Friday, May 11, 2012

An alphabet in my house...

I stole this fantastic idea from my friend Jackson who had it suggested to him by a mate when he was bored one evening.

I'm not bored, but it's been a bit of a tough week. Been a bit crook, felt a bit yuck, and really only just starting to come right now. So what do you do when you're sick at home and starting to come right? Have a wee adventure/explore in your own house of course!

Here's the alphabet chez moi... enjoy.


Me and my bestie went to this last week at the last minute. Was a great wee night out in CHCH, when it's hard to remember how to have great nights out there anymore (or at least where to go). Highlight was Anika singing with her Mum.


Bird whistle. My lovely stepdaughters gave me this for my Hen's weekend/birthday. It's one of those awesome ones you put water in and it makes a beautiful canary-like melody.

 Czechoslovakian glassware

My Dog. Nemo. he is choice. he didn't want to wait to get his photo taken, he wanted to run and get me a toy - which is why he's not paying attention.


Ok, this is actually outside, but it's the EMPTY chook nesting box. they moulted, it got cold, they've been off the lay ever since. boo.

This wee fern is really cute.


Gummies! Not in short supply in our house (these are just the hubby's!)


This hen is one of those errant buggers that are not laying at the moment... we call her "Big Red"


Interesting books... well I think they are... : )


Jam! homemade. thanks Mum!!! x


Keyholder - fantails of course!


Love. Husband (naturopath) made up some tonic for me when I was feeling a bit poorly...


Medal: Husband is a volunteer firefighter - got this last year for services to volunteering.


Native: plenty of NZ native inspired paraphernalia around our house. This toi toi lamp is awesome.


Oh, I don't think I need to say any more.


Paua: These are in our laundry tub. You can find them in almost every room of our house though...


A real quarter. Leftover from last year's trip to the United States


Rainbow woolie hat. My favourite. Bought this years ago for five bucks at the Mot flea market.


Sailing ship. We have heaps of magnets on the fridge. This one is the hubby's. I quite like it.


Tractor. This one is my Dad's and is the exact same model of one he had when he was a kid. Sits on my coffee table these days.


Un-put-down-able.  Blair Somerville of the Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai is a mate, an automator, a whimsical artist and someone who rolls his eyes every time I visit, because I always end up buying something there (which means he has to make another). This one is called "Shark Baiting" - bought it for the hubby, a keen surfer and shark-phobe. 

I've had this venus fly trap for two years. It's awesome. The other day it caught a wasp!
My Dad tells a story about a venus fly trap that my uncle had when they were kids. Apparently uncle fed it belgium (luncheon meat) and it grew and grew and he was scared and stopped feeding it and it died. Suspect this was in fact a tall tale for young children. : )


Where the Wild Things Are. This little guy has been in my house for a while. Seemed fitting to post him up after the death of Maurice Sendak this week.  This little guy is a guardian that once belonged to a good friend of mine. When she could no longer have him, he came to live with me.


Not quite starting with 'X', but we use OXO cubes a lot, and this week when I made a chicken soup, I was fascinated by the 'X' shape of the wee cubes.


This is the hubby's 12 string. It sounds beautiful.


We don't actually have a video player anymore, but we can't bear to get rid of Zoolander. "...haaaapppy..."

Friday, February 24, 2012

The mask is slipping - endangered species

Managed to get on "Breakfast" a couple of weeks ago - talking about our endangered species. Did you know how bad our conservation story is getting? New Zealand used to be a world-leader, and looked up to for it's conservation prowess. Now our Department of Conservation has a budget the same size as the Hamilton City Council to manage ONE THIRD of our land mass, which includes all our national parks, the huts, tracks, bridges, culverts, the pest control (stoats, possums, rats, ferrets, weasels, wilding pines, weeds...), not to mention the marine reserves, marine mammals - and we haven't even gotten to the protection of all of our threatened species... does this sound right to you?

Monday, January 2, 2012

From darkness comes beauty...

Hi everyone and Happy New Year.

I was going to write one of those hand-wringy posts about why I hadn't written a blog for months and months, but I'm not. Put simply, it's been a busy old time. During this time, we've had lots on the go, not the least of which has been getting married!  A great way to end a pretty massive and challenging year was marrying the gorgeous bloke in Dunedin the weekend before Christmas. As expected, we did as much DIY as we could, and bless his heart, we had our first dance with him in white gumboots.

So back to the Ka Pai Life.  Everything is still ka pai, quakes notwithstanding. (wowza, one just hit as I typed that!).

I thought I'd start with an update on my wee venus flytrap. Earlier this year, I explained about how our little windowsill venus flytrap was helping me deal to my nemesis, flies.

Sadly, along with my blog, I kind of neglected the flytrap, and by about October, it just looked like a brown, dead thing, with tiny little dead teeth the only thing distinguishing it as a venus flytrap.  Ever hopeful, I started watering it again a couple of months ago, and lo and behold, it began to grow again!

About a month ago, like some kind of triffid, it started sending out a shoot. A long, green, bendy shoot, that grew longer and taller and longer and taller until it had travelled halfway up our kitchen window.

 Atop this shoot are half a dozen tear shaped pods, which almost looked like alien-fingers to the creeping long hand as it slowly crawled up the window.  I have been peering at these pods for a week or more now!

And then, like magic, from a once-all-but-dead fly-killing plant, on New Year's Day, this beautiful flower appeared.

A very beautiful sign to mark the beginning of what I'm sure will be a beautiful year. 

How is your New Year playing out so far?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


(I tend to always write way too much in this blog, so this is a bit of a pictorial essay about the snow a couple of weeks ago...#shortandsweet)
On kaua'i island, Hawai'i... beautiful weather all around.
Just last month I was soaking it up in Hawaii, surfing (or trying to) and working on my tan in pretty balmy tropical temperatures.

So it was a bit of a shock to the system to come home to this a week after I returned.

The chookhouse is under that snow at the back there... as for the vege gardens, lucky we hadn't started planting yet!

 The chooks (I'm sure you'll all be pleased to know), were fine. Toasty and warm...

Nemo, on the other hand, went a bit primal on it...

Nemo gets back to his wolf roots...

No chance of hanging out the washing on this day...

Too cold even to trap the ratty that had been tunnelling under the chookhouse.

Morrison got a good coating in snow too...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dead as a - chicken?...

I've been overseas in the United States for a month on a leadership program focusing on "Protecting Natural Resources". I traveled from DC to Maine, to Montana and on to Hawaii. I'm sure there'll be plenty to say about that later. But to catch up on the Ka Pai life...

The day before i left for the U.S. i looked out the window to see the bloke holding my favourite chicken upside down by the feet. She had just died, and was still warm.  I'm not sure why she died, she was in the best condition of all three chickens, but the bloke reckoned that for the few days leading up to her death, she'd gone down the pecking order a bit, and the other two old girls had been picking on her.

Now I know I've thrust myself into this 'good life' stuff with great enthusiasm, and the bloke and I had been very realistic and pragmatic about our little 'farm' in the backyard. We made cavalier references to 'nature' and joked that with all the fresh herbs the chooks had been eating, it might be good to put one in the pot.

Yet, when I saw my favourite chicken hanging upside down, and felt her still-warm skin beneath her feathers, I lost it. Choked, teared up and sobbed like a child. I even spluttered out something like "But she was (sniff) my favourite one."  Who knew? I have spent enough time on farms, and enough time killing pests for DOC to know that sometimes animals cark it. I guess it was just that getting the chooks really added a new dimension to our backyard, a new way of looking at food, and importantly, it gave us our first tiny step towards our dream - to own our own farm one day.  And to be honest, she was my favourite one. She laid consistently, she had the brightest of feathers, and she had this very endearing habit of jumping up on your lap if you sat down in the backyard. The other two old girls could care less if I was around or not - as long as they got fed. 

I guess the moral of the story is that it turns out I'm not as 'tough' as I thought I was when it comes to my 'livestock'. Although... the weirdest moment was when the bloke and I were inspecting said dead chook, we looked at each other and asked the question "Shall we eat her?". Decided since we didn't know why or how she died, it was best not to - but I'm certainly not against eating them if that's the best use for them... (just glad chickens can't read since we have one bird no longer laying that will certainly be of more value in the pot).

What's your experience? Does it make you sad when your domestic poultry/livestock dies? Perhaps it's something you just get used to over time? Is it a bad thing to be sad for an animal that has provided you with nourishment and certainly entertainment? Perhaps remembering their worth is noble after all?

Monday, June 27, 2011

On blogging torpor, freshwater for life and DOC job cuts...

It's been far too long between posts. Plenty of KapaiLife stuff to chat about... but life's been keeping me busy in the 'real world'

Just returned to the shaky city after a three day Forest & Bird conference in Wellington... it was a great weekend, we hosted a political panel on conservation issues, then the rest of the conference was themed "Freshwater for Life" - pretty timely in NZ right now as our water quality declines and our intensification of agriculture and urban developments increases.  It was my job to organise the conference program, so I invited Dr Mike Joy, Rod Oram, photographer & presenter Craig Potton,  Professor Ken Hughey, Alistair Bisley (chair of Land and Water Forum) and Morgan Williams (former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment), as well as speakers from Fish & Game and Fonterra. We finished with a screening of the excellent "River Dog". Make sure you see this film. The conference was a lively, inspiring affair.

Meanwhile, the Govt has decided to cut another 100 DOC jobs... now DOC's being run on a budget of a city council to manage a third of the country. i had a fair bit to say about that here. It's busy work trying to stick up for nature in NZ!!!
hmmm, this cartoon seems rather relevant for the current biodiversity crisis.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In honour of New Zealand music month...

And because of course I am such a nature nerd... please enjoy this surprisingly funky little gem from Fatcat and Fishface  who make music for kids, often based on our wonderful native wildife.  "Nightclub" is a catchy little hit about our nocturnal native birds, with some very cool animation. Have a listen!

DOC have also decided to make the most of NZ Music Month by holding a contest for the best 'remix' of native bird calls, championed by their Spokesbird, Sirocco (who i've been subject to... errrr... some of his more intimate shenanigans, and for whom I used to handle all his many PR requests  - mostly as a result of said shenanigans. Glad DOC are continuing to use his profile in a positive way, quite proud really).

Sirocco the kakapo skaaarks it up for NZ Music Month. Photo: DOC