Friday, August 25, 2017

My Lucky Day

You know how they say things happen in threes?  It's true!  

I thought my day was pretty good when a little bundle of joy arrived for a visit - my nearly one year old great-grand-daughter.  And she didn't cry the minute she saw me, so that was especially good.   My basket of baby toys is rather ancient but her mum was delighted to recognise toys from her childhood and we both laughed when Lexus took a shine to Georgia's old bear, which does rather resemble a pig.  I always thought it was a pig but Georgia insisted it was a bear. Lexus chewed it's nose, just like Georgia used to do.
 



Number two good thing...  my lawn is mowed.  It was disgracefully long and everything doesn't look quite so wet and squishy now that it is trimmed.

Number three came as quite a surprise.  There was a bottle of wine beside my front door this morning.  I don't think it was there when I got home in the dark last night.  Who would have left it there?  And why?  What a delicious mystery! 

I'll go into town later and buy a lotto ticket.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The road in

As I go to and from the lodge in the Tangihua Forest I am constantly stopping to take photos.  The more frequently I do it, the more differences I notice.  The bush always looks different, depending on the light, the weather, the time of year and day, the amount of sunshine overhead.  I took these today, some while going in to the bush, the rest on my way home a couple of hours later.

 
 



There is a lookout not far from the lodge where you can get idea of how deep in the bush the lodge is situated.  That's the lodge roof in the centre of the photo.  I've got a blur on the lens of my camera which I can't see or clean off.  I can't decided what to do about it!  Suggestions welcome.


I've given names to a few different spots along the road.  I call this tree The Lovers although to be honest before I settled for that I was searching my brain for a nice word to describe the way children (and not only children) cross their legs when they are putting off going to the toilet.


This is the view of surrounding farmland in one direction as you come out of the forest.


And yes, I do know how lucky I am to see such beauty and to feel the tranquility of the bush on a regular basis.  I just wish I could capture it with my camera.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sheep on hill

Stand by for lots of sheep photos.  Or turn away if sheep aren't your thing.   I'm the first to admit I'm not a natural sheep lover.  When I worked with them on a daily basis I just didn't have the patience for them, they constantly frustrated me.  Like has happened with a lot of things, I appreciate them more now that I'm older and slower with few time constraints.

A neighbouring farmer occasionally puts his sheep in to graze in the narrow strip of land that leads from the road into the Tangihua Forest which I travel frequently as part of my little part-time job looking after the Tangihua Lions Lodge.  They keep the long grass down on either side of our access road. 


Most of them move off as I approach but there's the odd stubborn old girl (or maybe she's smart.  That's a big maybe) who refuses to budge from her place in the sun unless there's a danger of being run over.

 

 Even I have to admit those lambs are darn cute.




Sunday, August 20, 2017

A magic day

Mid afternoon yesterday I thought the day couldn't get any better. 

There was a heavy fog this morning and it was still lifting from the mountain around 10 am when I went to open the gate to the Lodge.  I'd arranged to meet visitors at the gate and had taken a book to read while I waited for them.  But I was happy to just watch the mist as it swirled around the hills.  


The two school teachers who I was showing around the lodge couldn't have picked a better morning.  The bush looked all sparkly and clean, noise seemed to carry more clearly than usual.  Either that or there were more birds at play.  Walking through the bush seemed like the best possible thing to be doing on a Friday morning.   


I was in the most mellow of moods.  Just loving my world and my life.  I even had poetic thoughts imagining a gentle hand at work when these softly moulded hills were created. 


It was easy to remember that spring is nearly here.  Soon the poplars will be turning green but this is the time of year when I like them most.  The lovely silver colour in this line of trees was highlighted by the dark clouds gathering behind them.


In the mellow-ness of my mood everything looked beautiful.  I stopped the car to admire these cattle enjoying the sun as if they knew it wasn't going to last for long.


Only a few miles closer to home the dark clouds were already starting to drop their load over the mountain.  That's my road home running along the bottom of the photo.


By the time I reached home it was bucketing down and I had to wait in the car for a while before making a dash for the front door.  

The weather cleared to produce an "Ahh, what a lovely day" sort of evening.   But, the day was not yet over.  Later that night while I was talking to my daughter on the phone I was first of all distracted by hearing cattle bellowing.  I wonder if they could sense what was to come because shortly after, it was the sound of thunder.  As it got louder she could hear it over the phone.  Our chat was ended when the power went out.   

When I was a child in Australia my grandmother taught us to appreciate a good storm.   At the first sign of an approaching storm she would gather us on the verandah, pillows and blankets on the floor, kerosene lamps at the ready in case the power went out and join us in oooos and aaaas as the thunder crashed and lightning flashed.  Then after the storm we would watch as our grandfather saddled up the horse and rode off to check that the lightning had not started any grass fires in the hills.  My grandmother always comes to sit on my shoulder when there is a storm and I'm ashamed to confess that she would have been rather taken aback at what escaped my lips as I stood in the open doorway and the thunder clapped directly overhead as the lightning blinded me it was so close.  I heard a zzzt as something nearby took a hit.  To my surprise all my electrics are working today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Back road home

A little Tomtit was fluttering around my car when I went to leave the lodge yesterday.  It's not the first time I've seen this pretty little bird, nor the first time I've tried for a photo.  There is a resident pair that nest around the lodge somewhere.  I got the camera out and sat there but it didn't return.

However, as I drove away another fluttering caught my eye.  I think it was another Tomtit but it was too quick for me.  There had been a shower of rain not long before but the sun had returned and was filtering so prettily through the bush I just had to try to capture it.



You won't often hear people say Ruawai was calling to them.  And I don't know where the idea came from but when I reached home I had a crazy idea that I felt like going to Ruawai.  I had planned on going to the supermarket in Whangarei later in the day.  The supermarket in Dargaville could be on my way to Ruawai, depending on which route I took, so I headed there first.

It was a windy, blustery day, the Northern Wairoa River had its dirty brown churned up look.  You can see my hills of home in the distance.


Ruawai means 'two waters', referring to the Northern Wairoa River and the Kaipara Harbour.  One meets the other around here.  Yesterday, the meeting produced extremely muddy looking water.
 

Ruawai is a small country town, population around 400, with a surprisingly good local cafe.  Maybe it was the thought of their food that lured me there.  I chose Thai pumpkin soup for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Thank you, The Well Cafe.

From Ruawai I took a cross country, back road home, stopping a few times to take in the view.
 









Monday, August 14, 2017

People watching

The cows have been in the paddock around the house.  Some are avid people watchers.  Or maybe it's just me with whom they are fascinated. If they were human people watchers they would have a few lessons to learn about discretion.


Mind you, I think she did try not to be obvious about it but her body language gave her away. 


A good people watcher learns how to do it without staring.  That is just rude.


People watching is sometimes about details.  I enjoy people watching but am not a details person.  It took me a while to notice that there were two cows who were observing me every time I step outside. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sheep

Whenever I drive to Auckland I always think about the traffic in the city before I leave and plan my trip to avoid traffic congestion.  Even if I don't have to worry about getting somewhere on time, I still resent any time spent sitting in traffic in the city.  When it happens I try to tell myself not to be like my father whose hatred for traffic (and traffic lights) was often a source of amusement to his offspring.  

On the other hand it doesn't matter one iota has long I have sit behind a flock or sheep or heard of cows on a rural road.  It is always a pleasant experience for me.  Of course, it helps if my camera is handy and I have time to fire off a quick shot out the car window. 


These sheep know the drill and mainly stick to the road as they are moved from paddock to paddock.  The roadside fences are there but don't seem necessary.



They are pretty important when the flock reach their destination.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Late Fences

I've become accustomed to composing my photos to include fences because I've been taking part in Gosia's weekly roundup of Fences Around the World. Although I rarely remember to post on the right day.

Anyway, here's my collection of fences from the past week or two.  The first few are from Taranaki where my eyes are always drawn towards the mountain.


This shot  is here purely because I drove up a particular road with this shot in mind, only to find the clouds had moved across in front of it while I was getting there.  I was not amused.


A few minutes later the same day he was a little more visible.  Yes, according to legend, he's a man mountain.


I got up closer but luck was still not with me.  There's always next time.


The next few are taken out the car window when I drove to Mahurangi Regional Park on my way home on Saturday.




And these are the fences on either side of the road that I travel frequently to visit my son and his family on the 'other' farm.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Long way home

Saturday was a glorious day.  Cold but bright and sunny, too good a day to spend simply driving home from Auckland after flying from Taranaki the night before.  A day where places I haven't seen for a while beckoned me off the well beaten track.

Wenderholm is one of Auckland's Regional Parks.  On the east coast, it's about a 35 minute drive from the city, but a whole world apart.  In summer it's long sandy beach is extremely popular with lots of folk picnicing on the large grassed area, under the shade of the huge, old pohutukawa trees.  On Saturday there was a scattering of people enjoying the winter sun.  Mainly older folk.  I guess younger people have other things to do on a Saturday.

 

Any time of year is selfie time.


 Around the corner, on the Puhoi River side of the park it was equally tranquil. 



I decided that I'd call in at another east coast regional park, a little further north.  I don't think I've been to the end of the road in the Mahurangi Regional Park at Sullivan's Bay since the 70s.   There are more houses along the road, of course, but still a lot of farmland and the views haven't changed.



All was quiet down at the beach.  There was a young tourist couple with a little child enjoying a walk on the beach, all smiles and friendly nods although we couldn't understand each other. And this older couple sitting beside their campervan having a cuppa. 


Before I reached home after dark I'd made another three little detours to visit family and friends.  And I felt like I'd enjoyed the absolutely perfect day.  Oh, and I'd taken one more photo - looking down the Kaipara Harbour on the west coast, from a friend's bedroom.  Yes, it's that easy to visit both coasts in a day.