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The gate is a prayer retreat center in Otaki Forks, New Zealand
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Changes continue

What a great dose of heat and sun with the need to regulate what we did during the heat of the day. A good time to work in the garage and carport. It was a big decision to clean out the frames and burn the frames of the 2 hives as they had been robbed out ( all honey gone), with a bad dose of varoa mite damage and sac brood. I looked at the frames and thought I had American Foulbrood but with a further check from an expert we decided to burn the frames and keep the other parts of the hives. So no honey for me this year from here and no hives to care for. A decision about having a new hive needs to be made as a commerical beekeeper 500 m away will give me 2 new splits If I can get them here… with the need to treat more to keep the varoa mite population reduced.

A couple of nights in the bell tent have been good.. hearing birds and the rain from 3 am today. A bit more work to be done to keep the grass around it trimmed with the weed eater which is away for a service at the moment.

Lots of people walking to and fro. One walker said” I could have kissed you” when she saw the water stand. People from various parts of NZ and overseas. There have been 2 trolley’s use and only 3 tents in the camping area DOC prepared so bit of a slow start to the summer.

I had my first swim of the season only to find a black thing beside me in the water.. sure got out quickly to look back and see an eal weaving it’s way along the river bottom. Enough excitement fot one day.

The year ends with a warm windy days with cloudless skies.

Moaning, scraping, scratching and goans accompany me as I walked the emergency tracks doing the last run of pest control for 2022. A number of dead dried rats greet me, particulary gross are the long haired ones that seem to frequent our bush. It’s good to be in the trees with the sun beating down, shady and refreshing. I did wonder who was moving in the trees at one point to realise what a lot of noise one rolling rock can make moving through leaves and bushes.

The 10 trolleys are assembled, advertised locally through facebook and on the locked gate for campers to use. One has been away for a couple of days. I wonder if other’s will be used in the weeks to come? The good weather is ood news for people who have braved it to camp at Boilies Flat, the old picnic ground. I have in the past put up a tent for this week before New Year and slept outside to hear the birds… a couple of nights yet. Amazing how everything is growing well in the garden although harvest is some time yet. I think i have deterred the hare and dealt with a possums recently so now the runner beans and the last of the broad beans may be safe.

It’s a busy road past our gate, the water use is an indication of numbers… the 1o kg bottle has been filled 2 times this week. Te Aroroa walkers are heading out to Otaki, joining trampers, day walkers and the occasional hunter and bike rider or runner. Could there be 50 people a day? No counter, just our guess as there up to 25 cars at the locked gate. I try to keep an elementary record. The hardest thing is groups who come to go to the picnic ground meet the gate and wonder why they can’t get to the forest park, as we found on Christmas day, having travelled from Palmerston North. Signage says road closed at Blue Bluffs- what does that mean ? it’s the area of the slip between our house and where our car is parked but that means nothing to out of towners.

A common question we ask is, where are you from? Could be Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, Australia or other areas in NZ .. amazing array of nations.

Goats and deer are about over the river. A friend walking back from the dam heard some rustling and saw a big brown bottom… must have been a deer close by. It didn’t stay to say goodday. One of the hens has gone missing, could be a passing dog but no evidence anywhere to be found.

More accommodation… a bell tent with a queen sized bed and a few simple furnishings on the upper level. A great place to stay for those wanting an outdoor place. The area has been cleared around so it looks quite the place. A wee walk to toilet and shower. Improvements continue with the new gas califont in use and the roof over the old caravan that had a leaking roof with more work to be done on the inside to improve it’s looks and function as a cooking area.

About 5am, 8.30 and then from 4pm there are noisy ducklings making themselves known. It’s a big thing to have food and grass… the 12 young ones are growing quickly.

. The river is inviting on a sunny day… the visitors that have just left have certainly enjoyed being it the water and down at the river bed. Others come with their dogs and enjoy the area to so it’s not really a private beach.

may this be a great year for you with desires fulfilled and new opportunities opening up. Bless you from us here at The Gate.

Overcoming…keeping cheerful and productive

Spring came and went and now there’s lots of growth in the garden and along the paths that calls for ‘work’ but with the wet or hot days that’s not something that’s happened easily. Pest control checks happen to a schedule so that helps keep rats at bay and the odd stoat. Pity possums like to congregate near the hen house and garden, I have killed 4 recently so they now reside in bucket and old onion bag to feed the hens with maggots. That’s what i call recycling.

We saw a great activity recently with DOC removing the retired rangers’ gear after 2 years of wait for him… a great display of stuff flying back and forth before 6 loads were delivered here including a piece of family history in a chest of drawers strapped onto a pallet and a pallet with 10 gorilla garden carts to help people get to the camping ground with their gear this summer. DOC staff have been preparing Boilies Flat are for tents and installing a kitchen sink area. Smaller in area and closer that the schoohouse flats area which some are using.

There is a plan … to have KCDC councillors visit before the road opening decision is made. I wrote an impact report of our 2 years to share with them and we have visit from 2 Otaki local Board councillors.( one a ward councillor). March the time being prepared for make a decision with reports of costs from the KCDC staff and of course us and interested and affected others. We are enjoying being here with the covering of the old cooking caravan with a roof other maintanence jobs being done including a new gas califont in the shower/toilet hut. Some seats have been planed and oiled so looking good.

We have purchased a bell tent for more accomodation so I am always preparing for more…. meeting walkers has been a good thing with people from the nations appearing up here which is the entrance to a national park and so that’s brings conversation and a drink of water plus a comment in the book I prepared by some.

Access is over the slip using steps and rope so come and enjoy the Forks area over this holiday time. May you have a blessed rememberance of the birth of Jesus Christ and a very amazing New Year.

Waiting

Many ways for us .. rain to stop and rain to come, the helicopter airlift that was cancelled last week with the various things now sitting for another day, the decision about the reopening of the road which is to be made in March by the Kapiti Coast District Councillors after the plan is put before them. So life goes on with many things in our lives entailing waiting. Today it’s for a call to say the truck which is bringing carts for us to assemble to be used by campers in the months ahead.

The garden is getting planted with warmer weather here, corn, beans and butternuts as some of these.. potatoes and tomatoes, and of course different greens. So we are glad to have the space with another area prepared over the winter.

We have connection with various people as they pass. Now I have the stand with a book for comments by visitors, not sure how to get those who haven’t come because they aren’t sure if it’s ok as the road isn’t officially opened yet. 2 locked gates hinder the way in and out for us but the signs give an indication on what’s ahead.

One walker commented on the pest control he found as he stepped into the bush with his dog.. on his way south from Whangarei . Another conversation we had was with a visitor from Latvia cooking a brown trout for his tea and encouraging us to share it… they can’t get to stay in the forks so park up at the locked gate.

The steps make a huge difference to our access but the walk from the house carrying heavy things doesn’t get easier but it’s a help to have a wheelbarrow as I found when taking out the guitar and violin for the weekend plus my pack… left at the bottom of the stairs yesterday as David carried the empty gas bottle to the car. A trolley may be easier.

So here we are praising God that we have food and shelter, a beautiful place to live and the ability to get to and fro. There’s plenty to keep us active and alert and of course availablity to help those who visit or in need as we found when SARs volunteers called in Thursday night asking if we had a vehicle here… off when the quad as they were out looking for a lost tramper saving 21/2 hours of walking, finding him before dark. So come visit as you can.

Spring movements

Yesterday we saw a flock of goats in the riverbed heading along and then back into the bush … all watched from the slip as we came home yesterday. We didn’t have binoculars as another but it was a great sight. The new batch of ducklings are growing and eating grass off the fenced lawn outside our bedroom window so we are enjoy these.

A cool spell means planting out seedlings, tomatoes and other plants is on hold until warmer. My desire for more colour has been worth it outside our small lounge window with pansies lifting their yellow and purple faces to the sun, a cheery sight. Dull days again, more rain predicted so we are on this journey of living in a cool season with the plants growing best under cover in the plastic houses we have. Some brassicas are looking like they are hearting up so I trust the cabbages come to something worthwhile as I have grown them in bags over the winter.

How to use the days…there’s always something to do with the potential for more. There is mulching to do now the storage area is cleared out, getting the fire hose organised on a new system and of course pest control work. Do I go with possible rain forecast?

A great chance we will have more things helicoptered in with DOC organising an airlift late November. Now to plan for that. Making purchases of bird food, wood to make a cover for the caravan, We seem to accumulate enough to make it worthwhile.

PLans are in place for a full KCDC counciil meeting to decide on the road opening with a project manager employed to prepare a costings and plans. We will have a chance to put in our request as will DOC and of course the pressure of the public to justify spending the money required to do the work and maintain the road for tne next 25 years. It’s been obvious that the forest park was a popular place over the weekend with 48 cars parked at the road end for trampers and day walkers. The camping ground is going to be at Boiles Flat for those who can carry their gear in. Are we going to be helping ??? do we offer? IT would be good to see in used by families again.

You can walk to the dam if given authoristion

The new protocol to get the privilege to visit the dam is to download the Safevisit app and then read the hazards for the dam and the Arcus dam track, making contact with us for permission so that you are aware of hazards and your responsibility. When you visit you will find there are signs and a chain in the appropriate places.

If you do walk along the track the corebys or spider orchids are flowering and I found a new spot where they seem to be prolific which covers the edge of the track and over the bank not far from another patch that extends up into the ferns about 20 mitres from the 6th stream that crosses the track. What a privilege to see this again, it’s like being a detective.

A spring afternoon after the cold spell with snow on the ranges close by, with time to check the beehive.. it’s buzzing with lots of new brood and so it will so be time to split it to make another as I had put them together with lots of drone bood in the smaller one indicating the queen was failing. Soon the honey flow will begin… in November but that time will come quickly.

a visit from family today.. first time in 2 years so that was a special gift and significant as the 2 year old granddaughter hasn’t been here before. A tour of hens, ducks and garden all made for a bit of a good time picking watercress from the water table to take home.

Dam track closure to the public except for the emergency track access

We have made the decision that the Dam site and track are closed to the public due to concerns about our responsibility under the Health and Safety Act of 2015, as from September 26, 2022. This means that only the portion of the track that is being used by the Emergency track under DOC’s request is available to walk to experience the amazing heritage forest. We find this a hard decision as we have such an amazing area of Heritage Forest but liability falls back on us and the Deborah Charitable Trust is anything untoward happens. Signage is being changed to reflect the change. .Pest control work will still go on monthly.

Many have taken the opportunity to view the overflowing spillway and enjoy the opportunity to see creeks flowing , heard bird sounds, found the variety of native trees and plants amazing so there’s many a memory that has been made with photos included.

You can be thankful with us that this piece of Heritage Forest has been preserved and protected for years to come.

David and Kathleen Campbell, trustees of The Gate.

Spring sure has it’s daily changes

A new sense of warmth coming hasn’t lasted. The seeds I planted a few weeks back have really been unsuccessful in germinating. The hens’ are starting to go to cluck more so the cage has proved useful for a few days. One of the Moscovies has started to sit on eggs? how many but who knows if the new drake has been doing his thing until 5 weeks have passed.

What a focus pest control has been this month with the Papa Taiao Earth Care course here which was a highlght for me with young people introduced to a new skill and they were a great gift to us with their willingness to learn, relate and go bush. This has been followed by a group of cubs from Levin spent yesterday morning helping put out the D Rat traps I have had in storage for many months. It was a delight to have this blitz on the area across the Pukeatua… monitoring for birds, weta motels to go out and Flipping Timms possum traps to be checked that I put out in the afternoon. There offer of hours became 2 but these 8-10 year olds made a difference, willing carrying and putting up traps on 2 levels… yes they had been divided into 2 groups, upper and lower levels.

It’s amazing how an extra helper can get extras done.. The door on the shed across the slip how swings shut with it being taken off hinges and planed to fit, then painted after it being jammed for weeks. There’s opportunity to more with spring growth happening. Sean has erected a frame to go over the blueberries, now for a bird netting cover. The gift of helps has really encouraged me who has done a lot of the tasks outside that don’t need a chainsaw or secuters that David uses.

THe sign saying road closed,, the metal stand and 7 cones that have sat on the road are now over the other side of the slip… man handled over with help from a passing traveller who had been training for the ironman event. In the house is a monitor connected to sensors on the slip and the messages being relayed via cellphone connectionj to Petone. Also a rain guage sits on the toilet block roof for more accurate recordings???? to the ones David has been making. So for how long? A year?

How amazing that we were directed to purchase the property all those years ago without any knowledge about trees, birds, insects, pests and how we would build a place where people could connect with God the creator and lover of them. We are amazed how much we have learned and developed, and are still learning and being challenged by. We look forward to see what the summer brings.

birthday greetings for me… spring has come

We woke September 1st to another slip blocking the road between the house and the large slip with lots of vegetation over the road and lots of water running from the exposed spring. It took David and I about an hour to get it cleared using saw, looper, chainsaw and sectures…. a passerby asked if we were volunteers or paid to do this… my reply ” We live here” for me it was a needed as i was planning to leave to go to Otaki for a workshop on grants put on by KCDC… made it but late > need to get my paper work into action for a Heritage Fund grant this year but there are other possibilites to consider now.

Visitors are coming here with more fine days and spring is in the air. 3 of the out buildings are occupied and the cooking caravan has had the ceiling stripped as it was sodden… leak or condensationnthe cause. Looks like a carport type shed would need to be erected over it to protect it for future as the roof has sunk in places pooling water. We are sure getting ideas to heat the outbuildings… more power options and also the possiblity of a small heater in each but what is best?

more walkers on the track to dam… some for times of prayer and reflection, others to enjoy the bush, waterfall and walk. a great time to hear birds again.

There is a good activity of pest control learning with Papataoa to get NCA credits. The first group in 2 years so quite a lot action which is great…we enjoy having the younger generation here again.

A new garden area has been prepared and fenced off with windbreak and a cover being prepared for the berry area so that’s a step forward and gives new possibliities.

Helicopters are a life line… 5 loads bought here and 2 out…. bird food, groceries, sawdust, potting mix and horse poos made up some of the loads. Great thankfulness I have for this service.

So many ways we can exepress our thanks… sure brings new songs to mind…Praises to God for me, freely given. And the peace in this place is amazing

rain and recordings

Like many the rain has been steady and very wetting with indoor activities affoot. TIdy the garage, do the accounts and plant seeds are some of the activities to fill our day. It is amazing that we have lived through another week of no generator functioning… even candlelight dinners by necessity as the power in the batteries decreased by the day even when there was no use it seemed. Well that was fixed through another visit by the diesel mechanic, this time it was identifying that petrol had been put into the diesel container and therefore was in the fuel tank. It sure caased the generator to malfunction. Back into better action with the batteries now fuller, fridge and lights on.

A trip to the hills to do some track work this past week before the predicted rain found the lost rope… it had been cut off just out of sight up the steep track, so we replaced it with something less obvious. Trees were trimmed to make it easier to walk to the remote hut instead of bending down trying to get under them with a backpack on. A good job taking some more tunnels and traps to the Remote Hut track too . Used the frame backpack to carry them downhill in to postion by not all put on trees as planned as we realised it was 1 pm and were expecting visitors from WSP ( an engineering firm that is checking the slip area) . They arrrived to see if they could place a monitor to send a signal from sensors to be placed on the slip area to monitor movement plus rain recordings… these are yet to be installed and the whole area kept under survailence rather than just a visual check.

3 extras living here… sure makes a difference with help available, meals and company. It is great to have this support. Another helicopter airlift is planned so I have been thinking of sawdust .. can only airlift 300 kg for the small one and 600 for the next sized one…..so I will need to move some to wool sacks I think to get it here. Thoughts of bagging up horse manure is also in the plan. Plenty of ideas but the rain as stopped plans and play!

I look our on the flower bed infront of our small lounge… great to have the daffodils and pansies there.. I purchased a few more flower seeds, apple and hazelnut trees (which I will plant in evergrow bags.), yet to be delivered. A small heated plant raising plant I have had delivered… oh to get some early seeds into that. It takes power so I am glad that we are on track with power generation again. I have many prunings from apple trees to graft when trees start to shoot leaves again… I thought a new thing for me to do with putting some of the apple types on different trees. I am hopeful of getting some pruning tape. It’s amazing how one gets inspired during sunny weather. which we had not long ago for a week.

And so our story goes on… 23 months behind the locked gate, adapting to this different life. Glad to say it hasn’t been too difficult to get out…Yet I need a freezer to put some wool in to kill moth eggs.as I checked by spinning wool in the roof and here was evidence of a pesky visitor, as yet not treated with the cold because I haven’t found a place close by yet with a chest freezer that has the space.

Until I take time again…It is a place of peace, enjoyable and challenging in many ways. Glad that we have a sense of God with us here.