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
struggling
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!















Revelations as I Heal

I can't remember a time when I didn't feel I was worthless, and by the time I was sixteen going on seventeen I was well immersed in the depression that went with the lack of self esteem. As I heal and emerge from the decades of periodic bleakness, I have been having realisations and insights.

#1 The reason I never actually killed myself was not just that I didn't want to make the people I loved sad, it was also because I didn't feel I deserved to do what I wanted so much to do. It wasn't just that I loved those people, it was that I thought their wellbeing was infinitely more important than mine. Now I know that I am just as important as them, but I no longer want to be dead. I want to live!

#2 There have been many people over the years that I thought were interesting, fun people who I would like to know better, but I could never say, "would you like to meet for a coffee" or anything like that - I'd just wait for them to make an approach. If they didn't, I assumed that they didn't like me. I was so tied up in my own perception of myself as a worthless, boring, uninteresting person that it never even occurred to me that they might have the same fear of rejection as me.

#3 As I fell further into the mire, I would say things like, "I was nearly 30 when I had my first child," and "I was nearly 40 when I had my last child," and from the day after each birthday I'd tell people my age by saying, "I'm coming up to .." In reality, I was 29 1/2 when I had Greg, and 38 1/2 when I had Jeff. The other day I caught myself telling someone I am 63. And I am 63. But until very recently I would have said, "I'm coming up 64," or, I'll be getting National Super soon." I realised that this too is a sign that I am healing, slowly, and growing to accept myself.

Maybe one day I'll grow up - although not completely, I hope.


Bamboo Garden

I love bamboo. Its feather leaves, it's gorgeous stems, and the sound it makes in even a gentle breeze. Ever since they were very little, my boys loved the Chinese Scholars' Garden and its bamboo at the Hamilton Gardens. Later, they would play for hours in the bamboo forest at a friend's place.

When we bought our place in the country, from the beginning we talked of growing bamboo, but were always intimidated by stories of bamboo escaping and taking over.

Mac acquired a 'new' old tractor with a bucket, so we talked of digging a moat and building an island on which we could grow bamboo, but still we procrastinated.  Recently we've been talking to a friend who is a professional nurseryman. But even then we did nothing.
 Over a three week period we watched as Peter's bamboo produced big fat shoots and

grew
and grew.

Finally Peter gave us a root from his bamboo. And another. And a third.


Mac got the tractor going.

It mightn't look so great yet but we have the beginnings of a bamboo forest of our own.

Now I'm wondering where we might build a second island for another variety. Or a third. Or or fourth.









Sunday, October 5, 2014

Walking Up and Down

 Mac and I have been talking about walking for years. When Mac finished working full time, the talking increased, but still nothing. Other than occasional walks on the beach, we have not walked the talk. I finally decided that we needed to do it while we could still actually manage something longer than a trip to the mailbox. A friend climbed to the top of Mt Kakepuku, and I was inspired. She told me that there were a lot of steps, so I decided that we should pop down the road every couple of days for a couple of weeks to do the Bridal Veil Falls walk as a training exercise. We did it once.




Three and a half weeks later, I decided that the time had come, even if we hadn't trained - if we waited for that, it would never happen.
 At the top, after a painful trip up the last bit which consists of a lot of steps - my left knee troubled me for the first time in about three years, and then favouring the knee led to my right hip bothering me for the first time in a year and a half. Still, the view out towards Mt Pirongia made it worthwhile.
 I love this:
"To those who visit our sacred mountain
May peace be widespread,
may the sea glisten like greenstone,
and may the shimmer of light ever dance across your pathway."



The pongas are much bigger than those in our bush - a different variety, I assume.

 Halfway up....
 or halfway down.
Native clematis right at the top.
Te Awamutu - Mac's home town once upon a long time ago.


The upping was hard in an aerobic, sweating, panting, heart pounding kind of way. The downing was vicious as my legs developed tremors and I really thought they would collapse under me. But we made it, and since then I have been exercising so that the next walk won't be so bad. Mind you, the next walk will be flatter - I'm done with mountains, even small ones, for a while.