Wednesday, 26 February 2014

ABC Wednesday - G


Soon to become glorious Grapefruit Marmalade.

Ginkgo Biloba

A unique species of tree with no living relatives.  It is a living fossil similar to fossils dating back 270  million years. Native to China it has a number of medicinal uses.  It's getting ready for autumn, you can see the edge of the leaves starting to turn gold before winter.


Gathering wherever people linger and ready to grab any food that heads their way.

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Saturday, 22 February 2014


This photo was taken this week just as the sun disappeared behind Kapiti Island and then behind the South Island, bringing what can't always be seen into view.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Foggy Farm Morning

The last 2 mornings we have been surrounded in fog, then by mid morning we are into hot weather and clear blue skies.  

We don't get a lot of fog here, but the ground temperature at the moment is pretty high and there must be some cool air coming in at night - I think it's a sign that autumn is on the way.

A Kapiti Sunset

The sun setting behind Kapiti Island on a clear summer night.

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

ABC Wednesday - F


This is the flower of the fantastic Feijoa bush.  They were introduced to New Zealand in the 1920's and have become a favourite autumn fruit.

The Feijoa flowers in summer, and the fruit starts falling from late March.   The fruit is very versatile and can be used in jams, cakes, muffins, curries, sauces & wine. The fruit also freezes well.

This is the young fruit forming.  They are egg shaped and fall to the ground when ripe. The birds don't seem to notice them until they fall so don't impact on the amount we can harvest.

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Saturday, 15 February 2014


New Zealand has 42 unique species and subspecies of Cicadas - the biggest is the Chorus Cicada which has a wingspan as wide as your palm, In summer the males can be heard singing in chorus.

We must be having a good year for them, the noise is deafening under this row of Poplars.  I can't imagine how many there are in the trees.

They live under ground as nymphs for up to 3 years shedding their skin as they grow.  Then one night they burrow out and climb onto a post or tree trunk for the final shed.  We see lots of these empty cases around. They fly off in the morning and after mating the females lay their eggs on grasses or trees.  The adults live for 2 to 4 weeks.

  This is one of the male Chorus Cicadas who was busy singing his heart out while I took this photo.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A wander around the farm

Mid Summer on the Farm.

The Bulls are growing and looking very happy, yes that is a happy bull face.

The cows are taking it easy - so much food, we need to sit down and have a siesta mid day.

The dogs love running through the long grass hoping to surprise a rabbit or two. So far it's been a very good summer for us with enough rain every now and then to keep the grass growing.

ABC Wednesday - E

A subject for the letter 'E' was eluding me this week.
What exciting, extraordinary thing could I photograph to engage my audience?

Then as I arrived home my eye was drawn to the little Golden Elm tree.

This endearing little Elm is growing very energetically and putting on an extra special show amongst its green elder companions.

What an exceptional tree!

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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Variable Oyster Catcher

The Variable Oyster Catcher is found only in New Zealand and is protected due to its low numbers.  It varies in colour from black and white to pure black and has a red bill, red-orange eye ring and pink legs.  

It is larger than the Pied Oyster Catcher at 48cm (nearly 19in) long and can live up to 27 years.

They can be very noisy and this one was not shy about telling us to move on.  I think there might have been a nest nearby as he tried to lead us away.

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

ABC Wednesday - D


Discovery is the name of a delightful apple tree in my orchard.  I found it a few years ago whilst looking for heritage fruit trees.  I wanted the old varieties as they are much more disease resistant than modern ones, and are often much more delicious to eat.

Discovery originates from the United Kingdom and dates back to 1900-1949.  This one has never needed any spraying or pest management, and is a healthy, care free tree for the domestic orchard.

The Blackbirds are finding them very delectable at the moment, but we are still getting our share to eat and freeze.

An apple tree I would definitely recommend!

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