Sunday, 24 February 2013

Henny Penny

Who would have guessed? Three weeks ago I had no interest in chooks.  Now I'm enthralled with a little bantam hen and her chicks.  This could be the first of a series about Henny Penny, Speckles and Black Pearl.  

It all started, as so many things do, with an innocent game.  A game of Let's Pretend.  "Let's pretend we are opening your house and garden to visitors to make some money.", said Georgia.  I lifted a limp wrist to my brow in my best grand lady imitation and objected to strangers traipsing through my home, wearing out my priceless carpets, but agreed they could visit the garden. 

Of course, a marketing plan was necessary, we needed something to attract visitors "all the way out here", something a little different, something the visitors wouldn't see in town.  We agreed, in the end, to Highland and Galloway cattle in the paddock next to the house.  For some unknown reason Georgia's Dad wasn't so keen on her suggestion that he sell a couple of cows and buy a Highland bull.

Something smaller and more affordable was needed. Many hours, and much discussion, later we had decided upon exotic bantams.  And somewhere along the way, the minute we spotted this gorgeous little Spangled Pekin rooster, we stepped over the line between make believe and real, live fowl. Even Georgia knows you can't have a rooster without any hens so not long after we acquired Speckles, we got two little hens to keep him company.  One of the hens turned her toes up within 24 hours but little Black Pearl enjoys the attention of her new mate. 

I expect to take many photos of Pearl, she is glossy black with irridescent blues and greens which reminded Georgia of pearls.

Now, I know, we should have finished it there. And we would have.  Had not Georgia spotted a little bantam hen and 9 chicks for sale on TradeMe (NZ on line auction website).   She reminded me of something, sparked an emotional response and I wanted her. 

Honestly, it wouldn't have gone this far had we not found absolute bargains at every turn, right down to a super cheap chicken coop.

Isn't she beautiful?  And how cute are those chicks?

Friday, 22 February 2013

FSO - Bicycles

Instead of taking photos of bicycles this week, I've spent a lot of time pondering on their scarcity these days.  You'd think at my place of work, a tertiary institution with loads of "poor" students, there would be heaps of bikes.  Nope!  But try to find a car park in the middle of the day when most classes are being held - that's another story.

But my garden is a resting place for old bikes.  If I thought any of my brothers might read this, I'd change that statement. 

I turn them upside down and let creeping plants grow over them.  As you can see, this year's passionfruit crop are ripening nicely.  What better use of any old bike than to support new life. 

My old exercycle is rusting in the front garden, tucked in amongst the trees, waiting for inspiration to strike me as to it's future life.

Little people can still come and sit on it but the days of those pedals turning are long gone.

To see what other bicycles the rest of the FSO team have found, just pop over here

Friday, 15 February 2013

FSO - Oldest building

I knew where to find it, just followed the path to Reyburn House.

Whangarei's oldest house started life as a small cottage, the home of Robert Reyburn Junior, son of one of the first settlers in the area.  Robert and his brothers James and John are commenorated in the central city street names.  It expanded, presumably as Robert's family grew or perhaps as he prospered; the family were involved in the wool and shipping industries.  It is the only surviving house of the original pioneer settlement.  It fell into ruin as the area around it became industrial.  

I remember its move to its current location in 1984, and learned yesterday that there had been an earlier move in 1972.  It has been the home of the Northland Society of Arts since 1966 and thanks to their efforts now  this gracious, lovingly restored and preserved colonial building is an art gallery.


One of the ladies working in the gallery told me that when it came time to redecorate the inside of the house the Historic Places Trust had insisted that they apply wallpaper reminiscent of the era of the house.  But the Arts Society had won that argument and made sure the inside is vibrant and alive.   It sure is!


I'm glad this topic gave me the incentive to find out a bit more about the history of Reyburn House.  It's a lovely building, a place I like to visit occasionally and I will appreciate it a bit more now I think.  I know I'm going to enjoy looking at the oldest buildings in the rest of the FSO team's towns.

Friday, 8 February 2013

FSO - Doors and Windows

This is such a neat topic with so many possibilities.  But I am tired, very tired.  I had the following few photos ready :

I think once upon a time this was a dairy factory.  I'm not too sure which of the openings were once doors.

Back door and windows of school bus that my granddaughters travel on daily (with clues about the road it frequents)

An old barn I pass daily - with fancy sliding door.

Revolving door at Auckland Museum that my granddaughters loved so much.

If you follow my blog you will know I have this thing about little old churches.  Of all of them that I've seen so far this is my favourite window.  Windows to me are about looking out, not looking in.  And this one has a wonderful view out over graves, a bit of rubbish under the tea tree and over the harbour.  It is at Rangi Point in the Hokianga.

But this evening I am tired, very tired (I already said that, didn't I?) and I need to be comforted by the familiar view out of my windows of home.  

 I need to sit and look at the last rays of the sun as they sit softly on the landscape as the cows wander quietly in to the feed bins.  

Sit and look out my window as the day draws to a close

no brilliant sunset, just a slow, gentle ending to a busy day.

I've been very late getting around to the FSO team the past few weeks but this weekend I am staying home, no visitors, and will visit the rest of the team here - after I've had a good night's sleep.  Did I tell you I'm tired?

Friday, 1 February 2013

FSO - My Camera and me

It's my constant companion, I rarely leave home without it, it has many charms and some fantastic abilities but like a wild beast it has to be tamed before it comes biddable.  It's taking time for me to learn its ways, understand its sensitivities, appreciate its talents.  I'd love to be able to make it sing but we are still working on the scales.  I own it but I'm its slave.  No, not a cat, my camera.

We have lots of fun together.  We look into gardens:

 and sometimes we climb into the garden and look out:

 Sometimes we look up and it doesn't argue with me when I declare I've seen an angel winged Miss Piggy leaping in heaven. 

and sometimes we look down:

 and sometimes we get down and look along and it becomes my accomplice in my effort to convince the council there is deep rut forming across our road. 

As often as not I forget all the clever things it can do:

But the one thing I appreciate about it above all else is how accurately it tells a story.

What better companion could I ask for?

I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the FSOers introduce us to their cameras.  They will be here.