Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another long way home

Coming home from Matakana last Thursday I decided the day was too lovely to waste coping with all the traffic on the highway, so I came home 'over the hill' to Leigh and then carried on the long way home coming via Mangawhai and Langs Beach.  

Mangawhai was in sparkling form making it easy to understand the 'Magical Mangawhai' marketing.   All was quiet down by the estuary.  The tide was running out and the late afternoon lengthening shadows reaching out over the sand.  Although it was school holiday time, the holiday makers had mostly gone for the day. 




Around near the parking lot at the surf beach,  there was a stiff breeze so I didn't linger on any of the seats to enjoy the view, either down the estuary or along the beach.

 


I hoped to get to Langs Cove before the sun was lost for the day.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A clean sweep

I didn't get to see the finished Catwalk Art entry as it appeared on the stage.  I know the results, though.  My daughter-in-law, Heather and her friend Pam made a clean sweep of the prizes.  They won the Open Section, the Supreme Award and Peoples' Choice.  I'm not at all surprised.  This is the top and skirt put together but the skirt, made from dried and dyed New Zealand Flax (phormium tenax) is still rolled up.  When the pegs are removed the flax curls bounce and dance to resemble ocean waves. 


On her arms Heather has a nearly completed boat.



 and Pam works on a way to secure the sides at the back.
 

When she opens her arms she is transformed into a glorious bird.  I can't imagine how her arms and shoulders must have ached after holding her arms out like that for hours.  Once those arms were in place she was inside the wings/boat until the end of the show.  For three shows. 


And, of course, to crown it off, there is a crown.  It's nearly finished in the photo below.
 

I hope to see some catwalk photos soon.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The creatives

Yesterday, quite unexpectedly, I had the opportunity to see my creative daughter-in-law, Heather and her equally creative friend, Pam at work finalising their entry into a Wearable Arts Competition.  These two blow my mind.  The ideas just flow from them, they feed off each others.  One suggests something, the other comes up with how to do it.  Some aspects of their costumes are very structural, all aspects require a lot of work.  Not to mention inspiration and adaptation.

I have to keep details of this competitions entry to myself until after the event, of course.  But here are a few shots I got yesterday.

 Bits and pieces on the work table

To give you an idea of the attention to detail and thought that goes into their costumes, this is the headgear from an earlier entry into a Wearable Arts Competition.


 The shoes.  I immediately thought, "Cinderella shall go to the ball."

And before the ball, there are hours with hair in rollers.

Good luck, girls.  I know the hours of work that have gone into your entry and luck will have little to do with it.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Flame trees


I'm waiting for the flame trees to flower in the hilly paddocks beside the road to the 'other' farm.  I've often wondered why they are considered a weed and finally asked Mr Google.  Apparantly any branch that touches the ground will take root (I've never seen that happen) and they can form a tall, spreading canopy, preventing native plants from establishing.  I've always thought they were good to have on a stock farm as when the flowers are out the weather is cool and they have no leaves, so the ground below them can dry out.  And in summer, when you need some shade, they are in leaf.   I don't know if 'in leaf' in the correct expression but I'm sure you know what I mean.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Warmer


Georgia and I had a taste of summer yesterday.  It was warm enough for her to have a little lay down in the sun  at the lake.  She was looking for tadpoles, didn't see any.  I was more interested in this spring's ducklings but they were too cunning for me, kept out of reach of my camera.  They are quite well grown, will be leaving the lake soon.

 

Earlier she had been doing a few back bending jobs for me at the lodge.   How I envy her young back!  We also enjoyed a walk in the bush.  It's not every day you see a plank over a stream secured with a pink rope.  The plank is for those who don't like to get their feet wet.  I don't mind mine getting wet but like the plank - there is less chance of slipping on the wet stones.  The rope is to stop the plank being washed away every time there is heavy rain in the mountain.  Even little streams like this can turn into torrents with enough rain.  And, as I am constantly harping on, there has been a lot of rain this winter.  Oh, and there aren't planks on any other streams in the forest.  This track is the most frequently used by visiting school groups as it leads to the confidence course. 



Monday, October 2, 2017

Young males

The sights of spring are many.  Things that usually go un-noticed suddenly grab my attention.  A little stand of trees a short distance into a paddock beside the road looked so lovely yesterday as they shimmered in the sunshine that I had to stop and gaze.


We're lucky to have kowhai growing right beside the road.  I would have liked a few more sheep in the shot or to have been able to safely pull off the road at a place where they were more visible.  But a narrow country road has its restrictions. 



I thought if I got out of the car and walked to get a better shot of these young guys I would have disturbed them and they looked so fat and contented I couldn't do that to them. 


Fat and happy

I was lucky to enjoy the drive yesterday between heavy showers.  Today it's extremely blustery, the showers very heavy.  Hail on the roof last night was so loud I opened the front door to check on the size of the hailstones.  Nothing too alarming and it was over quickly.  I often remember that the girl next door when I was growing up used to tell me my letters during the school holidays (when I visited my grandparents' farm), were like weather reports.   I guess nothing has changed, Mary except now I live on a farm and am more weather obsessed than ever. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Spring

There's no denying spring has sprung.  Not that I want to deny it, after all I've been waiting for it.  To be precise I'm waiting for summer but spring has to be endured first.  The wet weather continues just a little more unpredictably than the constancy of winter rain.  The road side kowhai distract from the puddles.


The little calves are learning about the outside world in the paddock opposite my house.  They still have a bit to learn.  Knowing which human is the one who feeds you is an important lesson and they haven't yet learned to distinguish me from the pretty blonde who rides the bike towing their feeder.  They hear my front door open and come to the fence hoping this time it will be me. 


The lambs don't let their feeder too far from sight despite having to dirty their knees to get down low enough to dine.  They will be learning how to survive without their mums soon enough.



I'm accumulating a collection of very bad bird photos.  Usually the kereru (bush pigeons) attract attention with the loud swoosh of their wings in flight.  But I now know an area beside the road into the Tangihua Forest where there is an active pair and keep an eye out.  They don't fly away from me but manage to stay far enough away to be safe from my camera.  I guess they are feasting on spring berries. 


Linking to Gosia's Fences around the World for the first time in ages.

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.