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The gate is a prayer retreat center in Otaki Forks, New Zealand
prayer, new zealand, retreat, otaki, otaki forks, david campbell, kathleen campbell, the gate
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Rain has come at last

Greeted by a quail’s call at the back door this morning was rather interesting,

What a dry spellwe have had but rainovernight ever so small in amount is very 3 mil

We have watering to do, weeds a flowering, fejoia and putaputaweta flowering too.

The bees are busy, making new comb and collecting nectar in the swam hive I was given, so I begin again with lots to improve as a beekeeper with more frequent checks of what’s happening inside the hive.

A quiet spell after a few people staying is ok as we take each day.

Bush walking to do pest control is always good, away from the heat of the sun as I increase the number of traps and bait stations in 2 places.  It takes a bit of bush bashing cutting supplejack on the way, climbing and moving stones, a small area at a time.  We went looking for a rata tree and only found one that a rotting fallen tree in the place we had thought, pushing our way through a lot of Kiekie.  I am claiming back a grassy area by trying to kill the monbretia that has taken over there, at the spot where the Corrigan homestead, school, orphanage and post office was located close to the cairn.

Orchids abound

The season for the different types to start flowering has begun with the delight to us of a visit by 2 botanists who spotted 13 different types including different sun orchids (Thelymitra) and  the different examples of Pterostylis as seen in the photo, on the side of the Historic Arcus dam track in various places so in flower and others finishing. It was amazing to see and identify more of these plus ferns, lichens, liverworts and trees that have sprung up over the 20 years since the dam was created.  It was a botanist’s delight with 5 spider orchid types ( Corybas)… 2 rare to the area with DNA found in McQuarie Island. A slow and observant botanist found more that we had in our walk pasts to do pest control or get to the dam.

This has been a good year for learning more….we came upon 2 men looking for these spider orchids on the side of the road when we went to install the board walk in the bush.  We met Carlos the man responsible for botany in Te Papa national museum for the first time.


What about a name for the lake behind the dam?  We have thought of Lake Mahara or in Maori Roto Mahara, ‘a Lake of Remembrance’. I have yet to have confirmed if it is big enough to add to topographical maps, is so we may pursue this further.


Spring is here ! Clematis is flowering.  Rata is blooming.  Lambs are appearing.  Will our ewe have a lamb ? On 30th August Kathleen, Brian and I and 2 bishops and about 100 other people visited and celebrated the 200th anniversary of the first Christian service on NZ…

Forestry Operations

Just next door, but out of sight and sound of our property, a pine forest is being harvested.  The landscape looks so different.  The road is holding up well.  You just might meet a logging truck during work hours Mon – Fri, between now and Christmas, so drive slow, keep left and be alert.  In about 3 years time these steep hills next to us will be covered in lovely new green pine trees.


Hey, above we can see Kathleen’s brother Brian and this is his own sweet space.

Brian has been with us for most of the last 2 years. His lamb, “Tim Tam,” is now a sheep and the container has been finished and slept in for many months. Brian prays and builds and keeps us on our toes with many a bright remark.

Bush Streams and Birds

A delight over recent years has been to be visited by this fellow around this time of year.

Lots of water too, everywhere, with rain, rain, and dew, dew, and short hours of sunshine so ground staying moist.dec-2010...-flowers-pheasant-and-draggon-fliy-032-300x225


The dam today

The dam has lost some of its beauty but none of its drama.

A slip earlier this year took away a big section of land next to the dam on the left of the photo.

In winter the flow over the spillway is a lot greater than in this picture.  Cold and wet if you want to walk there today.