Last few days of June

The guys have been keeping busy with mustering and general farm work.
Inna and I have been doing house stuff, baking, cleaning, school etc – normal stuff.
Misha decided to have a go at kayaking around D’Urville Island. However the weather proved to be too fickle and he had to turn back and returned home at 8pm on Fri night.

The days have been filled with a multitude of random farm related things.
Such as –

Tim making gates

Anson playing cowboy in our 5-star farm truck
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mustering sheep and cattle
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‘Wonder what I can see?’

Okay guys! All out while we navigate over this culvert

Sheep in the yards for crutching – Asya saying hullo.

Picnicking for Inna and the children
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Nothing like taking your home comforts along

Playing for endless hours with the Lego – for some reason my rebounder made a great Lego table.

Misha & Inna making Russian dumplings for Sunday lunch

Lots of Age of Empire games for Anson & Nathan and the others something less innocuous like SpyFox!!
Interesting how attractive and addictive the small screen is

Wrestling on the tramp for Anson & Nathan
their favourite past time – although I think Anson may be having to rethink his strategies as Nathan is getting to be rather strong and nearly as tall as Anson now-!!

Shanni and I making cards
this was a combined effort made especially for Hazel’s birthday.
Klutz have produced a number of great craft books for kids. ‘Paper Fashions’ is one that my girls really enjoy using.

Writing stories for Shanni and illustrations by Mahalia
We have some Flat Travellers visiting us from Melbourne so the girls are busy getting their adventures up to date as they have been here for quite a few months now.

Today the Hoichman family packed up and left after their three weeks here.
They are certainly noticeable in their Subaru with the kayak running full length on top.

The line up today of vehicles when I went up to say good-bye was interesting….

I have got the heater in my bedroom now so with a bit of warmth in there I am managing to get the pages of the collaborative book done. Just the tiddly bits to do now plus the covers. I have to have them done to post on Thursday so they get to The Land of Oz in time.

Sadly my cousin’s wife, Betty died on Friday after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
She was a real neat lady and her friendly smile will be sadly missed by us all.
Tim & I have postponed the bank manager’s visit for a week so we can go to her funeral on Thursday. Anson is happy to baby-sit and is planning a days mustering for the children – I am sure they will be thrilled!!

Naoko from Japan arrived on Saturday. She is a gardener for the city gardens in Kobe so I have assigned her some gardening here. She is also keen to do other exciting stuff so tonight went deer hunting with the boys. No joy though – only a possum.

There was a mass family exodus from NZ today.
Bri and her friend Damaris flew to Thailand for a month travelling there and Cambodia.
Duncan & Sylvia flew to Sydney for ? months – maybe home Nov, who knows??
They are touring the great Aussie Outback. Great fun

Had a catch up phone chat with my bro Murray in Perth this week too. He has been most unwell. Had a painful hernia op – quite a major one, ended up in hosp much longer than anticipated – so he has really been knocked around health wise and is making a very slow recovery.

I think that is all for June now. I am off to bed – tomorrow will be July – wonder what July will have in store

Photos today are per favour of Shanni, Inna & Misha – my camera is still unfortunately in the repair shop.
Just got notification that it will cost approx $275 to fix it
It will cost $600NZ to replace so I guess it will be worth it – I will make that decision tomorrow-!!


my new hair stylist

Azzan loves to climb up behind me when I am sitting in the study or at the table and do my hair.
Today I caught him on my iMac camera.

Photo 34 Photo 39 Photo 30 Photo 36 Photo 33 Photo 29

He thought it was pretty cool and played the part well
At the end he said he was putting my hair into a whale’s spout.
Then as he climbed down he said ‘You look real nice – like an onion’!!

So guess who is still sporting her new onion look tonight – of course – I love the new look

It was all quiet on the home front this morning till 8am. Most unheard of for anyone to sleep that late.
But as I never turned my light off till 3am and the children were late too none of us woke till late.
Except Anson – he woke at 4:30am but as he was up in his new boudoir he watched movies and listened to his music and never disturbed any of the sleeping beauties down here.

The children did some math through out the morning. It was all really rather low key. Nathan is trying to get his head around long division – it is all very confusing getting the pattern of ‘divide, multiply, subtract’ stuck in your head so I am having to spend time with him while he gets it sussed. Hali is trying to get her head around the fact that if you have an equation such as 9+3 it is easier to change it to 10+2 to get the answer. Shanni had a change around in her bedroom. That is always a good move as the room gets ultra tidy then. We won’t even go there as far as her maths is concerned-!! She was much happier to write a story.

They must be in a cleaning mood as they spent the rest of the day with the two Israeli children cleaning the tree house. When I say Israeli it is where they were born – but the parents came from Russia about 18 years ago. In Israel they all speak Hebrew but while in NZ they are making a point of speaking Russian so their children will become more fluent in the language while they are young – they are 5yr old twins. In Israel the children will not speak Russian because only their parents speak it. It is rather interesting hearing Russian spoken constantly. I overheard Mahalia asking Inna how to say certain words in Russian so that is good she initiated the learning process herself.

Misha set of in his kayak to paddle around D’Urville Island over the next few days. Te forecast is interesting to say the least but he is very experienced so he is quite confident of coping with the fickle winds and tides. It is approx 100km round trip – no mean feat.

Inna did some gardening and then came in to bake a cake for us. It was so funny. She set up the cake mixer with the whisk beater, put in the milk, sugar and large slabs of cold, solid butter and turned on the machine. Of course with the wrong beater and the hard butter the whole thing started to splatter big time so she panicked and tried to turn the machine off but turned it the wrong way which caused a volcanic explosion of sugary liquid all over the bench, walls and floor – not to mention herself. I was joking with her later that it was great she had done it as she cleaned it up herself- if it had been myself or one of the children then I would’ve had to get in on the cleaning

Then she got the flour from the wrong bin and used one of Tim’s wheat free flours (that was cool cuz it meant Tim could enjoy the cake too), and finally, instead of beating the egg whites separately & folding them in like the recipe asked for she just mixed them straight into the mixture. She reckoned nothing further could go wrong – but as I pointed out to her – it was an old recipe of my mother’s that I had not made for centuries so no-one would know what is was meant to look or taste like and all would be well.
Which it was.
They wolfed into it for desert tonight, I had to restrain Shanni & Azzan from cleaning it all up!
Which just goes to prove what I always say – there is never a failure, just a new way of doing things – and nothing around here ever goes to waste

Got a call from my Dr’s nurse today. My iron levels have dropped again – bummer. It is getting rather boring. I am waiting for a new trial product to arrive from the alternative health clinic we go to to see if that will help raise it. Our practitioner has been doing lots of research into why I and others on his books have this problem – levels rocking up and down all the time. He has come up with a theory and a product so I am going to be a guinea pig for him – anything – I will try anything if it will help! Except raw or even cooked liver – just don’t even go there

Tim had a good trip to town. Was home well before dinner.
He had a good report from his ENT Dr re his ear so that was great.
He and Nathan are watching the end of ‘Elizabeth’ – I am finishing this update and may just have to go hop into bed.
Last night, I watched ‘Seabiscuit’. Because of several late phone calls I never got to start watching it until 9:30pm. I thought I would only watch the first half an hour or so to get a feel if I would enjoy it or not. But the story was so gripping and the tension was so immense I couldn’t bring myself to hit the stop button, so it never finished till after midnight.
Then I was so fascinated by the story I had to do some research about it all on the net.
Then I updated my blog.
Then I finally got to bed and ‘had’ to finish my book – I was at that point in the story where I just couldn’t put it down – next thing it was 3am – time flies when you are having fun – and when it is quiet and peaceful

cattle work and weather

These past few days have been filled by getting the cattle gates finished and hung in the yards & cattle mustering by the men, and school work by me and the children.

The TB tester was coming Wed morning so it has been all go for Tim and Anson to get the gates completed and hung properly and then to get the cattle in from their respective paddocks in time for his arrival.

The weather has been ominous all week.
Threatening storms and rain.
However it held off until after they were finished.
Then did it rain and blow and storm-!!
But by then they were home and dry.

There was snow down low all around the country Tues night and we woke to news on Wed morning that many roads shut with ice and snow.
More was threatening to arrive so Tim decided to head off to Nelson Wed evening as he has a Dr’s appointment in Nelson Thursday morning and he didn’t feel like tackling road ice.

The children and I have spent two days getting our Bermuda unit study completed.
It is done.
It is finished-!!
And what’s more they enjoyed it AND they appear to have retained a lot of the information – so that’s gotta be good
We also learned some extra things along the way – such as lines of latitude and longitude – in fact I was lying in bed with the encyclopaedia ‘L’ book last night trying to work out where the lines of Latitude begin and end – Greenwich is the starter and the other side of the world is the other end – 180′ to be precise
I actually haven’t yet looked to see where exactly that is. Been a busy day!

The children had all been inside way too much so on Tuesday arvo I sent them all out for a walk with Inna.
The headed around to Te Kopi to check up on Shanni’s chickens who are living in the pine trees.
Hali found one she felt wasn’t looking too happy so she had to bring it home – darn it!

Bri left this morning for Christchurch. She and Damaris fly to Thailand & Cambodia on Monday for a month.
Before she left she and Inna and the children spent quite a while in the vege garden getting it into shape and planting out seeds etc. All the children enjoy getting into the garden which is great.

When I went out to town a few weeks ago I attended a Learnex resource day and while purchasing products I filled out a draw form.
Today I was phoned to say I had won the $50 voucher – yippee! That made my day big time
What was even funnier was that when I filled out the form I asked Erena what sort of comments she was looking gof on the form. She said jokingly something nice about her
So I did
Then they drew it on Wed and this is what they wrote to me and assuring me it was not rigged in any way –

‘It really, honestly was a draw. My mum held up the bucket and reached in
with her eyes closed. We laughed so hard when we read “I love you, Erena” on
the entry!
We always pray before our prize draws so “good timing” is something we hear
over and over.’

Erena and I laughed and laughed so much about this one – laughter is so good for the spirit and I haven’t felt much like laughing over the past few days so it was good medicine

Nathan went up the hill with Tim & Anson for the final pre-TB test muster so Misha stayed back and helped around here today. He filled up all the wood boxes at the house with the help of Garrick and Asya. They all had a lot of fun.

Inna helped me clean out the fridge so Tim can take the cantankerous thing to town to see why it insists on icing up. He has tried to fix it over the phone with the repair man too many times and is totally sick of it so has decided that it is time it went out to be fixed properly.

Because I was cleaning out the fridge I found all sorts of random items so made muffins from very not fresh yoghurt and some very very over ripe kiwi fruit. They really are the best muffins cuz their ingredients ensure they will rise well – and no-one can tell that they have been made from rotten milk and fruit

We also made a huge quiche – once again using up all sorts of random left overs I found lurking at the back of the fridge and of course silver beet. Yes! We are still wading through the tonne and half that was harvested several days ago. Not complaining really – it is making me find all sorts of different and imaginative uses for the normally detested and boring but ever so good for you vegetable. Once again everyone LOVED it and the whole thing was demolished at lunch time. I had made a huge meat-dish size full and it all disappeared – despite Tim’s comment that ‘Real men don’t eat quiche’ – followed immediately by – ‘but I don’t mind not being a real man if I get to eat this’!!

Inna and Misha and the children then spent the rest of the work day clearing the garden paths and steps. They look so tidy now – it is great. Often the garden can look rather unkempt in the winter months so once the paths are tidy it all looks a heap better. They got finished just as the rain came in.

And came in it did. It hadn’t actually been that cold up until then despite all the snow around the country, but this arvo it turned very chilly and the rain poured down.

Azzan keeps wanting to go back and sleep with Shanni. He is now in a top bunk with Mahalia below.
When he came in to discuss the idea last night I talked with him about how Shanni is really needing to have her bed to herself for various reasons and that its was likely to get quite cold during the night and he should hop up into his own bed and snuggle under the cuddly blankets and that it would be way warmed up on the higher bunk etc etc.
He took it all very calmly and then said ‘Thank you Mummy. Thank you for explaining it all to me.’ Then trotted back to his bed and snuggled down

He is quite grown up with his thoughts and statements.
He will often sit at the table and amidst all the very bloke-ish talk of death and blood and gore etc he will ask emphatically if ‘Can’t we talk of nice things for a change?’
He is now asking to say grace before dinner. He said it so nicely the other night but Nathan just had to say to him jokingly that he had forgotten to ask for the food to be ‘blessed to our bodies’. I told Nathan off of course but from then on he has now included that into his grace.

Have talked to Cat several times these past few days. She and her team are moving about the lower North Island as required. She is mostly working night hours – such as 9pm-3am or 7pm-6am. She gets to some very random out of the way places as well as the cities. At the moment she has been at a place called Hihitahi. No town or anything just a place in the middle of nowhere about an hours drive from where they are staying in Marton. Makes life interesting and she gets to see the country side.
She is also very pleased with her latest purchase. A 1970 Morris 1100 Mk2. She has been wanting a classic car for a while and found this one not far from where she was working. She even got a 1300 reconditioned motor thrown in to the price and just has to get it installed. It is funny to think that I used to drive my grandmother’s Morris 1100 30-odd years ago and we thought it was an old ladies car and now they are sort after by the young folk-!!

I have just watched an amazing movie. ‘Seabiscuit’. It is a true story and so heart racing, thought provoking, and challenging and really well filmed. If you don’t know it then you just gotta see it. It is brilliant.

On that note I am off to bed. It is beginning to get very cold here and my warm cosy bed is calling very loudly.

IT’S RAINING!!! :-) :-)

I just had to shout out that bit of news.
We haven’t seen rain like this in months.
It is wonderful
In fact we are in for a lot more according to today’s weather forecast
Tim is beyond doing a happy dance – instead he stayed in bed for about 2hours longer than normal this morning – that’s his way of celebrating

I have been battling a headache and nausea over the past couple of days.
It seems to be stemming from my neck.
I sometimes get a big knot in my neck just to the right side of my spine and when it happens it gives me this weird cloudy headache. Painkillers just don’t do a thing for it.
It also spreads down into my shoulder blade and just makes me feel real yuck and grotty.
It’s pretty gross too cuz I can flex my shoulder and everyone can hear it graunching
Shanni gave me a massage on Friday – that does help and she has got magic fingers, but it wasn’t enough.
One physio I went to said it has developed from carrying babies on my hip – puts my whole right side out of kilter.
I don’t do that anymore but I am doing a lot of driving of heavy 4WD vehicles these days which is upsetting my right hip and neck – just a whole accumulation of things that every now and then create a painful situation

I did all I needed to on Friday and as soon as the mailboat had been and gone I went to bed for a few hours. I was so in need of a sleep. I haven’t been sleeping at night all that well either. So Friday sort of just disappeared in a haze for me.

Tim and Anson have been getting lots done.
Anson is getting the cattle ready for TB testing this coming week and Tim is making new gates for the cattle yards, so it has been all go for them.

Bri got Inna and the children into the vege garden and has given it a real good clean out.
Looking good now – nice to get it sorted before winter hits.
Although getting a tonne of silver beet delivered to the kitchen all in one hit is totally overwhelming – guess we will be eating it 3 meals a day this week – be nice if a bit of moderation was exercised occasionally from some departments-!!

Saturday Tim and I were booked to take the children to a local mid-winter Christmas party at French Pass. Anson came too which was nice. He and Nate zoomed around in the ute, while Tim and I had a pleasant very cruisy trip around with only 3 wee people.

The sun was setting through the clouds as we got close to French Pass – it was absolutely beautiful – the colours haven’t come up so well in the photo – there were the deepest yellow/orange sunrays streaming through the hole in the clouds and down to the sea.
I got Tim to stop twice and would loved to have gotten some more shots further on but Shanni was getting pretty desperate for a bathroom at that stage. Maybe she should’ve gone with the express driver and gotten there in 55mins rather than the tourist driver who took close on 90mins

There was a good turn out – 14 people had hired a bus from Okiwi Bay and come to join the party. Really good to meet them as we normally are driving through Okiwi, only stopping for the toilets and playground so never get to meet anyone there.

Val, Liz, Ngawai, Jude and Harry had put on a wonderful spread and the hall was warm and decorated beautifully.
We hope that it will become an annual event and that more locals will support their efforts to get us out of our armchairs and away from our home fires at mid-winter.
Thanks Ladies and Harry

Robin greeted us all with juice or warm mulled wine and made us all welcome.
After dinner he disappeared and missed the following fun.
This gentleman arrived in the door soon after Robin left.
Of course Azzan had to help him do his rounds and make sure everyone got a gift.
(Azzan wasn’t fooled for a moment but he did enjoy being a part of the fun )

We had all been asked to bring a gift from the $2 shop to put in the basket. So there was a lot of laughter at some of the hilarious gifts.
Azzan did very well as some adults felt they really didn’t need the plastic gun and handcuffs or the funny face glasses

When Syth and Sandra discovered my neck was troubling me Syth offered to give me a massage. It was great.
It must’ve looked funny – Syth was massaging my neck and back, Hali was massaging Syth, Sandra was talking to me and Azzan was massaging her Whatever Syth did was good – it has been heaps better today.
One of the Okiwi ladies came over later and commended us for having such lovely children – gives parents a warm fuzzy when that happens

Tim & Ans had to make an exit to the ute to listen to the rugby score as they were missing the game
The All Blacks blitzed the English team 44-12 for the 2nd time this series.
Unfortunately though we lost Ali Williams and Richie McCaw to injuries early in the game and that looks like they may be out of the running for a while now.
It looks like we are doing pretty well in the cricket against England at the moment too
Not that I follow cricket but it is front page news!

We finally left just before 10pm – Anson left earlier and took Shanni and Nathan with him so they could do some spotlighting on the way home. It was beginning to rain a little so only one possum was shot.

This morning we woke to the delightful sound of rain.
Azzan was the first up so he and I hopped into the spa. It was really nice lounging in the warmth with the cool rainy air blowing about us.

We have had a very lazy day.
The children watched Charlotte’s Web 2 before breakfast.
Then Shanni made waffles in the new penguin shaped waffle maker – very cute.
Tim and I sat down and watched 2 movies back to back.
Most unheard of for us to watch one let alone two.
We watched ‘Survival on the Mountain‘ and then ‘Grey Owl’.
Both true stories with some wonderful scenery shots.
Grey Owl‘ was really good – about one of Canada’s first conservationists Archibald Belaney

Anson took an armful of dvd’s up to his hut this morning and then later disappeared over to Waterfall Bay to watch a rerun of the rugby.
In between long phone calls Bri harvested a tonne of silverbeet – I think I might have to google some new recipes
The children have been pottering about, playing and just generally chilling.
Great day for that.

I know there are a hundred and one things to do, but today (to quote Rhett Butler) “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”.

It is Sunday – a day of rest and recuperation – getting the bodies restored ready for another busy week.

So, I am off to get some dinner and another dvd to watch with the children – bliss

Another week has flown by…

Another summary of a busy week…..

Sunday – I took the 4 children and Christian and headed to Nelson.
Shanni did not want to go so was being rather reticent about packing.
Unfortunately I couldn’t give her a choice of staying as she had a Dr’s appointment.
Then Azzan didn’t know if he wanted to go or stay.
He was all packed but I gave him the choice of staying if he really didn’t want to come.
I found out the problem – he didn’t want to be carsick-!!
Anyway, we eventually got away and made it to Nelson with only the 2 girls getting sick.
So Azzan was fine

Cat left just after us for Christchurch. She was starting her new job Monday morning.

We had lunch at Oasis – it was a nice day so we sat outside and watched the cheeky seagulls and sparrows stealing lunches. Then it was time to put Christian on the plane to Auckland.
From there we did some shopping and zipped Nate & Shanni out to Annesbrook church to meet the Ashtons for evening cafe church. I then carried on working my way down my list. It was getting quite cold and very dark by the time we left town. I went to visit the marriage celebrant who is going to be taking Sunni & Ryan’s wedding. Nice to put a face to a voice.

We drove over the hill and got to Motupiko just after the others. The children were all happy to be out of the car and to have time to play before bed.

Monday – Phillipa and I left the children in Joanna’s tender care and drove over to Blenheim. We had a list of things to do plus Phillipa wanted to catch up with her daughter Mandy. It was a lovely day. I got to the gym, then we changed into our glad-rags at a friends house, popped around to visit Mum and then made it to the Hotel D’Urville by 5:30pm to have dinner with Duncan & Sylvia. We had a most enjoyable hour before we three ‘girls’ had to run across the street to the theatre. We left Duncan to pay the bill as he wasn’t coming to the show.

We had seats right in the very front seat. It was so cool – only about 2m away from The Ten Tenors, so we had a brilliant night. It is the 3rd time I have seen them live and they get better each time. Sylvia said at half time that she thought she was going to hear 10 old guys singing opera. She and Phillipa LOVED the show. As always in a show like that the end comes all too soon. We bought dvd’s and got to meet the 10 guys and get their signatures – real geriatric groupies we were

They got a great review in the local paper The Marlborough Express. But the Christchurch reviewer was rather negative and scathing – I would say to him – to forget going to shows he cannot appreciate and leave them for those of us that do!!

As we had not had time for dessert before we bowled across the street and enjoyed a delectable finish to our day before driving up to Sylvia & Duncan’s where we stayed the night.

Tuesday – we woke to a cool frosty day. Duncan left for work while it was still dark, we stayed snuggled in bed until our bladders would not allow us to stay in the warmth any longer. So it was up and dressed and then after a morning cuppa and Phillipa’s tiki-tour of the house and surrounds we departed for Motupiko. We had to stop on the way so I could introduce Phillipa to the famous Renwick meat pies. A delicious way to start the day

It was a lovely drive up the Wairau Valley and in no time at all our ‘Mums-out-on-the-town-alone’ time had come to an end and we were back home surrounded by children. I hurriedly made Tiramisu for dessert, had a shower and then dragged Shanni off to town. She so loves going to town – not!

We managed to have a lovely time despite her reticence. Got to her opthamologist appointment in plenty of time. She did not enjoy her time there. She hates having her eyes interfered with as they have become extremely sensitive. But Dr Suter gave her a thorough check up and then showed us his findings with pictures in his reference book. She has a type of viral keratitis which is quite rare – he said he would only see about 4 a year and hardly any children. At this point they do not know what causes it and they have not found a cure for it. The only thing he knew of to try was a 3-week course of a very mild steroid. So that is what we are doing. Although it is hellish to get the drops into her eyes. She absolutely hates it.

We did a couple of jobs, went to the gym and then drove back over the hill in time for dinner. We had an early birthday celebration for Nicholas – he is turning 13 on Friday.
We put the dvd of the Ten Tenors on to show Pat and the children while we had dinner. Pat was hooked – it went all night at high volume-!! The children disappeared out into the darkness and lit a bonfire that the boys had prepared.
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I had bought two large bags of marshmallows for them to toast – there was none left afterwards-!!

We had Tiramisu while they played games in the dark. Finally we dragged them all in and got them to bed. They seem totally oblivious to the cold when they are all together having fun with their friends. I spent the rest of the evening working on the computer – Phillipa kindly let me use it as they have broadband and I wanted to get some more Photomax things done. I worked through until 2:45am and then the mouse ran out of battery power so I had to give up and go to bed.

Wednesday – I didn’t sleep terribly well and was away well before 7am.
I got all my stuff packed and did a bit more on Photomax while the children crawled out of bed and packed their own gear. They were not in a hurry to leave despite my warnings that I had to be on the road by 9am. It was -4’C – rather cool-!! We finally left around 9:10am and headed over the hill very cautiously as Pat had warned me there could be ice. The only ice we saw was on their creek. The children thought it was very cool to be breaking the ice as we drove through it. Despite getting stuck behind a slow truck we made it to the airport just in time to pick up Anson. It was great to see him again after 6 weeks. We managed to squeeze him into the Safari and then drove into the city to meet the guy who Seb had just bought a car off.
It is a 1985 Nissan Sunny station wagon. It is a very tidy car with immaculate upholstery and very low miles. We did all the paper work and left the car there to pick it up later. Didn’t want to be finding parks for two cars unnecessarily. I dropped Anson off at the dentist. Azzan stayed with him – he knows where all the toys are there

The others and I went cruising around town for a while and then met the boys for lunch. First of all though the children had sushi while Anson & I banked his earnings. He had chucked his bulging wallet at me on arrival and I didn’t want to be responsible for them any longer. After lunch we went picked up the Sunny and went to view one of the trucks Anson is thinking of trading his Ford Courier in on. Then he took Shanni, Nate & Azzan and headed home. Hali and I stayed so I could go to the gym and get groceries.

Hali and I arrived home at 8:30pm and found that after dinner when Anson was sitting at the dinner table jet-lag had finally hit. His head hit the table and he was snoring so they sent him up to bed.

We put the children to bed and then Tim and I sat and watched ‘Return to Me’. It was a fun relaxing movie to blob with.

Today – Thursday. Anson has been very busy helping Tim and being his normal teasing self with the rest of the children. I guess his jet-lag has been slept off! The dynamics and noise of the house sure enlarge when he is home

Had a long chat with Cat today – it was good to hear how she is doing in her new job. She turned up at work on Monday and 2 hours later was on a plane to Wellington to work for a month. She is working as an industrial abseiler for this company – she is working for the Industrial Rigging part of the company. There’s some quite ginteresting photos showing the ypes of work she will be doing in the photo gallery. She was working at the 17th floor of a building the other night replacing $20,000 cables. Last night she was up a 15m tower working from 7pm till 6am – things didn’t sail plainly so it took much longer than expected. She will be doing a lot of work at night as that is when they can turn things off as it doesn’t interfere with the public communications too much. Her team mates are from Chile, China & Israel. An interesting bunch. One thing about Cat – her life is never dull or boring

Seb finished his Maths set. He was stuck on one question so I called up his teacher for help. It is a set on algebra. Well, I was nearly in tears after the conversation – it was so frustrating – I couldn’t understand it so how was I going to be able to get it through to Seb?? Anyway, we finally managed to get it done – I hope he understands it now-!! He left mid-afternoon cuz he is going to work for my bro for a few days. So he took the long route and dropped Mike off in Picton on the way. Got lost despite all the instructions we had all been giving him.

Bri arrived home while we were having dinner – a nice surprise. She has been working on another farm across the Sounds for the past few weeks and has 10 days left before her trip to Thailand.

So, two have flown the coop this week and two have come home.
Family dynamics – always changing.
No wonder when folk ask me how many children are still at home I hesitate to reply

Saturday Summary of the week

The last three days have pretty much been occupied by school work, and just normal daily life.
Tim has been getting various farm jobs completed – wood gathering, holes dug for fence posts, mustering, killing muttons, etc.

Seb arrived back home on Thursday arvo with Mike from Philadelphia.
He is here to help for a week.

I was up at 4am Friday, couldn’t sleep.
So many things to do were going around in my head so got up and did a heap of stuff in the study.
Amazing how much you can accomplish when it is quiet with no interruptions.
Was up again before 6am today.
Got a great start on the day.

The children have been really enjoying their study on Bermuda.
It has been our main focus these past few days.
I was trying to get it all finished before we go to town tomorrow but we have run out of time.
For such a small country it has a lot of interesting stuff to learn about.

Shanni asked today ‘Where’s Christian going next?’ – meaning that he goes to such interesting places so what are we studying next
When I asked him he said he wished he knew!

There have been a lot of dolphins playing in the bay most days this week – causing a lot of excitement.
Cat & Christian had finally got the movie made of Cat’s rock climbing expedition for her Duke of Edinburgh award. It is the final part to complete her Gold Award. Yippee! It is a great presentation – some amazing photos.
They have also been out hunting several times searching for the elusive deer – no luck this week though.

Tim has finally got the plumbing problem fixed.
Tim has been trying to find someone small enough to get under the house and Misha was ‘it’!
Here he is disappearing under the decking…..
We now have two showers working again.
I am so used to showering in the outside shower that I forgot that the inside shower was usable and headed off out there. Got to quite enjoy that one now-!!

Inna and the children were the deck-side entertainment while the plumbing process was underway.

Shanni & Hali have been having fun in the mussel float swing with Garrick and Asya.

Azzan expounds a lot of energy on the trampoline…

while his two big sisters wrap up in blankets in the mussel float swing and read stories under the umbrella – what a life!

I have spent the afternoon trying to get organised to go to town and get the children packing their own bags.
It is unbelievable how easily the little ones can get their room into such a mess – again
I am refusing to go in there – will tackle that job next week.

We are taking Christian to the airport tomorrow then the children and I are spending three nights with some friends before picking Anson up at the airport on Wednesday.
It was supposed to be a leisurely trip but it is not turning out that way.

Tomorrow we drive to Nelson. Put Christian on the plane, do some jobs and head over the hill to Motupiko.
Monday Phillipa & I have to drive to Blenheim to ‘The Ten Tenors’ show. We had booked to go to the Nelson show on Sunday night but they cancelled it due to lack of interest and added an extra show to Blenheim on Monday.
We stay the night with my bro and his wife and then drive back to Motupiko Tues morning and then I pick up Shanni and drive back to Nelson to take her to the opthamologist in the afternoon.
Then back to Motupiko for a night.
The we all pack up and head back to Nelson to pick Anson up at the airport Wednesday morning. Take him to the dentist and then drive home – whew!
I am going to come home and stay home for a few weeks I think!!

Azzan is in bed – there are the hugest loud sobbing cries coming from his room.
It is all a great put on and Hali is getting fed up. She came to me asking if he could sleep somewhere else.
He reckons he is missing Grandpa.
Cat went up to see what the problem was and was totally unsympathetic – delayed mourning as Grandpa died 2 years ago and Azzan really didn’t know him that well.
The ploys they go to to avoid sleep time

Cat has been going flat out all week getting her list of jobs whittled down. She has pretty much accomplished everything she wanted to do. She is also leaving tomorrow to go to Christchurch to start her new job on Monday. All very exciting really. Not too many details at this point – more as she gets down there and susses it all out.

Seb is home for the week cuz the boat is on the slip. So that will give him a chance to get some of his school work out of the way. He is so close to finishing it.

Right! I am off now to pack my clothes and sort out more gear.
Be back next week

While I was away Cat got the children to paint the new attic storage room she has built.
Judging from the clothes I put through the wash they got more paint on themselves than the walls – I was not too impressed to see that Mahalia had been wearing her new warm pants they are now dark blue with white paint smatters all over them!

IMG_0051 IMG_0052
They had a lot of fun though

We are back into school again after several weeks break.
Not that they have been uneducated in the duration.

I couldn’t face doing the normal school room clean up that has to happen when I haven’t been there for a while so Monday morning we all got in there and the children all pitched in and helped.
They were great.
Certainly helped to warm us all up too.
It has been jolly cold.
When I get up in the morning I move the hall heater into the school room so that it is cosy for when we get in there.
Otherwise it is like a proverbial iceberg.

We had a family discussion as to what topics we would be studying this term.
It is so good to have some enthusiastic students.
We had been intending to do our geography project on Australia and maybe China.
But I proposed that we do a short one on Bermuda seeing as we have Christian staying here this week and he has been living there for the past 3 years.
He has heaps of photos, video footage and experiences to share.
They all thought that was a great idea.

We are also doing our main unit about the development of language/speech.
So we began with a Bible study on the confusion of language at Babel.
The children then made a big poster of Romans 8:28 which is now hanging on the school room wall to help them memorise it.

Inna processed a heap of capsicum and small butternuts that were beginning to deteriorate. So we made a huge pot of pumpkin soup and got dinner ready with the results. Inna & Misha had dinner in the Cottage so it was quite nice to just have a small number for dinner.

The children and I watched ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ before dinner. It was really fun.
I loved how they had used so many dance periods and styles of music. We staged the show when I was in high school many many years ago but I had never actually seen the original show.

I was battling with a headache most of the day, finally relented and took some painkillers around 4pm. It helped immensely but I was quite glad to crawl into bed at 8:30pm with my book.

I woke this morning around 2am. Couldn’t sleep so got up and read on the sofa in front of the fire for an hour or so. Then managed to get a few more hours sleep.

Anson called this morning. He was over the moon.
He had just shorn his 10,000 sheep – not bad for 5 weeks work.
He was one very happy chappy.
He is really looking forward to coming home next week.
I also spoke to another lady who is working in his team over there.
Her and her husband are also Kiwis working with Anson.
Among other things she said he is a great young fella and we should be very proud of him.
Of course we are – he’s our boy

We did a bit more school work this morning. Mostly maths and the cover page of the Bermuda project. I have several books with lettering examples and stencils so the children had a lot of fun today trying to make their projects look good.
Seb text to say his boat was coming this way so I left the children to it and made some muffins and scones for him and his work mates and the crew here at home for lunch. It was nice to see him briefly when they cruised past the wharf to pick up the baking. His crew mate commented that they really like having him on the crew and that he is a keeper

Mahalia has been having a lot of fun with the Israeli twins. The language barrier doesn’t seem to much of a problem. They still laugh in the same language

Azzan helped me make dessert tonight – he loves to help in the kitchen.

It has been really really windy which has been good in a way. It has blown the cold air stream away and allowed us all to warm up a tad. I just do not cope in the cold. I tend to ice up and cannot function. Today I moved the heater into my room and actually managed to get my clothes unpacked and put away in the wardrobe and drawers and began cleaning up all my stamps and craft area.

Christian is helping Cat get her Duke of Edinburgh project finished tonight.
It will be such a relief to have it all done.
She is going flat tackers at the moment to get all of her projects completed around here so she is ready when she gets the nod to begin her new job. She is sort of in limbo but is not worried as it is giving her more time here at home.

I am off to bed now – hopefully I will get to sleep a bit better tonight.
Mind you, the penguins are already serenading loudly outside so it could be a noisy night

Back home again

Thursday I left home at 10am in Anson’s truck.
It was really good having a heater that functions and and radio that gets channels with ease.
I made it to town in just over 2 hours and went straight to the Ford shop to get a quote on the truck cuz Anson is wanting to trade up when he gets home.

I then posted a pile of mail and went to meet the Israeli family who were coming here to wwoof for us. They were lovely and were very happy to find out more of where they were going etc. Then it was off to the gym and a few other things and back to the motel to wait for Kerri.
She arrived about 6:30pm so we headed off around the corner and had dinner at ‘Smugglers’.
I had not had red meat for quite a while so decided to order a steak.
The waitress asked how I liked it and I said ‘Dead!’
And explained that I DO NOT like to see any blood at all and not even much pink.

When the meals arrived (with another waitress) you could see the blood on the plate.
So I called her back and got her to take it back to the kitchen.
When it came back it was cooked just right – for me!
The first waitress was lovely and kept on coming over to find out if it was alright and reassuring me that their chef doesn’t like to overcook steak but it was me that was eating it – she was a sweetie.

We sat and ate and chatted and then two guys at the table next to us were leaving and came over and commended me for complaining. They reckon us Kiwis just take what we are given – warm coffee, etc and never do anything pro-active and they thought I did well. So that was a nice end to the meal

Friday Kerri had to go out to visit some apprentices at a woolshed in the afternoon so we spent the morning looking at Photomax and teaching me how to do some of the things on the website. We went off to the Beach Cafe for a quick lunch and she dropped me back on her way to the woolshed.
I lay down and read my book for a while, played on the computer and then drove into the city for a while. It was Friday and getting rather busy so I returned fairly quickly!

When Kerri came back she went off for a walk and after a quick shower we went to ‘Venice Cove’ for dinner. The menu had changed from when Tim & went two weeks ago, so I was disappointed as the new selections weren’t quite what I was wanting. It was still good though – so no complaints. Came back and spent the evening working on making some movies and photo books. I got totally into it and was so loving having broadband to do it all with that I stayed up till 2am.

Next morning I woke at 8am – Totally unheard of for me to sleep so late.
So we scurried about, packed up and headed off in our separate directions. Kerri went back home to Christchurch and drove through sleet and snow to 3’C
I stayed in Nelson and it was sunny and mild all day. I went in to the gym and then out to the Educational resource day that my friend Erena was running. Her business Learnex is such a great help to the home educators here in NZ. I had a lovely time catching up with some of the other home schoolers before having to leave to pick Christian up at the airport. Got their 10mins late and found his plane was delayed 45mins. So I sat in the car park and read my book.

We then went into town and had a light lunch at Morrison St Cafe – at 3pm that is all you get. Then off to do a few jobs, met up with Seb briefly and then home. The weather got worse as we drove. It was a bit wet and rather windy. The Israeli’s – Misha, Inna, Garrick & Asya arrived only an hour or so before me. As it was raining quite hard when they arrived Tim had sat them down for dinner with the rest of the family to await a break in the weather. It cleared long enough for us to unpack both vehicles and get them settled in The Cottage.

Today it has been really cold. I stayed pretty close to the fires all day. After fellowship and lunch Tim took everyone else out fishing. Azzan stayed with me and Graham’s daughter Anne-marie came around to have a cuppa with me. They got home just before dark, cooked up a lovely yummy feed of fish and now everyone is either in bed or close to heading there. I am ready to find my book – it is too darn cold sitting here…..

Sorry for the lack of photos – my camera is away – hopefully getting fixed.
I will have a look and see what Shanni has on her camera tomorrow.

Video of home

Hey there
I am having a great time this morning.
I am sequestered in a motel in Nelson with my friend Kerri AND I have access to broadband

So she is tutoring me in the use of Photomax and all it’s bells and whistles.
If any of you are interested in finding out more or joining for free then let me know privately.

I am having so much fun.
Can’t do this on dial-up

I have just edited a movie that was taken of us back about 3 years ago by a German TV group who were doing a documentary of lives involving water in New Zealand.

Here is the link to the clip I have just made of the portion about Port Ligar

Go have a look and then book in for your next holiday at our scenic wonderland

A couple of days at home, and then….

Yet another week when I am home between trips away.
I am home this week for 3 days.
They have been rather cold days at that.

It has been really lovely having just us here.
Tim, me and the 4 young’uns.
The equilibrium is so different – more laid back and cruisy – just lovely.
Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy having others to stay, but as it doesn’t happen too often it makes us really appreciate the times we are just us

Bri headed off yesterday morning to get her windscreen sorted before going over to the other side of the Sounds to grub tahinau for a few weeks.
She had her windscreen replaced under insurance about 18 months ago and on her way home this time it was nearly falling out.
Totally dangerous and not a good look!
So they are going to redo it for her.

Cat has been off to work before we are awake and getting back at dinner time.
She then is right into building and stuff that is on her ‘to-do-before-I-leave’ list.
She broke the news to her skipper that she was leaving and he is cool – of the opinion that she should get out there and ‘do it’ while she is young. Our opinion exactly

Bri had a huge clean out in the attic while we were away so the children have been having fun up there with their toys again.
Amazing how they can make such a mess and loose everything in a trash like heap and then not want to play cuz it is too messy and totally out of control – which they made in the first place
And then once it is all clean and tidy they are back up there again – happy wee campers

I have finally managed to get my paperwork done and dealt with so that is a huge load off my mind.
I have spent this morning helping Nuana sorting some legal stuff (she got ripped off buying a vehicle lately – bummer of a learning curve. One that we all have to go through at times ) and also getting books priced to sell at a home educating book fair in a few weeks time. Also been talking school stuff with Nathan – he is loving the History book I got for him. He is learning all about Marco Polo at the moment, before this it was Prester John. He has also just bought Bri’s laptop off her so now has a PC to play his games on. He is a very happy chappie. Our iMac’s won’t play a couple of the games we have and he has also just been given a Spanish newer version of Age of Empires – so now he really wants to learn Spanish – these games really are educational aren’t they – without any effort at all from Mum

The little ones are doing a lot of free play and cooking – they are basically having to fend for themselves for daytime food – and they do it very well too. They will never starve I have been feeling really cold and headachey over the past two days. And also am giving the Curves high Protein food plan a try. It is pretty good – am not at all hungry but it just gets a bit tricky finding substitutes for turkey and the packaged meals they keep referring to. I am getting really good at working out kJ’s etc from packaging.

I curled up in a blanket yesterday afternoon and watched ‘Bill Eliot’. It was a really good movie. So many people have recommended it to me so when I found it in Wellington on sale I grabbed it. I was just so cold and achey it was good to do nothing for a while. The children had been very quietly playing elsewhere but decided to come and play very loudly with play clay during the movie

Azzan came to me very sadly yesterday and said to me –
‘I’m sorry Mummy but I can’t be a ballet dancer anymore.’
I asked him why not?
He replied ‘Cuz I can’t do the splits, and I can’t leap high enough, and I can’t bend my leg up to the back of my head.’
That is so sad
However I assured him that those things didn’t matter and he could learn them along the way. He then went happily away and I found him dancing beautifully to Enya – he just loves to dance

Anson called from Sardinia last night – he has been calling quite regularly which is nice.
He was so thrilled as he had just shorn his first 400.
He’s been having fun with one of the other guys.
He is very competitive and loves nothing better than to get a race on with another shearer – it really helps to motivate him to raise his tallies. The guy he went over with has hurt his back so is unable to shear – a bummer for him.
But Anson is now the driver which is good. Says he is now having to stay sober and can call the shots as to when he wants to go home, so they are getting home a little earlier in the evenings!!

I had gotten ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ dvd from the library last week. I went to put it on for the children today and was going to cuddle up and watch it with them as it is years since I last saw it, when it came up on the screen I thought to myself ‘that doesn’t look too much like what it is sposed to’ so I ejected the disk and found it was all about ‘Router Jigs and Techniques’ – most exciting I must say – not! I must have had a dyslexic librarian I think – the dvd I should have got was No 399 and he gave me No 339. Anyway, they are going to post it out to me so we will get to see it next week instead.

I have to go finish labelling all this curricula I am selling – just discovered I have to have them all physically priced with my initials on each book so they can track them more easily. Just another job to do before I leave tomorrow.
Not too sure what time I will be heading away tomorrow yet, but I will be home again on Saturday night – bringing home with me our friend Christian (originally from Germany but recently from Bermuda and now studying in Auckland). It’s a while since he has been to visit – 4.5 years to be precise – so it will be great to have him stay for next week.