Thursday, 31 July 2014


I could get used to this early morning lark.  Maybe.  One of the great things about being retired?  If I feel tired later in the day, or even before lunch time, I can just go back to bed. 

I was up early to watch more Commonwealth Games action but waited until around 8 am to go outside to take a few shots.  I know what time it was because I can see a flash of white in the background of this first shot.  That is the school bus going past. 

I liked the soft light just touching the tips of some plants. 

Dew still sitting on others.

It takes a long time for the sun to reach around the front of the house in winter.  At 10 am there was a deep blue sky and the sun was just reaching some parts of the garden.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pretty morn

Thanks to my Commonwealth Games addiction I was up to see the pretty sky this morning.

So how far away is the rain?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Found it

I'm leaving next Monday for nearly a month in Brisbane.  It will be the longest holiday I've had at home for many a year.  I will also be attending a family wedding and visiting a dear friend on the central coast of New South Wales.  I've spent many hours in the past two weeks, when I should have been happily anticipating my holiday, searching for my passport.  I have places for 'things', I guess we all do.  I've always said my memory is so bad everything has to be in its place or I will never find it. 

I knew where it was.  I took it out of a document wallet thingy when I got the wallet out to take to my daughter for her to use on her upcoming trip to the UK and Europe.  I left it on top of the bedroom dresser along with my immunisation card.   By the way, both my daughters will be travelling far and wide in August/September.  They will meet up briefly in Paris.  Jealous?  Who me?

A couple of weeks ago I noticed the immunisation card was still sitting where I left it, but it was alone.  I thought I must have picked the passport up and put it in its rightful place and didn't think about it again for a few days.  Until I happened to open its rightful place and noticed it wasn't there.  And that's when the search began.  

I have been growing increasingly desperate.  I kept expecting to wake up one morning and remember moving it.  But when this morning dawned I admitted to myself that it was lost and made enquiries about having an emergency passport issued by Friday.  (My flight is early Monday.)  

The good news was that is possible, the bad news was that will cost $496.00.  The young lady at the Australian Embassy was very helpful and emailed me all the details. She very politely suggested I conduct another thorough search of my home and perhaps request someone else to have a look as well.  Did she sum me up so quickly or are there lots of passport losing people out there?

So I started another search, telling myself if it didn't turn up, I'd ask my daughter-in-law to have another look for me tomorrow.   I got distracted when I remembered I had to retrieve Georgia's carefully hidden birthday present.  And that's what saved the day.  I knew where to look for the present and when I reached for it, I saw a rarely used travel beauty case.  Is that what they call them these days?  And guess what was in it?  A roll on deodorant, a book mark and the blankety blank passport! 

I'm not even going to try to imagine how or why.  Dorothy is going to Oz.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The rift

There's been a rift in the flock.  When I saw just three hens and one rooster in the front paddock I was alarmed - where were the rest of the flock? 

Turned around and there in the back paddock was the other (often hen/rooster pecked) rooster with the three lowest ranking hens.    How did they sort themselves out like that?  The good news is the little hen in the middle in the photo below has spent her entire life on the periphery of the flock, never too far away but never part of the group.  I must be daft, I felt really happy to see her belonging, even if it is to the B team.  

The council is on the scene repairing the flood damaged road much quicker than I expected.  Well done, Kaipara Council.

Georgia and I started working on her birthday invitations at the weekend.  The child will be 11 years old.  Growing up fast but unchanged in some respects.  She still likes to make things by hand and each invitation has to reflect the friend to whom it is being given.   We also made a dozen of her favourite cupcakes to be frozen until the event (next weekend).  

While she was here I was looking for something on which to sit another beanie I've finished knitting.  No, it's not in this shot, it will remain secret until it is gifted.   Anyway, under that blue beanie is a candle holder and I was reaching up to retrieve another from on top of the china cabinet when the candle sitting on top of it toppled and hit me on top of the head.  It was a big candle and it flattened me.  I went black but didn't pass out, just slowly descended to the floor.  Had I been 30-40 years younger one may have thought it was graceful.  I was aware that I shouldn't frighten the child, so threw in a lot of dramatic moaning and groaning hoping she would think I was just bunging on a show.  She didn't make a sound.  When I struggled to my feet (which is always a struggle but a major one on this occasion) she gave a nervous giggle and said, "Are you OK?"  

Next time she comes to see me I must remember to let her feel the egg on my head.  It's impressive. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Busy fingers

It's been a long slow process but I think I've finally done it - I've turned into my mother.  Not the complete version just yet because I've never mastered the fancy stitches but I'm on my way.  My mother's hands are never idle, knitting needles are like extensions of her fingers. 

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.” Elizabeth Zimmernann
Something has been wrong with my spirit, I haven't sat down to do a blog post for nearly two weeks, and was pretty patchy in the weeks before then, too.   I'm not sure that the knitting has helped with the spirit but it will definitely help with keeping the grandkids warm.  

The knitting started with the power cuts when the light wasn't good enough for reading.  It was easier to keep warm wrapped in a blanket and knitting. 

It hasn't been all that cold today but it's still wet.  Feels like it's been wet forever.  Floodwater rises, goes away, comes back.  The weather has caused total chaos here in Northland although nowhere near as bad here as further north.  And I don't use the roads that have been washed away, including parts of State Highway One. These shots are along our road to town.  There are a few slips but you can get around them.  I guess it will be a while before the road is repaired, there are so many worse problems for the roadworkers to worry about. 

Hard to imagine there's a little creek and a neighbour's farm under all that somewhere.  Who would be a farmer?! I don't know how the farmers keep on smiling.

I've seen photos of spider's webs in paddocks after floods but had never actually seen it myself until these floods.  Wish I could have got closer.

I might venture out tomorrow, see what the rest of the world looks like.  If the rain is gone, that is. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Alive, alive oh

"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive" 
Eleanora Duse (Italian Actress 1858-1924)

I couldn't find any blue sky in which to rejoice yesterday evening as the promised storm approached.  But to my surprise there was a little patch of colour in the western sky, just as the power went out at 5 pm.

And I can rejoice, too, that the quotes of an actress who died 90 years ago are still alive.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


I just have a few snaps from the photo a day challenge I'm doing with my daughter, Justine.   I've surprised myself and managed to take a photo every day to match the topic.  And it's got me thinking a bit, too.  Tomorrow's topic is Alive.  Hopefully, between now and then I can come up with something.  If you have any suggestions, I'd be only too happy to hear them.  Just remember I don't intend to leave the farm to find the subject.  That's definite right now, the weather is appalling, heavy rain and strong winds.

Saturday Topic - On the table
Here's a little experiment Georgia and I carried out on Saturday.  Pour a little milk onto a plate.  Add a few drops of red, yellow and blue food colouring.  Add a couple of drops of dish detergent and watch the pretty colours swirl.  I think it may have worked better had we used full cream milk.  I have no idea why it works.

Sunday Topic - View
The calving for this year has begun, the view is of Shayde checking on the cows that are due to give birth soon (what we call the calving mob).

Monday topic - First
And here's Chocolate, the first calf of the season.

Tuesday topic - I've never
Luckily I cheated just a little and took today's photo late yesterday.  There's certainly no rainbows or pots of gold around today.  My interpretation is that I've never found the pot of gold.

Now, back to pondering - alive, alive ...

Friday, 4 July 2014

FSO - Sunsets

Don't we all love a beautiful sunset?  I have a few imprinted in my memory that were so glorious I'm sure I will never forget them.  Here the sunsets tend to be pretty and gentle.  Occasionally we get a bold sunset but not often.  

This one I pulled off the road to capture, knowing it would be over by the time I reached home.  

The rest are taken from my front deck, looking south west

 Looking west

Looking north west

I think we will have a visual feast this week with sunsets from around the world at Friday My Town Shoot Out, here.

Match and Star

Yesterday's match:

Today's star, the one who keeps the sparkle in my life.

 “This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper in their ears that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven.” Rick Bragg 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

K is for knot

And then I remembered my knitting. 

As taking part in this picture a day challenge is more about getting me doing something every day, at least one something that requires a little thought, I will try to meet the challenge with what I have close at hand.  Yesterday I went for a drive, but I don't want to be doing that every day.  

Today's inspiration came when I was looking for something I could photograph as a keepsake.  My daughter, Justine gave me this lovely scarf for Mother's Day.  It is so pretty I've kept it hanging over the bedroom door and I like to touch it now and then, just to feel it's soft silkiness.  

K is for Knot

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Another malaise and red + white

I thought perhaps I'm allergic to June but no, the other malaise I remember was in May, 2009.  When I first started this blog I wrote a lot more than I do now.  Back in '09 I knew I was in a strange place when I didn't feel like wiriting.  These days it's taking photos that is usually a daily urge.  This time it's a bit of a on/off thing.  One day I feel almost my old self, the next I'd tired and can't be bothered with anything.
I suppose we can all, from time to time, be gripped by moods that are vastly different from our usual mien. A little random gene that manages to fight its way past all the others that dominate, fights its way to the surface and takes command for a time before being beaten back into the depths by the daily troops. My little random gene has held all the others at bay for two weeks – pretty good going for something that only pops up maybe once every five years or so.

The only word I can think of to describe my mood is a malaise which is a word I associate with Victorian ladies who fainted and swooned and drifted around the place in a dream. Weren’t they always sinking into a malaise at the drop of a hat? In my malaise I just feel exhausted, lifeless, have zero energy, it's an effort to walk to the kitchen to turn on the kettle let alone feed myself. I don't feel unwell in any way, I just don’t feel well.

And my mind is as decrepit as my body, can’t concentrate, I've put down two books unfinished as they were suddenly far too difficult to follow.   I even had trouble following the plot in a bodice ripper.  Thank heavens for the FIFA World Cup, at least there is something exciting to watch on telly.

I know that eventually my daily genes will regain command, I will wake up one morning and my old self will be back. My old self with or without the urge to write or take photos.  Last time when the random gene was fought off, the urge to write had gone. 

This morning I saw my daughter invite others to take part in a Facebook July Photo a Day challenge.  I will join her.  Hopefully the challenge of finding subjects for the different daily topics will get me motivated to move my bones.  I will try to post them here but, if that is too difficult (and most things feel a bit too difficult at the moment and I've been struggling with the osteo which has spread from my hips to my elbows and wrists and can make sitting here a bit painful) they will go straight on to Facebook.  

And that will hopefully take care of July.  At the beginning of August I'm going home to Brisbane for a month.  I know I will perk up then!

Today's topic is Red + White.  Photo taken out the car window today on the corner of Otaika Valley Road, while praying for patience from the logging truck driver behind me waiting to turn onto SH1.