I wish you all Peace, Love and Hope.
“May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
To come alive to the eternal within you,
To all the invitations that quietly surround you…”
This season has seen a profusion of flowering amongst our native trees and plants. The cabbage trees were luxuriant, the kowhais dripped their gold, the Pohutukawas are prolific and the various flaxes are producing bounteous nectar and pollen.
One variety of flax that is found in several gardens near my home has glowed with “ Christmassy” reds and oranges. The flowers remind me of traditional Christmas candles that appeared on Christmas cards when I was a child and a Northern Hemisphere Christmas was the predominant visual theme. I always wondered how candles could be lit and be safe on a tree indoors….
It is no wonder that the Tuis, who adore and feast on flax flower nectar are appearing at the sugar water feeder with pollen coating their heads when you look at this macro photo of a flax flower. The shape of each part of the flower is the perfect curve for the nectar feeding birds beaks.
It was not to be.
Although there was this gale bending the Birch tree over very dramatically.
The gale lashed the house relentlessly all night and today has been little better. We were also drenched in rain with roads closed due to flooding.
Today was our belated Christmas Day with one part of the family so we covered presents (which had been waiting some time)
with plastic bags, loaded up food in a plastic clothes basket, donned our coats and off we went for lunch and a fun afternoon. A four year old and his two year old sister kept things lively and fun.
The weather had cleared by late this afternoon although the gales continue. We spotted some Royal Spoonbills in the Pauatahanui Inlet along with a large flock of Black Swans.
The Pohutukawas were still being shaped by the winds
and this gull was snuggled down in the tufty beach grass taking a well-earned rest from the battering forces.
No sunset tonight so little hope of better weather tomorrow it would seem……
A news item I read late this afternoon indicated exceptionally high temperatures in parts of Australia while the east coast of America is experiencing bitterly cold, snowy conditions. We are battened down safe and sound.
Keep safe wherever you are.
Jazz, our cat, is almost 15 years old and in the past 3 months ageing has suddenly impacted on him. We knew earlier this year that he has arthritis in his lower spine which means he can no longer spring nimbly and strongly using his back legs.
Then in August his pain levels increased and it was discovered that he had slipped a disc in his back in a different area of his spine. With advice and treatment from the vet that has healed up. However we then noticed he was limping on his front leg/s. X rays show that he has quite severe degeneration in his front elbows and their elbows take a fair percentage of a cat’s weight as they move about.
So Jazz is sore and stiff and now an indoor cat on various medications to support him and keep him as comfy as we can. He has always been a very sociable and lively cat. Not one to sleep contentedly in the garden. Neighbours often reported his visits and some of the neighbours lived a fair distance away. I think Jazz has worn out, not rusted out, as the saying goes.
Increasing the care of a cat requires increased observation, clock watching to time pain relief, tempting an appetite now borne of suspicion about what else might be added in to the food, encouraging more water consumption during hot days in a hot house and of course lots of extra patting and attention.
Jazz does send his Christmas Greetings however having settled for some of today in this Christmas hamper box:-)
At the same time I have been hobbling with a sore left knee. I too have some degenerative changes and up until late November there was a mysterious “loose body” that appeared on images of the joint. After several unpleasant locking incidents this year I agreed to an arthroscopy. The “loose body” was deftly plucked out and I am pleased to report that my knee is feeling much freer and lighter.
My challenge now is to get my knee moving fully again after all the hobbling about. The joint has become stiff and reluctant to straighten and bend fully. So exercises are a big part of my daily routine now. Holding on to the kitchen bench is a great place for knee exercises and I am on increasingly friendly terms with my physiotherapist. As well I am walking further each day as I rebuild my fitness, stamina and remind my brain to walk normally again.
We made a visit to Hawkes Bay last weekend to visit my father in law before Xmas. Not only did we enjoy time with him and other family members we also found summer.
Spring here has been long, cloudy, cool, grey and windy. We know that Hawkes Bay experiences vastly different conditions thanks to a large mountain range that shelters it from the prevailing damp, howling winds and rain that come in off the Tasman Sea. It enjoys and thrives in the rain-shadow effect.
We rented a small, self contained cottage just outside the village we were visiting.
It is on a life-style block where the owners are growing and farming organically and also operating this commercial kitchen. Check out a great initiative here.
Look at the bounty of goodness that is so abundant in this part of my homeland.
Bounty awaiting in these Feijoa flowers.
The birds were doing their bit to pollinate these beauties that speak of heat and flavour and the traditional colours of the approaching Christmas day.
Beauty in tall, fragrant rose bushes.
You can see how dry it becomes here. Drought is common.
We had hot weather, intense blue skies which faded out to a hazy, pale blue as we left for home in the glare and brightness of the sunshine. But while there we had sat outdoors in the shade in calm conditions, we had strolled in the evening warmth and soaked up Vitamin D admiring gardens.
We had a wedding at Xmas time 2011 and my husband (father of the groom) received a rose for his Xmas present from the newly weds. The rose is called “The Wedding rose”.
It has put its roots down into the garden and is responding to water, feeding and mulching by putting out new blooms.
I took my camera out in the dusky light last evening and captured this lovely bloom.
I went looking today for a quote about roses and really enjoyed the cleverness of this quote. It also seemed appropriate for a rose that commemorates weddings.
“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.”
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Most noted award goes to Mother Nature in 2011. Relentless earthquakes continue to rock Christchurch. One major quake claimed a large number of lives, while many have caused extensive damage and destruction.
In NZ we also experienced volcanic ash clouds, flooding, tornadoes and we watched in horror as tsunami killed tens of thousands in Japan. On the flip side it has been a surprisingly calm year where I live with gale force winds being much rarer than usual.
One word to describe 2011 = Draining – mentally, emotionally and physically.
Achievements of the year:
Beginning to blog again and meeting friends from other blogs. Sort of cyber pen pals.
Decluttering a junk room which is now a bedroom of sorts
Learning more about digital photography
Pursuing creative hobbies, such as knitting, sewing, family heirloom recipe books and gardening
Music award for 2011 goes to the community group we sing with. The fun, fellowship and joy of sharing our singing has helped fill our tanks.
Academic awards go to three family members this year: a Certificate, a Diploma and adjunct Certificate and a Degree were all completed.
The Courage award is shared this year by 2 family members. One who recovered from major surgery and the other who faces more surgery in 2012.
It is also awarded post-humously to our cat who had had frequent visits to the vet, tests, scans, interventions, and medication but whose life was ended with mercy and love on December 22, 2011.
The “take courage” baton is now resting with our other cat as he comes to terms with the loss of his brother and constant companion of 13 years.
Highlight of the Year has to be the 4 days of family, fun and excitement in December. Our youngest son married on Xmas eve in the most beautiful weather – hot, sunny and calm. You will note the cabbage trees in the photo taken at the Reception venue are not moving. That is the rarest of rare things!
And in the wee small hours on December 27th our new granddaughter was born. Mum and baby well.
Works in progress for 2012:
More tidying and Decluttering
Income generation based from home for me
Keeping resolve, resilience and relationships to the fore.
Happy New Year everyone!
I am having a deliberately quiet morning after three really busy days. My head is full of lists and plans, which is normal for many people at this time of the year.
I have been getting out with my camera and I have photos to use on my blog in the future. I have also been aware of lots of ideas to blog about but we have a family wedding on Christmas Eve this year and naturally all our attention is on that, plus Christmas arrangements. Excitement is building.
Our beautiful Melia tree is flowering in great abundance and for the first time I have given more attention to it and delighted in the delicate fragrance from its clusters of mauve star- shaped flowers.
Rain has caused the flowers to begin to drop and this morning I stopped and picked some up. In an unconscious move I have arranged eleven of them in a clock shape…..it is eleven big sleeps until the wedding and we are all feeling the clock ticking I realized after I had arranged them.
The star shaped flowers speak to me of Christmas and the short time the stars are shining in our southern hemisphere sky right now as we head to the solstice.
As I mentioned in my post “Backyard Cricket and Barbeque” it was the women’s turn to gather a week later and honour the bride to be.
So last Saturday a dozen or so invited women gathered at the bride’s parents home to enjoy a Bridal shower. It was my first experience of a bridal shower. I was more familiar with Kitchen Teas so it was with some relief that the invitation asked us to bring a Xmas tree decoration for the bride to decorate her first Xmas tree. Note: the wedding is a calendar month away today. Yes, a Xmas eve wedding.
In terms of organization, compared with the men and the Stag do the previous week, this event was an example of a well-oiled, highly organized and skillfully arranged and prepared celebration. The bridesmaid had done a superb job handling the whole thing from start to finish.
We played some really fun games, we ate from a groaning table with lots of food, and some specially made to accommodate dietary needs. There were prizes and surprises and to cap it all off we were entertained by four talented female singers from the choir Nota Bene. The singers had been given a list of the bride to be’s favourite Xmas carols and songs and from that they selected numbers that worked well with their voices.
While the men had scurried about and found various articles of clothing to wear to the stag do that fitted the theme, we women agonized over the old chestnut of what to wear. Did we dress right up, go casual or smart casual? I am relieved to report that we all looked fine in what we wore and the bride to be looked radiant.
So the countdown is really on now. I am off to write a list of things that need to be done before the wedding and Christmas. You will understand why my blogposts have thinned out lately…..there is a lot to do.
Suddenly it is November which means a birthday in the family and a short run down to the family wedding on Christmas Eve day, Christmas and the promise of a new grandchild early in the New Year.
There is a bit to get sorted and organized between now and then so please bear with me as I blog a little less.
While my focus is on preparations here is a photo or two of just how busy nature is being out in my garden during this abundant spring we are experiencing.
These are our Snowball trees in a mass of creamy white flowers.