Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mother Nature's beauty

A winter wonderland was outside my window this morning - I just had to grab my camera to take a few quick shots before the next shower arrived...
14 July 2011 at 8am
Not quite so easy to see but the whole drive was white
Taken 20 minutes later
I left home at 9am to walk to the Community Nursery via Back Road- although it looked like snow, it was definitely small hailstones that crunched under my feet. Here's two shots - one looking back where I'd walked from and then in the opposite direction.

I walked down through the quarry to Horseshoe Bay and found the hail masquering as sand on the beach - the lighter stuff is all hail!

The rising sun was peeping in and out of the clouds as I walked along the beach to the nursery - hard to know where to point the camera as it's impossible to capture the magic of this special island. Weather like this is so exhilarating - a lot more interesting than cloudless summer skies!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Smoke in the water

No Deep Purple here but there's definitely a smoky taste in my drinking water - I guess having the fire burning all day with frequent squally showers is the culprit but I'm not quite sure what I do about it. There should be a way to disconnect water runoff to the tank but I haven't found it yet. I'll ask Rex the Plumber when he comes to finish off the laundry tub. Still no shower and not having a washing machine connected is more inconvenient than I thought it would be.

The wintry blast that's swept up the country apparently originated from a low pressure system stalled over Stewart Island. I've enjoyed watching the showers come through accompanied by hail and sleet - and flurries of white blobs that danced around in the wind. I'm pretty sure they were snowflakes and hope they can be seen on the video I took yesterday. The Oban weather website is out of commission at present but temperatures must be close to freezing as the hail didn't melt much during the day.

Above and below: hail on the ground at 8am 12 July 2011

During the morning I watched the sleet sliding down the windows - it brought back memories of winter storms in England. The sun come out between showers and again I was blessed by the Weather Gods as I walked down to Deep Bay, checked my rat line and walked home all in the dry.

The novelty of sleety windows :)

Today is milder with bigger patches of blue sky and smaller patches of storm cloud so perfect for getting the wood from under the tarpaulin and into the woodshed. Time I got started...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Walking in the dark

One of the bonuses of not having a car is that I 'see' a lot more of my surroundings, especially when it's dark. The darkness in the mornings is more than compensated for by spotting a kiwi at the Back and Main Roads intersection, and a weka crossing the road as I walked down to work last month. Just as exciting was walking home around 8pm last Thursday - it had been raining/hailing a short time beforehand but I walked home with clear skies, twinkling stars and silvery moonlight shining on the wet road. No need for my headlamp (except to walk along my puddled drive) and a very different look to the bush either side of the road, especially when it's full moon.

When there's no moon shining, it's as black as can be - I can't see my hand in front of my face. On these nights I get a stunning panorama of stars if the sky is clear. I haven't set up my telescope yet but can still marvel at the enormity of the Universe - and Man's insignifance! I know I will never take photos to capture this so will have to leave it up to your imagination.

It was too dark to see the kiwi calling between 4-5am last Wednesday morning but they weren't far from my bed! A male called at 4.25am, with a female/male duet 25 minutes later - I haven't found any footprints from them but there were fresh deer prints around. So magical to hear their calls, once so common on the mainland but now a rare experience and one that might disappear altogether for future generations of New Zealanders.

Winter weather

We had calm and relatively mild weather for the first week of July but that's now been replaced by a complex weather system that looks like it will be around for a while yet.
Sunrise 5 July 2011
Sunrise silhouette

It's snug and warm inside today but the other side of the ranchslider tells a different story with a stiff westerly breeze and hail showers alternating with the sunshine. I ventured outside long enough to grab some more firewood and to capture the some pics of the next storm cloud...

Hail on ground after the cloud passed

I'm still without a shower but I do have lights plus a flushing toilet, albeit at the expense of now losing the washing machine that has been moved, but not connected. The glitch with the shower was that the wrong set of rails were in the shower kit so the correct ones had to be shipped from Auckland. Jarrod was hoping that they'd be here by last Friday but I guess they didn't arrive. I'm not sure what the hold up with the laundry tub and washing machine is but maybe the plumber has to wait for the builder. I'm still optimistic that I'll have a shower before the middle of July!

New wetroom - almost there!

Kohler Flipside shower rose

Monday, July 4, 2011

One step closer...

The vinyl and carpet were installed today and they look great. The house is now looking less like a building site and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Jarrod the builder will come either tomorrow or Wednesday to put the rest of the shower in place and hopefully the plumber and electrician won't be too far behind to give me a fully functional bathroom once more. Here's some pics...

Speckle vinyl for bathroom - not quite sure how
to describe the colours!!

Old carpet behind, new carpet on top - the new one is
darker but has similar tonings
New vinyl and carpet installed 4 July 2011
Resene White on ceiling, Resene Rice Cake on walls
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on the barberry team - well, with the exception of a couple of tough days where the supplejack, bush lawyer and swamp were reluctant to let me pass. I'm now a lot more proficient with a GPS and compass and have respect for the other Weed Teams around the country. Darwin's Barberry seems to grow in a wide range of habitats on the island and it will take many years of monitoring if we are to eradicate it. The bush changed enormously - from beautiful mossy areas that were a joy to walk through, to smelly swamps, dense tangles of supplejack and rotting windfalls. I wish I had my camera with me on occasions to capture fragile toadstools, dewy cobwebs shining like diamonds and magnificent old trees that would take the outstretched hands of 3 people to encircle.

I've been filling up my woodshed with another four trailer-loads of firewood. The fire works well and heats the house quickly - it's been working overtime when I've been painting as several mornings it's been less than 10 degrees, the minimum temperature for the Spacecote paint. I'm pleased with my efforts although I can only get better eh!!!