Earlier in the week with the weather looking more summery I noticed that the Tuis were not visiting the feeders nearly as often. The flaxes are flowering and many other natural food sources are offering them good nourishment.
However the tail end of a tropical storm reached us last evening with humidity and now rain. Quite heavy rain at times and the Tuis are back and in numbers.
Cabin fever was building yesterday so we rugged up and headed out for a brief walk. It was brutally cold in the wind but bracing and refreshing as our faces tingled and our ears chilled.
The winter season can present a range of guises to wonder at and enjoy.
Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous peoples) have a concept Turangawaewae.
Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.
Since the death of both my parents and now more recently the death of my brother, the place of my first months of life has increasingly become my Turangawaewae.
On a recent visit to Greytown, Wairarapa I went down River Road that leads from the house I lived in to the banks of the Waiohine River.
The river was grey-blue and running reasonably fast due to rain falling in the nearby mountains.
The trees on the banks were in autumn colours but the white light and heavy cloud dimmed those on this visit.
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.
The entire North Island of New Zealand has been declared a drought area. It is very, very dry and rain is desperately needed. We have been told that there is only 20 days of water left before emergency supplies will have to be used. We are being told to conserve water in any way we can now.
Any water for the garden must be “grey water” collected in a bucket. No more sprinklers or hose use until we get significant rain.
I also take my trusty bucket into the shower with me for the brief wash that has become. I am slowly going around the garden tipping the grey water very carefully on to the thirsty plants.
Today’s paper has further hints on water conservation. We are also invoking a ditty that my young niece used to tell us when Auckland was in the grip of a water shortage a number of years ago.
“If it is yellow let it mellow,
If it is brown flush it down”
It takes a good deal of mind shifting to capture “grey water”, to be aware of just how much trickles or runs down the pipes and how easy it is to waste water. Fresh water is such a precious resource that is so easy for us to take for granted here in New Zealand where we usually have plenty.
Amidst all the new water saving routines that are being required came a letter from our City council telling me that for at least four days next week there could be very low water pressure or perhaps no pressure at all in the house.
The good news is that it is all part of upgrades to water reticulation services to help prevent problems in the future. If drought periods are to become more frequent here it is very reassuring to know that planning is underway to cope with that eventuality.
So I need to store some water next week to ensure any needs between 10am and 4pm are covered.
Water is certainly on my brain at the moment.
The sun has been a rare visitor here for the past two or three weeks. We have also had a lot of rain. Some has fallen in dramatically heavy showers while other rain has sifted down as drizzle. The ground is waterlogged so gardening is not easy to do right now.
So any sun that appears right now is very, very welcome.
Nature has provided me with some different sunshine to bring inside and enjoy.
Sending you sunshine wherever you are.