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?

The first crop of onions.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-37-50-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-33-16-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-01-at-9-04-17-amscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-27-13-pmTo put a seed into the soil is to believe in the future.  You trust that earth, water and time will bring you nourishing food.  Time has brought us 8 red onions and a random white one.

They grew in rather close quarters, and a tiny lesson has been learned.  We must plant them at a greater space to allow for bigger bulbs next year.

I’ve trimmed them and foolishly placed said onions onto the mantle in our kitchen.  Now, I am airing out our whole home from the intense perfume of fresh onions.

Another novice mistake.

Now they sit on the porch airing out for a few days before I store them in the cupboard.

Do you have a recipe that features onions that you love?  I’ll probably need to get through these red ones rather quick!  

We’ve been misted today in a dainty almost microscopic rain.  You know the kind that lightly falls on your face and skin, it feels refreshing?  Eventually it saturates you to the core, and yet at the same time is lovely because it is warm.  Summer rain, is so pleasant.

This constant rain has made New Zealand’s soil fertile and created an optimal growing season in many regions.  Palmerston North has had one of the wettest summers on record.  We can only help but flash back to our struggles in Eneabba trying to grow our food in the hot heat of summer.  We watered it endlessly.  Many of our plants died.  Here, we hope for some more sunlight to help ripen our green tomatoes. Though, I’ve heard they are good fried green anyway!

The Cresswell & Hall Gathering

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-03-59-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-01-29-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-01-47-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-02-05-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-03-08-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-02-15-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-02-48-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-02-at-3-04-15-pmLast night we spent time at Wesley’s great grandma Isabelle’s house.  She regularly hosts the whole family for special occasions, where we all tuck in and enjoy a potluck meal together.  Whether it’s sending a cousin off on a new adventure or welcoming overseas family – we’ve been enjoying these gatherings the past year.

We were all brought together to welcome Mike’s sister Stacey and her partner Dan, from Melbourne.

The house was full to the brim with plenty of laughing children, Aunt’s, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents and one Great Grandma… it was beautiful.  Being so far from my own family, it really helped to lift my heart.