Central Plateau, North Island

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

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Tomorrow , a sky will dawn, for the New Year


Morning sunrise in January

Chestnut tree in morning sunlightTussock grass on the Central Plateaustream colours & shadows


Sunset colours October 2013

My wishes to all my friends,  for the New Year , from D Simone,


“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”


Greetings, from Jean

Saturday, 28 December 2013

One Little Sparrow sat on my shoe

tiny sparrow  a backward glance

tiny sparrow #2


tiny sparrow having a little resttiny sparrow #3 did you want to sit on my kneetiny sparrow  on my sneaker

This little birdie sat on the grass, then hopped to my waterproof rug, bright pink side up, fleecy and comforting. rested a while, hopped again, snuggled up by my knee, then sat on my sneaker. ( sorry about the dirty look, they are my gardening shoes!!) Shortly afterwards, he hopped back to the grass, and then went to a safe place under a tree with lots of low overhanging branches. I’m sure his Mum was near.

Quotation of the day, by James M Barrie

I'm youth, I'm joy,

I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg.

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Greetings to the Francois Family


Happy Campers, the Francois family


Francois family at Graestone

Bonjour Erik, Valérie, Nicolas et Pierre, c'était notre grand plaisir de vous rencontrer, et cela vous aidera, et un moment spécial ensemble ce matin. Nous avons partagé nos blogs, vous avez rencontré les garçons! à côté, et nourris Orlando, Grenadier n'était pas très sympathique, peut-être qu'ils avaient déjà un petit déjeuner. Les oiseaux de bébé ont été visités, et nous ont fait des suggestions pour des endroits merveilleux à voir dans l'île du Sud. Et, comme notre famille de Rotorua était ici, et Laurie et Gina de Wellington, une maison pleine pour le petit déjeuner. Nos meilleurs voeux pour vous de continuer Voyage sûr et excitant en Nouvelle-Zélande, j'espère que le Sud, vous offre une grande hospitalité, et de leur suite, en Australie et en Asie too.Our ce qui concerne de très bons, et Jean Hugues, et tous les autres ici, Graestone le 26 Décembre 2013.


We had a full table at breakfast this morning, Laurie and Gina from Wellington, our family  from Rotorua, and Erik,Valerie, Nicolas and Pierre from Belgium. The Francois family are on a 11 month trip around the world!!! You can read about it all here at            


We were so happy to meet you, and hope your continued travels in the South Island give you great hospitality, exciting adventures, and stunning scenery.

Quotation of the day, Mary Oliver

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Another Six Hungry Little Mouths to feed in the Orchard

Christmas Day has dawned, cloudy, grey, and some light rain.

Santa has been here overnight, and the tree is decorated, with  lights flashing, tinsel and all else, it is truly  complete with an angel on the top… and gifts wrapped up have been delivered. I think Santa Sacks are at the doorways too.

The Best Present of All

Mrs Blackbird in the grapevine, with her babies

Mrs Blackbird

Mrs Thrush sitting carefully on her babies.Mrs Thrush with wings out wide

Waiting for my dinner

One little baby ready for dinner.

Mrs Thrush had 3 babies on 22nd December, they now  have  a little downy fluff covering their tiny bodies. She is a wonderful Mum, and fluffs her wings out so wide to cover them.

Mrs Blackbird has had one baby a day for 3 days, too tiny to photograph yet.She is so good too, sitting carefully, and her wings spread wide, her babies are so tiny.

Not a Dad to be seen anywhere, the Mums are doing all the trips out of their nest to collect tiny insects and maybe worms.Literally a flying visit, done so quickly, so the littlies do not get too cold.

This is nature’s delight for Christmas at our place, truly a miracle.

Quotation of the day by Lao Tzu

“ Nature does not  hurry , yet everything gets accomplished”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Greetings


Hello to all my friends, everywhere in NZ and the Wide World.


Many people will walk in and out of your life,

but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart


I wish you all a Joyous Christmas with family, friends and much loved dogs/cats/horses or any other dear pet that is with you this year.



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Christmas Greetings

We have our Northern family arriving today, guests will be here for Christmas night too, so a full house.

I know I have written this before, but my life is so much richer and happier for all your wonderful friendship, comments, emails, caring and sharing, and I truly hope you will receive as much happiness as I have  with blog friendships.

Quotation of the day,author unknown

“ Gifts of love, time and friendship are the best ones ever,

may they all be found in your stocking or under the tree “

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Can You Hear The Drums, Orlando?


Did you run as fast as you could? Did you know today would be the day your fleece would be shorn, and soon we will see some wonderful creations from Fiona?

They are almost unrecognisable from the woolly boys of yesterday. The warm weather is a good time to shear them,  now they do look very BARE!!! But, without all that fleece, I can see they really are BOYS!!!

I'm hiding in the shed 

Some  shade for our bare skins Did I know it would be TODAY

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Never ask the shearing gang/barber/ or hairdresser  if you need a haircut,  the answer will  always be YES”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The How Will I GoPro Winner


Motorcycle Racing on the Clouds

Joseph Johnson

Los Angeles, CA, USA

I would travel to Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia and race a motorcycle on the largest mirror in the world to the never-ending horizon. Even in this internet era, people still don't realize there are places like this that exist in the world. I spent the last year travelling around the world to serve people in the most remote places and I love to share my experiences through pictures and video. I would love to GoPro to capture what it's like to be "out of this world."


Congratulations Joseph, your entry is exciting, adventurous, and totally outstanding, and you so deserve to win. Enjoy your travel with the GoPro team, and we will see your video in 2014.

I am still happy that I entered , and many thanks to all my wonderful friends who cheered me on. My dream is still there, and maybe another day I will get to meet you all.

Quotation of the day from Robert Browning,

“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?”

Greetings from Jean

Thursday, 19 December 2013

A Maternity Room in the Garden


Two young mothers are waiting patiently,   and shortly after sunrise, when the air and ground has warmed a  little,   they stretch their legs, and have breakfast. Overnight they are settled in their beds.

Babies will arrive soon, some  might be black, the others speckled.

We have one blackbird nesting in the grapevine, 3 eggs.

One thrush in the blackberry vine, her nest is  nestled so well into the  leaves, I cannot see the eggs. They sit all night, and after the sun is up, leave their nests briefly for their food and toilet stop!!! Incubation is 13 to 15 days for each bird , and both parents feed the chicks. 

I am so careful not to touch any leaf or twig near the nests, so cannot see into the thrush’s nest.  Lady Thrush seems to be quite tame, I can talk, Hugh can weed-eat nearby, and she sits and looks. Lady Blackbird leaves her nest more often.  Daddy birds not to be seen yet, maybe they do not like maternity processes.!!! They will arrive once the chicks need feeding, I’m sure.

Little nest in the grapevine

Thrush in the blackberry vines

The vege garden is producing full bore, and courgettes will be processed ,so I can use them in  a loaf recipe of Gayle’s. Beetroot will be picked soon too, again prolific plants. Did I sow too many seeds this year!!!

Courgettes  by the dozen


Beetroot galore

Quotation of the day, by Rabindranath Tagore


Faith is the bird that feels the light

when the dawn is still dark.

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Boys Next-door


Four friendly lads have moved in, to be our new neighbours. They are friendly, but don’t say much. Reserved, a  little shy at first, but now talk over the fence every day. No loud parties, no alcohol, not even a speeding car to be seen. Into bed early at night, and up at sunrise.

How lucky could we be, to have friends like this.

Biggles and Gatsby arrived a few weeks earlier, checked out the accommodation, and told the other two lads to hurry up and come.

Their names will be posted when I remember them???

Alpacas  are highly socialised, and need other alpacas for company, and these four show that so well. The  wethers that arrived a few weeks after the two  boys, have made  up this wonderful group.In the hot afternoons, they  all lie in a shady spot, not far from each other, and are so tame, you can feed them by hand . In a photo below, Orlando had just finished his meal, not Tip Top Ice-cream, but at a guess , alpaca nuts. They are allowed 1/2 cup each day.

Looking somewhere  Hiding behind the leaves  Any closer and your head will be on my fingers

Any closer


 White, in B&W I'm laughing #1

See, I am just as pretty from behind!!!

I'm off to greener pastures

If you hover the  mouse arrow on each photo, a title will show. The boys all hum, and hummm and hummmmm when I go and talk to them, Maybe a video one day when they are vocal.

Quotation of the day, author unknown,

The Alpaca Motto “ Where you go, I’ll go too”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 14 December 2013

We are ready for cold days in 2014


The firewood has been split, and stacked, thrown onto a huge pile, to dry out before going into the shed…we did not take any shortcuts this time!!! The smaller pile nearest the big tree is chippy wood, smaller, and will dry sooner.This little firebox heats the hot water, and all the hallway too.

The next photo was taken in the late afternoon sunshine, west is to the right hand side of the pile of wood.

Firewood for 2014

Beautiful colours in the flowers this week.Bronze Lily    Renga Renga or NZ Rock Lily   Scarlet Poppy    

Dwarf Californian Poppy

Quotation of the day,from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Another Ginger Boy


No photos yet, we have a wandering boy??( not identified as such yet) at our place. Large, Ginger and white, and very fluffy. He comes in at 10.30 p.m. samples left -overs on Felicity’s plate, wanders to our bedroom, nibbles her biscuits, then strolls out again.Hugh thinks we should adopt him.

I wonder what Tom would think, as he adopted us, and strolled in and out for some years.

Tom by the tree framed

Quotation of the day, from Charles Dickens

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Birds of Paradise


Birds of Paradise #2


Birds of Paradise


  For all you bird lovers, this is a video with the most amazing photos. The link was on the “ Ugly Hedgehog ” photography forum. Photos courtesy of the internet.  Enjoy.


Quotation of the day, from Victor Hugo

  “The soul has illusions as the bird has wings:

it is supported by them.”

Greetings from Jean

Friday, 6 December 2013

Weather Warnings!!

US weather hazard map

This morning on our TV, photos showed huge snowfalls, hazardous driving conditions and plummeting temperatures. Warnings of all kinds, from west to east, and all places in-between.

Take care, all my friends in the North, wrap up warmly, drive safely, keep those fires burning.

Quotation of the day,author unknown

“ No matter what the weather,

friends will always bring sunshine to your day”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

My Entry has gone in!!


Today was a little like sitting an exam, spell check, word count, photo collage, and then I didn’t manage to get each of your photos in  , there was a limit to the size,  I hope no-one will be too disappointed at that.   One photo you might not recognize from any of our blogs, MT Shooter in his motorbike gear, he is a friend on the “ Ugly Hedgehog” photography forum!! He lives in Montana, and YES, has  a shop with  cameras and accessories for sale. So a “must visit”..And I could not write  about  every place, with only 500 characters, I had to edit and re-edit,  I  finally squeezed in  with 500!!!

Many thanks to each of you who sent emails with a photo attached.There are so many exciting entries, maybe thousands, or more , I didn’t see a number anywhere.

To be truthful, I would be happy to win, but scared at the same time.Is that possible? I think I have had enough excitement here for one week. Firewood took a well earned rest, friends came, we talked to the friendly male alpacas who live  behind our back fence, I hummed, they hummed back, we stood and laughed at their curiosity . Enjoyment for the day, on both sides of the fence.


“ Friends at all Compass Points”

GoPro Collage

From a dream to reality, from NZ to Alaska, to Florida, and all in between. My blog friends and I share so much, the written words and photos; to meet them, see the wonderful scenery, and the wildlife, would be the most exciting experience of my life. Alaskan snow, Yukon landscapes, Colorado Mountains, Nova Scotia coastline and scenery, Kentucky ranches, and more, wait for me and the GoPro team, to visit and capture on video and camera. This is a tantalizing glimpse of my dream adventure.


Quotation of the day, by John Bunyan

“You have not lived today

until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Firewood is in the Shed, Hip-Hip-Hooray


At this time of the year,  trees are felled, cut into rounds, then split, dried, and stacked away in the shed for the next year’s fires. This is the way it should be done, all in good time, not rushed in a single day!!!

 Tree #1

Tree after  cut into rounds

A huge pile of wood framed

Today, Hugh took one almighty shortcut, saving many hours of the work involved.

The tree is in the shed.  do you see that BLUE air above? It fell the wrong way, Hugh ran to safety, we all heard the loudest crash, and  suddenly, the wood is  in the shed, the roof is demolished, as well as part of the back wall.

#3  Tree!!!

There is a huge mess to clean up, some building repairs, and plenty of firewood.

Spring flowers continue to bloom with bright colours, sending hearty cheer to those in  the far north.

A red poppy, pink day lily, dark red Alstromeria, and a very tall foxglove,  which is over  3 metres ( at least 10 feet) tall.

Red  Poppy by the pond

 Day Lily in PInk Foxglove reaching for the sky

Red Alstromeria

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ True friends walk with us in sunshine,

and in the shadows of the tall trees”

Greetings from Jean