Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spring landscaping

Spring has come and we have started to turn our attentions to the garden. Helen has been planting spring veggies in the garden. The raspberry plants have been sprouting new leaves. And the rhubarb and artichokes are going strong.

I have been working on the aesthetics of the front part of the garden. Washing the front windows of the extension has proven a bit difficult because the sloping front garden makes it difficult to use a ladder. I came up with an idea to use part of the retaining wall to brace some bits of wood and make some small terraces, providing flat spots to place the ladder.

Last weekend I bought some wood to test out my idea. I got the first one done and it didn't turn out to bad.

One down three to go.

Today I went and bought some more wood to finish the other three steps.

The other three done.

We plan to reuse some of the paving stones from the side of the house and fill in around them with pea gravel.

In other parts of the garden the Canna Lillies are blossoming

As are the Chatham Island Forget-Me-Nots

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New shelves by the front door

In my last woodworking class I built some shelves to go along the wall near the front door. We needed a place other than the table or counter to put things like sun glasses and keys as we came home. So I built a smaller version of the bookshelves I made last year.

The new shelves are only half as wide as the older version and have doors covering the bottom two squares. These were designed to hide my wooly boots and crocs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waterfalls, caves and volcanoes with Julia and Chris

Julia and Chris have recently moved to Hamilton, so now that their stuff has arrived and they are a little more settled in we took the opportunity to visit and see an area of New Zealand that we have not explored.

However it is a 7 hour drive from Wellington to Hamilton, so we went via Mt Ruapehu to do some ski touring on the way (and also on the way back as the weather wasn't too great on the way there).

Aaron testing out his skis, skins and touring boots

Unfortunately the weather wasn't too great on Mt Ruapehu, so we gave up after a couple of hours as the weather closed in. Instead we went and did a couple of low level short walks, Silica rapids and Tupapakurura Falls.

Silica rapids - the strange orange/yellow colour is due to minerals not slime!

Tupapakurua Falls

With Julia and Chris we spent a day exploring the limestone and caves in the Waitomo area, then had dinner at Raglan on the coast.

Julia caught admiring the rock - she is a closet geologist after all!

A column - joining of the stalagmite and stalagtite

There also several large waterfalls in the region, which we checked out on our road trip.

Bridal Veil falls - looks a lot like the water falls in Oregon, flowing over the columnar lava

Then we headed over to Raglan to watch the surfers and have dinner

Sunday we headed over to Pirongia Peak to climb up the volcano. The track is good at the bottom but gets more undulating and tricky towards the top. It took us 7 hours and we finished in the dark - but we got amazing views from the top across to Kawhia Harbour and across the plains to Hamilton (and possibly even Taranaki and Tongariro if you squinted).

At the lookout at the top of Pirongia - Helen, Aaron, Chris and Julia

The impressive looking dyke sticking out along the ridge we were climbing down

Finally on Monday on the way back to Wellington the weather was much better and we skinned up to the top of Mt Ruapehu so that Aaron could see the crater lake. We were still pretty tired from the day before climbing up Pirongia, so we had quite a few stops on the way back down the mountain to recover from the "thigh burn". The snow was pretty good at the top of Mt Ruapehu (although icy in patches).

Aaron with the crater lake behind

Altogether and exhausting long weekend/holiday - back to work to recover. Thanks for having us Julia and Chris - we will repay the hospitality when you come to visit windy Welington!