Monday, August 15, 2011

It is hard being an animal when it snows ...

Christmas, our pet lamb has had it hard. His mum rejected him so he has had to stand on his own four hooves from an early age. Well tonight, his mum and brother are shivering in the paddock and is staying in a nice little house made from bales of hay and corrugated iron!

The cows on the other hand are having a hard time of it. Tomorrow I will be moving the sheep into the other paddock and I will be giving the cows the shed ... at least they will use it unlike the sheep!

Once in 50 year storm

New Zealand is currently being hit by a 'once in 50 years storm'. The system that has brought the snow stretches 6000 miles from Antarctica to Papua New Guinea. The snow is expected to last until the end of the week and our pigs, cows ate sheep are already starting to complain - the poor things!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Strawberry Bags

Its July in New Zealand so it is time to prepare the poly tunnel for the early crops. I wanted to try some early strawberries this year but we have already planted potatoes, tomatoes and egg plants in the soil and this means it is no longer suitable for planting strawberries due to a virus. So, this means that planting in bags needs trying.
I have taken a feed sack, un-stitched it, and sewn across the bottom and the middle with sea fishing line. I have then attached some handles that I had to hand stitch. Each plant hole has been re-inforced with some sticky tape and a cris-cross cut made. The compost has come from my compost heap. There are some 22 strawberry plants which should produce a reasonable crop. The back wall of the poly tunnel will also be planted with strawberry bags.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

East Riding Free Tarmac Club

It would seem that after UK MP Graham Stuart was taken to task over his 'free tarmac' it is reported this morning's Hull Daily Mail that another East Riding Tory politician, Cllr Charlie Bayram, has joined the 'East Riding Free Tarmac Club'.

This whole episode confirms my belief that these politician's are not fit to hold public office.

Monday, July 25, 2011

After the Quake the Snow

After the earthquakes, Christchurch is being hit with the worst snow for 15 years. The buses have been withdrawn from town, the airport is closed and the police and advising only essential travel should be undertaken.

So, it is a fine time to give birth if you are a ewe! We found these two lambs this morning when we went to check the stock. They were both very cold and near death. One of them is perking up after being given a feed but it is too late for the other one.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

6.0 EQ Christchurch

We have survived the 6.0 EQ. After the 5.5 I drove into town to collect Jake & Kirtsy from school in Christchurch. The senior school was on the field - so I collected Jake. However, the prep school, was still in their building - I am not sure why they had not evacuated athough I have asked the Rector. I collected Kirsty from her classroom and we headed towards the car. As soon as we left the building a 6.0 stuck. I had difficulty standing. However, we all left in one piece although I suspect they will not be back for a few days.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Food Glorious Food ....

Its the time of year when my scouting friends - Ladle, Stitch & Broom make our annual pilgrimage to the west coast of the south island. This year we are planning to take a group of 10 scouts to make a knife from a piece of steel and a lump of wood. We always go over before the the camp on a 'reconnaissance mission'.

My task has been to provide some of the food. We will be eating out for the evening meals as there will be no scouts to do the washing up!

I have been out in the garden this morning and had a bit of a forage.

So, we have potatoes, cucumber, courgette, carrots, parsnips, onions, corn on the cob and some tomatoes.

Men, and women, cannot live on veggies alone so I had a rummage in the freezer. I pulled out a duck which has been roasted and the meat stripped. I also found some kuni kuni bacon - it is a little fatty but quite tasty. The chickens provided the eggs and my wife very kindly let me take our last camembert!

Everything you see above has been grown or made on our lifestyle block. The chaps (actual and honorary!) have 9 hours to let me know if I have forgotten anything.

I think we are going to be eating very well!

PS. I have not forgotten the green salad Ladle - that is scheduled for lunchtime!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Here rests the case for the Pussecution!

For more than a few months we have had a nightime visitor. He lets himself in to the house, eats the food and often falls asleep on one of the beds. Afterwhich he goes outside and beats up one of our poor defenceless cats.

We have complained to the neighbours but they don't believe us! But now we have the evidence! So who is this beneath our bed?

And who is this posing (under protest) with me?

It looks like Jimmy to me! Notice how he looks away not wanting to be recognised! Here rests the case for the pussecution!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

This never used to happen when I lived in the UK ....

When I lived in the UK I used to go sea fishing out of Bridlington with Peter Firth on the Rachel K charter boat. There were the old time when the trips were canceled due to bad weather or not enough people wanted to go out to make it financial viable.

I was due to go fishing this morning with the RSA Rangiora fishing section out of Motunau Beach. However the trip has been canceled due to threat of tsunami caused by the Japanese earthquake. It wouldn't be so bad but a trip last year was canceled due to a Chilean earthquake! It just goes to show that Kiwi's will only cancel fishing for something really significant.

My heart goes out to the Japanese nation as we all come to terms with this huge tragedy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Office - Episode 2 - Scales House Re-visted

On Sunday 6th March 2011 we were allowed back into the office in Christchurch cbd post the M6.3. I was joined by Nick, Bart Andrae, Tian Neil & Mike to recover items of value from the office - an assortment of desktop computers, lcd monitors, keyboards, mice, routers and personal gear.

In the integration team area had taken quite a hit with one of the desks having collapsed.

The consultant area, where I sit, was a bit of a mess .

The sales area had been subject to some flooding. I can only assume this came from the rain over the weekend so the building must now leak rather badly.

The stairwells were quite badly damaged but they were too dark to take a photo. I understand it will be at least 12 months before we get to return to Scales house.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake 6.3

I had been out in the city to get my hair cut and returned to my desk at 12:45PM At 12 50PM the 6.3 earthquake struck. It was so violent. The 5 storey office building started to sway and twist. I dived beneath my desk. My computer fell off my desk, coffee went everywhere. Ceiling panels fell out, filing cabinets toppled over. When it finally stopped, I grabbed my keys and went for the emergency exits. Bits of the concrete structure had fallen into the stairwells. Outside there was broken glass everywhere.

On the pavement outside, there was an aftershock. The land was moving like it was alive. Four men carried a young girl to the hospital - she had a blue face so I fear the worse. People were crying, being hugged, desperately trying to contact loved ones on their mobile phones. We heard stories that office buildings had collapsed - later confirmed. We saw a dust cloud rise from parts of the city - it was either a fire or buildings collapsing.

After 15 minutes I left and started walking towards my car. The pavements are all buckled, kerb stones raised. The front of buildings had collapsed. You could hear sirens and car alarms. Water was coming up from the ground due to broken water mains. I crossed Mortimer Square and people were sat around supporting each other.

I eventually got to my car and drove to Jake's school. There is liquified sand and water on the road. The school chapel is missing part of its wall and roof. The bridge over the stream is all buckled. All the pupils are on the school field. I signed my son out and drove via the side streets to Harewood in search of some diesel - I didn't have enough have get home! I found a garage that was open and I fill up a happy man.

We are all home and our house is intact. Kirsty is on a school camp near to Akaroa but she is safe. What a day! The death toll is 65 souls and set to rise.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Shaken but not Stirred

Early Saturday morning we were woken at 04:36am by a high speed train that was rumbling past our bed room window. Given we don't have train line anywhere near it woke both me and Yvonne up. The bedroom started to move from side to side. Jake and Kirsty came through to our bedroom as the shaking continued. We heard breaking glass. The shaking continued. We all assumed ...... its an earthquake .... and the shaking continued for a minute or more.

We turned on the tv and .... nothing Dorkland was still asleep. I started a thread on and we learnt the quake was 7.4 on the reichter scale. There was nothing on the tv until 07:30AM.

We suffered damage. Two wine bottles fell from a shelf in the garage. Thank-fully they were both empty!

Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, was on the telly at 0730am. I had been with Bob on Wednesday at our scout group where he had been talking to our scouts about leadership. Well, he has certainly earned his keep this weekend! I asked him a question on Wednesday, what one thing he had done that had made a difference. He said at the time that the merger of Banks Peninsula with Christchurch City council was his biggest achievement. I suspect that representing Christchurch over the last couple of days will now surpass this achievement!

We drove into Rangiora today and the place has been untouched. However, drive another 10 km down the road to Kiapoi and you will see a different picture. The town has been totally decimated. The town is built upon silt and sand. The effect of the earthquake has caused whole buildings to sink. The town centre is awash with sewage. One of my colleagues lives in the town. I understand his house will need to be demolished and totally re-built.

Yvonne had a call from one of her teacher colleagues who lives in Christchurch. He was telling her that his house has moved into next door. The whole house, foundations and everything has moved sideways by 8 foot!

At Jake and Kirsty's school in Christchurch they have just had an astro turf pitch installed. The pitch is now on two levels .... it has a 50cm shear drop in the middle! The main building has also suffered damage and the school is closed until al least Wednesday.

We hear the city is a real mess. I will no doubt find out tomorrow how bad things are when I try to get into work.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Girlie Weekend Away to Hanmer Springs

When the girls said they wanted a weekend away to Hanmer you have to arrange suitable transport.

A surprise helicopter was laid on to whisk them away.

They flew up the coast to Kaikoura.

Stopped off at the heliport to ask, 'Which way for the whales?'.

Only two whales were in the bay so they had to make do with a pod of dolphins. Times are hard!

Afterwards, they flew over Hanmer to spend some un-winding time in the hot thermal water.

Throw in a chalet with duck pond views .. and you have a perfect weekend and 4 very happy and content girls.

I got to spend the weekend looking after my dad, the kids and I had the cleaning to do ... poor me!

Mum and Yvonne had a total blast! My sincere thanks go to the people who made this happen.


I nearly forgot the ducks. We acquired a flock of ducks too.

Grandad bought them a paddling pool that they use for recreational and procreational purposes alike - they are not fussy either way!

A Summer of Acquisitions

We diversified this year and made a few acquisitions. '42' is a 6 month old kune kune boar (he thinks he is a dog!) .

Mrs Weasley (left) is a 8 month old sow and Amber is a 10 month old sow.

'42' and Mrs Weasley will become our breeding stock and Amber ... well, she's going for sausages in a few weeks time!

Vegetable Garden

We have spent a lot of time this year with the veggie garden and it has paid dividends.

We havent had to buy any veg for quite a few quite a few weeks. We have enjoyed potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, beans, peas, onions, courgettes, pumpkins, beans, leeks, sweet corn, beet root, lettuce, egg plants, cabbage, cauliflower, raddish and a few others that I cannot remember.

The deep freeze is stuffed full of vegetables that will keep us going well into winter.