Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A perfect day in Paradise

What a gorgeous day to mark my four week anniversary! And a productive one too as I started on my new vege garden. The soil is peaty with a high clay levels so reckon that drainage will be important. Raised beds would be good but seeing how there's no demolition yard, it could be hard finding cheap aluminium siding.

The garden is between the house and the garage. It's protected from the wind, is north-facing and will be easier to fence off from deer. I'm not sure about keeping possums, rats, weka and kaka out but maybe they won't come so close to the house. I spent the morning turfing the area and will dig it over tomorrow - I went collecting seaweed this afternoon with Raylene at Horseshoe Bay and brought back 5 large bags of small seaweed (sea lettuce varieties) and half a trailer of rotting kelp. I'll spread it over the dug soil and then put a layer of flattened cardboard boxes to rot down with the help of lots of worms.

Another local keen on the worms was a young male miromiro (tomtit). He watched me closely and every time I moved away, he swooped in to grab another worm.
Usually they don't stay still for long enough to get a photo, but this one is obviously a poser!

 The weather today was stunning; blue cloudless sky, no wind and a high of 18 degrees. I had to take a break from turfing to get some photos. There's so much birdlife here - wish I could record their song in the blog for you to listen to. Korimako (bellbirds) were calling each other from the rimu, riroriro (grey warblers) were adding their two pennyworth and tui, kereru and kakariki were flying overhead.

Looking northwest

Looking south

Lastly, a photo of Horseshoe Bay - a long sweeping bay about 3-4km from my place. The photo was taken about halfway along the beach. The recycling centre is at the end of the beach in the hills - it's pretty gripped up with a large green waste area for composting, plus a secondhand shop and other recyclable area up on top of the hill.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rainbow's End

View from my deck 6.47pm 12 Feb 2011
They say there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but I reckon a rainbow is worth far more than that. Such a simple concept but so stunning when it appears. Not sure if it's the latitude but the bands on some rainbows seem much wider down here.

I've had a fun week; not particularly productive although I did get my scrubber's badge today after a good workout on the deck. See the before and after photos at the end. The before photo was taken in early September 2010 and I can't believe how much the cabbage tree has grown in just over 5 months.

Monday 7 Feb was a lovely sunny day and I skived off home duties to go exploring...
Left: Oban waterfront; Middle and Right: Butterfield Beach
Starting from the waterfront and walking to the right of the 4 Square, Butterfield Beach is a 10 minute walk along Horseshoe Bay Road, passing Bathing Beach and Mill Creek on the way. A few minutes further on is a DOC sign for Moturau Moana Garden, gifted by the late Miss Noeline Baker. Not quite Pukekura Park but it's a lovely jewel tucked away and most unexpected. The white paths are all crushed shell and the large viewing platform provides a stunning view of Halfmoon Bay.
Left: Mill Creek; Centre: Moturau Moana Garden; Right: View back to Halfmoon Bay from garden lookout
I've met a few more locals...
Crab spider of Diaea genus

Longlegged Harvestman - Megalopsalis
- one of the Daddy Long Legs family
...and a friendly family of grass seedhead kiwi! They were all swaying in the breeze on Butterfield Beach. Not sure what the function is of the 'beak' sticking out, will have to do some research.

Finally, my before and after deck photos. I'm not sure what to do with the large blue pots as I don't think they'll fit on the deck once I've got my outside table and chairs assembled.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Homemaking - outside

New gas fittings:
Earlier this week, Rex the plumber/gasfitter/drainlayer did a great job on my new gasfittings. The instant hot water heater and gas stove had to be modified to take the 45kg gas tanks and all I need now is a concrete base for the tanks to sit on. Once I've finished the small 9kg bottle, then I'll sit both big tanks together, chain them in and plant the flower bed with some silverbeet. Rex also adjusted the flame on my gas rings and it's so much better. The adjustment screws are inside the front dials - you have to pull the dial off to get to the screw. I wouldn't have found it in a month of Sundays!


I put my thinking cap on and lashed a lancewood pole to my woodshed so that I could put some hooks to hang my wet-weather gear to dry. Looks a bit tacky at the moment so maybe I'll remove the individual hooks and screw them on to the pole instead.
The toilet roll holder came about after I found that Ship to Shore (the local 4 Square) didn't stock toilet roll holders. It does the trick and keeps the roll off the floor - kapai!

Have a wonderful week...

Homemaking - inside

I'm just about there with unpacking, assembling, organising and tidying my new home - here are some photos taken this morning.


 I 'pushed' the partition out a bit to increase the space between drawers and bed.

I ordered a box of 'Amazing Hangers' from Magnamail before I left NP and they've worked really well. Sister Linda told me about the wire coat hangers from Gold Coin/Coin Save/$2 shops and they fit through the holes of the amazing hangers perfectly. Instead of the wardrobe being chocka, it's real easy to sort through 'layers' of clothes to find what I'm looking for. For once, the blurb in the catalogue has been correct.
The kitset canvas-covered wardrobe was one from Payless Plastics and it was easy to put together and is very sturdy.

Dining room:
 The hanging saucepan rail will be moved to above the microwave once I've double-checked with the builder that the curtain rod fixtures will support the weight. In the meantime, the pantries do an excellent job of holding it up!

 Everything has fitted well in the lounge and I'm all set with computer, printers, tv, dvd, vcr, radio and MP3 player! The tv is also a computer monitor - nice to have a dual display but I could dispense with my other monitor if necessary.

Well, there you have it! I feel very much at home and even though it's wet outside, it feels lovely and cosy here in my lounge. The house is well insulated and hopefully will be quick to warm up during the winter.

My last post for the day will be a few pics from the outside...

Kiwi and other locals

Woohoo! I heard my first Stewart Island kiwi call at 5.20am on 4 February 2011 - what a buzz! It was a male, maybe 300m away at a guess and no idea what direction it was from. It was very dark outside and I went back to sleep with a big smile on my face. I've spent many hours sitting in the cold and dark and have yet to hear a kiwi calling on Mt Taranaki and here I am, in the comfort of my own bed, listening to that wonderful sound.

unidentified weevil
I've also had visits from neighbours; firstly a huhu beetle who tried hard to get inside one night, he/she made quite a clatter banging against the ranchslider. Then a weevil (pictured) so far unidentified and a male miromiro (tomtit) who entertained me with his 'dancing' between the incinerator and deck. Last night I had a confused frog climb the ranchslider - I had a great close-up view of his belly and footpads!

A 'scientific experiment' proved that bumblebees like the colour blue - probably the reason they keep coming inside when I have windows open. Will definitely choose a different colour when I repaint. I tried putting a shower curtain up in the woodshed to keep the rain off - the curtain is clear plastic with a map of the world on with countries in different colours. As soon as I hung it up, the bees made a beeline (haha) for all the blue blocks - amazing. I think I'll try a green tarpaulin instead!

See my next post for house pics...