Yes that is me at seventeen competing in the Western Trail at the Helensville Agricultural & Pastoral Show in 1981 on a horse that bucked everyone off, a borrowed saddle, boots and hat. The jeans and the shirt were mine at least. The horse I rode was named was Timmy, eventually I bought him from his owners a couple of years later. He was such a neat little guy. I got a second prize would you believe even though I had only just started to learn Western and had dreams of going to Arizona marrying a rancher and settling down to raise a family. No it never happened as you know I'm still here in the country of my birth and a place of my own and yes I still do ride western - much improved since those days as you can see from the photo!
This photo is hilarious. When Alley was camping in Zaire some young chimpanzees raided the camp and stole most of the food. Lucky for Alley she had plenty of backup from her hosts. Chimpanzees are amazing apes. They use sticks as tools to extract grubs and ants out of trees and logs. They have close cousins called the Bonobo. Bonobos live in peaceful groups, where the Chimpanzees are often in conflict. Some years ago I recall reading an article about chimpanzees literally going to war with each other. This had been caused by human encroachment and habitat destruction causing a serious lack of food resources. And like the Gorillas these intelligent animals are critically endangered. Hope you like the photo.
Here's a picture of my Mum aged just seven years old. It was taken in 1939 in her mother's garden. I'm lucky to have my Mum - I almost lost her earlier this year to appendicitis. She turned 76 years old in September and is now enjoying doing her gardens - when the calves are trying to eat it that is!
So much for ever getting a sleep in on a Sunday morning. The Terrorist has it all worked out very nicely. On the door step - exactly at the time of 6 a.m. demanding the bottle. Not tomorrow she won't be. We tied her up so for once I can get some extra sleep in time. Eleven weeks old tomorrow and she's still so tiny. We don't mind - this one won't be leaving any time soon as in the next ten years or so (yes too soft for my own good as usual).
Still on the theme of critters. I got woken up at midnight to the sound of screaming - literally. One of the cats had obviously baled something up by the house so muttering less than nice things about our beloved pets I went staggering out to see just what the heck was going on. Something was screaming and the cat was having a great time attempting to nab the noisemaker. I thought it was a baby stoat -no loss since stoats are another unwanted pest we have to put up with. Then it moved. Not a stoat but a little Australian Bell Frog trying its best to escape death from claws and teeth. I like frogs, so I rescued the poor little guy from the miffed Emerald, put the frog in a container safe for the night, then released it this morning into the pond behind our house. Had the camera, so I took a couple of photos before my amphibious friend vanished to safety. Too soft for my own good. Hope the little guy makes it.
Normally I would post about ...pass there. Weaver of Grass posed a question about what critter that is on the title banner. Answer: A cartoon version of my least favourite marsupial species The Australian Brush Tailed Possum. Why would I put on something like that you ask. The reason behind the name of our farm is because of this destructive pest. We have several acres of mature New Zealand Native Bush and it's full of possums. I have bush and the possums wrecking it make me mad so that's where the name Mad Bush Farm came from. The human inhabitants here have all been declared completely and utterly sane. Imagine 71 million noctural marsupials spending every night stripping your trees bare and destroying your native wildlife. We have a very serious problem here in New Zealand. These creatures carry Bovine TB. The New Zealand Government has carried out very strict measures to control this disease. All cattle and deer must wear special tags from the age of one month old and farms registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. If any cattle or deer are relocated or sold at sales an Animal Status Declaration Form must be filled out the by the owner and provided. Animals are tested every three years for Bovine TB reactors and if any show signs of the disease the entire herd is put on restricted movement control - bad news if you have a dairy farm. In the last three years I have destroyed over four hundred possums. Makes for a lot of holes being dug - my trees are doing nicely from the remains of our unwanted marsupial friends. They aren't cute and they aren't friendly. They are just nasty destructive pests I wonder if the Australians would like their native animals returned to them - all 71 million of them. Anyone got any ideas? The photo above is one I took at the Northland Lifestyle Field Days. The yellow plastic thing is a specialised trap used just for our destructive furry friends. I have several around the farm here - which I had better go and check...mutter.
A good friend of mine Alley spent an entire year back packing around in Africa. Being a keen photographer she trekked all over the place including Rwanda just to get photos of the fantastic wildlife. She visited the Mountain Gorillas where researcher Dian Fossey had spent eighteen years trying to save the gorillas from poachers and souvenir hunters. Dian's life was featured in the movie "Gorillas in the Mist" 1988 starring Sigourney Weaver. Dian was found murdered the killer never found or identified. This photo is of a adult Silverback male Alley was able to photograph. These animals like so many others are critically endangered. It makes us want to take a look in our own back yards and see just what special creatures we have that should be cared about. Food for thought.
It took me ages to get this shot. We spent a day at Hokianga Harbour a stunning location on the west coast about two hours drive from where we live. I didn't want to leave but like all good things it had to come to an end. I'll be going back up there sooner rather than later. I think I'll retire there ..some day that is.
You've seen photos of my youngest daughter Michelle on this blog doing things all kids in the country would do. Playing with calves and animals and growing up healthy and happy. Looking at her you wouldn't guess Michelle has autism. Well she has. I watched a movie the other night called "My extraordinary Life" I think that's what it was called. It was about a Mum in the US raising twin sons both with Autism. Like me she persisted in ensuring her two kids got the best possible start and help in life. Michelle has progressed from a severely disabled (she had a badly turned in leg) situation with her physical and mental development. At four she couldn't speak. At five her first few words were Dada and cat and she was barely toilet trained. I resolved right from the beginning when she was diagnosed at three with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) to help Michelle gain the skills she would need to lead a normal happy life. Now she is nearly ten, riding bikes, playing with calves, climbing trees and doing everything other kids her own age do. I am so lucky to have her and Inaya. Hope you like the photo I took of Michelle today with her now rather large calf club calf Starlight. I am so proud of my special kid.
Well at least I think it's supposed to be one. Out of my now misplaced visual diary. I did it one summer afternoon at the kitchen table with my nephew drawing one side and my sister doing a sketch of her son on the other. We had such a neat time just doing nothing but art - then we had do the stock. So much for a nice ending when one of the bulls we had here at the time got out into my neighbours place and caused havoc. He tasted nice anyway.
Anne has this thornless climbing rose in her garden. I'm figuring it's part of the Rose Banksia Family but I can't be sure on that one. I got carried away with my digital camera as we who blog tend to do and took some photos of some of these lovely flowers Anne had and a one of her doves. I love her garden. Reminds me of those cute Beatrice Potter books with Peter Rabbit and his friends. I just love gardens..wish mine could look as nice. Not with a calf and a horse in it right now! Yes it's my fault I know I know....
For anyone who has or has had cattle this link just has to be checked out. Cow Psychology by Cowboy Jerry just has to be the best piece of writing I have ever read - where cows are concerned that is. I'm afraid to say the one I was intending on eating..got named. (How dumb can you get!) I would love to hear your comments on this one guys. It's priceless.
A couple of years ago I had a commission to paint this huge villa on canvas. I hadn't ever done anything like it before but the final result turned out brilliantly. i don't have a photo of the painting sadly but I still have this little sketch I did of Jan's garden. I love old houses.
My neighbour down the road has a few sheep grazing on his property. One of the ewes had lambed triplets during the winter. I watched the smallest one struggle to hang on to life despite the two bigger lambs getting most of mums milk. Nine weeks down the track I saw the three lambs again and the little one had somehow survived. Woolly little guys too and so cute. I will make a confession though..I am not keen on sheep. Suffolks though I do like...but I'll stick to the cattle thanks. I remember as a child growing up and watching some film called "This is New Zealand" with all the scenery and the "We are a Nation built on the sheep's back" Ah...okay. Well things has drastically changed since that movie was made in the seventies. We now have Dairy giant Fonterra who are now a global company being caught up in a Chinese milk powder scandal, poor returns for beef and lamb producers. Sounds grim but people farm because they want to. The end of season payout from Fonterra was over $7NZ per kilo of milk solid (around 2 pounds in a kilo) next season the payout forecast has been predicted to be $6.40 NZ per kg of milk solid. Makes for a big drop in income. Oh well had better stop raving and do something constructive like the dishes. Til tomorrow take care everyone
I love Auckland City but not the problems that come with urban living. Twenty years ago it wasn't a very busy place. Now that's changed and new developments are going on all over the CBD. They held the America's Cup here then lost it - not that I really worried too much about that. I'm two hours drive away from a city with just over a million people. These are some photos I took the last time I went for a visit. The tower is the Auckland Sky tower at 326 mtrs it's not the tallest in the world but it's now a landmark on the city skyline. We're lucky that we have two coasts so close. The beach is only ten minutes from me down the road. I am so looking forward to the summer time! I love living here on the farm. I don't miss the city not one bit. Here's to rural living!
Afternoon at Anne's place. The kids were getting their calves done ready for pet day in two weeks time. It was just such a lovely day today that turned out to have a nice warm afternoon for kids,calves and the adults. Then there was the free for all by the ducks and chickens for the bread Anne had thrown out even the doves got involved. Had a good day today and tomorrow looks even more promising. Anne gave me the hard word about getting some art work done for her shop...so that's what I'll be doing along with a picture to send over to Rae...swap for the soap she's sent to me. Hope everyone has had a great day.
I have Mondayitis. Work calls and I have to go in to the office today (mutter). Staggered out of bed at 5 am had a coffee then just blobbed out for a little while. Just took some photos. One is out of focus..shaky hand syndrome and the rest are off what I get greeted with each morning - the chickens at the door and the beautiful native bush we have here on the farm. I'll post up some better photos a little later on when I can find the file that is! Have a great day today everyone...I'll be back...
I photographed this little guy with his Dad at the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland. They were taking part in a live day to celebrate the restoration of an old Beam steam engine that was used in the 19th century to pump Auckland City's water supply from the Western Springs lake. My very close friend of thirty years Lisa and I took the kids with us and we had spent the entire day there. And of course I took heaps of photos!!! It was such fun.
I just felt like doing something small and quick tonight so I came up with this one. The colours aren't right but it was just a quick drawing - so I wasn't too concerned. Thought I'd put it on anyway just for fun..which is why I blog. I have gained some wonderful friends from all over the world all amazing and all fantastically talented. You guys Rock!!!!
This one I did after the Giraffe picture. More Rock Art!! Oh no!!! I love African Rock art it's so wonderful. I just...had to do another one. I still have this one at home. I haven't had much time of late to do anymore of these. I have so much fun watching the shape appear as I build it. I'll get another one done and soon. Keep me occupied for a while I guess, that and the farm work.
My Mum dropped off some scraps for the chickens. Trouble was it had mince in it and Emerald decided she just had to get in first!!! Cat in the bag goes against the Cat is out of the bag. It was hilarious. I took a photo then rescued the remains and gave it to the chickens. Trouble was both Emerald and Dream wanted to join in!!! Then the Party Pooper came along and ruined their dinner party. How rude!!!!