+64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

Where Did Winter Go

And Spring for that matter …..

Normally winter is when Iris and I decompress after a busy season,  catch up on the chores that need doing and prepare for the coming season. We can enjoy a “lie in” and if we feel like kicking back we don’t get a rush of the guilts.

When we look back on what we actually did we feel exhausted. I had to spend 6 weeks away in Dunedin, but it did allow me to tidy up my digital photo albums and other media files, and I rebuilt our guests DVD

We had decided that Kowhai Lane Lodge needed to be reclad, as the original cladding expected life 25 of years was actually approaching 45, and at the same time replace all the old windows with double glazed units. I was barely home when the builders arrived, and I found myself faced with painting the whole house. Had you asked me a year ago if I would ever have that sort of project on I would have laughed. And of course we had 3 builders to house and feed. We had booked a weeks holiday on the Chathams for late September (see previous posts) so there was a fair amount of panic that the building might not be finished. It was, with a week of frantic tidying up to spare. Home for a week and Iris was off for 2 and a bit weeks on a Tasmanian garden tour, while I finished off the inside window surrounds and repainting the damaged walls.

And now we have the summer season upon us.

Ulva Island

The Ulva Island Tours are never a hardship, and I have to say this year after building and painting they are even more enjoyable, and especially “catching up” with the new seasons changes as they occur.

The slides are just a snippet of what we’ve shown our guests these last 4 weeks or so.

Kiwi

A week or so ago I took a couple of guests out for a walk, and they had a kiwi at their feet, so much excitement. Believe it or not I didn’t see it as I was looking a bit further along the track. I showed another couple where to go, and two nights ago they saw two birds together. … they’ve promised me a picture when they get home. 

 

Pterostylus bluff

Spring is orchid time, and  Iris was surprised to see this colony of “Kaka Beak” orchids had put themselves into Kowhai Lane garden. 

 

Bamboo Orchid
The bamboo Orchids have been flowering really well this spring

 

Guest Photographing Orchids
Orchids are part of the Ulva Island tour, with the flowering season stretching from late September until late April, although there are seldom more the 4 or 5 species out at any one time

 

Flax Flowers & Tui

Thie flax is flowering heavily this year, much to the delight of the tui. Their bright orange foreheads testament to the cross pollination the flax needs

Flax Flowers & Tui

Thie flax is flowering heavily this year, much to the delight of the tui. Their bright orange foreheads testament to the cross pollination the flax needs

Cabbage Trees

Like the flax, our Cordylines are having a bumper flowering season, and the scent is almost overwhelming at times

Weka and Guest

Weka are experts at panhandling treats from guests

Our Garden

Our busy spring and Iris (she’s the gardener in this house) away for over 3 weeks  has meant catch up time. But we’ve had a really mild spring, with just a couple of short cold spells, and it looks like new spuds for Christmas dinner, though I doubt the tomatos will be ready before mid January. 

Paradise Duck Family

Paradise Shelducks are generally not particularly good parents, and blackbacked gulls can wreck havoc on a clutch. Often reducing 10 or 12 ducklings to just a couple. And generally they are very shy of humans.
But this pair had the sense to nest on the foreshore, and seem to be completely at ease with people, often feeding amongst the visitors feet. And although they lost 5 out of their original hatching of 12, their family is now large enough that the gulls are no longer a worry. 

Paradise Duck Family

Paradise Shelducks are generally not particularly good parents, and blackbacked gulls can wreck havoc on a clutch. Often reducing 10 or 12 ducklings to just a couple> And generally they are very shy of humans.
But this pair had the sense to nest on the foreshore, and seem to be completely at ease with people, often feeding amongst the visitors feet. And although they lost 5 out of their original hatching of 12, their family is now large enough that the gulls are no longer a worry.  And ducks have the right of way on the road as well. 

Easterly Winds

When I first arrived on the Island the old timers told me Easterlies tended to last for uneven numbers of days … 3 day.. 5 day and once I remember an horrific 15 days. Easterly can be quite unpleasant if accompanied by driving rain and low clouds, and of course it blows straight into Halfmoon Bay. But recent years have seen few easterlies of more than 3 days, and not many of them either. But we have had easterly now for 8 days, and looking at the forecast another 3 or 4 on the cards. Mostly it’s been nice and sunny, although yesterday was low cloud, and the first 3 days very low cloud and rain.