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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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lots of rain and wind

Changes come slowly or quickly… rain helps to weigh down the gravel sitting over the rotten rock at Blue Bluffs so we wait to see what the result will be of todays wind and rain. We have not had the quantity of water that the South Island has had but the river is running very high.

David is now staying in Otaki having had an emergency call to be helicopted out after experiencing severe pain on Tuesday night.. a gift for him to stay in Otaki with a family for a few days with a Doctor’s appointment on Monday to assess the situation. The challenge of getting help meant an amazing experience of havign a helicopter, bigger than other previous ones, land in the area across from our entrance. He’s not had a reoccurance of the pain but didn’t want to stay here in case he had to call the rescue helicopter again as this was a sudden and unexpected experience

We know that the last rain left slips on the dam track that will probably need clearing but as yet we haven’t found out the extent of them. The ones affecting the emergency track have been cleared by DOC workers. Life is surely different with wintery weather and unexpected changes, but I am assured that I am not alone and we have a good supply of food and fuel here.

the photos on KCDC website tell it all

As you see there’s a change that has come… less flat area to walk across so life is uncertain or at least the length of access time across the area. It will depend on any future heavy rain falls. We have KCDC closing gaps to try to stop quads, not sure about bikers and trampers.. I think they will find a way through

Rain changes everything

We have had rain and lots of it over the past 2 days with the result that the slip area as changed markedly with a number of slips so that there’s a large surface about 100 m wide on the river side with the river lapping strongly at the bottom which has fallen, possibly about 11 pm last night when ‘ Thunder” was heard and one of our guests had a dream of the edge of the room falling… It’s the edge of the road and there is marked subsidence where we usually walk. Both guests have headed out, the later when 2 council staff came to look at the area after 2 pm taking her to a train station on her way. It was obvious with the rain and the situation that it was better to stay at home today.

We have been living quietly and simply with David recouperating and we are glad to say, he’s improved over the past weeks. Help came with one of our guests who labeled new traps and worked on other pest control equipment that has been purchased and made over recent weeks. Great to also have some maintanence things done as well as having come company.

So a good to slow down with this winter experience…till next time. I bless you

diffent days with different challenges

We live in a place were there a predators and rodents as we have been finding out by experience. The harrier hawk did some damage to the ducklings and then this week a falcon (Karerea) attacked a hen so this is a new experience for us.. Of course we have the meat to eat but it can seem inconvenient the timing. David and Sean saw the falcon at close hand and got the chicken off the bird, rather damaged it was.

The rats and mice have found a warm place to settle for the night Tand have a feed of wires… even though we have traps and bait outside the car and inside now as the car needed to have about 5 hours in the garage to get the wires back to a good condition to repair the damage. … Oh the cost!

There is not clear plan for the road improvement… will they make it legally passible with some extra monitoring in place or will we still wait for the decisons to be made after the recent testing. It’s a slow process it seem with nothing likely to be done before the end of December.. months away and even longer. A meeting with the KCDC roading manager gave us an update but no clear future plan, just further decisions to be made.

Well we live quietly with David recouperating a repair operation… slowly he feels more revived but the expected outcome hasn’t happened so we continue with what we have been doing and now he has been instructed to squat a few times a day. How great it was to get our wood supplies organised by a visit of friends as we weren’t prepared for 6 weeks of no lifting. It was good timing as we had our usual cold spell of weather in late May come over last weekend ,followed by a few frosts.

Pest control work goes on … a busy week walking the tracks, purchasing supplies to spend the grant money from the Kapiti Coast District Council. This was helped by a few supplies from the Greater Wellington Regional Council staff member that I met with on Thursday to help me get better at recording with the Trapnz website/app so that I have up to date information as I go rather than double handling it. .. I will see how it goes, probably being very helpful for a couple of volunteers who have been offering assistance as they can log into the same site from their phones.

The Lord is good and does good, He is near those who fear HIm…. all verses that encourage me on this journey.

woopsy or was it Eeek?

A rat in the glove box yesterday… it was soft and moved when I put my hand in there. What a shock! I usually deal with dead ones in traps so this was a surprise.
“David I need you to deal with it”. He took a while to respond but it stayed in tne one position probably because of the rat bait that had been put under the bonnet of the car as the bait outside hasn’t been touched. So that’s the life of a car in the wild…visited by vermin.

I had Sunday with dedicated pest contol workers and bird monitoring helpers at a property in Paraparaumu. What a privilege to be among some knowledgable people, one who is willing and putting together graphs from the records of catches I have been making over the years. I was told we are doing an amazing job, so got to keep it up. Today I headed out into the wind and showery weather to empty pitfall traps to find out what insects/ beetles we might have here. All the pottles were filled with water so I am not sure what was found…. all put into isopril alcohol.

Thinking about the dam and prospects is on the agenda as we have been told that the one on our property is under the jurisdiction of the Waikato Regional Council as are all other dams in NZ. There is a proposal to have the unused ones removed by 2023 so we have a few years of grace. We wait to see what God and man will do about this.

The subsidence looks like there is some sinking on the river side but the road it self is flatten and therefore deceptive about what is going on underneath with the digger smoothing it all over. Of course people are asking what are the findings from the digging and drilling, I guess we will hear in due course.

Such lovely weather for pruning and garden work, planting and making mulch…. a great heap of this is brewing under a tarpaulin. The ducks were under shelter for a week and so not extra killings by the hawk recently which is helpful, I am just beginning to let them out more.

So here we have it… a sort of catching up for this week.

journeying with a closed road

7 months have passed with changes in the condtion of the road with cracks widening and slumping occuring slowly.

Now it’s time to investigate with a million dollar drilling machine using water as part of the process going down through the rock layers… not able to reach 20 mitres for the first hole beause the drill head had a piece sheared off. There will be drilling happening for 2 days probably on a second hole as the machine is due to go to Bleheim for starting to work Monday. Yesterday an excavator dug 2 holes then covered them up again while I was away for the day… all looking to see what is underneath the cracked earth.

People still journey past on various things like feet, bicycles and quads leaving the road surface affected. It’s hunting time with the roar so we continue to watch and wait , wondering who we will meet next and when there will be any changes to access so that it becomes unsafe to venture over the unstable area. Surveyors keep a fortnightly watch on the area with their measurements showing any changes. A gate has been installed which has made it easier to get to and fro with shopping as we take the buggy and trolley to the car.

How do we live like this? challenges come in many ways, recently it is finding ducks attacked and I saw the reason this morning as a large dark brown bird flew away from the upper duck run where all the young ones are…could be a hawk who killed the one I found today. do I bury it or not? The first one we found had a bloody head so we took it out of misery before a trip to wellington on Wednesday. Killing is part of living in these places… with all the pests that we have caught in traps over the years but a hawk is a different story… what now?

I walk, enjoying doing so again after purchasing some new tramping boots from Mackpak… Scarpa’s a light with lots of tread. My backpack has been fixed and fitted so that makes carrying things to and from seem easier even though it takes a lot of room on the bus I found when I headed to Paraparaumu yesterday, This is my life, being adaptable and cheerful, glad to be in this beautiful place. There’s plenty to occupy us on the land with garden mulching, pest control and the like and the occasional trip on the bike to the end of the road to check toilets… that’s a good opportunity to be reminded that staying has meant we have tracks open, grass under control and pruning getting done. I team of workers will be needed to get things in order in days ahead with the DOC facilities I am sure. They are still being used, in reduced numbers of course but people are enjoying the walk.

the waiting continues with some land movement

In talking to those who come to look they say they notice quite a bit of movement on the road without tarseal. The Kapiti Coast District Council has contracted a company to do some test drillling so we will see changes in the future with a machine on site. the concrete barriers have been moved aside with a plan for a gate to be installed. Now it’s raining so that may wait.

Challenges this past week have been with vehicles.. first of all the lights in the car, the ABS and the break warning lights with no obvious reason found with the wheels or with the scanner test… then the auto electrician who found finally be looking along the line 2 wire chewed with a nest being made beside the passenger seats at the back of the car… yes a mouse or rat entered the car sitting outside under the pine trees.. such a warm and cosy place. WIth that cost we will need to keep bait inside the engine area and under the car to prevent that again.

The other car is in for repairs after coming off road on the gravel… fortunately David had no injuries from that incident.

I continue to walk the hills with pest control work… needing a new pair of hiking boots without plastic soles in this area. It’s amazing to be among the ferns and trees knowing there’s still rats around as well as the birds, some of which I don’t recognise the call of.

Rain has come, just as I was harvesting tomatoes in the garden to ripen inside or use as a green tomato dish. There’s other veges I want to harvest but I am glad that I came inside before the heavy shower have just had. All predicted so it’s out with wet weather gear when we go out now.

Daylight saving has come, the nights are sure earlier with the sense that winter isn’t far away even though it has been quite warm lately.

Keep well, keep dry and keep smiling in thankfulness in and for whatever comes your way.

Six months behind the locked gates on Otaki Gorge Road

Yes it is 6 months since the September closure with now no clear plan although there is drilling planned to find the substructure… not to do a controlled dynamite slip but to look forward to future restoration of the road. It’s a waiting game… challenging as it’s hard to make plans for activities with people coming here. So except for a few that have taken the risk to cross to visit most of the traffic on the road are trampers, hunters and cyclists. It’s an interesting time as we have had to bring all we need in now may easier by being given a new bicycle buggy/trailer after the other older model was stolen on Waitangi weekend.

Greatful for rain today after a dry spell which David used to advantage by pruning the dam track over a number of days. We are glad that we had help to remodel the slip that blocked the track a few months ago that means we can drive over because it gave greater access to the 2 1/2 km to the dam beyond it. I have had a ride on the quad up the hill which has assisted with pest control which has taken me up the emergency tracks to empty traps and replace lures and gas for good nature traps.

There has been an abunance of moscovy ducklings hatched.. now what to do with them as they are a hungry lot. A few hard decisions need to be made before winter.

The 2 hives have produced about 70 kg of honey so that’s now bottled after creaming. What to do with that amount? any takers other than gifting it all.

Help from friends will be needed if we aren’t going to travel over the slip at night with daylight saving coming this weekend as the cracks and holes are there, a source of help has been offered when I go to Wellington to visit family/grandchildren.

We are always thinking of what it means to be caretakers here… the only residents as the DOC ranger is living elsewhere. I have enjoyed using the electric bike to travel to do the work for DOC… checking and cleaning toilets. The amazing damage one possum can do with a toilet roll has been rather interesting as they have the freedom of the area and seem to be attracted to the soft white material… it sure spreads far and wide leaving toilet rolls decimated and clawed.

So join with us in these times of being positive when there are uncertain days, challenges which we face, seeing all the work that could be done but knowing it’s isn’t possible to finish it all in one day. We are learning to rejoice… making our choice to praise God in every circumstance.

we haven’t had the great rumble yet

The months pass by, now 5 with the cracks increasing in width, the subsidence contiuing to happen and people who cross to come to the Forks using different means… walking or riding . We are the only legal ones doing so we were told by Kapiti Coast District Council this week during a visit to tell us of up and coming actions to find the extent of the movement and depths to solid rock over and above the fortnightly visit by surveyors. The cracks are creaping into the lower hillside so it will mean major works in the future taking some of our land to do so.

Our life goes on… hampered by the removal of the 3 wheeled bike buggy that we used to carry groceries and goods. Pity but that’s what happened when we were away at the Kite Festival for 2 days running a stall on making paper kites for children. We are now doing various tasks around the house and property, maintanence and pest control including pruning, painting, gardening and the cleaning of the DOC toilets in the Forest Park.

There is no timeline for work to be done, it’s wait till the road falls, possibly over the winter but nothing is certain… could we have a road reinstated by the end of the year… no one can guarantee that.

keep on waiting

It’s 17 weeks on Friday since the road closed and the area is sagging like stockings falling down around the ankles or the skin of an older woman like me so it is changing slowly but progressively. Cracks are enlarging and 2 pine trees are on a lean in the line. It’s rather amazing to see so closely and of course with necessity as we use the area to access our car behind the concrete barriers on the Otaki side about 600 m from home. Not such a welcome trip with rain happening as we found on Sunday when we returned we were in the midst of a downpour, riverlets on the road, with a need for a clothes change when we arrived home… coats out to dry. It was spectacular really and quite exilerating to be out in the elements knowing we could be comfortable in a few minutes.

This cold weather changes everything and after poking a stick in my right eye as I was searching for a lost hen I haven’t been that keen to go out into the bush. Yes I got it checked at the Paraparaumu afterhours medical centre… scratches on the eyeball only, but looking a bit bloodshot.

I have enjoyed using the electricified bike to travel to the forest park and back to check toilets and when I was trying to catch a feral cat in a life catch cage… unsuccessful as I found it in a modifed timms trap after loosing the battle by magpies eating the lure meat. Now to catch magpies!

Trampers, pleasure bikers and hunters are still accessing the forest park usually risking the slip face after accessing the area up the emergency track and finding it very difficult and slippery, as one guy said, ‘ Diabolical’. None wants to slip down the hill on the track… surely a rope would help as on our side. As one tramper I met at Parawai Lodge said when she saw the rope on our side,” Why have a rope here ?” only to find it was quite helpful descending the steep ridge.

The river runs higher than normal with the recent rains so we have been talking and working towards making an access over the old slip face at the second level and coming down through the forest to the road… adding a rope to make it safer and easier in preparation for the day! It is great to have help with these projects.

I have focused on improving the garden…removing some plants, putting up a raised bed with a frame cover and insulation cloth as it isn’t possible to get materials for a glass house or plastic house here. We got the mulcher into action so that has gone onto a heap as we are preparing a large compost bed for future needs.

Pest Control and monitoring continue with the bird count done, the purchase of some macracarpa that has been cut up and the doors cut before drilling out 40 new weta motels. It is a good project to slowly work on getting them ready.

That’s about all for this update. I trust you have a good year, Kathleen