Swimming in the rain & scones :-)

I made a  large beef/mutton stews this morning.
It was so big I had to split it between the slow cooker and an oven dish on the wood fire.

Not too sure how this big fella got inside but we found him on the window sill.
Azzan released him back into the wild.

Went out to deal to the washing and found this very cute photo.
Mo is pleased to have Jynx back home again.
They find some interesting places to snuggle up!

It has rained steadily all day.
That did not deter the young folk from swimming.
They swam out to the boat.

Then after a while they jumped

and dove

and swam

Nick framed by pohutukawa flowers

back to the shore

and very quickly up the steps to the spa to warm up!!

The rain has been very heavy up in the hills.
It caused the rivers to flood and shut the road at Rai Valley.
The guests coming in to the Cottage tonight have had to postpone their trip until tomorrow.
Seb & Phoebe have also put off coming in till tomorrow.
Anson has managed to get home tonight as the road has opened and he is in a 4WD truck.
I spoke to the road contractors office lady this arvo and was amused when she told me that there was a lot of surface flooding and slips and the road was one-way in parts.
Our road is one way in parts most of the time – what’s new?

I have been battling a really bad headache all day.
It seems to be stemming from a tight muscle knot in my back.
I can pinpoint the pain areas to my inner shoulder and hip.
Just wish I could get a really good massage to relieve the pain.
Mahalia tried but is not strong enough to do what is needed.
Resorted to pain killers this afternoon.
Went to bed feeling disgusting.
Kept on getting woken up by phone calls etc.
Then dozed off in the lounge chair before dinner.

Mailboat came in but not much mail today.
Kids watched a movie then Shanni went for a walk and the others went up to rest or play on Bri’s play station.

Finally got up around 4pm and was quite hungry so Mahalia and I made date scones.
The mixed dough

in the oven cooking

hot and steaming straight from the oven

Mahalia getting the butter and honey ready for a feast


This gorgeous gladioli is blooming up on the bank by the aviary.

Annaliese made wedges to have with the stew.
Dinner was very tasty, warming and nutritious – perfect for such a yucky night..
Southerly has come through so the rain has eased somewhat.
The waves are pounding in on the beach so I will have the sound of them to lull me off to sleep tonight.


Mid week chronicles

Tuesday 27th December

A lovely hot lazy day.
Lots of languishing about.
Lots of swimming.
Lots of eating.
Lots of talking.

Tim & Glenn have been working on getting the farm truck going.
It is being a bit challenging.

Had a visit from the police.
They are in the area doing fisheries checks to make sure no one is breaking the cod laws.
While they were in the area they were doing firearms checks too.
Anson has just applied to renew his licence so they had to come do the safety check.
Tim spent a while being interviewed and showing the officer where the firearms are kept.
He seemed happy enough.

The boat came back to pick him up, accompanied by a pod of very large dolphins.
I managed to catch one leaping to the right of the boat.
Jolly hard to photograph as they are so quick.

Wednesday 28th December

Azzan woke early and had a 5am spa.
I followed him soon after.
The sky was amazing.
I guess the colours were warning us of what is coming





After breakfast Nick, Bri, Abby, Gavin, Shanni & Azzan went out in the new boat.
It reminded me a little bit of the picture in ‘Who Sank the Boat?
Azzan was supposed to be going kayaking with the others but decided he didn’t feel safe at the last moment so hopped in with the others and proceeded to then jump into the deep roughish sea and snorkel about with Nick and co.
I am figuring that making the choice to jump into the sea is his choice whereas falling from the kayak is not a choice.
He is still not feeling confident from when he was tipped off the kayak a few months ago.

I went for a wee wander up to find Tim.
He was feeding the dogs unmentionable meat so I didn’t venture too close!

The plums are ripening nicely.
Azzan has been a bit impatient to wait and has been trying to convince us that the plums he is eating are ripe.
I think I prefer mine a little less sour!

Annaliese, Mahalia & Nathan went kayaking over to Pipi Beach.
On the return journey I saw that Annaliese was towing Mahalia.
Apparently her shoulder didn’t enjoy paddling so she lay back and enjoyed being towed

All the older ones played ‘Settlers of Catan’ after lunch.
Later they went walking up the hill in search of llamas – but only found goats.
Azzan & Mahalia were at a bit of a loose end

I have spent any spare time reclining on my bed over the past few days.
Have finished watching the complete series of ‘Kavanagh QC’ and am now totally engrossed in the second series of ‘Downton Abbey‘.

I haven’t had any inclination to actually ‘do’ anything beyond the necessities.
So once the washing and basic cleaning and cooking is under control that’s me done for.
I am sure I will find some momentum soon.
But for now I am being a bit precious about my emotional health.

Dinner was a bbq with salad and new potatoes from Shanni’s garden – most delicious.
I made the best self-saucing chocolate fudge pudding ever.
It was dairy free and I used spelt flour to cater for the various dietary requirements.
It was so incredibly delicious.

Azzan and I had made a cytoplasm from yellow jelly in the morning.
It was set after dinner so he finished the experiment by adding various lollies to represent the different parts of the cell.
Unfortunately the ‘cell membrane’ failed slightly as we inserted the mitochondria, nucleus, golgi bodies etc

so Gavin, who loves jelly, helped to eat some of it

but then the hoards descended and Azzan began to get rather upset at seeing his ‘cell’ getting destroyed faster than he intended!!

Thursday 29th December

The bay is quite grey and murky today.
The rain is beginning to move in.
Very gradually and very gently.
But it is on it’s way.

No swimming, or boating today.
Everyone was a bit tired so a lot of resting was done.

I got dinner and lunch prepared in the morning.
Made a Malayan Fish Dish and Cheesey Baked Potatoes for dinner.
Also made a potato salad, a sausage and tomato casserole & rice for lunch.
Left a monumental pile of dishes which Bri valiantly battled her way through.

Abby helped and then spent time getting Azzan into some extension work about cells.
She was teaching him how to prepare a presentation.

Gavin spent the morning cleaning out the hut and moving into the caravan.
He has opted to make that his new home.

I had a phone lesson with one of our accountants.
Quite funny really.
He is on holiday down in Central but because it is all online we could have a tutorial even though he is not anywhere near his office!
We are changing from BankLink to Xero so have to get my head around setting up a new system.
It should be easier in the longrun.
It is just that I have been using BankLink for so many years now it’s taking a bit to change over and learn the new system.

Jo & Mark came over for a visit with their 4 children.
They have been staying in one of next door’s cottages so it was lovely that they could pop over.
MacKenzie played with Mahalia in the Belville.
Jonathan & Samuel had fun with some of Shanni’s Lego while we chatted.

Then it was time to get dinner turned on.
Abby made a sticky date pudding with caramel sauce.
It was rather delicious

The rain hasn’t come to anything here yet – so we will just have to batten down  the hatches and wait see what the night brings us.

A long hot summery day.

Monday 26th December

I didn’t sleep very well.
Took till after midnight to get to sleep.
Must have put too much coffee in the tiramisu!!
Then I was awake before 3am.
Anson arrived around soon after to get Tim.
The guys were all still at his place and they were very concerned about Nathan.
So Tim & Graham went around to help.

I couldn’t sleep so got up and caught up on emails etc.
Tim returned at 4:30am.
Everything was under control and everyone tucked into bed.
I hopped into the spa with the dvd player and watched the sunrise while watching an episode of ‘Kavanagh QC’.

6:20am and the bay was beginning to lighten.
It was millpond calm.

The sun popped it’s head over the hills at 6:47am.

I was enjoying the quiet peaceful early morning on our deck watching this busy buzzing bumblebee gathering pollen from my roses.

Christian got up at 4:30am and walked to the top of the hill to see the sunrise.
Unfortunately the cloud came in around that time.
But he still got some lovely photos.
He was back in time for breakfast.
Regrettably he had to go back to work in Auckland so spent the morning packing and cleaning out the caravan.

Abby, Annaliese & Shoshannah went out in the dinghy to troll for kahawai.
It was funny watching Abby & Annaliese rowing around in circles
 while they were getting the hang of it
The didn’t get any fish but had fun and were very ready for breakfast when they returned.

The guys were understandably rather reticent about rising after so little sleep so the house was lovely and quiet until quite late.
I started cleaning out my art corner.
It is high time I got myself back in there and as it has been a long time it has gotten very dusty and messy.
I cannot work in a mess.
So the first step is to clean.

Tim topped up the spa water while I was doing the chemicals.
With so much usage I have to be more diligent about keeping that part of it up to scratch.
Of course the hose was forgotten and it was soon flowing over the top so Nick bucketed some out to get the levels right.

Anson & Gavin went out to get the net in.
Then Anson was full speed into packing the truck and loading Christian on board to get him to the airport by 3pm.
They took off at a rate of knots around midday.
He did make the plane, but there was a speeding ticket issued along the way

Abby & Shanni got stuck into cleaning the backdoor area.
Christian helped by decobwebbing  while waiting for Anson.
Shanni with the intention of painting and Abby just cuz she likes clean bathrooms
Annaliese prepared lunch.

I spent a long time on Skype with Jesika later in the morning.
Nick talked with her too.
We had lots of things to talk over so it was great that we both had time.
Sometimes it is really hard being so far apart.
Love you Jesika
It is times like this though that we appreciate the modern conveniences of Skype and cell phones.
It is not really that many years ago in the overall scheme of things that Jesika left home at 16 and traveled for 10 months in South America and we had only occasional contact by fax.
Phone calls were out of the question due to expense and snail mail was slow and often went missing.
Emails were still a thing of the future.
Times sure have changed and the world has become a smaller place.

The day was quite hot so everyone just lazed around or slept for part of the afternoon.
I did some more cleaning around and on my art table after I had my siesta.

Tim was filleting fish at 6:30pm.
The sting rays were waiting for him to feed them.
There was a couple keeping watch for the fish scraps to hit the water.
You can see one in the water just to the right of Shanni & Azzan.

Azzan folded all the washing.
It took a while as his 2 older sisters kept upsetting his equilibrium so he would disappear each time that happen

Mahalia cooked dinner all by herself.
She made pasta with tomatoes.
She did really well – made three different dishes to cater for the gluten and dairy free folk.
I made a salad to add to it and Tim cut some of Nick’s Christmas ham.
A lovely dinner for a hot day.

After dinner the kids decided they needed to go for a swim.
Bri was in first with no hesitation.

The others all milled around debating the temperature of the water!

Next in was Gavin followed by Shanni.
The others eventually all followed and they spent half an hour swimming out to the boat and back.

Half an hour later they all piled into the spa and all the water I had topped it up with in the morning was overflowing!!

Tim and Mahalia disappeared.
I was tired so left everyone to it and headed off to bed around 9pm.
I kept on getting woken up by children and then a phone call for Shanni at 10pm and then Tim coming in a bit later.
He had been out mustering with Hali and then talking with Nathan.
Wasn’t terribly impressed.
It is so hard to go back to sleep once woken from the first sleep of the night.

25th December at our house

I thought today of all days people around here would actually sleep in.
But no!
Anson & Gavin were up with the larks and driving sheep down the hill to the woolshed and waking everyone up!!

Anson has an agenda and nothing will swerve him from it.
Neither Sunday nor Christmas Day.
The work needs to be done so done it gets!

He also manages to fit in fishing and some deck building amongst the work.
The latter two are not considered work to him

It was a clear calm gloriously hot day here.
Everyone – apart from Anson & Gavin – were in holiday mode.
There was sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, fishing and snorkeling all happening throughout the day.

I got up early in the hopes I would be able to get some deserts made before the kitchen was invaded for breakfast.
I didn’t know that the guys were planning an early muster and by the time I got to the kitchen at 7am 4 men were already there

I spent several hours working around breakfasting people, which meant it all took longer than I hoped,
But by 11am I had made tiramisu, a dairy free coconut cream trifle, pavlova, guacamole, hummus, & 3 jellies.
I then made myself a fresh fruit salad and yoghurt for breakfast and left the kitchen clean up to Bri & Azzan while I retreated to the study to eat in peace.

Later on I spotted Bri tackling Mahalia’s hair.
Mahalia hates it being done but had given in to her sister’s whims.

The hair style didn’t last long!
Halia was most unhappy with the ‘babyish’ ponytail topknots Bri had put in and ripped them out immediately.
I managed to convince her to let me do it and tied it back into a half pony tail and she was ok with that.

Graham came down and had lunch with us all.
Then he retreated to his house again to rest up.

I have had a restful afternoon watching Kavanagh QC , whilst keeping cool and relaxing on my bed.
I think I may have done a bit of dozing too as I am sure I missed a few scenes along the way!
Have nearly finished the 4th series.
Am really enjoying them – intriguing stories.

Tonight we all enjoyed a delicious meal at 6pm-ish – minus 3 guys who were out doing more sheep work!
Bri & Abby had brought in pita breads and all the fillings.
It is a great favourite with all of us.
We devoured them along with Tim’s freshly smoked salmon.

Then we had to make room for the desserts.

The errant men arrived in as we finished.
Devoured their dinners and then took off out in the boat with Annaliese for some dusk fishing.

Tim managed to catch Jesika on the phone as she finished work for a chat.
She is working right through the holidays but has a great winter holiday in Italy to look forward to so that makes it a bit easier.
Cat has been sending us gorgeous photos from the top of Mt Footstool where she and Leeann have been today.
Her hands might not be great yet but it is not stopping the rest of her from enjoying the great outdoors.

Tim has tucked Mahalia & Azzan into bed.
Shanni has gone up to watch a movie with Bri & Abby.
Christian has gone to bed in the anticipation of a pre 5am start to his day to get up the top of the hills for breaking dawn photos.
The guys have all gone around to Anson’s for the evening.
Tim & I are about to flop into bed.
It has been a good day

Summertime, And the livin’ is easy…..

Saturday 24th December

Summer seems to have finally arrived.
We have had so much rain lately that it seems almost like summer has happened over night!

Tim took the crew out fishing for the morning.
It was lovely and peaceful back here at home base for a few hours.
They came back with a nice haul of fish.
It is great the cod ban has been lifted,
We can enjoy fresh blue cod again.

Shanni has more wee chicks hatching.
She has a make shift incubator in the house for them.
They are so cute and very funny.

This wee one kept on going to sleep in Tim’s hands.
So funny.

Mother Hen loves her wee chicks.
They are all named too.

The kids went swimming Christian.
The water is apparently around 17.5-18’C.
Quite warm for the beginning of summer.

Bri, Nick, Abby & Annalise arrived just on dinner time.
They left Christchurch quite early but dallied along the way. so arrived later than anticipated.
The younger siblings are very excited to have Bri home

Tim, Anson, and the guys all decided to head up the hill around 6pm and do the stock work that they hadn’t done in the morning due to the fishing trip.
So we didn’t wait dinner and ate at 7pm.
I was well and truly in bed when they arrived back at 9pm and had their late dinners.

Shearing – day 2 – & fun in the biscuit!!

Friday 23rd December

My b-i-l Paul and 2 of his neighbours popped in for a cuppa before breakfast.
They had slept on their boat and were about to head out for a days fishing.

Shanni took a wee break so she could sleep in a bit and do some gardening etc.
Nathan covered for her.

I made beef and relish sandwiches and carrot, pineapple & walnut muffins for morning smoko.
They must have been good cuz none came back!
Anson was shearing all morning so they finished easily at midday.

After lunch Anson did some mustering.
Then he took the troops biscuiting.
Azzan was very proud that he was the only one Anson didn’t manage to tip out.
But, just between you and me, I htink Anson might have been kind to his little bro.
He was far more agressive with Gavin & Shanni

The following photos are off Shanni’s camera.




Anson, Gavin, Christian & Nuana went out fishing later in the afternoon.
I think he has drained the petrol tank now!!
They came back with a tasty amount of grouper for dinner.

Shearing – a pictorial of the day

Shoshannah spent the day working in the shearing shed.
She kindly said I could share her photos.

I love this one of her

Christian taking 3D photos of Caleb

Skip and Franka spent the day in the shed too.

Gavin putting wool in the press

Mt Wool!

Anson & Gavin getting the press ready for another bale.

Loading the press.

Just a few more in the pens to do!