The week beginning the 10th of August 2019.
Saturday the 10th
Drosera capensis

Being carnivorous obviously doesn't prevent you being eaten, even by creatures similar to your prey.  I guess that's the way of the natural world in general but struck me as amusing here: the white flecks on the green stems are aphids.

This plant, Drosera capensis (Alba), is the only one currently doing at all well.  I haven't yet worked out where to grow them, it being too cold outside, too dry inside.  I'm experimenting on a windowsill in the back porch but that may still be too cold.

I'm now trying them in a light and warm area but in the water-filled saucers to help keep the humidity up in their vicinity.

Drosera capensis

This is Drosera nidiformis and it has mostly collapsed, although it is still producing the beads of stickiness, that presumably signal it has not given up on life entirely.


Elizabeth, Sarah (and Wanairangi), Miriam and Samuel all came out so the youngsters could do some work on the platters Sarah planned to use at Miriam's wedding feast.

When I went in to see what was happening, Stephan was working out how to create a tiered platter.

Samuel was out of the picture to the right, sanding another platter.

removing bark

And later outside, removing the bark from some Macrocarpa rings, to hopefully make them less sticky.

woman and child

While I went to move some cattle, Elizabeth took Wanairangi for a walk to entertain her.

Sunday the 11th
cat in a trap

We set out to go for a bush walk and on the way noticed that the live-capture trap was closed and inside was a very large, very unhappy, ginger cat.

Stephan carried the trap to the track and then went home for the rifle.

an escaping cat

I kept the camera trained on him, having some kind of premonition that all was not going to go to plan...

Stephan tipped the trap up onto the door end, ready to slide the door out of the way so he could shoot the cat.  In the photo you may see a ginger shape escaping through a hole in the wire mesh floor of the trap...

an escaping cat

... and quickly running away.

With sound, you'd hear a lot of astonished swearing from that direction as well - not from the cat.

live-capture trap

When carrying the trap, the treadle must have been in this position and so the cat did not get out but as soon as Stephan tipped it up onto the door end, the treadle fell back, the hole was exposed and the cat took its one lucky chance to live another life.


Trees are amazing.  This is two trunks of one Totara tree where a branch of one has melded into the other.  This can also happen between two individuals, sometimes even of different species.


Lichen on some dead Kānuka.


A better picture of Lycoperdon compactum than I took of one a few weeks ago.

native orchid

Finally, what I'd gone looking for, a minute orchid in flower.  If you didn't know what you were looking for, you wouldn't even see it (directly in line with my index finger).

native orchid

Gorgeous, weird thing.

Corybas cheesemanii.

native orchid

And another, past flowering and now developing its ovary.


I've been finding many of these large toadstools in the bush this season.


And some very dainty little ones.  These, Stephan entertainingly suggested, could be fairy apartments.


This was a tiny bit of lichen I found lying on the ground, turned over and took the picture and it wasn't until I came home and put it up on the computer screen that I saw how stunning it is.


Stephan carrying a couple of bags of Sphagnum moss I had earlier plucked from the great mounds growing in the bush where it's nice and damp.

I will be able to grow some seeds and repot the pitcher plants L-J recently sent me in the mail.

Monday the 12th
hail stones

Samuel came again today to do some more work with Stephan in the shed and while they were out there, we had a hail storm, with quite large hail for these parts.


Later on, during what I'd thought was going to be a fine spell, I went to move Zella and friends out of the House paddock and back to the Windmill.  I sheltered under the Totara tree by the new yards site as the rain fell more and more heavily.

Nobody appeared with an umbrella, so I had to wait it out.  Fortunately Totara trees make very good shelter for short showers.


Then I put the big mob of cows into the House paddock to chew it down a bit.  The grass had become very thick where Zella and Glia had grazed for a while without any need to eat everything they were offered.  It would have benefited from mowing but the ground is too soft to do that now and this is a job cows do well.

flower buds

This is one of the new Sarracenia (pitcher) plants, sent to me through the mail by L-J, now potted in the Sphagnum moss we brought back yesterday.  I sent this picture to Fran and L-J to ask what the mushroom-like development is and Fran replied that it's a flower bud on the way up.

All of the carnivorous plants I'm now growing will have to be tended with care so they have no chance of escaping into the wild.  Some are of species now naturalised in parts of the country where they are becoming invasive weeds.


Spot was on heat and 787 was paying very close attention to her.  787's mother was equally interested in others on heat while pregnant, so I presume this is an inherited thing.

There is a fine mist of pine pollen floating on all the troughs.

This evening the trail camera captured our last images of the Scaup, behaving the same as usual, swimming and jumping up on to the jetty to preen her feathers but then there is no more of her at all.  It is possible she has hidden away with a nest but I'd expect to see her occasionally when she ventured out to feed.  Hopefully she has gone off to a more populous pond to find a mate, rather than that something ill has befallen her.

Tuesday the 13th

Christina is off down to Te Wai Pounamu tomorrow (the South Island) and I said I'd try to get a left-hand glove ready to go with the right-hand one I've finished and she tried on the other evening.  Early in the day today, I decided it was not going to be possible to finish in time.  I carried on knitting it this evening and, when I was about to start the third finger, it dawned on me that I was following the pattern for the right glove again!  Two rights do not make a pair!  That could have been embarrassing.

Wednesday the 14th

The hybrid Rātā-Pōhutukawa tree in the House paddock has proved very popular with the animals, since they managed to demolish its protective surround.  They can't do it much damage now, although the protection was necessary to guard against this sort of activity when it was small.

Some trees can cope with animals trampling the ground around their roots and others cannot.  I'm not so sure Pōhutukawa can, having a lot of surface root structures but in any case the tree is a bit of an oddity, a stranger to this environment, given to us by Roger, from one of his film jobs several years ago.  If it dies we'll replant with something more locally sourced.


All the way out to the Frog paddock the other day I had to push Dreamliner 787 along the lane; but in this situation she's often quite helpful, willing to follow me to new grazing when she can see it.


Another of our inconvenient cows, Ellie 119, who often fails to come out of the paddock with the others, must have been alarmed by their departure from the paddock today and came galloping across from where she'd been grazing.

native orchid

We put the cows Over the Road and then I went for a wander in the bush peninsula, looking for orchids.

These tiny flowers are hard to photograph but I always like to try.

Thursday the 15th

After months of attempting to see the doctor who carried out the hysterectomy to which I had to submit earlier this year, I finally managed to get an appointment with her and she saw me (and Stephan) today.  She is a lovely woman and was very apologetic that the health system had stupidly prevented me from getting to see her when that was what was required.  Sometimes our health provision is far better than people often think, sometimes it's dense and unhelpful and navigating through it requires tenacity, something we often don't possess when unwell.

We had a long conversation about a letter I'd written to her when I was not allowed to see her in person, detailing my concerns about several unhelpful aspects surrounding the surgery and my recovery time in Whāngārei Hospital.  I figure I'm probably not alone in finding aspects of the treatment there troublesome but most people just put such things behind them and don't say anything.  I always want to address failings because I know they will happen to others after me and if there is a chance I can make something better by speaking up, I will do so.

She will take my letter and concerns to her departmental head and potentially prompt some positive change.

And I have been referred for a CT Scan to find out why my middle still hurts.  It's been five months now and I should be feeling a lot better than I do.

Afterwards Stephan went home with Samuel to do some more work on the wedding platters and I went out to lunch!  I met with a young woman I had offered to assist, whose life is currently not all it could be.

When I was a teenager and was about to leave school, we were all given a book titled Know How or something like that, full of information about how to do everything in the adult world, from opening a bank account (which we'd probably all already done as part of the school savings accounts programme), to renting a flat, to applying for a job.  When I went to Auckland just after I turned 17, I stayed with family for about six weeks before going out and finding a flat on my own.  When I moved out of that flat after a few months, I already knew to use the Post Office's mail redirection service and thus prevented an early instance of identity theft when my dodgy previous flatmates tried to have the telephone reinstated in my (misspelt) name and the account information was redirected to me, so I was able to foil their attempted fraud!

Weirdly, despite having almost every bit of information available to them via their pocket computers, many young people seem incredibly uninformed about the world and how to operate in it.

Maybe I can help my new acquaintance or maybe not.  I'm willing to try.

Friday the 16th

Stephan has been allocated ham cooking duty for the wedding.  He got it out of the freezer on Wednesday night and soaked it for 24 hours and this morning made up some flour and water pastry to cover it during cooking.  Then it was into the oven for about six hours.

weather station instruments

This cheap weather station I bought four years ago hasn't worked very well for some time and when its ability to even read the outside temperature failed last month, I resolved to buy a new one.  I like knowing, in particular, how cold it is outside before I either go out or before I decide how well to stoke the fire at night - one doesn't like to be too hot, nor too cold.

I will have to have a bit of a play around with this old gear and see whether removing spiders and their webs makes any difference to its working.

wooden platters

Friday afternoon and the platters are all ready, the cooked ham is chilled and in the chilli-bin on ice, ready to go into whichever fridge has room and we're off to town to meet the rest of the family to do whatever is required in preparation for tomorrow's wedding.

people in a hall

The inside of the St Saviour's Anglican Church hall, where tomorrow's wedding party will gather after the church ceremony.

Everyone received instructions from Sarah, who'd planned everything with great precision, then set out tables, platters, bowls, chairs around the walls for people who wished to sit for a while.

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