Saturday, April 23, 2016

Autumn equals fungi time!

My good intentions to blog have been undermined by a sooner-than-intended upgrade to Windows 10. Once upon a time I upgraded to new operating systems without blinking but Windows 8 left me floundering and I've been reluctant to try again. Great to see that Microsoft has listened to the world and I'm very relieved that my Windows 10 upgrade went smoothly. I've just about finished installing software (all going well except for Adobe Premiere Elements v8 which I've had to remove) and transferring files so that I can finally retire my trusty Windows 7 workhorse.

I've decided that I can't be productive when I don't try new features so I'm going to take a few months' break from blogging about Rakiura once I've finished processing the backlog of photos. Instead I'll blog about my exciting adventures on the computer. I'm too addicted to Mother Nature's offerings to shun her completely but I'm hoping I can spice it up with some fancy new ways of showing her off.

Autumn time is usually a fun time for me as I explore my bit of bush for the fungi popping up. I'm amazed at how the spores sit in the ground just waiting for the right conditions to come along. How do they know that our calendar has ticked over to March, especially when Spring and early Summer were cold and wet? Here's a selection of the amazing fungi that's around - I'll label those that I can but I could well be wrong...

Entoloma hochstetteri (Blue pinkgill)

Weraroa virescens (Spindle pouch)

Ringed fungi of some kind - gill structure shown below

?Hygrocybe rubrocarnosa (Rare waxgill)

?Mycena spp

Hmm... maybe Tremella mesenterica (Witch's butter jelly)

Coprinopsis spp (Revolute inkcap)

Close-up of above

Monday, April 11, 2016

Another kiwi

Cor, over two months since my last blog and my apologies for those who have come looking for new posts. Since I changed to a new phone plan, I've found my reduced data allocation is largely gobbled up by Windows updates, especially as I prepare to install Win10 on one of my devices. With a new data allocation happening today, heavy rain outside and no work to go to, putting up a blog is my highest priority!

Island life is quietening down after a busy tourist season. With such an early Easter most of the tourists have gone now and with them, the call for casual work at accommodation providers. I've enjoyed my cleaning jobs and another birthday has seen me one year closer to retirement. It's hard to wait when I can see so much that needs doing on my section but I now have the winter to redirect my energies.

My deer-proof fence (DPF) MkI wasn't! I reckon the males caught their antlers in the bird netting and then thrashed around creating a hole big enough to jump through. The deer must have strained to reach the rhubarb and snapped the wire that was holding the bird netting up. Grrrrr. The rhubarb got hammered again so it was out with the old and in with DPF MkII...

Mum Whitetail

Spiker Whitetail

Pruned rhubarb

MkII version of the deer fence - it now has wire netting in front
of the bird netting

Hoping this will keep them at bay
If this doesn't work then I'll give up with a vege garden and take down all the barriers!!

I've been dog-sitting Mac and Beau while their owners were off-island. I've had limited experience with dogs and not quite sure what you do with them when you're not walking! Luckily both dogs were on their best behaviour. I thought that they would react noisily to deer being on the property so was very surprised to find Mac sitting quietly and observing Mum Whitetail and her twins feeding a few metres away.

Can you see the three whitetail deer?

Beau and Mac digging to China on Golden Bay Beach

The days are noticeably shorter from mid-February onwards and the end to daylight saving means that it's dark after dinner now. I needed a torch to help a friend get back out to her car and was waiting by the car door when we were surprised by a kiwi that almost collided with my leg! We watched whilst our feathered friend probed around the front of the car then headed off back toward the garage. Magic! I haven't heard any calls for a while but often see kiwi footprints or probe marks outside so it's more likely my double-glazing blocks out their welcome sound.

It's Autumn and of course the fungi know that! Great to see a wide selection of colours popping out of the ground - I'll put some pics up on my next blog.