Wednesday, 31 December 2014


New Year's Eve and I was pulling an acre of Californian Thistles. I now have the technique, but my hands are suffering for it. They are used to more delicate work, like sewing quilts.

This weekend our neighbour will spray the paddock for us. We don't like to use chemicals at all on our property, which gives us a lot of extra work in a lot of areas. But when it comes to thistles, there isn't a lot of choice.

Randomly I came across this beautiful Scottish Art Deco poster of the celtic variety. They look so beautiful......

New Year, new challenges new blessings

Who knows what 2015 will hold? For myself, I hope it holds more faith, love and hope, and fewer wars, acts of terror, natural calamities and air crashes!

Our New Year was marked by Mr Tabby bringing us a live bird at 4am. Said bird was retrieved and released onto a wet and rainy verandah. I didn't think it would survive and fly off, but I was happy to see it wasn't there this morning.

Wishing you a wonderful 2015. Some of us are "sorted" already! Otto's New Year gift to himself was a box.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Self fulfilling prophecy

When I named our home, it was because of family links with a village by the same name in N. Yorkshire. At the time, rabbits were far from my thoughts.

Well, it would seem that word has got round the rabbit fraternity, because they are making themselves very at home on our property.

This morning these youngsters were very helpfully grazing on the weeds at the centre of the driveway. I wonder if we could encourage them onto the payroll? The poor quality of the photographs are due to camera shake on such a long telephoto shot via our office window.

Needless to say, our three feline "hunters" were still in the land of Nod when Flopsy and Mopsy appeared. The walk in wardrobe is the current boudoir of choice due to the cool breeze from the bathroom window.

With warm greetings from Coneysthorpe in the county of Watership Down.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Wishing you all blessings at this time of year

In the midst of the mayhem of the Christmas season, I wish you the peaceful presence of the Most High, leading you beside still waters.

The Kuku stream at the bottom of our road.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Paddock Diary 7

We have some interesting occupants of the paddock. I am told they are known as "dorpers" or self shedding sheep. When they arrived from the farmer next door, I thought a drunk shearer had had a go at them, as their fleece was hanging off in strange places. Some even sported mullets. It appears they are able to rub off the fleece themselves. Here is evidence - the paddock gleanings. Oh, and the feather didn't belong to them, in case you were wondering.

Friday, 12 December 2014

How to embarrass a donkey

.......dress it up as a reindeer and take it for an outing to a Christmas Fair

Te Horo Christmas Market, today.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Our "local"

Five minutes drive away, down State Highway 1 is the Quarter Acre Cafe. We had a meal there on Friday evening with 22 colleagues from my husband's workplace. The food was worthy of an award it was SO good. This cafe is also our local "coffee stop", and we enjoy its peaceful garden at least once a week. Yesterday I took my camera.

The sparrow was hopping around gathering bits for a nest, when he wasn't stealing crumbs close by one of the tables.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Ditch posies

We were driving from one of our neighbours two days ago and I shrieked with delight when I looked out of the car window.

The ditch leading from their property was full of clumps of hearts ease. Hundreds and hundreds and all different colours. I have just scrambled in the ditch to take these photos.

Friday, 28 November 2014

The other bit of my life

Yesterday I spent some time with this lovely gent, The Rev Bob Peters. He is the Chaplain at the Missions to Seafarers in Wellington Harbour.

If you are not familiar with the work this organisation does, it really is amazing. They give pastoral and practical help to seamen in the port. Most seafarers are not paid much, often have massive issues due to being away from home 10 months of the year, and it is really great for them to have somewhere comfortable and friendly to go when they have very little shore leave, or money.

Bob does a heap of stuff for "his men", including giving couselling, feeding them, free wifi a small shop and cafe within his building. He even provides them with free warm wooly hats, knitted by folk in Wellington. So many of the fishing vessels work the Southern Ocean and many of the men don't have good protective clothing on board. So the beanie hats fly out of the door!

He was telling me that sometimes he gets visits from passengers on the big cruise ships. When they know there is a priest close by, those with problems often seek out him and his Catholic counterpart.

If you are thinking of donating money to any charity as a "thank you for life" this holiday season (Christmas / Channukah etc), the Missions to Seafarers really is a good lot. Thanks. They'll be taking care of those without families to share the holidays with.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

One man and his cats went to mow a meadow

Our cats like to take us for walks in the evening. This evening "the boys" headed off to the paddock. In fact Ruppin was quite insistent.

Of course Gingers prefer to "observe"

Then Tree Cat decides to show off in the cherry tree

Far North

I recently attended some meetings in the north of NZ and had a very brief opportunity to take some photos close to where the meetings were held. Just as a change from Coneysthorpe pictures, here is a place to the north of Auckland called Omaha Beach

Monday, 17 November 2014

Paddock Diary 6

This evening I had a wander around the paddock, as the calves are grazing next door at the moment with their mums. It has been a very blustery day and thunder clouds threaten. I had just started down the hill when I heard my husband calling me. "I've got a bird here. Cumin brought it and dropped it in this box". The poor wee thing had most likely blown out of the nest and she had picked it up. It was a fledgling, with almost full wings and lots of feathery down. Undamaged, except we had no idea where he had come from, so no hope of returning him to the fast food restaurant of the nest.

Without feeding he would die, so I've done something risky, and deposited him in the 5* Post Box Nest with Mrs Industrious mother Starling. I'll check on him tomorrow. She will have either adopted and fed him or he will have keeled over with the shock of it all. I hope the former.

Post Script.

I just checked on the Starling's nest and there is no sight of the wee green bird. He wasn't lying on the floor at the bottom of the Post Box either, so he must have recovered enough to fly out of the nest. Phew

Saturday, 15 November 2014


A confession, I bought more fabric today. There was a 1960s and 1970s inspired fabric sale at the Dowse Museum, in conjunction with an exhibition of 1970s fashion. I dragged my poor husband along; he is long suffering and sweet. We met up with a sister and brother in law who live close by, so it was a very nice diversion to chat and catch up in the coffee shop. Here is my plunder from the last two Fabricabrac markets. I feel a quilt in my bones with the first photo. The lilac fabric I am pondering. Perhaps something for the Provence coloured guest room?

Friday, 14 November 2014

The early bird

There are many advantages of getting up early. This morning I was grabbing a quick cup of tea at 6am, when I spotted our local cock pheasant ambling around near the paddock gate. I had to take the photo quickly through the kitchen window, but here is Ferdinand in all of his magnificence.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Random wildlife

Madam Josephine Starling is "in" and receiving visitors, her progeny however are grounded, somewhere at the back of the rumpus room.

Meanwhile, our middle "child" punished us for going away last weekend. Within an hour of us arriving home, she decided to get stuck and howl from the top of the laundry post. Various options were provided for her to descend (the wheelie bin being one), but we eventually rigged up a plank of wood to run from the top of the pole to the top of the woodpile.......Little Madam!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Chalking up the "firsts"

There are a number of things you don't realise when you are a "town mouse who has become a country mouse". The big lesson this weekend is how much grass we produce from 7 lawns......yes you did read that correctly. Thank goodness the neighbour's cattle eat our paddock for us!

We cut the grass before we went away a week ago. I joked when returned, two days later, that we would need to mow it again, pronto. Our ride on mower died a few months ago, and it was prohibitively expensive to replace. So after a lot of research we bought a self propelled upright mower. Now that is all fine and dandy, but you have to stop EVERY STRIP to empty the bucket of cuttings. We started to bag it into huge bin-liners. But after 20, when we hadn't made a dent, so I suggested we pile the cuttings onto our tarp then drag it to the corner of the garden near the paddock.

Again, all fine and dandy until you realise WHAT THAT WEIGHS. Now given that my weight lifting days were over 10 years ago, and that my husband weighs 20kgs LESS than me and is 12 years older, we hardly made the best dray team to drag that puppy 200 metres. So we did several more afternoon tea trips to as many cows as we could, got two more huge bin liners full, then did a reasonable slave pull over the lawn, me singing the "Song of the Volga boatman" under my breath.

It is now time for coffee on the verandah, perhaps with some orange and coconut cake to replenish the calories I just burned off.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

And now for something completely different

We live in the foothills of a mountain range. Four hours drive away to the west of us, we have a rather smashing volcano, Mount Egmont. The photo was taken quickly, as the cloud often obscures the summit very quickly. My better half has worked in Japan and he calls Mount Egmont a mini Mount Fuji.

This weekend we stayed for two nights at a bed and breakfast where our bedroom had views of the mountain and the ocean. The owners also had a few unusual pets, Mr Pinkie, a Kunekune pig, his friend Louise, and a clucking threesome. The pigs were partial to a bit of pineapple, the chickens were looking for worms. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about their gastronomic preferences.

Our weekend involved a spot of horticultural sightseeing as this is the best time of year for viewing the Rhododendrons. So we spent several hours at Pukeiti Park on the side of Mount Egmont, just at rainforest level, checking out the thousands of blossoms. I also got a bit carried away photographing lichen.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Thistle Day

or should I say Thistle Destruction Day. I am putting 1st November in the diary as Paddock Thistle Day. This afternoon I dug out 36 huge thistles, some with roots up to 5 inches long. It won't work to get rid of them of course, and there are maybe another 100 to go, but at least they can't be blowing their seeds to my neighbours place if they aren't above ground.

Our neighbour sprayed our paddock last year. But I am so loath to use poisons, I would rather go on the attack and up root them and do some good old stretching at the same time.

Of course, this good intention may change........

Monday, 27 October 2014

Feathering the nest

It's a common saying in British English. Well here is evidence of where the saying originated. Our Post Box starling has done JUST that. How beautiful and opulent is this nest?

Introducing Yulia and Marina

My two latest Russian ladies, in the "official" strawberry patch, which is now a buttercup patch.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Dusk at Coneysthorpe

The cats like to take us for walks in the evening. The Empress tree is an endless source of fun for them, a flowery climbing frame with bees thrown in as inflight entertainment.

This evening however it was our weeping mulberry that was the victim of Ruppin's vertical attack. First assess......

Then attack.

And the view from the Empress from underneath the mulberry branches.