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  Tuesday, 28 February 2006

I've finally got around to publishing the full album of photos from the 2006 Nelson Summertime Kite Festival on  the Nelson Kite Club website. All 169 of them. I'm also trying out a new photo album system. Although I love the Web Album Generator I've been using for years, SimpleViewer is a nifty alternative. This is the first time I have used it so would be interested to hear any comments on usability. Does it work for you?

I tried Picasa2 for the first time for this album too. Google does it again. This is a classy bit of software. I've used Irfanview (in conjunction with Photoshop)for years, but it just can't compete with this. I'll still use Photoshop for the heavy stuff but Picasa is great at organising my image files. Give it a go!

9:40:23 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 27 February 2006

Wow. Where did that week go. I've had the flu for a few days, some out-of-town visitors, and a couple of awesome days kite bugging with the Nelson Kite Club on the windswept beaches of Westport, and suddenly it's next week.

Every year, towards the end of the season, the NKC car pool down to Westport for a get together. Westport has several greats beaches for kite flying. This year 9-mile beach provided the best conditions for the strong SW winds we had on both Satuday and Sunday. Today I feel like a baked potato (I look a bit like one too) from way to much sun (and too much fun).

Of course I divided my time between kite bugging and photography. Here are a few of the hundreds of pictures I bought back. Look out for a gallery on the NKC site sometime soon.

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8:14:13 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 21 February 2006

This very astute eassy by Ran Prieur was a welcome read. Written with delightful good humor it deals with a serious subject that is difficult to even approach in our culture.

Here are just a few quotes I really liked but do go and read the whole thing....

"For thousands of years we've been going into debt and calling it 'progress', exterminating and calling it 'development', stealing and calling it 'wealth', shrinking into a world of our own design and calling it 'evolution'. We're just about done."

"'s not about avoiding guilt, or reducing your ecological footprint, or being righteous. It's not a pissing contest to see who's doing more to save the Earth -- although some people will believe that's your motivation, to justify their own inertia. It's not even about reducing your participation in the system, just reducing your submission and dependence: getting free, being yourself, slipping out of a wrestling hold so you can throw an elbow at the Beast... This world is full of people with the intelligence, knowledge, skills, and energy to make heaven on Earth, but they can't even begin because they would lose their jobs."

"If you can just get 10% of yourself free of habit and conformity, people will call you 'weird'. 20% and they'll call you a genius, 30% and they'll call you a saint, 40% and they'll kill you."

"You may feel like you want to do it alone, but you have never done it alone. To survive the breakdown of this world and build a better one, you will have to trade your sterile, insulated links of money and law for raw, messy links of friendship and conflict."

"Humans have the ability to go beyond sustainability, to live in ways that increase the richness of life on Earth, and help Gaia in ways she cannot help herself. This and only this justifies human survival... sustainability is only the middle of the road, and there's no limit to how far we can go beyond it."

9:02:08 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 20 February 2006

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11:16:53 PM    Comment []

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
Albert Einstein

Only another gardener could know the satisfaction of picking your own dinner from your own garden. Todays selection...

10:37:37 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 18 February 2006

If there are any locals reading who are feeling particularly inspired.... have I got a deal for you!

Auction closes next Tuesday and all proceeds go to help pay for the van engine I blew up almost a month ago (its still in the shop BTW.... long story).

3:03:07 PM    Comment []

"A hundred objective measurements didn't sum the worth of a garden; only the delight of its users did that. Only the use made it mean something."
Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign, 1999

Above: These two gourds are on a vine which I planted in a bucket full of a soil/worm-castings mix. That one vine is currently about 10  feet long and supporting about a dozen of these vegetables. I like the two-tone colour scheme on this variety. I can imagine their dried shells painted as Russian dolls.

It has occurred to me that there are not nearly enough photos of gourds available on the web. Today I'm doing my part to rectify that with a shameless display of my own organic gourd crop. This season is my first attempt at growing gourds. I bought a selection of seeds through TradeMe (I recommend this seller)and they have all gone pretty well (except for a few that were taken by a late frost early on).

A bottle gourd flower is one of the most delicate looking flowers in the garden. Reminds me of old lace.

1:55:16 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 16 February 2006

"As a twig is bent the tree inclines."
Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC)

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9:32:55 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 14 February 2006,2106,3572221a6007,00.html

Petition calls for cover-up in bay
14 February 2006 

Takaka resident Ron Swan has started a petition against next month's Golden Bay Naked Bike Ride, describing it as "immoral".

The annual "clothing optional" ride, to be held on March 12, has been organised to highlight the safety of cyclists on the region's roads.

It will be the third time the event has been held, but Mr Swan wants cyclists in this year's ride to wear more than just helmets and shoes.

He has collected 76 signatures from people objecting to the ride. He plans to present the petition to the police, to get them to stop nude cyclists taking part.

"I'm right behind the ideal of safe cycling but why the hell do they have to do it in the nude?" he said. "It's immoral."

Mr Swan is well known in the community as president of the Golden Bay Senior Citizens Association and conductor of the Takaka Citizens Band. In 2004, he won an outstanding community service award from the Tasman District Council.

He said he also protested last year's event and asked the police if arrests would be made.

"I told them that if I walked out of the police station and took my clothes off, they'd arrest me, so why wouldn't they arrest nude cyclists? It's exactly the same."

Takaka police warned last week that arrests would be made for indecent exposure. They threatened to arrest participants last year, although no arrests were made.

Cyclists will ride along Abel Tasman Drive from Port Tarakohe to the Totally Roasted Café at Pohara, a distance of just 3km.

Ride organiser Victoria Davis said last week that participants would get ready in a private building near Port Tarakohe to avoid any offence.

"We want to draw attention to the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads. I'm sure the police have better things to do than disrupt this bit of fun-loving street theatre," Ms Davis said.

Also strongly against the event is Golden Bay vicar the Rev Andy Thomas.

"I support safe cycling but in actual fact they are promoting nudity," he said. "If their fundamental principle is safe cycling, they are clouding the issue by riding naked."


The story above,on the front page of our local rag tonight made me laugh. A bit of "fun-loving street theatre" indeed! Mr Swan and his whopping 76 other signatories do have a point though. The Police turning a blind eye to this 'exposure' does create a double standard. If Mr Swan can't disrobe outside his local Police station why should cycling naked be any different. I think the solution is clear. The only way to please both sides is to completely decriminalise public nudity. simple.

9:52:47 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 12 February 2006

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10:39:24 PM    Comment []

9:28:26 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 11 February 2006

layered, thatched, and white-streaked sky
streched above golden rye
a months wage of skies in a minute
and yet the sun allowed its window
to once again charge green from gold

9:20:58 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 6 February 2006

"God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest."
J. G. Holland

It's about that time of year when my strawberry plants are multiplying. They put out little runners that will shoot away a foot or so from the plant and put down its own roots. I've heard that you'll only get 2 or 3 good years out of a strawberry plant before it will produce less and less, so it is important to keep cultivating new plants to replace the old ones. I've decided to give strawberry or herb planters a go. And I thought I'd make a little photo how-to. To most gardeners I guess this is pretty basic stuff but its something you don't really need a garden to do, so anyone can give it a go.

What you'll need: Some good soil or potting mix. Some straw or other mulch material. Some corrugated cardboard or an old sack/towel. A container with holes in it which you can get at most garden shops or they are easily made by cutting holes in the side of any suitably sized plastic drum (and holes in the bottom for drainage of course).

  1. Place a layer of straw or other mulch in the bottom of the container to aid drainage.
  2. Roll the cardboard (or sack) into a column about as long as the container. This will sit vertically down the centre of the pot to help distribute water to all the plants evenly. I've tied mine off with a bit of flax.
  3. Place the cardboard column in the centre of the pot and begin filling around it with soil.
  4. Keep filling until the pot is full. You'll lose a bit of soil out the holes at this point so be prepared to make a bit of a mess.

Finally place a strawberry plant in each hole. They will go a bit droopy at first but after a day or two, and some TLC they'll be away. If well fed this container should produce a bounty of strawberries next summer. Of course you could grow one of these on a balcony, or in a window, or all most anywhere sunny.  If you move house you can take it with you.

Now here's a good idea for people like me who always say they are going to make something thoughtful for Christmas presents next time round, instead of buying gifts at the last minute. Start some planters of now, and at Christmas (if you're in the southern hemisphere) they'll make neat gifts all covered in juicy red fruit.

I'll be sure to post another shot of these when they are established.

8:19:28 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 5 February 2006

I went for a bit of a training ride on my bike today. From my place in Teal Valley, up to the top of the valley, over the Teal Saddle and down into the Matai Valley, following the Maitai River all the way into Nelson. A distance of about 33km each way. My legs remind me everytime I stand up suddenly just how steep some of those hills are. I just thought I'd post a couple of shots I took along the way today. The first is an old truck parked in the bushes that I just caught a glimpse of as I rode by. The second is a field of foxgloves (at least I think thats what they are) all standing to attention for the passing cyclist/photographer.

Oh... and one more just for Briggsy.

10:07:57 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 4 February 2006

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11:40:17 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 2 February 2006

One of the photographers that has greatly influenced my work is the late Barry Crump. Better known as a writer this Kiwi icon also took a few photos here and there. Many of his favoured subjects are also mine. For example, he appreciated the beauty of a good fencepost. I think he liked things that were built with integrity, built to last, and a good, thick, lichen-covered fencepost was evidence of such a thing.

"The macrocarpa was stringy and twisted and it was hard work wedging and axing the posts out of it. Finally we trimmed a big strainer out of heartwood. Eight feet long and two feet square. Dave believed in building things to last."
Crumpy's Campfire Companion - "The Post"

(photo by Barry Crump -  from the book "Back Down the Track")

(photo by Barry Crump -  from the book "Back Down the Track")

"The hand that felled and split the tree
and sank the posts in sand and scree
and strung the wire and battened up
Now raps the saucer with the cup."
Barry Crump - "Journey"

Another of Crumpy's favourite photographic subjects was letterboxes...

(photo by Barry Crump -  from the book "Back Down the Track")

"The amount of care taken in the construction of the postbox tells us something of the constructor. Some postboxes are carefully designed and built to receive regular hand-written airmail letters from friends or family, while others have obviously been knocked up by people who never write letters and never receive anything but bills, brochures and bad news."
Barry Crump, Forty Yarns and a Song - "The Kiwi Postbox"

I have begun my own collection of wacky kiwi postboxes. I'll be posting them here from time to time. Here's the first. One photo just wasn't enough to bring you all the cool detail in this one-of-a-kind letterbox, which is just over the hill from my place. It kind of reminds me of Tim Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas".

2:14:04 PM    Comment []

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