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  Sunday, 31 July 2005

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"Adopt the Peace of nature, her secret is patience."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

10:00:14 PM    Comment []

This morning I dug out my old surf-caster, which hasn't been used in too many years. My friend Devon and I kayaked around to a secret spot on Pepin Island to try our luck at fishing for the afternoon. The kayaking and the photography was better than the fishing, but that's OK. We got a few bites but didn't manage to hook anything, apart from one very determined star fish which hung onto Devon's bait until it saw the whites of our eyes, then spat it out and escaped.

Between exciting fishing episodes I wandered around the rocky beach with my camera...

8:14:34 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 30 July 2005

Today was one of those days that just seem to flow.

I stopped on the way to work at Tahunanui beach. I just had to get a photo of the western ranges as the first rays of sun lit up the snow, while the mist still lingered in the valleys below...

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After work there was a nice gentle northerly breeze wafting in across the harbour, so I stopped at Neale park to fly my 'Quantum' stunt kite for a while...

...followed by a little stick throwing for Kaycee...

Just as the wind dropped, and Kaycee tired of the stick game we were treated to a fervid sunset over Nelson...

12:21:36 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 28 July 2005

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"One has to work in the world; naturally, carry on your worldly affairs, but understand that that which has come about by itself - that is, this body, mind and consciousness - has appeared in spite of the fact that nobody has asked for it. The life force and the mind are operating, but the mind will tempt you to believe that it is "you". Therefore, understand always that you are the timeless, spaceless witness. And even if the mind tells you that you are the one who is acting, don't believe the mind. Always keep your identity separate from that which is doing the working, thinking and talking.  That which has happened - that is, the apparatus which is functioning - has come upon your original essence, but you are not that apparatus."
Nisargadatta Maharaj

7:20:50 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 26 July 2005

Here's a new blog to watch. Dom Mee intends to cross the atlantic in an ocean going kite powered vessel. The boat is only 14 foot long but it has the latest navigational and comunications equipment packed in there and he'll be blogging all the way. Should be interesting. I would have thought the boat would be bigger.

Break a leg Dom :)

9:10:55 PM    Comment []

I've sat down several times over the last fews days to blog, but each time I can't find the inspiration. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed/depressed over world events of late. So much so that I have decided to stop trying to write about it for now. Instead I'll just update you on the more mundane things I've been filling the hours with...

Preparing the garden for spring continues. I put in half a dozen raspberry canes the other day and also have 5 well established black-currant plants in. Hopefully I'll get enough fruit from them for some jam making by summers end. Compost making is gong well too. Last weekend I had the use of a large mulching machine for a day. I feed the prunings from the plum, pear, and prune trees through it as well as a variety of other greenery from around the property. I now have a 4-tier home-made compost bin full to the top with quality compost - a mixture of mulch and donkey dung. You can never have too much compost :)

My worm farm is going well too. The worms seem to be increasing in numbers nicely and they've produced about 40 litres of ready to use liquid organic fertiliser. I'm running out of bottles to put it in! I've tested this stuff on my indoor plants already and they love it. It really is "rocket-fuel for plants". Apparently it sells for about $6 a litre in gardening shops (if they stock it at all), so I'm saving a lot of money too.

I've planted a couple of feijoa trees down on the river bank. We had a big feijoa tree next to the house I grew up in and it was a prolific producer of fruit. We always had more feijoas than the family could possibly eat but I never get sick of them. It will be a year or two before I get any fruit off these but they are a good investment for the future.

The weather is starting to warm up now and I'm thinking about what spring/summer vegetable seeds to plant first, and how to keep the black-birds and frost off them!

6:59:22 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 23 July 2005

Today I put my camera into the hands of seven year old Liam, who turned out to have quite the photographers eye. I didn't think he'd be quick enough to catch me with my tounge out; I was wrong :P

10:48:48 PM    Comment []

"What no one seemed to notice... was the ever widening gap... between the government and the people... And it became always wider... The whole process of its coming into being, was, above all, diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway... [It] gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about... and kept us so busy with continuous changes and "crises" and so fascinated... by the machinations of the "national enemies", without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us... Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, "regretted", that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these "little measures"... must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing... Each act... is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, alone... You don't want to "go out of your way to make trouble"... But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves. When everyone is transformed, no one is transformed... You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things you father... could never imagined."

From They Thought They Were Free: the Germans, 1938-1945 by Milton Mayer (University of Chicago Press, 1955)

Forgotten History

7:12:05 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 21 July 2005

Someone asked me last week if there were any hills to ride over on my way to work. Well, there is just one. Its called Gentle Annie and I tackle it each morning on my bike. She's not so 'gentle' when you have to ride up it on a frosty morning with just pedal power. This morning I got to its 90m summit just as the sun reached the foggy valley below, and looked back toward home to this view...

9:03:56 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 17 July 2005

"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth."
Mahatma Gandhi

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9:37:02 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 16 July 2005

I spent this morning recycling old pallets into a modular compost bin. The pallets I got for free by just asking at a local freighting company. They directed me to a huge pile of old pallets out the back and said "help yourself!". Some of them were broken but many were fine, almost new even. I don't know why they throw them out instead of repairing and reusing, but their loss is my gain.

The photo shows the first two completed 'modules'. The idea is you start with one, and as the compost mounts up you just add more layers. There are two boards per layer, so each module adds about 10 inches to the height of the bin. I plan to make six more of these giving me two bins (to cycle) with four modules in each. 

I even recycled the nails, straightening them out one by one and reusing them :)

2:22:23 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 14 July 2005

I saw this didgeridoo for sale on TradeMe last week. The photos on the auction were bad, I couldn't really see the art work, the it said nothing about how it played, but I had to have it. I just had a feeling about it. It arrived by courier today. The only thing the seller could tell me about it was that it was gifted to a friend of his, who is now deceased, about 25 years ago in Australia. It has some very intricate artwork on it, which unfortunatly is badly faded. There is one small hole which needs to be filled before it can be played, and it will need a wax mouth peice, both of which I can do. I would love to restore the original art work but I'm not sure how to go about that (yet).

I trying to find out more about it so if anyone recognises this art and can tell me more about its meaning or where it might have come from, please let me know.

The artwork starts about six inches below the mouth peice and goes down to about six inches from the bell end. Broad black lines divide the intricate white crosshatching into eight sections.

It has a lovely unique bell-end. Can't wait to find out how it sounds.

So this has become my next project. Restoring this instrument to its former glory.

12:02:48 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 13 July 2005

I pass this local landmark every morning sitting at the entrance of Nelson's harbor. This morning I stopped to photograph it. At this point in my bike ride to work I'm just starting to warm up as the sun clears the hills and I'm only about 10 minutes from work.

6:39:58 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 12 July 2005

I rode my bike to work again today. Unlike yesterday, there was a good frost in the valley when I left at first light. As I came over the foothills and joined the coast road, I had a cold, gusty southerly wind to battle against all the way to work. I couldn't feel my feet by the time I got to work an hour and a half later. After work I flew home in top gear with the same wind at my back, so all is forgiven :)

This photo is looking across 'The Haven' which is the esturay the road follows into town, taken about 7.30 this morning.

7:27:01 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 11 July 2005

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I'm riding my bike to work this week, starting today. The coldest month of the year. I will survive. I've made a deal with myself that every week (5 days) that I ride to work rather than driving, I can buy a new cycling accessory. This week, bar-ends, next week a speedo, or maybe lights. Stopping to take photos of the early morning fog also means a chance to warm cold hands. The shot above was just a few kilometres from home on this mornings ride. (As a clue for Amy the road is Cable Bay Road.)

7:38:01 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 9 July 2005

Its been a busy Saturday. This morning I braved the cold and rode my bike the 20km to Nelson to buy my organic vegetables at the weekend markets like a good little greenie. This afternoon I have planted out two feijoa trees and relocated a two year old fig tree to let more sunlight into my garden.

I finally got the camera out for a few shots. I'm overdue for a dose of photography. These were all taken while walking the dog up the valley I live in, just before the sun was lost behind the hills.

7:01:25 PM    Comment []

My thoughts have been with my friends in London for the past hours since hearing of the bombings. I hope you are all safe and well.

I have to say this though. Before we leap to blame those bad men in the Middle East on what seems like extermly flimsy evidence, we should stop and think. Just ask yourself two questions. First. Who stands to benefit the most from these horrific acts of violence? Second. Who is 'feeding' this flimsy (bullshit) eviedence to the media?

I don't buy it.

8:20:50 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 7 July 2005

I haven't been doing as much photography as I would like to lately. The winter has been keeping me indoors, and the gardening has been keeping me busy in the few times I've been getting outdoors. I need to remedy this. Today I just felt like putting together a selection of flowing water photos from various locations in the past year.

The Hackett River

Whispering Falls

The Riwaka River

Waimea Estuary

8:11:40 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 6 July 2005

I have a growing fascination with gourds. Possibly the first vegetable to be cultivated by man, they have a huge number of uses. Not only can you eat them, but you can do all sorts of cool things with their dried shells. You can carve them, decorate them with paints, dyes, or even burn things on them (which is called pyrography apparently). You can make things like birdhouses, bottles, bowls, works of art, and even musical instruments, including didgeridoos.

I have managed to find a really good selection of seeds on TradeMe and I now have a variety of gourds to plant out in spring. I also got some giant pumpkin seeds as well, just for fun. I reckon feeding this variety on my home brewed fertiliser from my worm farm should produce something big :)

My new mission in life is now to grow a snake gourd big enough to make a 1-piece didgeridoo.

Another gardening experiment was born today. I got a dozen old car tires (not hard to come by, they almost begged you to take them away) which I intend to use as potato towers. I've heard of this idea somewhere but have not seen anyone try it. You plant a potato in a tire full of well composted dirt. As the potato plant gets taller you add another tire on top and more dirt, leaving just the top of the plant exposed. I'll 'grow' the tower 3 or 4 tires high. I figure this method should be an advantage because:

  • it will require no digging
  • being above ground and black the tires should raise the soil temperature significantly which is a huge advantage in this cold, frosty valley
  • it will make harvesting the crop easy

6:37:34 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 3 July 2005

How's this for a deal? Back in January I bought a hair trimmer. It cost $80. I've been cutting my own hair with it since then so its more than paid for itself. I went to use it just a couple of days ago and the battery was dead. It wouldn't recharge again either. Luckily it had a 2 year warranty, and I still had the receipt. Today I took it back to the store I bought it from. They didn't have that model in stock, so I couldn't swap it for the exact same product. They did have a $90 model that was better. They happened to have a on sale today. So not only did I get to swap the faulty model for a new 'superior' product, but I got refunded $40 because it was on sale!

5:42:20 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 2 July 2005

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6:27:56 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 1 July 2005

A seven year old boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama today when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge awarded custody to his aunt. The boy however confirmed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and refused to live there. When the judge suggested that he live with his grandparents the boy cried out that they beat him more than anyone. Then in an unprecedented move, the judge dramatically allowed the boy to choose who should have custody of him. In a final ruling yesterday, custody was granted to the British & Irish Lions Rugby Team as the boy firmly believes that they are not capable of beating anyone.
7:37:36 PM    Comment []

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