Central Plateau, North Island

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

Saturday, 28 April 2012

April , and some time away

April FMQ design
The April FMQ challenge was to copy a pattern, then pencil it onto the fabric, then stitch.
This pattern is courtesy of the Internet, and is stitched on silk, with rayon thread. There were no places where I had to reverse on the previous stitches, and after one trial run managed to stitch without glaring mistakes.It was not too adventuresome for me, and again I am happy with my achievement, I am still a true novice with free motion quilting and all the new ways to do this, but the more I do, the easier it is getting.AND... I am enjoying it more each day.
I am in Rotorua for a few weeks to do school shuttle runs, keep the meals on the table, washing on the lines, and keep George and Ellie ( Feline family) happy.
There should be plenty of places where I can use the new camera, and hope to be out and about, with new views.
Hugh will be at home, and Janet will ably take care of things while I am away. Ta so much, my GEM.Look out for an email every day.
Quotation of the day, unknown author
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to be over,
it's about learning to dance in the rain.
Cheers from Jean

March on and finish the stitching

FMQ stipple
The March FMQ challenge was for fillers,or stippling or doodling or background patterns, and again  something I hadn’t done before. I sorted out the New Zealand  fabric, cut and fused, did a practise on some plain fabric, and then BINGO, this was done. I am so happy  with it, I used a King Tut variegated thread on the top, clear nylon in the bobbin, and tried to do swirls similar to fern fronds. A friend likes the way the appliques stand out, the Kiwi seems to have a body of its own.The background fabric is a batik with muted pale green colours that fade out in places.
This might be saved for a gift for someone from overseas. I can add some of the  same fabric, or use another colour and make this a feature.We have some friends from Germany coming in May, Ronny and Peggy, please shut your eyes if you are reading this page.

Quotation of the day, abridged, from Katherine Hepburn
If you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.

Cheers from Jean

February Feathers Finished!!

February Feathers FMQ

This FMQ Challenge was that. A real challenge for me, as my Free Motion Quilting experience is very limited. To be truthful, almost non-existent.
So I began the practise blocks. The ones at first were throw-away ones. too awful to be kept for anything at all.
Gradually I began to do the feathers a little better, but then  everyday  life intervened, gardens needed to be weeded and planted, and we had some holidays away.
Last week I waltzed into  the lounge, holding this block high.
 Jubilant sounds, “Look at this. I’ve finished the Feathers Block!!”
  This was done on silk fabric, a silver rayon thread, and clear nylon in the bobbin.I used the BSR foot on my Bernina QE, and am happy, relieved, and  sort of a little bit pleased with the result.
Watch this blog, as .. I have finished March and April challenges as well.

Quotation of the Day, Author unknown
Anything  which is not  attempted remains impossible
Cheers from Jean

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lest We Forget

( Photo , Courtesy of the Internet)

Poppies in the field near Gallipoli      ANZAC Day, 25th April 2012.
Australian and New Zealand Army Corp

We honour all those who left their own  country, fought overseas, and those who did not return home.
We honour those here today, those who are not,and remember them all.
I look at the brave  men and women, standing, or sitting, at the Dawn Service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum this morning.
Lined faces, warm coats, and hats and scarves, walking sticks, some  men on  crutches, children, and grandchildren walking in with their families, some men and ladies  in wheelchairs, many with rows of medals,
the soldiers standing to attention at the base of the Cenotaph.
We remember.
The Last Post is played, and I am sure many tears flow.

The ANZAC dedication
For The Fallen
by Laurence Binyon
They shall grow not  old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them,
We will remember them.

Words for ANZAC day .
Greetings to all from Jean.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Trucks, Graders and more

While we were camping, some road works were done. JRK from Te Kuiti came with many different trucks, loaders, graders, transporters and more.
The large transporter can carry up to 40 ton, has  a GPS on it, and another in the cab. The dashboard  itself was amazing, and so sophisticated. The cab came from Canada, and I wondered if it had been used in the Yellowknife area for the “ Ice Road Truckies”.
Dick from Te Kuiti was working further up the road from the camp, doing metal screening. If all was quiet we could hear the machinery working
But as well as this, he asked me if I wanted anything from town, and then he delivered a  “ New Zealand Herald” most mornings on his way up the road. Many, many thanks Dick, this was  something I had not imagined would happen, as last time we stayed the logging trucks were working, and they started at 3.30 a.m. 6 mornings a week.And they were so busy  they didn’t stop at all.
The news,weather, and the crosswords. Dick, it was the best!!!
The TransporterThe Loader 
Some of the fleet, parking below our shelter, the loader, and the big transporter which was there overnight.
The green flashing light in the cab and on the trailer unit  tells if it has been moved so much as a few centimetres.
Hydraulic pipes,safety signs,the weight it is carrying, all displayed .
Some of the Fleet

Here Courtesy of the Internet, is a dog GPS Collar, and the handheld GPS. Yes, it does show where each dog is, where they have been and also if they are moving or still.

Garmin dog GPS

This photo was taken at 7 a.m., not long before we left for home. The sun made lovely patterns through the trees.
Not far from our tent there was a bank with bunny burrows in it.This was wide and had been excavated so thoughtfully.
7 a.m. 29th March PiropiroBunny's burrow at Piropiro

I have had a great time with the new camera, some disasters,  but am slowly starting to use more of the different modes.

When I was about 14, I had a holiday job in  Auckland, at Bond and Bond, and after 2 weeks, had saved up enough to buy my first camera, a Box Brownie. Mum and Dad came into Auckland, met me at lunchtime and we went to Kodak in Queen Street.
I still have that, maybe a real antique now.
There are 2 viewfinders, one for portrait, one for landscape, a slide for taking photos close-up, 5 to 10 feet, the other for over 10 feet.
2 small knobs to attach a strap, and it had flash contacts. I took so many photos with this, the most memorable was when Sir Willoughby Norrie officially opened the “ Karaka War Memorial Hall” in 1954
Brownie cameraBrownie viewfinderBrownie adjustments

Sir Willoughby Norrie, on the front step, From  what I can remember, I asked him to wait on the step so I could get a better photo.
What audacity from  14 year old!!! He then went on to meet members of the Karaka Farm Improvement Club, which I think was headed by Ralph Du Faur, who is  standing on Sir Willoughby's right side. The other men will be from the TeHihi ,and Karaka area
My Dad’s writing alongside the photos. What memories these bring.
Sir Willoughby Norrie 1954Ralph Du Faur, Sir Willoughby Norrie and others

Here is Bond and Bond, which from memory was where the tea and appliance office was.
My job was to collect the  mail, from a  private mail box, open each letter with a silver letter opener, and lay it neatly on Mr Eli Bond’s desk. I think I also made the tea .I was staying with  a friend in Onehunga, we went in by train, and as Onehunga was the last stop, we stayed  on the train as it went onto the turntable, ready for the next morning’s trip to the city.
Sherbert dabs, 3 for one penny!!! Real liquorice strips to suck the powder, each one in a white paper bag. And different flavours.
This was all very new, exciting and wonderful for a country girl.
Bond&Bond Auckland 1954

Night sky 7.41 p.m. PiropiroEvening sky

The night sky  had fast changing colours, and the elusive pink,red,mauve colours were not there for long.
Quotation of the day, from  Khalil Gibran
“ Yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream”
Cheers from Jean

Monday, 2 April 2012

Men and their Quads and Dogs

Piropiro Flats is a great place for dogs,  quads, bikes, and men . ( and perhaps sometimes a lady!!!)
They all, the dogs,quads and bikes get very dirty and the men are so happy with the day's trips, over bridges, through streams, up steep hills, bouncing over logs or uneven roads.
All in the excitement of the holiday!!!
Hugh on a fixed bridgeHugh coming through the stream
Hugh is always happy when on his quad, and even happier when on a bridge, going through a stream, or up a narrow track.
This is one of the swing bridges on the cycle trail. Very sturdy, well tested, and so safe.
Guess who took 3 steps, YES, THREE STEPS, froze, and walked back to good old Terra Firma.
I then walked round the bypass track, had to get on the quad to go through the stream, then walked up the hill.
And I was told this was a real bridge, not a true swing bridge with a very  narrow foot walk and just wires to hold onto.
Swing bridge on the way to Angel's Rest
Jeff and Gus had been out for a walk in the wet  bush and the rain. Gus was so good, she sat quietly and posed for me so well, and at 7 years has had  some years to know just the way to look.Her eyes were full of trust as she looked at Jeff.
The two young men were  from Ngaruawahia, with Molly, Star and Socks. The dogs all had protective collars on, to save them from being ripped in the throat by a pig, as well as their tracking collars with a short aerial. They can  then be located, the GPS can pinpoint their position accurately, tell if they are still, moving, where they have been and more.
Gus looking at JeffTwo men and their dogs

Rita was with John, on their way towards Angel’s Rest. This is the track with the bridges, and when John returned he told of cold nights, no sign of any deer and no deer  trails through the bush.
Rita, with John from Taupo Bay
The day after the gale winds, a Police Wagon came into the camp area.
Well, we both wondered if he was coming to visit us, as we had left our vehicle number plates at home, with details of where we were if there was an emergency with the family. No ,just checking to make sure everyone was OK after the night’s ferocious wind.
Relief, and a good feeling to know our Policemen come and do this service for all of us out there.
Brin and Slobberchops ( think his other name is Jack???) were very polite, and sat in profile for me.
Brin and SlobberchopsJust checking, not looking for us

Bruce and Hugh at Piropiro Flats

Hugh and Bruce discussed their day’s trip up into the far hills, and celebrated
with a drink each.We hope to see Bruce and Kathy here to stay with us soon.
Quotation of the day, a Nigerian Proverb
“ Hold a true friend with both your hands”
Cheers from Jean

Camping at Piropiro Flats.

Taihape stopThe Quilted Gumboot was closed

                                                                                  We Gumboots in a quiltstarted our holiday early in the morning, and were at Taihape  for our first stop.  “ The Quilted Gumboot” was  still shut. Huge sigh of relief from Hugh!!!
After all, I hadn’t packed the Bernina, but almost everything else for our two weeks in the bush. I thought that a few fat quarters would not be too much to cram in, never mind. We carried on, and by the time we reached Taumarunui, I was ready for a break and a coffee. Petrol top up, more groceries and on the road again.
At last we turned off and soon were on the gravel narrow road. So many trees have been  felled since last year, huge areas of clear ground with blackberry slowly taking over, and then, there we were.we set up the tent between the two vehicles, thinking this was a good spot. More  of this choice to come later !!!
Here we are
There are 4 shelters, each one  3 sided, with a large fire, a big table with bench seats, and there are 3 long drop toilets ‘ Sunny Dunnies”, or “ Outhouses” each one a walk through wet  grass in the morning.
Our closest one was 99  yards from our tent. Yes, verified by a range finder. These camping and hunting men have everything you need, even to know how far to walk!!!my estimation of  walks to the little house added up to some kilometres over the 2 plus weeks.
Hugh with firewoodThe camp fire,Marion & Thomas
The next day we   took the quad and trailer a short way up one of the metal roads and  loaded up firewood. Hugh had  his smaller chainsaw, and we didn’t need to walk far to collect as much as we would need. Hugh did another load, making sure we had ample for any cold mornings and nights. When we left last Friday the couple who were moving into our shelter had some wood left for them, they were so thankful.
We met so many couples from overseas, here are Marion and Thomas, both from Germany,, and both studying to be vets.  They have done 4 years of  the five and a half year course, and when they return it is the practical part that will be very busy, Thomas told me they will work and study day and night !!!
Freezing fogFire at 5.30 a.m.

The morning of the “ Freezing Fog” we were up so early and lit the fire, still very dark outside, it was  5.30 a.m. and too cold to stay in the tent.My many layers of clothes told a story in themselves,
2 layers of merino, then a heavy fleece jacket, a Gore-Tex coat with hood pulled up, fleece  hat, gloves and cut off socks that I use to go inside my boots also on my hands.Thick merino socks and tramping boots.
Why was I  here???no  real answer to that question.  Well, after the early morning coolness, the days warmed up and were mostly fine and almost hot.
But if you mention the cold to a “ King Country” man, the message is “ You need to harden up.  Swallow a teaspoon of cement !!!” The economy of his words said it all, not even a suggestion of a  concrete sandwich.
Dark clouds overhead
Piropiro Campground

night sky
The night sky colours are showing that wonderful range of smoky pink,taupe,grey and mauve, that lasts for such a short time, then all is dark.
lichen hung off the trees, and when it was windy blew around, waving its fronds,  and there were many birds, not afraid, who came each morning.
Lichen hanging  off a treeBird in the treeMorning sky colours

The black bush robin was elusive and very hard to get a good picture as he flitted so fast,This was one of the few times he/she sat still long enough to get a shot not too blurry.He sat on this cut off slab of wood every morning, then was gone all day, and there was only one.
Black bush robin
On Monday 19th, we went to Taumarunui for more supplies, a new sleeping bag for me, and other goodies.I did buy a New Zealand Herald, but DID NOT look at the weather details, and did not give a second thought to the local weather forecast.
Horror, it  read for…..
 King Country area, TODAY,  periods of rain developing during the morning. Southeasterlies strengthening, rising to gale, gusting to 110km/h in exposed places from late afternoon.
This was so true. It was called a Cyclone in Taupo, Ohakune and New Plymouth had wind/gale damage, and at our camp the gale blew ALL NIGHT. One tent pole cracked, that side kept falling over with reach gust, the tent collapsing onto my side. Finally we got up, lit the fire, and waited for dawn.
Weather, on Monday 19th March 2012
storm coming

The gale winds are coming very soon!!!

Quotation of the day,  from an unknown writer
“ Those who say you cannot take it with you have not seen a vehicle packed up for a camping trip to the outback”
Cheers from Jean