Saturday, 29 August 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nothing exciting going on here.  Still gathering brush and filling the pits for maybe one more fire.  Spent several afternoons weeding the garden beds and around some of the perimeter trees that were planted last year (pictures will be posted at a later date).  Weather has been cold and rainy with lots of wind out of the south.

So here are a few pictures, mostly to update Terry, of things he worked on last year.

This is the last fire we had.  The pit was the first one that Terry dug last year, on the north side of the property. 

Willie and Annmarie, neighbors from across the road, came over to have the obligatory Kiwi drink with Mike, and to watch the fire.  I think they were sipping whiskey.

Last year Terry and I spent several days splitting and stacking wood on the north side of the garden area.  We did not get it all split, maybe half, but Mike finished it off and here it is waiting to go into the wood shed.

But, as you can see, the wood shed is full, with more waiting to be stacked.

And here is another pile of logs waiting to be cut and split.  And there is another pile behind the garden that I did not get a picture of.  So needless to say, there is plenty of firewood!

Heather has completed the baby blanket, really a floor covering, she was working on last year.  It is unique!

Each 'bubble' is knitted separately. . . 

and then they are all stitched together by hand.  There are about 275 bubbles.

Heather collects different editions of "Lord of the Rings" as well as many
science fiction and fantasy authors.  Mike built her a bookcase for her collection that covers one entire wall of the living room.  But, she is running out of space!!

The boxes at the bottom and the left have more books in them.

Here are a pair of Paradise Shelducks that visit the property on occasion.  

We have a herd of cattle in the paddock behind the Wee Mansion and across the road are sheep and lambs, goats, and alpacas.  Don't have pictures of those yet, but will get some and post them, along withe the perimeter trees,  when the weather gets drier.

Sunsets have been nice but not spectacular.  In this picture, facing east, what looks like a mountain between the trees is actually a bank of storm clouds.   When the clouds are not there, we do get a peek of snowy mountain tops.

And turning immediately to the west, is the moon rising.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, 8 August 2015

August 9, 2015

Yesterday I spent some time pulling weeds in the garden.   Weeds grow like crazy during the fall and winter which take a great toll on the garden.  When I started working it was in pretty bad shape.

But after about three hours, I had made some headway.  

The bed on the far right is the artichoke bed and that is now cleared of weeds.  The next bed over usually has peas and carrots.  I did about half that bed but then had to quit.  My fingers were very VERY cold, and my back had had enough!!  But there is so much more to do, so as long as it's not raining, I'll tough out the cold and get the garden in shape for planting.

This morning, Mike decided that since rain was expected for the afternoon, and the wind was calm, we could go ahead and burn one of the piles of brush.  He chose the one on the north side of the property next to the driveway.  Last year Terry had dug an enormous pit out there and Mike had filled it with brush. The pits are 10-12 feet across and 8-10 feet deep, and Mike piles the brush up to
 8-10 feet above the rim of the pit.  Here is what the piles look like before we start to burn.

Then Mike sets it on fire.

And after two hours it's gone.

It will smolder and smoke for several weeks before it goes out completely.

But before it was completely burned, we had a rain and sleet storm blow in from the south.  I got a picture of it coming.

It rained and sleeted for about 30 minutes and then the clouds cleared and the sun came out.  About 2 hours later another storm blew through, again rain and sleet for 30 minutes.  But it stayed cloudy and more rain is predicted for tonight.

Heather is making pizza for dinner!  Yeah!!  I love her home made pizza.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Arrived in New Zealand yesterday after the 12 hour flight from LA to Auckland and then the short hop to Christchurch.  Heather and Mike met me at the airport and we went immediately to get a cup of my favorite coffee, Vivace Espresso, which is actually based in Seattle.  But for some reason, it just tastes better in New Zealand!

Because of the 19 hour time difference between California and Christchurch, I was up bright and early this morning at 6:45.  The sun was coming up and I got this picture of the sunrise just before it completely faded out.

Hopefully better sunrises will be forthcoming, but I usually find that sunsets are much better.  Here is one from a previous visit.

Terry asked me for pictures of the property so he could see what had changed since he was here last year.  The biggest change is that the dairy company that bought the paddock behind the Wee mansion has just cut down the shelter belt along the west side of the paddock.  The trees below in the background, beyond the ones that are falling over, were the trees that made up that shelter belt.

Here is what it looks like now.

The trees were not on Heather and Mike's property, but they did provide some shelter from the winds out of the west, and now they are gone.

There are still many piles of brush to be burned and we will probably be doing that next week.  I'll take pictures and post them then.