Shearing – Day 1

  Thursday 22nd December

I woke to see Anson & Gavin about to head out fishing around 5:30am.
It was the first I had seen of the new boat.

Back half an hour later with a net full of fish to sort out.

Then playtime was over and they had to check in for work!!

Caleb & Michael arrived at 7am.
The crew all began work at 7:30am.
Anson was organising things but he also took the third stand which got the job done in very good time.
Shanni & Christian were shedhanding and Gavin was pressing.
Tim was busy doing everything else!!

I was full on in the kitchen.
Because Shanni was shedhanding and Mahalia was in recovery from her 12:30am bedtime I was pretty much working alone.
I made cheese toasties for morning smoko and resorted to bought biscuits to add to the menu.
Never in my worst nightmares ever thought I would stoop to such such a thing.
But it was okay – the toasties were delicious and made up for the biscuits!!

I had some fish to cook for lunch so made a tomato fish stew with rice.
Afternoon smoko was savoury scone whirls.
They went down very well too.

It was pretty tough going as I was so bone tired but I made it through the day.
When the brain and body are that tired nothing functions well and everything that you normally do takes way way longer
Lenore & Ross were planning to leave before lunch.
But they didn’t manage to.
Too much to side track Ross from leaving
I thought he was packing but then I heard the weedeater.
He was just doing a spot of last minute tidying up around the place for us!

Because they stayed on longer I was able to have a really good heart to heart chat with Lenore.
Hadn’t been able to before this so was really pleased.
They have been good friends for so long now and we have shared our walks, both rocky and smooth, throughout the years.

Then before afternoon smoko just as they were about to say goodbye…..
the word waterskiing was mentioned!

We rearranged everything and Nathan & Ross took all the shop stock up to Waterfall Bay for me in the boat.
Then Nathan took Ross water skiing.

Mahalia & Azzan spent ages decorating the gingerbread men.
They took so long that I was having to push them along to get finished and get the lunch dishes done so I could make afternoon smoko for the men.
But they did well and had fun doing so.

Ross & Lenore finally left late arvo I think but then broke down and had to stay in Blenheim for the night.
But at least the AA paid for their motel.

We had been waiting for our first guests of the summer to arrive.
10 young German students.
They got a bit mixed up as to where they were going but we finally got them all sorted.
They were coming to The Cottage but because of the rain and delayed shearing I upgraded them to The Lodge.
The sheep make such a noise at night and also a lot of mess and gates that need to be kept closed etc so mixing shearing with tourists is not a good look.
Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt, too many times to have that stress added to the mix.

Caleb & Michael didn’t stay for dinner so that was cool.
Two less to feed.
I had some beef roasting in the slow cooker.

Mahalia is enjoying having quiet time playing in the school room with her Belville Lego.
Lately I am often finding her there when she disappears!

Tim was really weary after a day in the shearing shed.
But Azzan was so keen to go biscuiting and it was such a beautiful calm evening that he mustered up his energies and away they went.

It was quite funny cuz when Tim first pulled away expecting Azzan to be following he didn’t!
Someone hadn’t tied the rope at both ends!!
But that was soon rectified and away they went.

They were away for ages around the corner in Te Kopi and then I saw them zooming back in to the wharf.

One very, very happy young chap

We finally ate very late and fell into bed.

A long, busy, hot day in Nelson

Wednesday 21 December

I was up at 4:30am.
Showered and out the door with Mahalia before 6am.
Tim & Nathan followed soon after.

I met up with Anson & Gavin at 8:30 and Mahalia hopped in with them and headed off to the chiropractor.
I met up with Tim & Nathan at 9am and we spent the following hour at a group appointment.
Then I set off to get through the jobs on my list.
Because of last weeks flooding there was still a lot of damage and main arterial roads closed.
Which combined with pre Christmas traffic meant there was a lot of very slow traffic.

Anson took Mahalia to Sophies for the day after her chiro session.
Then he met Christian at the airport.
He hasn’t been down in ages so it will be lovely to have him home for a few days.

I zipped out to Stoke and got the bulk grocery buying out of the way.
I came back in to the city over the hill as it was a quicker route.
Don’t know why more people weren’t using that road.

I met Tim at the hospital.
He had a cat-scan booked at 1:30pm.
We were there by 1:15 and amazingly enough Tim was down and out the door before 1:30pm!
So now we just have to await the results.

Anson & Tim were hell-bent on getting over to Havelock to buy a boat they had been looking at.
But once again I was the one putting on the breaks!
Not because of the money but because they hadn’t actually thought it through as to how they were going to pay for it!
They seemed to think they were going to pop through, check it out, and pay with their bank cards!!
I was like, I don’t think so guys
So I went to the bank to have a chat with Sarah.
While I was waiting for her I went outside to wait for Tim as he wouldn’t know I was upstairs.
The traffic and parking was crazy.
I spotted Anson circling the carpark.
Then Sarah came outside to find me.
Tim finally drove up and then Anson managed to find a park.
So we ended up having a consultation on the back steps of the bank in the sun.
It was way nicer than being tucked into a wee dim cubicle indoors
We got the money sorted and then I called the insurance.
They hadn’t thought of that either.
I do wonder if they are right about boys frontal lobes meeting in their late teens.
I don’t reckon they meet ever!!!

The guys had done all they had to in town so they headed over the hill to do some serious bloke business.
I was then free to get on with my day.
I had a session with my counsellor and then had a few moments free to go shopping for me before my fringe cut appointment.
I found 2 lovely suntops at Mariposa.
That made me happy

I went to pick up Mahalia.
She was very happy to have had a long day with Sophie.
We had to get groceries so zipped through New World and then Countdown and popped in to The Warehouse.
Found the set of drawers Azzan has been wanting and it was reduced.
Then we got Chinese takeaways and went to visit Phoebe.
It was after 8pm by this time and we were both very weary.
It was nice to just sit and chat in the late arvo sun.
It was the first time since the wedding that we had seen each other so lots to talk about.
Finally pulled ourselves away and left town just before 10pm.
Home at 12:30am.
It was a very long day.

While we were in town Shanni had done some baking, and gardening.
Azzan had made gingerbread men for shearing smokos.
Lenore had made curried sausages for dinner.
Shanni made some dairy free too.

Anson & Gavin drove the new boat in from Havelock.
Tim & Christian towed the trailer.
Nathan drove Anson’s truck home.

By the time Tim got back Anson & Gavin had arrived home and already been out fishing.
Then gone up the hill with Shanni, Ross & Azzan to muster sheep.
So they all had a 9pm dinner too.

Nothing like packing as much into the daylight hours as possible eh?

17 – 20 December

Saturday17th December

Shanni is having problems with her eyes again.
It is so hard because there is not a lot I can do.
We are putting in the TheraTears but they are not working too well.
Have had to resort to her steroid drops once this week.
It seems to be aggravated when the fires are going indoors.
And as we have had a cold southerly come through we had to light them for a few days.

She has been busy in the garden.
When her eyes are bad she has to wear sunglasses as she gets so photosensitive.
But for some reason being outdoors makes it easier for her.

There was the most gorgeous sky that night.

The children were getting ready for bed when Anson text me to say ‘Lord of the Dance’ was on TV.
I wasn’t going to worry too much about telling Azzan as it was late.
But then Anson rang to say it was really good.
I figured if Anson thought it was good then Azzan would think it was amazing.
So I called out to him.
He thought he was in trouble because he was mucking about as usual and not getting into bed.
So he hid!!
Once he heard he wasn’t in trouble he got his jandals and a jacket on and was out the door and literally flew around the track.
It was dusk but he wasn’t worried.
He loved it and was so happy that he got to stay at Anson’s for the night too.

Sunday 18th December

Anson & Gavin were away early to go shearing at St Lawrence.
Azzan turned up for breakfast a very happy wee chappy.
Nothing like a night out with your big bro is there 

I got quite a fright when I check Facebook and found a status update from Sunni which read
‘Waiting at the hospital with Mat’s blood on my jacket. Not where I expected to be at 4am this morning.’
Needless to say I was extremely concerned so after waiting till I thought it was an acceptable hour of the day I called her up.
It turned out that they had been out socialising and at about 2:30am Mat (boys will be boys I guess) decided to take a ride down the bannister.
But he didn’t make it as far as sliding he basically just went flipped straight over the top and fell 2 stories down the stairwell and landed on a marble floor.
He gashed his head and knocked himself out.
Miraculously though he survived the fall with only a badly munted wrist/arm.
He is now sporting heaps of screws etc at elbow and wrist.
So for the next 2-3 months he will be in traction.
Not quite the way they anticipated spending their holidays but we are all just very thankful he is alive and not severely damaged.

Cat’s 29th birthday today.
She celebrated it down at Mt Cook.
It’s always a bit sad when we don’t get to help celebrate one of the children’s birthdays.
But she was in a place she loves doing stuff she loves so all is good
I love this photo she sent me last week after one of her thar hunts.

Shanni brought me this lovely wee rosebud.
So pretty and perfect.

Monday 19th December

The bud is opening.
It just gets prettier every minute.

I got a burst of energy and made 5 batches of dairy free flapjack slice.
Used up 2 boxes of cornflakes!
So that should keep the guys happy for a wee while.
Good to have the reserves in the freezer and back up for Gavin if I get caught short.

We had fellowship with Ross & Lenore.
Then just a leisurely lazy day.
Shanni went up the hill with Anson in the evening and helped him draft and wean the lambs from the ewes.
Tim, Gavin & Ross went up later to help and do other fix-it stuff.

Tuesday 20th December

Shanni made some gluten free bred.
She was very proud of her wonderful loaf.

She and Mahalia had a cleaning frenzy cleaned up the house.
Shanni has got a lot of veges coming along nicely in the garden.
She also has chickens hatching.
One is living in the house with her and whenever out of his incubator box she made for him, follows her around like she is it’s mother.
I am terrified it is going to get stood on so am always making sure she has it off the floor!
One thing though.
For something so incredibly tiny – it makes a heck of a lot of loud and continual noise!!

Anson & Gavin headed off to work for the morning at Waikawa Bay and then headed out to Nelson in the arvo.
I was trying to get organised but somehow it took me till around 11pm to fall into bed.
As I set the alarm clock I resigned myself to another short night.

A rather wet week.

Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th December

Spent the days unpacking and washing and catching up with all the mail etc in the study.
Azzan brought this wonderful harvest of grapefruit in to show me.

Shanni’s chickens have been hatching.
They are very cute.
Unfortunately we only have 1 left from the 3.
Tim caught Mo with the yellow one in his mouth.
And the other yellow one didn’t survive it’s first night.

I discovered that Mahalia had hurt her shoulder quite badly at gymnastics.
There was really nothing to do over the weekend so we found her sling from her previous injury (sigh) and that helped to make her more comfortable.

Monday 12th December

I had promised the children that we would get started on our academic work.
So come Monday that’s exactly what we did.
We are beginning a science book called Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy & Physiology.
The children are really enjoying it.
We are working through that together.
Plus they are getting some maths done as well.
Shanni is happily carrying on with her Math-U-See but I have started Mahalia & Azzan on some new math books I found in town recently.
I let them decide which level they felt happy starting at and they have both chosen the same.
It is Start Right Mathematics and Mahalia is loving it.
Azzan began his book a few days later as I had to get to get Anson to change the level I had bought for him.

The rain began creeping in on Monday.
Two English girls arrived to stay for a couple of nights.
Sophie & Deborah had met up with Cyrus & Naomi and they had rung ahead to ask if they could come visit.
The girls arrived at dinner time so joined us.

Tuesday 13th December

We spent another morning on our anatomy project.
It is great to get comments from Shanni as to how much she is enjoying it.
Lovely to have positive pupils

The rain was setting in.
The reports from Nelson were for some very heavy rainfalls over night so Anson decided to head out in the afternoon as all the sheep were wet and he couldn’t work.
He took Gavin & Mahalia with him.
She was delighted cuz she was going to stay with Lily for the night.
Mahalia & Anson had appointments with the chiropractor the next morning.

Ross & Lenore arrived later in the arvo.
They had brought in the ice creams for our summer shop supply.
Glen had come over in the dinghy to visit…

He went fishing until they arrived and then took them to the shop for me.
So all of you out there – we now have a great supply of ice creams at the shop.
Not a lot else in stock yet but I will deal with that next week!!

Wednesday 14th December

Because Mahalia was away we didn’t do any unit study.
Azzan decided to rummage in the science books.
Found a Backyard Science in the kitchen book and got very excited about making some gloop.
Needless to say, in his excited frenzy he turned my kitchen green

Nathan had to drive to Nelson for an early appointment on Thursday.
I was quite concerned about the roads as the rain was worse and the flooding reports were sounding bad.
So we got him on the road on Wednesday afternoon.
He got to town safely.
Due to the flooding in Nelson Anson decided to stay another night.

Deborah & Sophie needed to leave as they had a ferry to catch the next morning.
Tim & Ross towed them up the hill.
Thankfully they left when they did as the conditions got way worse.

Shanni’s one remaining chicken is living indoors.
It follows her around like she is it’s mother.
It’s cheeping drives me mental.
For a bird so tiny it makes an incredibly loud incessant noise!!!
But it is undeniably cute
At the moment!!

Thursday 15th December

Anson & co made it home by early arvo.
So glad the did because so many slips came down.

Mahalia went to the chiropractor.
He then sent her to have an ultrasound on her shoulder.
Then it was back to the chiro.
She appears to have torn a ligament in the front of her shoulder.
It seems that the damage caused from being hit by the car in Jan 09, then the impact from the broken arms left an ‘accident waiting to happen’ in her shoulder area.
Lots of heatpacks over the next months and she should heal in 6-12 weeks.
I think we will have to wrap this girl up for a while!!!

Anson got his back sorted out while there – he has a ‘shearer’s back’ and several vertebrae were out of kilter so good he is getting it dealt with.

Nathan had to stay in town for another night with Seb & Phoebe as he couldn’t get through.
Sebastian had to leave his car at Hira and hitch a ride on a large truck to get home that night.
The mess around Nelson and Golden Bay is horrendous.
They are saying it is a one in a 100 years flood.
A state of emergency was declared throughout the region.
It is going to be incredibly hard for the businesses caught at present right on the eve of the Christmas New Year tourist season.

Friday 16th December

It stopped raining.
We never got as much rain as they did in the western regions.
It was heavy for us but a good heavy.
The farm is very appreciative of all the excess moisture as we head into summer.
But the tales of devastation from west of us keep coming in.
I feel so sad for the folk that have been affected.
Our neighbour’s daughter and her family have lost their house.
Other folk are stranded on wrong sides of large slips and cannot get out for probably weeks.

Mahalia’s pet lamb died.
She was very upset.
She was also very tired.
Once she had cried on her Daddy’s shoulder and he buried it for her she was okay.

The mailboat came today.
We have an new owner/driver

Tim & I have had some very emotionally traumatic stuff to deal with this week.
I am not coping at all well with it.
Thankfully Tim is taking the helm and dealing with everything.
I have only managed to do what I have had to.
Once school is done and the meals are organised I have spent a lot of my time in bed.
It is a safe place for me.
I can hide and protect myself from everything.
I need to be able to do this right now
I have waded through the complete first series of Downton Abbey (thanks so much Alex for sending it over to me) and am now engrossed in Kavanagh QC.

2 days in Nelson

Thursday 8th December

We had to pack up and leave early to get to Nelson in time for a 9am appointment.
We were now spread out in two vehicles.
Tim & Nathan went off in one and I took the kids in the other.
I dropped the 3 of them off at the Winnington’s for a couple of hours and then met the guys for the appointment.
That was the first hour of the day done.
From there Tim dropped Nathan at The Wood and we met up at the bank.
Then Tim popped up to get the kids and take them to music.
I had things to do and then headed off to my counseling appointment.
Got hot potatoes for lunch and met up with the troops.
We ate while talking to Victoria & Chrissy as we waited for violin to finish.
Then I took Shanni to her appointment while Tim dropped Nathan & Azzan at the library and Mahalia at gymnastics.
Shanni walked on to send the arvo with Katherine while Tim & I met up and spent an hour talking over some major stuff with Stacey.
I was a bit of an emotional mess afterwards.
My life seems to be quite a roller coast at present.
When I am up and not thinking about stuff I am okay but the slightest thing tips me over the edge.
Nathan had walked Azzan to ballet so I whizzed down to pick him up while Tim headed off to do some other things.
We met up a lot later.
Azzan decided he really wanted to take part in the end of year violin recital the next night so that meant I had him in town with me for the night as well as Shoshannah.
Tim took Nathan & Mahalia home.
Then the rest of us had dinner at PlanB before heading out to Alan & Eare’s for the night.

Friday 9th December

Azzan slept with me all night so I really didn’t get a lot of sleep.
I got up quite early.
Rang Vodafone to see why my vodem broadband wasn’t working.
Turns out the account hadn’t been paid.
When I cancelled my visa card a month or so back due to being caught in an internet scam I had forgotten to notify them of the updated card number.
Got that sorted and I was back online again.
Shanni & I left Azzan to sleep in and headed off into town quite early.

She had a Drs appointment.
We both had to go have blood tests after that.
She wasn’t terribly happy about that idea so I made sure we had a good phlebotomist and had the tests done together.
After having blood tests done almost monthly for the past 8-10 years I know that getting a rough job done is no fun, especially for her when she was antsi the idea of needles!
It went well and she hardly felt a thing
It appears that her dizziness is probably caused by low blood pressure – just like her mother!
But checking iron etc as well to make sure.

We then went to Yaza Cafe for breakfast.
Nuana brought Azzan into town and they joined us there.
Shanni had shopping she wanted to do so she went off to the library first and then did some browsing before meeting up with Katherine.
I took Azzan and headed out to Richmond to see Ross.
We had quite a good chat about computers and updating mine etc.
Plans afoot

Zipped back into the city, met up with the girls.
Then took Azzan to the library.
He had been hanging out all day to go.
While he was happy in his paradise I met up with Seb outside and we had a really good chat for an hour or so.
Finally had to go drag Zani out and head off as the day was disappearing.
Flew through the supermarket and arrived at School of Music feeling somewhat streetworn.
I really hadn’t stopped all day!

We had an enjoyable evening.
Margaret & Fleur had most of their pupils there.
It was very informal.

The children all played in groups.
You can view 3 of the videos I took of Azzan playing with the younger group.
Azzan at his first violin recital
Azzan’s first violin recital
Azzan’s violin recital
It was a great idea of the teachers to have them playing in the groups instead of individually – made it much easier to listen to

After the children had finished playing Margaret got all the parents up to entertain the kids.
We had no idea what she had in mind.
She taught us a fun round called ‘We can do the handjive’
She separated the men & woman and we took two parts.
It was lots of fun.
Azzan still laughs about it as he sings it now.

We had all contributed towards a supper so after the music we socialised over the food and drink.
Then it was time to head home.
We arrived back around 11:30pm.

West Coast to Motupiko

Wednesday 6th December

We took Hwy 6 and headed off through the Buller Gorge.
There had been quite a lot of rain the week before so the river was quite big and muddy.

At several places where side rivers joined the Buller it was really fascinating to see how the clear water was not mixing with the muddy easily.

There are two very narrow spots along the gorge.
One has lights now.
The other is Hawks Crag.
No lights.
Just extreme caution.

The river swirls mighty close here.
I was freaking out a tad when Tim kept pulling over to the side for photo stops.
It always seemed he was coming in too fast and too close to the edge!

Looking back as a camper van drives under Hawks Crag.
Not a lot of spare room there!

We were on the lookout for an iron bridge as that was where we knew the 4WD track from Denniston comes out.
We are planning to do this trip next year hopefully and Tim wanted to case the joint at this end.

There was lush dairy pasture & curious cows as we navigated out way along the narrow back roads.

Once we had gone as far as the locked gate would allow we headed back to the main road.
The just a few minutes away we came to Lyall.
It was also a thriving ‘town’ many years ago.
This photo shows what was there in the 1870’s.

And now!

We made ourselves some lunch.
Filling buns with our own choices of ingredients.

Azzan always focuses in more closely on the food

The sandflies all of a sudden discovered us and swarmed with absolute ferocity.
My legs were black.
We packed up in a massive hurry and headed off with all windows and fans blowing to get rid of the wee blighters.
Horrid critters

The kids were happily occupied in the backseats doing their own things.
Azzan was plugged into either a movie or his iPod.
Nathan was plugged into his phone music.
The girls were making friendship bracelets.

We arrived at Motupiko around 4pm I think.
We were all very glad to get out of the Safari.
Philipa had a delicious meal ready for us all.
Azzan got close to it again before we did serious damage.

The children enjoyed hooning around outdoors as it was such a lovely evening.

Azzan & Jake played with the young lab pup.
They and Mahalia expended lots of energy on the see-saw and trampoline.
Nathan & Nick did big guy stuff.
The cats did their level best to have Tinga for dinner.
I found his cage knocked off the dresser and on the floor before I went to bed.
Shanni hadn’t even stirred when it happened.
So I figured it was less stressful and more advantageous to his health if I took him into our room and shut the door!!

Phillipa, Pat, Tim & I socialised in to the very late hours.
It has been quite a while so we had a lot of catching up to do.
It was very pleasant

Leaving the West Coast

Wednesday 7th December 2011

We cleaned up our cabins etc, packed up the Safari.
Squeezed ourselves in and headed off after breakfast.

Graeme had told us of a walk nearby so we popped down to the coast and went for a wander.
Charleston has quite a history.
Well worth reading this page as it is incredible to think that 140 years ago –
in 1866-1870 there was a population of around 14,000 living here.
The Charleston gold rush was the biggest on the West Coast.
And at it’s peak the town contained seventy-two hotels, two breweries, three schools, one hospital, three banks, several churches, a courthouse, dance-halls, and the scattered homes of the diggers.

This is Constant Bay now.

Today it is a quiet backwater with a few houses, a motor camp, a small tourist company and a town hall/community centre.
Even the one hotel has closed.

But it is a very beautiful place.

I like Azzan’s photos – he brings in a fresh perspective

I found this on his camera too.
After a moment of puzzling, Tim thinks some local fishermen have concreted in their fishing rod holders!

My budding National Geographic photographer 

It was really lovely exploring and watching the waves breaking over the rocks.
We spotted a small seal playing in the waves.
It was a delightful walk.

Mahalia & I were quite close to the breaking waves and had to hop back in a hurry.
The coast can be treacherous with rogue waves, so not a place to get too close to the edges.

Tim & Nathan watched from afar.

There is something peaceful and restorative in watching the turbulence of nature.

Shanni enjoying the majesty of the moment.

Small beauty amidst the large.

And a bizarre wee tree – grown and died in the crevice of the rocks.

We left Constant Bay and headed north, only to side track along Beach Road to explore more new territory.
This time the road took us to another area of coast and past a lot of farm land.
Mahalia decided she would really love to live here.
The vast sandy beaches were very appealing.

We were amused to see someone innovatingly using the stream to power a generator.