Thursday, January 28, 2016


Summer is all about visitors and January is peak season for cruise ships, trampers and those just wanting to chill out. Although it would be lovely to have sunshine to welcome them, the people I've spoken to have taken our inclement weather in their stride. The Coral Discoverer made its fourth visit this month and possibly won't be back for a year or two; our guiding team had the pleasure of having lunch with the staff and passengers on board before showing them round Ulva Island - with a cold easterly blowing most birds had sought refuge on the lee side of the island so just as well the plants stayed put!

The Coral Discoverer at anchor in Paterson Inlet

On the tender approaching Coral Discoverer

The tender after being lifted to deck level

Looking from the boat to Sydney Cove, Ulva Island

Off to Ulva Island in the tender - good view of the tender 'cradle'

Ulva Island jetty with the Coral Discoverer tender mid-picture
My visitors at home are four-footed or winged...

Whitetail deer out from the deck - a spiker (?Dad) to the left, Mum at
the rear and Bambi by the incinerator

Lots of kereru around at present

Another pic of our lovely native pigeons
My visitors pale in comparison with those visiting Beverley's garden; her mature kowhai tree had 16-20 kereru perched in it the other day.

The top half of Beverley's kowhai tree

The Bluff Coastguard were here last weekend on a PR visit; they appreciate the fundraising efforts of some Islanders and were giving free rides out in their rescue boat. I went down after work and got these shots as they took another group for a ride.

Summer time - yeah right!

It feels like mid-Winter except it's still light. The fire's lit, I had soup for lunch and I am wearing two layers of polar fleece to combat the 11°C air temperature. Not exactly Summer down this neck of the woods! The good news is that I don't want to stray far from the fire so what better excuse than to write a long-overdue blog or two.

I have been busy with Summer activities though; picking blackcurrants, cutting grass and trying to coax my green peppers into edible size. The plant is brought in every night and only goes outside on warm days - there's about 15 peppers with the largest about 60mm long.

An outside day for my pepper - early January

Woohoo! First sign of pepper success!
I've had a bumper crop of blackcurrants and the rhubarb is growing well again so that means jam and relish making. I have a lovely recipe for rhubarb relish which complements the cheese sandwiches that I have for lunch most days. I've also made rhubarb and blackcurrant jam (which I prefer to straight blackcurrant jam) and blackcurrant concentrate - so yummy drizzled over the Greek yoghurt that I've been making.

Another kilo of blackcurrants from 6 plants - yummy

Rhubarb relish in the making - isn't it colourful?

The finished product - 3 jams and 5 rhubarb relish
There is still a heap of currants to pick but I was waiting for a fine and sunny day so that they keep better; I've been busy working most days so harder to find the time for topping and tailing the currants; the concentrate works well but I'm running out of freezer space. Blackcurrant wine could be the answer in the future!

Orchid hunting has taken lower priority and the lack of sunshine means that the Thelymitra (sun orchid) haven't opened on many occasions. Still, they have a beauty all of their own in the rain...

I'm a bit rusty with names but I think this orchid is
Caladenia lyallii

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Summer hibernation

Winter is usually the time for hibernation but my computer isn't getting a lot of use this summer! It's been five weeks since I last blogged as there's so much going on that even the long daylight hours aren't enough to squeeze in blog-time.

Conserving the non-replaceable battery on my new phone (ie not using it as a wifi hotspot) has its disadvantages. After replying to emails and doing essential updates it's time to shut down again. It's made me realise how computer use has changed in the last decade; once there was a time I could be very productive when offline but it's quite a challenge now getting around online data storage, clipart, help topics and blogging. Many thanks for your patience in waiting for me and I know I'll crack a happy medium once I've got time to suss it out!

Rakiura is in full swing of tourist season; lots of visitors, thriving businesses and increased ferry and flight schedules. The cold weather has given way to more settled, sunny weather - some locals will be hoping for rain to fill up water tanks depleted by extra visitors. Our temperate rainforest is looking very dry with filmy ferns tightly scrunched up and turning black.

Oban Cemetery looking out over Mill Creek

Beau playing on Deep Bay at low tide

View from Paterson Hill Road looking over Halfmoon Bay
The fine weather has coaxed the sun orchid flowers to open - not quite fully yet but I reckon the next hot day will do it. I'll do the orchid photos in my next blog.

A juvenile black-backed gull guarding the ambulance

A female putangitangi (Paradise shelduck) grazing on Halfmoon Bay

Putangitangi are my favourite ducks - unusual to see the female
without her mate though
Cruise ship season started on 2 January; it's quite strange to see such large boats moored in Paterson Inlet or off Halfmoon Bay.

The Silver Discoverer moored off Halfmoon Bay on 2 Jan

A perfect day for the cruise ship visitors

Looking down on Halfmoon Bay

Sunny day at home as another Stewart Island Flights plane
heads to the airstrip