Central Plateau, North Island

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

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Tuesday is for Tree, & Tiny & Twins

Tree of bare branches
Tree with no leaves, but come summertime will bear many walnuts
Tiny, obscuring her Mum’s black face. 3 days old, born on Saturday night

Twins, orphaned,  Patrick and Judith providing lots of TLC, bottle feeds and a warm  shelter with hay to snuggle into during the cold nights.
Quotation of the day from William Blake,
 an excerpt from ‘The Shepherd’
“ For he hears the lamb’s innocent call ,
and he hears the ewe's tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
 for they know when their Shepherd is nigh “
Cheers from Jean

Monday, 30 July 2012

Customs, and Immigration Update

On Saturday we took Rachel to Palmerston North Airport. Photo courtesy of Hugh’s camera. Canon 40D. Today I wrote out some questions, and braved the Customs Department telephone line. One number listed on the net gave a discontinued signal!!! So after a few more calls spoke to a young?? well, he sounded young, man. I voiced my concerns and those of Rachel, and after he talked to someone else, gave me the address of  “ Privacy Officer, Immigration NZ” in Hong Kong, and she can write to them.  He listened carefully, and could not comment on either a random selection or a specific reason for her to be questioned, for some length, in fact it took so long she thought she  would miss her connection flight to Palmerston North, and there was nearly 3 hours from landing to the  domestic flight leaving. Now, for  anyone/someone/ everyone / ,who has doubts about my age, white/silver grey hair, eyesight, here I am in an untouched,  unedited photo.
Rachel & Jean P N  airport
If you visit Tanya’s blog, Taniwa at http://tttl1998.blogspot.co.nz  and go to her post on Long Beach International Quilt Festival, she has a photo of the most stunning quilt I have seen, the lady sitting, stitching, flying geese ribbon , a beautiful background choice of fabrics pieced together in perfection.Tanya is in USA visiting family now, hope you are enjoying the time there, busy days with family making sure you are very well occupied.If I were there, this exhibition would be the highlight.
Quotation of the day, from Honore de Balzac , with the quilt mentioned in  mind,
“ From the manner  in which a woman draws her thread
 at every stitch of her needlework,
any other woman can surmise her thoughts”
Cheers from Jean

Sunday Outing

Hugh took me on a “ Photographic Competition” trip to Dudding Lake . The land was purchased  in 1965 by the Marton Borough Council from funds gifted to the council by Mr  J B  S Dudding for that purpose.  In 1972 additional land was acquired, funded by a grant from Mr Dudding’s Charitable Trust. It has been used as a picnic, swimming, boating and camping area.
Pine Trees at Dudding's LakeWinter treesThe fence line
Fenceline viewHugh’s idea was for both  of us to take  photographs of the same view, then compare, now the tricky part, and this was not clarified, Who would judge the photos.!!! I deleted most of mine, and have not seen Hugh’s yet. There are many pine trees through the fence, some winter dormant poplars, and the view through the fence was of green paddocks and some cattle in the distance. Further still, the plane travelling to Auckland  from Wellington? Christchurch? or Dunedin? left the vapour trail , no doubt adding to air pollution!! One black swan moved across, the others had flown to the  far side.
Closer swan picVapour trail
Here are some of  our King Alfred Daffodils in the corner garden.
One bloom in a “ Macro Monday” photo. Tomorrow might well be a “ T T “, wait and see what the acronym stands for!!
Macro King Alfred
Quotation of the day, author unknown
“Close-ups reveal details not seen by the human eye”
Cheers from Jean

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Alaska to Hong Kong in one day

This week we have a delightful young lady from Hong Kong staying for a few days. Again, my lack of knowledge has led to some Google searches.It is situated on China’s south coast, and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea , With a land area of 1104  sq. km, and a population of 7 million it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world .Photos below courtesy of the Internet, of Hong Kong harbour.
Hong Kong HarbourHong Kong Harbour 2
Below is a photo, courtesy of  the Internet , of the Oi Man Estate where Rachel lives , on the 15th floor.
Oi Man Estate Hong Kong
In this crowded city, here  is the Hong Kong  Park. A place of greenery and quiet, amid bustle and noise.
Hong Kong Park
The next photo is taken from above Ho Man Tin,  showing us the taller buildings standing out from the others.
Above Ho Man Tin
The tallest  building in Hong Kong is the  International Commerce Centre, with  118 floors, and is 484 metres tall. This is  in the area of West  Kowloon.
International Commerce Centre ,  118 floor, 484 metre high, West Kowloon
We did a Google Earth trip around the streets of Hong  Kong, and I was amazed at the English wording on the shop fronts, signs and vehicles. The many buses provide excellent public transport, private cars are few, parking not readily available, and with most families  living in the high rise buildings . 
Hong Kong International Airport
These photos courtesy of the Internet, are of Hong Kong International Airport.No wonder our  one at Palmerston North seemed very small, and the plane to take Rachel to Auckland was not very big,and now when I see these photos, am not sure if I do want to travel there, even with a lovely heartfelt invitation, and reassurance that I will not get lost, I can have wonderful shopping, electronics so very VERY cheap. Cameras,laptops, IPads, clothes, perfume, the quilting fabric shops  were not mentioned, but surely there would  be some of those as well.We will wait and see about all this.Maybe, Maybe not.
Airport views
Here is  the plane waiting to go to Auckland. I do hope our lovely new friend has a better experience at Auckland International Airport than when she arrived.  Questions at Immigration that bordered on interrogation, the people  there will get a phone call from me on Monday, all they  had to do was make 3 phone calls to verify  the reason for Rachel’s visit, and we would all confirm her reasons, where she  would be visiting, her means of travel, where she would stay, and the day she would return.A single, young attractive lady from an Asian country, travelling alone, not getting a rental car, was given a truly third degree, frightening, and so long and protracted  she thought the connecting flight would go without her.I hope I can be tactful, polite, find the right words, ( Hugh has his doubts!!) and most of all, get some answers.This does not make any NZ official look good at all, and would deter anyone from coming back for another visit/holiday/ business trip by themselves. They probably did a random selection, but answers  are  needed, even if only to make sure this does not happen to another single younger lady travelling alone.Sometimes the battles we fight are not for ourselves, or even the person concerned, but for anyone else who will travel along that road at sometime in their life.
Waiting to go to Auckland

Rachel, I do hope your trip was safe, no typhoon waiting for you at home, and your family will be SO HAPPY when you arrive.
Quotation of the day  from Herbert Prochnow
“ You never have to know all the answers
 because you wont be asked all the questions”
Cheers from Jean

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Lambs playing

Yesterday I climbed the first fence, the second fence, squeezed through the gap between the gate and the last fence, and VOILA,  I was in the paddock with the lambs. I tried yesterday to load the videos, but after playing, there were thumbnails of my other videos, and HORROR, other peoples videos with content I did not want here. So today is the last try. The lambs played, ran, not bothered by the freezing cold southerly wind.I had fleece jacket Goretex coat with the hood pulled tight, fleece hat, thick Merino socks, and I was cold.I was told not to use the Canon 550D for videos, it does something?? to the inside mechanisms, so this was taken with the little Canon Ixus, and was so hard to hold steady . The ewes are still very protective and I do not try and go too close.
The little lambs played, ran, and fed some more
Yes, I have played the video in the Preview, and afterwards, there are the dreaded thumbnails again. Please ignore them, I have not had this much trouble before, so I hope anyone, someone, PLEASE help me sort this out. Google was searched many times, but I have not solved it properly..
Yesterday Hugh took me to lunch for my birthday , the day started with phone calls, emails,Facebook messages from family in Australia, from our  wonderful friends in Japan, parcels of hand cream, body lotion, posies of violets, and then Janet suggested I go to the front door. I knew there was a lovely shrub waiting, but when I looked, there is a super door mat with the  word “ WELCOME “ on it. What a great surprise, thank you so very much. Another phone call with singing, from Jeanette, we have been true friends since 1954    and  share so much. Thanks Jeanette, for the card, the song, and our phone call. My Canon 550D now has a shutter release cable, so more experimenting to do. And one phone call last night,  there are  notes with the $  sign , for another day. I have been truly spoilt.Today I am suddenly a year older, how can a number change in one day???We have grey skies, cloud, a little drizzle and the wind is still southerly, and cold. Maybe a good day to be inside, with the fire  giving that warm glow, cup of coffee and a good book to read. Bliss. 
Quotation of the day, from George Harrison
“ All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much”
Cheers from Jean

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Twins and Winter Colours

This gentle girl came up so close she was almost in the camera lens. She waited patiently, until I could walk away. Yesterday was wet, a cold southerly wind blew, and the sun stayed behind the clouds all day, and through this dullness  one brave ewe gave birth to twins.
Black face close by
Here they are, this afternoon, still very small, but they have walked the length of the paddock. I did not go too close, she was very protective and moved between me and her babies each time I tried to get a closer shot.
The twins 1The twins 2
Our Rhododendron shrubs have these glorious shades,  they surely brighten up a dull winter day
Rhodendron gloryAnother shade
The Protea Nerifolia has magnificent , fragrant, silvery pink, black tipped flowers.
Protea  nerifolia
Quotation of the day, author unknown
“ From a seed of friendship, you will  reap a bouquet of flowers”
Cheers from Jean

A Wet Weather Day

Poppy sat on the windowsill, watching me trudge round the garden in gumboots, fleece jacket, fleece hat and heavy duty raincoat with the hood up as well. It was wet, the wind was from the South and cold, and I did not see anything that looked photographic at all. There were no new lambs, and too windy to get a good video,  the 3 little ones were not skipping much today, lying close to their mums who sheltered them .
Will I go out
The sky was grey, and rain falling.
Trees on a wet day
At the edge of our boundary the Tutaenui Stream runs to the south.
stream and Barberry bushRunning a bit high
Here is Ralph’s dog, on the farm a few years ago.He competed in Sheep Dog Trials, even when an old boy.They are loyal, hard working, indispensible. Man’s Best Friend.
Ralph's dog
Quotation of the day, author unknown
“ Your reflection will not be seen in running water"
Cheers from Jean

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A Drive to the Hills

This morning Hugh suggested we have a day out, and we  went inland from Hunterville. There are large farms there, lots of hills, some streams and  some small bridges for access to farms across the other side .In the paddock far below, the men  were moving a huge mob of sheep, this man had his other dog working the sheep off the hill to the left, he was only a speck in the distance, but we could hear his calls as he ordered or whistled his dog. The cropped photo shows the man with his  other 2 dogs, they are  having a well earned rest.
One man waiting 1
One man waiting 1
Here are the sheep,  moving across to the right.
Some of the flock
We stopped for a boil up ,coffee and sandwiches , and across the road were more lambs, one pure black. And next to the wagon, one huge old pine tree. I wondered how many birds had made their nests there over  the years.
Black lamb and mumOld Man Pine Tree
The yellow flowers of the Wattle tree are out in full, and the little mauve flower might be a weed, name unknown, Janet suggests it is Convolvulus, both taken with Canon 550D, macro lens.
Wattle flowersMacro lens wild flower
We carried on, to Turakina Beach. 4WD, on the black sand, to a ford out to the surf. I have no great sense of adventure, so was thankful, relieved, trying very hard not to show how happy I was that the tide was in too far and we did not cross the stretch of water.The white marker shows the possible /probable  track to follow to the sand further out. There were many pieces of driftwood, with shapes that could stretch your imagination, I could almost see a small calf in this one, head curled under one back leg, ears hidden. This photo is courtesy of Hugh, with his Canon 40D and a Sigma lens.
Driftwoodtoo much water to cross
Quotation of the day, from Ernest Lehman
“ After all, the wool of a black sheep is just as warm”
Cheers from Jean

Friday, 20 July 2012

Morning Glory

This morning we had the beginnings of a super pink sky, lines showing up against the faint blue in the west, . The frost was not heavy, but the lawn was quite white this early.
Pink lines of sunrise

lawn frost 1
lawn frost 2

Over to the East, the sun just showed through the trees across the Tutaenui Stream.The cabbage trees in the foreground  are at our boundary. All the others are in another property.
Sun through the trees
We had sunshine nearly all day, it started to cool down after 4 p.m. and now is  2.5 Celsius, with the promise of a frosty morning tomorrow. I picked a few  King Alfred daffodils, together with some snowdrops and greenery and gave them to our dear friend Joyce for her birthday. There are many more to flower,, and there are  lots  almost in bud. Photos to come in another week or so.
Quotation of the day from  William Wordsworth ,
an excerpt from “ I wandered lonely as a cloud”

“And then my heart with pleasure fills,
and  dances with the daffodils”
Cheers from Jean

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Nature and New-borns

K, Forever
This is the tribute on many blogs  for KB, and her beloved   dog K,    and those of you who read my blog will see that http://romp-roll-rockies.blogspot.com is one of the many blogs on my list. KB has shared with us her journey with K,, who had remarkable strength, courage and a huge heart full of love,  after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her front leg. On  15th July, K left this world, and her spirit will be with so many forever. Today I looked out from our back lawn, and there were 2 little lambs, one born this morning. I talked with Patrick, we shared the grief we feel when a loved animal is gone, he mourned the loss of his much loved dog, and I talked of Toto and Finn. We rejoiced in the wonders of nature and the joy of a new-born lamb.This is the dude responsible for the little ones, and more will arrive over the next week or so.He has some Texel, so his fleece falls off rather than being shorn.
The responsible dude
This little one was born this morning, and maybe she is getting some heat reflected off the tin.I tried to go closer, but Mama stamped her foot very firmly, saying to me “ DO NOT come any further” so I walked on to the fence.
Born this morningYou are not my mother
This girl is blind in one eye, but so gentle and friendly. There are high hopes her lamb, or better still lambs might have her lovely brown colours too.
If only I could get through
This lamb is a week old, her fleece so white, and she skipped along over the grass, then waited at the gate, maybe hoping I would let  her through to the next paddock.Sorry, you need to stay where you are.I left my fleece jacket on the fence, but 10 minutes later the sun disappeared, and I was glad to put it on again.
See how white my fleece isWill you open the gate
A Chinese Lantern or Abutilon, the shades of a Day   Lily , and the mauve/pink s  colour of a Rhododendron.Colours of nature to brighten the days.
chinese LanternDeeper toned day lilyPink shades
Like K, with her courage, we all need to look for the beauty in nature, the glow of a sunset, the glory of a rainbow, and to “ Seize the Day”
Walter in Cornwall Park
My dear friend Walter studied the Classics, and among his favourites were Shakespeare, Matthew Arnold and  Lord  Alfred Tennyson.He could  and   would quote word for word perfectly, so many years after his studying days were finished at Victoria University. He told me of  climbing to the top of Mt Victoria in Wellington and reciting the  words over and over, till he knew them by heart. He  had great courage ,  in the face of  adversity, and in WW2, and later on when facing  the many times in hospital.His plans to write a book telling of his days in HMS, through the ranks  from  Ordinary Seaman, Acting Sub Lieutenant, to senior officer of the 51st ML Flotilla, Lieutenant  Walter Charles Drake, DSC, RNZNVR, were thwarted by ill health and diminishing eyesight from Macular degeneration.His spirit remained strong, and todays quotation is  dedicated to  Wally, to KB,   and my many blog friends who write words of  encouragement , and inspiration from their daily lives. The words below will be engraved on  a permanent installation  in the centre of the Olympic Village in London, to inspire the athletes taking part in the  London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and for future generations to read.
Quotation of the day from  Lord Alfred Tennyson , an excerpt from “ Ulysses”
“ To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”
Greetings from Jean