Monday, 22 July 2013

The first day

For us all today was the first day of the rest of our lives.  For the new students where I work today was more important than most days, it was the first day of their studies, the day that will lead to their future.  It was the day we welcome them to the polytechnic community.

A small marae (maori meeting house) stands at the entrance to the polytech and it is here that people gather on special occasions.  

 I'm not going to try to explain the protocols of the powhiri because they are quite complicated. 

The visitors (the students) wait to be called on to the marae.  The team I work with arrange this special day, we watch nervously as the students gather for Orientation Day, hoping for a good turnout (but not tooo many, we don't want to run out of food!)  In the days leading up to the powhiri we worry about the weather, especially for the Semester 2 (winter) powhiri and have back up plans for rainy days.  Today there were no worries about the weather.  There was a frost earlier on, always a sure sign of a clear, sunny day to follow.

When called the new students move forward into the wharenui:

They remove their shoes before entering the wharenui. 

A visitor who has never set foot on a marae is known as waewae tapu or sacred feet. They must partake in a formal welcoming ceremony, called a pōwhiri, to remove the tapu (sacredness) and become one people with those of the marae.

Looks like these girls spotted me with the camera. Aren't they beautiful?  Their smiles match the warm sunshine of the morning.

Is there enough food?  Is the crowd thinning? 

The best, the very best part of the Orientation Day, is when it's all over, it's gone well, everyone is happy and my wine glass is full.  (If there are any complaints they will come tomorrow and tomorrow is another day.)

Friday, 19 July 2013

FSO - Local crops and produce

So what are the local crops and produce where I live?  It's just as well that we grow something other than grass here on the farm, as I haven't given the topic a thought all week.  It's that crazy busy time at work and my brain shuts down (from over-use) the minute I leave.  My doctor made a comment that amused me on Tuesday.  He said if I'd stopped work at the same time I'd given up smoking I'd be in better shape now.  I think he may have been trying to tell me it's time to quit. 

On the farm my son grows maize and turnips to feed to the cows.



Georgia, even now as a nearly 10 year old, still calls them turn ups.  She started calling them that when she was three or four years old.  She's as stubborn as a mule, no way can anyone convince her she is wrong and that they aren't turn ups. 

 Turnips in the foreground, maize behind.

That's my lot for this week.

I'm sure the rest of the team will have crops and produce that are a lot more inspiring.  They will be here.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Boys and toys

A digger and a cement truck - a two year old boy couldn't ask for much more.  Add the tractor and trailer, the motor bike and the quad bike and you have just about everything you need to keep a little man enthralled all day.

Saturday morning Aiden was concerned I was "going the wrong way" when we set out for a walk to see the machinery again.  I was just taking a few steps to get the chick coop out of the shot of the fog.

Even I thought the digger looked pretty cool in the early morning light.

Of course, I think the little man looks great in any light:

 This morning got off to a slow start with a problem with the water pump.  That's what we thought it was but it turned out it was a power board fault in the area and it was just a matter of time before it was fixed.  It was a bit weird, having lights and being able to boil the kettle but not enough power to work the water pump or the machines at the cow shed.  Those who couldn't wait had showers at my son's house where the water if gravity fed and not reliant on a pump.  

It turned into a really lousy day, very windy, heavy rain.  A good day for Jami and Mitchell to practise their numbers for New Zealand's Got Talent on 25th.  The Brains Trust (Leone and Justine) were helping them refine their songs. 

Perfect weather also for the little man to get a hair cut from Aunty Leone.  He's an amazing little kid (I'm allowed to say that, I'm the grandmother). he stood on a chair and hardly moved a muscle.  I have enough trouble sitting still for that long.

Then time for a cuddle with Georgia before they took him away again.


The house is very quiet now.

Friday, 12 July 2013

FSO - Surrounded

"Tis the time of mud and calves.  Soon we will be surrounded by both.  Last Saturday as I went for a walk around the farm I noticed a small sea of mud around a cattle feeder.  It doesn't take too many feet in a small area to churn up the pasture.

About a hundred metres further along the track I was delighted to see the first calf of the season, surrounded by heifers who are about to calve for the first time.  Their hormone pump is primed, ready for them to give birth and be receptive to their new calves.  In the meantime, they are fascinated by any calf.

As I walk around the farm, I always love looking at the hills that surround us.

I took this shot from just up the road.

 That's all for today, I must make haste.  My daughter, son-in-law and precious grandson are due to arrive any minute.

I'll get around to look at what surrounds the rest of the Friday Shoot Out team after they go back home.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Oh my hat

I woke in a sweat thinking I'd forgotten to turn off the electric blanket when I got into bed like I usually do.  But no, it was off, it was just an unusually warm winter morning.  And it turned into a magical day with a light breeze and soft light. Perfect for a walk - with stops to greet the animals.

 the heifers

 the yearlings

The horses took a while to decide to approach me for a rub.

 And that was when my hat blew off.  At first he thought there might be some food in it.

 Then he thought it might be food:

He seems to be thinking about what to do with it next.  In the end he dropped it, the wind caught it and the last I saw of it it was scurrying across the long grass towards the creek.

 Ah well, it was still a lovely day.  Not having to worry about the hat flying away I could lift my head more easily to admire the silvery white toetoe against the silvery grey poplars and that lovely blue sky with just a little puff of a cloud.

Friday, 5 July 2013

FSO - Choices

There's a Creative Fibre Exhibition in town this weekend.  The exhibits of primary schools are attached to lamp posts/trees around town, bright and joyful looking.  I don't envy the person who had to choose the winners.  In the shot below are first and second placegetters.

Not far from that spot is a playground with lots of fun action from which to choose:

Need to choose a dingy?  I don't recommend the one in the foreground:

Some people like others to make the choices for them.

Want to choose a tatoo design?

Me, I'd rather choose a flower from the shop next door.

I think I'm going to have fun choosing the Spotlight photos this week.  Check out the choices of the rest of the team here.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

I'm thinking of choices.....

those little choices we make every day. 

I just couldn't warm up my fingers and toes this morning.  They got chilled as I was throwning buckets of water over my windscreen to clear the frost from the car.

I had almost made the choice to be miserable and bewail how I'll never get used to New Zealand winters.  But then I slowed down to look around me.

I chose to appreciate my world and be happy.

Monday, 1 July 2013


My theory is if I take enough photos, I will fluke a few decent shots along the way.  This is one of them.  There's a little fantail that flits around chasing insects in the tree outside my spare room window, and bumps into the glass pane a lot.  I couldn't count the number of times I've tried get a photo of it but it is always too fast.  It sees me on the other side of the window pane and disappears.  I was going through my shots, deleting one after the other, then stopped at this one.  I don't know why but I really like it. 

Last week I posted photos of the netball playing grand-daughter.  On Saturday the soccer player asked did I have any photos of her playing.  I said no, I couldn't get close enough and the ball moves too fast for me.  But I gave it a go.

She plays defence and I'd love to get a shot of her right up in the face of her opposition, she is fearless, but this is the best I could do.  

Archer, her best friend ever, is much easier to photograph as he waits for some action in goal.