Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Reading

Children's Books

Pepetuna by Denise Whitmore is one of the most delightful educational children's books I've seen in a very long time. In fact I think it's the best I've ever read, but it's a long time since I regularly read children's books so I may have forgotten some. The review on Fishpond says, "From the time a tiny puriri moth's egg falls onto the forest floor, this book follows the life cycle of that moth - Pepetuna. For five years Pepetuna hides in the puriri tree, eating and sleeping until the time is right. Then one warm spring evening, he pushes a hole through the door of his home. He crawls out with his strong new legs and breathes the fresh air. Then he stretches out his beautiful new wings, ready to fly up into the moonlight ...for just one night. Through the clever use of illustrations showing the first five years of a young child's life, the reader can experience the concept of time and how long it takes for Pepetuna to grow and be ready for that single night."

It's gorgeous. Pepetuna's story is told in words illustrated in multimedia colour, while the human story is black and white drawings and without words.

I bought a copy and sent it to my friend who is a children's librarian in Alaska. I think I'm going to have to buy another copy just for me.


The Secret Life of the Grown Up Brain by Barbara Strauch. The best part of the book is, that by her definition I am still (just) middle-aged! Or maybe the best bit is being told that forgetting names, and why I went into the kitchen isn't necessarily a sign of dementia of some kind. But essentially, a long version of the magazine articles that tell you to exercise, eat right, and keep your mind busy.


The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens
A story of a woman whose husband doesn't come home, and her search for him which turns into a search for herself. Interesting, quite enjoyable, but I felt it just didn't explore some promising issues deeply enough to satisfy me.

The Wedding Bees: a novel of honey, love and manners by Sarah-Kate Lynch
Light-hearted, warm look at love and life, and how they are affected by the past. A bit shallow, and the idea of bees having a conciousness that allows them to become attached to humans, and that they might act to help an individual is just plain irritating to a beekeeper!

Someone Else's Wedding by Tamar Cohen
A story set in the 36 hours before, during and after a wedding. Narrated by a woman who has two daughters but is still grieving for her late life baby, who died. Can't say too much about it, because it would spoil the psychological twists and turns, but I highly recommend it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Walk in our Bush

 We went for a walk in our bush today. We need to do it more often, not just when we have grandchildren here. It is such a magical place. Today Mac and I were accompanied by Spike the Cat,

Sammy, the six year old granddaughter,
 and Bob the Dog.
 We are so glad to see the nikaus coming back in the bush - there were only a couple when we came here, due to horses being allowed to graze there.
 Looking across the stream to the neighbours' island.
 The supplejacks can be hard to get through in places, but
 are great to swing on.
 I don't like spiders, but I love their amazing webs.
 Spike didn't seem to trust the little bridge that the boys built last time they were here.
 Spike ran up a tree trunk to join Sammy in the tree hut - and actually fell out!
 He was then extremely embarrassed and attacked Bob the Dog, blaming him for the fall! Poor Bob. Mac grabbed Spike and threw him in the stream where Spike had chased Bob. He was not a happy catty!
 And home.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Of Apple Blossom and Orthodera novaezealandia

Is it a sign of senility
or maturity
that I don’t notice
the helicopter flying low
because I am absorbed
in the apple blossoms,
in how the pink buds
of the eating apple
are so much softer
than the vibrant red
of those of the cooking apple;
and that the old barn
is of interest
not because of people
and possible adventures
but because
of the praying mantis nymphs
to escape their egg case,
and the spider’s web
threaded across it?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In Flower Today

 A native - I've forgotten what it's called, but it's so pretty in an understated way.
 Blueberries in the making.
 Elderflower cordial in the making
 Monty's Surprise apples.
 A grape flower. Haha - three of the chooks roost on the grapevine on the fence - I guess one got caught short and didn't make it to the nesting box.
 One of my mother-in-law's cuttings gone crazy.
 A scrap bucket avocado.
 An apple tree that got blown almost down in the winter storms.
 Last of the pear blossom.
 Another Monty's Surprise.

 Cooking apple
 Nashi - 5 days ago there were just a handful of flowers out.

An apricot tree my aunt (who died about 10 years ago) grew from a stone, and gave to me in a pot. I never took it out of the pot, never got around to planting it, but still it grows.
Even the buttercups provide food - not directly for us, but the bees collect the pollen to feed the brood. 
And they are so very beautiful.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spring Happenings

Spring always seems to sneak up on me: I think it is never going to arrive, then there's a hint of it,  and suddenly it's overwhelming me with its busyness, and I don't seem to have time to think, let alone write about it.

Mac has a new, two day a week, temporary job in Tauranga, which brings in a lot more money than lawn mowing and tree planting, but means staying away one night a week which neither of us likes.

I have a part time, casual job - my first paid employment for 34 years - taking little trees out of little pots and putting them in bigger pots for Mac to plant out next winter.
It's a dream job: working in a beautiful garden, listening to the birds, bees and butterflies busy all around, learning heaps about plants from Peter, and working more or less when it suits me.

 I need to grow some of these - Peter's have bees all over them

 I also seem to come home from work every time with a plant or a seed of some kind. These seed have sprouted and one day I hope we will have an inga bean / ice cream bean tree or two.

The elections spoiled things a bit. Well, a lot really, but it's done and we just have to live in hope of a better result next time.

As always, spring brings my birthday, and I had a lovely party.
Amy and Kim brought me three mini yard glasses for my 21stx3! And Emma brought me whisky to put in them. Very spoilt.
The family and friends came with food and drink and gifts. Simon and Rebecca brought me the beautiful print you can see on the wall above.
Outside the animals are doing what animals do. I don't know why people say, 'happy as a pig in muck,' when 'happy as a duck in muck,' is way more true, and sounds better too!

After losing my last hive, I was very sad, until someone rang and offered me a swarm of bees.

The dining area turned into a seed raising area.
The golden elm flowered,
as has the self sown hebe, carried here by a bird I presume.
The wind and rain has been overwhelming at times,
 But the wild carrot, that I love, perseveres.
The chooks are laying.
The gardens are ready
and it's really hard to wait, as we have learned is necessary here,
until the earth is a little warmer, and those spring storms have passed.
I must put the bird netting over the strawberries, but in the meantime the rhubarb keeps on giving.
The potatoes are just up.
And finally we have a kowhai that has survived long enough to flower!