Central Plateau, North Island

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

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Late Blooms in Summer

Brunsvigia josephinae

Late this afternoon, I looked for the last of the  summer flowers, and found this, the  one bulb given to me by a very dear friend  in Rotorua. Thank you Hec, this is so  much treasured. No flowers last year, I thought it was lost. Suddenly, one stem, with many flowers to yet open.

Brunsvigia jospehinae, flowering in full sun and in a very hot dry summer, Perfect conditions this year, the flowers are not open yet, but this is one stunning bulb.

Courtesy of the internet, the photo below shows one in full bloom. This can have from 20 to 40 cerise-red trumpets about 3 inches long. Last time mine bloomed, there were 32!!!

I might be home in time to see the last bloom.

Brunsvigia josephinae

Further round was one Amaryllis, or Naked Lady.

Naked Lady bloom 

The wagons are packed, I am all packed too, travel tomorrow will be long, about 5 hours, the last part is  on a rough metal road.

Thank you all for words of encouragement, good wishes, and more. I will do my very best to enjoy the 3 room tent, the long drop toilet, a gas fired shower, and know for sure there will be  some very restful days, in a quiet bush area in the  Central North Island.

Cats, Home and Garden will be well taken care of while we are away, our lovely lady, and another couple will be here in residence!!!

3 weeks will soon fly by, and  I will have lots of news to catch up on when I get internet connection again.

Quotation of the day, from Oscar Wilde

“ Keep love in your heart.

A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 25 February 2013

Garden Produce, Packing and Bees Galore


The summer garden continues to supply us with so many vegetables, beans, courgettes, and when you glance away for a day  or so, they are marrows, blackberries from thorn less plants, beans, tomatoes,silver beet, carrots,lettuce,cauliflower, broccoli,parsley, chives and spring onions, The chillies are very late, I hope they ripen before cold mornings arrive.

Yellow  Submarine tomatoes and large courgettes. One day’s growth.

Produce by the plate full

The Bottlebrush shrub has been over-run with bees, both the drones, and bumblebees. The big ones are almost drunk, after filling on the nectar. the other day about 6 were lying on the concrete below, rolling over in a stupor, unable to fly away.

Bees on the flowers

The Bernina has been busy with merino fabric, neck warmers, hats, long johns and long pants. Fleece pants, and hats lined with merino, I know, I know,  I KNOW, our days are hot here, about 27C to 30C lately, but at Piropiro Flats, it will be cold in the early mornings, a few weeks ago it was 4C at 9 a.m. So I am a very good “boy scout” and will be prepared. Thick merino socks, thinner ones for the ordinary shoes, over trousers of oilskin, and the Gore-Tex raincoat with hood, all ready to be packed tomorrow.

I am not advertising any particular brand, but because I have small feet, have great difficulty finding boots specially that fit. Both the Merrell and Salomon are 7.5 US size, YES, tiny feet,  so when I see a pair in my size, the message is “ buy now”. The Youngstown gloves have had lots of hard use, and still keep my hands so warm, leather on the palms, fleece lined, Velcro straps to close up tightly, I have heard that they are so good when cleaning out a frosty deep freeze that has a build up of ice in large quantities!!! As well as when outside  in –10 Celsius, and snow depth of 12 inches!!Merino clothes labelled

Yes, I will be packing some clothes for the hot midday hours, but it is always better to go with the gear you might need.  Over one and a half hours to the nearest shops!!! So no quick trip out to buy what you left at home. Books are packed, knitting sorted, some hand work with stitcheries, baking done, tomorrow we load up.

Quotation  of the day, author unknown,

“ When things go wrong, keep your hat on,

that way you cannot  pull your hair out”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 22 February 2013

Photo Competition, not even a Runner-Up


The Listener Photo Essay Competition results are online today, the winner is a professional photographer, Billie Win, who graduated from  The Photo  School at Raumati Beach.  You can see her website at


The runner up was Anna Jacobs, her story was about her grandmother who lost her home in the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011,This was done with sensitivity and a beautiful close-up of her dearest grandmother’s face.

This is an abridged form of my entry, with  photos not the same as entered,  as I understand these now  belong to the NZ Listener .

Entry photos had no title attached to them.

Some of the other entries can be seen at NZ Listener Photo Essay Gallery.

Summer’s work, Winter’s Comfort.

The tree's beginning Harness for safety

This is real man's work Just the stump sitting, sap running

Waiting to dry


Poppy ,  with healing winter warmth

I  was  happy with my entry, it took time, serious thought, careful selection and some editing, ( it was suggested not to do much post-processing)  , it has been  a good lesson in what judges are looking for,  and I hope if they run the competition next year, to enter again.

Quotation of the day, author unknown,

“ Do not limit your challenges, but challenge your limits, Achievement is born from  your dreams, your desire, and your vision”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Kereru and Lamb’s Ears


This morning a New Zealand Pigeon, or Kereru, flew round and stopped at the top of a Cabbage Tree , Cordyline A ustralis  I’m sure, to eat some of the white berries.  He /she then moved to another tall tree close by.These birds  were once  one of the the major dispersers of the  Cabbage Tree seeds. He posed, not facing me,  but side on, showing off beautiful plumage.


 NZ Native pigeon 7

NZ pigeon 4

On the other side of the garden, early morning dew settled on the leaves of the Lamb’s Ears plants. Stachys Byzantina, drought tolerant and “ deer-resistant”, I wonder if rabbits like them as, although he was too fast for me to get a photo, Bugs Bunny was in another part of the garden, eating the few leaves left from some lupin plants.

Lamb's Ears leaves in morning dew

Quotation of the day, author unknown,

“ Words and feathers are easily scattered,

but not so easily gathered up”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 15 February 2013

Valentine’s Day in New Zealand


February 14th 2013.

A special day  for  so many, as they celebrate love, happiness, past and future, and lots more.Enjoy the day, if it is today, hope you had a wonderful day, if it was yesterday.

The peony  is known as the flower of riches and honour. They embody romance and prosperity, and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage.

Red roses may be traditional, but very costly on the day,

One bouquet, 24 red roses, nicely arranged, NZ $ 350.00

I  am very happy to have my own  peony photos with special memories to accompany them.


Happy Valentine's Day


Quotation of the day  from Kahlil Gibran, abridged.

“ Yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Temporary Tent Accommodation


The first time we camped at Piropiro Flats, Hugh left the medium sized tent at home!!!Not a good start to 10 days holiday. We managed but life was fraught with a struggle to fit in the small area at night, trying to keep mosquitoes out, trying to get dressed while still kneeling on the floor, and falling over guy ropes.The little orange tent might well be finding another home later this year. The blue tent is for a shower, privacy, keeping out of the cold wind, and tall, so I could stand up to get dressed!!

Small tent at Piropiro Flats

Last year we took a slightly larger tent, not really high, but OK, We had a cyclone, cold mornings, freezing fog, and met some lovely people there.This was when the wind and rain started.  White and purple, better than orange.


storm coming

This year we have the  LUXURY model, 3 rooms, all full standing height, separate bedroom, with mosquito netting on doors and windows.!!! Red and grey, we had a trial run and put it up on the back lawn. Very tempting for an afternoon snooze!!!

our tent

This is the centre room, storage area to the left, bedroom to the right.

middle room in tent


this is where I will lay my tired body at night, self inflating mattress, wool under blanket, fleece on top in case of those cold mornings.Cosy and comfortable!!!

bedroom in tent

This is the  Maramataha Suspension Bridge, 141 m long, one of the longest  in New Zealand, and made for access in the Pureora Forest Park, as part of the Cycle  Trail. Hugh wanted to see the finished construction, as when we were there last year, the supports were being cemented into place. I might watch from the side.

Maramataha Bridge 141m long

Quotation of the day, author  unknown

“  A tent is not a good place to have an argument,  have you ever tried to walk out and slam the flap shut!!!”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Trees, Garden Mulch, and a Night Sky


My competition entry has been sent, photos selected, so now I can post some of the others here.

I am  almost at the “ Full Glass” level, thankful for each day with improvement. A  parody on those words from Lady Macbeth

Out, damned virus, Out I say”.

The tree felling was a big event, and the split firewood very reassuring for our winter fires .

Night sky last night, no pink/red, but that deep blue turning to darker grey.

Trees in silhouette

This mulch has all been spread onto one garden area, let the weeds defy its powers of suppression!!!

Mulcher working

Winter’s warmth, drying out in the sunshine.

A huge pile of wood 

The rope  is in place , Baz had to climb this tree first,a real feat in itself.

Rope attached 

Here he is starting to limb another tree. all difficult with branches at awkward angles.

Starting to limb

This huge tree stump had the runny sap dripping off the edge.it was golden, and sticky and  had the wonderful pine tree smell.

Sap on the stump 2

Sap on the stump 1 

Quotation of the day from Peace  Pilgrim

“ Keep your feet on the ground and your thoughts at lofty heights”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

50% of “ Not Much At All”



Today was a very “go slow” day, the blood test verdict was a viral infection. I  always thought this was the diagnosis when a Doctor was not sure of what might be /could be/ maybe was wrong. But I have to accept this time he was correct. And it might linger for some time.So…. “Go Slow”…. will be around for a while.

Tonight we had sunshine that shone brightly, trees lime green in the  late afternoon daylight . Poppy sat, sentry guard silhouette, then leapt to look at something in the grass below.

Grey clouds to the North, and our tall trees in the garden.

Poppy in silhouette 

poppy leaping

 Grey clouds to the North

Tall trees in late sunlight









Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Be very thankful you have a glass that can be half-full”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Monochromatic Grey with a dash of colour


The sky was dull grey almost all day, with glorious rain!!! The grass looks greener,  the  farmers are happier, and water tanks are full again.

I mentioned in a comment earlier,  that we had grey skies all day, but for those fleeting moments at 8.30 p.m. there was a small flash of orange/pink in the west.

Evening sky 1 Evening sky 2

Looking south, colours changed again. Enhanced with an AV setting.

Evening sky 3

This grey sky, taken tonight looking to the East, was the same dull grey I saw all day, through bands of rain. wind driven at times.

Grey Day Sky


Quotation of the day from Karl Marx, German philosopher,

“ Medicine heals doubts as well as diseases”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 4 February 2013

Twisted Log Cabin


Some friends have been asking about the latest project I have started. I found this pattern in Australian Patchwork & Quilting, maybe the edition of  October 2001. Then I lost the book.Hunted everywhere, and finally decided I had given it away.One night I wanted a magazine to read, picked this one up, and FOUND the pattern. I am not a fan of orange, so decided to use my favourite colours, greens and purples. You need 9 shades of one colour, 10 shades of the other, from very  light to dark.  I am up to strip #6.

Finished size is 17.5 inches by 41.5 inches. I want to finish this very soon, so am doing 2 strips a day, but not today, Rest and recuperation are on the menu.

Twisted log canin original colours

My colours for twisted log cabin

Quotation of the day by Leigh Hunt

“ Colours are the smiles of nature”

Greetings from Jean

Sunset colours and the Silver Coach


On Sunday night the  clouds  had glorious silvery tones, and over 5 minutes changed so much . Gradually it faded from the silver , which was shadowed by grey,  to grey-on-blue. I  was so lucky to be there at that moment. These are taken from our front lawn area, at 8.30 p.m. and for several minutes  more.


Sunset 1 

Sunset 2 

Sunset 3

Four hours later, at 12.30 a.m. the silver coach arrived for me. Fever, severe headache, nausea and what goes with that, shiver and freeze, then boil over with heat. Suddenly it started,no warning signals at all, glad I was not at a railway crossing!!!

Lance, the wonderful man, loaded me with some medication, and off we went. Believe me, you cannot see much scenery at 1 a.m. Maybe a street light as we arrived at hospital. More medication, lovely nurses, blood taken, 2 a.m.  one doctor arrived, the morning dragged its slow way towards 7 a.m. Another doctor arrived,  his verdict.” you will not be going home for some time.”

More medication, and finally about 11.30 started to feel a little better. Maybe a virus, maybe 24  hour flu.Regardless of how insignificant I thought this was, I was treated with so much care and thoughtfulness. A bed that sat you up, laid you down, at the touch of a button, an IV line that beeped in time to some unknown tune, trolleys, beds,  linen carts all rumbled past my door.At 7 a.m. MUSIC to my ears, the rain was falling. Everyone was so happy, may it continue tomorrow.

I am home, thankful for the care, the transport, Hugh arriving with his silver Primera wagon, and the cats to greet me at the door.

Good things in life are to be treasured

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Life is like a rainbow, you need both the sun and the rain

to make its colours show”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Today’s Newspaper Cartoons


From 1989, to 2004, on TVNZ, there was a program called

“ Holmes”

This was  Sir Paul Holmes at his best, controversial, inquiring, compassionate,  with interviews that  had that extra oomph. He left in 2004,  amid some controversy after a comment that many did not like.

Monday to Friday, for 15 years, 7 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. New Zealanders watched and listened to, the then, Paul Holmes, at his scintillating best.

At the end his words would be,

“ Those were our people today, that’s Holmes tonight.”

Today in the NZ Herald and the Dominion Post are these cartoons from  Rod Emmerson and Tom Scott.

They portray  Sir Paul, arriving at the Pearly Gates, Sir Peter waiting for his arrival, but the tables are turned in favour of Sir Paul.

Both cartoons courtesy of the internet.

Rod Emmerson's Cartoon 2nd February 2013

And here is Sir Paul Holmes, his first show in Heaven.

Tom Scott's Cartoon 2nd February 2013

I am fortunate to be  the age I am, which  means I have enjoyed the programs, interviews, seen  many  sides of this man,  for many years,  but the two cartoons today  depict him at his very best.

Sir Paul, I hope the Pearly Gates were open wide, the microphone ready, and an assured captive audience listening to every word.

Quotation of the  day from Henrik Ibsen

“ A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 1 February 2013

Sir Paul Holmes, Veteran Broadcaster


Sir Paul Holmes,  on 16th January, 2013,

Knight Companion of the NZ Order of Merit

Investiture at Sir Paul and Lady Holmes’  Hawkes Bay lodge .

( Photo courtesy of the Internet)

Sir  Paul Holmes, 2013 


This morning, 1st February, 2013,  Sir Paul Holmes died at  their home in Hawkes Bay, with family by his side.

Deepest sympathy to Lady Deborah, Millie, Reuben, and his brother Ken.

Tributes are many, touching words, humour,sadness, and acknowledgement of a great man who was not afraid to speak his mind.

Unforgettable, irreplaceable.

Po Atarau, Now is The Hour, a fitting song , as  we in New Zealand and many others around the world  farewell Sir Paul.

Click on the video link to open.



Quotation of the day by Karle Wilson Baker

“ Courage is fear that has said its prayers”

Greetings  from Jean