The Fern Walk – Tōtara Forest Reserve

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.40.41 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.41.01 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.41.23 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.42.01 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.43.18 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.43.33 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.43.46 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.44.07 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.44.20 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.44.28 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.46.09 pmScreen Shot 2017-07-05 at 6.48.19 pmAh the sopping wet, quiet forest…my go to place when I need to recharge.  I’ve really needed the time to centre my thoughts.  Sleep deprivation has been slowly eroding my energy.  The past 9 weeks have been gruelling to say the least.

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 Māori connection to the tōtara 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 “yes, Rata’s waka”

Two more nights…

Lately the autumn colours have begun to creep in and transform some of the foliage.  The pops of orange and red are striking amidst the vibrant green landscape surrounding us.  With the change of colours comes a drop in temperature.  It was cold enough to leave the ground thick with a blanket of icy frost this morning.  Needless to say, our log fireplace has been roaring over night and well into the morning.

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In the flurry of recent cooler days, we met our new neighbour, whom has made herself right at home in a paddock up the road.  She is a total punk rocker with four nose piercings and yet is so sweetly polite of her sheep paddock mates.

Wesley is now marching, and has learned so many little adorable things.  From making tiny monkey, lion and chicken sounds – he’s also learned he can transport items in a little trolley and take them with him.  Honestly, I am in total rapture watching him play and discover the world around him, even though I am severely sleep deprived…my fascination is endless.  I often find myself smiling and feeling this huge sense of gratitude for him joining our lives.  Today, he was babbling away in the back seat and I was just headed home with him from the library and I was beaming hearing him.  This depth of love, is profound.

His first birthday party is this weekend.  We’ll have family over for a little party and some much deserved cake!

Mike returns in two days which is so exciting, he has been away 26 days.  It’s been a long stretch but thankfully we’ve made it through despite some adverse conditions!  I have a newfound respect for single mothers.  There have been a few rough moments, but overall it’s not been too bad.  22 of the nights Wesley was not sleeping well – he’s had teeth, sickness and tummy aches, and crazy early mornings.  How do children wake so perky at 5am?  Last night there were some signs of improvement, which are so welcome!

It’s going to be so cute to see my boys reunite, and also have a little sleep break lets be honest!  I do need to recover for the next stretch, that’s obvious by this stage.  My intake of coffee is at an all time high.  One thing that has helped me with the long distance, is not focusing too long on it.  This is one of the longest stretches we’ve been apart and it wasn’t too bad.  This is also largely on account of the amount of attention given to wee Wesley.  That being said, when it does pop into my mind the longing to be held by Mike…it’s pretty powerful.  I miss him so much, I would love a reassuring and comforting cuddle!

Oh, these flowers are from Mothers Day.  Wesley was in rough shape that day with a high fever, and I was given a few hours to rest and recover by Mike’s mum Ann.  She brought the flowers to me from herself and Wesley’s great grandmother.  I wish they could have stayed like this forever, they are like works of art in this image.  So beautiful…flowers just feel like colour magic in any space you find them!

This is a little list of some new music I’ve been listening to the past couple of weeks…if you’re so inclined to give them a try – just follow the link to listen.

Living Days – Thrill Anybody

Woodkid – Run Boy Run

Twin Wave – Matador

The Moth & The Flame – Young & Unafraid

Christine and the Queens – iT

Eat More Cake – Heat of the Night

Georgi Kay – Ipswich – This track features on a New Zealand television program called Top of the Lake – which if you’re looking for something grim, and beautifully shot…check it out.  Have you seen it?  So compelling…and twisted .

Banks. – Trainwreck

x

Holly

Metamorphosis of a Butterfly

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Today we got to witness the final stages of metamorphosis for one of the monarch butterflies hanging in our kitchen.  Although the emergence was quite sudden, the darkening actually took about 24 hours to complete.  We’d been rushing over and checking on it often to make sure we were able to watch the final show.  It did not disappoint!

Such spectacular colours. 

Have you had the pleasure of watching this in person?

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!

Pukaha Mount Bruce

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-43-48-pmWesley and I visited Pukaha Mount Bruce this afternoon whilst Mike was helping some friends on a farm nearby.  Mount Bruce is a wildlife restoration centre that focuses on reestablishing endangered and rare New Zealand birds.  The centre spans some 940 hectares of dense native forest and is a beautiful place to hike and enjoy a native forest.

We spent a few hours walking around taking in all the gorgeous colours and sounds.  At the moment the forest is absolutely teeming with cicada.  The sounds of summer calling in the humid air!

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-34-35-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-37-14-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-08-pm Conservation has been taking place within the park since the 1960’s and is maintained by international volunteers throughout the seasons.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-43-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-55-pmHere you’ll find encounters with endangered (and rare white) kiwi, eels, and quite a few beautiful birds including: kokako, kaka, hihi, takahe, kakariki and whio.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-34-18-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-56-55-amThe kaka particularly captivate me.  The dark wine colours of their feathers paired with their cheeky personalities make them irresistible to watch.  There are roughly 160 kaka in the forest that are all free to travel and are indeed quite wild.  They have an impressive range of calls…some almost gremlin like and others quite sweet.  screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-40-42-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-41-55-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-42-08-pm

If you are near Masterton, I highly recommend checking this place out.  It’s not to be missed!