Godley Heads Gun Emplacements Walk

For quite sometime I have felt no desire to blog. There was no room in my head. Make no mistake – I could probably make time. But you know when you just cannot face something? Or even think about it? Its not like I don’t LIKE blogging, its just I have been so mentally occupied. It wasn’t just the blog either, it feels like many things have been put on the back burner. Slowly however I am starting to feel like me again. Taking more photos for the sake of it, even a bit of art. Here are some shots of a walk Kylie and I managed to take when a friend of ours put our wee man to bed, allowing us to get out that much earlier to catch the lovely light.

Banks Pennisular Gun Emplacements
Banks Pennisular
inside old gun emplacements
old gun emplacements
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular
banks penninsular

I feel very out of practice with the photo taking these days! Its usually my point and shoot with kiddo and chaos reigning. It might be time to start hauling around the big camera even for the standard family outings. Get the hang of it again. Not to mention I am using Kylie’s camera after selling mine. I need to get used to a whole new camera!

Making Websites again…. but not by myself.

Well life’s been far from quiet as of late. I have started working again! As a contractor for Board of Design. Setting them up so that they can offer web design and development as a service. It works perfectly for me right now. It allows me to “leave the office” (well for the most part) and be mum at home in a very flexible setup. Ensuring my little man is never far from home for very long, thanks to an awesome day care, grandad and my partner (the daddy) taking some time off work to be with him too. It’s really not a huge amount of work. But it has been just enough. Which is all I am thinking about for now! I have a few very cool projects in the works. Will post up here when they are done.

But for the mean time….. I have not stopped taking pictures! Here are a few from a wee trip one weekend we all headed into town for free Tram rides…as a result this mum got some free time to play with her camera in The Christchurch Botanic Gardens. What me take photos of plants? That’s new! ūüėČ

_MG_2130

_MG_2164

_MG_2174

_MG_2178

_MG_2187

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

_MG_2197

A walk around town

Quinn and I met Kylie in Hagley park on friday, it was a lovely sunny spring afternoon and I brought homemade scones and quince jelly (feeling very domestic these days.. except when it comes to cleaning). After Kylie dashed back to work Quinn and I went walking – I had heard rumour of a photographic exhibit and I have been getting some pretty bad culture and art withdrawals these days so I took the first chance I could get to go and find it.

chchaugust 4

I still avoid town to be honest. The desolation and memories of how it all was, get me down, but as time goes by it stings much less and is becoming more and more “thats just the way it is” with no emotion attached. Thank goodness for the park that has not changed a jot, except in growth of course!

We found the exhibition, it was very child friendly with big black boxes in the center, of a ‘u” shape made out of container rooms with large images hung inside. I got to have a good look and Quinn got to wander around the outside area, pointing out all sorts of things to complete strangers.

chchaugust 3

What I really liked was the art around the newly opened square. The fences had all been decorated by Sara Hughs and Chris Heaphy with plastic cubes that slotted into the mesh, creating patterns and effects with light. It looked like a cross stitched/pixelated tapestry, all in cheerful bright tones, a contrast to the empty lots and still half collapsed cathedral whose fate is still being fought over in the courts. Nice to see something lovely to make a person smile!

chchaugust 5
chchaugust 7
chchaugust 10
chchaugust 9
chchaugust 8

Then there is the temporary shopping area where the old shopping area used to be, new topiary animals and plantings were out and looking luscious, beautiful with a dash of fun.

chchaugust 2
chchaugust 1

Thats my report on town! We had to speed back to the car at that point as Quinn with the endless energy also has a bottomless pit for a stomach and needed MORE food.

Winter Wonderland

winter-wonderland 13
Out of the kitchen window

In the past few weeks winter has well and truly come. Quinn and I frequently find ourselves stuck inside waiting for rain and cold to pass. Rather out of the norm not long ago it was snow. Snow that fell ALL DAY. This happens not too often in Christchurch, (however it did happen last year – which we missed because we were in Cambridge) so I worried and felt child-like excitement all at the same time. I worried about the¬†electricity¬†supply rendering our only form of heating useless (planning on getting a logburner too.. eventually) I had Quinn’s wardrobe all decided should the power go off. I worried about Kylie who headed off to work that morning when it was only sleeting and his attempt to get home again on roads with cars not organised for such weather. But he did get home early enough to take Quinn and chuck me out the house so I could take some photos. Have I not a good partner? Here are the results:

winter-wonderland 11
Poor old Ducks, one duck came up to me for food. I chased him off the snow and back into the “steaming” pond.

winter-wonderland 10
winter-wonderland 8
winter-wonderland 7

winter-wonderland 6

winter-wonderland 4

Growing and being eaten

Its been awhile since I posted as you can see, I have been avoiding it to tell the truth. First because I was miserable in Cambridge without Christchurch or my friends around to keep me busy. I don’t like writing when sad! Second because I was pre-occupied with good things but I kept on putting it off writing because I am useless at keeping things to myself. I am pregnant! Yes thats the big news and the pre-occupation. I believe most people now know that need to, so I can safely announce here. In the delightful spring I am growing things in the garden and (hopefully) one thing in the belly.

Speaking of the garden, its busy busy in there…

Seedlings!

First came the seedlings. Then….

The beds are beginning

The hastily constructed beds, then….

garden 4

The slugs! Argh.

I am fighting with expensive but successful buried beer traps (slugs really like Speights). Egg shells that don’t do much at all and soda bottle cloches that my “seedlings” are growing out of! I am just going to keep adding in more seeds in cloches as they get¬†eaten and keep putting down traps and eventually I hope to have enough plants alive to get nice and big and feed us.

This really is my first vege garden from scratch and all by myself.. previous ones have been others I have helped in. I have so far learnt: Not plant out seedlings (no matter how impatient I am) on windy days! Some seeds really do fair better when planted directly in the ground. That this garden has bugs everywhere – more than any other flat, unit or even mums place than I have seen anywhere. In one night healthy seedlings are stumps. STUMPS! Grrr. Not to mention the caterpillar invasion from last year on my bucket salad veges from the moment we moved in, in late summer. One day a few caterpillars the next I have no rocket left. Going to try “molasses spray” for the next anticipated invasion. I figure I just keep on trucking and each year I will get better at it and there might even be less bugs of some varieties? Maybe? Hopefully? I have also learnt cats love vege garden beds as littler trays, so¬†stubbornly¬†that the netting has to be TIGHT, or they will just walk ontop of it and pee anyway. Blighters.

One challenge this year is watering. Since our water piping system in Christchurch is still rather broken we have watering restrictions. Last year I just watered my bucket vege garden from the washing machine waste water! It works, but in the new house its all plumbed in. Not to mention the pain in the ass it is that every time it starts a spin cycle we have a bucket chain going out into the garden. This year we are planning on collecting rain water off the garage and I use big bowls in the sink every time veges are washed ect and we put that water into a big plastic tub thing to be used when needed. Thus far we still get to water gardens every other day (kinda) but I remember Chch summers harking back to childhood where we could not even do that. So if its dry summer then there will be buckets in showers, sinks and whatever to be used again on the garden! Luckily we use all eco store bio-degradable products. Mostly because I am allergic to lots chemicals, but useful now we need to re-use all our water.

A walk around the city

We went for our first walk around the cordons about a month ago, I know late posting! Here are some pictures I took. I did not break down or get all emotional or anything, in fact amongst the broken bits there is still our beautiful autumnal city, the streets are the same, trees were loosing their leaves and the seasons continue. That alone is a huge comfort. Band aids have been applied to the favorite buildings that are no doubt among the ones people would like to save. Empty lots are not empty gapping holes but an opportunity to put in something beautiful and/or useful.

I must say the media seems to be grasping at negative straws for stories these days and I am getting a little over it. I wish we could just get some facts on the quake and the rebuild and not the whining emotional¬†tripe we are getting right now. All I see is “not fast enough”, “why are they gardening in the red zone?” and more equally as silly articles. Think this though please journalists and editors: for example Gardeners¬†cannot fix roads or buildings, but if the city gets over grown, then when it come to reopening – how much work will it be to get up to scratch then? Just because they are keeping things tidy does not mean work on other things in the city goes any slower. AND Why should our people be working seven days a week? Surely they are as entitled to have time with their families and loved ones as you or I? In fact now more than ever they need to be their fighting best, which requires rest and happy times. Its no longer a disaster people, its just a job to get done. One last point, how on earth will we get people down here to help build if whats on offer are seven day weeks?

Foraging in Christchurch

Walnuts
With all the walks around the¬†neighborhood¬†lately I have been noticing and picking up walnuts here and there, little did I know I was mistakenly stumbling into an addictive and quite popular Christchurch (and indeed the world) pass time. Urban Foraging. It happened thus; I mentioned in passing conversation to my lovely ladies the walnuts I had been spotting who then agreed on their¬†wonderfulness¬†and told me all about ¬†a “map”. I decided I needed to find this allusive treasure map, how does every modern girl start her education these days? Yes indeedy I went “googling”.

Christchurch Forgaging Map was found here. Although I have been told by these fellow foragers that not everything is on there, for there is an unspoken rule. No-one revels their spots, the good spots are found only by chance or rumors. Places where wild asparagus grows, the biggest sweetest chestnuts, the yummiest mushrooms Рthese spots will be harvested in secret and locations taken to graves.

The generosity and spirit of sharing must be very strong in the people that setup the map, from what I can tell this world would be a very secretive one to break into.

On the foraging note we collected Chestnuts in Hamner when we were there a couple of weekends back. I roasted them up and ate them with salt, Kylie and I both agreed they were worth finding more and foraging some locally. Lovely and sweet, I love sweet things with salt. Mmmm..

Chestnuts
This is what they look like before a good roasting. Note they are not the “horse chestnuts” Which are¬†poisonous.

Ready for roasting:
Chestnuts
Eaten:
Chestnut

I have yet to have any success¬†foraging¬†for edible mushrooms. I have some verbal descriptions of what to look for. But really am a little scared to just try them… the consequences being rather dire. I continue to look on my walks and take photos with my phone, but I think I need someone who knows about mushrooms to take me on a tour… I will let you know if I have any success.

Here are some links to get you started on foraging or to help your already formed habit:

A blog (not very current) on urban foraging.

The facebook page – yes theres one for everything these days.

A bit about the people that started digitising it all

A small part of an old book on food gathering in New Zealand (look out for this book in second hand book dealers!)

Walnut Trees

Have fun exploring. I think the best part of all of this is just paying attention to the trees and the ground and appreciating what we can eat for free and its healthy! Not only that if I have time I will take a bike instead of the car and stop at the local park or graveyard just to look around and see what I can see! I am getting a new appreciation for our parky urbanness that is Christchurch.

Yarn Bombing in Christchurch

Christchurch has been through a bit in the last few months. Never before have I seen so yarn bombing around, its probably related to the big old shake. Its almost like crafter/knitters/artists are wrapping the city up to comfort it. I find myself loving it and admiring it.

Yarn Bombing in ChristchurchYarn Bombing in Christchurch

Yarn Bombing in ChristchurchYarn Bombing in Christchurch

I do see some thrifted items in there – but to be honest I felt myself unwilling to part with even my yarn odds and ends to comfort something that doesn’t feel the cold quite like I do. Doesn’t stop me loving it though.

There are a few items worth mentioning that are a direct and nice result from the Earthquake.

There is an exhibition going on at the Christchurch Art Gallery directly aimed at us to help rebuild Christchurch how we want it. I am rather keen that what replaces our oldest buildings should be beautiful in their own right. We need to think about it and have our say. The Before and After website also has dates for public discussions on the rebuild… think I might go. I love my little ChCh.

I saw this article on Design Daily about putting temporary parks and green spaces throughout Christchurch in the empty lots buildings used to be. Might head over to the next session on planting… love a spot of gardening. You know what my dream is right? Community vegetable/food gardens… if we find a space that’s not so “temporary” creating a kick ass community garden in Central Christchurch. How amazing would that be?