Monthly Archives: November 2009

Travel Bug material?

This picture is so that PJ over at  A ‘lil Hoohaa can see my potential travel bug for the HooHaa TB race.

Kiri the Flying Kiwi?

She is about 6cm/2.5 inches tall and 10cm/4 inches from beak to butt.  I’m wondering if that is  a little large for a racing TB?  What do your think, people? Would there be caches in your part of the world that she would fit in, and would you move her if you saw her?

I think there is a few more spaces open in the race if any other cachers are interested!

 

Advertisements

Coming Attractions

Coming this week to a blog near you will be:

  • caches
  • cabbabges
  • country roads
  • a cat and a bird both beginning with K
  • and perhaps even some dogs.

But for now I’m off to finish my breakfast, write our Christmas letter and wait… and wait….. and wait …….. for the builder.  He might be here today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next year……….

Introducing Kelty the Cat Burglar!

It seems that Kyle (now to be known as Kelty*)  has taken up permanent residence at our house. It also seems that he has taken up residence in one of our drawers. Which he opens himself.

It looks like he is going to be a personality plus cat.

Kelty takes up residence

One day last week when PB got home he was very puzzled to find the drawer that he drops all those bits of paper that ‘might be important one day’ in to, was open.   Now it was possible that I had looked for something in there and forgot to shut it. That happens somedays around here. So we thought nothing more of it.  Today, shortly after we brought Kelty back from the cattery, there he was sitting in the draw! (Which had 100% definately been shut when I last saw it.)  PB was out getting the dogs, so I took a photo for evidence. But there was no need for that, as he’s there again now after a short session of hiding under the bed.

He also doesn’t like chicken. Very strange.  It had been intended to tempt him out from under the bed. Not that it was needed.

Needless to say, there were other mouths ready and waiting to consume the chicken bit that he had turned down.

*Kelty is a small town in Scotland that some of PB’s maternal ancestors came from.  PB’s mum claims that when she wins the lottery she will take us all to visit. ….. pity she doesn’t buy tickets …….

From the Netherlands

This is my 6th Postcrossing card received – a lovely floral card. (It also has a very cute kitten on the back on a return address sticker.) Thanks to Lenny from the Netherlands.  Seeing as the back of the card doesn’t have any information about what the flower is, I have researched the city it came from.

Beautiful Flowers

Stamps

Being from a country that has had European settlements for only just a couple of hundred years, the thought of living in a city that is around a thousand years old amazes me. The city of Gorinchem is one such place.  It is considered  to have initially developed as farmers and fishermen settled on the higher land near the  mouth of the River Linge. During the 13th century a wall was built around the settlement – initially earth mounds, and later a wall with gates and guard towers.

In the 16th century the walls were rebuilt  around a larger area, and this wall remains today.  Over the centuries these walls have been needed for protection in a number of different battles – including the never-ending Dutch battle against water taking over their land. (40% of the Netherlands is actually below sea level.) A walking tour can be taken today to learn about the history of the wall and to investigate the main features of it.  This link has photos of many of these places: Town Wall

This is an amazing website that the photos above are part of:  Gorinchem- the Key to Holland  and here is a site which I think is the council website that has  a page in English:  Gorinchem Council

And by the way, there are 10 caches within 5 kilometres of wherever geocaching.com considers the centre of Gorinchem starting with a webcam cache: GCJVC4 SpijksePoort   and I’m sure that some of the others will be at some of the historic features on the town wall!

 

Of Pukekos and Geocaches

You see why we were puzzled about the coot?  (See my posts here and here if you want to know more.)   When this is what’s familiar to you, the coot seemed somewhat like a pukeko morphed into an old B&W photo!!

Marauding pukeko

We We(s)t Coasters are very much accustomed to seeing pukeko (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus) as we travel about. Everywhere that there is a bit of farmland with water nearby, or a bit of swampy ground, there will be a pukeko family or three going about their daily business of stripping bits of tough grass to eat, or chomping on insects and frogs and even other small birds if they get the chance.  These would be one of the most commonly seen native birds in New Zealand, along with the weka perhaps, for those who venture past the bright lights of the towns and cities.

This is because the pukeko, if no other New Zealand bird, has actually thrived since the arrival of humans!!  They have taken to the farmland and semi-cleared areas of the country and so long as there is swampy ground nearby numbers of pukeko can been seen grazing in paddocks(fields) and on the road side.  (Or unfortunately squashed on the road.)

Some of them have even become quite upper class and moved into town – like this one!  We were literally mobbed by pukeko as we approached this cache – GC15W4N Pukeko’s and Paradise Ducks – on a trip to the city a few years ago.  Our log records that we retreated to the cachemobile to get bread to fend them off with.   We were visiting the Travis Wetland Heritage area, which is an amazing place right in the middle of an urban area.  Read more about its history here and here.  

This particular gaggle of pukeko live in the rather up-market subdivision of  Travis  Country Estate – the sort of place where you drive up in your old, slightly dubious looking vehicle, and wonder if you’re going to be politely asked to leave for polluting the ambiance of the neighbour hood! 

Never-the-less, we parked, got out, got mugged by birds, got back in again, collected defensive food supplies, got out again, distracted the surrounding hordes long enough to find the path and went off to find a cache.  We were successful on our hunt, and returned to the cachemobile breathing a sigh of relief that it hadn’t been towed for being an unsightly heap. We  found one or two other caches in the area, then drove around to the other side of Travis Wetland to a cache – GC171AA Unlucky for some —  (yes, I know, we could have walked – the track does go all the way round, but …. well, I’m sure we WILL walk the whole way round. One day. )

This cache was also the site of another novel pukeko experience. We saw a pukeko sitting in a tree. Now it may not be too uncommon to see a bird sitting in a tree, but for those of us who have seen a pukeko fly, it was a most unusual experience. If there was ever a bird that was lacking in aerodynamic design, it’s the pukeko. Their long legs dangle below and behind them, seemingly ready to get tangled in their long wings or any approaching tree or fence, or simply knotted together  without the slightest bit of warning.

Now, information I’ve been reading today assures me that Porphyrio porphyrio are strong flyers and that this skill has been very useful to help them colonise a wide area of the world (see here for more info of the areas they inhabit ) , but honestly the New Zealand subspecies sure missed out on the flying gene!

So, as promised pukeko – and at least I mentioned geocaching. I am hoping that we will have a caching road trip this weekend- it’s a three dayer here – and will have more caching experiences and photos to share next week.

 I might even have another Postcrossing blogpost up later as I received postcard #6 today.  Roll on more cards – I enjoy opening my mail box to find more than bills!!

Coming soon to a blog near you….

will be pukekoes and geocaches. Tomorrow – ‘ cause today is running out on me. Promise.

White Ribbon Day

It seems like it’s always a ‘day’ somewhere in the world, if not two or three different celebrations, memorials, commemorations  or other events being marked.  Some are just a bit of fun and some have a very important serious message. White Ribbon Day in one of the latter.  

I was in town today (buying postcards and stamps – as you do) and just on my way back to the van when I was offered a free lunch  – well, a BBQ sausage complete with onions wrapped in the obligatory slices of white bread .  I offered to make a donation – as you do. (Down here in kiwiland the BBQ outside a store is a common fundraiser.)  But my offer was kindly refused, and I was given the white ribbon below.

White Ribbon Day

All they asked was that I wear my white ribbon to support their cause.  As I was just on my way home, and wouldn’t really being seeing anyone else today, I thought I’d do my support for the cause here.

According to the information in their website  White Ribbon.org.nz   each year  in New Zealand 14 women are killed by their partner or ex-partner.  That seems like a terrible and sad statistic  to me.