It happened so quickly…

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Friday 14th April

I have been periodically looking at the stationary caterpillars this morning and was away from them about 20 minutes when this amazing transformation had already taken place.  We have one left to make the change into a chrysalis and I’m hoping to capture it on film…we’ll see if it manages to happen when we’re paying attention.

I honestly cannot believe how quickly the caterpillar shed it’s skin to become this capsule of green.

Saturday 15th April

The more smooth capsule photo was taken (3rd image down) after 24 hours.  The golden markings are quite beautiful and it’s simply amazing how delicate and yet ornate it is.

This morning we went to a little boys first birthday.  We’d wrapped a few books as gifts and were getting ready when I decided it would be nice to also gift him a monarch caterpillar with some swan plant leaves in a mason jar in the hopes that it too would transform for him and become a butterfly.  We were at the part enjoying the good food and company, when it came time to open the presents.  The mason jar was unwrapped and quickly a hush fell on the crowd.  The little boys father looked at me and said “My grandfather passed away one year ago, he bred butterflies.  My son Te Ahorangi was named after him’.  He had the faintest smile and it was apparent he was feeling sentimental…almost emotional.  It was a beautiful revelation.

It’s later in the evening on the same day – and Mike and I still are baffled as to the sheer coincidence and connectedness of the universe.  We have been pondering the odds of this happening…

Hopefully when the butterfly emerges we’ll be ready!  I’ll be posting more images as the week progresses.  I think we should have 2 butterflies emerging in approximately 6 days.

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Thursday 20th April

So far there have been little changes in the pods – the lines of the wings can be seen more clearly and the top end of the structure appears to be getting darker… this could mean maybe tomorrow we may see one open?  Finger crossed!

Last Nights Earth Quake in New Zealand


Last night like the rest of the Nation, Mike and I woke to a light rumbling.  At first I thought it might be the train down the road…but this began to feel just a little bit more aggressive.  Very quickly that vibration started growing and turning into rolling movements.  We ran to Wesley’s room and scooped him up.

I was utterly hopeless in the situation.  I just said “Oh my god” and tried not to fall over.

It was as if our house had turned into a boat on rough seas.  I felt like I couldn’t keep my footing.

Mike calmly got us to the front doorway leading into our home, it’s large and sturdy and the safest place to stay.  He learned in school what to do in these times, I might need a crash course!

As we stood in the doorway the house continued to roll with the earth.  We looked outside and sparks were flying off the power lines up our entire street.

The moon was full, round and bright.  It lit up the trees around our home and filled the sky with a pale light.  Wesley woke quite stunned at the thought of being taken from bed before he was ready.  I saw him look at the moonlight in awe.  Mike ran back and grabbed a wool blanket to keep the baby warm.

Looking out into the sky, we saw the silhouette of pine and aspen trees against the moonlight.  To look at them, the world seems so steady.

It was in this moment, I realised how small and insignificant we are against the power of the earth, nature, gravity…  I just wanted us to be safe and hoped that no one was in danger.

It didn’t last too long, and caused no damage here in this area.  We checked online and saw that the rest of the country was doing ok around 1am, but saw that there were much worse movements in the Southern Island that did cause some damage and evacuations.

I did not sleep well.  My brain was spinning.  Mike promptly feel asleep and Wesley did too (he even sung himself to sleep).

Waking this morning the ground is still and steady the trees are tall and firm.  Almost as if nothing had ever happened.

If you are in New Zealand or even abroad and want to see what is happening this website will give you the location and seismic details of each earth quake.  We live in the North Island several hours North of Wellington.  Checking the GeoNet site it looks like the South Island is still experiencing moderate to severe quakes this morning.  There are reports that state New Zealand experiences up to 15,000 earth quakes each year, but that only 100-150 of these are felt by the population.

We are now going to prepare an emergency kit just in case and are relieved to hear that most people got through this in good health.  To read more about the damages click here.

About the photos:  A very tiny monarch caterpillar is living with it’s brothers and sisters on some swan plants Mike planted when we first arrived (the butterflies love them!).  An apple seed sprouts to life in our kitchen…and the view from the front porch this morning.

Grandma Izzy


This past weekend we dropped in on Mike’s grandma in Fielding.  She is a keen knitter, baker and gardener and can often be found piecing together small squares into special blankets whilst watching sports.  Wes was gifted a one of these blankets before he was born, and it now proudly lay on his crib.  During this particular visit she asked if Mike might like to help her put together some colours for her next blanket.

And so they began the process (it’s complicated) of sorting out what the design should be.

Wes played with his Uncle Glen, and I cruised around taking photos of everyone and admired the plants.

Just about each time we have been over for a visit we have been gifted these incredible bouquets of flowers from her gardens.  I don’t think you could find nicer ones in the stores… I was handed a massive armful of flowers and have placed them in water and now we are admiring them in our kitchen.

The humble crocus.

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When I was young, I lived in a little white house with my sisters and parents.  There wasn’t much life growing around our home apart from a couple of pine trees, and withering old maples.  There was also a large rosebush that covered the entire expanse of the back fence…it was a thorny jungle and that image sums up the minimalist landscaping efforts – it was a wild world out there – we truly never bothered to tame it.

One sweet little memory I have was of the little flowering crocus that had some how seeded themselves into our barren front lawn.  They were small and light purple, with slender little spiked leaves that poked out at their base.  Each spring I would get excited to see them open on our yard.  To be clear here – there were never many maybe no more than 5.

Well, one year I took notice as the spikes were beginning to sprout from the thawed yard.  I was able to identify them by the slender white line that ran along the length of the centre of the leaf.  My dad too noticed the grass, particularly that it needed mowing.  He mowed over the lot of developing flowers, and I’ve not seen them since.

That is… until this weekend when Mike’s grandma was showing us a catalogue of spring bulbs that she ordered from as gifts to her daughters and son in law.  I noticed the page of crocus and my memories came flooding back.  They are such dainty beautiful little flowers.

I told her and Mike in the moment – of my memory (and naturally of dad massacring them) and thought nothing of it.

Last night – a package arrived… A brown paper bag of mixed crocus bulbs for us to plant in a container that we can pull out of the ground and replant when/if we move.  It was so thoughtful, and I’m so pleased to be able to see some sprout for us this spring.

The image above is the mix – though they look like little onions, they are so much more!

Basically this is one of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever received.  Some of the varieties that should sprout up are: Prins Claus, Cream Beauty, Sunkist, Purity and Firefly.  I think I’ll find a nice pot to plant them in and keep them close to the entrance of our house.

Do you have bulbs in your garden?  What flowers do you love seeing in spring time?

Desert Sound Colony – The Way I Began

Desert Sound Colony – Fire Egg

Desert Sound Colony – Signals

We are so pregnant.

We discovered we were pregnant whist we were camping in Stirling Range National Park back in September…

Naturally being in a quite remote location it was initially speculation and so we spent our last 4 days talking about the “what if’s” and pondering the future of what it could look like for us as a mum and dad.  It was a really nice segue into learning we were about to start a new journey together.

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In all honesty – I was not ready!  Mike had mapped everything out in his mind and I was definitely in denial until we saw the actual results.

We laughed together when we discovered the news, and then I totally freaked in my mind and lay on the floor (half hyperventilating) for the first few minutes.  The overwhelming voice in my head said loud and clear “Holly – life is not going to revolve around you anymore!”.

When the dust settled in my thoughts, I realised I was really happy and perhaps this was how I would finally phase myself into some form of adulthood.

This surprised me… I’d always been very unsure of how I felt about reproducing, and have been vocal about not being sure if I was really into it.  Suddenly I felt very ok with starting a family with Mike.  We had talked about it the past few years – but it always came down to (yes – lets try next year).  Suddenly it was right now.  Next year was always my buffer haha and lately Mike has been reminding me of my age (which I’ve also been in slight denial about).  I’ll be nearly 32 when the baby is born.  It feels like everything has fallen in to place right when it was meant to.  Sometimes I sort of forget how old I am.

The news comes at a really great time for us, as we can also share with you the news that we are moving to New Zealand in early February.

I was granted my visa a few weeks after we learned we are due to be parents.  This comes after a year of planning and paperwork.  I actually cried I was so happy when we got the news.

We’ve just been to Eneabba and Coorow this past weekend to say our farewells.  After our country tour we brought Tess back with us to the city.  She’s back with us, finally!  We will be getting her ready for her flight over in the next few weeks.  She has literally fused herself into my side of the bed and has taken up any space that I unwillingly relinquish…like a cunning thief.  It never ceases to amaze me how comfortable she makes herself.

I’m too soft.  I’m just happy she’s cozy.

It has been bitter sweet – knowing our time in Australia is winding down…we’re both going to miss our friends here.  We have met some incredible people, but there are some equally awesome people waiting for us in New Zealand and I’m truly looking forward to the adventure of starting our family and placing down some roots.

I was really hoping to show you a photo of our 4 month bump – but it will have to wait until Mike is back on his next swing in two weeks.  I’ll try to set up a super tacky family portrait.

In the mean time here is a photo I took during a particularly rough bout of morning sickness…(which has thankfully only recently lifted).

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Of course – this blog will always feature the beauty of local flora and fauna, and I cannot wait to capture what treasures await us in New Zealand.

I hope I’ll see you here soon.


Holly, Mike & Tess

ps.  I just want to acknowledge my amazing dad.  He has sent me the biggest care package of junk food ever – and a hilarious doodle of what looks like I’m the size of a hippopotamus carrying a wee little baby in my belly.  I laughed pretty hard when I saw the proportions.  And then panicked a little ahah.