Friday, 28 April 2017

Working fences

The majority of fences around here have a job to do.  Either to keep animals in - or keep them out.  I took the first photo a couple of weeks ago and the other two today on my way home from town.

I converted this to black and white trying to show up the sheep on the hill in the background.  They are still a bit hard to see.

 Linking to Gosia's Good Fences.

Monday, 24 April 2017


"Joseph" has always been one of my favourite musicals and after seeing it with a 'contemporary twist', in Auckland yesterday, it continues to be so.  I thought perhaps it might be a little too modern for me but not at all.  The producers fiddled with the music a little, claiming to be parodying various musical styles but the story and the music was basically unchanged.  The energy, the wit, the colour was still all there.  And I loved it!  

I thought it was the perfect birthday gift from my children.  And thanks to my friend, Chris for driving me to and from Auckland and for her company for the day.

We arrived in Auckland in time for a visit to Smith & Caughey, a very nice old style  department school, although there is nothing old fashioned about it.  One of my daughters can expect a birthday gift purchased there.    We enjoyed our lunch in their cafe, too.  The majority of tables were taken by elegantly dressed older ladies who I suspect were also on an outing for the Joseph matinee.  At the show itself there were quite a number of families and our show experience was enhanced by sharing the pleasure of a little 3-4 year old girl sitting in front of us.   Years ago I wouldn't have been caught dead at a matinee with all the old ladies and little children.  Now it feels comfortable.  How times change!

 The rather lovely Civic Theatre in Auckland

 The lights above us inside the theatre

 Statue of Lord Auckland in the square.  He was the first lord of the Admiralty in 1834, then served as Governor General of India from1835 to 1842.  This statue stood in Calcutta until 1968 when it was presented to the city of Auckland.  Rather grand, isn't he?

Auckland town hall clock tower slowly being overtaken by its neighbours.  Unfortunately I'm not talking about the trees.

And then a pretty sunset to finish a lovely day.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Turkeys and fences

This week there's a small resident flock of wild turkeys roaming beside the road into the Lions Lodge.  Yesterday morning they were acting like they thought that fence was there to keep them in.  It's probably the same fence they roost on at night.

 Wild turkeys are wary and do not allow close approach but these were a little less wild than most.  They hogged the road in front of me and I happily idled along behind them hoping to get close enough for a good photo.

 Up over the hill they went.

 And down the other side.

Until finally they decided I was a bit too close and over the fence they went. 

Further up the hill, the same fence was more effective keeping the sheep on their side of the fence.  As you can see, the weather is a bit drizzly.

Linking to Gosia's Good Fences.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


There was light rain earlier this morning, raindrops were still hanging from the trees as I went up to the Lodge this morning.  It wasn't early but the light was early morning-ish, soft and sitting delicately on the ferns and trees.

I stopped and just breathed in the peacefulness.  The light filtering through the trees seemed gentle.  And I gave thanks that I get to come to this lovely place so often.  Even when my mission for the day is to scrub out the toilet facilities.

I drove past a flash of red and had to back up to see what it was.  Was it there yesterday?  By the number of flowers on the little rata tree it must have been.  But I wonder why it is so late in flowering? I'd expect to see them in summer, November to January.  I'm pretty sure it is a rata.  I'll try to get a closer shot of a flower tomorrow. 

 I take it for granted, was probably away with the fairies as I've driven past this tree in the past couple of weeks.  The Tangihua Forest really is a beautiful place!

As possum populations have built up in forest areas, there has been a corresponding loss of rata.  Possums eat a wide range of plants, but show strong preferences for some species like the rata and rata trees cannot tolerate browsing. A mature tree can be killed in three years with intensive browsing and even young trees, although they can survive for longer, will eventually die if browsed regularly. 

I know my Australian family find it hard to believe how much damage our native possums can do to a New Zealand forest.  They are a pest here.  I used to find it hard to have ill feeling towards them especially when I remember my grandmother and her successive generations of pet possums.  

But the damage they do to our beautiful forests really gets at me and I support whole-heartedly the pest eradication and forest conservation programme that the Lions Lodge Trust for whom I work are getting up and running.  They have worked very hard to raise the money needed to support their efforts.  They aim to have about 2,000 ha under management in the next 2 years.

Some trappers are moving in next week to kick off the programme.   Before the eradication of possums and rats can start, they need to lay out 400 ha of bait stations.  As always there's a lot of groundwork to be done first like setting up grid systems laying out tracks and markers.

They now have $100,000 worth of funding, the support of the Department of Conservation, the World Wildlife Fund and the Regional Council.  Now they need help from those who are prepared to put the time in to make this a successful project.  I aim to do what I can.

This forest is beautiful and the only forest left that has no Kauri Dieback and we are very proud of that.  But it is way too silent.  There is very little birdsong.  We must do something to get rid of the introduced pests.  And we must do it now before any more damage is done and it really is too late.  

Sorry, I went off on a bit of a tangent there.  Knew it would happen sooner or later. It's been a while since I felt so passionately about anything.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


The evenings have been particularly lovely this week.  I'm hoping that will continue this evening when I will have my camera with me.  

I have, however, caught the sunset the past couple of days.  Monday night the view was at the back of the house.

Tuesday night it was in the front.

 Who knows what this evening will bring.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Sheds from my past

I've been busy looking into my distant past.  Very distant.  My great grandparents and their siblings.  I certainly wouldn't have had the patience to do it before the internet and the instant availability of old records.  It's a great way to chew up a lot of time even now.

I wondered if I had any photos of sheds or barns from the area where my ancestors lived in Australia.  Most that I found were taken in 2014, during a drought when the countryside was dry and brown.

I have so many memories of this shed at potato picking time.  The bags of spuds were stored here in my Uncle George's shed and it was here that we gathered for our smoko breaks.  We children ate a lot more than we earned picking up potatoes, we got very hot, dirty and tired and loved every minute of it.  Mind you, most (if not all) of my siblings were happy when we were at my maternal grandparents place at Townson. 

You can see how dry the land is.  I think the colour of that long, dry grass is simply beautiful but it breaks my heart to see it.

 This relic sits of my father's old family farm.

It took me a while to find the photo I was looking for, sometimes my filing system is a bit dodgy.  I think I took this one in 2007.  This one sits beside what was my maternal great-grandmothers home with the roof of my great-uncle Dave's former home in the background.  (At the time it was the prickly pear I wanted to photograph.)

Linking to Tom the Backroads Traveller.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Is it dianella?

I spotted these pretty berries right beside a track in the forest.  Does anyone know what they are?  Are they harmful to children? 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Back roads sheds

An old half round barn

A newer version

And one built long before half round barns made an appearance on our farms.

Linking to The Barn Collective.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

A return to Good Fences

A little while ago now I had a quick trip to Warkworth to have morning tea with an old, old friend from Aussie, lunch with my lovely niece, Sharon and then a cooling afternoon drink with a mate who lives locally.  I'm not the most organised person in the world but things just worked out perfectly that day.

While waiting for my morning tea friends to arrive I took a walk along the riverbank to have a look at the Jane Gifford which is this country's last remaining rigged sailing scow and is now available for river cruises.

Later in the day I was up the other end of town and when wandering with my camera, spotted a few fences.

It's been quite a while since I linked to Gosia's Good Fences.  

Apostrophe police

I heard on the radio about the self styled grammar vigilante in Bristol, England who has spent years changing offending shop signs in the dead of night, removing errant apostrophes and adding them where they are missing.   If he'd like to go international he might like to visit Waikiekie.  I have a little job for his 'apostrophiser' - said to be a broom handle laden with two sponges. 

I'd stopped short of this shed thinking now that I'm blogging regularly again I might re-join Tom, the Back Roads Traveller and his Barn Collective.

As I was driving on past it something caught my eye, a flash of white paint.  I thought it said SLOW.  I'd been following three young bucks on very loud and very fast motorbikes down the road.  I say I had been because they had quickly disappeared from sight somewhere near the brow of this hill.  Thinking the message was from an irate local towards noisy road-users, I was intrigued enough to stop and walk back for a closer look. 

It actually says, "Slow, watch for my cat's"  My cat's what I wondered?  The dreaded apostrophe strikes again.

Not far away, propped against a tree, right beside the road was a much quieter (and much older) bike.  I wonder what's the story behind its presence.

Waikiekie is an interesting place.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The far hills of home and a quick flood

One of the good things about living near a mountain range is you can refer to them in the distance to get an idea of where you are (when you've been idly driving just looking at the countryside and not taking a lot of notice of which road you are on).  All I can tell you is this photo was taken out the back of Waikiekie somewhere.  I'd stopped because I liked the look of the farm track threading its way through the land.

Fortunately for us we weren't in the direct path of ex Tropical Cyclone Debbie when she finished rampaging down the Queensland Coast causing so much heartache and destruction, then crossing the Tasman Sea to whip her tail at New Zealand.  What a monstrous beast she was.  Although only a shadow of her former self she still has the power to wreck havoc on communities.  (At the moment a small North Island town of 2,000 is being evacuated due to flooding and she has moved south to the South Island.)  She dumped a terrific amount of rain on us in a very short time and the many little streams running down out of the mountain turned into raging torrents.  In little Pikiwahine Stream which runs through this farm she took a bridge with her, uprooted trees and flattened everything in her path.  In ten years we've never seen so much damage along this little waterway.

I wonder if this is the last photo I will get of this little farm bridge that is down along the road a bit.  It has been slowly disintegrating with each flood.

This is a photo I took of the same bridge after a flood in April, 2014.

Yes, we live in an area where it does sometimes flood.  The price to pay for living on the banks of mountain fed waterways.   But it has been ages since the last one, so it's not all bad.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A new church and a railway line

It's been ages since I discovered a new church.  This one is pretty old, actually, but new to me.  It caught my eye a few weeks back when I first went past it, then last week when I headed that way to photograph the bridge over a stream, under a railway line I stopped in for a closer look.

The sign out front announced that it is Waikiekie Undenominational Church.  I thought the little church in my local village was a Nondenominational Church but now that I've checked I see it too is undenominational.  After poking around with Mr Google for a while I discovered that the Whangarei Central Baptist Church support both these churches with one of their members taking a service in each place once a month.  So if services are once a month at the church and that service is conducted by someone from the Baptist Church, doesn't that make it Baptist?  Or am I old fashioned in my views?  I had figured an undenominational church would not be any part of a larger denomination.  And I always wonder how that would work in practice. 

 The old fence has definitely seen better days 
but someone has recently painted the cheerful red doors.

 A paddock separates the church from a well tended graveyard.

Before I visited the area a few weeks ago I thought I hadn't heard the directions properly when I was told I'd come to a hard left hand turn, then go down over the bridge under the railway line.  But, sure enough, that is exactly what I encountered.

I think I may have over straightened the photo above.  The line is seriously downhill.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Ahu Ahu Road

Diagonally opposite the road exit from Lucy's Gully is Ahu Ahu Road.  When my friend, Bev and I were there, she recalled the family of a friend who lives down that road and I was sure I'd heard my daughter talking about a wedding venue down that road.  We both had heard enough about it to be tempted to take a drive to see where it might lead us.  

We thought the beach at the end of the road, with it's tree lined shore would be a great place to spend a hot summer's day.

It was just a stroke of good luck that, as we turned around to go back, we noticed the road narrowed to a track and carried on, parallel with the beach.  It was like an invitation to follow it.  Which, of course, we did.

Where the road ended it was obvious there was nowhere else to go.  Unless on foot, across the little swing footbridge which lead to the beach on the other side of a little mountain stream.

 Two surfers returning from surfing the Far Side.

Driftwood - one of the things I love about Taranaki beaches.  

A little piece of driftwood sitting on the hand rail of the swing bridge and 
freshly arriving driftwood in the mountain stream below.