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The gate is a prayer retreat center in Otaki Forks, New Zealand
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Possuming in earnest

A big commitment to go walking every day… today the total for me was about 4 km for a 3 to kill and pluck. Not an easy job when one screamed loudly at me and was ready to attack just when 2 walkers arrived on the scene on their way to the dam. I stopped and talked to them before heading onwards with my work, after killing the one which was screaming and ended up cutting 2 back legs off… might try eating the meat.

We had another time at the river a couple of days ago late afternoon with a hot drink and pancake, I had a thought of going back home to cook a chicken pastry pie for tea which I changed to lasagne instead after reading a recipe on the paper wrapping the tin and frypan. It was good to sit there a while to listen to the running water… yes it has changed since last time we were there as rain has come, depositing sticks for my fire.

I have finished the book of Hadassah by Tommy Tenny. It was a rewrite of the story of Esther. An amazing answer from God himself in a very difficult situation. Having been taken to be among the new concubines in preparation to be a queen and the eunuchs who would serve them… all forced to a life of service against their will. Their freedoms are more curtailed than mine that’s for sure.

Time to fix the problem of having air in the pipe to the shower block and caravans…my simple method is not enough I found out today so we will need to extract the pipe from the bushes that have covered it and have it drain the air out and then put it back into place. Probably need the hedge trimmer to help us clear the way.

The white flour Brian Titter delivered has been helpful as I mixed it with icing sugar and use it to help lure possums. I have also been using Calf mooslie in plastic cups screwed to trees (protected from the overnight rain). He also bought us some blueberry and cashew cheese having heard David was interested in some arriving unexpectedly next day with it. It sure is nice.

today’s stuff

Level 4 lockdown continues. It’s easy to spend lots of time on the computer and internet … I did work on the Deborah Trust accounts today before enlarging the names of plants I want to transfer to prepared tiles.

Then it was time to go out…washing done, floor swept and Mere offered me some of her plain white flour so I could make up possum lure as I was thinking of setting traps. So with David’s help taking me on the quad to the top of the zizzag and the steps to the emergency track I took lure and gas replacements and headed off. What a quiet and beautiful place, with the company of a fantail a fair bit of the way. I found a tree that had been blazed probably by a stag. The rat numbers are from 1-9 in the recorders but with the lure needing changing 4 monthly it was time. I took a walkie talkie and spoke to David as I ate and apple and peanuts with water to follow up on the skid site 15 with it’s great view way up high.

On the way back down Kathy’s Way I cleared off the track lots of broken branches from the Kamahi trees. I found I only had 10 lure so that was a problem as I need to climb up the rope to replace 2. I walked home collecting a few small plants from the side of the track and put out 6 possum traps using the flour, icing sugar and cinnamon/curry powder mixture I was able to make up.

Home on dark…a great day with washing dry and the wool I dyed looks pretty good. Not taken as much as I hoped but worth a try.

A full day of outside activities with a climb to the top of the ridge west of the house.

I had a trip to take the gas bottle to Bryony and Mark so quickly… or at least I tried to put together a letter card with a collage front with a tui and then wrote a poem about the tui talking all day, not sure what they say.

I think of you as I see the tuis, who talk and talk all day

I don’t know what they talk about but they have plenty to say

I would like to say how “I love you” and look forward to a visit one day

but till then I want to tell you that I’m okay, where I stay.

We walk and work in the outdoors but find it hard to play

so reading is good, making things and writing a little each day.

It’s cooler now but the sun does shine when we go out doors each day

I put a hat on my head and warm clothes to wear so I can be warm today.

I picked the last of the horse mushrooms for the season I think then collected more pine needles filling 6 bags that filled the boot of the Suzuki. A great resource from the recent winds to put around the blue berries and keep some for the smoker.

We had a plan for an early lunch before heading up the ridge to the west of the house to get to the top and remove gorse and spray their stumps, so we used a squeezy bottle that had been filled with window cleaner ( I hurriedly cleaned the inside car windows and a couple inside the house).

We headed up with packs and secateurs, components to spray the gorse stumps which we worked on cutting. It was a over 3 hours from the time we arrived at the top to our arrival at the house. A great place to be is at the top looking down into the valley.. great views as we headed up too. I took lure and gas to work on the good nature traps on the ridge. ( I found 6 of the 7). Fish and chips would be nice now but with the fresh tomatoes I collected yesterday I made a vege mixture and cooked chipped potatoes using an Alison Holst recipe. Now time to eat…

catching up after a few wet and windy days

I have enjoyed being out and about again.Yesterday for pest control and putting out some more chew cards with an extension of a track through some interesting bush.. lots of supplejack to cut through. It was great to see the red flowering stinkhorn fungi in the bush again that I found last year.

Today I headed to the pine needles that had fallen to pick up some with a rack and so collected 3 bags of the edge of the tarsealed road. I thought this would be easier than under the pine trees. About 1/2 hours work for the 3 which I will pick up at a later date. I needed to go to the long drop toilet and guess what? you would think a possum wanted to use the toilet as it ws all stained and the toilet paper was ripped and chewed and sitting on the ground outside. It needed a bit of a clean up before I could use it.

Time to prune… well overdue I might add, the hazelnut trees to the north of the house, finding 5 hazel nuts. Well with suckers gone there will be a bit more wind pollenation I hope. I had to clean out fern and grass from underneath and now we are left with a heap of thick branches? for burning in future.

I had a good walk to the picnic area on Sunday afternoon. It was a good afternoon to get out after spending quite a bit of time on internet with services to watch and catching up with family and friends.

Today I have been working on new plant signs on prepared tile pieces. It is good to have time to consider new things.. I have been thinking of doing some dyeing so that I use the dyes that have been sitting in storage for years. I need to have a lesson on how to use the dyes that are made up.

catching up on undone work

It all started with the thought about the hazel nut trees to the front of the house… time to check them. Well underneath they were overgrown with grass and ring fern and up in the tree structure were the strong growths of upright suckers with lots of molenbeckia growing all through. It’s taken me a couple of days to clear the area, do the basic pruning and collect some cuttings to try to root and then move the netting fence that was placed close to them but all overgrown. Well tonight I feel better than I did when I first saw them, having found 5 hazel nuts it has spurred me on to better care, more open branches and hopefully a better crop next year. So much to learn with the great variety of things growing here.

We picked up our first fejoias tonight so the season has started for which I am grateful. Tomorrow I am expecting to collect an ordered delivered to an address in Waehanga road from Penray Gardens. the pokchoi seeds have germinated in the mix of sand and worm poo that I put together under a sheet of clear Perspex.

A lovely walk over the past few days… great to be outdoors, collect field horse mushrooms and the bolete growing in the area. I am ever grateful for such gifts. It was great to feel better in my chest today as I walked to the picnic area and back this afternoon. It is amazing to see the different greens and see the occasional bird. It seemed that the tui were all quiet today.

Connected visually with different people from the Hub with Zoom after meeting the service which was prerecorded on UTube. It was good to have the family in Normandale come visit with Skype after a visit to the storm foreshore in Petone. Phone calls to family and friends are good for me to do to keep connected with people.

Mushroom soup is the best for using the horse mushrooms but I am trying it with pasta tonight. I did my first grinding of flour from wheat I have had here as I wanted to cook banana muffins ( from the soft ones purchased this last week with our shopping list) and a self saucing pudding on our anniversary day. We had the Rayburn oven on so that did most of the cooking like soup, chickpeas, a leg of goat and the muffins on Friday so I felt very satisfied because it also meant we had hot water that night.

Changes ahead for NZ if the lockdown level drops to 3 but I wouldn’t think we would be encouraged to go out yet. I do wonder what God is up to in the nations of the world as He is called a God of righteousness and justice as well as a God of love and mercy. I have been wondering what others are saying rather than thinking of self preservation. It amazing what is on the internet to listen to.

I saw my first robin

What a good idea to go bush to do pest control this morning after having a break for a week, a holiday at home. With rain predicted I took the trip in the Suzuki to the Pukeatua stream track, rebaiting, putting out 5 vector traps in tunnels and putting a seat on the toilet up by the shelter close to the entrance to the Hill of Hope. I was just about finished my walking in the bush and this little bird, looking a little like a sparrow kept flitting around near me and then I saw it again as I walked along the road to the vehicle.

It was a sunny day yesterday and instead of going early I spent some time in the morning trying to find where the blogs were that I had written on the Wix website. As I walked I decided to transfer them to TheGate website and so that took a bit of work but it’s now done. It was quite a slow process copying each one. As I left the house I met Warren McCrae from KCDC checking the road works that have been done, it was good to talk to someone else. When I took the gas bottle for filling to Mark on Tuesday I connected with Rachael and Steve ( he and I collected some horse muchrooms for him after Patch caught and killed a hare as we talked.)

I enjoyed a time just sitting in the sun on the foldup chair on the flat place close the entrance of the dam track in the sun by the new shelter we recently made from reinforcing and a green tarpaulin. The chair is out in the open, the grass was wet from dew and about 2.30 the sun left, so time to head home . I continue my times of meditating on a phrase from Psalm 62. the one I thought about yesterday was about the glory of God and the glory we have been given. “My safety and glory come from God”. verse 7

David and I used wire and a ladder to reattach an electrical line in a white pipe from the toilet block to the bottom hut. The black electrical ties had disintegrated so it was sagging. A job well done. David sprayed some lichen he found up on the roof while there. I checked the shower as Mark and Bryony said it wasn’t very hot. With some advice from Chris Dixon I changed the gas bottle and we will see if that makes any improvement.

Lawns are trimmed with the weed eater as David can’t get the mower to go. He has been using the hedge trimmer most days, I did the trees close to the bee hives this morning. The work outside may be stopped for a day or 2 as rain is predicted.

The day after the storm – April 14th

We had a strong northerly with 27 mm of rain yesterday and now it’s sunny and calm. We had day living fairly quietly with a pleasant walk to the cairn trying to identify tree ferns growing alongside the road. We saw and heard a group of tuis talking and singing as we climbed the hill from the Pukeatua stream. It was a good activity away from the major wind strength.This morning I cleaned the garage a bit, sorting and storing seeds from the dried parsley and silverbeet. It was a good thing to occupy about an hour before heading to take the empty gas bottle to Mark and Bryony. A good social trip with seeing Mark, Rachael and Steve. I had a bag and knife so picked the horse mushrooms for him to take home. I then harvested some pine boletes from the side of the road to try. It was good to make some phone calls last night…one to Aunty Ngaire in particular who said her brother Clive had died that day, then Keryn so is living quietly in Howick preparing some art lessons for online classes in the hope she can get some income from them.

The quiet life – April 12

what a beautiful day Saturday was with an opportunity for David and I to spend a day together. We packed 2 backpacks with the thermette and a flat pan for frying. Taking paper and matches, food to eat and off we headed to the river beach/bank close to the bridge across the river about 1 km from home. It was a great afternoon, eating, lazing about and looking at rocks before we came home after 4 hours away. Today we have lived quietly. .heard a prophetic message from Chuck Pierce passed on my George Probeck from Canada at present in lockdown in Spain, had time together focusing on the Lord’s supper from the gospels after singing songs about the blood. It was a good time for me to spend an hour alone as I have been focusing on what it means to come closer and take more time sitting in the Lord’s presence. We are not long back from collecting some horse mushrooms from the DOC paddock… a great size so that one with filling on top under the grill will be for our tea tonight. Such a wealth of goodness. I saw some mushrooms on the way home with a brown top and yellow spongy underneath and found that if I remove the sponge and stalk we can also eat these. Called Pine Boletes different from the orange and red with white spots that also grow under the pines these have gills unlike the sponge of the bolete.

Technology challenge for us April 11

First it was installing Zoom for the family session with Linda, Nick, Fiona and Lin … it took a bit of work on David’s part and then it was Skype for me on my computer trying to download it when I thought it was already installed. It was a bit stressful in both situations but at least we had sound. I have found the communication issues quite difficult as we are feeling isolated with the lack of human contact, or very briefly. Phone calls are good, txts and emails or facebook are down the list for me.There is a beautiful day again with yesterday sunny but cool. I checked the beehives thinking that the weather was likely to deteriorate today. I removed the miticide strips and looked at brood and honey stores. The second hive is looking very good the first one a little slim on the amount of stores.A quiet time as I spend time reading a book by James Goll about practicing the presence of Jesus. I believe it’s a good thing to do at this time of rest after the Passover and Shabbat. Today we will take a lunch to a spot on the river about 1 km from home where we haven’t visited for quite a while and spend time together for our 44th wedding anniversary. it’s sunny so David thought that it would be good to do something together. At present he is showing Jack and Hannaka Leeson some small trees that they can dig up for their planting plan on their property on Shield’s Flats.

Preparation for a Passover meal. April 9

I had in mind a meal together last evening to celebrate Passover so I had unfrozen a leg of lamb to cook. I stocked up the pizza oven with wood and had it burn for 2 hours before putting the meat in a roasting bag into the oven with lots of vegetables.. potato, pumpkin, parsnip, carrot, kumera on dishes because the roasting pan wouldn’t fit through the door. Put in a 2/30 and removed at 5pm….. perfect. That was joined by the various foods as part of the celebration… minced horseradish dug out of the pot on Tuesday, the haroseth mixture of apple, nuts and cinnamon, parsley and of course some chilled grape juice we had in the storeroom for such an occasion. To that we added mushroom picked from the paddock of Bryony and Mark when we went to deliver bags, petrol containers and the key to the mail box. I looked in the DOC paddock and found a very large one with more popping through to be harvested in a few days. A pleasant walk with David joining me on his bike.
David requested a desert… a lemon meringue pie, so I set to and made the sweet short crust pastry, rolled it out and baked before filling with the sweet, yellow lemony mix and topped with meringue. It looked amazing when it came out of the oven and tasted superb so that we will enjoy a decadent desert for a few more days, something we haven’t done for ages.I finished it off making some chapatis for the unleavened bread. we had a leisurely meal following a Seder meal guide that I had stored in the roof.
Preparation day over… overnight I thought I could make the next few days like a holiday of rest and focus on God the Father which is what the celebration does with the understanding that I can gain from reading more about this meal and the feast of unleavened bread that follows as I spend the next few days. I am not sure where it will take me but I can refrain from running the hills for pest control and be still for a few days.
I have enjoyed the reading of Psalm 62 in the Passion Bible….verse 1-2 ” I stand silently to listen for the one I love, waiting as long as it take for the Lord to rescue me. For God alone has be come my saviour, He alone is my safe place, his wrap-around presence always protects me. For he is my champion defender: there is no risk of failure with God. So why would I let worry paralyze me, even when troubles multiply around me?”verse 11-12 God said to me once and for all, “All the strength and power you need comes from me!” And again I heard it clearly said, ” All the love you need is found in me!”Many thoughts come to comfort and reassure as I read this yesterday and think about the concepts that are portrait in this Psalm, a little different to Psalm 91.