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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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Finally I have been able to access the website again

What a learning curve… dismiss the request to pay discount domains their fee and then no access until it’s all sorted which has been quite a journey.

We are living in an isolated place with many opportunities to see people who pass, some calling in to say hi. It’s been 19 1/2 months of road closure with the challenges of getting supplies here which was made more difficult by the fall on December 9th 2021. We live with isolation but vegetable gardens, ducks and a warm house with firewood and all the extras to keep us occupied. It has been an interesting journey with new back packs to bring supplies here plus the occasional helicopter lift of supplies that have been stockpiled on the otaki side of the slip on the piece of land we call the ‘springs paddock’. What a life!

We are getting rain which changes things around here with needing the generator more and the boiler to head the water on sunless days. Great to have the opportunity to keep living here with the support of people we have come to stay. It has been great using the hot house with tomatoes still ripening and greens at an eatible stage. We are also having duck for occasional meals, with more in the future. The fejoias have been plentiful so there’s a few bottles preserved for future use, plus extras given like quinces and pears. It’s amazing to see how there is abundance here.

I have been thinking a bit more colour in the garden would be welcome with most of the flowers gone…more bulbs perhaps, daisies and other coloured plants now the dahilas are finished and the other annuals have died down. A thought of rearranging some of the beds with more flowers is appealing but of course it takes a bit of work. I have been recycling the potting mix by adding compost, manure and lime on a tarpaulin so I can reuse it… all good and ready for plants I have now in punnets waiting for planting… Some garlic planted!

until next time

Updating the challenges after the change with the road blockage

We have found it’s preferable to have a 2 minute helicopter ride to walking with difficulty for 2 1/2 hours that we did on Boxing day as David found it very difficult coming down the old emergency track… we are not as agile and young as we were 5 years ago, especially him after a year with 3 surgeries. The option was to walk so we needed to test it out but not again. We couldn’t get into the forest so no car available so that made it clear we needed to risk life and limb.. we did and arrived home.

So life goes on at home.. it’s raining again today so taking a bit of a break from outside work with the garden and pest control work calling after we spent a week away in Wellington and more before coming back. Extra supplies were obtained and so that meant it was a full helicopter for me ( Kathleen) and that’s got to keep us for a while as there’s no planned schedule for this again. David walked home with the thought he wouldn’t do it again. It is an evolving story for us coordinating with the forest owner re the lock on the gate.

I made attempt to have shelving for my preserves using various pieces of wood and screwed together. It was good to have a creative project completed. There was a good amount for the job. I know that there are other jobs to do and will have to see if we have the resources. The garden needs a new amount of work with a growth from all the rain, all 400 mils in December. The bees are finding that the trees have flowered during the rainy time, so not much honey in storage this year but both hives are going ok.

an ongoing journey

After 3 days of resting after such a big change in our lives I have spend today outdoors, mostly in the garden covering blue berries, removing seed heads to dry of russian kale and mustard, plus cleaning out the composting toilet and also putting a sheet of metal above the door of the sleeping container.. Great to have a helper cutting grass with lawnmower and stimmer and giving a hand when needed.

More rain is expected and we haven’t got a clear understanding of the transport needs being met with the local helicopter being serviced in Nelson so one is being arranged from Caterton if the weather is suitable to take us out to our car on Wednesday so David can have his checkuip at Palmerston North Hospital. We live in different times… the backpacks have come out of storage, so we need to think about what we need to take over to the car for our return journey or buy while out of here.

We have had thoughts of vehicles and accommodation if we are out for an evening so as not to be travelling in the bush in the dark over the next months. A caravan, yurt or hut with a source of heat…a 4 wheeled drive for the forest road, and of course other things will come to mind. It will be a time of being dependant on friends for sure, one to continue to collect things couriered or stored, the occasional night staying out. it feels a bit surreal at present with knowing we have about 1.5 km to walk to get to the top of the ridge above the house.

It’s still and sticky.. the sky is dark with heavy clouds but no rain yet but 40 ml predicted in the next couple of days. .

I will keep you posted as the days go on. I am reminded as I read God’s word that I am not to be anxious and to ask God for our needs to be me and wait expectantly for an answer. Kathleen

changes, changes, changes

Days ahead will be sunnier, but the rain is coming.tonight after days of showers.

The DOC toilets have been cleaned to the last time for a while for me after a fall from my bike coming down the steep hill by the caretakers house. A deep clean of toilets and cutting the grass for the first time in 14 months as DOC is opening the area for summer camping at Boiles Flat the old picnic grounds. It is likely to open for camping by mid December to the vaccinated.

A new glass house is being made from various recycled wood, windows and glass.attached to a wood shed close to the garden

David is continuing to heal which make me glad so my days of pulling and pushing the food from the car in the buggy and trolley by myself will change. To make it easlier the quad is helpful and he will be back driving again.

So church services are now 1 hour… took us 45 mins to walk and drive there today. Changes all around the country

the local library, swimming pool and other facilites are closed to unvaxed, families are divided in the nation, shops are making big decisions about who can enter and i guess we have become a nation of informants and judges in this present climate.

What a sad direction Lord we need a revival as the nation has turned away from God so we are seeing the consequences as we head to Judgement. Lord revival with repentance .. Lord hear our prayer.

waiting for summer to come

daily changes with sun, wind and rain… now it’s very humid so just right for the gourmet mushrooms I have purchased kits from Ohau Gourment mushrooms to grow.. the bags are developing the white growths expected so keep them moisted up, humidity high so they don’t dry out…. soon for the mushrooms so I have shifted them to the shower box.

Life on the land… pest control keeps happening with extra work going to be on hold for a little longer until help comes for new tracks and help putting out the weta motels finished and sitting in the garage. The garden is getting ready for the months ahead with some plantings already happened like potatoes in leaves and tyres, yams started in pots in the glass house and lettuces planted too. It is progressing well with pesto a favourite of greens including water cress out of the water tables as we walk home, miners lettuce growing in abundance this year as is the parsley… all good. We have lived fairly quietly but have seen more people of late walking by and a few calling in. It’s a new season ahead.

We are glad to say it’s a great place to stay

It’s a quiet and healthy spot

with many ways to keep us active and healthy

and so many things to be grateful for.

and praise God for… most of all that Jesus lives and his Holy Spirit is in me. Kathleen

A race to beat the coming rain

It has been a few days of getting prepared for the predicted rain with cleaning grass from under fejoia trees to put out blood and bone and then mulch over top, plus cleaning in the native plant nursery area as well as basic tidying here and there. It has been a good motivation for the start of September as we continue to spend lots of time around home with the present lockdown levels. Now the rain has started. I wonder how much will fall and if it will make any difference at the subsidence at Blue Bluffs?

It has been good to connect with locals and other New Zealanders using zoom and messenger video calls. It has been a time when hunters and walkers pass our gate so we have the occasional conversation, without a mask. Surely we are in a delightful place with open spaces , clematis starting to flower spreading over various trees many hidden from our view but seen in surprising places. I have been planning to rejuvinate potting mixes from dused tree pots and bags which I have grown carrots in. It is a great assistance having information to inspire as I use the internet to ask questions like growing oca… or yams, pruning, what to plant and when in the garden to make our space more productive. I have wandering in the garden hens to keep out as well as a group of ducks to find out how they get out and wander around.

It’s also a good time to be still, listen and meditate on God’s word. He’s wanting me to be closer, hear him more clearly and of course obey. So glad that we can sing together, it sure lifts our thoughts higher as we praise God.

May You be blessed where ever you live at this time.

Life in lockdown..level 4 and 3

The slipface is still walkable but not drivable although a small motorcycle and bikes come over it. We saw a pig balanced on the motor cycle this past week.

We are here at home… there’s plenty of time to get work done around here with tidying, spraying, mulching, garden preparation, repairing and making new things. It’s been a fruitful time with the weather being sunny and warm, usually following a frost each morning. I have been glad of this time where we have felt it’s been productive around here, even to doing some spring cleaning work of washing curtains.

I have been out a couple of mornings to look for where one duck who consistently is found eating grass on the area outside our bedroom window.. I felt ‘ I’m on a duck hunt, a duck hunt” but not successful so far as I can’t find how it gets out or the route it takes. What a challenge. We are adapting our lives to seeing a few people now heading into the hills for hunting or walking, some of these are willing to stop and talk.

A few maintainence jobs including fixing a clothes line, remaking a shall shelter with pallets and different roofing. It ‘s a bit difficult to get things perfect without the chance to go out shopping but its amazing what we have lying around or stored here and there. Good to work out the situations as they come to my notice. Even to sorting out more rubbish, yet to be collected including the mouldy bait that may need a different way to be disposed of.

A time to have a day of less work today. We need to not always be working so on my birthday we headed away from the house to the new shelter near the dam track entrance to sit in the sun and boil a hot drink on the gas cooker. A good place to retreat from all the work that calls.

We keep focused on the Lord during this time with thanks and praise plus the times of quiet meditation.

My oh my the weeks go by

With wind and rain

days pass and go on

We continue to wait

passing the locked gate

Yes it’s different and long

but there’s hope to go on

We are warm and comfortable

in this latest storm

I am grateful for the opportunities the place we live in gives with walks, possuming, garden to tend with veges to eat, birds that I can’t always identify and of course the occasional walker and bikers passing by. We are heading towards the 11 month mark… it’s hard to believe nearly a year has gone by but it has with it’s challenges, connections and of course changed lifestyle. We continue to pull in or push in groceries and David has had the 2 operations with time to rest while he recouperates. Help has come with the support to cut up wood, trees removed from the dam track to keep it open, visits on a monthly basis by Mark from KCDC and of course interested neighbours. Lots to be grateful for and of course one of these would be the internet and phone connections which means I can join prayer meetings on zoom, send emails, do research and order goods on line. It’s a bit difficult not attending meetings at night but we haven’t suffered for that really.

While we wait we try to be sensitive to heaer God’s voice of encouragement, direction, correction and such like.

May that continue for all of us … be blessed

Tick of the months as they go past

The last 10 months have been a huge change in our lives, eventful with David having 2 surgical procedures, a helicopter airlift in the middle of the night for David in pain, a number of people we have had conversation with that are passing our gate, the mounting rubbish and the clearing of the dam track tree obstruction.

All this in the months plus the continuing pest control with the different tracks being slowly recorded on the trapnz site on the cell phone with some transferred to the website. It’s hard to keep doing it all on technology after using paper. yes there are rats and stoats being caught and bait eaten. I have finished the 40 weta motels and have started being more proactive killing possums, especially the ones around the house. It will be time to begin on culling ducks as they are mature and a good size for eating before spring comes and all the females start laying….8 extra drakes and 4 extra females. My effort on trademe hasn’t been all that successful.

WInter woes…not that many. I feel the garden is in good heart with the fruit trees and berry fruit pruned, some mulched added to beds, seeds bought in preparation for future planting with ideas for more bags for edibles like parsnips and carrots. As always there’s a number of things to keep doing.
We heard from a hunter that there are some hives across the river about 700 m away so that was interesting as there are some hives about 2 km from home further down the valley.

Walking… on the road or the emergency track is still happening, no quads now but one hunter has scored 3 pigs as he and a friend used motor bikes they had lifted over the gate on different trips into the gorge. One was caught just above our house when he located his dogs with the gps after they went missing. Well I never you would say.. we never knew it was there. There may be more… hunters are ever hopeful and they rely on their dogs to sniff the wind.

The rep from the council came this past week. His visit to discus future developments as they are yet to be planned for after the engineers get back with reports from their measurements and study of the site. We also wait on the rubbish being collected with David needing to drive the quad so it’s good that has waited until he can wisely do that after the recent op.. what a relief that has been, the pain has been relieved.

So as I read this week in trials have endurance that produces character and character produces hope so may these be in us in abundance as we face every challenge. This past week it was clean out the water settling tank as there was silt in them. a 2 wheeled trolley I pulled up the hill with broom, buckets, etc, cleaned everything out but the intake hose got a stone in it blocking flow. It meant I needed another visit next day with a hose carried in a backpack and after 2 attempts the water was flowing again ….the moral of this for me, one needs to take the time necessary to do these maintanence jobs.

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.