28 Feb ’13
The romantic era of steam. It holds an irresistible attraction for both the Lovely Man and I. I’m not any sort of petrol head, but I’ve long held a fascination for all the shiny brass bits, the might and the power of steam driven engines. I love the fact that you can see all the working parts, pistons and cams and gears.
The Steam Traction Society, based just outside of Feilding, held its Great Manawatu Steam Fair over the last weekend. We packed up yet another picnic (I’m getting well practiced at baking up goodies on Saturday afternoon for our Sunday excursions.), gathered up our kids and a couple of hangers-on and headed over.
Steam Traction Engines
Wow. The sight of a field full of working traction engines is quite something. I didn’t count how many, they kept moving around, but there must have been at least eight. Which might not sound like much, but truly it was a sight to behold, all chuffing and smoking stacks. And huge wheels. Awesome.
First up we all jumped in the people carrier trailer for a turn around the paddock behind a smoking, steaming beast. Even Billy had to smile as we lurched along.
Trailer ride behind old smokey
That’s smoke in the air, not lack of focus.
And the best bit was yet to come. We could have a turn at actually driving them! Continue reading
6 Feb ’13
On Friday afternoon we headed up to Trev’s bach at Mangaweka for a weekend away. We had no particular plans in mind, just hoped the weather would continue in its glorious, sunny vein so we could take the kids swimming on Saturday.
It did, so we did! After a leisurely morning at the house and a “fix your own sandwich” lunch we packed up the car and headed out. Trev’s neighbour had loaned us the key to a gate allowing access down to the Kawatau Stream, to a new swimming hole that we’d not visited before. Wow – perfect.
A shady spot under the old manuka trees, right on the river bank, perfect to set up our picnic table and chairs. Always the table and chairs – why not picnic in comfort, I say. Slathering sunscreen on the kids is becoming increasingly time consuming. Half a tube (almost!) is required to cover Jake’s back, and I just about need a step ladder to reach his shoulders. So once they were all coated and protected from the sun, in they went. I regretted not having brought my own swimming togs.The water was the perfect temperature, having meandered for miles over sun-warmed rocks. And crystal clear, much clearer than I’ve ever seen the Rangitikei River, just around the corner at Toe Toe Road.
Kids in the Stream
As the kids splashed and swam about in the company of their father and under the watchful eye of their Grandad, I took the opportunity to head up to the quarry for a mini photo walk on my own. The stone crushing equipment makes for some interesting shots.
Stone crushing machinery, Stand clear
It is HOT when you’re surrounded by dust and piles upon piles of rocks just soaking up all that sun and radiating it back on all sides. Continue reading
1 Feb ’13
We’ve been attending the Lion’s Small Holder’s auction for years.
2011 – “Every January the Ashhurst Pohangina Lions Club holds its annual Small Holder’s Auction on Andrew McDonald’s farm. This is the Club’s major fund raiser for the year. Thousands of people make the drive from Palmerston North and surrounding areas to check out the livestock and chattels that are auctioned off in small lots.”
2012 – “Every year we take the short drive up the Pohangina Valley to attend the Lions Club’s Small Holders Auction. It is the Club’s major fund raiser for the year and always worth a look.”
Each year the event seems to get bigger. According to the paper, it’s been running for over 30 years. So this Saturday just gone, Nathan and I jumped in the Spitfire and tootled up the valley for a look. (We’re liberated now that the kids can be left to their own devices for a few hours.)
I loved this wonderful old retro freezer. I don’t know if it’s a runner, but as everything was made to last back in the day, I bet it is. Hopefully it went to a home where it’s luscious curves will be appreciated.
The organisers had set up rows A -H to lay out the lots for the auction; they had Continue reading
January 26 ’13
I’ve been reading some great blogs lately. There are many very talented people, all around the world and in my own back yard. And through the magic that is the interwebs I am able to share in and enjoy those talents so easily. Words that would have, until not long ago, languished unread in journals, notebooks and diaries. Beautiful words that have transported me to foreign lands and new experiences, made me cry. Witty drawings and observations of life that’ve made me laugh out loud. Insightful and thoughtful commentaries, and some of the most ignorant nonsense too, if I take the time to read the Comments sections.
And so I think I really must get back to it. Perhaps someone over on that side of the world might be interested in what’s happening down here in NZ. I miss the writing, I wish I had more formal training in the art. I have discovered that I’m afraid to use semicolons – I really don’t know how. I love photography, though I second guess myself constantly. I don’t know if I want to set myself any tasks or timetables now. I wonder if setting Portraits as an aim last year is what put me off. I’m finding that I just like ‘taking pictures’ for the fun of it. No constraints. I know I need to teach myself how to use off camera lighting, but maybe I’ll get to that in the winter. In the dark days when I don’t have so much glorious natural light to work with.
Last weekend we packed up the kids and headed south for a family day out with Gran, Greg and Daniela. Our initial plan for the day was to visit the sculpture gardens at Efil Doog in the Akatarawa Valley. It’s a gorgeous drive north from Upper Hutt through farmland and native bush, the road narrow and a little scary. Farmhouses and cottage industries are tucked in along the road, glimpses of the river splash along the valley floor. Daniela used to work at the property neighbouring the garden, so she’d arranged a visit for us. Soon Efil Doog will be closed to visitors, so we’re lucky and privileged to be able to experience this wonderful place.
Efil Doog Garden
The most unexpected creatures lurch out from behind trees, rise up out of the ground, float weirdly under the surface of ponds. The fantastical sculptures are a delight. Shirley’s collection of bonsai trees in their shade house are inspirational. But I think the kids were most enchanted with the wildlife – dragonflies, an eel, swimming spiders and frogs! Or maybe it was me who was enchanted.
This little frog was quite happy to pose for photos, and didn’t seem at all bothered when the dragonfly landed on his back. Continue reading