The Changing Seasons, June 2019

img_4792 Waikato morning. Image: Su Leslie 2019.

It seems like winter arrived with indecent haste this month. Cold air, lowering clouds, morning mists, not to mention the odd thunderstorm or two. On a scale of one to indoor beanie-wearing, we seem to be hovering on Ugg boots.

The first half of the month disappeared in a haze of flu-recovery, but in the last couple of weeks, the Big T and I managed to get away for a long weekend in Tauranga (with a detour to Field Days), and discover a regional park that could become our new favourite place.

img_4776 Field Days, Mystery Creek, Waikato, NZ. Not really doing justice to a four-day event that attracts over 130,000 visitors. Image: Su Leslie 2019

We’ve been telling ourselves for years that we really should go to Field Days. It’s a huge agricultural trade show, and useful for the Big T to do some business networking. But it  also gives a fascinating snapshot of an industry that has both real and mythical significance to the NZ economy and psyche.

It was bigger, noisier and more confusing than I expected, but I am glad we went.

 

 

 

After exhausting ourselves looking at diggers, chainsaws, water flow indicators (as you do) and the latest from Swanndri (iconic Kiwi clothing — what’s not to love about scratchy woollen bush-shirts?), we headed to Tauranga where the skies were blue, and the weather practically tropical (for a while at least).

 

 

 

While we were there, the Tauranga Art Gallery had an exhibition of work by local artist, Natasha Cousens. Called ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ it consisted of sculptures created from clay, fibreglass and textiles; all referencing the wildlife imagery common in fairy tales. It’s the artist’s first solo show, and I found the pieces slightly disturbing and sad, but beautiful and exquisitely made.

 

 

 


A rainy-day visit to the Mahurangi Peninsula, just north of Auckland allowed us to discover Scandrett Regional Park. Formerly a farm owned by the Scandrett family, the park still contains the old homestead, with its beautiful cottage garden. Around the coast a little, at Scott’s Landing in Mahurangi Regional Park, the rather grander Scott family homestead still exists too. Both houses have been preserved; the latter by the Auckland Civic Trust which holds occasional open days.

 

 

 

During June I’ve taken part in 30 Days, 30 Songs, hosted by my dear friend Sarah at Art Expedition. It’s been lovely to each day choose a piece of music and reflect on what it means to me. There has also been a certain amount of self-imposed stress, deciding what’s in and what’s not. So you won’t be surprised that I’m going to sneak an extra track into this post.

I love Sentimental Walk, from the 1981 film Diva. It is very like Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No.1 — another piece I love. Both make me think of Paris, but also of wintertime rain.

You can hear Sarah’s latest musical choice here.

 

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Please check out the Changing Seasons — June for these awesome bloggers:

Ladyleemanila

Little Pieces of Me

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Jude at Life at the Edge

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

A Wonderful Sheep

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Yvette at Priorhouse blog

Gill at Talking Thailand

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

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The Changing Seasons, May 2019

This may be a lousy representation of my month as a whole, but I think it’s a fairly good visual metaphor for my flu-addled state right now.

I’m not likely to get a proper Changing Seasons post up for a few more days, but for all the fit folks who have their monthly round-up ready, go ahead and ping-back to this post and when I get a full post up I’ll copy the blog roll to that too.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Please check out the Changing Seasons — May for these awesome bloggers:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me — and here

Marilyn at Serendipity — seeking intelligent life on Earth

Jude at Life at the Edge

A Wonderful Sheep

Sarah at Art Expedition

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at the Widow Badass

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Ju-Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Pauline at Living in Paradise

 

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons: March 2019

Photo 8-03-19, 6 04 49 PM (1)

Storm clouds on the horizon. Symbolism in retrospect — taken exactly one week before the Christchurch terror attack. Big Omaha Wharf, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2019

This is the most difficult Changing Seasons post I’ve ever written.

How do I describe the way a month that could easily have passed without comment suddenly became one that no New Zealander will ever forget?

Because at 1.40pm on Friday 15th, a terrorist murdered fifty Muslim men, women and children practicing their religion in two mosques in the city of Christchurch — and changed this country for ever.

A terrorist left 48 more worshipers with serious physical injuries, and hundreds more to deal with the psychological trauma of having witnessed the carnage or dealt with its aftermath.

A terrorist shattered families, brought fear and anger to the Muslim community, defiled a city trying to rebuild itself after deadly earthquakes, and dragged these little islands out of our illusion of peace and safety.

In the two weeks since, we have seen the best and the worst of humanity. Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis have turned up at mosques and vigils and rallies to offer condolences, flowers, cards, food, music, prayer, haka, hugs, tears and above all — aroha, or love.

Our Prime Minister has behaved with sensitivity and compassion that is being admired beyond our shores.

Our government has tried to put aside politics and act decisively to make legislative changes to gun and other laws.

And the racist underbelly of our society is being exposed and scrutinised like never before. On the plus side, when people are coming forward to talk about the abuse they routinely experience in this country, they are being believed at last. On the minus, the xenophobic violence and hatred continues.

It is too early to know if this act of terrorism will (ironically for the terrorist) bring about positive change in New Zealand, or if, when the next big news story comes along, we’ll go back to “business as usual.” I hope for the best, but truthfully am not that optimistic.

So what do I have to show for March? Certainly not photos of candles and placards and grieving. Others have done that (sometimes beautifully) but for me personally, it has felt intrusive.

So here are a few shots that haven’t made it into other posts this month.

Food features heavily as usual. The Big T and I celebrated his birthday a week before the Christchurch attack with lunch at the Sawmill Brewery in Matakana. A beer tasting tray and some shared plates of delicious food — perfect. And I’m still grappling with sourdough pizza; trying to make a base that is light, crispy and easy to work. I’m not there yet, but my boys aren’t complaining.

 

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Please visit these amazing bloggers for their perspective on the month just gone:

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Suzanne, at Being in Nature joins us for the first time.

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog

Sarah at Art Expedition

Lindsay at Squeak of a Nuthatch

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ladyleemanila

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

 

The Changing Seasons: January 2019

all done with a chainsawStihl more to do. Image: Su Leslie 2019

There are worse metaphors for my month than the Big T’s chainsaw.

There have been days when I’ve effortlessly cut through “the big stuff”, and others when it’s felt like my plans and good intentions have been chopped off at the knees.

But overall, we managed to tackle some jobs that have been over-long in the “too hard” basket, and reward ourselves with a few escapes from our normal landscape.

I’ve already posted shots from most of these trips, (very poor planning) so here are a some from a long-delayed visit to The Lighthouse (see below), an exploration of the walk and cycleway under Mangere Bridge (we weren’t even sure it existed), a visit to the beautiful Northland beach at Whananaki where T and I once camped, and a few days in Rotorua.

A highlight of that trip was the Redwoods Tree Walk; 28 connected suspension bridges, up to 20 metres off the ground in the midst of the redwood forest. I hate heights — but it was fabulous. It is open until 11pm, and the forest is lit up at night, but there were massive queues the evening we considered it, while we had the daytime walk almost to ourselves.

It hasn’t felt like a particularly creative month. I messed around with a design for a tote to hold a couple of bottles of wine, on the basis that this (suitably filled) would make a good gift. The design is good, but I’m struggling with execution.

In the kitchen, my sourdough obsession has produced a few attempts at pizza / pizza bread. I’m definitely getting there, and T is happy for me to keep experimenting!!

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Update

Ladyleemanila

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

The Covert Novelist

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at The Widow Badass

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Jude at Living on the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Sarah at Art Expedition

Yvette at Priorhouse blog

 

 


The Lighthouse is a work of public art by NZ sculptor Michael Parakowhai. It’s sited at the very end of Queen’s Wharf in the CBD and from the outside, is a 1:1 scale replica of a New Zealand “state house” of the 1950s. The interior is completely open and contains clustered neon lights and a large scale statue of Captain Cook (there is an identical sculpture in the New South Wales Art Gallery).

It’s an interesting work — with the interior defying expectations. I didn’t manage to capture any particularly good interior shots, but there is one in this article. And uou can read more about it here.

The Changing Seasons, December 2018

Photo 22-12-18, 4 10 55 PM Waiting for the music. Part of the tableau inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party”, created in The Masfield Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

December has been another month of relative inactivity, with few photos added to my archive.

Unexplained pain in my right leg has kept me from traveling much (a visit to Hamilton Gardens notwithstanding) — or even walking far. A post-Christmas visit to the doctor is planned.

But beyond that, I seem to be living in a curious limbo. The Big T and I have talked for years of selling up and leaving Auckland, but while our enthusiasm for a life-change is undiminished, work, families and a host of other roadblocks have continually flung themselves in our path.

At times I feel I’m living in The Eagles’ “Hotel California”

“… you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

Photo 22-12-18, 4 09 34 PMThe Mansfield Garden, Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The reason for my visit Hamilton Gardens (apart from testing my pain threshold) was to see the newest creation — The Mansfield Garden  — named after New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923).

The garden recreates the setting of Mansfield’s short story The Garden Party (1922), complete with the facade of the family home, lawns, Ford Model T on the drive, a pond and a tennis court upon which a marquee has been erected to cover tables laden with carefully recreated facsimiles of the food described in the story.

Written a year before Mansfield’s death from pulmonary tuberculosis, The Garden Party tells the story of the wealthy Sheridan family as they prepare for, and host a garden party. During preparations, they learn that a working-class neighbour has died suddenly. While Laura, one of the Sheridan daughters, believes that the party should be canceled as a mark of respect, the rest of the family disagrees and the party goes ahead. Later Laura visits the dead man’s family with a basket of party leftovers, and is taken to see the body, laid out for the wake.

The story is seen as a reflection on Mansfield’s own impending death. She had been diagnosed with tuberculosis several years earlier, at the time considered a death sentence.

The Mansfield Garden is lovely; both as a recreation of the story’s setting, and as a beautiful space in its own right. It was incredibly busy when we were there, and the light was quite intense, so I took very few photos.

I guess I’ll need a return trip on a quieter, more overcast day.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Update

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Little Pieces of Me

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Sarah at Art Expedition

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

The Changing Seasons, November 2018

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New growth, grapevine. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Time’s a strange thing. It is defined by its measurement, objective and increasingly precise. Yet even as we observe the system, we experience time in our own unique and subjective ways.

I think about this every month as I begin to write my Changing Seasons post, aware that I experience the passing of different months in very different ways. Indeed I would say I’ve experienced November as almost outside of time, anchored by neither nature nor culture.

In my garden, plants seem to be flourishing, but not in dramatic ways. Blossom has given way to fruit but none of it is ripe. About the only thing that’s noticeably grown is the grape vine.

IMG_2726

It never bears fruit, but in the words of 10cc “it hides an ugly stain (alright, fence) that’s lying there”. Image: Su Leslie 2018

In all the years we’ve lived here, the vine has never produced grapes. Its utility lies instead in covering — at least for a few months a year — a particularly ugly fence.

I am a utility gardener, and while I appreciate the masking properties of the vine, I want more from it. In one of those moments which, in a movie would carry ominous soundtrack warnings, I thought it might be fun to try cooking with the vine leaves.

Fondly imagining some tasty little herby halloumi parcels, I set off across the lawn with my secateurs.

IMG_2728

Fresh vine leaves. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Online, I found lots of advice on blanching the leaves for preserving, and lots of recipes using preserved leaves — but not a lot on using blanched leaves more or less straight away.

With our little vine I can’t really harvest enough leaves to be worth preserving — and besides I wanted to cook NOW.

“NOW” has proved to be a very fluid term. It took me the better part of a day to figure out a combination of blanching, soaking and simmering that would render fibrous leaves edible, turning a quick snack into an edible marathon medal.

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Blanched, soaked, simmered; topped with a slice of halloumi and fresh herbs. Good to go. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The parcels themselves are pretty quick to make. I added my new favourite herb combination of oregano and lemon thyme, and cooked them in a lightly oiled skillet for a few minutes on each side.

 

IMG_2721

Halloumi-stuffed vine leaves with quick-pickled red onion and pomegranate seeds. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The verdict: the dish worked quite well. The pickled onions and pomegranate seeds balanced the salty cheese and I liked the background taste of the herbs. The leaves were ok; still a bit chewy and fibrous, and I wouldn’t serve them to guests.

The idea of garden to table living is incredibly appealing to me, and is indeed what I am aiming for eventually. In that context, the time spent fiddling about cooking leaves doesn’t feel wasted, and I’m not disappointed in the final outcome. I have discovered reserves of patience and tenacity I don’t always think I have, and learned quite a lot about a food I’ve only ever eaten in restaurants and as a take-away.

When I look back on my November, I realise I have spent a great deal of it on projects like this; learning and practicing skills that haven’t necessarily produced the kind of results I would want to photograph, but have changed me for the better.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Update

Little Pieces of MeChanging of the Season — November 2018 and Changing of the Season — November 2018 (Riding Edition)

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

 

The Changing Seasons: October 2018

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I really should stop organising to travel at the end of a month; it plays havoc with The Changing Seasons scheduling.

I’m off to Sydney on Sunday to visit Sculpture by the Sea, a fantastic exhibition that is installed annually along the coastal path from Bondi to Tamarama Beach. With luck I’ll have lots of photos to share — but not until November.

Which leaves me wondering what I’ve done with this month.

Part of it certainly has been spent woolly-headed and lethargic from the absolute worst cold I can ever remember having. But that only accounts for about 10 days, and my photo folder for October is the smallest it’s been in ages. So however I have occupied my time, much of it obviously hasn’t seemed worth recording.

I’ve done a lot of sewing — mainly cushion covers to freshen up our living room.

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I’ve baked bread, including a couple of variations on sourdough.

First came some impromptu flatbreads from dough that was intended for crackers …

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… then Rewena Paraoa, or Maori bread.

Maori bread is something I have been aware of for a long time, but knew nothing about. I found an old recipe, and was surprised to find it’s basically a sourdough, using boiled mashed potato mixed with flour and water to create the starter.

Neither wheat nor potatoes are native to New Zealand, and arrived with European settlers. Prior to that, kumara (sweet potato), yams, taro and ti pore (Pacific Cabbage Tree) were probably the principal sources of carbohydrates. Both were brought from East Polynesia by the country’s original migrants, probably around in the 13th century. As far as I know, pre-European Maori did not make bread.

Potatoes are easier to grow than kumara, and were widely adopted into the Maori diet. The use of potatoes in sourdough cultures is not unique to Maori, and was once widespread, but interestingly I had found no reference to it prior to finding this recipe. It certainly produced a starter culture much more quickly than the flour and water version that the Big T and I made a couple of years ago. My potato starter (which I actually made with kumara out of curiosity), was ready to use after two days, while our original starter took around two weeks.

The finished loaf was ok; a bit dense, and I forgot to salt the dough properly, but it was edible, and I’d certainly attempt it again.

Eroded sea-shell. Image: Su Leslie 2018 Exposing the inner workings. Eroded sea-shell. Image: Su Leslie 2018

One of those little philosophical moments …

I found this tiny, eroded shell in a little bag of rocks and other stuff tucked inside one of my son’s shoes. He had obviously planned to take the bag (and the shoes) home after a visit to us, but somehow they got left behind.

It reminded me of a time –long past — when we went to the beach together, bringing home assorted treasures destined to be forgotten.

From the outside, the shell is relatively smooth and uniform. It is only when the interior is exposed that we can see the complexity of growth and change. The passage of time does that.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Update

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at The Widow Badass

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Babsje at Great Blue Herons, who joins us for the first time. Please take a look at this great blog, including a second Changing Seasons post.

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Little pieces of me

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

The Changing Seasons: August 2018

It’s been a busy month, and not always in a good way. I feel that I’ve wasted spent far too much time on household admin stuff. As the month closes, I’m still waiting on others’ to provide information I need to make decisions and cross these things off my “to-do” list.

One the plus side, there’s only so much book-keeping and financial planning a person can do before they lose the will to live (for me that’s not very much), so there has been plenty of need for distraction. This has mostly taken the form of still-life photography (much of which you’ve seen), trying to improve my embarrassingly basic PhotoShop skills, and spending quality time with my journal and some watercolour paints.

The Big T and I have only managed to escape the city once — for a long weekend in the Waikato. The weather was mostly great and the scenery awesome in that green hills and big blue skies kind of way — especially on the day we went to explore Kawhia, on the west coast.

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First glimpse of Kawhai Harbour. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Although it’s only about 60km from the nearest town, Kawhia feels quite remote. The land is mainly farmed or forestry and there is only one other settlement on the way there — Oparau, with its “sells everything you could ever need — at a price” general store and the bike fence.

bike fence1

Oparau — where old bicycles go to die? Image: Su Leslie 2018

I don’t know if it’s a Kiwi thing — do people in other countries adorn fences with collections of found objects? We have the bra fence in Cardrona, Central Otago; several jandal (think flip-flop) fences (Foxton, Kaeo and the Bay of Plenty); a hubcap fence in West Auckland; and apparently more than one bike fence.

I didn’t count the number of bikes cable-tied to the fence in Oparau, but the installation stretched for at least 100 metres.

Kawhia is a tiny settlement nestled inside a large, flat harbour. The tide was out during our visit, so I’ll spare you shots of the muddy estuary — except this one of the Kawhia Museum, because the building is so pretty.

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Kawhia Museum, housed in what was once the Council office. Kawhia, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The ocean beach, a little beyond town, was beautiful and almost deserted. It is a hot water beach, which means you can dig a hole at low tide and soak in the naturally hot spring water that seeps through the sand.

This sounds like a great idea, and unlike the more famous Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel, there weren’t thousands of other people trying to do the same thing. But it IS still winter, and it’s impossible to dig a particularly deep hole, so the prospect of having a warm bums and legs while the rest of us froze just wasn’t that appealing.

Our trip home involved a detour to Te Aroha for coffee, and Ngatea for a fairly disappointing lunch. Luckily the local St John’s charity shop was open and turned out to be a treasure trove. The Big T and I both left with goodies — and we now have a loyalty card. I’m not sure quite what that says about us.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

UPDATE

Please check out these bloggers and see how August played out for them

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Klara’s Brussels in August

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Marilyn at Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Max at Cardinal Guzman

 

 

The Changing Seasons, February 2018

Plate of seasonal fruit; nashi, nectarine and passionfruit. Image; Su Leslie, 2018

February’s finest. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

I guess we all have different ways of marking the passage of time. When I was a child, it was about birthdays, Christmas, school holidays, and later exams and assignments due.

During the “corporate” years, campaign launches, Board meetings, AGMs and salary reviews signposted the flow of months and years.

These days, it’s food. Late October is when the first local strawberries appear. November and December are cherry and pomegranate months. January brings plums and good sweetcorn, while February is all about stone fruits and passion-fruit. And I know we’re nearly in March because the apples and pears are looking fresher, and the local garlic not so much.

And in case you’re thinking that my month has been all nectarines and nashi, here are a few shots from my February. Perhaps I over-shared the fun, sunshiney stuff already.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge, originally hosted by Max at Cardinal Guzman, whose post for this month can be found here.

I’ve taken over hosting duties this year, and if you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

UPDATES

Here are other bloggers’ Changing Seasons’ posts for January. Please visit and enjoy the month though their eyes. I’ll keep updating this as I see them:

Max at Cardinal Guzman

Marilyn at Serendipity

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Ju-Lyn at Sunrise, Sunset

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ruth at RuthsArc

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Colline at Colline’s Blog

Thanks

Ka kite anō | see you soon

Su

The Changing Seasons, January 2018

Kia ora koutou

Greetings.

I don’t do resolutions— new year or otherwise. But in the opening days and weeks of 2018, a bunch of factors have combined to make me feel that if I were to have a resolution — or a word for the year — it would be creativity.

Or at least productivity.

This month, Auckland has languished dishcloth-like in intense humidity; broken only by storms and heavy rain. Others have fled to the beach for escape, while the Big T and I have been machines.

Grainy textured shot of girl standing by children's playground at the beach, photographing higg waves on her phone. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Our visits to the beach have coincided with storms and big tides. We weren’t the only ones! Image: Su Leslie, 2018

The house has been sprung-clean (yes, I know that’s not the actual term), the garage tidied, lawns mowed, repairs made and roof lichen attacked. Rooms have been emptied and refilled to accommodate the temporary return of the boy-child (or at least, his stuff).

Bread has been baked, jams made, recipes invented and taste-tested, and the $5 chair is undergoing an extreme makeover.

1960s style wooden frame armchair, with upholstery removed, and sanded back to bare wood. So far, so good. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Old upholstery and chipped yellow varnish removed. So far, so good (that was then). Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Best of all, I’ve been commissioned to take photos for an artist friend’s project; a project that will mean spending time in an art studio, hanging out with creative people, making art myself. Damn!

But.

Like any machine, eventually the wheels fall off. The last few days have been filled with setbacks and annoyances; not least that humidity has caused the painstakingly applied varnish on the $5 chair to crack and look— frankly — shit.

I cried.

It was so close to finished and looking beautiful. I’d psyched myself up cut out all the upholstery materials — and had actually upholstered the seat.

Luckily, T’s emotional attachment to the project is less than mine (or he’s just better at being an adult). Even as I write, I can hear the electric sander as he undoes the damage and works his magic.

So the $5 chair won’t be the star of the first Su-hosted Changing Seasons post. Instead I’ve offered you a pot pourri of projects from the opening days of my self-proclaimed “Year of Living Creatively” (and learning Te Reo Maori — the Maori language).

I’m really grateful to Max, at Cardinal Guzman for birthing The Changing Seasons, and nurturing the project to the point where it could be handed on.

I’m looking forward to seeing January 2018 through the eyes and lenses of everyone else who takes part in the project. If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Ka kite anō | see you soon

Su

UPDATES

Here are other bloggers’ Changing Seasons’ posts for January. Please visit and enjoy the month though their eyes. I’ll keep updating this as I see them:

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

The Widow Badass Blog — this is Deb’s first Changing Seasons post, so please pop over to visit.

Tish Farrell at Writer on the Edge

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Marilyn and Garry Armstrong at Serendipity

Mick, at Mick’s Cogs

Ju-Lyn at Sunrise,Sunset — Matters of Perspective. This is Ju-Lyn’s first Changing Seasons post, so please take a look at her photos from Singapore and Bangkok.

Sarah at Art Expedition. Sarah has also just joined the challenge and has shared some beautiful images. Please pop over and take a look.

Pauline at Living in Paradise has also joined this month. Please visit to see images of her wonderful garden on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Ruth at RuthsArc. Another new member of the project; this time from Tasmania. You’ll love the photos of her January.

Max at Cardinal Guzman. The Changing Seasons owes its existence to Max and it’s great to see his snowy January.

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky. Jude is planning to create a photographic journal of the natural world in her very beautiful corner of the globe. Please pop for a look.

Yvette at Priorhouse. This is Yvette’s first Changing Seasons, and it’s such a fun post. Please visit and take a look.

And in case you’re unsure of the challenge guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.