The Fern Walk – TŇćtara Forest Reserve

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Wesley was in daycare today so I took the opportunity to drive up to the Pohongina and spend some time in the forest peering at fungus and listening to the birds whilst carefully plodding through thick goopy mud. ¬†Within minutes my feet were soaked, normally that would bother me, but today I embraced the icy water on my toes… ¬†It was really fresh and crisp under the shade of the trees, and the chill really invigorated me.

I came home a few hours later feeling much better.  It was exhilarating; exploring, looking to find the gorgeous colourful fungus growing on the ground, consuming the dead bark, and the fallen leaves.  I also noticed a few birds, some tui and fan tails were flitting around taking a peek at me, as I peeked at them.

A man was also fly fishing in the Pohangina river – and I thought of Mike coming out to the same spot in search of trout… Simply put, he is deeply missed around these parts and we are so looking forward to reuniting with him. ¬†We may know in the next week!

Long distance has been challenging, so thankfully there is the forest to help me regroup and prepare for the next few weeks.

Below details a short story taken from the Papatoetoe Central Schools website about the MńĀori connection to the tŇćtara tree… ¬†Read on!

The Totara in Maori Legend –¬†Rata and the Tree

Rata was in the forest wandering about wondering what to do about retrieving the body of his father who had recently died when he decided he would chop down a tree and build a waka.

He selected a Totara, felled it, and went home planning to return in the morning to begin building the waka. When he did return he found the tree wasnt lying on the ground as he’d left it but standing as if it had never been felled.

He chopped the tree down again this time trimming the trunk and removing the bark and and went home with the same result when he returned the next day.

He chopped the tree down a third time, this time trimming and shaping the tree and scooping out the inside and decided to sneak back during the night to see what was happening

When he approached the tree in the dark he saw to his amazement that birds and insects were reassembling the tree to return it to its original state.

Rata apologised for chopping down the Totara and explained why he was doing so (to retrieve his Father), then offered to help lift the Totara back into place.

When dawn came Rata was ll alone, the little creatures had gone, and the Totara was back in its original state. Rata vowed to never chop down another tree, and a voice near him told him that he may, but he must ask permission from Tane Mahuta first.

As Rata returned home he came across a mighty war canoe sitting on logs in the forest, and he asked if it was his, and the voice said ‚Äúyes, Rata‚Äôs waka‚ÄĚ

Emperor Gum Moth

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-8-48-30-amscreen-shot-2017-01-09-at-8-47-59-amYesterday afternoon Mike spotted this emperor gum moth clinging to our swan plants. ¬†He called me from in the house and I literally gasped when I lay eyes on it. ¬†After much searching on this website¬†by Landcare Research we found it’s actually an Australian moth.

Last Nights Earth Quake in New Zealand

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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.

Snowboarding at Mount Ruapehu

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We rose early, stoked the fire, dusted off our snowboarding gear, gave Wesley some kisses and gently left the house to drive two hours to the nearest mountain: Mount Ruapehu.

On a clear day this mountain can be seen from the end of our quaint little road, beyond the chrysanthemum farm, dairy farms, pine trees and sweeping fields. ¬†It’s vast peak has been slathered with snow most of this winter, and staring at it from a distance was really fuelling our need to strap into our boots and hit some snow.

Mount Ruapeh is 2797 meters tall, and is actually an active volcano.  It last erupted September 25, 2007.

I was three months postpartum. ¬†I’d been running daily and doing leg exercises to get my strength back (my arms however are like steel guns lifting our heavy boy each day – no need to work on those!).

It was just before sunrise when we left. The morning light made for a beautiful drive.

We’d waited for this day for a few weeks, and the anticipation of getting onto the mountain was pretty high. ¬†Slowly we journeyed forward… The mountain gaining height every moment we caught a glimpse of it.

We arrived.

The lines were long.  Very long.

Being a clear blue sky day, just about everyone from the North Island had turned up to enjoy the snow like we had.  Eventually, we boarded a lift and made our way up to the highest point.

It then hit me. ¬†I did not feel confident… I felt wobbly and completely out of my depth, when I skid over some ice. ¬†I caught my balance only to hit another patch and land very hard on my tush. ¬†I lay down and cried. ¬†It was like a car had slammed into me. It hurt so badly. ¬†My right bum cheek was aching and sending pain up into my spine.

Not looking forward to the journey down the rest of the mountain (I sobbed to Mike) that I didn’t want to do this at all. ¬†There was no other option but to keep moving down the hill.

I thought, perhaps it would pass and that I’d be ok in a few minutes. ¬†We took a break at a cafe in the middle of the hill. ¬†Mike headed out to do a few runs while I enjoyed the view and tenderly sat on my tush.

An hour had passed, and Mike returned Рtelling me he had only managed one run as the line had a 40 minute wait.  Yikes!

During the hour, I noticed the vibrating pain did not lessen at all.

It took me an hour (and a few more tears) to get down the rest of the mountain.  Afterward we took our time and enjoyed a scenic drive home, and I braced my body against every bump on the road.

It’s been 6 weeks since that day.

And while I can actually sit down now and stand without too much discomfort, it’s definitely still sore and I will probably always think of my tail bone and that insane pain when I see that beautiful snowy mountain in the distance.

 

The light at sunset…

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Last night, I stepped outside just as the sun was setting.  Almost every night, we enjoy this delicate gold aura that is cast over the trees and fields, it is simply wonderful.

These are some of the images I took then, and also this morning as Tess and I enjoyed our little walk up the road.

Good news – we found out she can stay with us here! ¬†We’ll be working on bringing her kennel over soon and am so looking forward to having my little buddy nearby each day. ¬†She’s so cute in the morning when she says good morning.

About the images…

  1. Moving to a new country, we have tried our best to be frugal setting up our home again. ¬†Here is a porcelain pitcher that I scooped up at a local second hand shop…it’s become our little flower holder…and also death vessel (these flowers are now a week old). ¬†Picked from our driveway. ¬†I have no idea what the tree is called…
  2. As of today I am recovering from a pretty wicked head cold – Mike has been so kind, looking after me, starting/stoking fires and bringing me all kinds of healing natural foods and medicines. ¬†I’m just beginning to feel my nasal passage again! ¬†This couch nook has been my home for a few days… the crackling fire and fresh air from the windows have been a huge source of comfort. ¬†I’ve basically slept in an upright position for a few nights, trying my best not to suffocate in my own boogers.
  3. We’ve planted some fresh vegetables; dwarf tomatoes, spinach, broccoli and carrots are all sprouting in the small planter boxes that we have resting in the Northern sun on the porch.
  4. These last few images are of our neighbours sheep. ¬†They face our home…what I love is the abundance of fresh fruit…and how relaxed these sheep are. ¬†It’s very peaceful to watch them grazing just as dawn hits each day.