2013-05-08

Grandma's broom - Another Farm Yarn (Part true the rest all yarn)

This photo is a complete yarn too!

Many years ago Grandma and Grandpa had a big old farm house, complete with drafty corners and big wooden verandahs that went right around. Beyond was the garden full of fruit trees and rose bushes all lovingly pruned with every colour a rose bloom could ever be found in. Grandma was very proud of her house and her garden. She had won lots of prizes at the local agricultural show every year with her prized roses, and her wonderful baking. She also had a big old jersey house cow named Lucille that gave fresh milk each day so Grandma could make her bread and have fresh cream for the scones she would bake in the morning.

Being very house proud, Grandma, of course, had a broom. It wasn't just any broom, that Grandma had handy beside the farm kitchen door. It was a special willow broom made by grandpa's own steady hands, just for Grandma to use. Woe betide anyone else who touched Grandma's special broom not even Grandpa risked touching that broom or he knew he would get a good ear bashing. And there, it would sit beside that farm kitchen door seemingly unused, and yet the floors were always swept clean. Which is where, we get to the story about Grandma's willow broom. As kids, we were never allowed to touch that sacred broom. No matter how much we asked and pleaded to use that big old broom it was always the same. "Don't you dare touch my special broom!" Grandma would call from the laundry if she knew her grand kids were figuring on laying just one finger on that well cared for willow broom. Never ever touch Grandma's broom. She never did say why, the rule was clear enough or it would be a good spanking instead. Grandma didn't ever kid around - rules were rules she always said and that was that.

One fine day as Grandma was in the kitchen, a big jersey bull jumped over the post and rail fence straight into her prized rose garden. Oh dear!!!! Those roses were her pride and joy, but as all jersey bulls can and do those roses were soon being turned into mashed up compost. He tore, he ripped, he stomped and he snorted those roses into the ground. And, just for good measure, that big old bull gave a few more a good belting with his big heavy head. He was almost done with the roses when Grandma saw him through the kitchen window. Her bellow could be heard clear to the next town. "OUT OF THERE!!!" she shouted running towards the kitchen door. On the way out Grandma armed herself with her special broom, never mind she still had her dressing gown and slippers on. After that bull she went.

Meanwhile that big jersey bull was just about to start on a lovely big red rose. Out came his big long sandpaper tongue to curl around that delicate bloom when ....he felt a good hard wallop on his read end. Now it was the bull that bellowed with all of his might!!! Off he went bellowing with grandma and her broom in hot pursuit! Wallop! Thump whack thud bash crash. All the sound effects one could ever ask for were heard that early morning. It was around and around the fish pond, through the fish pond and that broom going thwack! thwack on the bull's big ginger rump. Through the fence went the bull, and so did Grandma, who gave that darned bull two extra hard wallops, just as a reminder to never mess with Grandma and her broom. With the bull left with a smarting backside back in his paddock, a triumphant, but somewhat exhausted Grandma returned back to her kitchen with her special broom. It wasn't the first time that bull had come, and it wouldn't be the last time either. At last the truth just why that broom was really there came out one day. It wasn't to sweep the dust off the floor, it was to sweep the bull out of the garden. And that is the end of the tale of Grandma's willow broom.

And the real story this yarn was based on?

About three years ago, my poor mother was awoken rudely to one of our cows in her garden. It was 6 am in the morning, she was in her dressing gown and slippers at the time. Well out she went with a nylon broom and chased that darned cow around and around the fish pond. In then end the cow went into the fishpond and stood there for a bit before finally she went back out into the paddock. I'd say it was one heck of a hilarious sight indeed.



2013-05-06

Winter's not too far away

 It's back to short days and unpredictable weather, The little horses are already looking all fluffy with their winter coats now growing rapidly before the onset of the winter cold sets in for the next three or so months.

 Shadia is still finding her place in the group but she seems to have settled right down. We have quite a collection of little horses now. NO MORE. I think four is more than enough. It's far too easy to take them in, but honestly what do you do with them. Ranger is big enough to be ridden and used for harness later on. Shadia we will leave until she is four years old before we do anything more serious with her. The two little guys Tempest and Spiritus are just pets. We can't really do much with them at all due to their stifle lock problems. The old man these days is slowing down and he's enjoying his retirement. So please don't buy a young miniature horse unless you know exactly what you are doing. Stick to an older one that has been well handled and hopefully not spoilt rotten. They may be cute, but don't go giving them heaps of treats and let them get away with bad habits. Shadia is a sad example of what can go wrong. I'll keep up with my warnings. We can't lay the blame on Shadia for the way she was when she came here she is the victim of human negligence and misunderstanding.


And last but not least I got this photo of the waves on the rocks just below the cliff where the Leigh Cemetery is located. The sea was quite rough that day. I've known this view for over 40 years of my 49 years. Many happy memories of Leigh and the beaches around the area. Well that's me for another blog post. Heck I am being efficient for a change. Must be the rain outside maybe. Have fun, smile and most of all laugh until next time.

2013-05-05

Treasure Hunters, Great Gardens and a hoof in the door

On Friday I took Mum for a visit to the Leigh Cemetery where my father was buried almost sixteen years ago. He passed away on May 17 1996 aged just 67 years. While I was there, and Mum was having a sit down, I took a look around some of the older historic graves, many of which have been lovingly cleaned and restored. While I was looking, I came across the broken headstone of Edward James Harper, who had died while diving to recover gold from the wreck of the Elingamite sited at the Three Kings Islands.


Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19070131-10-1


The Elingamite sank on Sunday November 9 1902, taking with her a substantial amount of gold down into the depths. The London Salvage Company in 1903 engaged a New Zealand firm to start recovering the gold from the wreck. Edward Harper was employed as a diver to go down into the depths and recover the sunken treasure. The expedition after nineteen days of recovery attempts was a complete failure. In December 1906 Harper was employed again to go and dive on the Elingamite wreck. During early January, his dives yielded a great deal of success for the salvage company with the recovery of a large amount of gold from the wreck. On the 22nd of January 1907 however, things went terribly wrong for James Harper. Earlier he had been complaining of 'pains' from the numerous dives he had been undertaking over the course of the month to retrieve the gold from the wreck. On this particular day, he had already gone down twice with a dive duration of 15 minutes, however on the third and final dive the time went on to 23 minutes. When he resurfaced Harper complained of feeling unwell. He died of heart failure on board the Huia a short time later. Over the decades there have been many attempts to salvage the last of the gold from the Elingamite wreck. Auckland Museum have a blog post on their website about the latest diving activities. Check it out here.


Before we went up to the Leigh Cemetery, we spent the afternoon with Uncle Alec and Auntie Rosalie on their ten acre farm at Matakana. They have a stunning garden which I couldn't resist going around and photographing. The images below are of their wonderful creation. Just beautiful to say the least.






On a more humorous note we had Shandia deciding to come and say hello, she tried to walk inside!. So we had to close up the ranch slider. This was her trying to figure out how she could come back through. Big change from the angry sullen little horse that arrived just over a week ago. She's settled down well with the other horses. Now and then we get the fights going on but overall it's a happy group we have these days.

And around the blogs there's some great reading to be had.

 Check out the Patterns in Nature blog done by Bill. In the latest post Bill explains about Dynamic connections in species. Worth a read. It's very educational. Lisa over on the wonderful Timespanner blog has done a great post on the First Auckland Volunteer Fire Brigade . That you have to check out! Peter over at the Zoo News Digest Blog has a post about World Oceans Day.  Kristen Howe one of my writer friends has a great blog called Kristen's Book Jungle. She does some great book reviews worth a read. Well that's me for another post keep on smiling, have a laugh even when life at times can get us down.