Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Holiday - Masterton

In early March we sorted everything out for the house sitters, packed up and headed off for a few weeks' tour of the North Island. On the first day we made it as far as Waiau, then caught the Picton ferry (Bluebridge) the next day. The badly damaged highway from Kaikoura to Picton has been open for a while now but is far from finished. It took us roughly 45 mins longer than usual thanks to roadworks. It was quite sobering to see the huge changes wrought by the earthquake, including large sections of former seabed now above the water level. The kids were very excited to see many dolphins (or maybe porpoises?) from the van, jumping completely out of the water, as we headed up the coast. There was still some snow on the mountains, and the scenery was, as always, beautiful.

We had a very calm crossing then got takeaways and drove to Masterton to stay with Don and Anna. We had a small look around Masterton, but our main trip out was to Mt Holdsworth, where we camped about 5 years ago maybe.

Skimming stones

The kids had fond memories of blackberry pancakes, so we picked a pile of blackberries. They ended up in pancakes and blackberry and apple crumble.

We also had a picnic lunch at the park and foraged for hazelnuts; the kids found a lot. And there was also a trip to Schoc Chocolates, ridiculously expensive but very delicious, the sort of thing we only buy on holiday (and then only 2 each!)

We had a lovely visit, so nice to see Don and Anna and family in their natural habitat 😁

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Holiday project

Our holiday project was to rebuild the garden steps.  They were looking tired when we moved in, then collapsed maybe a year ago. (They were just earth held up by boards and stakes)

From above

Digging out in progress

We dug out the whole area and found there were already steps under all the dirt.  They look pretty tidy but they are very difficult to walk on, especially going from the middle step up to the concrete which is a long way up and very awkward.

 So we decided to build new steps over the top.  David had to take out some of the bricks at each side, and also deal with the fact that the path sloped downward and to one side (you can see in the photo it sags to the left).  Also, the concrete pad at the top is not level either.

David built a wooden frame and he and Daniel filled it with concrete.  Now we have decent tidy steps which are easy to walk up.

Next job is to fill in the sides, mulch and plant.  I'm planning to put some prostrate thyme down the sides as it will cover the ground without bushing out over the steps.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Aramoana outing

On Tuesday we went off out to Aramoana for a holiday outing.  The kids have never been out there, in fact David and I have only been once, about 20 years ago.  The weather was lovely although the wind was a bit thin.  We saw a few seals and some baby terns.  We took sunscreen but forgot to apply it so nearly everyone got burnt to some degree.  It was a good day out though.
Stopped at the Port Chalmers lookout to look at the view

Some kind of beach celery

Couldn't get right to the end of the Mole, the road was sealed

Many of the trees in the Aramoana Arboretum were dead or ailing... Dodonea viscosa

Some trees just aren't suited to growing in sand...

Tern chicks

Piles and piles of turret shells

Weird circle of marks around this dead fish

A kite surfer was enjoying the wind (far right)

Red sand worms which we have never seen before

Little Blue Penguin

Bluebottle jellyfish aka Portugese Man'o'war

Way back in June... Renaissance feast

Our poor blog has been much neglected of late...
I went on this morning to update it and found a draft from back in June.  These pictures are from the homeschool renaissance feast.  The girls and I did a lot of sewing and came up with some costumes. Bryony made her French hood herself, it turned out really well.  First there was a market which we were late for, but still managed to sell a lot of fudge.  Then a battle, then a feast, a very impressive feast in fact.  It was all lots of fun and we're looking forward to this year's when the theme will be the Regency and the Battle of Waterloo - at least we won't have to make so many outfits for that one :)

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Bargain of the week

I got this from Rummage, the local tip shop, for the dressup box.  On checking the label later, we found it was silk, a Trelise Cooper dress.  Not bad for $1 :D

Monday, 19 February 2018

Planes and things

Our last outing was to the National Transport and Toy Museum. We wandered about looking at things for a couple of hours.

Bryony was particularly taken with the huge dollshouses.
Eva and Petra were very keen on the Sylvanian display

There were lots of vehicles

This one was called  "Rocket Man" but had no further explanation

Motorised wheelbarrow

This one inspired a bit of nostalgia

And some were just plain ugly

 There was a skydiving landing place just up the road

 but I think the favourite of most people was the anti-aircraft gun which could be raised/lowered and rotated.

 And of course the pedal cars

At night, and when we left the camp, we smoothed out the dust dug up beside a rabbit hole in the middle of our camp in the hope of finding footprints

Sparrow footprints

Rabbit and hedgehog prints
On Saturday morning we packed up and headed home to showers and comfy beds.  On the whole it was a very good holiday :)