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The gate is a prayer retreat center in Otaki Forks, New Zealand
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A couple of days of pleasure. April 8th

It all started with a thought that I could go bush for a couple of nights at the remote hut site where there is a long drop and shelter. I contacted Steve DOC ranger and he gave me to 1-2 man tents to choose from and so on Sunday afternoon I packed sleeping bag, self inflating mat, food and extra clothes in a backpack, put a kettle, dish for cooking with, and the gas fitting to attach to a bottle for heating water. I packed the possum traps and a small gas bottle into another backpack and David and I headed up the hill on the quad.Why the sudden need to get away. I had a very negative reaction to the zoom Hub service on Sunday morning and a phone call from Andrea so that was enough for me to say I need to go and sort myself out. It was good to be quiet, put things into perspective and lower my expectations of people and who they connect. It was a good time to stop from all my labours around the house and be still after I checked the possum line. I caught 2 grey possums ( ( one with a white tipped tail) in 2 days, heard them in the night but the highlight was listening to the various birds that came and went. It was good that the weather was warm. I still had a fire in the potbelly bottom but it proved to be rather smoky when the wind changed direction. To bed early each night and up late, probably having 10-12 hours being still. We are very grateful for our opportunities and have seen them fit with the weather. Rain overnight puts an end to the outside work for today so I’m planning a fire in the pizza oven to cook a leg of lamb. I walked to Bryony and Mark to deliver bags, keys and petrol/diesel containers. It’s a gift from them to collect some mushrooms from their grassy area and I also collected one from the DOC stone wall paddock ( a much larger variety).

What the clear days and isolation have given as gifts. April 5

I am so glad for inspirational thoughts with one on Friday night as I suggested we take the binoculars and go to the washout south of the house after tea during dusk to see if we could see a dear. Dressed up against the cold with hat and coat we stood and sat looking about through the glasses, then suddenly in a grassy patch across the river from us there was a seemed to be a large stag with antlers coming and going for a leisurely walk across the grassy area. He looked towards us a number times, looked like he rose his head to give a roar ( which we didn’t hear as the sound of the rapid below cut out all sounds). He keep walking, occasionally looking in our direction. What an amazing gift… not repeated last night even though I walked to the same spot and waitedYesterday we took time to rest, me after checked the possum traps.Then in the afternoon we headed to the river with the thermette and a pan to cook up a mix to make pancakes using some sticks from around us. We enjoyed a special picnic in the late afternoon as the water flowed past, followed by looking at the rocks to see if we could find any fossils.

The days roll by.. April 3

It was an out and about day with checking possum traps, spending time picking up sheep manure … into 7 buckets and with David’s help packing down the tent, sorting out a shelter close to the entrance of the dam track using bags of gravel I had collected this morning from the slip face as I journeyed about in the Suzuki today… an easy way to transport everything. Beautiful weather… sunny days so it feels like we need to use them while we can. David continues to prune with the hedge trimmer. Take time to seek the Lord, time to hear his voice, turn away from your sin is the call of these days.

Another beautiful day in the country.

I didn’t try anything quite so adventurous as the fence and gate today but I walk looking for mushrooms in the DOC stonewalls area but found none after checking the possum trap… still none caught. I need to try something else.Washing done and dried, a walk to the Pukeatua track to open the possum traps then back to the area just by the dam track entrance. I found lots of wood ear fungi but I couldn’t pick them all because they were too high to reach… quite an amazing sight. It was good to just sit and listen to the birds, I even saw a tomtit close by but it didn’t stay long enough for a photo. I have checked the sauerkraut and it seems to be going well. I have mixed the raw potato starter with flour and water so will wait to see how long it takes to rise. David is outside pruning again, a never ending bit of work. Broken today with connections with Steve and Jack Leeson. Both headed away with rhubarb stalks and Steve some greens.I feel the day has sped away … soon to be thinking of tea but perhaps a vacuum of our bedroom first. We now have unlimited Gbs so that changes our life, gives us more freedom t watch utube articles and other things without being concerned that we will use up too much data before the month’s out. Like last night we watched the 1 hour long prayer focus on live streaming on face book. I was thinking how the days just flow together into each other so it’s hard to keep up with what day it is. Sun up and sun down. and another day has past. It’s good to pause and consider how these days come into being, created by God’s word.

a day of prayer and fasting for NZ called for by church leaders

It’s a privilege to join others even if we don’t have enough Zoom time we can beseech God on behalf our nation individually or with others as we pray and repent for our sins as individuals and as a church.. as modelled by 1 Chronicles 7:14. Asking God that He would be merciful. We will stop and pray at various times during the day… for many it’s been a day of fasting too. The weather is fine today.. warm with clear skies. A walk to check the possum traps proved that my method is not working, a good walk though and I was able to talk to Bob our neighbour who was heading home from a walk in the park. I had been thinking of him as his donkey poos help the rhubarb grow well… so it’s good to give some stalks back to him, so I will leave him some at the gate tomorrow as he and Margaret are heading into the park for a picnic lunch. I cut and put cuttings of rata vine, kotukuku and oleria rani as I had collected branches from the track, in river sand, covering them with cut off drink bottles that I have had prepared for quite a while.Today it was cut some plum wood with the drop saw at the backdoor. The idea came as I picked up a piece of rata or rimu drift wood from the river bed yesterday when I went down doing pest control… putting in bait. It was a quick work… 3 banana boxes now ready for the rayburn. This lead on to washing the paint of the carport then the south walls of the house with sugar soap and the hose. A great job but I will wait for another day to do more.We expect the delivery of a bag of wheat from John’s in Otaki when Mark and Bryony go to get their coop veges this afternoon. It’s all very interesting this life. There must be more mice about as I have caught some it traps recently.Our together times come at times of praise and prayer, the meals, watching the dvd on creation, yesterday it was the creation of the sun, moon and stars and also David reading the story of the life of Louis Pasteur…we learned how he founded microbiology, found the cause of souring of wine and saved the silk industry in France last night. So life goes on.. glad to have the space and activity outdoors but there’s also more I could be doing inside, like craft things… that will come.

I tried ” to do what you ask”

Well first of all I have spent quite a bit of time trying to download photos of the cellphone but without success as I wanted to keep a record of what the vegetable garden looks like. I can say I tried but without success. Second … I still haven’t caught the possum that ate so many apples.Third … I didn’t handle criticism very well… very defensive so need to learn some more healthy ways of dealing comments of David which may be valid but hurt. I have read I need to thank him, agree, also add something to it and ask if there is something else you want to comment on. Shows up how much of a people pleaser I really am because my reactions indicate I want to defend myself… I am not a bad girl or a failure or not good enough.Fourthly ….cooking some frozen chicken breasts in the rayburn stove overnight and it worked.Fifth….to make a shopping list for Bryony and Mark to collect for us when they do their shopping tonight. We took 4 bags to them but didn’t include a written list, sent it by email.Sixth…. to post some seeds and a small book about what I am thankful for in an envelope with a card David wanted to give Alex… seeds that I had collected from plants here.Seventh…. to take some time quietly read the Bible. I started on a journey of study about being under “the shadow of wings” as described in Psalm 91 and found in other passages too, quite interesting thinking of shelter and protection. Eighth….to fix a fence the ducks have been getting out over so it’s not pulled up an wired to the posts. Near this are apples that are nearly ready… small but some not yet ripe. Could be used to catch a possum!Nineth….to have interesting meals. Last night we had a fluffy omelet which I gave the chance for David to separate the egg and the whites in the shell.Tenth…. to have an attitude of thankfulness and praise each day. It has warmed up and the wind dropped although we had a shower come when dropping off the bags so Mark bought us home. Soon the shower stopped and it’s been sunny since.

How the days go by….

It was a good prompt when I woke yesterday to do the rebaiting of the traps at the springs paddock and Dean’s DOC 200 trap. It was a different picture to what I had imagined with the apples being eaten that I had planned to pick and the doors of all Dean’s huts and caravans open. This lead to another trip with 2 stakes, 3 traps, a sledge hammer, staples and hammer to set up the traps for last night. It wasn’t good timing as we had a lot or rain last night… catching nothing. I also shut the doors for Dean.I had extended my time up on Shield’s flat by walking along the flat looking for mushrooms on the DOC paddock but saw nothing but walked along further to see if anyone was about.
Life is quiet here for sure. A few vehicles yesterday with Higgins road inspector and someone to follow up a request to have a culvert cleared, it needing a blast through to empty it so we don’t have water running past our gate when it rains.
Today I have enjoyed a quiet sit reading a novel after a busy week with outdoor activities and more for next week. Now the fire is on with the temperature dropping and rain still in the air.
A week has gone by since we started this new life.. isolation and a change of focus.

At home for at least 4 weeks… lockdown officially starting Wednesday at midnight

We have been told to stay home unless we have essentials to purchase at grocery or chemist shops so David took a trip to Otaki for bird food and vegetables and bread on Monday afternoon. Today we have been about home, David pruning trees on the boundary facing the north to keep our view open and I have prepared this website, planted out some silver beet in the glasshouse before lunch and made a trip on the dam track to collect the bag, listen for birds in 3 places and put out bait on the chapel track. A necessary activity is to get exercise and what better place that the bush. A special treat was to find a ripe strawberry today when weeding, pity it had been eaten a bit but we shared the remainder. Still a surprise and delight. I headed home to cook up a batch of zuchinni pickle using some of the onions and peppers David purchased yesterday, sweetened with honey. I had left it sprinkled in salt for a couple of hours, washed it then cooked it in white vinegar, water, honey, turmeric and dill seeds. Washing was hurriedly bought in when a shower passed through.It’s easy to spend lots of time listening to New Zealand and world news so I think I need to limit the amount of time I focus on that. I have offered some spare silver beet and Russian kale plants to Bryony and Mark as there stay may be longer than originally planned.The family have set up a facebook page for the family in messenger so we can connect visually. A bit of a journey as we would normally see the grandchildren at least once a fortnight. I had the thought about Gods love surrounding me as well as my protector and provider as I woke this morning… a great thought to start the day.

Official Lockdown for the all the population of New Zealand with coronavirus here.

We have had a government implement drastic and unheard of measures that are also happening in many other parts of the world as people have been infected and many dying due to lack of facilities to care to the sick, especially not enough respirators. We are all told to stay at home unless we need groceries or pharmaceuticals. There’s limits to where people can go and when, all the DOC huts and camping grounds are closed. So this is a major shift in the world… with Italy, Spain, America, Iran and now India being affected quickly with deaths in these countries especially in the over 50s but also some young people.

New Zealand medical staff called for a change from level 2 to 4 this week after encouraged anyone over 70 or had a preexisting medical condition to self isolate last weekend. David had trip for some bird food and veges on Monday afternoon but everyone else was doing the same because the deadline for all shops except essential ones like supermarkets and chemists have been shut ( except for Mitre 10 and Bunnings to service tradies working on essential work)

What a change, is there a hidden agenda in the governments of the world today. Are the times of the end of this world as we know it? Is Jesus return imminent? It’s time to get our lives in tune with Him, getting to know and respond to him afresh. So I encourage you to “seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” as it says in Isaiah 55:6 [Rapua a Ihowa, kei kitea ana ia: karangatia atu, kei tata ana mai ia]

comments from a survey taken for the Historic Arcus Dam track walk

The comments about the walk: awesome, a refreshing walk, a wonderful experience, food for the soul, an amazing walk so green and lush, much appreciated, thanks for your hard work and seeing the traps for rats, stoats and ferrets.

All this was great but in response to comments about more signage at the dam itself being needed one is now on it’s way.

thanks to all who participated as it wondered how people chose to walk there… saw the sign when passing, friends recommending, Elevate Otaki page, the DOC website and through the ranger…. all very interesting to us.