No snow here but it is brutally cold and a local mountain road is closed at the moment due to snow.
Yesterday I braved the increasingly icy conditions in a patch of welcome, but brief sunshine to check out the Tuis.
This one had enjoyed a vigorous bath in our spouting which was still full of rain from recent showers.
With the breeding season behind them now the birds are becoming more visible and their songs more audible. Yesterday I could hear the beautiful song of the Riroriro or Grey Warbler and as I sat looking at the Tall Trees section of the garden I could see a tiny bird flitting amongst the branches.
A closer look confirmed that it was the Grey Warbler, surrogate parent of the Shining Cuckoo ( in the photo below. Note the difference in size between the tiny warbler pictured further down the post and this Cuckoo.)
Grey Warblers only eat insects so it was hunting time for small insects to be found in the trees. I went out into the garden with the camera in the hope of getting a clearer photo than this attempt last year in March.
I was fortunate to find the little warbler on the aged kowhai tree on the reserve. The remarkable feature I saw and heard was this male bird singing its heart out, all while grazing for food. It is stunning to watch such a little beak cleverly move along leaves and branches while also creating beautiful music.
It was a but a brief moment or two before the wee bird flew across the road to a large bottle brush tree for more fine pickings and to serenade the neighbours.
Here is my well-loved Teddy Bear all dressed ready to go to a Teddy Bear’s Picnic.
The invitation from my grandson (almost a 3 year old now) had been on the fridge for a couple of weeks and I was really looking forward to going along.
There was to have been singing, bubble blowing, face painting and a ride on the miniature railway, here at the beautiful Aotea Lagoon.
After days of glorious weather, picnic day dawned gusty and wet so the event was cancelled 😦
Teddy and I are hoping it won’t be long before another picnic is planned so we can go along and share in the fun. A Teddy Bear’s picnic is a concept that does not date. 🙂
I live next to two very industrious neighbours. Both men are semi-retired and are skilful with hammers (except they use nail guns nowadays) and constructing things.
Just in the past two weeks one has reclad the lower section of his two-storey house where old timber was rotting and the other has erected a glass house (except nowadays plastic is used in lieu of glass) and built a made to measure garden shed.
Both men installed windows which looks to be tricky work and both worked from early morning until late afternoon in order to complete their projects.
Life is not a competition so I have stood by and admired their skills and the results of their hard work. But I thought I would show you some of the ways in which I have been industrious these past few weeks.
I have made 6 full length aprons – two were “man aprons” and four were for women. I also made a pre-school sized apron for our grandson so that he would match Daddy and be able to wear his apron when he helps Daddy cook.
I’ve made a strong tote to carry our singing folders in and I am busy making some light- weight pyjamas for our grandson in an electric guitar print. He is crazy about music and his Daddy plays “big guitars”.
On the knitting front I have been busy knitting these wee tunics for our new granddaughter and wrestling with crochet flower embellishments and I am also using yummy soft, non-prickly alpaca yarn to knit a hoodie for our grandson for the colder weather ahead.
I suspect there has been productive hum emanating from our little patch on the earth
Our singing group, Take Note Singers, sang in the café at the Royal NZ Police College last night for our usual Tuesday session.
Our leader, David Dell, is the Chaplain at the Police College hence the connection.
We sing and share supper together and provide music for the often bemused looking people who are still at work or on courses at the college.
I sometimes wonder what they make of us all singing with enthusiasm as a one off event at the end of each term.
My hope is that the happy vibes and pleasant sounds are uplifting to the people who train in the often stressful and traumatic field of policing.
Last night we sang a variety of Christmas songs and carols. Some are traditional, some very New Zealand, some well known, some sweet and new.
Next week, our final session for the year, sees us singing at a local Rest Home. We’ll present some music and include the residents and staff in some sing-a-long Christmas music.
I see that I have not posted much on my blog this month so here is a quick summary of the last week plus another day or two:
Plenty of ordinary tasks around the house and garden, plus some budgeting and early last week I was practicing for a special singing occasion.
Tuesday last week saw me sing in a group of 100 others (all of us there because we love to sing- no auditions or qualifications required!) in a television recording. Our singing director was leading this group on behalf of the programme, “Praise Be.” We had had three previous rehearsals and then it took around two hours to get a “take” of 10 songs. Now I have to wait to see the finished result.
On the way to the recording we spotted eleven Royal Spoonbills on the edge of the Pauatahanui Inlet. It seems likely that numbers of this regal, white, member of the heron family are increasing and that is splendid news.
We have a family wedding at Xmas time this year and I needed an outfit. Last Wednesday a good friend, who has a keen eye for colour and style went with me on what was intended simply to be a “look”. However I found the perfect outfit and came home really delighted to have that ticked off the wedding “to do” list. It was made easy with such great support.
In order to have guests here at the time of the wedding I have been trying to do some decluttering and tidying each day to chip away at what is quite some task.
Meanwhile in the garden, nature has been moving ahead and our small kowhai tree is almost in flower now. There are plenty of flowers on it but they have yet to reach the point where the tuis and other birds can access the nectar. I am really hoping to see Tuis visit “my” tree in the next few days.
Saturday saw me hurt my knee and I have been hobbling about since then. I’m off to see the physiotherapist this afternoon for a second appointment. I am taking life at a very gentle pace right now and of course I am being reminded of how one part of our body not working fully requires a lot more time and attention being given to everyday activities. My cats are great at showing me that there is much to be said for relaxing, sleeping, staying supple (!) and spending time in good company.
Over the weekend I saw this suggestion for encouraging writers to write. Begin sentences with “I write of”. Here are some of my sentences from today:
I write of nature because it contains so much beauty, power, rhythm and a space for me from the pressing things of life.
I write of things quirky because I have a sense of humour and a curiosity that enjoys such things.
I write of the ordinary and the good to offer a balance against the glitz, hype and unpleasant that occurs in our world.
I write of the ordinary and good because I know the value that both offer to me and to others.
I write of simple traditions such as cooking for others, writing letters, gardening, knitting, singing in a group, walking, spending time with people we love and connect with.
I write of books simply because I love books.
I write of books because they have helped me in a myriad of ways throughout my life.
What do you write of?
Another prompt I found was over at http://concernedwithstory.wordpress.com was to write beginning with “Right now….”
So for me today, Monday 25th July 2011:
Right now I am very grateful for heating, warm clothing and warm food on such a cold day.
Right now I can see the birds enjoying the apples I have hung for them for winter food.
Right now I am pleased to have paid the bills and grateful for having the money to pay them.
Right now I am wondering if my cat will increase his food intake.
Right now I am processing the information I received about a family member who served in WW2.
Right now I am thinking a lot about resilience and the notes I made this afternoon.
Right now I am pleased to have fixed the errors in the socks I am knitting my grandson.
Right now I have meal preparation to do so I am off to begin that:-)
When I ran self awareness groups I would use a “Right now” exercise at the beginning of the session to help clear the immediate, scattered stuff that was “on top” for participants. Once this happened, focus was easier for everyone in the group.
Writing “right now” sentences offers me similar but different clearing, focus and more.
I’d be interested in your discoveries from writing some “Right Now” sentences.
The supermarket shopping needed to be done today. While cruising the isles selecting what we needed I came across one of the staff stocking shelves. Nothing extraordinary about that. However she was singing while she worked. I don’t hear many people singing while they work. It was a pleasure to hear.
I belong to a local singing group. We meet for 8 weeks every school term and there are four of those. We meet from 7.30 until 8.45pm on a Tuesday night. The only requirement for joining this group is that you like to sing. No auditions, no ability to read music, just a desire to sing with others. So for a nominal fee, around $6 per session I get to sing a range of music with a great group of people, led by a talented and funny guy.
The age range in the group is from 12 to possibly 80 years of age. Our musical leader has the group divided into those who like to sing high, or low and then the rest of us are middles. Keep it simple and it works brilliantly. He adds in “keep it friendly” and every session we have a couple of short breaks from singing to say hello and catch up with the people sitting near by.
Twice each term we sing while enjoying supper together. We also get to sing out in public. The group sings once at year at the Wellington Railway Station for the evening commuters. This term we are scheduled to sing at the Wellington Airport for those flying at dinner time. Other singing get-togethers in various locations and for various reasons are also arranged.
Do we sound good? Yes, a lot of the time. Do we make mistakes? Yes, especially when a song is new but also when we have practiced and practiced. Do we laugh a lot? Oh yes!!!
Most people in the group would say that singing each week is the highlight of their working week. For 75 minutes on a Tuesday night all the stresses, troubles and cares in our lives evaporate and we leave feeling relaxed and much better prepared to face the world.
It is a very simple formula and it works a treat.