Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Last Friday our eldest Fiji granddaughter, aged 10 years 4 months and 21 days, decided to vacate an aircraft that was in good condition and was running well! Quite a leap for a young lady, as 16,500 feet, or 5,025 metres is a long way up in anyone's language. In fact I'd go as far as to say it would be quite a leap for a refined and mature gentleman such as I. Kudos to Hayli for taking the plunge.



 "16,500 feet to the ground."

 Flying like a bird, er, rock, halfway to the top of the troposphere

 Double thumbs up!

 Boy, those clouds look solid!

 Nope, not solid!

 "My teacher will kill me."

I'm not pulling faces, it's the 200 kph wind!

 Boy, that's a relief. The parachute opened!

 Clear the deck! Here we come!


A brave girl has now decided on a career change when she grows up - to be a professional sky diver is now first choice.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

A day at the beach at Marahau (41°00.4S, 173°00.6E) was enjoyed by all yesterday. The day, being overcast, was very enjoyable as it was not too hot. Many holiday-makers were present, and the beach at times hosted more tractors connected to boat-launching trailers than cars in the car parks.
All photos by Susan Westrupp

 Fiji visitor reckons this is just the berries. 
 Look! The Martians are coming!
 The large beach in front of Marahau hosts cockle beds, which fortunately for them, are covered for most of the day with tides up to 4 metres high.
 Where did those Martians go?
 No, this isn't them.
 Rock Hound
Cuzzie Bro's

After a quite long walk along the National Park tracks, we repaired to The Fat Tui, a seasonally open mobile restaurant that produces hamburgers to die for. Mine was venison with plum sauce and too many other ingredients to remember. Delicious! The kids had fish 'n chips, as I don't think that even one of them, no matter how hungry, could have disposed of one of the hamburgers. Son-in-law Ricky, however, disposed of the the largest one with hardly a burp!   

Saturday, 21 December 2013

An interesting addition to the garden is this yacón, a South American plant that appears to have only appeared on the Western consciousness in the last decade or so. We had one last year but I stuffed it up when I dug it up. Too impatient. We ate one and it certainly tasted a bit 'different' - water chestnut, pear, crunchy, juicy. I bought the plant in the township of Mapua, which lies at the entrance to an inlet at the southern end of Tasman Bay. The shop assistant told me that a customer bought two plants last year, and professed that due to the application of large quantities of cow manure, he had harvested 50 kgs of tubers from them.

I shall be more careful with this plant, and will do a bit more research before plucking it from the soil.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Going by reports from others in the Motueka area, apricots are not known to be very prolific hereabouts, so we are watching this tree with lip-licking anticipation. We expect to start grazing on them in the next few days. Hmmm, I wonder what apricot wine tastes like.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Give it heaps, Hayli!

Hayli enjoying a go on the same swing her father and and her aunties enjoyed for many years. Some of her father's (slightly younger) cousins also grew up trying to lift the legs off the ground. Although we thought a hundred bucks was a bit much in 1975, we figure, allowing for inflation, that each swing cost is down to about 1 millionth of a cent!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Hedgehog Trap                                                    Photo by Hayli

Now that Hayli's Dad has joined us from Fiji, Hayli has put into action her long-held plan to catch a hedgehog with the intention of having a pet, albeit a prickly one. Her Dad had been shown by his mother's father a good thirty years ago how to make a trap, and remarkably, he remembered the basics and here, after some false starts is the finished item, which has now been set in the leaf litter under the Lombardy poplar in the corner of the section.

Some experimentation is necessary to find the right bait. We await developments.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Sunday, 1 December 2013

High-pitched tweeting advertised the presence of some silvereye (Zosterops lateralis) in our loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica). We hadn't noticed that some fruit had ripened, and were surprised that granddaughter Hayli hadn't either, as she loves the taste of them. 
 "Do you mind! I'm having my lunch."

At 12 centimeters in length and weighing only 12 grams, he is not the largest of birds, but must be a prodigious flyer as he self-colonised New Zealand from Australia in the 1850s and is now found all over the country up to an altitude of about 1200 metres.

Our weather for November, 2013.