Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No time like snow time

What is it about snow that brings out the child in me? A quick glimpse outside early this morning showed a world of white glistening in the moonlight and I couldn't wait to get outside to take photos. I walked down to work on a road transformed into a white carpet; just my footprints showing until a van passed me. I looked for kiwi prints but not this time, maybe tomorrow!

Snow mixed with hail - so pretty

My footsteps between the van tracks
The shade house has coped with the hail okay, unlike what I presume must have been the wind at the weekend. It was disappointing to find it awry with the tensioned wires sagging and all the seedlings in the greenhouse upside-down on the floor. It was as though a giant had picked the shade house up and shaken it. It didn't seem that windy here so I'm still scratching my head, and also wondering how I can anchor it down better.

The shade house was shunted back around 400mm and lifted up on to the path

Inside was a mess with the cardboard floor rucked up and the shelves in the
plastic greenhouse fallen down
My new-fangled Rice Cube was christened a few days ago with reasonable results although I will do things differently next time. I used long grain rice and it wasn't quite gluggy enough so the cubes were in danger of falling apart. I had fun though and they tasted good!

I bought my Rice Cube from Stevens - yum, cubed sushi

I couldn't put the nori round as they were too fragile but you get the idea
Another first was installing new fire bricks in my Metro woodburner - 1 top baffle and 2 side bricks.

New firebricks all installed - easier than I thought. The white extension on
the top baffle was completely gone on the old one
 Finally some pics from my Deep Bay rat lines today...

Fungi growing on the chocolate drop bait

Close-up of above

Snow on Mt Rakeahua - looking across a choppy Paterson Inlet

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fabulous fungi

Autumn rains and mild temperatures mean fungi time! In places it's hard to walk without treading on them and walking along my rat lines takes a lot longer as I inspect the latest fungi to spring up from the forest floor, dead wood or on tree branches. A great website is http://hiddenforest.co.nz/fungi/. Some fungi are very distinctive making it easier for me to identify; others, especially brown fungi, are difficult even for the experts. Easy to take photos though and here's a selection from yesterday.

May be a Mycena, maybe not!

This one looked like a bit of sheep wool but when I looked closer
it had hyphae with fruiting bodies on it - one for NatureWatch

Close-up of above


This one looks like Blue-eyed helmet Mycena interrupta

More of the one above

Close-up of the fungi below

So pretty

No idea what these are - pink brains??

Fungi everywhere you look

Underneath of above
Non-native and poisonous Amanita (I think!!) growing under pine trees
Amanita emerges as a red dome, then opens out as above

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pukekura Park Fernery

It's been a few years since I went to the Pukekura Park Fernery so it was lovely to revisit it on my recent trip back to New Plymouth. The curved brick walls are a new addition since I last visited - does anyone know if they are fernery extensions or staff areas?

The series of 'rooms' range from cool at the bottom to tropical at the top. Even in May there are plenty of flowers and it's well worth spending a couple of hours having a good look round.

Pukekura Park Fernery - definitely a must-see if you visit New Plymouth
The fish pond at the top of the fernery
I don't know my exotic plants but if anyone can identify these then let me know and I'll change the captions.
Blue flowers from a purple 'spike' - is this a bromeliad??

Lovely orchids, some very fragrant


Close-up of an orchid flower

Fuchsia - what a pretty ballerina

Purple orchid flowers

Travel time

My annual visit to Taranaki went by in a blur; lovely to catch up with family and friends and to experience a very different way of life. It took me longer this time to get used to the traffic, the rushing about and not waving at every car that passed. It was neat to get back on my pushbike, experience west coast beaches and to relearn how to shop! Many thanks to everyone for making my visit fun.
View from Jen's front door

Two blue penguins on the foreshore by Gusto's
Puffball fungi in Pukekura Park

Close-up of puffball
The fountain lake at Pukekura Park taken from the Japanese Gardens
Michael Smither's 'Aotearoa' long white cloud sculpture in Brooklands Park
see http://www.artisgallery.biz/news_story.asp?id=6
It was lovely to wander through Pukekura/Brooklands Park again. A lot of southerners down here haven't visited New Plymouth but those that have are quick to say what a stunning park it is and how lucky the residents are to have it.

Pukeko feeding in lake at Brooklands Park

Dusk at Brooklands Bowl

Border Collie pup at Pukekura Park Kiosk
I also visited the Fernery in the park but will do that as a separate blog. Other highlights included a day of shopping in the rain, having Thai Green Curry at Stumble Inn (very yummy), seeing my Mums and finding an outfit to wear at next year's wedding - not quite as comfortable as polar fleece and gumboots!!

Almost home
I'm now back at my island home and rediscovering the pleasures of a slower-paced life and checking rat traps. Back to work tomorrow and winter just around the corner :)