Friday, August 19, 2016


The new calves look keen for a photo shoot. 

Oh darn, there's always one looking the other way.

But when it's dinner time they ignore everyone and everything.  These five are being reared by my grand-daughter, Georgia.  She's doing a good job getting up and feeding them every morning before school and all. 

Elsewhere in the district lambs are arriving. These two were very recently born, having what could well have been their first suckle.  Hope the one on the ground that be bothered getting up doesn't think this will happen every time he's hungry. 

This ewe and her triplets (it's a bit hard to make out the third but it is there) are enjoying the grass and the sunshine.

Meanwhile, behind their fence, the cows are also enjoying the break from rainy weather.

Linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Monday, August 15, 2016

On guard

I need to go to the grocery store.  But Bambi (yes, it's a goat called Bambi, don't ask) is on guard.  She's sitting there in the middle of the track outside my house, just waiting for me to disappear from view and she will be through the fence and nibbling on something in my garden.

When she's sitting like that you would never suspect she only has three legs.  One of the front legs is gone from the knee down, the only way to save her life when she was a baby.  But don't be fooled into thinking she can't move as fast as she needs to to keep away from me when I'm hot on her tail.  She makes up for in cunning what she lacks in speed.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

Spot the fence

I think I've mentioned a few times lately that it's been raining a lot.  This week there was even more rain.  Not as much here as in other places but enough to cause a puddle or two and too much for the creek to keep within its banks.  

My photos are a bit dark as it was very overcast and raining off and on as I came along the road.  All of them are taken from the car window. 

Just a post -the rest of the fence disappeared in a previous flood.

Thankfully none of these are taken on this farm.

 Some you can see, some you can't.

I'll be linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Easy access

I have a new phone, courtesy of my son-in-law.  So although, to me, it appears to have all the bells and whistles, I guess it is already outdated. I've only had it a couple of weeks but it's made me cross a couple of times already.  OK, you're right, it hasn't made me cross.  I've got cross because I haven't been able to figure something out.  No matter how many times I check the settings, I still can't hear it when it rings.  Annoying.  And I find getting messages about emails and Facebook all a bit too "instant" for my liking.  

When I was at Jock's funeral (see previous post) at the weekend I was tempted and checked my messages when I went back to the car to get my camera.  Damn!  And double damn, I should not have done that.  It's not good to receive bad news when you are already feeling emotional.  It could have waited until I had been duly respectful to Jock.  I know my limits and knew I wouldn't be able to cope with the catching up with old friends and family that would follow the burial.  

AS I just said, I know myself and a well established behaviour for me is to skulk off by myself when I need to process something.  So that's what I did although I knew I wasn't up to driving home just yet.  So I headed out towards the coast where Jock used to live, in search of a place that fitted my mood.  

Before I left I took a few photos of the Northern Wairoa River as it winds through Dargaville, with the mountains of home in the background.  It's a muddy, muddy river and that day was a beautiful chocolate brown which I didn't manage to capture.

And one in the other direction of the river as it heads towards Pouto and the sea.  

I knew when I took the road down to the beach at Mahuta that I wouldn't be able to go too far as a four wheel drive vehicle is needed to access the beach.  I'd forgotten about the heather that grows on the roadside.            
I didn't go much further than the spot where I took this next photo.  The road turns rather quickly to sand and grows very narrow.  You can see it snaking its way out to the beach in the middle of the photo, to the left of where I was standing. 

I am so lucky to know of lovely, wild, untamed places like this, the kind of place I need when life seems a little bit harder than it needs to be.  When I need to shout out loud, "Oh, come on, life!  Not now!  Give me a break!"

It's amazing how much good a little time in such a place does for me.  I enjoyed my drive back home stopping to take a few more photos further up the river.   If you look carefully you might be able to make out the old railway line which runs between the road and river.  These days there is no rail service but the line can be explored on converted golf carts.  Must do that one day soon.  When summer comes perhaps.  It's far too cold right now.        

Monday, August 8, 2016


You grow older and somehow become more accustomed to death.  I do anyway.  I accept the passing of others a lot easier than I used to.  Sometimes, though, it is harder, when the departed one is young, for example, or dear to the heart or hold a special place in my memory.

Jock belongs in the latter camp.  I first met him not long after I arrived in  New Zealand to live at Pouto, on the Kaipara Harbour.  Not yet 30, I was nervous about meeting all these new farming folk.  We had come from Mt Isa, in north west Queensland, a big mining town with a great mix of nationalities, and its dry harsh landscape.  To a small, predominately Maori community in a lush green paradise. I hadn't yet learned the rules of being a farmer's wife.  I really do think there were rules back then.  Rural life was strange to me and I was worried about how I would "fit".  I now know that others wondered the same thing and doubted if I would "last". 

Jock was one of those people that I immediately felt as ease with.  I knew as long as I could give him a smile, I'd be good enough in his book.  In all the years I've known him, that never changed.  

Funny how the presence of some people weaves itself in and out of our life.  My son became friends with his son, it was my son and another friend who, in the early 70s came across the body of Jock's father when he died while out taking a walk.  In the late 70s my family stayed on Jock's property and milked his cows in return for a place to stay until the purchase of our new farm came through.  That is a very happy time that stands out in my memory.  It was like holiday time to me living right beside the beach, milking his small herd of lovely jersey cows through his quaint walk through shed, beach visits.

I hadn't seen Jock since March, 2009 when my family and I enjoyed a Back to Pouto weekend.  It was a time for my children to share with their children the playgrounds of their youth.

There used to be a sign at the entrance to the beach at Pouto Point (maybe it is still there, I don't know) that proclaimed it as the Place of Hidden Treasures.  That phrase describes it perfectly for me.  One of the treasures is the local people with its share of colourful characters and we are lucky enough to be related to a lot of them and to have lived amongst them for a few years.  Jock is one of those local treasures.  Even amongst the locals he is known as a legend.

He will be remembered also by tourists who ventured off the beaten track and went with Jock on one of his Kaipara Lighthouse tours.  He was a storyteller and had a hoard of stories of the shipwrecks, sailing ships and the early settlers that made that part of the Kauri Coast their home. Tourists were warned not to scream too much when Jock was driving them on his quad ranger dune buggy up and down the sand dunes otherwise he would go faster. I knew him well enough to know not to scream when he took me for a ride but I sure did squeal quite loudly with delight.  Im not sure who enjoyed Jock's tours more, him or his passengers.  He delighed in delighting others.

I have a feeling that Jock has given me a poke in the ribs from the other side, reminding me not to forget the old days.   To remember what it's like to feel the wind in my hair and to survive a pounding heartbeat.

After much pleading from the grandchildren he agreed to let them all pile into the back of his buggy and take them for a little ride.  He set out very sedately but we suspect that he livened things up a bit once he was out of sight of the parents.

Stopping for a chat with my older son and younger daughter. 

This little sand rocket turned 13 during the week.  It must be time we took her back to Pouto or she will forget the thrill of sand hill sliding.  Maybe we will tell her a tale or two about Jock.

Rest in peace, Jock.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Outside the nest

I'm nesting a bit during this nasty winter weather.  Thankfully it's not been cold, just miserable, windy and wet.   Perfect weather for curling up with a good book with the only the whistling wind to distract me. 

These are taken at the stockyards I found at the top of Jobe Road when I ventured up there last week.

 Stock loading ramp

Linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Friday, July 29, 2016

No mud

I determined to find some fences I hadn't photographed before, and take some photos with no mud in them.  I had to put some thought into that mission and decided to turn right up Jobe Road on my way home from town.  I reasoned there would not be so much mud on the hillsides as there is on the flats everywhere.  

Success!  I'm pretty sure that is a new fence, don't think it was here last time I drove up this road.

And although I had to step carefully around the roadside mud to get in position to take this photo, there is definitely can't see any in the shot.  As you can see the day was overcast with scattered showers as the forecaster says.  The hills of home are sitting in low cloud.

Coming back down the hill I stopped and counted at least a dozen fences in the scene below.

Finally, I stopped again at the foot of the hill.  This is the entrance into a trucking company's depot.

Linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dual purpose

Dual purpose fence post:

The children on the farm are growing up.  Two of them will tell you they are already grown up and I can't really argue with that.  But if you look carefully you will still find reminders of their childhood around the farm.  The old baling twine hanging from a shady tree still holds a remnant from their cubbyhouse. 

Linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

He's gone!

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.  Winnie the Pooh

 Nothing beats the midwinter blues like a visit from a little grandson.  Works like magic every time.  Once welcoming hugs from the doting grandmother are out of the way, the little man jumps on the phone to ring his farmer uncle to announce he is here.  

What to do when the uncle has visitors and can't take him farming immediately?  He readies himself for farm duties and finds a spot from which he can see when the visitor leaves.  And doesn't leave that post until he sees the strange car is gone.  

He sure loves being busy and when it's not possible to be out and about with Uncle Danny he's just as happy to be busy inside, under the watchful eye of cousin, Georgia.

He even does the dishes!  No wonder I miss him so much after he's gone.

After a week his farm overalls reflect the fun he's had.  And the grin couldn't be bigger.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Seasonal fence

It's our heavy rain time of year, when the water in the creek swells with rain water carried down from the mountains and creeps across paddocks, sometimes engulfing fences and the road.

Linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The lost back fence

Last week I posted the brick fences at Arundells, Edward Heath's former home in Salisbury, England.  At the time I couldn't find any shots of his back fence, just the rural scene as I poked my camera through the fence.  Guess what I just stumbled upon, filed in 'Fences', where all good fence shots should be?  Yes, that back fence.

Closer to home there's lots of rain hanging around those mountains and the waterways in the low places are filling up.

 I've got the mid winter sluggish can'tbebothereds.  

But only two more sleeps and the little man who brings light and laughter with him will be here! 

Linking to Teresa's Good Fences.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

New Kiwis

There were more of them than I expected.  If I'd given it some thought I might not have been surprised that the majority were Brits and South Africans.  But scattered amongst them were a Filipino, a Chinese, a Thai, a family from Sri Lanka, a Korean, a Samoan, an Indian, two from Zimbabwe, a Malaysian, an American, a French family, my friend Chris and a couple of other Australians, and the beautiful young lady from Burundi who captured the heart of everyone in the room.  

Full credit to Mayor Sheryl Mai and her Whangarei Council for a dignified ceremony that I felt honoured our new citizens and acknowledged their many different journeys to become tangata tiriti (people of the land by right of the Treaty of Waitangi). 

Congratulations, Chris.  

Chris chatting with another new citizen who lives in her area

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Two of my followers, one in particular (an Australian one) will recognise someone they know in these photos.   

Bev, the question is, what is she up to now?  Who are her new friends?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Edward Heath's garden fence

The eyes of all are on Britain and the EU.  From the place where surprising things lurk in my memory I recall that Edward Heath was Prime Minister when they entered the European Economic Community.  I visited his former home when I was in England last year.  These are two fences in his garden.

 I poked my camera through the fence at the bottom of the garden to capture this scene.