Central Plateau, North Island

Central Plateau, North Island
View from a friend's farm

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Ginger Boys and a Silver Tabby


Finn, Jeanette and 2 knitted quilts

Pets on Quilts 2016 - it's here!


Over at  Lily Pad Quilting , …( hop there to find all the latest news and views for this show)  the fifth annual Pets on Quilts Show 2016 is under way. It was created by QuiltShopGal. There are several categories, and I have entered the one for Cats on Quilts.

As long as I can remember, there has always been a cat or two or more in my life. It began with Tuppence, a black and white  kitten,  when I was ONE..Then Fluff, a retired pedigree Persian, when I was in my  teens, and many more from then to now.

Felicity is the matriarch of our home, a silver tabby, now aged almost 18. She is asleep on her own knitted rug.

Felicity with one eye open

Then  in 2002, along came  Finn, a small ginger boy, who was so loved by our Japanese host daughter Mayumi.

Finn January 09

Tom arrived, quietly, at night, to have a secret feed, and gradually came to stay for a night or two, then off again on his travels. He loved to lie somewhere high, and survey everything that was going on.This Mariner’s Compass wasn’t finished, but he liked to stretch out on it regardless. Here he is,May, 2009.

Tom  on an unfinished Mariner's Compass wallhanging 8th May 2009

Not long after I took this next  photo, he left, early one morning, in April 2011,  and we didn’t see him again.

Tom by the tree framed

Last year, on Mother’s Day, 2015,  a tiny “Meow” at the back door .Outside the door was this ginger scrap, we think about 5 weeks old.  We called him Boris, which means “Warrior” in Slavic language. He was a lot of work in those first few months, a surrogate mother, or father, or both,  not  what I had thought was in my job description!!!,   He was  wonderful company for Hugh  who was waiting  for spinal surgery. He would be let out  of his overnight  LARGE  sleeping wooden box, early each morning,  and lie by Hugh,  or play on the purple fleece rug.Boris  13th May 2015Wiggle me strips and Boris playing

He found fun everywhere.We had always wondered where his Mum or Dad would be, then one day he met Max. Are you my Dad?

Two gingers, Boris and Max

The other ginger in our family is Max , the darling of my heart.A stray, a big beautiful, maybe part Norwegian Forest boy, who began his nightly visits at 10.30 p.m., a quick dash in for a feed then off just as fast. Gradually over almost 3 years,  I can now  give him a brush when he feeds, hold his paw as he sleeps, and comb out the knots in his magnificent coat. Here is the first photo of him as he walked off down the track to the stream, in  January 2014.

Max, his first photo , January 2014

Max  on the wall June 2015

Boris and Max in 2016.

Boris and  Max  April 2016

The photo for my entry in the Pets on Quilts Show 2016 is one of Finn, on his own knitted small woollen quilt, on another hand knitted leaf pattern full size bed quilt.Jeanette, a  very dear friend, has her hand on Finn, company together.

Yes, this photo is also at the beginning of my post today. Both Jeanette and Finn have left this world, and we remember them with so much love, and wonderful memories.

My Mum-in-law Muriel had severe arthritis in both her hands, from many years ago, and her doctor had suggested to keep them supple she knitted. Well, everyone in the family, extended family, had a knitted bedspread, and then another. When she and my Father-in-law came to live with us, she continued to knit. But then she decided that each of our 5 cats needed their own. This was Finn’s.

Finn, Jeanette and 2 knitted quilts

Quotation of the day, an Indian Proverb

“A cat is a lion in a jungle of very small bushes”

Greetings from Jean.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Postman came today.


A little while ago there was a competition at

( Check this blog out, it is truly fab)!!

Lily Pad Quilting

I think we needed to mention how long since we had rain. There were 133 entries, and my number was chosen.


Winner, winner . . .

. . . but no chicken dinner!

Instead, this great prize is going home with our winner from the random drawing!
Many thanks to Eva Paige Quilt Designs for providing the prize, and to Jacquelynne Steves, for coordinating the party and giving us the great block patterns!
Congratulations to Nancy J, from
All Points of the Compass!
Enjoy your prize, and show it off when you complete it, OK? We'd love to see!


The mail package

The parcel from New Jersey, US.

The pattern, the fabric, and beautiful BIC ( Like the Post-it ones in NZ down here)  sticky  notes from Jacquelynne Steves .

Mod-Ified Trees Pattern and Fabric

Then I laid out the pinks and greens, every one lovely. They are a little deeper colour than this, we have brilliant sunshine and 20 Celsius.. I can see I needed to alter the camera settings for this one.

Mod-Ified Trees fabrics
I have chosen, for now, a pale blue background, just need to get some “ Misty-Fuse” and will be set to go.

Thanks again to Eva Paige Quilt Designs, and Jacquelynne Steves, I am thrilled!!

Spring is almost here, and the golden daffs are blooming  at the far end of the lawn.  I was told these are “ King Alfred”.

Golden  daffs 2016

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ Every gift is special

when it is wrapped with thoughtfulness

and sent with love”

Greetings from Jean

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Weather, wether, and whether???


The wethers will have what I call “hunkered down” this week to get out of the snow, the wind, or the frost.so will all the other animals wherever they are.

For those of you not accustomed to farming terms…a baby sheep is a lamb, a female  sheep is a ewe, a mother sheep is a dam,  a male sheep( entire or intact) is a ram, and a castrated male sheep is a wether.

Onto the weather. with snow falls ranging from 10cm up to 70 cm( this is  28 inches) in both the South and North Islands. Many  roads  have been closed, school bus  morning schedules  delayed until the frost had started to melt, and a blizzard on the ski field about 2 hours north of us. A friend who lives between Taupo and Napier has  had a huge washout on the side road where they live, he says 3 buses could drop into it, and they have no access to a main road. I hope they have ample coffee and other necessities!!!

Tonight,a few magical moments in the western skies. I thought hard about whether I would venture out, gale southerly winds, freezing cold,  so quickly donned hat, neck warmer, Gore-Tex coat, and caught the last of that glorious red. Those colours change so fast, in those few moments the deepest red had almost all gone.Sunset in August 2016

Sunset in August 2016 #2

Inside, Joyce and I have been busy stitching, and some are by hand,some with the machine. Naturally Boris had to be in for the fun as well. The first two  patterns, or 3 photos, are from  Jacquelynne Steves “ Maggies First Dance BOM” .

The square box is a scrap and thread catcher, with machine thread stitching on 4 panels. An international lot of goodies… Calico from China maybe.  inside fabric from Japan, silk binding from Singapore, and this pattern and  the next one are from New Jersey where Jacquelynne lives. Hop to her blog to find more.


thread stitched flowers, with Boris the inspector

This is the same pattern, Joyce did hers with hand embroidery.

Joyce's stitchery #4

This will be a pocket on a bag, made in the red silk.

Machine stitched block, with some red silk, this will be a bag at some stage.

Some other stitching by Joyce, these will all go onto bags, so I am going to be a busy girl sometime soon.

Joyce's stitchery #3

Joyce's stitchery #2

Joyce's stitchery #1

The  fires are going all day and night, we reached a mighty 5 Celsius yesterday, ( for us here, that is low!!!)  and I am so thankful for a plentiful supply of firewood.

Quotation of the day, from Bob Dylan

“If you think the summer sun is too hot,

just remember,

at least you don’t have to shovel it”

Greetings from Jean

Monday, 1 August 2016

Just to show we do have snow down here


A few photos from earlier years, and some from this week. Not all at our place or nearby, but around New Zealand.

I begin with the snowfall at our home in August 2011. Magical!!!

Our home with snow,August 2011

July 2011, Josh and myself near the Central Plateau.

Josh and  Jean, July 2004

Mt Tongariro, July 2014.

Mt Tongariro  26th July 2014

Some fun with snowmen,  May 2013, This is down south.

irish snowmen on the farm May 2013

August, 2011, Takapari Road, in the Ruahine Range.I think this is where the quad bike turned round and came back home!!!

Snow on Takapari Road August 2011

May, 2013, on the farm south of Dunedin

Snow south of Dunedin

Last week, also on the farm, a table full of snow.

Table top cover, July 2016

July, 2008,  at Mt Ruapehu, near the Turoa Ski field.

Jean & Hugh at the Mountain July 2008

The recent cold snap has brought welcome snow to the ski fields,  a blizzard  yesterday closed  Mt Ruapehu and left many trapped  with  their cars, not able to drive back down. An avalanche down south, at Treble Cone, near Wanaka,  triggered by 4 skiers who went into an out of bounds  area .

Quotation of the day,  author unknown

“ Kindness is like snow;

It beautifies everything it covers”

Greetings from Jean

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Birthday Goodies and phone calls


I will start with a huge “ Thank you so much” for all the  Facebook messages, emails, phone calls, and more . You have given me so many good wishes,love, sunshine, flowers and everything else that made my day such a happy one.

Flowers from Tonia,Matt, Felicity and Charlie

Flowers arrived last week,a combined gift for Joyce ( her day was the 20th) and myself. A big thank you to Tonia,Matthew, Felicity and Charlie. We remembered your  dear Jeanette on her day, 21st.

Then I had been so good not to open the parcel from “ Quilting and Beyond” that had been ordered  some time  earlier. A rotating cutting mat, suction grip for the ruler, and some  fusing tape for batting.  This was from Hugh and Joyce , and more goodies from Joyce, a code cracker book, fancy braids, quilters pencils, 2 eraser blocks, stickers for cards. and a purple torch.


Rotating cutting mat #2Rotating cutting mat

More Goodies

Hugh took me shopping, and I have so many fantastic Sistema plastic storage bins, oblong, with a  top shelf divided into the perfect sizes for threads.

When we arrived home, the florist had been again, with flowers from Jeanette in Auckland.

flowers from Jeanette, 25 July 2016

We have been friends since 1954, YES, add that up and it becomes 62 years. It began at Papakura High School,continued as first Jeanette then I were married, children arrived, life was  busy, and yesterday we agreed that coming from a farming life, we managed to economise,make do, recycle, and more. We have shared happiness, sadness, and  much more. Her dearest Trevor passed away almost a year ago, and on August 2nd, memories of him will be in our hearts and minds

.And we always remember our dearest Jocelyn,  who left us way too many years ago.

Attached to the beautiful flowers  was a spray of orchids.

Orchid spray, 25 July 2016

More goodies to come, a Spotlight voucher, this will be a day out to look, dream, and get something special. Thanks Annette,Mike,.Josh and Dani.

Then a parcel arrived,a  big cardboard carton,and a cluster underlay for our bed. Thanks Kaz and Ralph, it is laid out all ready to go on. And I am sure, very sure, it will add so much comfort.

Then late yesterday afternoon a phone call on my mobile phone. I assumed it was someone in New Zealand!! I was wrong!! Hi, this is John calling from Ontario… now I have a lot of friends there so my mind quickly went to all  your names to remember a John.. the line was not very clear. so I asked ‘ Do I know you”? Could not hear his answer very clearly, then he said those worrying words “ Can you turn on your computer?  You have  a problem there”…I said “ You have the wrong number”, and closed the call. I checked the time, it was 10.50  p.m. !!!After looking up the number on Google, it seems this is a scam call. There are a lot of warnings with the same  number.. But, the funny thing about this, how did he get my mobile number? Guess these days anyone can do almost anything.

So all in all,a fabulous day, on the 25th here in NZ,and again when the 25th arrived in the North. 

Quotation of the day from Henry David Thoreau

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious

as to have friends at a distance;

They make the latitudes and longitudes”

Greetings from Jean

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

News from Abroad


Here in New Zealand, the television news is about local events, happenings, crimes, disasters, and weather, and naturally sport has to be on the list. World events are included, but lately I have only read of them on Facebook ( and then went to Google to find more) or on a friend’s blog.

The evacuation of 2 people from the South Pole, one scanty mention here, but this was worthy of so much more, this is  the third time only that it had been successfully undertaken in mid-winter at the Pole.

Then a few days ago, KB   of Romping and Rolling  in the Rockies wrote of the fire so close to their home. Updates on Facebook were so welcome, and to know they had evacuated safely was good news.

Thanks, KB, for the news of your bag and doggy medicines that  went to safety too. This gave me tears.

Cold Springs Fire, on the net gives so much information.

2000 people have been evacuated, hundreds of fire fighters, many fixed wing  aircraft and choppers in the air with fire retardant and water buckets, and  so many roads closed. Three people were camping on private property, and said “ they had nowhere else to go” when arrested, after tips from the public.The two men ,from another state,  are facing arson charges, and bonds were set at $200,000 ,  and    $ 150,000.  One young lady with them did not face charges. Boulder Country prosecutors had asked for $750,000 as they were considered a flight risk. They have admitted to not making sure their camp fire was adequately put out before they left their camp site. The cost so far has been tallied at $ 1.7 million dollars.

The Colorado National Guard is flying Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters out of the Boulder airport to collect water out of Barker Reservoir to drop onto hot spots and around the edges of fire lines.

Slurry Bomber making a drop near a ridge near Highway 119 in Nederland, Co.Slurry bomber at Cold Springs Fire

When one of your friends  tells  of their news, sadness, happiness, or events like this, it brings us all closer together.I think of those  5 families who have lost their homes,  including a firefighter and  his wife, one of their dogs still missing,  the wild life , trees, and more all gone because of one moment of utter carelessness.Sadness is in so many places in our world.

Hugh and I have camped many times at Piropiro Flats. There are large areas of dry grass, bush surrounds the camp sites, and it is isolated. One year, a young couple from Europe were camping there, and a TOTAL fire ban was in place. Notices on all shelters and the large notice board. They had lit a fire on the ground, to cook their meal. I went over and explained about the ban, and that they should put their fire out, with lots of water… This would mean a walk down  15 steep steps to the stream… They said “ What will we cook our food on?” “ We only have this tiny gas stove with canisters and they are so expensive and don’t last long”

My reply, “ If your fire gets out of control, and sparks go into the bush, and starts a bush fire that spreads,  you will be liable for hundreds of thousand of dollars in fines, and even if you have returned home, you will be found and be liable”. They listened, were not happy at all, but did get water, and  thoroughly wet the embers. Hugh kept well away, maybe he thought one member of our family in the self-appointed  “ Fire Prevention Police Authority”!!! was  enough .

This is the Piropiro area, taken on one of our camping trips there.

One tree at Piropiro

Early morning sun at Piropiro

Early morning sun at Piropiro

Swing bridge near a place called “ Angel’s Rest at Piropiro Flats

Swing Bridge at Angel's Rest

Quotation of the day from Zoe Zantamata

“ Being there for a friend is one of

the greatest gifts you can give.

Another one is allowing them to

be there for you too”

Greetings from Jean

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Colours in the sky


Early morning sky from our place, November 2014

Morning sky in November 2014

This morning dawned with a chilly start, and a night that saw me watching the Ladies Singles final at Wimbledon, a 1 a.m. start here in NZ.  A little sleep deprivation is OK in moderation .

Tomorrow, the Men's Final … there is Andy Murray, a man from Scotland but his country of sports is Great Britain, so I should show heaps of support there, as my Mum, Grandma and Grandfather were all born in Scotland. Then, on the other side is  Milos Raonic, born  in Titograd, SFR Yugoslavia (now Podgorica, Montenegro),

but his country for sports is Canada, his residence is Monte Carlo, Monaco.

And thinking of all my friends in Canada, maybe this is where my allegiance should be.

Today I had a short time  outside, in a sheltered place in the garden and soaked up some Vitamin D. Our Ginger Boy did the same late this afternoon. As the sun moved round further to the west, some of that warmth vanished, and then he moved to another spot.

Late afternoon sunshine on Ginger Boy

Snowdrops are flowering, and this shrub  in a large planter has these delicate creamy flowers. I would be so happy for an identification.



I pass on Josh’s thanks for all your comments yesterday, he had flown back from Rotorua this morning  and was busy getting the next semester’s  schedule, unpacking and  seeing  the Wellington harbour from the window . I suggested that he look ay my blog and see the photos there, and scroll down to the end. He did…. “ 16 comments, that’s great”  …he was so thrilled, many thanks from me too. A comment makes so much difference to a day, and I know how I value each and every one.

The next Semester  at University begins tomorrow, and a paper on Antarctica is on the list.

I wonder how many of the students knew about the Medevac and followed the story. The other day I listened to an interview on CTV with  the 5 men and one lady who were the crew and engineers on those flights. So humble, they all acknowledged the backup from so many people  in all parts of the world, that enabled this to  begin  and end safely.They did not dwell on their own skills, bravery,  or the fact that they dared to travel on this dangerous journey.Instead, they told of how they sang  “ The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, 2 verses over and over,  to entertain themselves on the 10 hour flight from Rothera to the South Pole. A meal of Buffalo Steak, some sleep, then a 10 hour return to Rothera.

Photo below, courtesy of CTV news.

South Pole

The Kenn Borek flight crew shared details of their risky South Pole rescue mission, July 5, 2015.

Quotation of the day, author unknown

“ A ship in port is safe,

but that is not what ships are built for”

Greetings from Jean