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  Sunday, 28 October 2007

A Few shots from my moblie phone taken this afternoon while kayaking around Pepin Island. Mark, Pamela, Devon, and myself enjoyed perfect spring weather for our first decent kayaking trip of the season...











9:32:44 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 27 October 2007

Cacti flower on my window sill

6:52:30 PM    Comment []

Devons New Xtracycle

Devon has upgraded the front end of his Xtracycle with a 2008 model Bauer Bravo complete with disk brakes, and matching colour scheme (which he insists was accidental... yeah right. He only bought it for the colours).

6:43:03 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 22 October 2007

Little Atawhai Chapel (Stitch)

This is me playing around with PTgui. Its pretty amazing software that will take a series of photos and stitch them together to form panoramic views. I made my aerial panorama of the Nelson Marina with this software. This shot is 4 photos, taken from a camera suspended under a kite, which was bouncing and swinging all over the sky in a very blustery south-west wind on Saturday. It shows why this little chapel, in the Wakapuaka Cemetery, can't be seen from the main road; a big stand of blue-gum trees.

3:24:01 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 20 October 2007

Atawhai Drive
I got some nice dappled light in between the rain clouds over Atawhai Drive this afternoon just in time for a spot of kite aerial photography. You wouldn't know it from thie shot above, but the gusty SW wind was making the little 16 foot flow form kite buck all over the sky, even with two fuzzy stabilising tails attached. It was hard to get the camera still enough to shoot any pictures. When the patches of sun came blowing through I still managed to get a few keepers.

Graves in Spring

Wakapuaka Chapel

9:38:41 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The slug patrol

8:00:15 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 15 October 2007

For the past two days some of my photography has been broadcast on 7Nelson, a local TV channel, at 5pm and just before 6pm. There is a wee title giving me credit. I gave them permission for it when they asked me a month or two ago. Only about 20 seconds worth. I haven't seen it because I don't have any TV reception at my house. I'm not sure how many times it will be on, but if someone could record it for me that would be great.

5:58:24 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 13 October 2007

Delaware Bay Inlet II

Delaware Bay Inlet

Delaware Bay

10:42:09 PM    Comment []

Kayaking to Delaware Bay

A mobile phone shot on my way across the estuary to Delaware Bay on my kayak for a spot of kite aerial photography. The wind was steady over there and I got some nice shots from the air. I'm just going through them now and will be uploading some soon.

6:25:43 PM    Comment []

This is the year. When I began gardening here a few years back there were no established vegetable plots to speak of. None of the ground was really ready for any kind of intensive food growing. The area in the back yard where I started out used to be used for car parking (I only found this out later) so the ground was very hard packed and mostly clay. For several seasons now I have been adding organic matter like pea-straw, shredded paper, wood and bark chips, worm-castings, and home-brewed compost to try and build it up (rather than dig-down and adding chemicals). The area now has about a foot of very good rich topsoil and it is crawling with helpful worms and other critters. With the addition of blood & bone at the start of this season I think it is set to go off this summer.

The organic approach certainly takes a little more patience and time than the popular alternative of using chemicals, but it just feels right to me. The soil is where it all begins and the whole idea is to promote as much life and diversity in your soil as possible. The more popular industrial approach is the opposite. Pour on the poisons to kill of everything except the one crop you are growing. It reduces the soil to little more than a sponge to hold the fossil fuel based food we pour on. Take away the fossil fuel and you have a desert. A pest (as they are called in the chemical approach) is not something to wage a chemical war with. If you have a slug problem, instead of looking at it as too many slugs, maybe it is not enough ducks (they love eating slugs, as do some frogs). Or maybe it's a problem with aphids. instead of spraying a poison on the very plants you are planning to eat, you could plant marigolds which will attract ladybirds, which love eating black-fly aphids. Nature has the solutions and it is all about achieving a balance; something that happens naturally given enough time.

I already have a well established crop of garlic and silver-beet (they don't mind the frosts up here), and in the last few weeks I have planted potatoes, beans, hearting-cabbage, Chinese cabbage, bottle gourds, grey pumpkins, hearting-lettuce, beef-steak tomatoes, and sweet-corn (lots and lots of sweetcorn; I love the stuff). My black currents and raspberries are getting completely covered in with bird netting this year. Last year they produced but the birds got the goodness first. This year they are mine. I want to make jam.

One last thing before I get back out in the sunshine to do more planting... There is a Blackbird hanging around my garden this year. Nothing unusual, they are around every year and they love digging for worms in the top soil. This Blackbird is different though. I've seen him every day for the last few months and have been trying to get a photo, but with no luck so far. How do I know its the same bird? He has one pure white tail feather. I'm taking this as a good omen...

10:14:28 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 5 October 2007

Camping under the pines

I've just been sitting here watching a slideshow of photos from my xtracycle tour last summer, with The Warratahs (the best of) playing, while treating myself to a sip or two (or three, or four) of wild turkey bourbon, generously mixed with dry ginger ale. A nice way to spend a Friday night at home. Watching those pixelated cell-phone photos fade in and out has bought the feeling of being on the road flooding back. With everything I really need (as opposed to everything I mistakenly think I need) loaded on two wheels, with just the open road, and the New Zealand landscape in front of me... no set timetable or agenda. I'm itching to be doing that again.


I have a large laminated poster sized map of New Zealand pinned to my wall above my table which I now find myself gazing at longingly (again). This summer I think the East Cape of the North Island is calling me. I've been up there once before, back in the days when I was a commercial deep-sea fisherman for a job (ugh, I can't believe I ever did that). While we were fishing for the elusive Orange Roughy we had to duck into Hicks Bay to shelter from rough weather. The weather stayed bad for more than 48 hours so the skipper allowed us deckhands (5 of an 7 man crew) to go ashore and mingle with the locals. This area is a long way from the main highway and so doesn't see a lot of tourists. People are pretty down to earth. I remember walking into the pub there one mid-week evening, and almost instantly feeling as welcome as I have ever felt anywhere before. I think half of them were only at the pub because there was a unfamiliar fishing boat anchored in the bay, which in turn meant there might be some new faces to meet (and welcome) down at the drinking hole. Anyway the one encounter I've had with that part of New Zealand left me with a good feeling, so I'd like to take some time to see it properly; and what better way than on my bike.

Pushing into a southerly



Let the planning begin...

10:35:33 PM    Comment []

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