Thursday, May 25, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Towards home

Yesterday, mid morning on a cool, sunny day I had time for a wander around near the house on my son and daughter-in-law's "other" farm, the one on which they are milking hundreds and hundreds of cows at Mititai.  It's about a 15 minute drive from here, so the hills that are close to here seem far, far away.  

I didn't have my camera so, for the first time, took landscape photos with my phone. 

 After a lovely Mother's Day breakfast cooked by my son and views like that, who wouldn't be happy?  Thanks, Dan.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

From back when

My mind has been taking me back to Scotland a lot lately.  Scrolling down memory lane via my photos I came across this shot of crofts.  And, thankfully, I had labelled it properly because I would never have have remembered the name of the village - Eoropaidh, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.  I think of it as the place where they farm fences. 

 My friend, Graham had taken me to this spot to visit St Moluag's, a 12th Century church which stands about 100 metress back off the road, accessed by a path between two crofts.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Morning, noon and night fences

It's that time of year where we often have a foggy morning followed by a clear, sunny day.

And in the evening, we've had some pretty sunsets. I was driving home and hoping to get to a particular spot to capture this sunset but stopped to take this shot when I realized it was going to be dark in a few more minutes.  I had to lighten the image so you could see the fences on either side of the road.

Linking to Gosia's Fences around the World.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pataua south

One of my grand-daughters is adventuring in Thailand at the moment and constantly in my thoughts. My thoughts of her today lead me to drive out to Pataua South, where she once (or maybe twice) holidayed when she was younger, and a total contrast to the hustle and bustle she is currently experiencing.  

Today I chatted briefly to a lady and her elderly mother who were enjoying a picnic by the quiet, gentle waters of the inlet.  I crossed the footbridge to Pataua North on the other side, to the wild ocean beach.  No surfers to be found on this sunny but cool day.  

 Whangarei Harbour

The perfect day for fishing in the harbour

 Pataua South

 taken from Pataua North side of footbridge

 North side entry

Friday, April 28, 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, April 24, 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, April 21, 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, April 20, 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, April 19, 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, April 16, 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, April 12, 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, April 10, 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, April 8, 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.