Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Talking bout the swans, that they live in the park.

Something different for this post - the anatomy of a Purdy picnic. Jacky organised us (Jade, Samantha, me) to go for an evening picnic to a local lake/park. We arrived and unloaded the food from the car:

Sitting down on a park bench, looking at our great view:

Pretty soon we were joined by a gaggle of geese, and a something of ducks.

Spooked by the geese, Samantha ran off to sit in the car but we three persevered (although Jade needed to take refuge on the picnic table):

Sanantha's bravery pill took effect and she rejoined us to take some snaps of my third ham roll (hey I was hungry!!), note the geese looking for some spillage:

Eventually I was abandoned to my fate while Jacky took my picture and I shared some crumbs with the birdlife along with some love and peace:

After sharing the rest of the scraps, we packed up and returned home, waving goodbye to the lovely view as we left:

I hope you enjoyed sharing in our picnic.

Love and peace - W

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sun is shining, everything is okay.

Back at work kinda this week - students don't actually come for classes until next week but we have teacher activities this week and preparations for the student start). Lots of you have got in touch recently so this post is a bit of an update on people from the whanau map...

Congratulations to both Joan Costello and Deirdre Marbeck - they recently had their 50th birthday celebrations. Well done and welcome to the club! Joan has also just gained a headship back in Blighty (why's it called that?) so it's a double celebration to her!! Deirge celebrated with this great picture of the Marbeck whanau (some sadness involved here though in that the big hairy Chewbacca like beast in the picture - Guinness - is no longer around. I'll miss the slight feeling of terror I had in the pit of my stomach whenever I pulled up to the Marbeck door and then when he padded around, once I'd been accepted, I felt safe as houses):

Good to chat last night with Tina who, as you know, has her wedding in April this year. Speaking of weddings in April - the big one for us this year is our 25th wedding anniversary. Yes - it was 25 years ago that Jacky and I fronted up to St Joseph's in New Plymouth. A surprising number of you gentle readers were actually there - off the top of my head - Ross, Brian, dad, Sallie, Margo and Clay, Michelle, Pat, Roger and Deirdre, and maybe Biddie even. It was a great day - I remember it well.

I told Tina I'd steal a good photo off her facebook and here tis (took me a while to find one without beer being in the frame in some way):

Irene Purdy sent me a fantastic email (I hope she doesn't mind if I share it). Regarding the Obama inauguration she wrote -
Hi Warren, I was glued to the T.V. for the inaugeration of Obama and was weeping in sympathy with the millions of black people who hailed a new dawn. I remember the Klu Klux Klan and the horrific acts they were responsible for. I remember Little Rock and the pictures of the handful of terrified teen-agers being escorted into a white school who were having to be protected by the National Guard. We have come a long way in the past 50years but there is still a long way to go. Love and hope from Irene.

Currently grooving to a Dutch band of the 70's - Focus. One of Keegan's albums that I'm looking after is Focus 3. It's good! I always liked their song - Sylvia - which is on that album but the rest is pleasant prog rock with a lot of noodling going on -just the way I like it.

Love and peace - W

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Free at last, free at last!

The title comes from of course that famous speech by Martin Luther King and while I know Obama is not the messiah I couldn't help thinking back to the words while I watched the inauguration. Watching the Obamas dancing at a ball and his at ease handling of all the demands associated with the inauguration gave me a real sense of well-being. Weird. To celebrate here are a couple of soundbites.

Ross answered the call and sent some more photos. Here's Lynda on our tractor and a snap of the lights under the waterfall at Pukekura park in New Plymouth - one of their stop off visits while they were in the 'naki.

This week (the last before school gets back into action) has been focused on the roof and the sheep when I haven't been at work and the weather has been right. We managed to get a great cloudy day yesterday and therefore finished painting the roof. Now I know many of you look forward to our sheep exploits so here's the latest. Yesterday started with a trip to the saleyards with the lambs. We had 15 in the end and got good prices for them ($70 - $75). When Jacky and I dropped them off we thought our lot looked a bit small next to the huge perendales that were off to the works but our stock agent (Murray) obviously knew what he was doing. He had to be a Murray or possibly a Trevor, but he was never going to be an Antoine was he? We didn't sell all of the lambs - we kept Sus (the ewe Jade and I saved from the river - check back in the blog history for the full exciting story) and one lamb that Jacky and I couldn't clean up well enough to sell. That means we still have one ram (Doug) and his harem of 13 ewes to keep you updated on during the year.

People news - Adam sends reports from Japan that he is having a great time and feeling right at home; Pat and Randy are heading back to the UK after their summer sojourn in New Plymouth - sorry I couldn't make morning tea wid you; Tina and Adam are back from the UK (somewhere in Auckland) fer good, busy planning their wedding in April.

The world of sports: Go the Steelers!! Jesse will be pleased he wasn't here to watch the AFC championship game with me I'm sure. The mighty Pitsburgh Steelers now face the Arizona Cardinals in the Superbowl in early Feb. Why the Steelers you ask? The simple answer is - coz of the Sivaks. Since meeting them in the early 1990s I've had to support their team! Up to meeting them I was a Seattle Seahawks fan (because of Clay - a Seattle boy) and before meeting Clay I followed the New York Giants - only because the only vaguely NFL shirt that I could ever find in 1970s Auckland was a Giants shirt. The Steelers are the right team for me though - great name with solid connotations, built on tough defence (some unbelievable hits in that last game!) and no nonsense approach/tactics. The Cardinals have one awesome wide receiver who can catch anything but not much else - I predict a Steeler win!!

Currently grooving to a combination of really loud stuff when I'm painting on the roof (the Datsuns' new album is a major return to form) or smooth jazz of the Herbie Hancock/ Stan Getz variety if I'm inside getting a coke before heading back to the roof. Now that I'm back at work it's 'Workin' on a chain gang' by Sam Cooke.

Finally - I was going to put some of Jesse's photos in this post but at the moment they don't want to download from my computer - a technical hitch I'm sure. next time!

Till then - Take care - Love and Peace - W

Friday, January 16, 2009

The one about the city slickers on a tractor

Okay, this post welcomes Ross, Lynda, Hayden, and Scott to the Stratford homestead. They met the sheep, Ducky the cow, the ducks, they lavished attention on Soda (the cat) and played fetch with Bazil and Finn. We toured the farm and said hi to the horses and had afternoon tea (very civilised we are) but the highlight was definitely the tractor. Here again is documentary proof (Ross took a video which may turn up on youtube if we're lucky). In order going down - the tractor with Scott, Hayden, and finally Ross. Sorry Lynda I missed one of you which Ross took on his camera - you'll need to nag him to send it to me:

Love and peace - W

The one about the great bake off

Still the holidays and now I have a bit of a backlog to get through over the next three posts or so. General update time - The roof painting is still in progress - tricky weather conditions have delayed things a tad. Ross and family visited us yesterday (more in next post) and Jacky welcomed a new horse to the paddocks - Jack brings the total to three (Cash, Charlie and Jack). Also of note in a busy week: Peter Joyce sent an update and set me straight on the Israeli/Hamas question (more of that later), Keegan started a new job in Auckland, Adam is now in Japan - he promises pictures when he lands (he's still in the air); Jade spent a day in hospital on an IV - strep throat - on the day she got her exam results - she did well - passing Level 2 NCEA with ease.

However this post is dedicated to Jesse and Samantha and the great bake off competition. Jesse has now returned to San Francisco (still in the air as I type this I believe) but before he left he loaded a heap of his photos on the computer. I'll get to these in time as well but first I need to report on the bake off. Over three nights Samantha and Jesse went at it to prove who was the better cook. First burritos, then pizza, and finally desserts. Samantha was clear winner in the dessert (lemon merrange pie) while Jesse was clear winner in the burritos. Pizza was split (I liked Samantha's while Jacky voted for Jesse's). Here is photographic proof of both the process and product during pizza night (and yes that is flour all over Jesse!)

Farewell Jesse!

Love and peace - W

Friday, January 9, 2009

Holiday update

I've spent the last week on the roof! We painted the house last year but left the roof alone so this year's holiday project is to attend to the roof. It took me pretty much all week to waterblast and prepare for painting because the temperature up there was scorching most days. Hotter than the surface of the sun! Today is the first rain we've had for a bit and it's set to continue until tomorrow - then back to sunshine. I didn't realise I couldn't paint in the full sun so we'll need to find some ideal conditions next week.

I've been thinking lately about the Israel attacks on Hamas, Brian and Michelle's stance prompted me to do some research. They are of the opinion that Israel is justified in launching their attacks and Hamas got what they deserve. My immediate reaction at the time was that violence begets violence and that bombing Palestinians (many innocent among them) wasn't any kind of answer to the Hamas rocket attacks. I still believe this and even more so after reading articles in the recent Guardian Weekly. Israel's attacks follow rocket attacks by Hamas into southern Israel. True, but it's worth noting that in the last 6 months there has been a total of one death as a result of these attacks (in eight years there have been about 18). The response to the one death was 60 Israeli aircraft launching 100 strikes that killed more than 300 people. Who knows how many civilians were part of that figure. The targets of the bombing weren't military training camps - they were police stations. Israel is going after infrastructure. The Guardian editorial made some salient points:

We also know that to have chosen to strike on a Saturday morning, when the streets of this impoverished enclave were full, showed the same indifference to human life with which Israel charges its enermies. When the suicide bombers reply in cafes and shops, as they inevitably will, Israel will reel in horror. But it will shut out of its mind the blood its warplanes have now caused to flow in Gaza.

No pictures this week sorry - I'll aim to have something more exciting for you next time.

Love and peace - W

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

I'm in lazy holiday mode - hence the lack of any updates since before Christmas. Actually we haven't been too lazy since Christmas - we had a good three day sunshine period and therefore got our hay cut, baled and loaded into the barn. This was truely a team effort with Michelle, Gavin, Brian (tractor driver), Jade, Samantha, and especially Keegan working their butts off to help us get the hay safely stored before the next day's rain arrived. Many thanks - we certainly could not have done it without the communal help.

Our Christmas was spent at Michelle and Gavin's and a merry time was had by all. The 'all' included the six of us amazingly enough. Jacky and I journeyed up to Orewa to see dad and Ross/Lynda/Hayden/Scott (23rd December) and then (on Christmas eve) during the return home we picked up Keegan and Adam so they could enjoy Christmas with us and the girls. Sorry we didn't stop off and say howdy to Jeanette's crew but we were on a tight schedule (incidentally dad says he sees you at the Orewa New World and you never say hi - just look out for an older me Jeanette and you'll be fine).

So here are our snaps from Christmas day (we six; Jacky and Michelle; Michelle Kerry (her son) Brian (dad to Jacky and Michelle) and Keegan; me and Jacky; Adam Samantha and Jade; Pat (mum to Jacky and Michelle) Kerry Brian and keegan; Keegan and Jade) :

Keegan has now returned to Auckland and Adam to Hamilton and life at the old Stratford homestead now features Jade, Samantha and San Franciscan Jesse (pictured on the tractor)

Keegan left his record collection at ours so I'm fun playing some old vinyl - Grand Funk as I type this! That's it for now. Take care everyone.

Love and peace - W