Last weekend of the holidays – part 1


I got up early and spent an hour making this baby card.
It is for twins – I thought it was really cute.

The weather was settling down so Cat decided to take Leeann, David, Sasha, Boris & Morgane out sailing and diving.
They headed off around midday towards Port Gore.
The plan is to dive on the Mikhail Lermontov.

Before they left I got Boris & Morgane to prepare some veges for dinner.
Tim put a roast of mutton in the wood stove.
I roasted up potatoes and parsnip, boiled carrots and made leeks in a white sauce.
It was a very delicious dinner.

Mahalia was left to finish painting her room.
She wanted to splash out with some more blue so I suggested the side of the bunk.

By evening the blue had spread!

I worked with Nathan in the morning – helping him to sort out his school work and how to plan his study schedule.
It is hard because he has never had to knuckle down before and actually do set study.
We have always been very relaxed and informal with our learning programme.
It takes a bit to get your head around all the work books.
Some, like ‘Classical Studies’, are straight forward, but others, such as English are frustrating cuz they flip from one thing to another and they are not systematic.
We had organised with the Correspondence School at the beginning that he would only do 4 subjects to start with to give him time to learn how it all works and so he wouldn’t feel overwhelmed.
He chose English, Maths, Latin & Classical Studies.
However, at the recent tutorial day he attended the science teacher was there and decided in his wisdom to dump Science on him too.
I was rather cross.
So at the moment I have told him to put Science to one side and pick it up later when he feels able to cope with it.
He is now adding a Gateway programme which is tied in with his voluntary work at The Wood.
That is also involving some workbooks along side the practical work.
I have set him up with a spread sheet to keep a track of what he is doing.
Hopefully that will make it a bit easier for him to get his head around it all.

We managed to get all of that sorted and he did a half an hour of work before lunch and then he went down to rousie for the afternoon so Shanni could spend some time with Katherine.
They helped me do some stuff after lunch and then they went for a bike ride.
Herbie & Errilyn came and had lunch with us and then plowed through a massive pile of dishes.
Errilyn went for a rest and Herbie decided to take a look at the truck and see if he could fix it.

I spent all afternoon reworking the submission for our courtcase.
The Christchurch earthquake prevented the hearing back in February and we have just heard it has been rescheduled for May.
I was very glad to get it all done and ready for Tim to proof read.

After all that brain work I was glad to collapse in front of ‘Dr Quinn’ while dinner finished cooking.
We ate quite late and then the children went straight off to bed.
Azzan is sleeping on the floor in our room at present so there is not a lot of floor space left.
Not too sure how I am going to find my clothes to pack for town next week
Just hoping we can get the rooms into some semblance of order before leaving.



I woke to this glorious sky this morning.

Tim spotted 2 figures walking down to the wharf in the dawnlight.
It was Shoshannah & Katherine.
They were up before the birds and going down to look for penguins.
They found some under the woolshed.
The penguins under our house at present are in full vocal force.
Must be nesting time I guess.
It sure is hard to sleep at present with their operatic performances going under the floor boards most of the night 

The girls made pancakes for breakfast.

Then they hung out the washing while Azzan washed the breakfast dishes and Mahalia got the paint out again.
Mahalia & Katherine got stuck in to painting the bedroom.
It just had a bit more to get done to finish it off.

I had to make sure Katherine was ‘contained’ as she was getting rather carried away with the blue paint

Mahalia finishing up the last few touches of ‘Splash‘ behind her door.

Shanni helped out and painted some messy patches in the hall.
 Azzan kept on wanting to be in the way of the painters.
Bit tough being the odd wee fella out sometimes

Shearing, painting, visitors and surprises!

I spotted the Spirit of New Zealand sailing out of the Sound mid morning.
I think my cousin Jonty is on this sailing so I was waving to him.
Don’t think he would’ve seen me though as it was 3 miles away!
Don’t you just love long distance lenses

Anson began shearing so I spent all morning in the kitchen.
There is something about shearing that invokes the need to be organised and to supply copious quantities of food.
I was so organised (not!) that I missed the 9:30am smoko because I didn’t get the muffins into the oven early enough.
But I did make enough so that I had plenty for the afternoon smoko so I wasn’t late with that
Anson kept shearing until nearly 10am until they were cooked.
Mahalia was my run-a-bout for the day so she delivered them steaming from the oven along with their hot drinks.
She was very helpful throughout the day.
Tim started out as rousie until Boris could get down there after his breakfast.
Shanni spent most of the day helping out there too.
She said at the end of the day that she really enjoyed working in the shed despite it being a long tiring day.

I made a huge macaroni/vegetable dish for lunch – it was enough for two days lunches which was great.
I made a fish pie for dinner – used the mushrooms that Anson had found up the hill which gave it a lovely flavour despite the grey colour!
Also made a triple size banana cake which we used for the Saturday smokos.
By lunch time I was totally knackered so after lunch I blobbed out for an hour – put my feet up and watched ‘Dr Quinn’.

Cat got the kids helping with the painting process.
Azzan had to clean the blue paint off the door to his new bedroom.
Mahalia lives here at the moment and had painted the door a while back using some of our school paints.

They are a real dog to get off despite being waterbased.
So Cat unscrewed the door off it’s hinges and took it out onto the deck so Azzan could waterblast it.

He managed to get it down to this – it is now going to need some hard scrubbing!
One thing about an old house – the children have been allowed plenty of freedom over the years to ‘decorate’ their rooms so there are heaps of nails and layers of paint to deal with

Mahalia spent most of the day painting her new room with Morgane.

Cat decided to paint each door off the hall a different colour.
She reckoned it would make easier when telling folk which room to go to!!
This is only the first coat of three of the doors, the white surrounds have to be done still.
We have 7 doors off the hall and Cat has some lovely bright test pots.

David & Sasha arrived in the arvo and brought a surprise visitor with them.
I had been planning this surprise for Shanni for a couple of days.
They brought her very best friend Katherine down.
She didn’t know herself that she was coming until a couple of hours before D&S picked her up.
Shanni was working in the woolshed and Katherine went down to see her.
The girls were so delighted to see each other.
I got a text from Shanni ‘THANX SO MUCH MUM’
I think she was happy
Katherine spent the rest of the afternoon helping in the woolshed.
I had to laugh – when she came up at one point she was chattering away about it being so yucky down there.
She wasn’t really complaining – just saying it – with a big smile on her face so can’t have been too bad.

She’s obviously a city girl

After dinner Cat took Boris, Morgane & Leeann out possum hunting. The truck conked out just after they left so they came back and took the Terrano.
They came home with 4 possums.

Errilyn & Herbie (aka Nathan) arrived at 9:30am with their cute wee 6week old Malachi.
We had a cuppa and chatted a while until we all needed to find our beds.

Sunni left me a book called ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Sunni has read the book several times and thoroughly recommended I should read it.
I have spent several days trying to get into it and would have put it down days ago except that Sunni was keen for me to read it.
I have persevered and am now hooked.
It took about 10 chapters before I was though!

Thursday – our holidays are coming to a rapid finish!


I have had this cartoon on my office wall for years.
It has come down recently to make way for other junk progress.
Thought I would share it with you.
I really identify with Edna sometimes

I was up early this morning and managed to sneak out and make a card before Azzan woke up.
He was sleeping on the sofa beside my art table.

Then once it was light I wallowed in the spa for half an hour with my book.
While the others had breakfast I clearer out the small bedroom we have been using as a sewing room.
It is all going to be transferred into Azzan’s old room as soon as the floor is finished in there.
In the meantime the piles of fabrics etc are sitting on the tables int he school room and the machines etc are in the hall.

Anson, Tim, Nathan & Boris went mustering this morning.
Anson is keen to get the shearing done before he leaves.
He is on countdown and the weather has been frustrating his plans.

Morgane peeled a couple of pots of apples and pears.
Then she sanded the next bedroom ready for painting.
Boris has helped her paint it this afternoon.
This will be Mahalia’s room once it is all finished.
Leeann and I made a large pot of soup from the venison hocks she had boiled up yesterday.
The children have been doing chores and school work.
I spent the rest of the morning trying to sort out paperwork and pay bills.
Cat has been working on her yacht and weed eating the lawns today.
The grass was so long you could almost make hay from them!

The wind is beginning to die away.
The waves pounding the beach are getting smaller and smaller throughout the day.

Leann & Cat are having dinner with Anson tonight so we will be just a small family. I am feeling the holidays speeding through my fingers.
Only a few more days and we have to head out to town.
There is such a lot I still want to achieve. I somehow don’t think I will get everything done.
Not to worry – guess what doesn’t happen will wait till next holidays!

Stormy days


It was Bri & Abby’s turn to leave.

They managed to get out despite the storm.
It was a pretty hairy drive though from reports I heard.
Abby commented later that there were men out with diggers and chainsaws clearing tracks through the fallen trees and holding branches back so traffic could get through.
The wind and rain were pretty relentless.
There were trees coming down banks.
The power was out most of the two days.
It would flick on for a short time every now and then just to remind us that there were some wonderful guys out in the storm working their butts off to get the power reconnected for us.
The phone also went out for a while and once again the guys were onto it.
We so appreciate them.
Thanks fellas!!

The waves were pounding in relentlessly for two days.
It takes a very big southerly/southeasterly to bring waves into our beach like this.

Anson came around and he did some of his school work with Shanni & Azzan.
Then he cracked the whip and got Mahalia to do some too.
I know it is technically the school holidays still but we actually have a week at home so it is a good chance to get some academia done.

Boris & Morgane painted Azzan’s small bedroom.
It looks so good.
It really is amazing how much fresher things look with a new coat of paint.

Cat got Azzan to help her fix his rabbit’s cage.
She taught him how to use the saw so he could shorten the legs to make it more stable.
He told me that he is not really into woodwork but he quite enjoyed doing it

Mahalia filled up the woodbins and then before putting the wheel barrow away she & Zani loaded the rest of the rotten floor boards on and took them away.

Leeann cooked dinner on the woodstove.
Venison casserole, roast parsnip and pumpkin, and boiled spuds.
I made crayfish morney as I don’t like venison.
The power was off and the stove wouldn’t come up in temperature so Cat brought the gas hobs down to finish off the vegetables.
We had a battery connected to the 12V light which lights the kitchen area.
It is really cosy in the living area with both fires blazing on these chilly nights.
But the rest of the house was like an iceberg.

I was in the process of making some cards and wanted to get some more done to them.
So I lit a candle and tried to work by its light.
How’s that for dedication!!
It was quite difficult to see still so I got a spare halogen torch and worked with that for a wee while.
I managed to get a couple more cards made.
You can see the small amount of light the 12V battery was putting out in the kitchen over the other side of me.

Despite the power cuts and the busy days I have managed to make these few cards over the past few days.
I have had some early mornings too.It is so lovely and peaceful when I get up at 5am.

I sat in the lounge after everyone had gone off to bed and enjoyed a quiet time by the fire with a hot drink and some chocolate fudge slice I had made earlier
The power came back on again just after 9pm.
I went to go to bed and fell over Azzan.
He had dragged all of his bedding along the hall from Shanni’s room and was sleeping on the cold hard hall floor.
I got him to move into the lounge and sleep on the sofa where it was warmer.
He would’ve turned into an ice block overnight!

I was about to go off to bed when Jesika called up so we skyped for a while.
She needed to hear what we had all talked about and how the weekend had gone.
She might be a million miles away but her heart is still at home

Monday night/Tuesday – au revoir Sunni & Mat

Monday Night

After the day out fishing it was time for some good old relaxing time in the spa.
Shanni hardly ever uses it so it was good to see her in there spending sisterly time with Bri.

Sunni & Mat stuffed and baked the moki.
I was too slow to get a pre-eating photo – Cat had already begun to serve it here.
The couscous stuffing was divine!
There wasn’t a lot left by the end of dinner.

After dinner we put the 2 youngest to bed and then the rest of us had a family pow wow around the table.
It was a good time to have a discussion about the future of the farm and business while most of the family were together.


It was an early start cuz Anson was leaving for Nelson at 7:45am and taking Sunni & Mat with him as they had a plane to catch.
We woke the children up to say goodbye – Shanni wasn’t too keen on opening her eyes that early in the morning

It is such a shame it is an expensive plane trip to get to see each other.
The times we share are too short but very precious.
It was also super cool to have Mat come to visit so we could all get to know him.

The weather had packed up.
From the glassy calm day we had out fishing – to this.
We have had two days of serious south westerly gales.

I cleared a lot of stuff out of the hall.
Tried to clean up and sort junk.

I was feeling rather down.
My emotions were matching the weather.
Sad and tumultuous.
It was exactly 365 days
52 weeks
12 months
1 year
since Mum died.
No matter how you say it,
It is a long time.
also a short time.

Easter Sunday & Monday

Sunday was wet as!
It rained all day.
Peter & Kathryn packed up and left after breakfast.
We didn’t do a heck of a lot apart from many loads through the washing machine and dryer.
It is making a weird ‘expensive’ sounding noise
Cat took a crew out in the yacht for a few hours despite the rain.
Tim slept.
I watched Dr Quinn with the kids.
Leeann made a venison casserole for dinner.
I made a delectably delicious lemon meringue pie.
After dinner some of the older troops went around to visit Anson.

The rain cleared so Tim made the call to go fishing.
We all went – yes, even me!

While we waited on the wharf for Cat to filler dive tanks and Tim to fill the diesel tank, Shanni & Bri cast out their lines.

The day was overcast, grey, damp, but calm.
The bay was like a mirror.
Home from two perspectives.

On the way we stopped to pick up Glenn & Tik and 3 of their friends.
They left their boat tied to a mussel line for the day.

Then we stopped at another of our mussel lines so Tim & Anson could tie a float on as it was sinking.
First you have to hook the line.

In two places.

Then winch it up.

And while it is out of the water scrape off the growth of blue mussels.

Then tie another float in place.

And leave them to grow some more.

Once we went around West Entry it got a bit cooler and windy and I retreated into the cabin cuz there was a bit of sea spray being thrown up,
Bri was doing a pretty good impression of being a bowsprit!

When we finally found the rock that Cat wanted to dive on she and Mat got into their drysuits.

And put on all the extra kit they need underwater all the while trying to keep balance on the ever rocking boat.

On with the tanks

And into the water!

And away down into the depths to look for that elusive crayfish.

Meanwhile on the surface the fishing lines were going over the side.

Some fished and others watched.

And others just read!

One of the cuter more colourful fish caught today.

We got our quota of blue cod.
The rules say we can only take 2 per person and they must be between 30-35cm in length

We were going to have a cook up onboard and had taken the butter and breadcrumbs but forgot the gar bottle for the stove – duh!
So filled ourselves up on chips, chocolate, pears and apples.

45mins later the divers surfaced.
The had their catch bag full –

– of moki – no crays today.

One nice sized one and the others smaller.

It was a bit bleak and roly so Tim decided to head home.
We passed the seals at West Entry to went closer to have a look.

We didn’t notice at first but there was a weka down on the rocks in amongst the seals.
Crazy bird!

We got home around 3pm and were unloading when a guy rowed in to visit us from a boat anchored nearby.
Turned out to be someone Tim had gotten a dog from back in the early 1980’s and he was keen to met Tim so he had come looking for him.
They had a good chat and then Tim took Cat & Leeann out for another dive on a wreck.

The rest of us came home and had something to eat.
Sunni helped Mahalia to tidy her room and Mat helped Azzan to take all his posters and bookshelves down.
I finished my book.

Easter weekend Fri & Sat

Just thought I would take a wee step back and show you what I have been doing over the past days.
I finally got all the sets of KlipIt containers that I bought on half price last week.
They are all filled and the old containers have gone.
I love going into my pantry now.
It feels cleaner and organised.
The other bonus is that I can actually see what is running low when I am doing my shopping list and I don’t have to go through the whole place taking off lids.
I still have a few more I need to get but I now need to buy a little more size selectively to contain the random other things

Once the boat was unloaded on Thursday night the guys got the two stags hung up and the skinning process underway.
Tim was pretty proud of his 90+kg (200lb) deer.

They were both 8 pointers but Anson’s was a lot lighter.
But still both were a huge weight to carry down the hills.


I got up before 5am as I couldn’t sleep.
So I sat and made a few cards until it was light enough to wallow in the spa with my book.

Cat was up bright an early too.
She spent the day doing a big clean up and getting rid of stuff.
She tackled the lawns but they were still too wet.
She got Azzan helping to clean up the rabbits mess and got rid of the puppy’s old run.
I had been trying to move it a few days ago so I could clean up all the mess but it was too heavy for me.
Am very glad to have it all gone.

Mahalia & Azzan cleared away most of the rotten floor boards.
They are so dry that they are making really good fire starters.

Jenn & Ray arrived to stay at the campsite with their wee caravan so Tim took them around to show them the ropes.

It was a beautiful day and Cat planned to take Mat & Sunni out in the yacht so Mat could have a dive.
But the tide went out and the ‘Vision’ got caught.
All the men went down to try and manoeuver it out but is wouldn’t budge so it stayed tied to the wharf and they went over the bay in the dinghy instead.
Mat hasn’t dived for a few years so Cat was giving him a refresher.

I watched an episode of ‘Dr Quinn’ before dinner.
It was about the ‘Washita Massacre‘.
I cried my way through the whole thing

Bri & Abby arrived around 9:30pm.
They were full of beans, tired but hungry so I was glad we had saved enough dinner for them.


I woke early again but was quite tired.
I had so much whirling around in my mind.
I am finding that if that happens and I get up and do something I am fine.
But if I don’t then things all start swirling and I end up getting overwhelmed by melancholy.
I have begun an art journalizing journey.
My councilor suggested it and it has taken me a while but I have begun so hopefully that will help.

I was feeling very vulnerable and an emotional mess most of the day.
I know what I am walking through will take time but it is so darned hard sometimes

The weather was beginning to change.
Roger, George & Oliver popped in to say goodbye as they were boating back to Havelock.
Jenn & Ray decided to vacate the campsite due to the forecast too so they came in to see us before leaving.
It was a busy kitchen as they were all wanting to talk.
At the same time Anson was here and Tim & I were trying to help him with his studies
Then Josh arrived with Ryan & Nathan to pick Anson up and take him over to Manaroa to the speed shear.
So we did what we could with his studies and then he went home to pack while we had a lovely catch up with Josh.
He lived and worked with us 20 years ago from when he was 16 for several years, but even though we live relatively close we don’t get to see much of him these days as our lives are so busy.

I was really weary so took my book to bed and read and dozed for a few hours until Kathryn came to visit.
We talked for a while and then I got up and made myself some late lunch.
Tim & I had a good talk with Sunni & Mat before dinner.
It was really good to pick their brains and get some business advice.

Sunni made dinner while Mat showed me some stuff about his business on the net.
After dinner I sat by the fire and finished my book.
I am so enjoying this ‘Chronicles of the Kings‘ series by Lynn Austin.
She really brings the Bible and history to life.

There was an emergency power shut down just as we were finished dinner and the younger children were going off to bed.
The older ones chatted by candle light around the table for a while.
Tim & I went off to bed.
I didn’t stay awake long at all!