A day out.

Azzan and I went for a drive today. It was around an hour each way to get an assessment done on my 4WD. On the way around I was anticipating seeing Cat’s work boat out on the water and then all of a sudden she came around the corner towards me. I slammed on the brakes and did a great skid into the water table. Cheeky wench sat there with a big smile on her face and said ‘Look at that skid – I think you need to slow down a bit’!! I no doubt will get beans about it later.

I decided to make the most of the day and spent a lovely few hours with a couple of local ladies – in the 11 years that one of them has lived here I have never once been to her home. Shocking eh!? Anyway, we made up for that today as I visited for quite a few hours.

On the way around Azzan was chatting away and at one point we were discussing cattle. This was after stopping to admire 2 gorgeous Highland cattle through the fence beside the llamas. He was establishing what you call different cattle. So I told him that bull’s are daddy cattle, cows are mothers and calves are the babies.

He said ‘then cattle must be friends with whales’.
I wasn’t quite sure where this random thought had come from so asked why.
He said –
‘to my mind….
whales have calves too.’

Not as random as I thought!

He was so good at Val’s house. Sat on my knee for ages until he finally decided the trunk was a great place to find treasure. He really enjoyed playing with the bead necklaces and earrings and a very noisy plastic cell phone. On the way home he dropped off to sleep – I had to listen to the radio instead, so not too much intellectual conversation.

The bad news waited till the end of the day – the rust is too bad and will be quite extensive to repair, so my poor ole Nissan Safari will have to find a new home or be retired to a farm hack.

The day started a bit scuddy but turned out glorious.
I couldn’t resist stopping to take a few photos on the way home to share. It is so beautiful here. One of my favourite views is north-westward across the bottom of D’Urville Island.

This is further towards home looking north – our farm is at the very end of this headland.

Then coming down our farm road looking east through our bush.

Shannie had an industrious day making cards and painting her creations – she makes amazing 3D collages out of flotsam and jetsam. Tim spent most of the day out on the water doing mussel work. Nathan spent the day cooking and has made a delicious dinner for 13 of us – honeyed chicken, wedges, pumpkin & feta salad, (I added broccoli salad for a bit of extra greenery) and fruit and custard for desert. Not bad for an 11 year old eh?

Today was Monday – ALL day!
I had such good intentions to get some school work done but by the time I had made some phone calls (about educational issues to do with Correspondence School), written an email back to the CEO of the Correspondence School – man it was a good reply too – and then a went out to get family and helpers organised -I came back to the study and inadvertently deleted my email – I was SO angry at myself – I would not be surprised if I was heard way over in Timbuktu when I screamed in frustration

Once I had calmed down I managed to rewrite it with help from another concerned friend, and sent it before I could lose it again. Let’s see if it takes 13 days for him to reply this time.

The children have been really titchy with each other, not too sure why. It is most interesting watching their personalities developing and how they each deal with frustrations and anger. Some not so well

Azzan has been very stroppy with me – consequently was disciplined severely several times today. Had to chuckle though as the first time I sent him to the bathroom to await his come-uppance all of a sudden he had an urge to go to the toilet. He then apologised so nicely with a big hug that he missed out on the full deal. Didn’t work the second time!!

When Tim realised I was writing this tonight he began to give me a run down on his doings for the day – ‘well, I managed to muster two mobs of sheep, got a little bit more done to the trolley, Satoshi finished some mussel ropes……’ I sorta got the feeling that he had a rather frustrating day and felt he hadn’t accomplished too much. I’m sure he did though but somedays you just feel like you are going hither and thither and nothing of worth gets accomplished.

Ruby cleaned all my windows this morning, Nuana did some craft work with Azzan – he was very happy with his dragon puppet. Cat is working but harvesting is off for 3 days due to the 50mm rainfall yesterday.

Seb was amazing this morning, when I got off the phone the first time he was rallying the children to get outside and clean up the deck, then he got them into their rooms and helped them do a huge clean up. He is a character – either full on or full stop! Great help though when he gets motivated.

Nathan and Shannie were busy getting old rabbit hutches & pens cleaned out and fixed up. Nathan for the lamb and Shannie in preparation for her chickens.

Azzan was showing Cat the puppet he had made and said
‘Nuana and me made this.’
Cat said ‘Nuana and I made it.’
‘No’ said Azzan
‘An ‘i’ is something in somebody’s name’.

I actually made a card today. I am in an art group and one of the ladies send out images to us each month on the proviso that we make an item from at least one of the images. Once we have posted a pic of that piece of art then we are eligible to receive the next months images. Great scheme to get us motivated and creating. Well, October is nearly finished and I hadn’t managed to make anything so today I made this card and I am delighted with it.

Stormy Sunday

We have just had a humdinger of a storm here today.
It rained and it blew and it nearly blew the house down – well actually not that bad but I couldn’t resist being poetic

Then around dinner time it cleared and the evening sun is now shining and the bay looks so beautiful. There was a lovely rainbow too. Still a bit gusty out there but the rain has left the place feeling like it has been washed clean.

Tonight I was reading to the 3 little children. Normally their Dad reads night stories but he had scarpered off somewhere. I read a couple of picture books and then I began to open ‘The Caravan Children’ by Enid Blyton. The girls love to have a chapter each night. As soon as I opened the book Azzan went ‘Ring, ring’, I tried to hold him still so he wouldn’t wriggle away. But again ‘Ring, ring’ and this time he wriggled off the bed and said ‘My phone’s ringing, I have to answer it’!! Talk about modern children. He doesn’t like to sit still listening to the girls stories so this time he was quite ingenious with his excuse I thought.

Watched Million Dollar Baby tonight – not my choice – bit of a strange movie. And now – the rain is coming down once again!! Great for the farm as long as the wind doesn’t counter balance the benefits.

More animals!

Saturday was a cleaning day.
Ruby cleaned all three bathrooms – something good about having a clean bathroom Anson cleaned out his caravan – we call it his apartment, and packed up his ute. He left to go visit his old boss in Nelson and then over to Blenheim to stay a short night with my Mum. He had a 4am start as he had to load on to the Interislander ferry at 5am today. Thankfully he had a good crossing and is now on his way up the North Island back to work. Ruby gave the caravan a good clean out and moved in for the coming week.

Seb was sick, there seems to have been some bugs left here from the party guests. Several of the young ones have developed heavy colds and some of us have had headaches etc but I think so far Seb has copped it the worst. He’s looking a bit better this morning.

I sent Nuana off with my camera to take photos as she is still trying to decide on her subject for the painting. I think we will have to make the decision for her soon or it will never get started!

I took some photos of the cabbage tree out front of our house. It is very beautiful at the moment as it is flowering. Glad I took the photo yesterday while the sun was shining because today we are experiencing yet another wild wet and windy stormy day. Cat went to work this morning but had to come back as it was too dangerous to harvest in this wind.

She bought another wee critter home with her yesterday, her work mate had caught him while out pig hunting. Boris has now joined the menagerie.
I commented to Azzan that the place was turning into a zoo. He said ‘This is not a zoo. Zoo’s are in town. This is Port Ligar’!
The children introduced all the new comers – Pea, Boris and Possum. Then possum was introduced to apples and lemons. He loved them both and was not too thrilled with Cat when she showed Ruby how they hang by their tails and use them as an extra foot. The lemon dropped and he got quite frantic about getting it back.
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Jesika’s has been away for past few days working on a neighbouring farm – helping with docking. So JoDee from US has been holding the fort at her place. She commented to me on Friday that there was a dead critter on the path as she was heading down to the mailboat. I asked if it was a possum but, she assured me that it wasn’t. I managed to sort out that yes indeed it was a possum – not the opossum variety that she knew of from the States – the more ugly variety. Our possums are imports from the Land of Oz and are deadly to the native bush and transmit tetanus in some places but they are very cute as you can see here.

Cat and Tim are trying to get the boat shed sorted and the trolley strengthened so Alibi can be put up on the slip. Cat is getting very anxious about getting to work on completing her. This is the trolley – wheels off ready to be put in a stronger position, beams needing to be turned and moved and steel supports added to make it safe enough to bring her ashore.
Looks like a bit of work ahead but Tim feels it will be better in the long run than working at the wharf. At least it will be under cover and stable.

Today improved for me despite the weather deteriorating again.
Took just a couple of lots of Panadol and by this evening my tooth had quietened right down – bar when I had a hot drink after dinner.

However the weather decided to lessen in quality as the day went on. The washing went out on the line and then it came back in and went into the clothes dryer.
By the time my Mum got on the mailboat at 1pm it was quite scuddy, been trying to rain off and on, and the wind was very gusty. The hills were misted out most of the afternoon. Ruby – a Taiwanese girl arrived on the mailboat to help here for a week. Cat & Anson took a truck load of rubbish up to the pit to burn so took Ruby & Nuana and with a great deal of persuasion Azzan went too. He is such a funny wee fella. When I am here he sticks right by me, but if I am away he is happy as Larry about going off with Tim or the others. When I went to town yesterday he was great for Tim. Went off mustering with him and wouldn’t be left behind. But as soon as I get back he just clings to me.

He snuggled in to me this morning and said ‘I just want to get really close to you Mummy’ – gets a bit claustrophobic though when I am trying to move about the kitchen and I am always falling over my wee shadow. I’m not really complaining cuz I know he is growing up fast and it will not be that long till he is off hooning on motor bikes etc and won’t have time for cuddles with his Mum.

Nathan bought in an orphan lamb this afternoon. It has a very loud baaaaaa to it. It is not drinking from the bottle very easily so drinks a tiny bit, settles for 5 minutes and then is up and baaaaaing again for more. Nate has named the lamb Black-eyed Pea – appropriately!!
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Tonight Andrew, Tracey and Josie came for dinner and after we had eaten the noise level was so high – from the lamb and four exuberant children. I had sent my three off to get ready for bed – they had however gotten diverted into dressing up and prancing and dancing about. I think we had 3 or 4 costume changes before I suggested extremely strongly that this time it was pyjamas and bed!!


Town again :-(

Well, my teeth got worse by Wed and I had to resort to taking Panadol. That’s pretty major for me because I do not take pain killers. By the 3rd lot in the evening they really weren’t working too well so yesterday morning I phoned the dentist at 8am and they had an appointment at 11:30am. I dropped everything and took off to town. The journey takes around 3 hours so no mucking about to get there on time. Spent about 1.5 hours in his chair and had the roots removed from one tooth. Am now hoping the other will settle down.

I am up this morning at 5am because my jaw was aching so bad so thought I would catch up on mail etc. The dentist had to do one heck of a lot of numbing to deaden the tooth as it was so inflamed so it will take a day or so to quieten. It is heaps better than it was yesterday morning though so here’s hoping.

I had a few hours after the dentist catching up with a special friend. She is normally so busy that we have just been passing each other in whirlwinds for quite sometime. However having just attained the wonderful age of 50 she is now taking stock of her life and reassessing priorities. We spent about 3 hours just chatting over a late lunch. It was great.

Haven’t really been up to playing in my art corner much lately because of all this and the party an’ all so while I was in town I popped in and bought some art supplies – gotta make the most of these trips eh?? Bought some large canvas’s and paints. I am discovering that behind Nuana’s quiet and shy exterior she is hiding some great art talent. I am commissioning her to do painting for a mutual friend of ours who is going through an extremely difficult marriage break up. Along with many other despicable things her ex broke into her house and stole every item including all her paintings. I thought I would also challenge myself to do a large collage for her too. I need challenges to get me going and I know she would love it. If only to fill the gaps on the walls

My Mum looked after the children while I was in town because Tim & older crew were cattle mustering. I discovered this morning that Mahalia AND Azzan walked around to the Sparrows bach on their own to play with Andrew & Tracey’s wee lass Josie. Wow! my baby is growing up so fast. It is about 2 miles and he has walked there before but always with an adult. He said to me that there were different Sparrows there this time!! He is used to seeing the 3 children who came in over the holidays (Louisa’s 3) but now some of the other cousins are coming more regularly he is discovering that there are more children in the equation.

Anson was given some lovely presents for his birthday – so now he has to try and get some thank you letters written before leaving. He is trying to convince me that I could type them up on the computer for him. He asked Granny if he had to write to her seeing as she was here and he could thank her in person. I said that yes he did have to, and Granny commented that if he did she would frame it You can tell how much he enjoys applying pen to paper!!

Here is a photo of his truck sporting the personalised number plates Tim & gave him for his birthday. He’s got them dirty already!!
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Another Yuck Day

Well, not too much to tell about Tuesday. It was yuck!. Rain, wind. The weather turned to the south which in turn prevented the masses from crossing the Cook Stait. I did hear at one stage about 5000 people were stuck on the Wellington side. The Interislander ferry Kaitaki which should take 3 hours to cross took 11 hours. It had to shelter in Clifford Bay and even then it was rocking about in 9metre swells.

Tim went over to Waterfall. He started to demolish the upstairs bathroom in preperation for the builders coming next week. Mum hadn’t been to see the alterations from last year so she went for the ride. I was feling so absolutely out of it that I went back to bed before lunch. I am so tired that I cannot move out of my own way plus my teeth were throbbing so bad. The dentist had a good go at them last week so I don’t know if it is the settling down or if they are getting reved up again

Got up 3 hours later but didn’t last long. Just felt sick and achey. Went back to bed and let the others feed themselves. Got up about 7pm and watched ‘Black Books’ with the older kids. It is a UK TV series – absolutely hilarious, a drunken, cigarette addicted, foul tempered Irishman called Bernie Black who owns a bookshop. A long haired left over hippie called Mannie who keeps it altogether and Fran the girl next door.

I have woken this morning to an absolutely flat calm glorious morning – I am still feeling yuck but hopefully the day will improve. The children are all suffering from tired syptoms too. Mahalia has a runny blocked nose, Shannie a sore throat…lets hope they don’t get any worse.
At the moment Azzan is standing behind me combing my hair – he loves to comb, brush, mangle and knot up my hair whenever he catches my sitting down. Just as well I have a hard head!

Better go put my best foot forward and try to be positive about the day

Birthday Boys and rough weather

We have had a busy weekend with myriad’s of people coming and going, the weather has proved to be very trying – excessive winds, heavy rain, slippery roads that vehicles have had to be towed up. We were warned by the forecasters that storm warnings were in place for Saturday night so we were semi prepared. However the rain came in earlier so some folk had interesting times just getting here. The rain eased back mid afternoon Saturday and finally cleared and we only had the high wind gusts to endure during Anson’s party.

Tim took a crew out fishing in the morning – they arrived back rather wet! Anson and my bro Duncan got the spit roaster going and started to prepare the hangi. When Paul arrived back from fishing he got the hangi going properly. A hangi is the traditional way the Maori cook their food. You dig a deep pit and then light a fire in the bottom with hot burning wood. You then use either iron or rocks on top. They absorb the heat and once the fire has burned down to ashes you then put the prepared food into the baskets – either wire or woven flax – you then cover it all with a sheet or woven flax mats and cover the pit in with the soil and let the heat cook the food. It only takes a few hours. We cooked mutton, pork, chicken, kumara, potatoes, pumpkin and cabbage.

By about 4pm most people had arrived so after admiring the birthday cake which Jesika had made to represent Anson hunting in the mountains,
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we started moving down to the woolshed. We had dips and chips and drinks to begin the festivities along with a lolly scramble for the youngsters. They had to compete with the wind to catch the lollies!

Some of the men enjoyed socialising outside – of course they had to keep an eye on the spit and hangi
Paul (Anson’s North Island boss), Alan (Nuana;s father) and Duncan (my brother)

Next on the evenings entertainment was the speed shear.
It was a lot of fun because despite only having Anson & Paul there as professional shearers and Tim & Duncan as the still functioning antique shearers (there were a few other non-functioning antique shearers who were very happy just to watch!) Once they got up and shore a few sheep then other folk decided to give it a go to. So many city slickers had lots of fun trying to work out which end was up. They all really enjoyed the experience and challenge.

We then cranked up the deep fryer and barbecue. Alan and Eare (Nuana’s parents) produced copious quantities of hot chips and Herb & our neighbour Peter cooked the hamburgers.
There were mussels and oysters and hot-dogs along with the spit roasted pig and the hangi tucker. All in all it was a great feed and everyone enjoyed it.
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Things got a bit tiring for some but there were woolbales and corners to crash out in

Brianna had put together a computerised photo display of Anson’s life which played on a large sheet billowing against the shed wall in the breeze. That was fun. Then Tim & I made a speech – Anson tried to reply but was rather overcome with it all. The cake was brought down and they cut that and we all ate dessert – ambrosia, jellies and cake – yummy.
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Most folk had gone by around 11pm so the rest of us came up to the house for coffee. Tim & I took quite a while to sort out and put away left over food – there was so much. Bed was very welcome at around 1am.

I woke next morning at 5:45am and found Anson & Herb still out in the living room – they had continued the party up in Anson’s caravan with a few other young folk and had not bothered going to bed! Oh to be young and crazy.

Sunday was wet, Cat had work. The memorial unveiling for Tim’s parents was canned because of the weather – way to yucky and dangerous to be walking up to the top of the hill. Everyone else just cruised, ate, socialised – those that needed to caught up on sleep, people started leaving to go home. Leftovers for dinner.

Monday was wet again – great for the farm but not too good for the roads. Tim had to tow a few folk up the road – it was worse because he had been bulldozing and then all the excess traffic had really turned a few spots into quagmires.

Nathan was the man of the moment – he actually forgot it was his 11th birthday until Nuana reminded him. His day was much quieter and laid back. Jesika cooked a Mexican meal for lunch but by the time she got it over here it was closer to dinner which was great, we didn’t have to cook dinner He was thrilled with his camouflaged sheets I had bought for him in Utah from Cabella’s. We had also gotten him a cool book about Pirateology and a premier boxed set of RISK. His favourite board gave.
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Ella and Grant were the last ones to leave with their 5 young ones.
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Brianna enjoyed getting to know wee Brianna and we all loved the twins – Ava & Brianna were much fussed over

We then got the young folk to bed and crashed out in front of a movie. Tried to watch Fried Green Tomatoes but the CD was damaged so gave up and watched The Joy Luck Club. It was good – a fairly intense movie about mother/daughter relationships based on Amy Tan’s novel revolving around 4 Chinese mothers and daughters in San Francisco and China. We all should have gone to bed early but blobbing seemed like a good thing to do!

Today began reasonably calmly in all ways but the momentum increased very quickly.

Ella – who lived with us around 21 years ago arrived with her dh Grant and 5 children in tow at 7:30am. They had driven through the night from Christchurch to spend the weekend with us. Their latest two are 12 weeks old and so cute. Brianna and Ava – my children think it is pretty cool to have wee babies in the house again.

We had organised for Anson’s boss Paul to come over on the night ferry which arrives in Picton at 6:20am. Plenty of time to catch the mailboat driver at 7:30am when he left Picton to drive to Havelock. Paul woke up at 7:30 to find the ferry was still a long way from Picton!! So at 8:45 when he phoned us for help they only way we could think of at the time was for him to find a taxi and move it to catch the mailboat by 9:30am. He made it in time and he and his daughter Ruby-May (10) joined my mother and my niece Ruby (12) and Jesika’s friend JoDee from US for an enjoyable trip through the Sounds.

The weather had picked up by this time and the bay was white, wind screaming, doors slamming, Tim reckoned he hadn’t seen it so rough in a long long time.

Nuana and Phoebe did a brilliant job of restoring order to the house while I was trying to sort out stuff in the study – mail and photos. They also got a lot of the food prepared for tomorrow which was great.
Brianna spent most of the day finishing her deck with Phoebe’s help.
Cat and Seb were cleaning up around the back of the woolshed and found a couple of penguins under a pile of tin. They bought them in for us to see. They have very vicious sharp beaks – even the cute fluffy wee baby!

By the time the mailboat arrived the wind had dropped and it was a beautiful sunny calm day. Tim caused a bit of hilarity when he produced a ladder for Granny to climb up. It was low tide so rather difficult to get off the boat.
The children all teamed up with great excitement and spent most of the afternoon swimming and playing on the beach. Such a contrast to this mornings weather. Mum peeled a sack of potatoes for the hangi – Azzan decided to help but had problems trying to manipulate the peeler.
We did dinner in two sittings tonight as there were 18 to feed. The men were busy getting the bulldozer fixed and away in the shed so I waited and ate with them. Shannie, Ruby & Ruby-May are sleeping in a tent – not too sure how much sleeping will be done, they were pretty excitable. Azzan didn’t want to sleep alone so Brianna tucked him into her bed and Mahalia was so tired that she was crying and just wanted to hop into her own cuddly bed but we had already made that up for Granny to sleep in. So I popped her into our bed and she went out like a light. She loves to sleep in our room so I have made her a bed on the floor to move her into.

My bro Duncan and Sylvia bought nephew Vinnie with them later on. Anson had to go pick up the hangi gear so he took a crew spotlighting on the way. There are plans afoot for an early morning fishing trip so just hope they managed to get back home in time for a certain party!!!

Thursday 19th

Well, life just doesn’t seem to stop here – it feels like a continuous roller coaster sometimes! I don’t seem to be able to get ahead with my office work and I still haven’t made Anson’s birthday card. Brianna has been busy building her decking, there has been lots of noise and loud music coming from the back door area – think she nearly has it complete which is great. That was her mission for this trip home.

The weather at the moment is really changeable – typical spring stuff. But the wind is getting rather tedious. It is drying out the land something shocking. Makes the bay very interesting – it is never boring, always different colours with wind whipping up waves and whilly-whirls zipping here and there, depending on the wind direction.

Tim took the crew out in the boat yesterday morning to get some scallops, it was really scuddy and after they left it got worse. But they got a few and were happy

Anson & Angus shot a hind while out spotlighting the night before so had to butcher it. Nice to have a little venison again – we have missed having our hunter home. The freezer used to be full of venison and wild pork but while Anson has been away it has been very lean.

We are getting prepared for Anson’s 21st birthday party, so there has been lots of food arriving and getting prepared and sorted. Nuana and Jesika were hard at it yesterday morning although today will be the busiest day as we get all the main stuff done. Only so much you can do earlier, most has to be prepared at the last minute so as not to spoil. The guys started cleaning out the woolshed yesterday too so today we will get it finished and hopefully the decorations will stay up and not blow about too much. The little girls have made banners and a friend has located some Southern Man posters and I will get the guys to blow balloons – should be a lot of fun.

Cat and Nate have adopted a baby possum, it is very cute and a good size so he should survive.
They are feeding it with an eyedropper and it is living in Star’s old bird cage – we seem to have an ongoing menagerie here these days!

Last night Jesika came over for dinner, Nathan (Herb) arrived back in with all the vegetables and buns – so there were 15 around the table for dinner – quite a squeeze but lots of noise and fun.
From the front in clockwise order is Anson (with his back to me), Cat, Angus, Seb (sporting his new hairstyle), Brianna, Shitoshi, Nuana, Shoshannah, Tim, Nathan (well, he was there before I clicked the shutter!) Nathan (Herb), Jesika, Phoebe (she came up from Chch with Brianna, she is part of the family Bri has adopted or who have adopted Bri), Mahalia (sporting a large lump on her head, she met the piano leg with great velocity just before dinner – ouch!).
Anson was cheeking me a lot so I managed to sneak some water down the back of his shirt – not often I can get one up on him! I did pay for it though – tomato sauce all over my kumara while I wasn’t looking – yuck!

After dinner Jesika and Brianna were having a jam session on electric piano and electric guitar and then the power went off – again!!! So Tim lit the candles and they changed to flute and guitar and we spent an enjoyable evening chatting around the candle light. Nice and relaxing.
Tim went to settle Azzan down and never came back. I thought he had just gone off to bed. However, when I went up later on to tuck the little ones in I found him sound asleep on the bed beside Azzan and Shannie. The power came back on just as we were hopping into bed. I am really praying that it doesn’t go off tomorrow night when we have over 70 extras here.