Saturday, February 29, 2020


so it is Market Day and as Sweetcorn is in season I bought my usual 8, most of them have been blanched, taken off the cobs and frozen but we have just watched a Jamie Oliver "Veg" programme so I made his double corn salad.  I popped some corn I bought at the supermarket this morning and combined it with some grilled corn and served it with a dressing made from blue cheese, cheddar and  yoghurt.  We had this with some black rice, brown rice and quinoa left over from yesterday, some home grown beans with peas,  tomato and capsicum that had been gently cooked and scallops. It was delicious.

The weather is still hot (for us) 29 today and 30 yesterday and the fire danger is now extreme.  I see that next weekend there is a chance of rain, fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 27, 2020


We hear in the news that the Army has now been called on to deliver water further north.  To start with to community facilities and marae in the Kaitaia area but possibly other areas later.  The coastal aquifers north of us are also getting dangerously low.

I also read this morning that when the milk tankers leave Whangarei to collect milk they will be carrying water and then returning with milk.  What a great idea.  I have noticed a lot of water tankers around here in the last weeks also some flat top trucks with a tank on top.

On Tuesday Doug and Gillian went for a walk to see the Whangarei Falls.  There is still a fair amount of water going over but is quite a difference between Tuesday (above) and August (below).


Yesterday we went to Mair Park where it was lovely and cool (and green).  Two views from the bridge.

Monday, February 24, 2020


Today was our Parkinson's walk, this time at the Quarry Gardens.  We are not having a good run as we had another fall.  This time a man with Parkinson's.  Luckily, we managed to get him back on his feet and he said that all that was damaged was his dignity.  He had been going to walk up the steps and do the harder walk but was persuaded to do the more gentle walk so only two of us went up the hill.

We then did the gentle walk and met up with the others near the lake.  It was lovely to see lots of sprinklers running (they use water from the lake) .  Ours are banned from Wednesday.

After that we had our usual catch up at a cafe and Gillian and her friend went into town and then caught the Shuttle to Ngunguru and we have just come back from collecting her.

It has been a lovely day (if you didn't need rain).There were 12 of us on today's walk

The view to the north from the top of the hill.

The lake looks a bit green - it is quite a bit lower than usual.

Looking across to the sandspit at Ngunguru this evening.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


Up at 6 a.m. and it is still dark now as we approach autumn and winter.  Off to the market and bought all the usual vegies but was thrilled to see figs and they are delicious.  There used to be a couple who sold them at the market.  They had planted numerous varieties and had a lovely selection.  The next we heard they had sold their property and the new owners ripped out all the fig trees. Sacrilege...

Anyway, we then went down to the Town Basin for our walk and on the way noticed the gardens on the roundabouts were not looking the best and their was a sign that they are no longer being watered.

At the Town Basin the sky was quite cloudy so we hoped for rain, as forecast, later in the day. 

I walked past the Hundertwasser Building which is coming on well.  The workers always seem to be there on Saturdays.

Although the gardens on the roundabouts are not being watered it looks as though the ones at the Town Basin are.

Just past the garden this is the lawn

and reasonable sized trees are dying.

After a Supermarket shop it was home for breakfast then preparing today's sweetcorn for the freezer, putting a tray of beetroot and parsnips in to roast and cooking another batch of mince.  Unfortunately, Doug was not feeling well with "stomach ache".  It was his hernia which had "popped out" again.  He went to the specialist a few weeks ago and it was agreed that he would not go on the list for an operatioin but if it came out again and was really bad he would call the ambulance.  He tried for over two hours to get it back but in the end we called the ambulance.  This was, I think, about 2 p.m. and all I have heard is that the doctor at A & E could not get it to go back in and he was going to get the surgeon to see him.  Doug has a very high pain threshold so it must have been bad for him to agree to go to A. & E.

The promised rain has been a bit of a fizzer.  A couple of very light showers and some thunder.

I have just fed Sophie, Kim and all the various birds and butterflies that Doug looks after.  

Friday, February 21, 2020


On Monday our Parkinson Walk was from the Information Centre to the Raumanga Falls.  We were surprised to see that there was still some water going over the Falls.  There is a rocky area above the Falls and one of the group (the wife of someone with Parkinson's) went across this area to get a good photo.  Unfortunately, she must have slipped and ended up in what looked like a shallow pool but was, in fact, waist height.  I didn't see it happen as I had my back to the Falls at the time but saw the looks on the faces of those who did.  Luckily, there was the husband of a lady with Parkinson's who was able to help get her out.  It still took them three tries.  She is o.k. and had almost dried out by the time we got back to the cafe and stayed and had a coffee with us.  It could have been much worse with the need to call the Fire Brigade.

Tuesday, we had appointments in town just after lunch so went in early as we wanted to buy a stick vacuum.  We have had a hand held vacuum that Doug used to vacuum up Sophie's (Labrador Retriever) hair.  She moults constantly.  Anyway, it was not really enough to do the job so we bought the stick vacuum and it is amazing to see how much it sucks up.  Looks like a good purchase.  

Wednesday was a free day so I removed the older tomato plants.  They have done us well in spite of the drought which has now been officially declared.  I have another lot of tomato plants that I grew from seed and are looking good but not ripening yet.  The new beans that I sowed have come up so I am hopeful of a crop and am also getting a second crop from the Dalmation Beans.

Thursday (yesterday) I had my second Dental appointment for fillings, this was only 3/4 hour thank goodness and was only $385 rather than the $450 of last weeks session.

When I got home I did some more work in the garden.  During the week I have also been picking peaches and getting them stewed and frozen. 

We have also been getting the spare bedroom ready for a visitor on Sunday.  We have a new walker to the Parkinson Group and it turns out that she moved from Auckland a couple of years ago and knew my friend Gillian whom I have known for about 45 years so Gillian is coming up for a few days catch up.

The Deck area is still proceeding.  We have put up an extra screen for the sun and also ordered some venetian blinds and a "fly curtain" which we hope will keep out some of the sun in the late afternoon.  The only other item still to be finished is guttering and a water tank.  

The drought is serious with areas further north on level 4 restrictions which is essential drinking, cooking and washing only.  We do, however, have light rain forecast for tomorrow.  So here's hoping.  After that it is supposed to get cooler (mid 20's).  Yesterday was 31 degrees which is today's forecast.

I have also cleaned out what was left of the water in our rain butts (putting it on the garden) in readiness for tomorrow's rain

Friday, February 14, 2020


A drought has finally been declared for the whole of Northland.  This will mean that farmers will be able to get help and, if needed, welfare payments.  Apparently, it is the sixth drought declared here since 2009.  I know that our garden is so dry that even the daily watering doesn't really alleviate it.  Hopefully, it will keep plants alive until rain comes.

There is still talk that we, in Whangarei, may have some restrictions in order to supply other towns that are in danger of running out of water.  We have been told this for over a week but nothing has happened yet.

A couple of weeks ago I went for my annual check up at the dentist - this had been postponed because of my cough (I was able to suck a Vick's cough lozenge while visiting the doctor etc. but not for the dentist!).  He said I needed some fillings replaced.  I was expecting this as he had suggested a year ago that they were getting towards that stage.  I could have put it off again but decided to go ahead but when I was told it would be a 2 hour appointment I opted to have 2 x 1 hour sessions.  The first of those was on Wednesday.  Things change in dentistry every time I visit and it is a different world from my childhood visits when "gas" was administered.

I have complete faith in Malcolm, my dentist.  When we were about to move down here from Kaitaia I called in to my then dentist to tell them of our move and the receptionist told me that Malcolm was a dentist here in Whangarei.  His late father was a vet in Kaitaia so we knew his father but not him.

Anyway, I had two fillings and during the process there was the mention of pieces of string.  When he had finished Malcolm told me that one of the gums could be sore for 1 - 2 weeks because he had to pull the gum back with the string in order to access the tooth.  That was all new to me.  Luckily, it was only uncomfortable for a couple of days so, hopefully, will be healed when I go back next Thursday for the second session.  Unfortunately, I have come to the stage when all sorts of things are wearing out.

Sunday, February 9, 2020


The beetroot is not as good this year, obviously the dry has affected it.  Anyway, for several days I have had a mental note to pull some up and roast them.  This morning before we went on our walk I dug some and then after breakfast I prepared and roasted them before going to the gym.

When we got back I made a potato salad and got lunch ready.  A tin of tuna with salad.

The lettuce, tomato, beetroot and potato are homegrown but, unfortunately, our cucumbers have finished.

I usually take two photos when using my phone but only took one and must have moved, anyway, the beetroot is cut into 1 cm squares and tossed in olive oil and cumin and cooked in a covered roast tin until tender.

the finished product

and lunch

Saturday, February 8, 2020


Saturday always seems to be a busy day. We usually start at 6 a.m. and head off to the Growers' Market, then walk Sophie at the Town Basin before heading to the supermarket then home to put it all away before  breakfast.

I always like to have portions of cooked mince in the freezer for quick meals so bought some mince this morning and the first job after breakfast was to cook the mince.  I always add lots of vegetables and today included this home grown capsicum.

At the market we bought some local bananas.  We have been buying them for a few weeks now and they have a much better flavour than the imported ones.

also bought some pears

and some avocados

still have home grown tomatoes and some went into the mince.

I also bought some sweetcorn 8 for $5 so after the mince was put to simmer I started on the job of preparing the corn for the freezer

husks off

 blanched and kernels removed

then after chilling packed ready for the freezer.  I find this so useful over winter and just pull a pack out of the freezer for an extra veg or to go in some soup.  I will do this each week for a few weeks now.  Last year's supply worked out well as we have just used the last packet.

There are some more of the red capsicums ripening but also these smaller yellow ones.

After we had some of the mince for lunch I removed some scarlet runner beans and then sowed some purple King beans as it says they can be sown until late summer.  Fingers crossed for a late crop.  Most of the beans have finished now although we still have some late Dalmation Beans as well as several I have let set seed.

Meanwhile, Doug has finished painting the ceiling of the deck and today built a frame for some more of the greenery for shade.

Friday, February 7, 2020


Today was the Operatunity Concert - 100 Glorious Years of song.  We thoroughly enjoyed it. The songs included When you're Smiling, Down by the Riverside, Baby it's Cold Outside, Born Free, You'll Never Walk Alone and many more.  It isn't just the songs but the whole show that is really entertaining with plenty of laughs.

The rain is not here (although there has been flooding at the bottom of the South Island) but my stepdaughter in N.S.W. has rain.  It sounds as though there should be enough to put out all the fires around her.  

It would be great if it then moves across to us.  Things are getting really serious north of us with at least two towns on level 4 which is water use only for essential cooking, drinking and hygiene.  Several weeks of rain is needed to replenish supplies.

We are still just being asked to conserve water but are still able to water our gardens although it has got to the stage where it just keeps things alive as the heat and wind dries everything out quickly.

Still got tomatoes, capsicum, beetroot, a few beans, lettuce and potatoes in the garden and supplies still available at the Growers' Market.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A.H. REED (for Local Alien).

First of all in this morning's paper we read that our temperature was actually 37.4 degrees yesterday according to a weather station near us.  No wonder we felt exhausted.  Thank goodness it is a lot cooler today but no sign of rain.

When I wrote about A.H. Reed Park blogger, Local Alien,  mentioned that she had a book on A.H. Reed and was glad there was a park named after him.

He was a publisher, writer and walker/tramper see here to read about his biography.

In 1957 the scenic reserve adjoining his old home at Parahaki was named the A. H. Reed Memorial Kauri Park.   Maturing kauri trees known to be at least 500 years old can be easily viewed close up from a raised walkway through the forest canopy.

It is a lovely walk especially on a very hot day.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


Whangārei has recorded its hottest ever temperature, reaching 33.5 degrees Celsius today, Tuesday.
The recording was made at Whangārei Airport, about 8km outside the city.
It was a "significant increase" on the city's previous record of 31.8C, MetService said. This is a well-known effect of drought. That highlighted "the effect that rapid heating of parched soils has on temperatures", the forecaster said.  The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) previously said a "severe meteorological" drought had emerged in Northland.
The dry conditions were set to continue until at least the second half of February, meteorologist Maria Augutis said.
"Around that time areas in Northland may start to experience some showers."

Meanwhile a month's worth of rain has fallen in the South Island in the past two days and it is on Red Alert for the first time.  Helicopters are being used to rescue people from huts on the various trails.

Luckily, here the temperature should ease to the mid 20's tomorrow.

Monday, February 3, 2020


For this morning's Parkinson's Walk we went to A.H. Reed Park for the shade.  According to my phone the temperature is "31 degrees (feels like 32)"  and in this morning's paper we read that "the highest February temperature ever recorded at the Whangarei Airport was 31.2 degrees on February 7, 2017.  The official Whangarei temperature is recorded in a shaded box at Whangarei Airport which means the temperature will be much warmer inland."

I can vouch for it feeling warmer.The only rain in sight is the chance of a shower on Saturday but that may not eventuate. 

Here are some photos from today's walk.

The smaller plants are really suffering.

The larger ones look better

This was the "waterfall" today and the photo below it was taken in August.

Sunday, February 2, 2020


As I went into the garden just before lunch a visitor flew down to see our "generic" Seagull.  Just a young bird who was hungry.  It sat with its mouth open wanting to be fed.  Doug gave it some dog sausage which disappeared quickly.

LATER; he/she came back again for supper.