Friday, 29 April 2016

A couple of locals

A roadside fence just up the road a bit.

The old shed is some distance from the road.  I take a photo every now and then to see how much it has deteriorated.  Soon it will disappear from the landscape.

If it weren't for Theresa's Good Fences I would not have taken a photo all week.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Patience Pill

This is another draft post that I discovered.  It gave me a smile remembering when my three grand-daughters were much younger, how they used to test my patience.  But I really wish I could turn back time!

I need a patience pill. Yeah, I know. I should take one daily and just take a booster when I'm child minding.

Early morning I was doing well. Three little girls were dressed, brushed and fed, school lunches prepared, school bags packed in good time. They were even ready 10 minutes early. I think that might have been when the wheels fell off. I agreed they could watch TV for a few minutes. Seemed reasonable. Having the TV on in the morning had never been heard of when my kids were their age but, hey, I can cope with change. Trouble was, Shayde decided to go outside and kick a ball around instead, so when I went into the lounge to tell them to get their bags it's time to go, she was nowhere to be found.

Yesterday morning I was unpopular for sending them off five minutes before they thought they should be leaving so I wasn't making that mistake again. No, this morning when I said "Time to go" the big hand was pointing straight up at the 12, not a tad either side, straight up. But it was creeping around a bit by the time we found the ball kicker and she retrieved her bag from where she couldn't remember leaving it.

So Shayde is finally out the door, Georgia is waiting for her and Shayde says, "Where's Krystal?" She's is standing in the middle of the yard looking around for her, bouncing that cursed ball again. Krystal is located hiding behind a a bush. Geez!

"Put the ball down and get a move on."
"But I'm taking it to school."
"You are not, you're not taking a ball on the bus, there are plenty of balls at school, put it down."
"But, but."
"Do I have to put a cracker under your tail to get you moving?"

Finally they meander off down the hill towards the road.

A couple of minutes later are meandering back up the hill as the school bus is disappearing along the road.

I'm not known for my patience but I was still doing well at this stage. After all I don't have any pressing engagements or anything. Nothing wrong with a drive to the school and back. And the girls had the good sense to realize missing the bus was their own fault and were now on their best behaviour so there were no cross words during the trip.

I was quite looking forward to driving back home, by myself, admiring the countryside. Lovely day with that clear shining you get after rain. Until, there had to be an until, didn't there? Until I came up behind another car going my way.

Now this is a rather unusual happening for me. The little girls tell me I drive slowly but that is just in comparison to their parents and the majority of other locals. I no longer think I have to get wherever I'm going quickly. The thing is I know I don't drive as fast as most other users of our road and I know what the rear view mirror is for. And I pull over to allow low flyers to be on their way.

This morning's fellow traveller had obviously never driven down this road before and was approaching every corner with trepidation. Which is wise; there are a few nasties along the way. And maybe he wasn't accustomed to driving on a dirt road. Obviously he felt uneasy about one lane bridges. One such bridge is on a slight bend and he came to a stop before lining it up and creeping forward on to it. That was my patience pill. It was so bizarre I had to laugh. The thought crossed my mind that maybe he was checking to make sure there was no Billy Goat Gruff.

I also decided after that maybe it would be best if he didn't remember he had a rear view mirror and take his eyes off the road!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Lunch time

I discovered the 'Drafts' button in Blogger dashboard.  I know, I know, it's probably been there all along.  I knew there were a few drafted blog posts sitting there and was surprised when I clicked on the just discovered button that there are 12 of them.  

This one is from about a year ago. 

I had lunch with the ladies from the Tai Chi class, a pleasant, cheerful bunch.

Came home and the cows were being fed the haylage they love. 

Today the cows are in that same paddock opposite my house.  It's getting to the tail end of the milking season.  These girls make up the much reduced herd that is still being milked. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016


Thank you, Pondside, for a comment you left on a recent blog post which reminded me of a similar misadventure years ago. 

It was in winter in the late 80s or early 90s.  I was keeping company with a lovely man from Mangawhai, not far from where I lived.  During the summer months we had enjoyed going floundering at night.  Let me rephrase that – we enjoyed night-time flounder fishing the old fashioned away, with a spear. 

We would wade in shallow water as quietly as possible along the estuary armed with a light held close to the surface of the water.  The flounder is a flat fish which come into very shallow water - sometimes only inches deep - after sunset.   Stalking shallow beach water and estuarine areas by night offers a totally different dimension to fishing. The fish life can be prolific, with mullet, eels and other creatures of the night more common than the skittish flounder, which can be difficult to see, camouflaged against the sand.    When the light is shone on the flounder, they stay very still and should make an easy target.  Well, you’d think it would be easy.  More fun than easy really.  Many flounder lived to swim another day.

When the nights became cooler my companion, Allan, applied himself to thinking up a way we could still go floundering without having our feet in cold, cold water for hours.  He came up with a lamp that operated under water (maybe it was battery operated, I can’t remember) which we could suspend from the front of his kayak.  It worked well.  In theory.  In practise, I found it difficult to gauge the depth of the water while seated in the kayak rather than knowing how far up the legs it came while wading.  I thought I was getting the hang of it when I spotted a BIG flounder and thrust the spear at it.  However, the spear (with me holding on to the end of it) travelled much deeper into the water than I thought it would and I became unbalanced and we tipped into the freezing water.  OK, just very cold.  But far too cold for me.  I screamed and shrieked and then we laughed and laughed as we hurriedly hauled in the kayak, got it on to the car and headed home for a much needed change of clothes and some warmth.  

In those days Mangwhai had a permanent population of about 600 (which was much larger during the summer months) and houses close to where we had lunched the kayak were all holiday homes.  No lights, no-one around.  So we presumed no-one was aware of our misadventure.

A week or so later we were visiting friends who lived on the cliff above the estuary but quite some distance from where we had been.  After a while the man said we should have been at their place during the week.  He and his wife had been watching TV when they heard a blood curdling scream above the sound of the TV.  It came from down on the water and they were alarmed, wondering what on earth was going on down there.  They thought someone was having their throat cut or something equally terrible.  But after a while they heard laughter and voices.  They thought the laughter sounded familiar but hadn’t been able to work out who it belong to.  Allan and I didn’t say a word but must have exchanged a look, or a smile because they then remembered whose laugh it was they had heard.  We had forgotten how sound travels on the water on a still night.  

I know Allan reads my blog.  Do you remember that night, Allan?  Good times!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Irish Fence

Last year while in Ireland I took a number of fence photos with Good Fences in mind.  This is Hore Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery near Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary Had I been on my own I would have hopped the fence and wandered down for a closer look.   

The rest of today's fences were all spotted during an evening walk at Goungane Barra in County Cork.

The wall/fence that encloses the outdoor Stations of the Cross beside St Finbarr's Oratory.  

The ornate gates that forms a fence outside Fr O'Mahony's tomb.

Away from the beautiful lake and church are reminders that we are guests in a rural area.

I've posted this photo before on Facebook but it's one of my favourites from the trip so here it is again with no apologies. 

And, honestly, isn't this the most Irish stile you've ever seen?  I've never seen one before that allows you to go absolutely nowhere.  The fern is so thick you'd need to be an expert bushwhacker to fight your way through it. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

All's quiet

I'll miss the chatter and the entertainment.  But not near as much as I'll miss those little arms that crept around my neck every morning when he came to my bedside to announce that he was awake.  Life is good when every new day deserves it's own announcement!

In the past I've called the shots about where we would go for a walk.  Now that he's five he's the font of all knowledge and leads me where he wants to go.  I want to go up the creek, he wants to go down.  You can guess which way we went.

Just because he's standing still, don't for one minute presume he's quiet. 

He's so like his mother - when it's time for a road-trip he's first to the car.  

While he was here we had another special visitor.  A lone black swan dropped in to spend a couple of days on the dam.   I was hoping a mate might join him or her but it wasn't to be.  At least I know the special little human visitor will be back one day.

I was surprised that it let us get as close as it did.  Aiden loved that it made footprints!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Fast fence

It's great having the company of my five year grandson.  Right now he's engrossed in his little car kingdom so I'm going to post a fence.  A winning post.  (Sorry, I'm just amusing myself now.)

On Monday my grand-daughters looked after their little cousin while I went to Tai Chi.  Because the little bloke was in such a hurry to join his cousins I was ahead of schedule.  The light was lovely so I headed to the racecourse with a particular shot in mind.  That didn't work out so well so I turned my attention to the fences.

 With a bit of luck I will get back to link to Teresa's Good Fences later in the week. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Squeeze in a fence

My computer came home from the hospital for techy things today and I pick up my five year old grandson tomorrow for a week's stay here on the farm, so just have time to squeeze in a fence for Good Fences.

Last week I noticed a change to the entry to the Tangihua Forest which is just down the road.  A boot cleaning station to help prevent Kauri Dieback has been installed.  As far as I know the horrid disease has not entered our forest and I pray this preventative action will keep it out.

With Kauri Dieback microscopic spores in the soil infect kauri roots and damage the tissues that carry nutrients within the tree. Infected trees show a range of symptoms including yellowing of foliage, loss of leaves, canopy thinning, dead branches and lesions that bleed resin at the base of the trunk extending to the major roots and sometimes girdling the trunk as a “collar rot”. Some infected trees can show canopy dieback and even be killed without any bleeding resin on the trunks. I've seen the results of it in the Waipoua Forest and it made me so sad to see a once magnificent tree still standing but quite dead looking.