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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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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.

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.