Sun, rain and more rain.

Today we packed.
It should be relatively routine by now – you’d think
But what makes it hard is that –
No1. Shanni NEVER wants to go to town so she gets very difficult and doesn’t want to so conveniently forgets what she is supposed to do and turns into an even worse scatterbrain than normal.
No2. they all go nuts. When I am needing to get things done they go totally mental. It is like they all of a sudden swallow bizzy tizzy pills-!!
No3. They all find other things to do that are by far way more important to do.

At one stage Shanni had library books all over the floor – she was sorting the ones to go back. Then while they were all spread everywhere she got all her clothes out so there were piles of clothes mixed with the books.
Then she disappears – I find her sitting in the middle of her bedroom floor intent on untangling the chain of a necklace.

Anyway, they eventually got it all done.

I managed to get the last of the pages done for the book I have been working on.
I decided that it was time I got brave and allowed you to see my art corner.
It really feels a bit like a cave.
It is now in the back corner of our bedroom.
It is dark and cold so on sunny days I don’t feel inclined to work.
But I have a heater and lights now thanks to Cat. Before she left she hopped up into the attic and put an extension through for me. It hangs right in my line of site so I have had to tape a shade to it-!!



Did I also mention that it is a mess – but it is mine so it’s cool and mostly I know where things are


Here is one of the finished pages – the topic is ‘Over the Rainbow’ – we were instructed to let loose with colour, so I did. I sorta based it around the Kotoku – our native heron. They are all basically the same so I won’t bore you with more than one. It is called a skinny book cuz it is a tall and skinny page as opposed to the chunky fat books which are more square. It is the first time I have worked on one this size and shape – it was quite tricky to get it sussed to begin with.


Now I have to get all 14 pages over to Seattle and it they will be bound along with 13 others pages into 14 books and I will get one book back.

Once I got those pages finished and the children had disappeared I blobbed out and tiddled around with some of the left overs and made a few more cards.

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While I was working in my messy corner Nathan came to show me what he has been making today.

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Pretty impressive eh?

Tim went out planting lucerne trees this arvo.
When he got home he came to visit me for a chat when all of a sudden we were invaded



Dinner was late tonight – not too sure why.
Everyone was busy doing whatever.
The girls had found a weka nest so were intent on making a trap for the weka babies.

It started raining again later this afternoon.
I am not really looking forward to driving tomorrow morning
Graham had a pretty hairy drive in last night, roads are not great – really slippery and skiddy.

Nathan & Shanni gave Graham the animal feeding regimes, then we talked about the new bird aviary and it’s plan, and then they unpacked the b’day pressies from his trailer.
Tonight Tim was presented with the children’s present – well one of them – they are the same so only one was brought inside.


Two Meyer lemon trees.
Our old Meyer died a few years back so it will be good to have some replacements.

Tim has just gone to get the Safari so we can pack it up tonight.
I want to head off around 6:30am so the children will have tome for music lessons on the way out.

Not sure if I will have computer access while I am away so if not I will be back in a week or so.

Nathan, Hali & Azzan all pitched in to get the veges prepared for dinner.
Shanni was busy doing her birds and cleaning the large cage in preparation for her new parrot she is getting when we come back from Chch.

Mahalia got herself busy cleaning up around the sheds.
She did a brilliant job.
Only thing was, I had asked her to clean the Safari in readyness for our impending trip.
For some reason that job didn’t appeal and yet it would’ve been far easier.
Shannie was by then cleaning out her bird houses.
Azzan was sposed to be helping but he caused more ructions than was good for him – and me!
They eventually got everything clean and tidy.

Tim and Nathan were away doing some more mustering this morning – getting the cattle in for the truck.

While I was getting lunch there was some rather interesting conversations…..

Azzan – ‘Why do bananas grow in big bunches?’
Me – ‘Because that’s the way God made them to grow.’

Azzan – ‘ I bet they didn’t grow like that in Eden.
Cuz they wouldn’t be in big bunches to be greedy.
And if they had to pick big bunches they would get rotten.’

While I was making pancakes for lunch at Azzan’s suggestion – in one breath…..’When were pancakes invented, how long has ice cream been in the world and how come the Bible ends?’

‘You and others keep talking about philosophy.
Is it something you play with?’

We had pancakes for lunch – a bit of a birthday treat – although Tim didn’t have any.
The rest of the gannets devoured them.

Azzan keeps asking ‘how long till my birthday?’
Today I showed him on the calendar that it is exactly 3 weeks.
But he sadly said, ‘It was only 3 1/2 weeks before.’
I had to then explain to him that 3 1/2 is actually longer than 3 – he had it a bit confused in his wee brain.

The truck finally came in about 3pm.
I told Tim he HAD to take ALL the children with him.
I had had enough of noise and chatter.

I love them all dearly but it was getting on my nerves.
Shanni is a very chatty young lady and full of –
‘Guess what?’
‘Do you know….?’
‘My birdies are doing….’
‘I can do this….I am so terrific…..’
It is never ceasing. Mostly I can cope with it all but today – no

I so wanted to get my art pages finished today but I ended up getting the gst finalised and then had to do the online thing and then pay the bills.
No wonder I am tired tonight.

I have managed to get about 8 or 9 of the pages completed.
I will do the rest in the morning.
That should give the paint time to dry before I have to pack them up to post.

We had a very delicious birthday dinner in honour of Tim’s birthday.
Graham arrived in from town just in time to join us.
He loves a roast so we had a roast of beef cooking in the wood oven all day.
It was melt in your mouth stuff.
Plus we had roast kumara, potatoes, pumpkin, mashed carrots with parsley and leeks in a cheese sauce.
I couldn’t get anyone to co-operate for a decent photo so I got hem to all pull faces – that worked

We were sooooooooo full.
But we had to have dessert.
It was a steamed pudding which sufficed for the cake.

Of course with Daddy getting to be so old he needs all the help he can get with blowing out the candles

I gave him a gorgeous wee book by Thomas Kinkade especially for Fathers.
I was most impressed, he recognised the paintings and artist immediately.

Graham bought in the children’s present to Daddy – 2 Meyer lemon trees – but they are packed in his truck so Tim will get them tomorrow. Graham gave him a set of 5 or 6 tape measures. It is now anyone’s guess as to how long Tim can retain ownership of them all!!

Did you notice the attention Nathan was paying to his father and the celebrations going on around him?
He had his nose in the encyclopaedia for the whole duration

It is now after 11pm.
Way past my bedtime so I am off to catch a few zeds.

Happy Birthday Tim

On a Saturday back in 1949 Constance gave birth to a strapping wee lad.
His name – Timothy.

Wasn’t he just the cutest wee fella

Back in them days photos were a commodity not to be used excessively so the photos of young Tim are not many.
I just love this one of him with his sister, Lorraine and his mother, Constance.

I also see much of our lads in the one of him playing on the beach.
In fact the same beach that our children play on today.

This is the young man that I fell in love with 37 years ago.

I guess it was those legs that did it for me

He held the Hopai Sports wood splitting cup for several years.
He ALWAYS chopped in bare feet!
Even the standing chop – and yes, he still has all his toes.

And this is the man that I  love even more today than way back then.
He is such a great father and a very loving and patient husband.
He puts up with so much from this crazy woman he married.
He never thinks of himself.
In fact today he had totally forgotten it was his birthday.
Because, as he says, he had more important things on his mind.

Happy Birthday Timmy
**********************************I love you this much**********************************

We are planning a big love feast for him tonight – shhhh, don’t tell him – it is a surprise.

The official launch of the trailer.

Today was THE big day.
Tim bought a boat trailer from a neighbour on the 23 September 2007.
It has been a l-o-n-g process getting it dismantled and brought around here and then the rebuilding to fit and be strong enough for our boat.
Today was the culmination of nearly a year’s work.

I was busy in the house when I all of a sudden realised what was happening.
The children had kayaked around to watch.
So I grabbed my camera and went for a walk.
When I arrived on the scene the trailer was in the water.
88 South was waiting nearby beside the PL3.
There was a stranded wee crew member anxiously running back and forth on the dive board.
She was very pleased when Tim & Nathan zoomed up

The children were playing about while all was happening.
That is one thing I love about Tim.
He never stresses when the children are wanting to be a part of everything.
He just lets them be there.

Here comes the boat, sizing up the trailer.

Getting it sitting right and tying it on securely

Then came the slow tow.
It took quite a while cuz they had to keep stopping to make sure it was all safe and not tipping etc.

Then there was a low hanging branch that had to be chopped down cuz it was threatening the aerials.
Nathan attacked it with a tomahawk but it needed more so Tim walked back home to get the chain-saw.
That was when I gave up watching and walked home.

I did take a heap more photos but I won’t bore you with the blow by blow account of it’s trundle up the beach – it took quite a while

All this time I had a great birds-eye view of the proceedings.
I was sitting on the step hillside below a gnarly old grand-daddy pine tree beside a waterfall.
There was also the remains of another stump across the gully – I love the pattern the roots have made.

Mahalia must have been thirsty

Azzan had been playing on the hillside and was picking wild plants which he presented to Hali as she kayaked in

Then Hali saw me and next thing she was hooning up the hillside to greet me

Shanni & Azzan were wandering along the road quite oblivious to my presence
When Hali and I started walking home there was quite a conversation about forests and living in them.
I assured Azzan that I had grown up in forests and that I was actually a Sylvanian at heart

The girls took the kayak home and Azzan chattered along with me.
When we got home he presented me with these
‘I gave you them so you can remember what the forest was like when you were young.’

Of course he was hungry so I let him have the remains of some biscuits in a bag.
I told him to make sure the bag was brought in to the rubbish bin.

‘Why? Is it because we want Port Ligar to be beautiful?’

After lunch the children dragged all the kitchen chairs and most of Azzan’s bedding out onto the decking.
Apparently Shanni was the queen and the other her courtiers

She really was getting the queenly treatment too – a full massage from Mahalia

I was inside watching one of my new art dvd’s.
‘Retro Rags Workshop: Funky Fabric Books’ by Traci Bautista
It was really good.
I am really looking forward to getting back from Christchurch so I can have some play time.
Anyway, Azzan came running in to tell me that Shanni was getting some boobies-!!
Who would have little brothers
She was quite innocently enjoying her massage and not in the slightest bit worried about that news broadcast!

Tim and Nathan have been hard at it all day.
Once they got eh boat up and had lunch they then went back and water-blasted it’s bottom.
It had a real good growth of mussels, oysters and sea squirts and a multitude of other unidentifiable stuff on it.

Then after that they headed off out to do two musters in preparation for the final cattle muster tomorrow before the truck arrives.

I worked on the accounts all afternoon.
Re-filed the old ones and began the new years folders, filed all the loose paper work and then finished the gst. Emailed it to the accountant and am now waiting for confirmation that all is good so I can file with the IRD.
Feels good

Dinner was very easy tonight – same as last night except pasta instead of rice.
The children and I watched a couple of episodes of ‘The Waltons’.
They really are timeless.

The two guys arrived home late and very tired.
I guess Nathan is one of the men now – Mahalia was heard to say today – ‘The men are out mustering.’

Another sunny Monday

The guys headed off cattle mustering about 6:30am.
I got up and had a spa with Azzan.
Then we got stuck in and tidied the house.
The girls did really well.
Shanni vacuumed and rearranged the living area and then asked if she could vacuum the whole house.
Well! Who am I to turn down a request like that
Mahalia swept the hall and dried dishes.
Azzan washed the dishes.
He did good
I am trying to get him into the habit of helping and am pushing him along to extend his domestic skills.
As the youngest and a boy there is every good reason/chance that he will be deprived of these skills if we are not diligent in persuading him of their necessity. And encouraging him to realise that he ‘can’ do these things.
He argues like nothing before he does them but once I put my foot down and he actually gets on with them he is quite a happy wee chappy during the doing of them.

I hung out the washing and then tonight Nathan folded it up today’s and yesterday’s (which had gotten left on the line overnight because no-one thought to bring it in) washing and got it to it’s rightful destinations.

The girls have moved Sylvania into the school room. It has a place on the large mat so as long as it stays in that area I will be happy. I much prefer to have it down stairs cuz some pieces are so tiny that I am worried they will get lost up in the attic.

Shanni mixed up a yucky mix out of old newspapers, water and paint today and then made green paper with our paper making kit. She had heaps of fun doing that. Yesterday she did some flax weaving, she really is never not busy that girl. I have been getting a blow by blow account of her birds doings – even the fact that her doves were mating. So she is now planning on how much she could sell the progeny for!

I was most impressed with Mahalia’s writing skills today.
She was writing a letter and she did most of it herself without any prompting from me.
Her spelling has come along remarkably considering I haven’t taught her.
She just seems to be at a blooming patch – it’s great.

Seb & Josh spent the afternoon working on Seb’s car.
There was a burnt out fuse but it was really difficult to find.
They had wires everywhere and were getting rather concerned as they both have to be out in Havelock for work tomorrow.
Tim helped them and they finally got some life into the engine around 5pm.

I worked on my collaborative book pages and got heaps done to them.
I am enjoying listening to some cd’s of Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy Ministries. I just love his Tennessee accent – it is so different to ours. He is also a really good Bible teacher. Speaks plain and gives it straight but has a delightful sense of humour too.

Dinner prep was easy tonight.
I made a stir fried goulash with steak, bacon, lentils, capsicum, tomatoes and onions with garam masala and cumin.
It was delicious with brown rice.

Tim & Nathan went up the hill to do more cattle work later this arvo.
Before they left Nathan modelled his suit of armour he has been making up in the workshop over the past few days.
He has recycled some fire place metal and used leather thonging to lace it up with.
Most impressive and very scary
I think Tim should’ve had some on because he came back with a bruised leg – again!
Every year when he works the cattle he ends up getting booted by a beast.

Seb & Josh had a quick bite to eat and then headed off to town.
I managed to get Seb’s co-operation in filling out his Navy applications before he left
Seb is staying with Granny tonight and she will run him through to work tomorrow.
Josh is going to be looking after Seb’s car for him while he cannot drive.
I do hope Josh hasn’t landed himself a liability!!

I was helping Shanni with her blog tonight.
She has so many photos to load it is going to take a while.
She wants to catch up on the past 6 months!!
I will let you know when she has it all loaded.

A sunny chilled out Sunday

It was a beautiful sunny day today.
Gotta make the most of them cuz the pattern lately has been a sunny day followed by several wet yucky days.

The girls spent most of their day doing this…



Azzan spent most of his day worrying about his tooth.
It is the first natural loose tooth and it was paining him somewhat.
He came running into me this morning saying he just had to go outside cuz his tooth was falling out!!

At lunch time he was having problems eating.
I had made him a toasted cheese bagel but he couldn’t eat it.

Then all was good and happy
His tooth had come out
You will note that he has 3 teeth missing.
The two top ones were smashed out just a week before I went to America 2 years ago.
So with three missing now he is a real wee pirate!

So, after loosing his tooth he could eat again.
He sat out in the sun with his daddy and ate a toasted bagel.

Seb & Josh spent the morning working on Seb’s car. Josh brought it in yesterday and something has gone seriously wrong with it. It won’t go

So as with all things that won’t go, you leave them with the bonnet up to catch the sun and you go out fishing!
In the hopes that when you return they will miraculously have worked out the problem

I spent most of the morning working on the computer.
Then this arvo I have gotten the prototype made of my collaborative skinny book page.
I have to make 14 pages and am well under way now.
Won’t take long to get them finished.

Azzan & Hali watched ‘The Little Convict’ before dinner.
It is one of the 3 very old Australian animated movies I had for the older children that I have just had put on to dvd so Azzan has been busting to watch it.
We had a Sunday nights tea – left overs and fried fish.
Once again there was a great deal of testosterone being released at the end of the meal.
Tim had found a cigarette lighter of Nathan’s.
Nathan said it didn’t work.
So Tim tried it out on Nathan.
It worked!!
That sure made Nathan jump
Then Tim suggested to Seb as he was chasing Nathan around the table that a lighter sure makes Nate react so they were into it!!

Shanni gave me my daily massage tonight after dinner.
She gives me a 10min massage each day and gets paid $2 for it.
She is saving hard for something.
She hasn’t figured out what yet.
But she got money form her b’day from Granny and Bri so she has a good stash to go towards something when she gets to Christchurch next week.

The two guys are in the spa so it looks like Tim and I won’t get our spa tonight.
So instead it is off to bed with the anticipation of an early morning cattle muster for the blokes.
If they are up early I might just get to do some of my pages before the children rise – yeah right!

Shanni is Eleven today.

Eleven years ago a beautiful baby girl arrived in our house at 7:48pm on a Saturday night.
Our lives have not been the same since

Shanni came in to see us at her normal bright and early time of the day and announced that ‘today is my birthday’.

She has been enjoying herself all day since.

Everyone has pitched in throughout the day to help me get her birthday dinner ready.
Nathan prepared the chicken casserole and did a heap of other chores before going out mustering with Tim this morning.
Seb & his friend Josh went out and got the net in. It was full of spikey sharks so it took them ages to get it cleaned.
Once that was done Seb did his part on the list of duties. Cleaned the bathroom and did some vege prep.
After lunch Tim took the 3 guys mustering cattle. There is a sale coming up next week so he has to get them in for the truck.

Mahalia & Azzan peeled and chopped carrots and cleaned up Sylvania.
It is moving upstairs.
We had visitors while we were in town and while he and Tim were chatting the wee visitor trashed Sylvania
So as summer is approaching bringing more visitors we decided it would be safer to move it upstairs where the children can be more discerning as to who plays with it.

Shanni got the table set for her dinner.
She decided the table needed to be bigger so she added the extension and chose the special green and gold birthday table cloth.

It was a beautiful day today.
Calm and clear and sunny.
I sat out in the sun for a while after lunch and soaked up my Vitamin D rations.
Tonight the evening colours were so lovely – mirrored in the calm water.

Shanni called Jesika for a chat. So we all got to talk with her which was nice.
Poor Jesika though – she had her ear to the phone for 2 hours whereas we were changing ears between us.
Bri called Shanni too. That was a shorter conversation cuz Bri was on her way to work.

Azzan & Mahalia blew up balloons.
Mahalia was most excited cuz she blew up the balloon and tied it herself for the very first time!!

Azzan had so much fun.
He put wee stones inside his to make them rattle.
He attached two to his big toes and flapped around with them.
He had hilarious fun making them fart
‘Why did people invent balloons?’ he asked me.
‘Is it so we can have fun?’

Next Azzan question…
‘Is it true that plain stuff is sensible?’
After which we wandered about commenting about things being ‘plain and sensible’.

The guys got home late so dinner was ready to go as soon as they were.

We had a sumptuous dinner of chicken casserole, roast swede and parsnip, mashed carrot & parsley, green beans and rice with garlic bread.
Shanni was very happy with her dinner – all her favourite things.

Then it was time for the presents.

There was many comments from Nathan wondering if he would be getting the same amount of presents.
I tried to explain that size and equality don’t always match

After the DK Bird book/folder, which she was extremely thrilled to get,
came two matching boxes – containing …………

Bramble Department Store

Of course there are always plenty of helpers around when it is present opening time.
It is just too exciting for words watching a big sister open her treasures

Ohhhh! The Lego ship. Just what I always wanted.

So many tiny parts to the Department store – don’t think this one will be up in the attic.

Then it was time for the cake and desert.
Carrot cake with strawberries and Ambrosia – YUM to the max!
They were all so full that they turned down ice-cream.
Seb collapsed on the couch with such a sore full tummy!

Thanks for having an 11th birthday Shoshannah – we love you