Wednesday, 27 November 2013

 A flicker of movement on the verandah caught our eye, and suddenly there was Percy Pigeon admiring himself in the rainwater on the glass-topped table.

 He wasn't only there for the narcissistic opportunity, he was thirsty, too.

It was quite surprising how much he drank before flying off, undoubtedly at Maximum All-up Weight.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of digging new spuds from the garden.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Great excitement today when one of the twins discovered a fantail youngster on his first foray from the nest. Anxious parents tended their kid whenever they could find space among the nosy humans.

The absence of a tail didn't deter him from flying, and he made a short hop to the trailer attached to the farmbike. He flew in a manner resembling a bumblebee - furiously beating wings and a slow methodical advance.
By pressing my finger against his breast, he accepted a ride on my hand, while his supremely handsome features were recorded for posterity on my camera. He then flew off and perched on a nearby shed where his parents were able to refuel him and coax him into a tree. Great excitement for three 10-year old granddaughters - and granddad, too! 

You can see what he will look like when he grows up on my New Zealand birds page.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

At a BBQ on Saturday to honour daughter Kathryn's birthday, granddaughter Meaghan and her Dad Ricky enjoy a light-hearted moment. For those who may think otherwise, Meaghan is merely toying with the bottle - not bent on consuming its contents.

 Siblings Caitlin and Meaghan.

Birthday girl Kathryn with her husband Daniel. The intent look from my youngest can only be interpreted as, "Gee, Dad's a pest with that camera."
Twins Bailey and Caitlin with their brother Cameron doing what kids do best at family functions - ripping into quantities of ice-cream and jelly.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Granddaughter Hayli with her pal, Louie on 13th December 2012. 

She couldn't wait to get re-acquainted on her arrival from Fiji late last night and we had to to rouse Louie from his camp for a quick 'hullo' before bed.

Getting re-acquainted this morning, it is apparent that Louie is about four times the size he was less than a year ago. While Hayli is a bit taller, she hasn't fattened like Louie. Must be the grass!

Friday, 15 November 2013

 It is the time of roses. 
Rose bush after rose bush bursting forth in a display of colour, beauty and perfume, almost as if in competition.

 It is also the time of the sprouting of vegetables. Unfortunately, Bertie Blackbird's and Tomasi Thrush's communities consider any young shoots fair game, as can be seen on the left-hand end of the row of beans. So the project for the day has been to construct a couple of bird-netting frames in an attempt to increase our share of the spoils of the garden. We live in hope that the new frame will be an improvement on the one in the upper part of the picture
"Er, hullooo. Did I sleep in?"
The first blossoms appeared on the nashi tree at least a couple of months ago, and have since transformed into rapidly developing fruit. Just what inspired this late bloom can only be surmised at.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Yesterday, 12th November, was the birthday of Better Half’s father, who was born in 1918, and fittingly named Victor by the nurses who attended his arrival, in honour of the ending of the First World War which finished  at 1100 hours on the 11th of November. This was 2300 hours on the 11th in New Zealand, just a few hours before he was born. It wasn't until the following day that the majority of New Zealanders heard of the cessation of hostilities.

Vic passed away in 2002. He was a veteran of Greece, Crete and the Breakout at Minqar Qaim before being wounded on 22nd January 1943 near El-Aziziya, Libya. He was just 25 miles south of Tripoli which was taken the following day, when he was hit by artillery shrapnel and spent the following 6 weeks in a forward tent hospital before he was well enough to be airlifted in a Liberator to Cairo.

When one reads about how this, the First World War, started (I am currently reading Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 by Max Hastings) and the idiots that started it, and the monumental egos that were only surpassed by the incompetence of the political and military leaders of the day, one wonders how some dribbling morons can convince a populace to once more take up arms at a later, date.

I came across an amazingly perceptive remark by a wounded German captured by the Russians, and who failed to survive the move back to an ambulance train. The stricken soldier said “The great lords have quarreled, and we must pay for it with our blood, our wives and children.”

As Maxwell notes, most of his comrades on both sides would have agreed that his judgement on the struggle was hard to gainsay.

Lest We Forget

Saturday, 9 November 2013

While on a stroll around the paddocks, we spotted an open gate, which we knew had been closed by my better half the day before. We are fussy about gates being closed properly, as previous painful experience proved a a powerful educator. Nothing like a a mob of boisterous cattle rampaging among the fruit trees and over your garden to drive the point home, eh!

The following day, I was spraying thistles and noticed bullock No. 82 manipulating the gate latch with his tongue. Although we had wondered how the gate had been opened the previous day, I wasn't prepared to believe that one of the paddock-guests was capable of removing the gate latch with his tongue. But there he was, tongue curling and slobbering, jiggling the latch until finally it dropped and hung on its chain. 

Those of us fortunate enough to have opposing digits can open these latches relatively easily, but I'd defy anyone to do it with his tongue!

Bullock No. 82 will bear watching - and I might have to consider getting him an education!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The need for a planter box on the verandah became our Saturday project. My better half was in charge of design, and I in charge of construction. We collaborated on sourcing the materials from the off-cut stack in Watership Down. The box is 800 mm long, 270 mm deep and holds a bit more than 20 litres of soil - in this case strawberry mix. We anticipate a bumper crop - if the avian fraternity don't beat us to it.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Thrush decided to raise their offspring in the rose bush right in front of the house this year. Unfortunately for the occupants of the eggs, Mrs. Thrush is constantly being scared off by our frequent passage past the nest.

Proud father treated us to an hour's worth of inspired song.