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Friday, January 19, 2018

Mid summer swims and butterflies

Beach weather.

At Worser Bay last weekend. Even Mish got in.

Snorkled around the rocks - some lovely green lipped mussels hanging out.

At Lyall Bay today. Didn't even need the wetsuit. Baby waves but nice for an actual swim. Large pod of dolphins smashing fish across the bay for hours, leaping out of the water and chasing them around. Most engaging.

Looking into Cook Strait from my comfortable and uncrowded spot on the sand -  interislander ferry heading to Picton in the distance. This is like being on holiday!

Meanwhile in Newlands, they're baaaaaaaaaaaack!!

Monarch caterpillars munching away on last year's swan plants. Plenty of leaf action here so bro Cliff and kids brought some of their caterpillars over when they ran out of leaves. Hope we have better luck than last year: total flutter byes from lots of caterpillars and cocoons = zero.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Paella lunch and the end of the planter box works

The day before most of us went back to work, January 8, we made a paella and had a family lunch here. Mmmm.

Mum, Mark, Cliff, Colton and Mia lounging.

And extra lounging; Christmas can sure take it out of you.

But, before lunch, the boys helped us move a pohutakawa in a wine barrel down to the bottom of the yard where Mish had prepared a nice deep hole. Here's the finished planter box behind, pre plants. That'll be jasmine we have managed to layer over a few months, up in the veg garden. We have roots, lovely - free plants. And some sweet peas Mish has ordered online - special ones, of course.

We are about to have a doozey argument putting tree into hole...oh well. I'm  'just do it' and Mish is 'do it slowly and properly'. Anyway, it's in and it'll love it there and it looks great!

Since then it has been raining on and off the whole time. Which is brilliant as we have been pretty dry. Most of NZ is in drought and it is raining all over - too much in some places of course - so we could be coming right.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Happy new year, friends!

We've had some great summer weather over the Christmas new year break.  So nice as we got ripped off last summer (what summer?). Two weeks off work in warm/hot days with a cool afternoon breeze. 

Had a delightful snorkle at Island Bay marine reserve a few days ago and shot away with the Olympus Tough. Water still pretty cold though, about 15 degrees, so despite my brilliant 4/3 wetsuit  stayed in only about 20 minutes. Hands and feet went numb. Goggles fogged too so didn't see much except the coast's luscious seaweed garden. But loved it. There's a dive shop close by and they hire  #7 wetsuits so have talked Mish into coming out soon for a snorkle. 

And some dude going by without a  wetsuit on, too tough.

Mish on another day at Island Bay (with island). Great place for evening fish and chips.

On the other side of the harbour,  we had a paddle at Eastbourne. 
Looking to the east over to the city.

  Such a warm day; getting a free hot rock treatment. Aaaah.

And later, a coffee at a new container cafe at the Seaview Marina. Bright idea, right on the water, with boats pulling up outside.

Mish has also been working on the bottom of the yard building a long planter box with scavenged materials and left over roofing bits. This is looking up the yard; new house site on the left. Mish sweet talked the digger guy to give us a few buckets of topsoil, and he gave us enough to fill the planter box - excellent! New owners happy, they had to pay to dump truckloads of soil to clear the site.

We've started to shovel the soil in, SO much easier on  middle aged woman than bringing it down our steps in wheelbarrows from the driveway.

In the next photo, two gates are in place, wired to concreted posts. Long gate to come, on their right. The plan is to grow jasmine climbers all over the gates so we have a fragrant green wall between us and our two adjacent neighbours at the bottom.

Mish doing her usual 'stare and think' design process - this can go on for some time, but the results are usually good.

All we wanted was some rain to make the summer break perfect and the ground less cracked, and good rain has arrived. It's been very dry over the whole country. Ripper of a storm has blown over from Queensland and hit the north and south of us so sea has been raging with whitecaps in the harbour and a king tide today.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas eve eve

And what a stunning day it was. High 20s with a breeze, perfect.

Cycled out to the bottom of the island from where the road ends at Eastbourne. Lots of people diving (for Christmas lunch probably). Bit of snow left on the Kaikouras in the South Island.

We have a new walking track near us, so checked it out last week. It overlooks the harbour and has a bush walk as part of it. Very dry all over town at the moment but the ponga ferns are hanging in there. We've had stuff all rain for months now.

Looking east to Petone. The beach where the first English settlers landed. I cycled to work one day last week and got half the beach in my right ear - blazing southerly that day. 

And below us is the other end of Newlands. The posh end, with the street below actually called Dress Circle, and harbour entrance and airport on horizon.

And blooming pohutakawa all over the hills of Wellington. New Zealand's Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Opening night at the exhibition

The Toi Poneke annual sale of works made by resident artists (that's Mishy, shown here with felt clivea and two experimental rust/cloth/felt/leaf works).

And Crumpled Sky, which she sold. 

Ta dah!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

End of the weekend

A bit of calm Sunday sunset watering in the vegie garden. Second harvest of broad beans yesterday, another coming on fast. Amazing plants given some of them got bent double in  a big wind a few weeks ago and the stems are squished - but the beans are still growing. Tough as.

Thin low mist has turned into thick cloud sitting in a band below us now. Can't see city or harbour but I think it's dissipating at 9pm.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

20 years today

That's us, it's our 20th anniversary today.

Looking back.

1997, Christmas - Wellington Botanic Gardens. No glasses and four grey hairs, all mine.

2008, Mischa's birthday at Kiama. Glasses have arrived. Mischa's blond moment and my red moment.

2017, Mischa's birthday and the anniversary month - Queenstown. Mish now has four grey hairs but this is a rare shot without her glasses. Getting wrinkly!

Mish made me a weedy sea dragon  as an anniversary present - now hanging in the living room. 
It's fabulous, darling.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Weekend in snowy Queenstown

We flew down for four days last weekend and it was fabulous. Hired a car, walked around town - everything open until about 9, it sure is a tourist town. Rode the gondola and that was the most adventurous sporty thing we did.

Walking around town.

View from the top of the gondola, looking down at Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.

On the way up - a family of goats lounging.

The Remarkables  across Lake Wakatipu from shopping area.

Drove out to Arrowtown and Lake Wanaka, very scenic. It is late spring but the Remarkables and the Crown Range and the Southern Alps have loads of snow.

Lake Wanaka, with kite surfers.

Drove out to Glenorchy too, nice little town not much happening, but talk about scenic drive out there, phew. Lots of photo stops. Very Scotland-like, driving into the mountains.

Mish with beech leaves.

Glenorchy is the gateway to tramping tracks, including the Routeburn Track. We drove out to the track, through lamb-laden paddocks along a narrow unsealed road, and walked the first part of the Routeburn in light drizzle. Mossy beech forest - it was cold and lovely.

Gotta get that macro...

Here's one.

So we had a great few days down there. It snowed on our last night and we woke up to a white view. Much wearing of beanies!

Leaving town, great views of the alps and lakes.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

New roof view on a windy day

Mish went up as the roofers were finishing and shot this noisy windy video in a 360 pan, from the eastern native bush hills, past the harbour and city, and western paddocks.

Work begins to prettify the bottom of the yard

And about time!

For six years it's been a dog's breakfast of dumped materials, weeds, rock hard soil, two trees that struggle, and the compost, which has actually done reasonably well and finally has good old worms.

So the rejuvenation is on.

Here's the starting point, compost on right. Our plan is to shift it over to the left. The major work though is a wood/metal trellis along the boundary fence, over which we'll grow jasmine and whatever will handle low sun and wind. At the moment it's quite a nice area down here, good sun and reasonably sheltered, but there's a house going up at our back which will stuff that up a bit.

Next photo - we scored a long metal gate which will get attached to the posts. There's the vacant block, but it's sold and the plans are in. We want to block that view.

Next photo - post hole digging, concrete mixing, and posts start to go in. Much levelling and pondering the design, as you can imagine.

Compost is on the way over (much shovelling). It's bigger, better built with defined sections, and will be better rain proofed. Still made with pallets - they are so useful. And the back is still the heavy spud ugly sliding door that was in the main bedroom when we bought the house. Much better in use as a compost back. Swan plants in foreground,. We're hoping we have better luck with the monarch butterflies this year and they should be laying eggs pretty soon.

That's as far as we've got.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

More gabions!

Cause you can't have too many. Especially when you have rubble. So, our chimney came down in the roof works, and we thought, we'll keep that and build four rubble filled gabions lining the bottom of the driveway.

It took the roofers about four hours to knock it down, and then they stacked it beautifully for us at the top of the drive. There it is in a photo in the previous post. Chimney stays onsite and we have repurposed it. Today we shifted all the rubble to the bottom of the drive.

We bought the wire cages this time, much easier. Twisted wire around them and voila, four wire cages - gabions.

Yesterday we did two.  We were minding Rusty the dog after a cruciate ligament op, so he had to stay quietly in the van beside us.

We had to dig out a bit of dirt, good soil too, and barrow it up the driveway and down the steps at the back. What with that and the rubble shifting, two sore backs. Ow and ow.

And today we did the other two.

Done and dusted and ready for a gin and tonic.

It's been a lovely couple of days to work outside, and go the Naprogesic is all I can say right now. We'll sleep well tonight.