Thursday, 27 November 2014

Carrot weed

Here in Northland we know summer has arrived when carrot weed makes its appearance along the roadsides and often in pasture paddocks, too.  It has a botanical name, of course, oenanthe pimpinelloides, and is also known as Parsley Dropwort.  I don't remember it being around years ago but it certainly is part of every summer now.  Shame it's such a pest because it can look quite pretty.

Here it is alongside our roadside front fence:

An old farm fence:

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


One day last week on my way home from town, I decided to take a short drive up a no exit road along the way.  I like the view from the stockyards near the end of the road, the hills of home.  The highest peak is close to where I live.

Monday, 17 November 2014


I've had a quiet weekend.  Literally.  It's surprising how quiet it is when you live in the country with little noise from the outside and there is no power.  It's my reasonably new fridge that makes the background hum that I don't notice until it isn't there.  Saturday afternoon I had power at one end of the house, sort of half power with flickering lights in the middle and none at all at the other end.  When I rang the power board, the recorded message said there were power outages all over Whangarei so I presumed my problem was connected to that.  

Sunday morning, after I was reminded that my power comes from the Dargaville side and is in no way connected to Whangarei, I realized the problem was mine and no-one else's/elses' (where does the apostrophe go in that word?  No-one, so it's singular perhaps?), I rang the power board and was told someone would be here "soon".   Yeah, right, I thought.  No-one comes from Dargaville quickly.  It's only about 40 kms away but the road isn't 'fast' for half that distance.

To my surprise the linesman appeared in about 45 minutes.  He listened to my story, nodded wisely as if to say no biggie and up the pole he went.  The power pole that feeds my house is right beside the house (is always getting in the way of my photos) so I didn't have to go outside in the wind to watch what was happening. 

Looks pretty straight forward.

Gets a bit more complicated, needs a poke with the long stick.

Oh no, this doesn't look good, he's on the phone to HQ.

He explained to me the twirly thing he is looking at was barely holding together and broke in two when touched.  He's had to call for someone to come from Dargaville and turn off the power between the next transformer up the road and here on down the valley so he can replace the broken bit.   I guess it's lucky we are on the outer edges of the Dargaville region, there only a few more properties before the line terminates, so not that many people will be inconvenienced.  The problem was just deterioration from old age.

So now there are two and some brand new twirly things. 

But wait, when all is put back together and no 2 departs to go back up the road and flick the switch to on again, nothing happens.  Further investigation reveals that the whole transformer has been fried, hit by lightning probably in that storm we had a few weeks ago. 

So now a truck with a crane must bring a new transformer.  It's now well after lunch time and the guys take advantage of the wait time to eat their lunch.  I appreciate how industrious they have been.

It didn't take long to lift off the old and replace it with the new. 

But before that happened my camera battery went flat, so the after photo had to wait till this morning.  And the sky is totally different from yesterday.  That must be the updated model, different shape, very new and shiny. 

So there I was yesterday afternoon with all the power I could need and what happened when I sat down at the computer?  The blankey thing started doing the same as last time I took it to the computer workshop.  When my vision cleared from fiery red I vowed I wasn't going to pay that robbing computer guy another small fortune to repair it yet again.  I indulged myself with nasty thoughts about a suitable demise for this machine.  No, not really, I couldn't think of anything nasty enough.  Anyway,  my dodgy memory told me to check the date settings and sure enough it thought it was 1957 again.  Fixed it in a couple of secs.  Now I'm totally convinced that computer guy ripped me off. 
Maybe the thought of a lightning strike so close to the house has played with my nerves.  About an hour ago as I was downloading these photos I saw a flicker of light out of the corner of my eye and before my poor old brain had registered what it was, there was a crash directly overhead.  I can't remember when I last got such a fright. I've always loved a good storm but didn't appreciate that one little bit.  It rattled around for a couple of minutes, a heavy shower followed and then it was gone again.  Weird. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Letter box

Saturday, Nov 1 - Sunday, Nov 2
Overnight, four letterboxes on Moore St and one on Christy Brown Pl were stolen. Police are asking anyone who hears any letterboxes being stolen to contact them through the 111 system so the offenders can be held responsible.  Waikato Times

I've been listening but haven't heard anything.

That's one of the drawbacks about living rurally - because of the distance from town, it takes a while for help to arrive in an emergency. Because of the distance between houses, we can't hear our neighbours' letterboxes being stolen.   They could scream all they like, I wouldn't hear. 

The letterboxes around here aren't worth stealing really. Like the fences, they are purely practical.  

Here are a few more fences I found on Tuesday at the stockyards in Maungakaramea.

While visiting Denise at An English Girl Rambles I found a link to Good Fences, so am linking in there today.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


While out and about yesterday I did find a few fences to photograph.  These I found at Portland, around  Golden Bay Cement.  This one disappeared into the mangroves at one end:


and into the undergrowth at the other:


Golden Bay Cement are New Zealand’s largest cement manufacturer and supplier.  From Whangarei, bulk cement is distributed to their eight distribution centres around New Zealand, then trucked to customers.  Cement works aren't a pretty sight but mostly are hidden from view by trees just within the security fence.


I followed that rough, seldom used unpaved road through the mangroves to the old wharf.  Its later model is in the background.

While I was wandering I decided I might as well turn into Old Stone Road.

I don't know if this rock is connected to the name of the road, there is one on either side of the road just before the road enters private property.

My attention very quickly turned from the rock to the fun tree.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A new church

OK, not a new church exactly.  Just new to me, discovered this morning. 

Thank heavens the impulses that grab me sometimes are quite harmless.  I felt today that I really, really needed to see something new, find something I'd never seen before, go somewhere I'd never been.  To satisfy my urge I decided to just take photos of fences, after all there are plenty of them around I've never stopped to really look at before.  On the way south out of town on my way home I decided to take the Portland turn-off.  I'll post the rest of the photos tomorrow, there aren't many of fences.  I am easily distracted.  

Today I'm celebrating Holy Cross church.  Portland isn't very big so I didn't have to go far to drive around the few streets.  One of them lead me to the little neglected church. 

The path that leads around to the back door is overgrown but must once have been quite delightful.

 The building itself seems to be in pretty good state of repair and is proving a fertile home to a few weeds.

I followed an overgrown path from the church until it disappeared into the lush undergrowth.

There were pretty harbour views from the road below the church.


According to the sign, services are still conducted here twice a month. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Spring babies

That clucky little hen, the one who I thought didn't pay enough attention to her eggs, has proved me wrong, she is now parading two little chicks.   She was only sitting on three.  I'd taken the others away; she is so tiny they were poking out from under her. Watching a mother hen with her chicks has to be one of the best ways to pass the time.  I just marvel at her instincts. There don't seem to be many hawks around at the moment so maybe she will manage to rear them both. 

The other family newby is getting a lot more attention.  You'd think her legs didn't work, she is getting so much carrying and cuddling.  Her name is Pippa.

And the heart on Georgia's face?  NorthTec, where I used to work had, an Open Day yesterday.  Heather, the girls and I went along.

It was good to have a catchup with so many old workmates.  And they had a brilliant day for the occasion, a real cracker of a day. Blue skies and pleasantly warm.

The signs yesterday evening were good for today, too.  And they were right, it's another great day.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


I don't think I've posted any photos of Pirininihi on here, maybe I put a couple on Facebook.  When Chris and I were headed to Taranaki in early September we were in no hurry and although the weather wasn't pleasant most of the trip it had cleared when we got to a sign that pointed to White Cliffs Walkway, still some distance short of our destination.  How my daughter who lives in Taranaki hasn't discovered this place is beyond me.  I would have thought every second person she met would have told her to check it out.  I hadn't heard a single thing about it and had driven past the turnoff sign on numerous occasions without any curiousity.

We had no idea what to expect or even if we were on the right track a couple of times.  Eventually we reached a spot where it didn't appear there was anywhere else to go except up a side road to the walkway which a sign declared was closed.  The walkway crosses private land and is closed from 1 July to 30 September so sheep that are lambing will not be disturbed.  I was thinking at the time that I'd come back another time and do the walkway but I've since discovered that the shortest round trip takes up to 5-6hrs and is regarded as suitable for those of above average fitness.  That's definitely not me but I will return at low tide to take a walk along the beach.   It wasn't high tide but it was in enough to make it unwise to venture past the beach entry point.

The cliffs are 245 metres (800 feet) high and are described as 10-million - year-old mudstone.

looking south

looking north

We accessed the beach via the boatramp.  You can't tell by the photo how rough and uneven it was.  It would take a serious tractor to get up and down that ramp towing a boat.

Beside the ramp a pretty little stream ran out from under the hills.

I'm going down to Taranaki with my older daughter to spend Christmas with my younger daughter.  I wonder if I can talk older daughter into a detour?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

in chains

They take toilet paper theft very seriously in some small New Zealand towns.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Te Kuiti

We were without power today.  The power board was doing scheduled maintenance so there was time to fill up the buckets and hot water flasks.   I foolishly went out into the garden and got my hands all dirty before remembering no power means no water as my water is pumped into the house.  I had water to wash my hands of course but the thought of six hours of total inactivity was too much for me so when Heather stopped in on her way to town I decided to go with her.  It's unusual for me to go to town just for the heck of it, I don't enjoy shopping but it was better than the alternative today.  I bought a few craft supplies and some vegetable plants.  Yep, the last of the big spenders, that's me.  

Out of nowhere, on the way home, Te Kuiti came to mind and I remembered I'd taken a number of photos there when my friend, Chris and I went to Taranaki after I got back from my Australian holiday.  It's roughly 200 km before where my daughter lives when travelling south, so a good place to stay the night if you are planning on a slow trip and a good look around. 

It's not a very big place, population just over 4,000, with an excellent Information Centre and public toilets right beside the railway station.  The railway line runs through the middle of town with the state highway on one side and the shops on the other. 

Between the shops and the railway line is a long grassed area with picnic tables, lots of trees and a number of things to see as you walk. The lovely lady in the info centre gave us a brochure with all the attractions listed but of course that is nowhere to be found now, a couple of months later.  This is Tuwhakahekeao (I dare you to pronounce that) with an inscription saying something something carved with many pieces of totara (timber) as it takes many races to make one people.  Chris thought he looked rather fine!

The public facility building behind the statue had lovely stained glass windows depicting the history of the town which started as a railway copnstruction town.

and also a couple of lovely frosted glass windows.

This was my favourite artwork.  What a great looking bunch of five year olds!

It was a cold and gloomy, grey day, hard to get a shot of the pekapeka (bats), New Zealand's only endemic land mammals.  Both long and short tailed bats are found in this area, these are the more common long tailed sort.  They are about the same size as mice and weigh 8 to 10 kgs (17 - 22 lbs) which seems quite heavy to me.  They are now on the endangered species list.

Not far from the bats was this guy - Mahoenui Giant Weta, which are only found in one place, a 180 ha (444 acres) patch of gorse about 30 km (18 miles) out of town.  Because of them that patch of gorse is the only legally protected gorse in the land.  (Gorse is a major weed pest here in NZ.)  Weta are closely related to grasshoppers and crickets, they are the largest insects in the world weighing up to 70 grams (2.5 ozs) and can be up to 8 cm (3 ins) long.  Looks a bit fearsome, huh?

At the back of the shops was a neat little stream, not much bigger than a drain.

I've often stopped in Te Kuiti to eat in the past but had never before lingered and wandered.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Chris and I had a chuckle when we overheard two Maori guys talking in the street and we couldn't understand a word they were saying although it was clear they were speaking English. They must have their own lingo down there.

We stopped at the top of the hill on the way south out of town.  I'm pretty sure the town would be a bit too cold for me.

South of town Chris stopped the car as soon as she saw me lift the camera.  She knew what had caught my eye.  We agreed this is a typical NZ hill country farm scene.