The Changing Seasons, December 2019

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Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I’ve struggled to write this post.

As the year has worn on, I — like so many people — have become increasingly angry, sad, frustrated, disillusioned and, frankly, exhausted by the world around me.

Like many, I fluctuate between bouts of active optimism and periods of despair.

Despair’s had the upper hand this month, with the result that I’ve done very little and taken fewer photos than usual. Fewer still I’m happy with.

A pre-Christmas road-trip to see my dad and stepmother produced the best shots, and confirmed that I really like both Whanganui and the surrounding countryside — even (or especially) in stormy weather.

The approach of Christmas meant my son could be persuaded to pose for a photo — Grandma insisted and that’s pretty much the only reason he’ll agree. He’s successfully completed university for another year and is working long hours over the summer — looking forward to finishing his degree next year.

img_6190 The boy-child. Image: Su Leslie 2019

As always, some of my favourite images are of the small things — generally plants. We harvested the first of the plums just after Christmas; the tinsel bird-deterrent having done its job. The second plum tree is more fruit-laden, but they won’t be ripe for another week or two.

My principal gardening success at the moment seems to be with seedlings. The Kakabeak I’ve been nurturing for a few months is thriving, and it looks like almost all of the Kowhai seeds I harvested from our tree have germinated. Even the loquat seedlings are doing well. Gathered from a tree at my son’s flat, they took about three months to germinate but are now growing fast. The travelling hydrangeas are holding their own — but barely — and I may have to look beyond Google for advice.

I’m glad that 2019 is coming to an end.

I don’t normally buy in to the “New Year resolutions” thing, but this year I will be taking this socially-sanctioned opportunity to re-start and move into 2020 with the energy and enthusiasm I know I’m going to need.

img_6189 Image: Su Leslie 2019

Wishing you all good health, good friends, laughter, love, and the energy you will need in your own lives.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

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

Brian at Bushboys World

Sarah at Art Expedition

Marilyn at Serendipity seeking intelligent life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Jude from Life at the Edge

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise

A wonderful Sheep

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons, November 2019

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Fern frond; slowly unfurling to release the seeds of new life. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I think if I had to find one word to describe myself at the moment, it would be introspective. Exhausted worrying about a world I have little power to influence, I’ve withdrawn to the personal, domestic space where my thoughts and actions can make a difference.

I began the month in New Plymouth, visiting the gardens — both beautiful and functional — of the Taranaki Garden Festival and Sustainable Backyards Trail. I met people who grow their own food on tiny suburban plots, others who are creating off-grid lifestyles, and some of the professional gardeners whose job it is to care for the area’s stunning Regional Gardens — at Tupare, Pukeitiand Holland Gardens.

I came home energised, inspired and with my head as full of free-range, sustainably grown, nutrient-dense ideas as I’d hoped. The gardens deserve their own posts (I am working on them, honest), but there was a lot to enjoy just travelling to, and being in, Taranaki.

Back in Auckland I haven’t strayed too far from home; venturing onto the (relatively) new ferry service from Hobsonville Point to the city one afternoon.

And walking amongst the lupin-covered dunes at Muriwai Beach.

Perhaps now that summer has arrived, I will feel more inclined to look outward.

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 visit these bloggers to see how November played out for them.

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Margaret at The Secret Diary of a Garden

Lani at Life, the Universe, and Lani

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

A Wonderful Sheep

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Brian at Bushboys World

Joining us for the first time:

Dawn at A Shared Space

Darren at Arty Plantsman

 

The Changing Seasons, October 2019

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Kakabeak seedling No. 1. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I just looked back over my past few Changing Seasons posts, and this will be the third consecutive month I’ve talked about how cold and rainy and windy it’s been.

Consequently, once again I haven’t strayed far from home, and have taken very few photos. The silver lining though is that I’ve spent time extra working on the horticulture course I’m taking and have passed the first paper.

If I had to sum October up, I’d say it’s been a growing month. Lots of the seeds I’ve planted have germinated — including a second kakabeak. New plants that we’ve been able to shelter are thriving and we should be able to pick the first tomatoes quite soon. My gardening knowledge has grown, and with it my confidence.

I’d still really like some sunshine soon though. Especially as I’m off to New Plymouth tomorrow to explore the Taranaki Garden Festival and Sustainable Backyard Trail.

So apologies in advance if I’m a little slow to update the Changing Seasons blogroll. With luck I’ll be filling my brain with free-range, sustainably grown, nutrient-dense ideas (and my tummy with yummy produce).

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

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful\

A Wonderful Sheep

Donna at DJ Ranch

Brian at Bushboys World

And a huge welcome to …

Amy at The world in a Book

Tatiana at Travelways

Margaret at From Pyrenees to Penines

Horse Addict

… all of whom are joining us for the first time this month.

 

The Changing Seasons, September 2019

hokianga heads1001 Hokianga Harbour, above Omapere. The sand dunes on the far side are gradually being covered with forest. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My September began in Omapere, on the Hokianga Harbour — a long weekend for the Big T and I revisiting an area we first explored in our early days together. Without knowing it when we booked, we even stayed in the same place, though it has been transformed from a small motel into a larger hotel complex.

In the thirty years since we lasted visited, the giant sand dune on the western side of the harbour has begun to disappear under vegetation — an environmental success, but making the dune a little less spectacular.

On the other hand, the foreshore at Omapere is disappearing into the sea. Along the beach was clear evidence of massive erosion, including several houses and large areas of reserve that have collapsed into the beach. Enormous concrete barriers have been placed on the lawn of the hotel to “protect” the building, but I suspect that if T and I were to visit in another 30 years, we’d need to find alternative accommodation to stay on dry land.

My gardening efforts this month have been very modest; lots of planning and tidying, some helicopter parenting of a few seeds and seedlings, and trying to enjoy the spring flowers before wind and rain destroy them.

T and I celebrated my birthday with a few days in Wellington — my favourite home away from home. T hardly ever visits our capital city, so it was fun playing tourists together. As always seems to happen when I visit, the weather was good for most of our stay and the clouds were rolling in as we left — perfect.

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

Because I’ve been a bit slow this month, four of my fellow bloggers have already posted their Changing Seasons;

Ju-Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Jude from Life at the Edge

A Wonderful Sheep

Please pop over to see how September played out for them, and also:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Brian at Bushboys World

Gill at Talking Thailand