Central Plateau, North Island

Central Plateau, North Island
View from a friend's farm

Monday, 31 December 2012

Views from Home and Away, 2012

The year has been busy, exciting, happy challenging sad, frightening and more. I have so many new friends, new hopes for 2013, and new challenges ahead. These are some of my photos from this year, not favourites, or the best photo of the month, but ones that had a special meaning, or were taken at a special place.

Rangitoto Island, in the Hauraki Gulf, taken from St Heliers Beach. The dull grey morning, before the funeral of Hugh’s friend Ken Croskery. Clouds cleared, rain sped away, we gathered, tears fell,we  talked, met old friends, and remembered
  times together ,tinged with sadness,  some laughter, and happiness for his life and friendship with us and so many others. Unforgettable, irreplaceable .Fond memories, Ken.
Rangitoto Island

Hugh and I stayed at a friend’s A Frame bach, high in the hills in the Central North Island. A haven of peace, quiet, and nature’s beauty.
Grass at high altitude

We had a holiday at Piropiro Flats, and some mornings were cold and foggy. This was the beginning of a photography challenge, with a new Canon 550D .
Sunlight showing

Evening sky at our home, Nature has beautiful colours.Evening sky at our place


Morning sky at Rotorua, during my wonderful days there with the family

Clouds above 

An old tree trunk toppled over in a storm, how many years was it standing tall and proud on the skyline?.
Old tree  trunk

Morning mist at our place, looking to the West
morning mist

The Otaki River, taken while trying to balance on the huge stones, too uneven to try and use a tripod. Slow shutter speed practice.Otaki River 


Wedding photos taken in our garden, one of the men quipped …” Do we we look girly enough?” The photo is cropped as I needed to ask permission before I posted the original.
Do I look girly enough 2


 The last tulip, after heavy rain.
last pink tulip 


Tutaenui Stream on our boundary,The colours seemed to be like a watercolour from one of the Great Artists.
stream colours 

Early morning,December 25th, a moment to reflect
Early Morning 25th December 2012 

Quotation for the year, from Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“ To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds,every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again”
New Year Greetings to all from Jean

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Morning Views, Christmas Day, 2012


The sky greeted me very  early,  with   beautiful colours that  suggested another fine,hot day. Shadows  played on  the trees and lawn as the sun started to show .

One brave Gladioli has deep purple petals, with almost lime green foliage.

I wish to you all…

Safe travels, fine weather, laughter, happiness,  good health, and days to share with family or friends.

Early Morning 25th December 2012

First Sunlight and shadows 

Morning sky



Quotation for Christmas Day 2012, author unknown

“ May the spirit of Christmas bring you Peace,

the Gladness of Christmas give you Hope,

the warmth of Christmas grant you Love”

Merry Christmas from Jean

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Greetings


I send to all my wonderful friends, those here in New Zealand and  in  many other countries, overseas,   the Best Wishes for a Joyous Christmas, Peace, Happiness, and  Good Health We might not know each other by meeting on the street, having a phone call, or travelling together, but our friendship  is so strong.

These last few months have shown me the true and so very real value of friends here in Blogger, you have all been so caring, and supportive with comments and emails, sending love, wishes for Hugh to improve, and messages for me too. I thank you so much.

Hugh is well, he has  recovered from Cardiac Surgery ,and is looking forward to next year with maybe a new challenge, or two or more.His List is impressive!!!

My  “Bucket List” was short, for 2013, I hope to begin a “ Diploma in Digital Photography” and finish the many started projects , but it must surely include one most important item"

“ Travel overseas and meet all my friends”

Take care, enjoy some time to  rest, reflect, join in celebrations, and  begin  the New Year with happiness in your heart.

Some photos from our home, our trips around New Zealand, and sunrise to sunset.

Quotation of the day, for Christmas 2012 from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“ I heard the bells on Christmas Day their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men”

Greetings to all from Jean

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Small Boy, A Huge Smile


New Zealand teenage girls and young ladies  in  the years to come,  watch out for the young lad with dark hair, big brown eyes and a lovely charming way. He stole my heart, what about yours??

Rodrigo is in NZ with his Mum and Dad,Dad has a new position here, and the little lad is so friendly, comes to a TOTAL stranger so easily.

His Mum’s blog is on my list, check it out for lovely goodies, ( I hope the Etsy shop opens again next  year ) photos from abroad, and some NZ scenes too.



soon I'll be walking


   Look at my smile

We hope  we can be  NZ friends for the little boy, ( and Mum and Dad) and see him walk, talk and grow up here in NZ.

Life continues to be busy here, Hugh is well, but we know that life has changed, for both of us, and are aware of limitations, future surgery, and the “ Bucket List”, that  is always on his mind. The tick off starts next year with a re-visit to Piropiro to continue a photo shoot of the cycle track , starting  with the  longest and highest suspension bridge in NZ which was under construction last March, and as I understand, is finished.

He can take the photos and test the bridge, I will watch.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ If you love someone, put their name in a circle,

for a heart can be broken, but a circle never ends”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Busy days, maybe should be “Busy in a Daze”


The days pass in a blur these last few weeks, with little time for photos or the blog. Hugh, the garden, (housework when I fit it in), in no particular order, or maybe in that very order!!!

Hugh is well, and we are, have been, and will  continue to be so very thankful for the expert medical care  he received. Each Sunday evening we line up all the bottles and packets and arrange the Monday to Sunday medication for another week.Thank goodness for those pill organisers, for want of a better or correct name. There are slots for A.M. and P.M. and it makes for a foolproof system, if you forget, they are there for someone/ME, to see and give a gentle reminder. Each one is necessary,  the one to stop clots around the stent is necessary for 12 months, Wait till next November, “ Hip,Hip,Hooray” will be the shout from the man.

And many thanks for emails, comments and caring messages and thoughts.They have meant so much, and thanks seem hardly enough to say how important the words have been.

However the garden, specially the vegetable part, is thriving. we have planted almost all the veges from seed, and I am quite/ pretty much/ very proud of what I have achieved. The small glass house has had a water blast, windows mended,trays scrubbed, and seeds planted.

Dwarf Golden Beans

Golden dwarf beans 

Potatoes are in a new plot this year, and are thriving.I hope that under the ground, they are as productive as on top.

Potatoes in all their green glorious leaves

Beetroot and carrots, almost ready for thinning.

Carrots & Beetroot

Yellow Submarine Tomatoes,small golden shaped pear shaped, and tasty. 

Tomatoes in a row

Snapdragons, and the Bumblebees manage to open the flower and burrow inside. Not as easy as getting inside a foxglove.

Pink Snapdragon

 Lemon Snapdragon

This beautiful flower is a Iris Sibirica, and the flowers are on stems at least 30 inches tall. They are in a shady part of the garden, and shine in the dim light.

Iris Sibirica

We have one Mother duck and her babies in the Tutaenui Stream, right on our boundary. She ushered them into the bank where they were almost hidden from above. I could see their little feet paddling as they tried so hard to keep up with her when she went further downstream.

Mother and baby ducklings

Quotation of the day, from Tennessee Williams

“Time is the longest distance between two places”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Colours in the Evening


Tonight there was that fleeting glimpse of stunning colour in the sky to the West. It does not last long, and then all that is left is the darker night.

One day I want to be somewhere on the main Highway, high up where there are no trees, just the vast landscape below.But for now, these are what we see on calm, fine  nights from our place.

This is what I see from the front lawn. Tall view with the sun very low, just a glow of yellow at the bottom.

  Talll view

The wide view, from almost the same spot.

Sunset colours

I walked round to the garden, and the light had changed so much, Gone were the crimson,red, and almost orange colours, and it was  grey/blue with the yellow almost a paler  lemon colour now .This is taken looking over the fence at our back boundary, the pine tree is our neighbour’s.


Through the fence 

View from the garden

To all my friends who celebrate Thanksgiving on 22nd November,  have a wonderful day, enjoy the celebration, and the food,  give thanks for families,life and friends . And from our place. I give many thanks to you all for your friendship, your blogs that have made my life so much richer, your comments and emails.  My Celebration is also with thanks.

Quotation of the day from Ben Johnson, 1573-1637

“ Suns,that set,may rise again; But if once we lose this light,

‘Tis with us perpetual night”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Song from The Baby


The start of this is shaky, as I tried to get more comfortable, if that was possible, at ground level,  on the edge of the lawn and the concrete edging. He was not fazed at all, and sang away as he tried to get his Mum or Dad to listen. Shortly afterwards, he flew, or fluttered his wings and managed to find his way to a patch of blackberry bush on the other side of the stream.I guess he found Mum, as the chirping stopped. I was so glad, as I am not quite ready to foster a baby bird right now!!!

The cabbage tree flowers and berries are a great source of food for many birds, and the creamy tufts shake and wobble as the birds settle in, find their tucker, and fly away.


Cabbage Tree flowers 


sunlight 013

I have always thought this is the flower of a Clematis Climber, but after searching for it in a  huge New Zealand Gardening Book, am not sure. Any identification will be very thankfully appreciated.

I have just heard that Mt Tongariro erupted briefly this afternoon, no known casualties  according to the news, a 2 km plume of ash and cloud, photos and videos on the news and internet. We are a good distance away, 2  groups of school pupils are all safely off the Mountain, no doubt full of a story about “ We were  close- by  when  it happened!!!”

Quotation of the day, unknown author

“Nobody trips over mountains.

It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble.

Pass all the pebbles in your path,

and you will find you have crossed the mountain”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Ruffled Red, Unruffled Baby ,and Afternoon Sunlight

The Red,Red Poppy
We have had red poppies in our garden for several years, this year they are very ruffled, and so weighty, the stems droop very low.
red ruffles
Baby birds have been chirping for some days, but are usually hidden.Today there was one lonely blackbird baby on the back lawn.He/she was very vocal, I will edit the video tomorrow.
I am waiting for my Mum 
  I lay down on the grass and managed to get very,very,VERY close. The chick was not fazed at all… then with no time to go back to movie mode,
“ Along came The Cat”, Felicity walked up, got very close, like really personal, and finally after the wee chick seemed to peck her nose, she leapt away. the right place at the right time.
   Maybe a gentle pat would help How close can you goI think my nose was too close
The Felicity was off, just one glance to see if this had been real!!!
That's it for today
The late afternoon sun highlighted the Chestnut tree and  touched the taller trees,  ours are in shadow  on the left, the right hand side ones are across the streamLate afternoon sunlight
Quotation of the day, from Robert Louis Stevenson,
“ I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night”
Greetings from Jean

Friday, 16 November 2012

Food for the Birds


Along the boundary of our back lawn are  the trees, Cordyline Australis, or the common name “ Cabbage Tree” ; they can grow to 20 metres tall, and flower in spring, After this there are thousands of small berries, turning from green to cream

Tui,bellbirds, starlings, sparrows, blackbirds and others flock to the trees to eat the fruit.

There is a saying “ If the Cabbage Tree flowers early, it will be a long hot summer”,the flowers are in full bloom right now. I will wait and see if our summer is indeed hot.

Cabbage Tree flowers

In a shaded part of the garden foxgloves thrive. The colours range from pale cream, delicate apricot, and deep purple. The bees like diving into the flower, and the flower is designed  so that when the  bee  goes in to get the nectar,  it will get pollen on its wings. Then when it visits the next plant, that pollen rubs off and another flower is pollinated.Nature is clever, innovative, and an artist in design.

Bumblebee perching on the Foxglove

This photo was one of many, as the Bumblebee visited almost every flower on this stem.

“ The rain has come, the grass has grown, Hugh is out getting it mown”.

And as for me, weeding, replanting the pots that had spring bulbs, planning  the summer flowers, and checking growth in the glasshouse, New bean seeds are germinating, the Yellow Submarine tomato plants are thriving, I might need to take them out when the flowers come,  to make sure the flowers are pollinated. More bees needed!!

Quotation of the day, from Robert Browning

Pippa Passes

The year’s at the spring and days at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;The hill-side’s dew-pearled;

The lark’s on the wing;The snail’s on the thorn:

God’s in his heaven- All’s right with the world !

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Raindrops on Fennel


This morning was fine, then after lunch the rain fell, good for the lawn,  the garden, and the birds, as the worms are easier to pull . And for me as well, the outdoor work can wait for another fine day.

Susan, here is the bird feeder on a spade handle. Too wet to stand out and get a photo of the blackbird, the first to try out the new

“ Dinner Table Setting”

 Bird feeder on the spade handle

In a shaded patch, the fennel thrives, and has a lovely scent/smell/aroma when you crush the fine leaves. It is a great accompaniment with a fish dish.

Fennel after rain

I have been busy planting out more “Yellow Submarine” tomato plants, and Hugh’s vegetables are thriving.

Tomato plants 

Chives,radish,strawberries and silverbeet

Solomon’s Seal, or Polygonatum fascinates me, The shoots appear a bit like asparagus spears, then the tall stem, then it droops over and these beautiful white flowers hang under the leaves. Nature at its finest.Solomon's Seal flowers

The rain is a good time for all cats to be indoors, and no better place than on a fleece blanket. Here is “ Poppy on Purple

Poppy on Purple

Quotation of the day,  from Cecil Frances Alexander,1818-1895

“ All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small.

All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Our Thrush Bird


For some days, this Thrush has been on the lawn, the seat, and in the trees, and waits for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. She( I think it might be a lady, she is very patient and polite!!) waits for the bread to be thrown out, takes one piece and hops away, to eat in private.  She has one wing that droops, and she spends a lot of time preening it, pecking under it, but she can fly well.

I look and wonder what happened to her, and have to reassure myself that  she is a survivor.

I am just sitting

What happened to your wing 

Cleaning time

Cleaning time

This is my good wing

This is my good wing

I am ready to fly away

Ready to fly

Quotation of the day  from Victor Hugo

“ Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her,

still she sings away  all the same, knowing she has wings”

Greetings from Jean