It's all rather fishy actually..........#FarmVoices #art

I've been having maybe a bit of a midlife crisis of late. I came to the realisation the other day my kids are growing up and rapidly.  At the end of next year Inaya is leaving school and heading off for university study a couple of hundred kilometres away down in Palmerston North. I can't say that won't miss her, because I will. While all the 'heck my kids are leaving home in a couple of years' thoughts were going around and around in my head I decided to paint something. Here's the result so far; and definitely no masterpiece. More an 'I need some creative therapy' kind of thing. Being a single parent living out in an isolated rural area can sometimes feel very lonely. I'm fortunate that I can be satisfied with my own company during the day, there's never a shortage of things to do around the farm. Me time is therapeutic and something I should do more often. I'm in the process of trying to get back into fulltime work. My resume has been done and I'm really making a huge effort with the applications. I'm doing this for me - my self esteem of late hasn't been particuarly good. Just doing the resume has made me feel a lot more positive about myself. That nagging little voice of doubt for now has been silenced. In between this rather pathetic midlife crisis thing, I had a lawyer travel up from Auckland to shoot possums in our bush and in our neighbour's pine block. All up eight less of the hairy pests are now resident on our farms. We've had really strange weather including a massive thunderstorm that hung around for a few hours the other week. I got a rather poor quality video of it at dawn. I think the birds were trying to drown out all the noise!


Life in a toilet paper roll (sounds wierd I know) #Farmvoices

A few weeks ago I found an old packet of bean seeds I forgot I had. Unfortunately they had expired. I took the chance any way just to see if any would come up. The problem I had until just the last week was cold, rain soaked soil. We had the worse winter ever in 47 years here in Northland, New Zealand. It was hopeless I was at the point of considering moving the animals off the property completely it was that bad.

You may have seen a recycling tip about planting seeds in empty toilet rolls. I've done it for years. It it protects the seed and the young plant,, plus gives a great alternative to using plastic. I put the entre roll into the soil once the plant is big enough to transplant into the garden.  Out of the seeds (which I didn't expect to germinate) one came up. I photographed it over 48 hours literally growing in front of my eyes.

I'm intrigued how in just two days from a small seed a plant emerges which will later produce something that will feed my family. Recycling your empty toilet rolls is a great way to help the environment and save more rubbish headed for the landfill, or being burned in the fire pile. Over the last few years, I've noticed more and more plastic is being used to package up our food in. It's not good for our environment. Each year thousands of tons of plastic end up in our oceans. We need to change that reliance on plastics for our packaging and come up with a better alternative. Recyle where you can. I compost our cardboard,  newspaper and food scraps in old tyres it works and the tyres don't end up polluting the environment. Worth thinking about.


Labour Weekend (of course I wore my gumboots!) #FarmVoices #NorthlandNZ

I don't do selfies of my mug.  I just do selfies of my gumboots instead. There are my gumboots looking out across beautiful Batley Bay yesterday. They got wet of course. I walked in the tide with them on as any self respecting Mad Bush Farmer would expect one to do. Amy and the kids came over, so we decided to go and visit the beach for a change of scenery. With my girls being teenagers these days, the beach was not an appealing option. Inaya wanted to stay home with the technology at her fingertips. Too bad I said we're getting you lot out of the crypt bedrooms well away from the Tumblr blogs and smart phones with discussions about Star Trek politics and heck knows what other fandom stuff. I used to do it too. Once a trekkie, always a trekkie. Just not yesterday.

The kids weren't all that keen of course on some isolated bay on the north eastern arm of the Kaipara Harbour. Amy and I had our cameras with us of course. We were after getting some more shots of the area and especially on such a stunning day. The tide was in, people were out and about and it was just a perfect opportunity to get some great images to remember the day by.

I love these old tin boat sheds that have been at Batley for years. People do use them to stay in. The paint is flaking off the old wooden doors and window frames. During the summer their owners sit out on the old timber decks, and just enjoy the harbour in all its glory. Batley itself has a long history. It was originally name Oahau, then later its name was changed to Batley. Named for the township in Yorkshire by a subsequent owner William Colbeck. Once there was a canning factory and a steam powered flour mill on the shore. All since vanished from memory. The only inhabitants of the now tranquil bay are Rex and Rae Roadley residing in the beautifully restored grand villa aptly named Batley House.

We spent a couple of hours catching up on everything while the teenagers denied of their technology roamed aimlessly around the beach. We'll have to take the technology away more often I think!


A song for spring and why cows make terrible window cleaners #FarmVoices #NorthlandNZ

My youngest daughter Michelle started singing lessons last year to help her with her speech and confidence. For those who don't know our family, Michelle was diagnosed with autism just before her third birthday. Over the last almost 16 years I've worked with her to help her gain independence. We've had fantastic support from the teachers at the local christian school she attends. A few months ago the school started preparing for the Christian Schools Convention which is held in Auckland each year. Michelle worked very hard on her song "Precious Jesus" with her wonderful singing teacher Maura. As a result, she gained third place in the platform event for singing. Inaya kindly vidoed Michelle on stage singing a very beautiful song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. And then there is this video. I took it yesterday afternoon after my rather naughty (but much loved) Terrorist jersey cow came to pay me a visit and 'clean' my windows again. Now you know why cows make lousy window cleaners. Slimey bovine sandpaper tongues don't do much to bring up the shine, it's more a foggy kind of look. I do have more to write, but I'll save the rest for the next post.


Of cunning fence wreckers and runaway moos #farmvoices #NorthlandNZ

There some things at times that provide for some rather different entertainment in an odd kind of way. Of course, nothing on my farm is normal anyway. There's always something going on involving wrecked fences, escapes and general mayhem. I intended to leave Tempest behind in the paddock - plans thwarted by a backside leaning on the boundary fence, with full weight put in for good measure. He's due for a drench again in few days time. Even so as soon as I opened up the gate for him, he quit the promise of "let me out or the fence gets it" And then there is the other matter.....

Since we've had so much rain and lots of flooding, part of the fence yet again was washed out. Terrorist has found a new escape route off the farm and back to next door. This time though it was onto the race which has closed gates fortunately at each end. She led River out with her grrrrr. Didn't take long to get them back. Now they're locked up in the top paddock where there are no escape routes and a very hot electric fence ticking a way to keep them in. I finally found the short in the fence - it only took six long frustrating weeks to find it. Once I did find it, I fixed it very quickly. For a change the fences are all electrified until something else causes it problems. We've a couple of warm days but yet again the weather is packing up once more. I am over it all completely. Never mind that's life for you! Hope you like the video - enjoy!