Happy New Year!

I’m sitting here with a totally blank mind, thinking, what on earth did we do today??
It can’t have been anything of earth shattering importance or I would surely remember easily

You would think that the last day of the year would have some momentous importance about it.

My only major news is that I have managed to loose 3.4kg in the past month – yahoo!

It’s 9:30pm. The wee ones are in bed already – the older tribe have all gone walking to Waterfall Bay and then plan to hunt their way home.

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-
storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or
year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring
bells and fire off pistols. ~Thomas Mann

And on that note
I am off to bed

See you next year

Last Saturday of 2006!

Today was the first day I have actually felt warm enough to wear some summer clothing since leaving Mexico. Amazing really considering the forecast was for hail and lightening and rain and cold….

It was a beautiful day – I hung out a huge amount of washing and it all dried very quickly. We did get a quick change in the weather around mid afternoon – the rain came in and it looked like the front was here – and then a few moments later it was all over and the sun was shining again.

I think it must have zipped up the east coast – heard reports of flooding in Timaru and really cold grotty weather in Christchurch – we sure have missed it so far.

The children – big & small – all went swimming. Tim & the guys did some fence fixing and are working towards getting the bulldozer working so they can begin getting out trees to mill.

I managed to get dinner prepared this morning which was great because this arvo Andrea and Ross arrived and Ross spent ages sorting out my computers. He is an Apple man and a good friend so I love it when he comes to play I am so hopeless when it comes to knowing what to do – but I am learning and after today’s lesson I now know how RAM and hard drives work and how the speed is affected by them etc. etc!

We have been cleaning out cupboards and the attic etc and boxing up stuff as we go so I can take it out to town and donate it to whatever good cause wants it all. I must be making progress around here because Andrea commented that she felt the house had a sense of order to it unlike when they used to come visit years back!!!

Ross showed me this neat photo – it was taken recently and shows the centre of New Zealand and you can see where we live – At the very top of the South Island in the centre of the picture you can see D’Urville Island – we live just to the right at the end of that little penninsula – cool eh?!

Fishing, picnics and waterfalls

This morning Tim and the guys went round to Bush Inn and mowed the grass and fixed a gate – the Sparrow family are due in today so he thought he would get things tidied up for them.

Then around midday we left on the boat for a picnic at Penguin Island.

Brianna picked my friend Andrea from Waterfall Bay and then we steamed off out. It was quite choppy and spray was flying about – periodically wetting us, but we all voted to carry on across to D’Urville Island as it looked much calmer over there. And it was. We fished for our lunch and then went ashore.
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Penguin Island beach is our family’s favouritist place to go for a picnic. There is a lovely beach, when the tide is in there is a lagoon and when the tide is out it is safe enough to swim at the beach. Then there is the waterfall!
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Tim & Graham cooked the fish over a fire. We all ate our fill and lazed about while the children played in the creek.

Then we activated and scrambled up the creek, under trees, up banks of loose rock and tree debris, over slippery mossy rocks and up and under and over logs the floods have deposited over time. Granny was thrilled to bits that she made it right up to the waterfall. Tim was close by to ensure she and Azzan made it all the way safely.
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Josiah & Yuji both swam in the pool beneath the falls. I discovered that it is best to not turn my flash off on the camera – darn it! Most of the photos I took there are just fuzzy blurs
The view as we walked back down was lovely

When we got back the tide had gained and the lagoon was getting bigger and where our campfire had been was under water.
The children had heaps of fun playing in the lagoon – Nathan enjoyed terrorising the little girls – until Brianna got back at him and dumped him in the tide – Brothers!

We didn’t leave the beach until after 5pm and then Tim fished at various spots on the way home. It was very choppy and we were threatening that if he didn’t get moving we would all throw up-!! At one stop there was a very loud outburst of tears from Azzan – thankfully Mahalia was able to interpret as he was too distraught – his sun hat had blown over the side. After a lot of manoeuvring Brianna & Nathan snagged it and got it onboard. He was very happy – ‘I loved that hat so much’!!

Just after we got home we had a visit from the float plane. It was dropping folk off to stay in the Cottage but had gotten lost and landed up near Waterfall Bay and had motored all the way along the shore. We haven’t had a float plane in here for many many years so it was a real novelty.

It was really late when we got home and after her bath (which to her disgust wasn’t very warm because the fire hadn’t been going all day to heat the water) Shannie had reached the end of her tether and was sitting on my knee crying with tiredness. Azzan said ‘someone needs to wipe away her tears.’
Brothers can be sweet sometimes-!!

New links in the family blog chain

I would like to introduce you to two new xanga sites.
Two of my darlings had set up blogs on a homeschool blog site – however it was extremely difficult to use and I got totally frustrated with it and have just helped them start their own xanga sites.
Come say hullo and meet Shoshannah & Nathan.



I also got my Mum to get started on her blog yesterday.


So feel free to go meet them all and encourage them.

Is it really Thursday already?

Azzan wanted to play with the play dough this morning so I got it out for him.
He was standing on a chair at the bench asking Mahalia to get him the ‘flatter’.
Can you guess?
Only a mother could know this one – the rolling pin!!
Very logical – it flattens the dough

Brianna had the crew up in the orchard this morning finishing off the chicken run and house for Shannie’s chooks. It’s basic but has all they need. And most importantly – it should keep them out of the garden – Cat was threatening to put them in the pot if they pulled anymore plants out.

Tim & Ben have been working on a 2nd hand stove Tim has had stashed for a while. Hoping it will fit into the Croft. Ritchie & Tash have decided to move to town now and won’t be renting the Croft. Good move for them, but sad we won’t have them as neighbours.

Granny gave us ‘The March of the Penguins’ and the little folk were watching it this arvo. Azzan got a bit bored with it and instead of leaving began creating a nuisance. So Tim removed him and they had some story time instead. Tim was reading ‘Henny Penny’ (Chicken Licken) and decided it was a stupid story because it was so repetitive – but was shouted down by Azzan who likes that story and three women who know things like ‘that’s how children learn to read’!!!

The weather has improved steadily as the day has gone on. Don’t think it will last for long though – the forecast is not too hot. Sounds like we may be getting a late late summer and now while most folk are trying to holiday it is very changeable and yucky.

We managed to finish dinner early and get the little ones to bed so we could watch ‘Seven Years in Tibet’. It is a long film but really good. Just after it had begun we got a phone call from Marlborough Marine Radio wanting us to go check out a yacht as it appeared abandoned. So Tim & Brianna shot over in the dinghy. As Tim had surmised the folk on board had had some motor problems and had gone off on another yacht to get help/parts. They arrived back at the same time as Tim got there. The major problem was they were on someone else’s mooring and they were not happy chappies. Anyway, end of drama – Tim got back in time to see the last half of the movie.

When I opened the curtains at the end I found two wee faces looking in expectantly. Tim found some meat for them and they are now very contented kittens.

It is so glorious out tonight. There is just a light breeze and I can hear the sound of the boats lapping at the wharf. The sky is clear and the stars are out and twinkling and the lights from the boats moored around the bay are shining. A tranquil picture uncaptured by film but imprinted on my heart. I so love living here.

Wet & Wild Wednesday

Tim left around 6am to go get fuel from Elaine Bay. I had told the guys if it was raining to stay in bed – but it didn’t start raining until they had come down for breakfast! So the walk to Waterfall Bay to garden for Jesika was canned.

However, Brianna found a very good wet day job for Yuji & Josiah to do. They spent all morning up in the attic cleaning out the children’s toys and then sorting gallons of Lego from all the rubbish. We have been gathering Lego since Anson was little so there is about 15 years worth up there and it was all mixed with some cheaper brands which don’t build together so good plus heaps of other toys.
They brought bins of stuff down and then spent ages at the kitchen table sorting it all out. Each time the children came near and started to poke about in the rubbish Brianna would send them off to watch a video-!!

The Croft folk left early so I shot around to get the linen to wash and then Anna & Ben went around and cleaned it as there were more folk arriving today.

My friends Cathy & Maurice called in again. They had had a fairly rocky night on their yacht and had moved anchor across the bay several times to try and find a calm spot.

This afternoon we all watched ‘Annie. A Royal Encounter’. Ben & Josiah passed up the movie and fixed the door of the kayak shed instead. The day had improved immensely by this time so the children were told to go outside. I was really weary so hopped on to my bed for a rest but Tim arrived home and then the phone rang so I gave up any ideas of staying there too long. Tim had taken the fuel down to Jesika’s and then got side tracked getting the washing machine going and other fix-it jobs – hence arriving home at 5pm instead of 10am!!

Later this afternoon while the children were busy Anna & I got up into the attic and finished off the job and Shoshannah helped us sort out all the soft toys. I decided they have too many and they can go to some other children. The attic is now lovely and tidy.

Brianna, Sarah and Granny went to Jesika’s for dinner so there was only a small number to feed here tonight – 10 of us! Easy dinner which was good.

We were sent some really interesting old photos and diary pages today, from a fishing trip to Port Ligar taken by some men from Canterbury in 1953. Here is a photo of Tim when he was about 4, his sister Lorraine and his father Jack.
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Cute wasn’t he? Tim I mean

Family times

Tim & Anson went out for an early muster this morning. Cat & Yuji zipped out to pull up the net. Then they and Josiah spent an hour or so filleting the 26 kahawai that were in it! Cat then got Yuji & Josiah shovelling sheep manure from under the woolshed into bags to be taken over to Waterfall Bay to build up the garden.

When Tim & Anson got home I suggested that they give Nathan a game of Risk. He had gotten a classic set for his birthday back in November but hadn’t played a game yet. Anna joined in and the game monopolised the rest of the morning. In fact we all had lunch around them. Shannie & Azzan had fun making words with the Masterword game.

My friend Cathy & her dh Maurice arrived in their trailer sailer ‘Sirocco’ and we had a lovely cruisy afternoon catching up. Cathy and I shared a room in a Christchurch hostel back in 1975, so we go back a loooooong way. Maurice and Cat spent time talking yachts and checking out ‘Alibi’. Cat is finding that anyone with a yacht is only too happy to share knowledge so she enjoys picking their brains.

Brianna, Granny (my Mum) and friend Sarah arrived just after 5pm so we all sat down to an early dinner. It was fairly raucous and much hilarity went on. Anson took off out to work and then soon after Cat & Seb left for Golden Bay.
Before dinner we grabbed a few moments to capture the nearly entire family for the record. Only Sunniva was absent. As anyone with a mulititude of children knows – it is jolly difficult to get a photo with everyone looking good. So this is the best we can do for now. I have more on Anson’s camera but I can’t figure out how to get them onto my computer at the moment. Maybe tomorrow!

This morning we all made our way around to Jesika’s. Some went by dinghy, others walked and some by vehicle. I walked, Tim drove and because he always finds something else to do or clean up he was, as normal, late!

But we finally begun our brunch meal at 11:15am. It was very yummy. Jesika had prepared large platters of raw fruit, muffins, banana cake, nut bread, lemon yoghurt and cream.
When we had eaten our fill of that she then bought out more large platters of crepes, croissants, bacon, small sausages, chicken, berry coulais, maple syrup, fresh coffee, and juices.

We were totally replete by the time we had finished all of that.

Then came the endless game of touch rugby on the front lawn. There was a lot of hilarity, complete with Seb’s renditions of how to play like a zombie!! It went on for hours and tonight there are some rather sun-kissed people – Anson being way the worst!

I curled up with the 3 little ones and watched the end of Pollyanna and then the cartoon movie of ‘The Prince of Egypt’. It was too hot outside for me. Tim spent most of the afternoon pottering away fixing things, like the weed-eater, and beginning the installation of the washing machine for the Lodge guests use.

We eventually got home around 6:30pm. Had a quick snack of heated up left overs and then a loud raucous game of lagretto before heading off to bed sorta early.

Not too sure where the weekend has gone. Sat morning we all slept a bit later so the morning went by quite quickly. There has been stuff to do to get ready for the onslaught of the tourists. Cleaning etc. All is done and tonight the first lot arrived. More tomorrow.

Yesterday morning Ben spent an hour or so doing some art with the young folk. Azzan had been sent some dyes in his Correspondence School pre-school kit so Ben supervised the use of them. I didn’t really fancy having the children painting themselves etc. with dyes! The had a great time and then I brought out some shaving gel so they had a really good play with that too.
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Ritchie and Tash came around in the afternoon to suss out The Croft. The house they are renting has been sold and they have to be out next month so they are going to rent The Croft from us from mid Feb. Be good to have full time tenants in there. Plus Cory and our young’uns enjoy playing together.

Saturday night the bro’s were hanging out in the kitchen – sharing the ipod earplugs is a very communal and brotherly thing to do these days around here! Seb doesn’t like his photo taken so I just caught him here
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Last night Cat tried injecting the deer antlers with formalin to preserve them. Because the antlers are still in velvet they will rot unless preserved or frozen. The formalin proved to be pretty violent as it squirted everywhere and got her in the eyes a couple of times. She resorted to wearing the full face helmet and even then the fumes were really lethal so she gave up and did it today outside in the fresh air.

Today we were hard at it to get the Cottage finished. Josiah helped to clean out the workshop freezer and clean the BBQ. Seb has been working on the BBQ’s all weekend, welding and fixing and cleaning to get them functioning again. They don’t like standing still over winter much. Yuji & Ben got all the concrete paths swept and Anna finished the Cottage.

By around 11:30pm we were finally ready to have our fellowship meeting. Jesika & JoDee had come around to clean The Croft so they joined us and then stayed for lunch. This afternoon everyone pretty much just chilled out. The children & I watched ‘Annie’. It was fun – they had not seen it before and were fascinated by the dancing and singing. Azzan took a while to actually understand it was a musical and that was why they burst into song all the time!

I came out to cook dinner around 6pm and found Tim asleep at the table. We had the whole place to ourselves – it was stunningly quiet – that is until the hoards got hungry and started pouring in the doors around 7pm!!

Shearing is finished – yippee!

Another early start today.

Came out to the kitchen and look what we found sitting outside the front door!
Cat & Mike had gone possum shooting. They only took a .22 rifle and no knife. Never expected to see a deer. An absolute crazy miracle but Cat managed to drop it with several shots of the .22. Then they had to get it into the car – it was massively heavy as they had no knife to gut it with. It was a 14 pointer. Man, that girl is tinny!

Last day of shearing – yippee! We thought it would run into tomorrow morning but Anson did well and a total of 1139 sheep were shorn in the 3 days. I think we all earn a sleep in tomorrow!
Here is a bit of wool shed activity – the blur indicates action-!! Anson is shearing on the right hand stand and Matt is crutching on the left. Josiah is on the table and Yuji is clearing the wool for Anson.
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Cat has finished the vanity so she and Mike took it up to Waterfall Bay in the dinghy this morning.
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It will look even better once it is oiled. Jesika commented to Cat that it looked so good in the bathroom that she was tempted to stay on – but as she can’t live in a bathroom I don’t think that will happen The builders came in and got the bathroom functioning which is great as it looks like Jesika could have a busy time with guests over the New Year.

The mailboat came after lunch and bought a huge box of stuff for me. Azzan decided it would make a great hut and then the girls got in on the act and they found several more boxes and ended up creating a monster hut in the lounge.
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It came in quite cold again so I got Nate to light the fire – but there is always interesting things to read in the old newspapers!

We got a rather upsetting letter in the mail and it really threw me for the rest of the day. Also got news to hear an old friend had just died. So I ended up doing not a lot. Tend to malfunction when I am an emotional basketcase

Anson had bought the DVD of ‘Over the Hedge’ so we all watched it tonight. But the fire was so warm and cosy and I was weary so I think I slept through most of it. Maybe I will have to watch it again in the morrow with the younger ones.