Monthly Archives: March 2012

Technically it is road

When we looked to purchase this home over 20 years ago, our lawyer alerted us to the fact that on one boundary there was strip of city council reserve land.

The city council maintained the reserve and someone had planted a selection of native trees on it. Contract changes some 10 years ago saw this maintenance cease and the grass grew to knee high length despite my repeated calls to the council. Their argument was that it was our problem.

Luckily a neighbour knew an official in the council and rang this chap on our behalf. This resulted in a couple of managers coming to view the reserve to determine who owned it and who was responsible for it.

To our surprise one of the managers was the head of the Roading department and he quickly put things to right by announcing that it is technically “road” and the council’s responsibility.

When the road had been marked out on the original plans it was to be a cul-de-sac and there was to be a bus turning area which had quickly become the reserve once the road was extended further up the hill.

Whoever planted the native trees chose two Golden Totara, a Kowhai, a Kauri, a Karaka, some Taupatas and a Kahikatea. They were all planted with a lot of space between them.

Several Kauri have failed despite our care and concern but this one is looking happier.

The Golden Totara need to be trimmed to maintain visibility on the intersection.

The Kowhai is looking aged and gnarly but survives and flowers well.

Kowhai

The Karaka has fruited heavily this year but lacks any vigour and height and the Kahitakea is thriving. It is gaining height (it is now taller than our two storey house) it is a lovely shape and now has an epiphyte clinging to it as it would in the bush.

Kahikatea

Epiphyte on Kahikatea tree

The Taupatas are huge and need trimming at times. The tougher the conditions the better they like it. And they seed prolifically.

I wonder who decided way back in the 1970s that planting giant native trees on a section of “road” reserve in an urban area was a wise thing? I fear for the stately, beautiful Kahikatea as it can attain great height.

Likewise the Kauri, although they grow very slowly and struggle in our clay soils. Kauri like wet feet and being surrounded by other trees as they grow.

For now I really enjoy the little patch of native specimens on our boundary but I do worry about the future as they grow ever taller.
I hope something sustainable will be the plan for the future.

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Maths problems

Do you remember those pesky “Problems” that we were given in school to apply mathematical concepts to apparently “real” problems or questions?

I remember trains leaving stations and traveling at different speeds and being asked about how long it would take for a particular train to make its journey to a certain destination. There were infuriating questions about filling baths and men digging holes.

My brain never ever “got” these problems in a way that provided any sort of correct mathematical answer. My brain liked to problem solve by thinking outside the box and coming up with answers that were not relevant to maths.

So if trains were proving maddening in terms of time and distance then my answer would have been “take the bus instead”. Likewise problems filling a bath – take a shower and as for men digging holes – well use a digger.

This photo shows a chap outside my house on Monday perhaps solving a maths problem but with my answer staring him in the face!

We have had fibre optic cable installed underground and hole digging has been a big part of that operation. I watched this chap busily dig for a bit and then the digger was used to make the hole as large as they needed. I suspect caution was required around hitting other underground services which meant manual labour was the best way to carefully check what lay beneath.

Oh and while I failed the solving of maths “Problems” my rather creative and lateral thinking brain has held me in good stead to solve many, many a real problem.

Sunset photos minutes apart

Last night I saw some really interesting cloud formations in the evening and took this photo.

Within minutes the light in the room changed dramatically and I took this photo – yes the same one I put on my earlier post today.

The contrast was incredible. I’ll be on watch tonight too. The cloud formations and sunsets this summer have been fascinating but puzzling. The sky has provided much to wonder over this summer and early autumn.

Birds in my garden this week

The past week has had some dispiriting aspects to it but the cheering news from me is about the native birds.

Each morning this week, Korimako (such a beautiful name) the native Bellbird has been in and around my garden with its glorious clear, sweet bell-like song. A neighbour has a large Bottle brush tree which is currently covered in red flowers containing nectar. Bellbirds are like Tuis and love nectar. Their beak is shaped to drink the nectar from the neck of the flowers. So the Bellbird has discovered an abundant site to enjoy breakfast and thrill me with its song.

Also during the week I have heard the Grey Warblers again. They have been quiet of late, presumably raising their young or those of the Shining Cuckoo. Last night I spotted a pair of Fantail flitting chirpily around the garden. Their return indicates that autumn is here and they will be around until spring when they move elsewhere.

I’ve heard Tui song from time to time but I am expecting them back in numbers soon if my blog records continue to predict this event.

When I was growing up the sight and sounds of our native birds was generally something reserved for museums and exhibitions where we could view stuffed birds and listen to audio of their song.

To hear and see an increasing range of native birds in my garden is such a joy and so uplifting in the face of indifferent news.

And the final part of last night’s sunset is worth sharing too:-)