Sunday, 12 June 2016

Catching up

January passed uneventfully apart from more rain than we were used to; 5 mm of rain for January 2015 provided some contrast to January 2016 when 303 mm fell. We didn't complain, and neither did the cattle who, for a change, remained hock-deep in grass for the summer.

 In February, our youngest daughter convinced us to take a "stroll " on Mt Arthur, in the Kahurangi National Park. We have been ignorant of the fact that such spectacular scenery could be enjoyed so close to our back door - only 20 minutes' drive to the carpark at 2,900 feet ASL. [Note: I'm using feet for altitude as a: that's what I'm accustomed to, b: it is the standard for aviation and c: it's my blog.]  Five minutes from the car we spotted the cheeky (and destructive to cars - they pull the rubber seals out, and the wipers off) mountain parrot, the kea.

 About 600 metres from the car the track forked, one branch heading up the mountain to Mt Arthur Hut, and the other down to Flora Hut. My daughter and my wife looked at the upward slope of the 2-metre wide track heading to Mt Arthur Hut, then they looked at the vehicle track heading down to Flora Hut, then they looked my svelte, slim (ahem) silhouette and decided that the Flora Hut option was  the way to go if we wanted to avoid the use of MediVac helicopters.

 However, after an easy wander to Flora they decided that I was coping better than expected and we headed straight up the mountain and emerged from the bush at about 4,200 feet.

 The track then led along a ridgeline for about a kilometre, and which undulated up and down by about 500 feet as we headed south toward Mt Arthur.

 We eventually  came to a branch in the trail and we could choose to climb about another 150 feet to  a knoll with stunning views or sidle around to Mt Arthur Hut a hundred metres or so away.

We opted for the view and some well-earned lunch. Nelson is at shoulder-height behind the blue pole. We decided not to continue another 3.4 kilometres and another 1,300 feet in altitude to the summit. We were quite happy to admire the view from 4,400 feet.

A final shot as we descended back to the car, and an hour later we were enjoying a cup of tea at home. The perfect end to an invigorating and thoroughly enjoyable 10 kilometre hike. No fathers were harmed in the making of this post!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Catching Up

Time for a catch-up.

The days just seem to bowl on faster and faster at a rate faster inversely proportional to your age.
This post will sample a few events up until the end of 2015.

After planting some spuds at the end of October we treated ourselves to a visit to youngest daughter's husband's place of work on a dairy farm near Inangahua Junction.

We were lucky with the weather as the place has a reputation for fairly high rainfall and many overcast days.

In December I paid a visit to Fiji where my son resides. Visited a vessel trialing the 24-hour surveillance system  instigated by the steering committee I attended in Rome last year. The trial systems are funded by UNFAO.
Three cameras watch over the hatch to the fish hold, the sea door where the fish are brought aboard and the stern where, on a long liner, the line is set into the water. 
 By mid-December the garden was taking off and we were already enjoying fresh peas picked from the vine. There's nothing better.

Hay making was in full swing in the neighbours' paddocks.

 By the end of December the cattle were enjoying plenty of fresh grass, which was to continue right through into June, when frosts cut grass growth right back to almost nothing.

In mid December I bought a second-hand wood lathe, and the house soon started filling up with all manner of strange objects. Pictured is an early attempt in elm. Those that know say that you need 7 years' experience to be any good. Only 6 and a half years to go....

To finish off for 2015, a few more bits of wood.


 Elm, and on the right an old totara post.