard for the two items I'd picked up.  I put my card into the swiper thingy then realized I had enough cash to pay for them.  Said goodbye to the man, the woman and the little girl and rushed off.  Yep, and left my card right where I'd put it.   

Luckily I had one more stop to make before heading home or goodness knows when I would have realized I didn't have my bankcard.  I just had to endure the embarrassment of inconveniencing a number of people while I rummaged for my card at the counter of the petrol station, decided to use the credit card, then remembered it was a new one and hadn't been activated.  I seem to become flustered quite easily these days and don't think very clearly when that happens.  The young lady who was serving me came to my rescue and asked could we ring the bank to activate the card.  Why didn't I say I will stand over here and use my cellphone?  It didn't dawn on me. She took the phone from the wall but it wouldn't reach to my side of the counter so she said, "Tell me what buttons to push."

It really didn't take very long but long enough for four or five people to line up for service behind me. Thanks to the charm of the young lady I didn't feel highly embarrassed although I did apologise profusely.  

Back at the supermarket my card was quickly retrieved.  

My memory of the afternoon is not predominately about my lost card, it's more about the two girls.  I'd guess one was about eight and the other around 18.   I sometimes worry that if that getting flustered thing gets worse as I get older, that I will alienate people and have to rely on others to do things for me.  

Not if the young ones I met on Thursday are out there! And I have faith that there are many more like them.

Friday, 13 July 2012

FSO - Bright and colourful

Yesterday I saw a garden of bright yellow poppies in the middle of a roundabout and told myself I'd go back later to get a few shots.  But between then and 'later' I lost (and found) my bankcard and subsequently lost all memory of the poppies.

My favourite bright thing at the moment is the winter sun.  Four frosty mornings and four bright sunny days this week.

 Sun gets in your eyes

 Changing rooms

 Wearable art

 Childrens' room at the library

Bright sun lightens a gloomy corner

Jama always has bright and colourful images from Singapore.  I bet she has something spectacular to show today!  I will find out what colourful treasures she and the rest of the team have found here.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Olympic stamina

With only 20 days to go until the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games I've already given up on my first training schedule.

Last week I visited the Samsung Olympic Experience truck when it stopped in town as part of it's nationwide tour.  It's 18 metres long and features an interactive digital experience using the latest technology.  Very impressive; we browsed iconic New Zealand Olympic moments spanning more than 100 years of Olynpic history and chose to watch Jack Lovelock's 1936 1500m and Valerie Vili's gold medal shot put throw.  Even the film from 1936 was quite clear, probably as clear as ever it has been.   

I always love watching as much I can of a variety of sports from the Olympic Games.  I realize that, with the 11 hour time difference between here and London, some things I want to watch this year will be on telly in the middle of my night or early hours of my morning.

I also love watching tennis.  Last week we got pretty good coverage in the afternoon of the highlights from Wimbledon.  I didn't have a lot of interest in the Women's Final assuming that Serena Williams would be far too strong for her opposition.  But I decided I could not miss the Men's Final, even if it started at 1 am on Monday morning.  I reasoned it would be good practise at being awake in the middle of the night and a test drive for the Olympics. 

When the game was halted because of rain I told myself, that's it, I'm going back to bed - and did.  But could I sleep?  No!  I thought Federer was in trouble and just had to know if he could fight back after the break.  I'm not too old for a bit of hero worship and Federer is one I keep on a pedestal.  I felt he had not been playing well.  Silly thing to say, he's brilliant even on an off day but he was having an off day.  If ever Murray were to win Wimbledon or any other major, he had his chance while I should have been sleeping.  Andy Murray was great, he just wasn't the best.

I must have been buoyed by Federer's victory because I didn't curse the alarm when it sounded and I felt surprisingly good at work.  

But....You knew there was one of them coming, didn't you?  Around 4 pm I sat down to read and promptly fell asleep.  Woke about an hour later with a crink in my neck, thought bugger this sitting and sleeping lark - and went to bed.  Yep, at 5 pm.  Slept till around 7.30 pm, got up and had some dinner and was back in bed by 8.30.  

This morning I woke with the alarm.  Back to normal.  But it took much more sleep than I lost to make up the deficit. 

I'm thinking of practising going to bed the minute I get home from work, and getting up and doing something (?) in the middle of the night.  If I kept at it I might have my body accustomed to it in time for the Olympics.  You think?


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Dead dahlias

I know I should be cutting back the dead dahlias and digging the tubers to store over winter but I just can't bring myself to do it.  They looks so beautiful dead.

The sparrows, like me, are enjoying a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon .  If I ventured out into the garden, I'd frighten them away.  And there's a chilly wind, so the dahlias will stay there for another week.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Burlesque with a difference

One week I might go with all the other oldies to a movie at the Film Society, the next it might be a burlesque show.  Then, probably, I will hardly go out at all for six months but that's beside the point.  And it's not as if there weren't a few other oldies at the burlesque show - there were, there were people of all ages amongst the mainly female audience.

And they all enjoyed the show as much as I did.

Some of you will recognize one of the dancers here.  She was great.

Others may recognize Madame Delilah D'Amore:

It looks like your ordinary burlesque show so far, huh?  (I don't know how many of you get to see them often enough to know what "ordinary" is.  Neither do I for that matter, but after seeing two such shows, I have appointed myself as an expert in such matters.)

Throw in a few amazing dancers:

a highly entertaining (if slightly risque) cleaning lady:

and it adds up to a great night out.  Thank you very much Northern Dolls for the show.  I hope it becomes an annual event.

Well done, Heather and Kirsten!!