Central Plateau, North Island

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

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Winter Warmth is assured


Lately our days have been taken up with firewood, Baz felling, cutting, Hugh and I splitting, mulch has been spread, and some of last year’s dry wood is now in the shed. This year’s is split, and getting such wonderful sunshine, and lots of heat from the very hot days, so is starting to dry out already.

Photos of firewood days from 2005. My minimalist carpentry skills did not help at all in building this woodshed. My part was to pass the hammer, the  nails, and the  level, and keep the billy boiling!!!

This is our larger wood shed, it will be full  again, very soon.

 new wood shed

wood shed finished

This is on a friend’s farm. Old trees that had been felled for some years, huge logs, the large chainsaw coughed, but managed to get through.

More firewood Feb 2005 

These are not the largest pieces, just some of the difficult bits, left for another day.

 Firewood Feb 2005

And this is where some of those logs  ended up,   as winter warmth.

yunka fireplace

The photos I have taken recently, of the wood and trees,  I cannot use here, as I am entering a

Photo Essay Competition,

and the rules state  that you cannot use a photo that has been published before. Some sorting, editing, and selecting to do, but once it is done, I will be very relieved. 5 to 10 photos, a title, no other words needed.

A huge challenge, but as  they say, use it or lose it, so I might as well use and keep, whatever “ it” might be.

Quotation of the day, from Haruki Murakami

“Nobody’s going to win all the time.

On the highway of life you can’t always be in the fast lane”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Garden Goodies

Yellow Submarine Tomatoes 2013


This year I have grown most of our vegetable plants from seed, and am so happy with the results.

Garden produce

The courgettes have surpassed my wildest dreams, leave them for a day, and WOW, there are marrows under the massive leaves.

In the lower right hand bed, are butter beans. Crammed  together, but producing a huge basin full each day,. The scarlet runner plants are a lot slower.

Vege garden 

Quotation  of the day from David Bly

“ Striving for success without hard work

is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sunrise today


January 23rd 2013


The magic moments lasted for several minutes, then all those glorious colours vanished to grey sky. These were taken over 10 minutes.

Morning glory 1 

Morning glory 2 

morning glory 3

Quotation of the day, from Ralph Waldo Emerson

“ Nature always wears the colour of the spirit "

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Tree Felling and one Mauve Poppy


The poppy seeds have excelled even my wildest dreams, and have flourished in dry soil, wind and rain. One single mauve one stands out for its beautiful shaded colour

Mauve poppy  titled

The trees have waited for some time, growing taller, and today was their day for  a selected few  to be cut down. Baz and his right hand man William arrived, and quickly set themselves up with safety gear, ropes, wire strainer and more.

The gear

There was a  long thick rope, attached to a wire strainer, with William at the other end. This  pine tree  is almost ready to fall, and the noise is almost frightening when it hits the ground.

Tree on the lean 

Almost over

There are now 2 huge piles of lovely mulch,  the pine needles, some bark and some thin branches, it will all smother those weeds so well.

Mulch, waiting to be spread on the gardens 

The day continued with showers, some wind, and the  occasional heavy squall.

Firewood, winter comfort,  I can see those days arriving before we  have really experienced summertime.

Quotation of the day, an African Proverb

“ Chop your own firewood and it will warm you twice”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Blooms So Full of Colour


The poppy seeds finally germinated, the delicate little stalks grew taller, some stayed so tiny. The poppy flowers are in their glory right now.These are not Opium Poppies, but  might be Shirley Poppies or Angel Wings, summer mixed. Stems range in height  from a mere 5 cm, to  around  50cm. Waving in the breeze, so pretty. I wonder always how  nature  can be so very clever,,tiny black seeds, 3 years old, thrown onto the soil, and many weeks later, beautiful flowers .

over exposure poppy flower

Poppy flower 1


Poppy flower 2


  poppy flower 3


poppy flower 5


 poppy flower 7 

poppy flower 9

Quotation of the day from Amy Lowell

“Every castle of the air sleeps in the fine black grains, and there are seeds for every romance, or light whiff of a dream for a summer night”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Big Cat’s Day Out


My dear friend Joyce sent me an email with this link. Right click and open the hyperlink.  Volume   higher than usual is a good idea too.

Her  email  also contained the phrase “ Evacuation”!!!

This is the most stunning video I have seen for some time, go to full screen, turn up the volume and enjoy.

And, thank you so much, everyone, for your lovely words of care, support and encouragement, and  many helpful suggestions, all carefully filed away  . Friendship across the miles or here in NZ means so much, my life has been enriched by “knowing” each one of you.

I am well today, cautious about all events that take place, make sure of  careful monitoring,  and taking life quieter for a while.



Quotation of the day ,author unknown

“ Let the big cat show you his beauty, and walk away unharmed “

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Girl’s Day Out


Saturday 12th January, 2013

It was decided that I needed a day out, no lawn mowing, no housework, just gentle rest, pampered care and relaxation.

The Silver Coach arrived at the given time, and I was  treated to   lovely  care, the scenic drive took me past familiar places, then we stopped, I could see that lovely farmland and Mt Ruapehu in the distance. Liquid refreshments would be available after I arrived at my destination, meantime I was offered other goodies. An escort vehicle assured me of  save travel in these busy holiday times.

After arrival, I was pampered, a private room, luxury bathroom, and staff hovered to make sure I was comfortable, happy and well looked after.

At 9 p.m., my coach turned into the pumpkin, and a quiet tactful suggestion was made that if I wanted to,  I might go home!!

Wanganui Ambulance Courtesy Internet

Name bands

My day started like any other, coffee, breakfast, a goodbye to the family, and some lawn mowing.However it deteriorated, to severe pain, sitting on the grass by the fence, barely able to walk. I waited a little while, shuffled/tottered/almost crawled inside, then rested on the bed,  Hugh , looking very worried, suggested we dial  111. He did, and the ambulance arrived about 20 minutes later. On route to Wanganui Hospital, they met with another, and “Jimmy” the lovely man from UK, administered pain relief and other medication. At the same time a traffic officer stopped to make sure all was OK, as the hazard lights were on. Wonderful care from all. IV line in,  X-Rays, chest and stomach, what were they looking for??? drip going, no,  you are definitely Nil By Mouth, till we find out what is wrong.

Two wrist bands, one for my name, and the other for  medication  allergies.

The diagnosis, nothing glamorous, a bowel almost to the impacted stage, dehydrated, so more fluid, and NOT ORAL… this time I suggested to Hugh he shuts his eyes, 30 minutes later, a very careful shuffle to the bathroom, “ No sudden  movements please” says the nurse!!! I tried not to laugh, and she had a wonderful smile!!!

Doctors prodding, gently, asking many questions, and finally at 8.30, some yoghurt, and if that stayed where it should, and the pain had not returned I could go home.  The magic hour of 9 p.m. clicked over,  off home, many thanks  to all.

This was not life threatening, but if  left untreated, would no doubt mean  complications and surgery. I was so lucky to avoid this.

Whanganui Hospital   E.D. has wonderful staff, each one, and I thank them all over again.

Our friend Kevin and his son  Andrew arrived, just after the ambulance did,  Diane a few minutes later, Diane saw the ambulance go past, then disappear, she knew it would have driven into our gate. The men  rushed over, working clothes and boots, no time to change ,   many ,many ,thanks, as they all thought Hugh was in trouble again, and were coming to help me.Friendship like this is so valued, beyond any words I can find.

And… if anyone/ someone in authority… ever asks a  friend why they are there, tell them straight!!! I didn’t hear the question, but would have replied…   “They are here, not because we asked. but because they are wonderful friends who  come when they think they are needed.” Kind words, a strong supporting arm, promises to look after Hugh,  I  could not ask for anything better.

Life continues, the cold water is there, fluids need to be taken regularly, a lovely request to please visit us  immediately if this happens again. I am  well , and hope to be this way for a long,long time.

Quotation of the day from Dodinsky

“ We are the captains of our own ships sailing the sea  of life,

but in times  of stormy weather, you will discover true friends

when they don’t hesitate to be a lighthouse”

Greetings from Jean

Glowing in the Dark


The other night I was in the garden, late, and looked at the Agapanthus. They seemed to glow, in the camera  light.

Agapanthus glowing in the dark

I had sewn poppy seeds that were 3 years old, had not been kept in cold storage, so my hopes were not high.However they have bloomed, and if we have no wind tomorrow ,will have more pics. This is one beautiful flower.

Poppy flower

On Friday 11th, our Rotorua family were arriving late, a  surprise for Hugh, his birthday was on the 10th. Shortly before they drove in, this  delicate  band of colour  was in the western sky.Muted shades, clouds hovering, very little wind, dark trees, nature is wonderful.

Night sky 9 p.m. 11th Jan 2013

Quotation of the day, from Scharmel Iris

“ The poppy opes her scarlet purse of dreams”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Laugh till you Cry.


A dear friend sent this to me by email, and I am sure  she knew I would pass it on. Enjoy.


The 'Middle Wife' by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids

myself,clip_image002but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.


When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students.
It helps them get over shyness and usually,

show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes,
clip_image004 pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'

'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.'

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a

hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.'
(Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands mimicking water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe'.

They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother..
clip_image005He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. clip_image006When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.'clip_image007

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat.clip_image008
I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another ' Middle Wife' comes along.

Quotation of the day ,author unknown.

Miles will not separate you from a true friend”

Greetings from Jean



Morning reflection

morning reflection


There were again those fleeting moments when the sky lit up behind the Cabbage Trees, with stunning colour.  gradually the red gave way to paler pink, pale grey and darker blue tones. Not the brilliant sunshiny day ahead, forecast of winds and rain. An added footnote, here at 5 p.m. It turned out very hot!!!

sunrise 1 

sunrise  2

sunrise 3

sunrise 4

Our guests are from Queensland, and today we are off to….

Drum Roll Please…   The Cloth Shop

Jan is a quilter, so where else would we  visit, and Leo and Hugh have so much to talk about together, Many minutes, well absolutely lots of time was spent admiring, looking, selecting, making another choice, weighing , literally ,the fabrics, and a final choice of patterns was made.

Nest stop was Moxies, for coffee and muffins, As always, delicious. Then we made out way to  “ FCO”, Fishing, Camping, Outdoors,  ( I suggested to Hugh to keep his hands in his pockets, as tomorrow is his birthday, no need to double up , he  might think he should just get one of… these, in case.. or another,…in case… ) where there are tents, fishing goodies, clothes, boots, sandals, some wonderful boots  very suitable for a trip to  the Northern Hemisphere, in wintertime. Look at these,Gayle, perfect for your cold,cold days,!!! ($229, NZ dollars)

The North Face Boot 

Jan and Leo were very impressed with the range and the prices, so more goodies selected. Home for a well earned cup of tea, then off to a friend who offered to help Leo find out more about his family history, a visit to Jefferson's Line, a cemetery, and back  home  to our place again . Thank you so much Des, Leo is so happy with all your help, today,  and more to come, generosity in all directions, this has made his holiday here so very special.   All in all, a wonderful day. Tomorrow they are off to see more of our wonderful country, green paddocks, lots  of sheep, not so much traffic, a quieter pace of life.

Quotation of the day, from David Henry Thoreau

“ If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams

and endeavours to live the  life which he has imagined,

he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 7 January 2013

Brown Girls waiting


Today Hugh and I went on a drive to the Pohangina Valley, North of Palmerston North, and not far from the foothills of the Ruahine Range.

We passed one set of cattle yards, vehicles waiting. I asked if I could take some photos of the cattle, and after a few minutes, was told this was the day for


If I would like to wait, I could watch!!! Wow, what an opportunity of a lifetime. But the embryos were not arriving for some hours,  so we continued on our way. Many thanks to the farmer who made such  a very generous offer to a total stranger.

Meantime Lachlan was giving me the information on the cows, the breed, and he decided he was saving up for one special Angus cow. Lucky girl, she will be such an asset to his herd,  he has all the knowledge and enthusiasm needed to be a farmer in years to come!!!

I am sure he had taken  her photo, to identify her later, as he gave me great details about her colouring, and height, maybe even her weight,  compared to the others.

Lachlan, with camera

Working men’s boots and sandals, depending if you are actually in the yards with the cattle,  or standing on the rails, watching all goings on.

Working men's boots, and sandals

Girls waiting, a lot of noise,  standing quietly in the shade.

Girls waiting

The Pohangina River, and farmland from higher up.  A cloudy day, and not too hot to be outside, although I needed a hat.

Pohangina  River Pohangina  Valley farmland

The other night, Hugh called me, NO, he was OK, but there was sunlight on the pine tree across the stream. This was taken from our back door, ISO 400, 1/60 sec.  Seconds later, the colour had gone to a dull brown, and darkness was soon to follow.

afternoon sun on the pine tree

Quotation of the day, author unknown, but from many years ago…

“ Country fences need to  be horse high,

sheep proof, and bull strong”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 4 January 2013

Autumn Falling, I need help.

autumn falling applique 1
Last week,  I think I blog-hopped,and somewhere there was this lovely free pattern. I downloaded it, but should have printed directly from the site. I cannot enlarge it, or the other pages.
NOW, I cannot find or remember where it was.
Can anyone please help?? It is called “ Autumn Falling”
Now, some Christmas gifts that I could not show earlier.
Rodrigo’s bag with sheep appliquéd front and back, the borders have cows, sheep and small farmyard scenes. He opened it here on Christmas morning, and the delight he had  with paper and ribbon took me back to many years ago when our family was  so little.
Rodrigo's sheep bag

A set of mug rugs, slightly larger than the usual,  for LaraineLaraine's mug rugs X.Lge size
A bag for Cushla, one of my new patterns, and guess what, her favourite colour
Cushla's bag
Peters bag, so suitable for laundry when you are away from home.Bungy cord drawstring with toggles to keep closed tight.
Peter's bag
This weekend a new friend has a birthday, and a surprise. Her husband is so thoughtful, and so very good at keeping his surprise a secret!!! This will be waiting for her when she comes back to Marton.
Bright golden yellow, outside pocket, bungy cords with toggles, and a contrasting base and top panels. Laundry/goodies/ or just to put STUFF in.!!!
Constanca's bag 007
Quotation of the day, author unknown
“ Drop your old bags  on  the doorstep,  at  the end of the year,
a new one will be waiting for you  on New Year’s Day.
Greetings from Jean