2009-12-30

Life? Don't talk to me about...Life it's madness as usual!

I know now my New Year's Resolution I will not of course keep is my weakness for chocolate. I cannot resist its evil hold on me! I had a binge of chocolate dreams in my little black book of thoughts....oh dear I have been indeed naughty. Well not really I was having some fun so that means I have already deliberately not kept my resolution about not being creative any more. Not so sure about this since I nicked the pictures out of an old Womans Weekly Magazine...well I wanted those shoes! and that icecream with the chocolate sauce I just couldn't..resist. Death by Chocolate? Hmmm. And guess who decided to pay me a visit the other day...

Yes Oscar the Grouch decided to come inside to catch insects. He does that from time to time. Well I was out with my Mum when Oscar had flown thrown one of the windows. I came home laden with junk and there he is sitting on the computer keyboard. Then he spotted a big fat spider and ended up on the window sill. He's not nesting this year - So I won't need a motorcycle helmet this time or a suit of armour. Lucky for him Emerald was not in the house otherwise this little grouchy Kingfisher would have been lunch. Strangely enough Sasquatch was sleeping on the sofa but I think maybe Oscar had a big bad attitude and had scared his evilness off.

Well it wasn't safe inside for this grouchy little bird so I caught him..yet again and sent him on his way...yes well he was back the next day. Little sod but I like him anyway..and then there is his evilness....
Apart from biting me every other day Sasquatch has now taken up a new hobby. Tail Biting - his own. Suddenly poor little tail has become the latest victim in a long long of victims of the evil Sasquatch. And there he is above..BITING HIS OWN TAIL? And then there was the other matter.
Sasquatch and Dream highjacked my classic album collection. Just because I was clearing out the cupboards and sorting my junk out (I have loads of junk mutter) these two decided it was time to sit on the Eagles and Ultravox so I could not swipe off with them. And when I did go to get them....
I get the attitude from his evilness?.....he wakes up extends paws....and .....
I am shown the sharp teeth...with the added clawz of...Dis iz mine stoopid hooman!
Oh I give up.....

2009-12-28

Okay 2010 is coming ......and.....

I'm supposed to make some new year's resolutions...trouble is I'll never keep them so I decided to take another approach with this resolution stuff. Instead I have made a list of New Year's Resolutions I will not keep so here goes....

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS I WILL NOT KEEP

  1. I will not keep secret chocolate stashes hidden from my kids
  2. I will not call the innocent Australian Brush Tailed possum a TB carrying rotten marsupial sod
  3. I will not continue to spoil the Terrorist rotten with secret treats when the other cows are not looking
  4. I will not call my dog a Village Idiot Dog when he tries to chase sparrows that are perched in trees
  5. I will not be creative
  6. I will not think for myself
  7. I will not do any more art
  8. I will not tell those I who get on my nerves to 'Bite Me"
  9. I will not blog any more
  10. I will not draw any more cartoons
  11. I will not plan to have secret stashes of M&M's hidden around the house...
  12. I will not read anything interesting
  13. I will not ........dream


2009-12-21

Where has the week gone!? Or maybe it was two weeks?

I'm starting to lose track of the days with the lead up to Christmas. Today is the 21st of December. It seemed only yesterday I was writing a blog post about Christmas in 2008. I've lost track of people as well! I think at this rate I'll be losing track of myself! Where has the time gone. So much has happened
I photographed the Terrorist the other day. She has grown so much but she is still the smallest Jersey I have ever seen. Popcorn River's calf is just over 4 months old and he is nearly as big as she is! The Terrorist is now nearly 17 months old but you wouldn't know it judging by her size. Popcorn will soon be bigger that she is. He has to go shortly off to another farm to start a new life as a future herd sire for beef cows. Meantime his father Micah is still having a wonderful time over at Terry's although he has been toned down a lot by the bigger bulls he is with.

Popcorn looks more Jersey than anything else, but he has inherited Michah's Hereford blood and the Fresian as well. We're figuring he might just be throwing, as far as his size goes, to the Fresian end of things. One thing I do know is he won't be a small bull when he is older. Oh what fun. Not. Glad I won't be putting up with him. When I moved them yesterday he tried to bulldoze a sheep that keeps coming onto our place...yes it's back the one with the wire still around its leg. I hate seeing it limp, but I can't catch it and nobody around at the moment has a gun to shoot it with. I'll try getting it into the yards with the cows when I drench them all next.
River I think is back in calf and possibly the Terrorist with her. Micah was a very busy little short fat bull before he jumped the fence the first time. So I think the cows all must have cycled before he lost interest. The vet is coming out after Christmas to sort out the two remaining calves here for dehorning and to castrate Ocean's calf - I'll get the cows pregnancy tested then as well.

One thing I did have to be proud of and that is the achievements of my two youngest daughters. Michelle (pictured above) received the Academic Award for Art in Year 6. Now that is some achievement for a little girl who has had to battle with her Autism and overcome some great obstacles. Her report said it all. Michelle has reached a reading age of 11 - 12 years. Her mathematics and her written language plus story writing is at the level of year 6 (Standard 4 in the old school system). She has done brilliantly. She also did Road Safety Patrol, Peer Mediation and was also a School Librarian plus she took part in the Kapa Haka Group and the School Choir. Now that is just awesome. Then there was Inaya's big surprise....

The photo above is an artwork Inaya did during the year at Otamatea High School as part of a study on the life and works of the outstanding artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Her art teacher couldn't speak highly enough of it. I love it so much. Inaya thought it was bad...not according to her teacher it wasn't. And I'll back her on that one. Great artwork. I love it!

Friedensreich Hundertwasser - Image Wiki Commons

During this year Inaya had struggled with bullies and other problems that go on at all High Schools regardless of where they are. She doubted her own self ability to cope with the school work or to handle the new school she now found herself in. all I could do was to keep telling her to stay positive as hard as it was for her and to keep persisting. She ran a marathon in November and came in the top ten girls. That was another achievement for her. Little did any of us know that in the meantime other achievements had been made. Inaya went to the junior prize giving not really expecting anything. Well how about this. A Certificate of Excellence for Endeavour in Year 7 and with it she was awarded the Cullen Memorial Trophy. She was also the top girl in year 7. A Certificate of Excellence for First in 7SS (Her class number) Social Science, and last but not least a Certificate of Excellence for Endeavour in 7SS Girls Physical Education. And her average exam mark was 80%..so excuse me?That is awesome. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo! I think Inaya somehow will achieve her goal of becoming a wildlife vet
The girls are now in Sydney Australia with my brother and his family for a couple of weeks they will have a ball. I do miss them though. It's too quiet here!

You're probably wondering what this is all about? It's one of my old record sleeves I found when I was clearing out a cupboard the other day. This is the centre of the album "I Am" produced in 1979 by the still very popular group Earth Wind & Fire. I still remember their song "Fantasy" I still like that song. The artwork for this album is a masterpiece in itself. This was done by Japanese Artist Shusei Nagaoka. This so remininscent of the last of the 1970's style where the fashion side of things went. At the time the New Romantics (Ultravox, Visage etc) were slowly starting to take over..I know I was so into it back then and yet I still love that time...ah teenagers for ya.LOL

More to come but I'll finish this blog post here. I have some great websites to tell you all about, some awesome blogs and ...incriminating pictures of Sasquatch up to no good...

2009-12-13

A moment at Whakapirau - Photo essay

Slowly but sure the tides of time gnaw away at old foundations.....

Oysters take advantage of the perfect home beneath man's fading past....
And always the wader will spy the unwary crab that leaves its burrow to become the next meal

Waiting for the summer holidays to come the boat tractor and the old batch await their owner's return once more

Spring rains leave behind a reminder of their passing within the timbers of an old row boat


Waiting once more for the family to return the old wooden boats gather the growing grass
And soon the tide will return along with the fishermen with fresh baited hooks and warm coffee to take away the chill of the night....

Early evening the sun low in the horizon leaves the contrast of light upon the incoming tide


One day will pass then another a frozen moment left as a black and white image in memory

Beneath young feet sea creatures await the incoming tide..canine senses smell the salt air..

Like a sentinel from the past the old totara post tells a story of other times long since passed into the vaults of history. Defiant of the elements it firmly remains strong and steadfast in its resolve

And beyond awaits the board expanse of the might Kaipara Harbour. Claimer of many a good ship and their human cargos. A highway for trade a place for myths. I love this place.

2009-12-08

Time out with calves, kids and the family dog


HMMMM HOOMAN'S FINGER LOOKS TASTY

After my last blog post this might make a happier change. The girls are okay and we're all moving on with our lives after a difficult event. Things happen - I'm the wiser for it all - again. Each day I learn something new - I hope I never stop learning. I have to continue to move forward. A lot of things over the last week or so have been going on and the lead up to Christmas has been full on. I've had time to get the camera out and take some more photos of the farm and the beach we love to visit from time to time.
The Tuis are loving our Flax flowers right now

The weather is slowly but surely improving. We still need the rain though to keep the grass growing and our water tanks filled up for the coming summer months. The calves are growing fast. Stream decided she didn't want to live with us anymore and took herself through the boundary fence and there she has stayed. No loss there. If trouble had a middle name Stream's would be in the middle of it. So now we're down to River, Ocean and the Terrorist plus the calves and the old man Edward.
BE GONE WITH YOU!

Feather right now is in grumpy broody Chicken mode and despite me removing her hoarde of eggs she has stubbornly sat on empty air for several weeks. We know when she is coming. The angry clucks and stuck out feathers say only one thing. Broody Hen on the warpath.Look out! I was rather mean this morning to her and I found some big rocks then stuck them in her secret little nest. I don't think she'll be sitting on those for too long. Grumpy little hen. And well so far she's now trying to hatch rocks? Maggie is her usual I rule the place self and is now attempting to sleep outside our door each night. No she won't. Inaya has been grabbing her and shoving her into the old chicken house but back Maggie comes. After about 10 repeat trips she gets the message and stays there. Yesterday she had filled one of my gumboots up with chicken poo...YUK! I didn't put them on...I had to wash them out.

THE DOUBLE TROUBLE TAG TEAM

The kids and I decided to take Simon for a walk down at Whakapirau the other night - I'm so glad we did. It was a beautiful early evening and the tide was just coming in. Simon had a great time towing the kids along the beach while I took some photos with the digital. I've visited a few places during the course of my life but I just love the Kaipara and where I live here in Northland.


While we were there we went around to the wharf where the old Dairy Factory still stands. It was built around 1903/04 and once boats would pull up alongside the wharf and the cream cans would be hauled up through the top doors then poured into the vats ready for the butter making process. That industry has long since faded along with the Kauri Timber milling that used to also be there. Ships would call in at Pahi across the inlet as well. Just quarter of a mile further up there is the the wreck of the Mosquito that sank during a squall in 1867 the ships builder Thomas Condon was drowned. Its owner Lionel de Labrosse was a French Count that brought land in the Pahi area around 1863/64. He later died it seems of epilepsy down in Te Aroha when he was an Engineer at a Flax Mill. Kind of a sad ending.


While we were there I ended up talking with one of the local commercial fisherman. It turned he was leasing the old factory so I was able to take a quick look inside and get some shots of the interior. The Kauri sarking on the celing is amazing. Parts of the old building are still original - slowly but surely though the old Dairy Factory is decaying on the shores.


Commercial fishing on the Kaipara these days has been reduced from around 120 operators to now a handful of just 35 and most likely dropping. These guys make their living from the harbour and are well aware of sustainable practices. Back in the 1880's the mullet stocks were nearly wiped out by overfishing. At one stage in the area there used to be several canneries operating. They're all gone now of course. Thankfully the mullet weren't wiped out.

I really enjoyed that time down there. I needed it. Simon was happy. He found a muddy place and some old fish bait in one of the locals boats...YUK!

2009-11-29

Thank God for Simon



Living in the country has its share of risks. We have all seen the programs such as The New Detectives or Crime Files. We read and hear tragic stories of children being abducted then found days or months later murdered and raped. These things happen to families and their grief is inconsolable. Sometimes those terrible crimes remain unsolved. We read and watch the news items never thinking it could happen to our own families. Yes it can.

On a Sunday night at 6.30 pm my two girls took our dog Simon for short walk along the road as the weather wasn't all that wonderful so the option was to walk the dog just along from the farm gate. Simon is not a small dog and there is no way I will allow my two girls to walk alone on the road without the dog with them. I know exactly how long it takes to the point where the girls were to turn around and return with Simon back home. A distance of exactly 500 metres. You would think the girls would have been relatively safe in that short distance from home - they weren't. A dark blue vehicle with two men in it kept driving past slowly several times. I saw the vehicle and wondered what they were doing. Meantime the girls themselves were becoming aware that the intentions of these two people may not be at all good. They hurried as quickly as they could back towards home. In the meantime the vehicle passed our farm gate again heading back towards Maungaturoto. Just as the girls reached the boundary fence between our farm and our neighbours the vehicle swerved inwards and a car door was flung open by one of the men in the vehicle. Michelle was grabbed and pulled into the car. Inaya was trying to hold Simon and attempt to stop Michelle from being taken. They threatened Inaya as well as telling Michelle to stop struggling. Inaya told me the expressions on these men's faces were evil predators and she knew exactly what their intentions were towards both her and Michelle. Simon must have known these people meant to cause great harm to Inaya and Michelle. He leapt into the vehicle and attacked the two men. Inaya managed to free Michelle and drag Simon back. Simon injured these two predators and he saved my girls lives. The men fled after that.


As a mother my intuition told me that if these men had taken my two girls - I would have been attending two funerals. It took two days to get some sense out of the girls as to what had really happened. The police are now looking for these people. We hope they get them soon. Our family has been in turmoil all week. I can't concentrate properly and the girls are having nightmares. They are terrified that these two people are still out there. I know they will be caught.

Look after your children. Nowhere is ever safe - not even a quiet country road. Thank God for Simon he saved my children's lives. A dog that was perhaps no good for farm work (loved as he was by his previous owners) has proved beyond a doubt he is indeed a hero - we wouldn't be without him.

2009-11-25

A few more memories I found during my clear out


I found my photo journal I've filled in now and then with different photos and what they were about. In fact it's an old self help book I didn't find very useful so I used it for another purpose. And I think it's helped now a lot. I like this one. These are photos I took at the Paparoa Farmer's Market last year. July 2008 to be exact. Real farmers are there with a fantastic variety of great food and organic produce. I had a lot of fun photographing what was on offer and getting to meet some of my neighbours to catch up with a talk and see how everyone was. That day our local council was there talking about their local district plan. Even those on the Kaipara District Council mostly are farmers. Loraine who helps organise the market makes the most fantastic home made ice cream she is such a lovely lady to know. We have bacon, fresh fish, free range eggs and so many other things. The best thing too is that the kids can play on the swings and slides right alongside the carpark where the market is held. Paparoa is a beautiful little town and worth visiting. I love the old buildings and the villas there. The old bank is now a wonderful restaurant named Sahara and their food is just awesome. They even have Sunday afternoon jazz there. worth checking out if you're ever over our way.

Another fantastic place I have visited several times is the former Settler's Lodge now renamed as Settler's Country Manor. It used to be the former Waimauku Dairy Factory which for many years was used as a country craft shop, then late,r it was developed into a restaurant and function centre. The gardens I have watched right from their early beginnings over the last 17 years or so develop into a glorious paradise with secret hidden places such as the one above. I took this one of course with my little Kodak instamatic camera when my neice had her wedding reception there. I've attended another wedding there since and my brother in law's 5oth Birthday - then I had the digital and managed to get some awesome night shots. Waimauku used to be a quiet sleepy place you passed through on State Highway 16 on the way to Helensville where I lived for nearly 20 years. A left hand turn takes you on the road to Muriwai Beach. I used to ride my horse there many years a go. Bareback at full gallop is a lot of fun - now that I really do miss.

The old Da Gina Italian Restaurant brings back great memories for me. When I lived in the rural township of Helensville from 1985 to 2004 I raised my eldest daughter there, built my first home with my now former husband David and for the first five years I was there I didn't know anyone except my younger sister and her husband and his family. After I started working at the local timber yard I got to know more people. In 1999 Dave left me and I became a single paret raising three children by myself in our first home. My eldest went to live with her father when she was 15 and I was alone with Inaya and Michelle both still babies then. From that point on I learned to make the best of a difficult situation. A couple of years before I bought the farm I really did manage to start enjoying both my home and the girls. The best thing of all were the warm summer nights when I would take Michelle down in the stroller and stop in at Da Gina to get a pizza or some lasagna on a Saturday night. I loved the township and still do but it's changed. It isn't the same anymore. It's become more urbanised as more families from Auckland have moved up there realising that it isn't so far away after all. I remember when people would tell me that Helensville was such a long way - the truth was it was barely half an hour's drive from Auckland City longer now more traffic is on the road. The train service was restarted but sadly it's just been canned. Maybe in another few years when more people are there they might just fire it all up again.

And talking about trains and stuff this is the crossing near where I live. Our warning signals there have a strange little quirk every so often. This little quirk usually has the technicans from On-Track driving over from wherever they are based and spending a long while in that little white shed with Maungaturoto marked on it. Yes you would expect the bells to go off whenever there is a train approaching the crossing - not these bells. They go off whenever they feel like it - train or no train. So when it's like that it's get out of the car. Take a nice long hard look at either end of the railway tracks. Hope like hell it's only the wind whistling and then cross over the tracks with the vehicle and hope like heck you ahven't make the wrong call. Last time it happened there was a queue of cars waiting....waiting...waiting..In the end we all decided the imaginary train had passed on by and continued on our journeys. I thought I'd share that little story. One day those bells might just behave themselves - or not.