Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


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Hot air

It’s the Wairarapa Balloon Festival this week.  The boy and I got up early to go and see the balloons.

It was just past dawn when the first one drifted into view.

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Definitely the most novel of all the balloons!

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Or was it?

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I thought the lighthouse definitely got points for novelty too.

IMG_1947 (800x800)The balloonists had set a course to drift over one of two ‘X’s set close to the town square.  The balloon that dropped their marker closest to the ‘X’ got the best score.  It was awesome to be so close to them!

It was interesting to learn that once air borne, it is not possible to change the course of the balloon – they can only go up or down. The skill of the pilot is in calculating how wind direction, speed and shear will affect their balloon’s flight path and launching at the right place.  By changing their altitude they can also gain access to differing air streams that can help them to change direction, but it is not an exact science by any means, from what I could see.  Not all the balloonists were able to drop their markers – some missed the drop points by quite a distance.

What a fascinating morning!

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A summer walk

It was lovely to go for an evening walk yesterday.  The season is maturing, the berries ripening in time for late summer, the grass seeds golden and ripe.

I loved seeing the flowers and identifying all the different plants growing along the roadside.

The best things in life are often the simplest, don’t you agree?

 


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A rural day out

Having moved to rural New Zealand, I am determined to enjoy all that being ‘in the country’ (as we say here) has to offer.  The annual Wairarapa Agricultural & Pastoral Society Show is being held this weekend, so the young man and I trotted along to see what was to be found!  For the benefit of readers who are not familiar with this kind of show, it is a local festival celebrating the best of the rural activity of the area that we live in.  There were sheep and cattle shown for judging, shearing and wool handling competitions, a wood chopping competition, baking and art competitions, agricultural vehicle and other equipment displays, many food and goods stalls and of course, a fairground for the kids.  It was a very interesting day out.

Well, the first thing that we saw were the sheep!  So many pretty sheep!!

Sheep

This particular fellow is a champion crossbred ram.  His fleece was incredibly thick – about half of that sheep is wool!  He was very friendly.  As you can see, he was loving the head scratches.  Look at that adorable face!

Friendly ram

Here was a lovely mama ewe and her twin lambs.  So cute, one black and one white.

Ewe and lambs

Champion fleece on display.

Fleece

There were also cattle being shown.

Cattle show

So clean and shiny.  It’s a pity they don’t always look like this… (the ones in the fields usually have poo all down the backs of their legs.  It looks gross.)

Cattle show

These pretty jerseys were waiting their turn to be judged.

Chickens

I’m still thinking about those chickens.  I want some so much!!

Yarn

There was yarn to be seen, but not bought.  These skeins were handspun that had been entered for the competition.

Knitting

I spied socks!

There was a hilarious sheep racing competition, complete with jockeys!

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Here they are at full gallop.

Sheep racing

There was motivation to race…

Sheep race

The first one to the end got to eat the most sheep nuts!

Equine show

There were riding events happening.  Such beautifully turned out horses and their riders!

Shearing competition

Of course, I had to watch the shearing and wool handling competition!  While these guys were being judged on their ability to shear,

Wool handling

these ladies were doing something equally fascinating, which was skirting and handling the fleece after shearing. They were being judged on their performance and speed.  It was also their job to take the fleece off the platform and keep the floor around the shearers clean of debris.  Fascinating to see the fleece able to be laid out on the table all in one piece after it came off the sheep.

Shearing

Lovely clean wool coming off the sheep.

All shorn!

And here they are, post haircut, waiting to go back to the farm.

There was a lot more to be seen of course, but I thought I’d just show you the interesting bits.  🙂

We went home and decorated the front yard for Halloween, but unfortunately, it seems that trick or treating is not a popular thing here in the Wairarapa, and we got no visitors!

Halloween

The young man was most disappointed. We thought this year that we would stay home and hand out treats instead of venturing out.  I’ll have to investigate options for next year!

Sunset

Still, it was a lovely day, and we had a beautiful ending as well.

If you celebrate Halloween, a Happy Halloween to you, and may your kids get lots of candy!


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The Putangirua Pinnacles

Last weekend, friends invited us to join them for a walk to the Putangirua Pinnacles.

Putangirua Pinnacles

I first heard about the Pinnacles (as they are known here in the Wairarapa) from a colleague, who said they were very interesting rocks.  I have to giggle now at his description.  They are definitely interesting geological formations.  The tower shapes are called hoodoos.  Formed by erosion over thousands of years, they make a spectacular landscape!

This particular photo cost me 45 minutes of hard climbing, and a very badly blistered heel that meant I wore backless shoes to work all week… I think it was worth it.  Now that my foot has stopped stinging!

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This photo shows the Pinnacles as seen from the bottom of the formations.  We walked from the lookout down to the bottom of the riverbed, only a 20 minute walk or so.

Putangirua Pinnacles

You then walk along the riverbed and into the base of the Pinnacles.  I don’t think it would be a good idea to come here right after heavy rain – this riverbed would not be as friendly!  A fact born out by the numerous pools of thick mud we came across during our walk – the children had a lot of fun poking sticks into them.

Another interesting fact about the Pinnacles which I discovered more recently, is that they are the location for the scene in the Lord of the Rings where Aragorn travels the Paths of the Dead to summon the Army of the Dead.

Putangirua Pinnacles

The kids decided it would be cool to investigate the narrow pathway to see if it led to a cave.  They chickened out before they got to the end.

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The shapes of the hoodoos and the feel of the canyon that we walked through it certainly does give this area an other-worldly feel.  It really does look the part of a scene from the Lord of the Rings.

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Peter Jackson’s location crew chose well!

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Can you see the naturally formed head sculptures in this photo?  The Young Boy said one of them looked like an Easter Island head, and I think he is right!

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We were lucky to go on the day we did.  Almost as soon as we got back to the carpark, a strong wind blew in and lasted for the next few days.  It would have made walking here particularly unpleasant!

I was very grateful to be invited to go for that walk.  It was much more fun with company.  Young Boy was even more pleased – he got to have a sleepover with his best friend that night as well.


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The Tui

The Kowhai tree in the garden has suddenly sprung into life this week and from what seems like nowhere, beautiful golden blossoms have appeared.

Kowhai tree

I swear I didn’t even see it budding!

Sitting outside, enjoying the last bit of the warm evening air, doing a spot of knitting and drinking a nice cold beer, I became aware of someone enjoying a nectar feast.

Tui

Loudly, be proclaimed this garden to be his personal preserve.

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Look at his fluffed feathers as he calls his particular song of clicks, whistles and calls.  Tui are not songsters like the thrush or the blackbird, but they have a very distinctive, flute-like call.  Each Tui has his or her own song, so you can tell if the same one inhabits your garden after a while.

Tui 3

Such a pretty bird!  They are the first ones up in the morning, calling even before the sun begins to lighten the sky, and the last ones to bed, calling even after it has long become dark.

Tui 4

I love the mantle of white features and the white necktie bobbles.  See his beak covered in pollen?

Tui 5

The Kowhai tree has flowers rich in nectar, and is a favourite of the Tui.  You can be guaranteed a visit from these lovely birds if you have one in your garden!

I feel so lucky!  A Kereru on Monday, a Tui on Tuesday, what will I see tomorrow!?  😀

 

 


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The beauty of morning

There is something quite magical about the light in the Wairarapa.  It must be the plane of the earth in this part of New Zealand.  I don’t think I have ever experienced so many pretty sunrises as I have here.  It makes getting up early quite exciting!  The colours have been so particularly stunning on occasion that I have had to stop what I was doing and take photos!  They are not very good photos.  Too grainy, but they captured the light perfectly.

SunriseIt did not look real to me – the lurid imagination of a painter surely?  Such shades of blue and flamingo pink!

Purple morning

Violet sunrise – I have never seen this light before!

Purple sunriseCould they not be a skein of yarn from your favourite hand dyer?

And now, my favourite, a celebration of winter!

Cows on a frosty morning

A breathtakingly cold, clear morning, the frost lay thick like snow on the fields and in high, spiky tuffs on the fence and car.  Icy sparkles decorated the deck, shimmering like diamonds in the rays of the rising sun.

Icy deck

Slowly a mist rose, to veil the landscape in an exquisite, gauzy light.

Frosty morning

I rather did pity the cows their breakfast of ice.

If you are wondering, do not fear – I have knitting news to share.  I’ll be back later this weekend with an update.  🙂

A happy start to the weekend to you!