Thursday – all day and again!

Man was it cold here today!
Saw a light dusting of snow on Mt Stokes and then the rain came in and I just had to light the big fire.
Of course by lunch time the temperatures had lifted and we were rather warm inside. Can’t win!

Shearing again today. Anson looked absolutely shattered when he came in for breakfast. Not enough sleep. Then at lunch time I had to send Matt off to bed because he was in a worse state. All the travelling and work and hardly any sleep had really knocked the stuffing out of him. He looked heaps better when he came down for dinner.

Anna & Ben were a big help this morning. Ben cooked a great fish pie for dinner and Anna helped the children get their rooms sorted. I let the 3 wee folk watch Madagascar after they had done their chores. They needed some chill out time. They were very weary today after their late night partying. After lunch I had everything sussed food-wise so I put my feet up and watched a DVD – The Land Girls, based in UK during WW2.

Tim, Seb, Cat & Mike spent several hours at Waterfall Bay cutting up all the venison. Cat has finished the construction of the vanity unit for Waterfall Bay so that will be installed tomorrow. The builder is coming in the morning to get the bathroom completed just in the nick of time before the Christmas rush of guests arrive.

Should only have another day and a half to finish the shearing. So despite the weather being a bit intermittent the rain really hasn’t held it up at all.

All the workers were up and going by 5:30am. Anson had a smile on his face when they came in for breakfast – nothing like hard work to cheer up a fella!

Matt (Nuana’s bro) has been working in Anson’s gang up north since he finished his school exams early November, so he had Yuji & Josiah under his wing and got them sussed in the routines of shed handing. They did real good too. Matt and Josiah also had a go at crutching the sheep – Ans was most impressed at how well they did.

After work we got organised for Cat’s b’day party. It was supposed to be at 7pm. But with all the ongoing necessary work we actually didn’t eat till around 8pm. Tim had a sheep to kill, dogs to feed, then a gate got left open so sheep had to be redrafted (pain pain!) Seb had to take Ritchie up to Waterfall Bay in the dinghy to get some venison for Ritchie & Tash to take home. Jesika was late because she forgot to cook the foccacia bread…………

On the way up the bay Seb found this fish. It is a real unusual one. It is called a Ribbonfish (Dealfish) Trachipterus trachypterus. They normally are a deep offshore fish and can grow to 1-1.5m long This one is a juvenile 60cm long with a 15cm tail fin. Apparently it is common to find them near the surface of New Zealand offshore waters, but we have never seen one in here before.

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There was a real feast for all – smoked fish and creamed paua a la Ritchie, baked stuffed moki, pumpkin & feta salad and roast garlic kumara & potatoes made by ‘moi’ and Jesika bought over some very yummy salads, foccacia bread and THE cakes!
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The birthday girl
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It was also our neighbour Rob’s birthday so Jesika had bribed him into coming to the party by making him a cake too – we weren’t complaining He’s too shy to have his mugshot taken so I got a photo of his cake instead – much better looking too I might add

Jesika discovered a great way to de activate an overcharge 2 year old. Cory, Ritchie & Tash’s wee man was full on all night, this was about the only time he actually sat still for more than 60 seconds!

We all headed to bed around 11pm and then Cat, Mike (Cat’s friend Anna’s bro who arrived in the afternoon on his way from Palmerston North to Golden Bay) & Seb went possum hunting till 1am, No wonder he was hard to wake this morning

Comings & goings.

I actually managed to get to bed before Tim and before 10pm last night – a miracle!
Anson has been shearing north of Auckland and was driving down the North Island last night after work to catch the ferry today. So we were texting when I hopped into bed. I finally told him at 10:30pm that I was going to sleep and that unless there was an emergency I would text again this morning. He was planning to stop somewhere around Taihape, all going well. At 3:35am I received a text telling me that they had just arrived at my cousins place in Stokes Valley – which is very close to Wellington. Tim & Joan will have gotten a surprise this morning to wake up and find two stray males sleeping in the truck outside their front door!!! Not too sure why Ans had to text me at the unearthly time but it was good to know he had made it down the island safely.

We have been hiring a bed alarm for some of the children – a bit of a problem with nocturnal enuresis in the family – hence my broken nights. However, this morning a very bemused 9yr old came out to tell me that she had woken without the alarm at midnight – most exciting progress!

When the children all went mustering with Tim the other day, Shannie came home with 5 skinks and had them in a glass jar. She has now found a large plastic bin and an ant nest for them to live in. She was showing me one today and it leapt out of her hands – man! they are fast.

We spent most of the morning preparing food and cleaning out the two main house freezers, Shannie decided it was easier to get right inside when she and Josiah were scraping off the ice.

This afternoon Tim and the guys have been cleaning up the woolshed and then before dinner they took off for a couple of hours to muster down some sheep. Shannie and Azzan went too – Shannie armed up with an ice cream container to catch more skinks-!!

The kittens were so hilarious this arvo – they were sleeping on logs on the decking – in the most peculiar positions! Just after I took these Marco (the old white cat) got up and hopped up onto the log and settled down right on top of one of the kittens, which then decided to extract itself from underneath and find somewhere else to sleep.
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Cat went to work this morning but Seb stayed back and caught up on some school work. He is also writing a major epistle about their hunting exploits last week – I am flabbergasted that my son who has written only one story in his whole entire 16 years of life is now sitting at the computer each day and adding more and more detail. Cat was ‘It was only a 2 hour hunt Seb’!! I think it’s great – and it’s really interesting too

Jesika came over this arvo and showed us photos of her tramp. Amazing territory they covered. Quite rugged – sounded rather adventurous, photos were amazing. She stayed for dinner as Cat is making a vanity unit for the upstairs bathroom at Jesika’s house and they are working together to get it finished asap.

Tim took a crew mustering late the afternoon and then we had dinner and the guys went back out to sort up sheep. Seb did a photo session of our classic 1970 SWB Landrover which Tim has decided at long last to sell. Anyone interested? Look it even has a motor – hasn’t got a lot else but it does have the motor-!!
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Anson & Matt arrived at 8:30 with our friend Ben & Anna. They had picked them up in Rai Valley and squeezed them into the truck. Ben & Anna have recently gotten married. They met in Vanuatu working for YWAM. Ben from UK & Anna from USA, they are on a global honeymoon and are staying with us over Christmas. Ans & Matt were looking extremely shell shocked – only 2 hours sleep in the past 2 days. Anson has bought a brand new portable shearing plant so he and Tim put it together tonight so he can use it in the morning. Plan is to start shearing at 5:45am

Gorgeous evening here tonight –

Happy Birthday Cat!!

Tim, was up at 4am and went mustering with Josiah & Yuji at 5am. They got back around 9 for a snack. and a quick siesta for Yuji under the wisteria while waiting on Tim-!!

I really struggled to get out of bed this morning. I was soooo tired, from several busy days broken nights. It tends to take me a while to actually wind up and get going. Thankfully the children are all very self sufficient these days and can find food if their errant mother isn’t around.

Nathan took this cute photo of the kittens sleeping in the pot which reminded me of this other cute kids in pots photo that Cat took at Jesika’s one day recently.
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Today has been one of those crazy strange weather days.
The sun was out but it was cold inside.
I spent most of the morning with my down jacket on working in the study, then went outside and ate my lunch with Azzan and got toasted in the sun.

I did a bit more work on my collage today – making progress Plus I managed to finish a page in a travelling art journal. It was quite amusing as the topic was 1920’s, and I was racking my brains to think of a subject. My printer is playing up so I cannot rely on it. I thought – ‘children, being seen but not heard’, then I thought ‘photography in the early days’… I began gesso-ing the pages, they actually ended up sorta greyish cause I kept changing my mind and while they were drying I got some inspiration from an article about the Great Depression. So mine ended up being a very morbid spread on that.

Cat & Seb got back from work around 2pm and we all remembered to wish Cat a Happy Birthday – she is the grand old age of 24 today-!!

It’s been a day of spilt milk – first Tim knocked the jug of milk out of the fridge at 4am and found a little milk goes a very long way! Then tonight Yuji was clearing up after dinner and did exactly the same thing. Then while we were moping it up, Cat called the kittens to come help lick and Nate went to get Marco to help lick too and when he came in the door he slipped in the milk and ended up flat on his back amongst it all – real slap stick stuff! Poor Yuji was apologising profusely until Cat explained to him our English expression of ‘Don’t cry over spilt milk’.

The evening is calm and cool. Cat & Seb whizzed up to Waterfall Bay to help Jesika unload but she had beaten them home and was almost finished. They have been sussing out what to do with their deer antlers. Mount or sell. My uncle is a deer farmer. He said that they could probably get $50 a kilo for the velvet – so it is a hard choice – sell them to make aphrodisiacs for the Chinese or preserve and mount them as a trophy that will one day end up as a coat hanger!!!

Decisions, decisions

Our Weekend

We went in the 88 South to a BBQ at St Omer in the Kenepuru Sound. It was hosted by our mussel processing company. Just Tim & I with the 4 young’uns went. It was a 2 hour 10min steam both ways. It was a pleasant day, but rather windy. I discovered on looking in the mirror when we got home that I had received a good dose of wind and sun burn – more wind than sun though I think-!!

On the way home we saw a ship wreck near St Omer.

Then we went passed the Spirit of New Zealand – read all about her on (Jesika spent 10 days aboard when she was about 16)

The day was rather tiring for little people – Azzan slept very soundly on the floor of the boat and Hali crashed out up front.
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Got home to a delicious dinner cooked my Josiah’s Koru – Doug. I was so glad not to have to cook as I find boating very exhausting and I was very weary after the day out.
Josiah and Doug

Today we had church – music supplied by Rick Stokes and Josiah.

This afternoon Tim and most of the others all went mustering, a case of having to because we are shearing from Wednesday and the sheep have to be moved around the farm in a methodical fashion to be in the right place at the right time.

Once everyone had gone I finally had some head space and decided to tackle the collage I have been trying to get started for several weeks. It’s a really large canvas and despite having the bacsic idea in my head I have been struggling to get started. I am really rapt tonight though because it is taking shape well and looking great. Well, I am pleased with it so I spose that’s what really counts eh? Sometimes I really struggle to get underway but then once the inclination hits I get stuck in and in no time at all it’s finished. Cat is always a great help, she has a good eye and is a good sounding board if I need a second opinion. Maybe I can show it off tomorrow, all going well.

Cat spent most of the afternoon multi tasking – talking to her friend Anna in Japan and pruning the roses and weeding the garden at the same time-!!

Seb & Smirnoff look how I have felt most of the day so I went and had a long soak in a bath and drifted off to sleep. So now I am about to go hop into bed as the guys are off on a very early muster tomorrow and man! do I need some sleep.

Warning – some content may offend!!

The home coming crew on the 88 South

The weather was great, the fishing was great….
a prize specimum of a blue cod – one of our main fish caught here.
Nathan with a large marble fish
Cat scaling a moki
Seb & Cat hard at it – processing the catch
Tim opening oysters and kina
The epic crayfish story –
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And the devouring of it

The hunting was also great – mind blowing in fact…..
Cat shot a 10 point stag,
Seb shot an 8 pointer and two spikers plus a pig and Nathan shot a hind – his first deer. It had a slinky inside so they have frozen it and we will try and find a taxidermist to mount it for him.
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Waiting on the beach for transport home with the kill
Ritchie hanging out with the beasts.
Josiah lugging up legs of meat to the house – it is no light weight either!

Two heads to be proud of

The weather was beautiful the whole time they were out there. The 2nd night Cat, Seb, Nate, Yuji, Josiah camped up the hill so they could hunt and Tim, Ritchie, Tash, Azzan & Mahalia camped down at the beach. Seb is looking very sun kissed tonight – I think everyone will sleep exceptionally well tonight.

My day out with Shoshannah

Shannie and I had a good trip to Nelson. We were away by 5:50am so managed to do several jobs before my dentist appointment at 9:45am. Phillipa popped in to the surgery and picked up Shannie so she could hang out with Lydia. I finished early so got several more jobs done. Traffic was pretty thick so despite taking my mail to town to post I ended up bringing it all home and posting it today in the mailbag. So much easier than trying to find a park by the Post Office.

I found the ladies at The Warehouse so did a spot of shopping there and then as were all so hungry we decided to go have lunch at midday instead of 1pm as we had planned. We had such a lovely leisurely couple of hours over lunch. Phillipa had brought our friend Gloria who is home from Colombia with her family for 6 months furlough. It was so good to see her after so many years. Alan came to pick up Jesika’s posh clothes so he joined the ladies lunch – fitted right in too, just a shame he hadn’t worn his stockings, he was very proud of his new found knowledge of denier etc

After lunch we buzzed around doing a few more things, got Shannie some new summer shoes so she was pretty happy. She did her shopping at the $2 shop so was even happier. Nothing like choosing things to take home for her siblings.

I heard her say to Azzan today – ‘Do you want to be a real boy? Well, I bought you these guns so you can be’!! She chose some jewellery for Mahalia – I did notice Azzan thought that was quite pretty

We picked up JoDee at 3:30 and then went and got all the veggies and groceries and headed for home soon after 5pm. As I predicted the Terrano was full to the roof – not much space left for anything. By the time we had dropped JoDee off at Waterfall Bay and then unloaded everything here it was 9pm and I was absolutely shattered. But we were so hungry and I had promised Shannie to make her mustard sauce to go with the Corned Beef we had cooked up the night before. So it was 10pm before I was tucking her into bed. I followed very quickly after. I woke at 5:30 when Anson text me – charming lad! But sleep quickly got the better of me and I didn’t get up till around 9am this morning. Shannie had also slept in but was up and playing in the attic with one of the wee boys from the Cottage well before I surfaced.

The power was off – in fact it was a huge outage, back to Renwick. When it finally came on I made my carrot juice and then began to cook. I spent most of the day baking – made 5 loaves of wheat free bread, a giant banana cake and 2 fruit cakes. Despite the fact that I really wanted to go curl up in my bed it was actually really nice to be baking in peace, without having to prepare lunch and having people under my feet. Shannie just popped in briefly now and then to get something to eat but apart from that she was too busy playing with Shiloh & Jordan. Spent several hours after the mailboat came opening and sorting the mountain of mail and then it was 4pm and I saw the boat coming into the bay. So I had to get moving with dinner.

Since then we have done several loads of washing, had dinner, cleaned up all the camping gear, washed Mahalia’s hair – while I was combing the conditioner through she commented that she wished she had taken a comb camping with her! Hair and tooth brushes never seem to be at the top of the list when packing to camp, superfluous items I guess-!! Azzan commented to me when I was getting him out of the bath and drying him – ‘I wish I didn’t get dirty.’ I asked him if he would like me to wrap him up in cotton wool to keep him always clean. He said yes, so I told him that boys need to get dirty to grow


Cat had to work this morning so Tim got some work out of the guys before they all packed up to go camping. Then when Cat got home she said the boss couldn’t be bothered working so they went fishing instead – what a life-!!

Yuji & Josiah got the woodsplitter going and split up some more wood. It is an endless job here – wood gathering. Chopping down trees, cutting up the logs, splitting and stacking. Up until a year or so ago all the wood was split by hand but now Tim has invested in a wood splitting machine – one of his best investments, he reckons! We have a total of 7 wood fires on our property to feed so it is a year long occupation to supply the wood for them. Thankfully the wood is an endless supply here otherwise it wouldn’t be economical at all. Then they went out to fix a fence. Seb cut up the muttons that were killed yesterday and got the meat in the freezer and managed to get some school work done – his first set of English is going back to the Correspondence School tomorrow so we will see how he gets on.

Our crew really loves to go camping out at D’Urville Island. They have so much fun, tenting or sleeping under the stars, hunting, campfire cooking, fishing, diving, swimming…… Ritchie & Tash, two of Cat’s workmates came around and went out camping with the crew so there is a contingent of 10 gone out this time. The main reason they wanted to get out now, (they were thwarted by the weather last week) is that all hunting on DoC land ceases for the summer on December 16th. The head around to Greville Harbour and camp between the sea and the lagoon. It is quite exposed but if it really cuts up rough they can head up into the harbour where it is very sheltered. But the weather forecast is great until Sat so they should get a good run this trip.

It must be fun cause the packing and unpacking is quite a job. Making sure everyone has just enough warm & cool clothes, and a sleeping bag, and enough food, and, and, and…. Then on return there is all the washing to be done, unpacking and putting away till next time, washing all the pots and plates – they don’t bother too much with that menial task out in the wilds-!! There are certain traditions which always happen and one is that Nathan makes copious amounts of pancake mixture which they eat for breakfast. Another is marshmallows melted on sticks over the fire and choccy biscuits for dessert – yum!

Shannie decided she didn’t really want to go this time so she and I have had a lovely afternoon. After they left we got stuck in and cleaned up the school room – it doesn’t take much for the children to mess it all up, which frustrates me immensely when I am trying to find things. So it was a good job done and at least I know it will stay tidy for 3 days-!! Shannie then watched a movie called ‘Storm Boy’ and I put my feet up for a while and read my book. All the while the wood stove was baking our kumara and chicken pieces so by the time we were really hungry it was all cooked and ready to eat with some salad. Delicious and very easy.

Cat asked Shannie why she didn’t want to go camping and I said (in a posh voice) ‘She is lunching with Lydia’. One of her best friends is the daughter of one of mine so we are all meeting up for lunch together at Nelson’s top award winning cafe, Morrison’s. Be something nice to anticipate during my hour long dentist appointment before hand-!!

I seem to have a list a mile long to do tomorrow so as soon as I wake up I am in the shower, packed up and we are gone. Hopefully well before 6am. Just hope we manage to squeeze everything into the Terrano. It certainly is nice to drive but it sure ain’t got the room the Safari has.

En martes, ni te cases ni te embarques (On Tuesday, neither get married nor begin a journey).

Tim, Josiah & Yuji all left at 5am to go and sort out the sheep as the truck was coming into load sheep before midday. I was reading and around 6am heard a tapping on my outside door. I hopped out of bed thinking Seb or Cat wanted me – mind you it would’ve been unusual for them to knock like that-!! – anyway, there was no-one there so I went out to the kitchen and found Seb there. Apparently a weka was the culprit, it had been walking along the verandah tapping on the glass doors-!! For those of you who are not familiar with this cheeky bird take a look here –

The German’s and the Israeli’s all left around 10:30am so I went down and spent the morning cleaning the Cottage in preparation for guests due in after lunch.

Nathan went up and killed a sheep for Tim – most proud to be able to use his new knife he was too We have been getting very low in the meat department so everyone is looking forward to some good feeds of mutton again. Nathan has been quizzing me about when I am going to town next. Finally confessed that he wants me to buy him some meat pies. He said he has been craving one. Then he thought that maybe seeing as we now have some fresh mutton he could make a mutton pie using the left over pastry I made last week.

It was very hot by the time the guys had gotten back from mustering and loading the lambs on the stock truck – they were very ready to cool off. Shannie hosed Josiah & Yuji down with much hilarity which freshened them both. It has been extremely windy here today – the bay has been white most of the day so not too conducive for swimming.

The children have been playing so well today. Admittedly Azzan has been using his lungs a bit much to let Mahalia know he isn’t happy about things but that’s what youngest and smallests do isn’t it?? Shannie created a house made from boxes and the all spent hours outside on the deck with their dolls. Shannie had also set up a shop this morning – selling wool, buttons, books and Cd’s, all very neatly arranged. She was up extremely early this morning so by this afternoon she was looking pretty ragged – but when I told her to go and have a rest she was adamant she wasn’t tired. I sent her to lie down with no arguments. Then Cat & I whizzed up to Waterfall Bay in the dinghy. Jesika has gone tramping for the week and on Sat night she if off to a cabaret. Her friend Alan phoned last night to say he had just found out it was going to be very formal. I knew she hadn’t taken anything except jeans, so I raided her wardrobe and got something a bit nicer – here’s hoping I made the right choice-!! When we got home I found Shannie sound asleep on her bed. So much for not being tired-!!

I was sitting in my study just before dinner and all of a sudden I saw some huge fins surface – it was a pod of orca cruising the bay. Unfortunately they were on a mission and also it was very white so they disappeared from view fairly quickly. But it was a thrill because they haven’t been in the bay for quite a while. Tim just told me they have been back in closer so maybe they might come visit again tomorrow. They come in looking for stingray – to them a stingray is like a chocolate biscuit. Nathan wanted to go out and scare them away cuz he didn’t want the stingrays hurt-!!

The Cottage folk arrived just on dinner time so Tim got them settled and Shannie took three of the children exploring. I can see she will be very happy now. She has been ready for some extra playmates. She was bemoaning the fact that all her friends would not becoming in until after Christmas and she wants them here now.

We had a very exhilarating round of Ligretto and then got everyone off to bed early. Much sleep needed all around after several very long & busy days.

Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way

It was a short night for all last night.
The possum hunters didn’t get back till way after midnight – they got about 20 possums though which has replenished Tim’s dog tucker supply. Poor dogs were getting rather low on food lately.

All the musterers were up and gone by 6am, the oyster harvesters soon after.
I stayed in bed till around 7am and then got up to feed the wee people. I was draggin’ my tail a bit this morning, cuz I had had a late and broken night.

When I finally put food in front of the children I got myself into the shower. I was so enjoying just soaking in the luxury of hot water and the jolly phone went. Of course it was one of our main boat charter operators wanting to check out a booking – which I am in charge of while Jesika is away tramping this week. So here I am standing in the office with a towel around me dripping wet sorting out bookings. Why didn’t I tell him I was in the shower – I really don’t know-!! Monday morning I s’pose and as it was 8am already I guess I couldn’t confess to being a bit slow…….

I made a list for each of the three little folk so they could tick off their responsibilities and hopefully be a bit more motivated about getting their chores done. Shannie was through hers in no time. I don’t think Mahalia ever got hers finished. She is such a puddle duck – and has been getting away with it, but we are now catching her measure so are getting tough about following through. She actually did a good job of sweeping the floor – when she eventually got it finished. I had to call her back several times to complete the mission. Azzan vacuumed the living room – he was really funny trying to manipulate the cleaner. He found a slide on the tube and told Mahalia it was to make it louder or quieter – it actually controls the amount of suction, but his rationale was good.

Azzan decided that he would add making my bed to his list. It looked so lovely that I didn’t actually check up until tonight and then I found he had pulled all the top sheet and blankets off and dumped them at the foot of the bed and just spread the white cuddly on top so it looked good. He thought he had done a great job – sweet boy!

Everyone was home for lunch. Some tired ones needed a sleep and some others enjoyed the summer sun and had fun.

It was such a sunny day and the children wanted to go swimming but no adultish person was into supervising them so Mahalia & Azzan found the hose & had a lot of fun terrorising Josiah & Yuji.
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Josiah’s drink bottle turned into a water pistol!

The Israeli guys joined us for dinner and then Cat took her German friends out fishing. They are leaving tomorrow so she is making sure they have caught a fish in the sea. They come from Dresden so sea fishing is totally foreign to them. They just got home at 10pm and caught 6 cod so they are happy.

It is a 5am leaving time for the musterers tomorrow so all in bed reasonably early tonight.
Except me – I am always last………….now where did I leave my book…….

Oops! Nearly forgot to say – Most exciting news!! I am the Artist of the Week on one of the web groups I belong to.
If you want to take a look you can view the article here –