Friday, 31 January 2014


These beauties were all photographed in my Mum's garden.

I don't remember seeing them this colourful before.

I'm wondering if they were supposed to be this colour or if there has been a bit of cross-breeding going on.

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

ABC Wednesday - C


The Monarch Caterpillar to be precise.

This caterpillar is very colourful and has rapidly chewed his way through a huge amount of leaves.

Time to "check-out" and create the chrysalis that will magically convert him into a beautiful Monarch butterfly.

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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Black-backed Gull

The Southern Black-backed Gull

This large gull is a a native of New Zealand and is found from the coast to the farmland.  It is one of New Zealand's few native birds that is not protected, and in fact is sometimes quite a pest on farms around lambing time.    

We spotted this chick along the beach at Kapiti Island.  He blended in to the stony beach and was hard to spot until he moved.  They are 3 years old before they molt into the sleek black and white adult plumage.  Until then they are a grey mottled colour.

The mother arrived on the scene and let us know she was unimpressed with the fact that we were admiring her baby.  It is easy to see why they do so well, not many animals would stand up to them. 

She kept an eye on us to make sure we left.  A very handsome looking bird, but not one I would argue with.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Shearing the Lambs.

Shearing time for the lambs.

On Monday all the lambs were shorn.  This is them all penned up the night before to stay dry and be ready for an early start.

This is Kelly being shorn.  When she's done she goes for a slide down the hole and ends up under the floor.

This is Kelly coming out under the shed and heading for the grass.

Everyone is heads down eating for a while when they come out, catching up on not eating for a few hours.

This is Kelly later on in the morning, looking all ears and a lot smaller.  A good job done and she's still cute.

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ABC Wednesday - B

B is for Beau...

A big cuddly beautiful boy.  He's almost 3 and is ready for action at a moments notice.

Beau loves the water, and is in it any chance he gets.

But at the end of a long day, he is always ready to sit and have a chat.

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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

ABC Wednesday - A

A is for.....Abby

Abby is my Mother's awesome dog.  She is a Black Labrador/Collie cross and is about 10 years old now.

Abby is an amazing rabbit catcher and shows no sign of aging when it comes to catching her dinner.  She has a good appetite and is always available to attack any rodents hiding in the hay barn.

After a good walk or chase all a girl wants is to jump in the nearest water trough, and then shake on anyone standing around.

At the end of the day, Abby and Luke share an aerial view of the farm.  

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Vege Garden Drama

Wasps in the Garden.

I was in the vegetable garden last week trying to tame the plants after all the warm rain we have had lately.  I have been neglecting it a bit.  I heard a bit of buzzing but didn't work out what it was until I was stung twice on the leg.  I did what every sensible gardener should do and sent my husband out to investigate.

He found the source of my problem.  I had walked passed it and not noticed.  The wasps had made a nest underneath one of the walking boards, in between the potatoes and garlic.  As we have a lovely organic garden the usual poison that is recommended for wasp nests wasn't an option.

I went straight to the internet (as you do) and found an answer that seemed too simple to be true.  Dishwash liquid and a lot of water.  The soap breaks down the outer layer of the wasp and the water drowns them, quite quickly I was assured.  

That night the men went out and did the deed:    
1)  Mesh over hole
2)  Lots of dishwash liquid squirted into hole
3)  Water from the hose to fill the hole and drown everyone - Queen, larvae, and workers.

The next morning there were only half a dozen lost workers flying around who had been sleeping outside.  They disappeared by the end of the day.

This is what was being built.  Quite a work of art, but not in my garden thanks!

Garlic was safely harvested, plaited by my daughter and is drying out in the garage.  Hopefully we will have no more invasions.

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The Weka

The New Zealand Weka is one of our iconic flightless birds.

Sometimes called a Woodhen, the Weka is a member of the Rail family.  They are 3 to 5 times larger than the Banded Rail at about 50-60cm long (20+ in).

We observed this mother and her chick on Kapiti Island.  They are curious birds and are attracted to humans in search of food scraps.

They have a varied diet from fruit and seeds to bugs, lizards, mice, rats, eggs and other ground nesting birds chicks.  Two of them were even seen attacking a stoat!

This shot of the chick took a bit of luck.  They move fast and he wasn't stopping to pose.

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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Prolific Pumpkins

The pumpkins take over.

We have had so much rain over the last month or so and the temperatures have been warm.  Ideal growing weather for everything on the farm and in the garden.

After a couple of weeks absence from the vege garden while we were busy doing other summer jobs, I returned to find the pumpkins were taking over the place.

They have climbed up over the lemon trees,

and have completely swamped the black currants.

It's like living in a science fiction movie.  He who hesitates in the garden will be grown over!  

I think it's time to show them who's boss and create a little balance.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Kaka

We got to meet this amusing and highly intelligent bird on our trip to Kapiti Island.  

This large New Zealand parrot has a reputation for solving problems - like how to get into your back pack.  They arrive out of the bush and start working on the zips.  It is amazing to watch how fast they can get them open and grab what's inside.

The North Island Kaka is approx 45cm long (almost 18in) and weighs about 475g.  Their South Island cousin is a bit bigger.

They eat berries, seeds, nectar, grubs and tourists belongings.  A very resourceful bird.

They are very entertaining to watch and are not afraid to land on hats, bags or shoulders.

The Kaka's are doing well on Kapiti Island as it is a nature reserve and all predators have been removed.

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