Anson’s farewell to his sisters

Anson came home for a few hours in between shearing and rugby to say a fond farewell to his sisters before they head off across the Tasman to the Land of Oz. Jesika bought over her coffee machine and we had a coffee and movie night after the little ones went to bed. We watched ‘Blood Diamond’ – a very brutul movie. Leonardo di Caprio played the main part brillianly. Best I have ever seen him.

Afterwards Jesika wanted some photos of her, Anson, Brianna & Sebastian so the four kids had some fun while I clicked – the pics speak louder than any words I could add.
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Now you listen to me little bro….
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Then they all sized up at the bench – and yes Brianna is standing her tallest
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Then it was time to move into the living room to sort out the pecking order …..
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Hmmmm….. PICT2057_2 now how about a spot of Indian wrestling……

What a good idea……..who’s first? Me! Oh dear! PICT2058_2 PICT2059 PICT2060 PICT2061 and Anson is the winner.

Who’s next? Seb……
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The little big bro is the champion

After they had worn themselves out Jesika took Estela home with her to help with the final pack and clean.
Anson left at 7:30am today for his game of rugby. I reckon they are completely nuts playing in this rain but he reckons the ground is softer. Plus the team was putting down a hangi so he couldn’t miss that could he? Not even for his sisters

It has been pouring with rain all day. Really great for the farm. So I have had a lovely slow day recovering from town and last night and getting my energy levels up for tomorrow – another farewell party.

Nathan’s hangi

Nathan decided that he would put a hangi down so with lots of encouragement from Daniel that got it all sorted. By the time they had the fire and stones hot enough and were ready to put in the venison and veges it was raining. But that didn’t deter them one bit. There was some concensus as to whether it would be cooked properly from the onlookers!

But when they brought it up it was steaming hot and smelled delicious. It was added to the adults dinner and enjoyed by many

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The guys were most proud of their efforts and Nathan is talking of another hangi when the rain stops.

Wednesday – Friday

It was sooooo hard to get out of bed on Wednesday morning. It was sooooooooo cold and I was really tired and NOT looking forward to driving the road out.
I dragged myself out at 6:30am, showered and chucked everything into the Safari and at 8am I was off. It didn’t look good. From the Croft the road was white with frost When I got to the top of the hill the sun was shining across the frosty hillside.
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It was a beautiful morning though There was a heavy dump of snow on the ranges behind Nelson. I drove very carefully out, the road was white most of the way but the only place I actually hit ice was a small patch near Okiwi Bay.

I called in to Rai and saw Ruth – she was working at the Store and trying to keep warm. I was pleasantly surprised that the rest of the hills to Nelson were absolutely fine. I guess leaving 2 hours later than I normally would’ve meant there had already been more traffic.

I stopped for a fast frappiccino to revitalise myself and then headed out to Mapua for lunch. Our special friend (adopted daughter) Ella & her dh, Grant have recently bought a restaurant & bar there and have been doing heaps with it to make it more user friendly.
I have been so enjoying catching up with them and seeing what more they have done on these last few trips to town. It is worth the extra miles and time from Nelson to pop out there. Phillipa, Estelle and Jesika met me there and we had a most enjoyable lunch with Ella and her twins – Ava & Brianna and 3yr old Eden.
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I had to tear myself away as I had an appointment at 3pm for a full body massage. It was just lovely to lie back and relax for an hour. Then I finished all the shopping and got to Sally & John’s for dinner and bed.

Thursday was cold and overcast and grey – all day. Had a good time at the first aid course. Our tutor was Peter who had been on the previous course with me. So he used me for patient scenarios etc seeing as I had been there done it before. It was good to hear some of the stuff again and also the new things that I hadn’t already covered. We finished early at 3:30pm so I thought I would have plenty of time to get the last few things done and get out of town quick. Alas! town traffic didn’t allow that. I had to go visit the wood fire man to talk about our new fire, then got last groceries and fuel and headed across town to Stoke to pick up the computers. But it was 4:45pm and the traffic was literally crawling. I know now why I don’t live in town. Talk about frustrating

Finally got to Pete’s and spent some time sorting out things with the computers and then headed back to pick up Sophie and Katherine – Shannie & Mahalia’s little friends. We were finally outa town around 6:30pm. Had a good trip home. The girls dozed most of the way, occasionally poppin’ up their heads to ask ‘Are we there yet?’

Got home soon after 9pm, my children were already asleep and didn’t know the girls where coming so we snuck them into beds by my girls for them to find in the morning. Well, they sure did find them – they were all awake and percolating, well before 6:30am!!

Great excitement. They were up and doing chickens, pigs and fishing before I managed to even find my clothes. I was hoping they would manage to find food in their busyness!

The mailboat came bringing Estela from Brazil. She is studying at Otago and has come for a week to help me during her holidays. Azzan very quickly found she was happy to cuddle

Brianna is home again, with all her things this time. She is having to sort and pack. She is also trying to sort us out and clean up the mess. Because there are so many people here there is a continual stream of footwear and mud at the back door and generally things everywhere. Just lovely – not! Plus the children have play areas – everywhere-!! I think I will just wait until all are gone and then get some semblance of order back. Less stressful that way.

We did manage to get the children back inside in the latter stages of the afternoon as it had begun to rain. They watched an old 1962 movie I have just bought – ‘In Search of the Castaways’. It’s a Jules verne classic and stars Hayley Mills and Maurice Chevalier. I found all the guys watching it and having a good laugh too. Most enjoyable and rather funny rendition of the Maori back then.

I gave the children and early dinner so I could get them to bed.

Tim wants to use the phone so I will continue soon with the antics of the older ones later – might just go have a bath seeing as the rain is coming down steadily and there is not a lot else to do

Well, I did have my wallow in the bath yesterday morning. It was lovely and for once I didn’t have to bail out before I was ready. Tim took Daniel and Simon out mustering to try and convince the elusive bull that he really should move to another paddock with the cows. It was once again a real mission, he broke back just like he did the previous time, but then after a while decided to just calmly lead his ladies through the gate as if nothing had happened!

Jonathan packed up and left around 11am.
I did a bit of school work with Mahalia. Sheri got in and helped the children clean up their rooms and vacuumed all the floors. By the time the men got back it was raining and they were cold, wet and hungry. I had promised the children they could watch ‘Hoodwinked’ – Simon & Daniel got intrigued with the story too. It is a very clever version of Red Riding Hood.
Tim made the most of a wet afternoon and went for a drive to visit a neighbour and to look at a boat trailer.

Today we woke to an even colder morning. There was even a frost here – not as heavy as else where but still for us it was a frost. I have had the fires going all day and still have not gotten very warm. It was still and cold and the sun was shining out on the bay – just not here at the house It was calm and still all day – hard to believe that just east of us across the island the ferry’s were cancelled this morning because of 5m swells in the Cook Strait.
Tim took Daniel and Simon out to do mussel work. Shannie and Josiah went too to catch fish. Shannie got some really good sized cod so she was very happy with herself.

McKayla was a very helpful girl today. She helped Nathan with his maths…
and she helped Azzan and Sheri with the cooking…
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Azzan cut all the butter up for the shortbread and then flattened the balls. It is very yummy shortbread – might have to get him to make some more. Sheri and I got heaps of food prep done. Lunch today and dinner for the next couple of nights. Good to get ahead.

Nathan showed Sheri how to make Leopard bar. After lunch Seb & Daniel took off hunting and Tim took everyone else up the hill to the sunshine to drench some sheep. Azzan decided to bail out and came running back to keep me company. I did some art work – am trying to get the journals finished so I can post them tomorrow when I go to Nelson.

Just as I was dishing dinner Seb & Daniel appeared at the window with these…
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They were two very happy chaps
Both deer were head/neck shot so will be good eating.

I am trying to get organised to head into Nelson tomorrow but I am really worried about the roads. It is really really cold, Seb said there is ice on the road not far from here already and it is sposed to be a real humdinger of a freeze tonight. I HATE driving when there is ice around. The latest I can leave is 8:30am but I really need to be away an hour earlier – please pray for wind tonight so the roads won’t freeze.

I have one more day of first aid to do on Thursday and then that’s it for now. Hopefully no more town trips for a few weeks.

Yesterday was the last day that Jesika will farewell a fishing party. So we took a troop of guys over to help clean the Lodge. Daniel kept everyone entertained with his singing at full volume and telling yucky plumbing stories. Plumbers always have plenty of those

While they were busy Tim was being Mr Fix-it and I was following Jesika around with a note book and pen jotting down all the info that we might need to keep the place functioning and to pass on to our new manager when she arrives in a few months time.

Of course being fellas by the time 11:30am came around they were all begging hunger so I fed them chocolate ice creams and then Jesika asked them to hang out the washing. So here’s a great example of blokes multi-tasking – talking, hanging washing, eating and trying not to get chocolate on the clean sheets-!!
The wind came up very strongly which was great cuz the sheets dried so quickly that they were able to get all the beds remade.

Seb baby-sat and cooked lunch for us. It was good to come home to some yummy pasta and also celebrate McKayla’s 1st birthday. The children made her a birthday banner
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Her Mum made her a cake and everyone sang happy birthday.

Her Dad helped her blow out the candle and then she watched very anxiously as he cut it – hoping he was making sure that her slice was a big one
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We then had fellowship. It was good to know that everything was done and we could praise the Lord with some good singing. We are so going to miss Jesika’s music
Daniel & Seb were on a mission to go hunting so we excused them early, and then another interruption when our Cottage guests arrived – I had forgotten about them! Had an interesting discussion based on Elisha’s experiences with the taunting children in 2 Kings 2.

Then while Jesika made pancakes for the children’s tea they played hide and seek through out the house. We sat them down in front of a VeggieTales movie to quiet them a little before eating. Got them off to bed and then fed ourselves with more pancakes and real maple syrup – nice the things we get given when Jesika is having a clean out-!!

The hunters returned with nothing – we all got a reasonably early night which was nice.

I woke this morning about 4am and couldn’t sleep so eventually got up around 4:45am, got the fires going and decided to sort out my art corner. It seriously needed a clean up. So I have begun and have half started another journal page and now that Tim & Shannie are up I think I might just go find my book and have a wallow in a bath

Thankful for warm fires :-)

I have been very grateful for our big wood fires these past few days. The house has been very cosy. I have also had a large heater going in the hall to take the chill off the bedrooms and in the mornings that we are using the school room I move it in there to keep us cosy. This cold snap has really hit with ferocity.

We did some school work yesterday. It was fun because I had a huge poster of geographic terms that I had just bought. It was a large landscape to which the children had to match up the names as we discussed them. They (and I) now know what butte, mesa, archipelago and isthmus are!!! They enjoyed it so much that they have asked to do it again before we stick the names on permanently. We also had fun with some new work books I had bought – Azzan just loves to do ‘school work’ so the busy books are great for him.

Shannie spends most of her time outside either with her chickens or fishing or capering around the hills with the guys. Josiah won’t do anything unless it involves Shannie! He is always wanting to go and get the eggs and is very proud when he brings one into me.

Seb & Daniel spent most of the day working on the new truck. It is bright yellow – be a great farm truck as we will be able to see it miles away on the hillsides. Tim and the guys have been mustering and wood gathering. The wood pile for the house needs replenishing often at the moment. Simon, a violin maker, from Germany arrived on the mailboat. Jonathan came back from Waterfall Bay with Tim. He brought heaps of food over. Jesika has been cleaning out her cupboards and stocktaking the shop – so we get all the goodies

I was very glad to get to bed early last night but when I jumped in I discovered that the plug of my electric blanket was not in properly so my side of the bed was cold At least Tim’s side was warm so I had somewhere to go while waiting for mine to warm up.

Today Mahalia and Azzan did some school work with me by the fire and Nathan finished his maths book. So he was very eager to get his prize – another box of Knights Kingdom Lego for his collection.

I decided we would make some Turkish pizza for lunch so Shannie and Josiah helped. Josiah was very intent on grating the cheese.
I was cutting the onions and went and sliced through the end of my thumb. There was blood everywhere so Shannie kept finding new bandages for it to keep the blood off the pizza. The guys wolfed it down and declared it most delectable despite the suspicion of my blood and flesh in there somewhere

They all went out mustering this afternoon. Our neighbour Peter arrived at the door needing to use the phone as lightening had blown his out. So we had a lovely visit in between phone calls. Brianna had found the $890 sleeping bag she needed on a 50% sale in Christchurch. There was one left and they wouldn’t hold it or take my visa over the phone so I called my cousin and he happily went in and found Bri walking around and around the store holding her sleeping bag so no-one else would get it. So cool to know I could call on him in our hour of need – Thanks big cuz

Nathan and I made dinner. It was fill your own wraps. Absolutely yummy but the crew never arrived in till way after dark so we were all totally starving and the food disappeared in no time. They had been trying to get the bull moved in with the heifers but he wouldn’t budge so it was a completely wasted muster. They were all frozen on return and all Seb’s fingers were white to the 2nd knuckle-!!

Well, I have made sure my electric blanket is on tonight and I am about to go jump in with my book. I think the boys are watching ‘Saving Private Ryan’ but once watched is enough for me.

I was trying to update last night but I was tired and the computer wouldn’t load fast enough so gave up. Now it is nearly 6am and Tim and the children have just left for Nelson. I am planning on going back to bed real soon. I have the house to myself ALL day – bliss

Tuesday afternoon Sheri and I tackled the school room and made huge progress. While I was away 2 weekends back Cat had moved a large cabinet out of the living room to make room for where we plan to put the new wood fire and relocated it into the school room. By doing this she had also relocated all my school books. She had done it very tidily but it was just a mission to find where she had put everything and then reorganise it to where I need it to be. i.e. she had stashed all the maths equipment up in the top cupboard where I couldn’t access it readily so it is now in a more practical place. I had also just received a large pile of reading books from Bob Jones University and some more Math-U-See books plus I had found some great work books while in town so had to find space for all of them too. And the children had been making things and typically not cleaned up after themselves so it all looked pretty daunting to begin with. It is all good now though – coming together nicely.

The rain came in earlier than we were expecting. We woke to a warmer temperature on Wednesday and a drizzly day. Seb was taken with the cloud on the hills across from us and was trying to get some good photos. The mussel barges were also very busy in the bay as well. I think we had 3 visits to the wharf during the day to unload or load ropes.

The children had a great time making carts out of empty boxes. It kept McKayla entertained for ages.
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They talked Jonathan into being a horse – he was most obliging for a few moments! Jesika had plaited Mahalia’s hair on Sunday so I finally decided it had to be combed out before it all turned to dreads. She was most delighted with the outcome – a blonde afro. She was convinced that it made her look very pretty – I tried to suggest that it is the inside of her that determines whether she is pretty or not, not the outward appearance – not too sure if the chat had any effect

The rain cleared away enough for Sheri to tackle some gardening. Despite the lack of rain the growth has been considerable and the vine on the archway had climbed right up the overflow pipes on the roof and it also was creeping in-between the wall boards and strangling the Kowhai tree. She made good progress and the garden is looking a lot more loved. McKayla was very happy to sit in her buggy and watch Mum. Eva heeled in a lot of cuttings from the prunings of the pelargoniums so hopefully most of them will grow – there were dozens or even hundreds so once they are planted around the garden there will be a lovely display.

When Cat moved the cupboard she stashed all the china from it in washing baskets in my bedroom. So Tim & I have had hardly any room to move and I have been very short on washing baskets. After lunch I decided it was time to begin sorting stuff. Got as far as doing the dvd’s and video’s. Then I just got too tired so decided I needed a cuppa and a book. So I put my feet up and had a rest for an hour. Helps to have a good book and a study to hide in

Tim took all the men and children around to the logging site for the afternoon. While the guys skinned posts the children had great fun making huts in the undergrowth. Then when they got back home around 4:30pm they grabbed food and went down to the wharf fishing. We had to drag them in for baths and dinner. They had left a huge mess behind so I insisted that it was cleaned up before dinner – Sheri and Eva helped Mahalia

Jesika came around for dinner. She has been searching the net for work in Melbourne each time she comes around and has been sending her CV off to any likely looking job opportunity. Nothing yet but she has been asked about an interview by one place. I called a distant cousin in Melbourne for her last night so she & Rosina could ‘meet’ over the phone. Jesika was delighted to know that she now has someone to meet her at the airport and somewhere to stay for the first 2 nights.

Right – it is 6:30am, I am off to have a shower and then I might go back to bed or I might do some art or I might just find some food….. what blissful possibilities

Well, I was about to post this yesterday morning when xanga disappeared for the whole day so they could do maintenance

So – did my day pan out like I planned?
Well, Yes and No!

I decided to have a shower and then lazed back on the couch with a warm fire behind me and a movie in front and enjoyed my breakfast in a leisurely manner. Good movie – ‘The Life of David Gale’.

Then…… there were phone calls! All the children were at the dental clinic with Seb while Tim went off to the hospital for his appointment. So the nurse had to call me for permission to do necessary work. When she told me what had to be done I was horrified. All of my children have had good teeth and have had hardly any work done over the years so I was pretty gutted when I heard that the three younger ones all had work to do. So I called my dentist just to get a second opinion. Also made an appointment to take all four to the dental hygenist at the end of July to try and avoid this happening again. Tim was able to leave the three younger children with friends while he did all his jobs which was great for all concerned

I spent most of the rest of the morning in the study doing necessary stuff, and getting the washing through the dryer and putting it away and making beds etc. Then got hungry so had a yummy lunch – watched part of a movie which I didn’t like so turned that off and decided to do some art work.

Before I started that though I mended Shoshannah’s favourite pants – she will be pleased as her mother doesn’t normally do mending these days-!! Managed to get a spread done in one of the round robin journals and finished off the wee books the children had made during their last unit study. They just had the fiddley tying together of the pages to do and I gad been putting it off. But they are now all done and stuck into their project folders.

I called a friend and then the weather took a drastic turn for the worse. It had been damp and drizzly all day but a storm came in with a vengeance. There was torrential rain, wind, thunder and lightening. During all of this I had to make a phone call and while I was waiting for the person I needed to talk to lightening hit the phone and it blew in my ear – pretty shocking

It was fairly short and sharp and by the time I realised that it wasn’t the whole phone system and only the one phone I had been holding the storm had eased and this glorious rainbow was circling the bay – can you see the 2nd one?

From all the news bulletins I have been hearing it sounds like NZ is in the grip of a fairly extensive severe weather system coming up from the Antarctic. We are getting more this morning and more to come by the sounds of it..

I cooked up dinner early just in case I lost the power but we didn’t so that was good. I watched a really cool movie while eating dinner. A true story starring Meryl Streep – ‘Music of the Heart’. A brilliant story which I would recommend.

Tim & Seb were towing a truck home so they never arrived until after 8:30pm. They brought all the children back including Nathan, who is rather weary after his week away. The truck is for the farm so is not registered or warranted therefore the need to tow it, but I think Seb may have driven it for the last hour.

It has been very quiet this morning – the children are normally up early but after their long day in town I think they might be rather tired today.

So even though I didn’t get all done I had thought I might I still had a really good day. I have been so peopled out that a whole day here alone was total bliss