Last week catch up

On Sunday Tim and the kids went with Wayne to load up timber and Shanni came back with these cool photos so I had to share them.

While everyone was gone I got stuck in and finished the gst.
I was so rapt to get it done that I sent it off to the accountant and field and paid it without waiting for him to check it!!!
So here’s hoping I didn’t make too many botch ups.
Brooke ran around getting all the cottages cleaned and beds made.
It was great to have a quieter chilled out time after being inundated with people.
I got the children’s bags packed and made whitebait fritters for dinner – so good

Monday Brooke went out grubbing weeds with the fellas – she needed to have a grubbing experience before leaving.
She wanted to be outside and enjoy Port Ligar before leaving but wasn’t really looking forward to the grubbing.
Anson told her she had to go because she was getting fat after being teacher for 3 weeks – cheeky brat!! But it was a beautiful day and she thoroughly enjoyed being on the hills working with Tim.

They got back at 3pm!
Then it was straight into processing the 100kgs of tomatoes that Anson had brought it with him.

It didn’t actually take that long with all hands on deck.
I made crayfish mornay for dinner – double yum!

We packed up the Safari as best we could and got organised for an early start.

Brooke & Clark were not looking forward to leaving but they have to go so they can come back.

Brooke was such a blessing giving me the past month by teaching the kids.
She did such a good job despite Nathan’s comment that she was a mix between
Atilla Hun and communism

off again

I was hoping to update properly before heading off into the sunset – or actually the sunrise tomorrow.

I am heading south tomorrow with Nathan, Hali, Azzan and Brooke.
Clark is also leaving.

Sad day

I am taking Brooke down to Christchurch to meet up with Max and then they are leaving about the same time I have to be back in Nelson on 2nd.

We are taking the long route and doing some sightseeing along the way.
Should be fun.

If I can get a chance to update I will otherwise I will be back on 3rd or 4th.

Most of the weekend stuff!

This is Jynx
one of our three cats.
I quite like this shot Shanni took of him.
Actually I quite like heaps of shots Shanni took yesterday so I have borrowed a few
Thanks Shanni

I spent ALL day in the study getting the bookwork done.
I did heaps.
Got all sorts of loose ends tied up and made a humungous amount of progress.
Brooke sorted out the school room and got the kids to help clean it up.
She is trying to tidy up the loose ends of the insect unit so we can get it all completed and bound when in town next week.
I really want her to see the final results before she leaves.
Yes, she is leaving
It is very sad but she has to go back home for her brother’s wedding.

Brooke made the most of the sunshine to recline and chat with her dearly beloved Max who is wwoofing for friends of ours in Canterbury.

I found this gorgeous wrap around skirt for Shanni in town last time.
I just knew she would LOVE it and she does.
It so colourful and sparkly.
I found it in an Asian/Indian importing shop that has such cool stuff.
But I’m not too sure about the accessories she employs to go with it

But she don’t care.
She’s comfy and colourful and happy

Clark found Jesika’s old Swanni and has taken quite a liking to it.
Very cosy things they are.
The total epitome of Kiwi farming garments they are too!

Tim & Nathan doing some stock work in the shed.

Nathan doing what Nathan does best.
Slashing with his slasher.
Watch out everyone – he is lethal!

Tim & Nate went up the hill with the girls to do some stock work while they waited for Wayne and his girls to arrive.
They were driving up from Oxford so it was a long day for them.

I was wondering if the slasher was strategically placed??
You are sposed to put an ax in the block near the chicken house to encourage them to lay – so maybe this was an encouragement for obedience in the yards!!!

The ever faithful team waiting for their next commands.

The girls had fun trying to capture themselves leaping.
I love the gleefulness that embodies them.

And this photo is just THE best.
I love it.

The fisherfolk arrived back in about 5:30pm.
It had begun to turn rather cold and the sky had gotten very black.
Moments after they arrived the heavens opened and the rain bucketed down.

The children all arrived back in soon after drenched to the skin so they hopped into the spa to warm up.
Then Azzan found Andrew was a good play mate.
They had a good time playing hands

Wayne & the girls arrived just as I was about to dish up dinner.
We had a large contigent so brought in the extra table.
No sooner had the girls finished their main course they disappeared.
I found them down in the school room playing with the Lego.
Happy wee ladies enjoying each others company.

We found beds for all and managed to get to bed sometime before midnight.

This morning we woke to this beautiful scene.
After the storm last night it was so tranquil.

The rain drops were still hanging of the dahlia flowers & buds – looked so pretty.

I got a bit caught out cuz all of a sudden everyone was here at 8am and ready to leave.
I still wasn’t dressed.
So I tore through the bathroom, through on clothes, took payment from The Cottage guys, said a hurried farewell to Lloyd, Val, Andrew & Allana, grabbed a quick photo of them…

Then came inside and made a cuppa herb tea – phew.
So much for a leisurely Sunday morning.

Wayne & Tim sat and chatted over breakfast once the mass had departed.
The girls ate and then disappeared off to play as they didn’t have a lot of time left.

Tim decided to tow Wayne’s trailer to the French Pass turnoff to make sure he could get out safely so all the children loaded on board to get an extra hour together.

Here’s the four gorgeous girls
Mahalia, Elsie, Shoshannah & Greta
just before they left.

So, that also gives us at least two hours of peace here.
It is blissfully quiet.
Brooke & Clark are making beds and cleaning The Cottage, Croft and wwoofers hut.
Nathan is sposed to be finishing his insect project and I am going to now go and finish the gst.
It is so close that I am going to put the final seal on it today even if it kills me to stay indoors on such a glorious day

Fun Sun days :-)

Friday turned out to be another day of procrastination for me.
I have the gst hanging over my head yet again.
Oh how the 2 monthly process comes about so fast – there never seems to be much time in between
But in that procrastination I always manage to accomplish so many other things – so I spose it’s gotta be good

Brooke spent the morning at school with the children.
She had worked late and early to create some completion tests for them.
She did so well.
I think I should be hiring her full time.
Shame she cannot stay longer.
She made some practical picture tests for Azzan which he really enjoyed doing – naming the parts of an insect, the life cycle and putting an insect together correctly.

The other children had written quizzes which they all did well.

I spent all morning cooking with Ortal.
I was going flat out to get dinner and lunch done so I could escape to the study and get to work.
We ended up making a huge amount of chilli beans, a curried sausage and egg casserole in the slow cooker, Iraqui Rice for lunch (a favourite dish of ours), then I left Ortal to make Chocolate Chick Cookies.

I got the recipe from someone’s blog that I read but I cannot find it again – (so if the person who originally posted it is reading this could you please let me know where to find it again cuz my copy is becoming very smudged and I would like to print a new copy out!!) She ended up making about 4 batches of them and as they are much nicer eaten fresh than from the freezer everyone is cookied out now

Then it was lunch time and after that the children went out kayaking with Brooke & Clark.
It was a gorgeous day and good to see them all outside having fun.
They kayaked across the bay to Pipi Beach – their favourite destination. It is so sunny there in the afternoons so a good place to head to in the winter
You can see Pipi Beach way over behind them in the distance – it is the beach just inside the point.

They looked so happy as they were coming back in.

Then it was time for the promised card making session.
I had just sat down to do the accounts when they got back so I pulled myself away from them happily reluctantly and we had a fantastical fun afternoon.

It extended into the evening and as dinner was all ready and bubbling away we didn’t have to stop for any preparation.
So it got later and later.
Tim was out in his shed just doing yet another one more thing and he didn’t come in till 8:30pm.
We couldn’t stop and clear the table just to eat so we put on our warm coats and ate outside.
It was very pleasant.

Clark came in and saw what we were up to and soon was into it as well.

I helped him make a card for his lady love – as you can see he was totally delighted with it.

I was too – it was a new stamp I hadn’t used yet and so I was having fun thinking of what to do with it.
Results were so cool.

Lloyd & Val arrived with Allana & Andrew from Singapore.
The chugged in on a friends boat at 9pm.
So after a cuppa and one of Ortal’s yummy biscuits they headed off around to The Croft for the night.

Tim put the children to bed on the promise they could make more cards this morning.
Then the ‘big kids’ were at it again.
I haven’t had so much fun in a long time.
I actually got to make some cards and ones I was happy with.
Brooke is now totally addicted.
Ortal was humming away making all hers Hebrew style – backwards!

This is my favourite one I made last night.
I so love this stamp, you can do so much with it.

It was quite late by the time we finished but Tim & I managed to have some soak-in-the-spa time before going to bed.
Left Clark on the phone talking to his lady love in Italy.
We have cheap rates for up to 2 hours talking so I imagine he was quite late to bed!!

I woke early this morning and thought to myself that I should get up and get onto the gst while it was eary and quiet.
So I lifted my head off the pillow but by the time my feet hit the floor my brain was thinking of Michael’s 21st b’day.
I quickly flipped through my drawer of bloke stamps and found one which was appropriate for a rugby player and 30 mins later this is what I managed to make for him.
Cool eh?

Don’t you like the new uniforms that I designed for his team?

I got his present wrapped and sent it off with Anson just after 6:30am.
He had a list of things to do before the party tonight.
Ortal went with him and is going to help him pick a heap of tomatoes for us at a friends market garden.

After he left I got several loads of washing underway, then back to the study and into filing and getting cash journals started.
Val & Lloyd arrived around at 9am to go out fishing so Tim got Clark up extra fast so he could go to.
Man! He must have been keen, he came bounding down the hill at a rate of knots!!

It is a glorious day here now.
We have people coming and going later on today.
Brooke and the children are making cards and as soon as I push the button to complete this entry I am seriously going to get stuck into finishing the accounts.
I am.
I really really am

An messy arty sorta day

Last night Tim went up to watch a movie in Anson’s room so I had a spa and went to bed to read my book.
I finished it and still wasn’t tired so I got up again and tidied my art corner enough so I could find some work space and then I made 3 cards before Tim came in.

This morning I was awake bright and early so Tim and I welcomed the dawn in the spa.
Then I got the washing moving, muffins in the oven, and dinner prep organised.
Seb came in on ‘Pacifica’ to do some mussel work for us.
Gave him some muffins.
He is quite happy and bouncy which is great.
They came in several times through the day so Tim cooked up some mutton chops for their dinner.
They were very happy to get it tonight.

I had suggested some fun activities this morning.
So before anything too heavy happened in the academic realms I got out some shaving foam and food colouring and the children had fun marbling.

The boys really got into it.
They loved it.

For those of you who want to try it
Get yourself a can of cheap shaving cream.
Squirt it into a flat container.
Drop some food colours into it randomly.
No more than 2 or 3 colours at a time is best.
Stir gently with a stick or fork.
Then place the paper over and press down.
Wipe the foam off and leave to dry.
It makes such pretty papers.

Ortal spent the morning in the shed painting our signs.

While the boys played the girls got the microscope out and connected it to the computer and were soon exclaiming over all the bugs and bits of bugs when they saw them in the big screen.
A spiders leg is amazing.
They particularly loved seeing the wings of the cicadas – they were beautiful and so delicate.

Mahalia wanted to see what blood looked like so her big bro was called upon to produce some.
Everyone else was too much of a wiss to cause blood to flow on purpose

Of course Nathan found it most fascinating to see his big bro’s blood up so large.

By this time Azzan was finding shaving foam was really cool to feel and play with.
Anson gave him a hand to get it a bit further a field!

Then it was all on,
Brooke joined the fray!!

Charming pair aren’t they

By the time Mahalia had her turn she had missed the beginning techniques and thought she was sposed to get her hands right in there mixing it all up
I had to hold her back and show her the finer points of marbling and getting good colour on her paper.
Thankfully Anson had another can as the boys had drained the first one.

Shanni was more interested in the microscope so she only did a little bit of marbelling.
Then they all did a bit of green crayon drawing on green card, then you wash it over with white water paint.
Quite cool results.

This afternoon the children watched Mary Poppins.
I spent time updating my wwoofer’s photo book.
That is all done now so I have another job crossed of of my list.
The gst is still on there unfortunately.
Why didn’t Mary Poppins get it done for me while she was visiting today 

Brooke and Ortal braved Anson’s hut and gave it a total clean.
They couldn’t believe he could live in there.
His room gives rise to the name we give to blokes quarters – The Boar’s Nest!!
Of course he only noticed that his clothes weren’t on the floor when he went to shower tonight – duh!

A beautiful Wednesday

Wednesday was back to normal.
St Patrick was put away for another year.
The children did more on their insect studies.
Then after lunch they went kayaking with Brooke & Ortal.
They went quite a long way out in the bay.

It was really funny cuz as they they were paddling back in a very large navy vessel steamed into the bay but they were facing towards home and never heard it.
 Then all of a sudden it tooted it’s horn very long and loud!
They all got such a fright.

I did the usual thing when the gst is due –
I went to bed with my book.

Anson decided everyone could go out mustering with him.
It came into rain while they were out there.
I was amused at the ingenuity of their tent they built on the back of the truck.

Ortal sheltering with Hali and Azzan.

Clark hopping back on board
is he joy riding?
is he making sure he can jump of fast if need be??

There is always time for crazy games with crazy girls.
Mahalia pretending to be a dead body!

She still has plenty of bounce left after the muster!!

During the muster Brooke and Azzan were sitting on the hill under the pine trees.

the following conversation ensued.

Azzan: ‘I love you.’
Brooke: ‘Love you too, kiddo.’
Azzan: ‘Brooke…..I think I know now that all girls that come to Port Ligar love me.’

(after laughing for 5 mins…)

Brooke: ‘Zani, you’re quite the womaniser.’
Azzan: ‘I know. I hypnotize women.’

That’s my boy!!

St Patrick’s Day etc

We had a bit of a variation to the home schooling day on Tuesday because we realised it was St Patrick’s day.
So Brooke and the children had some fun and learned all about – well some things about St Patrick and why and how the day is celebrated.

First off we all had green lemonade at morning tea time.

The children read some stories and did some activities and I cooked lunch.
I had been hankering for pancakes so I whipped a big brew and as I was cooking I thought to myself – ‘why not make some green ones?’ – so I did.
The children were most delighted.

It was a pleasant interlude in the midst of weeks of insects!

Brooke has been having some very interesting conversations with various children lately.

During school the other day Mahalia was asking her why she had spots on her face.
Brooke told her it was because of hormones.

Mahalia: ‘What are hormones?’
There was a ‘go ask your mother’ pause but after permission from me the conversation was continued later when out walking.
Brooke: ‘Hormones cause all sorts of things.
Like spots, and mood swings and voice changes and they can happen at any stage of your life, etc etc.’

Mahalia: ‘I hope I never get hormones.’

Don’t we all wish

Mahalia’s 9th Birthday

Mahalia’s 9th birthday was quite an adventure for her.
She had many different things happening throughout the day.
Shanni made waffles for breakfast.
Then they all walked around to Bush Inn cuz Louisa had told her to come pick up a present from Madeline.

On the way Azzan found this beautiful mushroom/toadstool.

When they got there Mahalia got this horse stencil kit.

They arrived back in time for fellowship.
I crashed out in the afternoon and read my book and dozed.
Brooke went kayaking and then came back and made a banana cake – Hali’s choice for the b’day cake.
Then later in the afternoon Tim and Nathan got a bonfire going for them and Brooke organised s’mores on the beach.

She had gotten her Dad to bring out all the makings for them from Alabama so they were authentic.

We don’t do the s’mores thing over here, we just toast marshmellows or damper over the fire.

The children had a ball.
They got sticky and toasted and smoked out.

They spent hours down there – it was after dark when I finally sent Tim down to find them.
I had made a tuna and cheese pie with salad for dinner but they were all so full that they didn’t eat a lot.

Shanni had made her a birthday head band and some place cards for the table.

I brought out the cake.
The candles were blown but none were eaten cuz they were too full.
They attacked the cake when they got back home later on.

I iced it with a horsehoe and the ranch brand MR9.
(Mahalia Rebie 9 years was the meaning)

She opened her large pile of presents beginning with one from Bri

When Bri was home for the wedding the children had been coughing violently
so she figured a bottle of Vit C would be a good present

Then it was onto the rest of the pile which turned out to be totally horsey.

A music box with secret drawers.
It plays ‘My Old Kentucky Home’.

Next was a cool blanket from Grandma.

Then a box of horses from us

and a duvet cover set from us too.

We also gave her a large book called ‘The Spirit of the Horse’ with the most beautiful photographs in it.

As you can see she was totally delighted with her horsey birthday – she prays hard every night for a real one.
So please God help us find the right one for her.

After they finished dinner Anson loaded them all into the truck and took them possum hunting.
They got home at midnight.
Brooke was delighted at having shot her first possum.

All in all it was a happy day.
The next morning I let them all sleep in late.

Everyone was happy and well when we returned.
Ortal from Israel had arrived on the mailboat last Friday and she looked after all the birds for Shanni while we were away. She also helped Graham with his timber and socialised with Pat and the boys – they stayed in The Cottage over the weekend.

She made some sticky swseet chocolatey things which everyone was enjoying.
Looked like fun to make!

Hamish & Corina where only here for 2 nights and 1.5 days so they made the most of their time and went everywhere.
They walked around to Te Kopi and nearly killed Corina trying to walk up the neck.
Tim went mustering so dropped them at the top of the hill so they could walk down.
They also got a trip out on the boat to look at the mussels and do some fishing.
Corina was in her element and is threatening to come back and move in!

They left on the mailboat to enjoy the last few days of their honeymoon.

The past few days have been full of mustering.
Anson is on a roll!

Anson has also been building a chicken run for Shanni.
Trying to keep her birds safe from predators.
But unfortunately she lost her last Pekin bantam which was setting on the eggs she was given.
It was attacked & killed by a hawk yesterday.
She was pretty devastated as she not only lost the hen but all the potential chickens.
Then today she lost 3 of her other new chickens cuz they managed to find a way out of Anson’s fort!
He is going to have to make it even more imprenable tomorrow.

Shanni had a bad day of it yesterday.
After loosing her hen she then fell and hurt her shin, so that required ice and tlc.

Then today after loosing her chickens and sending hours looking for them and trying to make the remaining ones safe she has ended up with a cut arm.
Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better!

Poppy is becoming quite a character.
I never know where I am going to find him!

I stood on him tonight.
The children were watching amovie during dinner and he was wandering around the floor.
He is fine, just gave me a heck of a fright though.

Brooke has been continuing with the school teaching.
She found our NZ version of some classic children’s stories.
She has been busting her gut over them and got Clark to read some out at dinner time.
He read the 3 Woolly Coats Gruff and the Taniwha.
It was so funny hearing him try to pronounce the Maori words.
He just couldn’t get his tongue around taniwha!

We were all rolling around in laughter

Tim and I popped around to see the Sparrows at Bush Inn on Sat night.
A contigent of representatives from most of the families had come to have a working bee and paint the bach.
It was fun to catch up with them all.
Christine has now left with them and gone home.

Clark & Ortal have been weeding the gardens.
There is so much growth at the moment.
It is great to see the plentiful greenery on the hills for a change but it is choking all my new plants.
I have made a pretty good start on the gst but got waylaid today updating this blog.
Tomorrow I am back into it again.
Have got to get it finished.
Oh, how I hate that it hangs over my head every two months.
It is the bane of my life

So to all of you out there who have thought I had disappeared off the planet, I haven’t.
But I have felt like I wanted to.

I hope I have given you enough to read for a while now!!

Our few childless days

We had been told by Anson & Brooke that we should go away for a few days break and they would hold the fort.
So we did!
I had  eventually found a bed & breakfast place just a few minutes drive from central Nelson.
I didn’t want to travel too far and this seemed perfect.

It was called Honey House.
It was originally an apiary but the owner had died and his wife and daughter have turned it into really lovely accommodation.
The Nectary is on the top story and we were tucked down below in The Lodge.

The breakfasts were amazing.
There was so much delicious food we needed plenty of time to digest it so we made the most of our chilling time and watched lots of movies.

We watched 6 movies during our stay there.
The Blue Butterfly
Second Hand Wedding
Out of The Blue
Love in the Time of Cholera

We even went to the cheap Tuesday afternoon movies with all the old ladies and saw
Slumdog Millionaire.
An amazing movie!
Glad I saw it on the big screen.
It really portrayed the noise, colour, people of India so well.

I can’t for the life of me remember what the 6th movie was called.

Tim was a bit worried that this might be a vision of what our retirement is going to be like – food and movies.
I assured him it definitely was not!
It is fun for a few days to blob but certainly not any longer.

We went into the city and wandered about.
I had my Starbucks fixes each day.
Tim got some new feet for the Safari.
We managed to track down our old friend Max – he was delighted to see us.

There was also a lovely horse called Katie in the paddock who would come over to see us as we drove past.
She was obviously starving for attention and Tim gave her plenty along with some of our carrots.

On the last day we had to be in town for an appointment at 9am.
That really was pushing it seeing as we were on holiday.
We did manage to get there by 9:30am.

Then we cruised on out to The Glen and had a tiki-tour around.
We had never been out there before so it was fun to explore.
It is the beginning of a couple of good scenic and popular walks.

Then we drove into Cable Bay and across the causeway to Pepin Island.
Tim spotted some sheep dogs so figured Andrew would be nearby.
Sure enough he was and the next thing we knew, we were up at the house having lunch with him & Nicky.
We hadn’t caught up in years so it was really lovely.
Then some more friends arrived from America and Andrew loaded us all onto and into the farm truck and we went for a circumnavigation of the island.
It was very windy and I was the chief gate opener – and there were heaps!!
The scenery was magnificent.

We could see right up to D’Urville Island and through French Pass.

There was a cute wee cabin on a high promontory with this neat bath above it which Tim had to try out.

Unfortunately we had to make a hasty departure when we returned as it was well after 4pm and we were meeting Hamish & Corina at Rai Valley at 5pm.

The weather packed in while we were driving.
So our trip home wasn’t the kodak oppurtunity that we had hoped for.
But Corina thought it was absolutley magic anyway.

We drove through misty rain and low cloud and even a brief hail shower.
But htere was enough light for her to see the sights and we got home just before dark.

Nice to be back but sure would’ve like a few more days

Maybe we could escape to the wee cabin on the island – we wouldn’t be accessable to anyone then!!!