Planting Day at Living Springs

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 Planting team with Anna from Living Springs (photo by Morgan Coleman of Conservation Volunteers), who was the only one who dared not to wear a hi-vis vest. Surprisingly, she survived the morning.

Planting team with Anna from Living Springs (photo by Morgan Coleman of Conservation Volunteers), who was the only one who dared not to wear a hi-vis vest. Surprisingly, she survived the morning.

On Saturday morning I headed down the road to the bottom of Lyttelton Harbour, where Living Springs farm is. I was the only volunteer who wasn't associated with the English school, so I did my best to teach the other volunteers English English and not what passes for English in New Zealand...;_)

 We planted natives, including flax that grows as big as the mature specimen seen at right

We planted natives, including flax that grows as big as the mature specimen seen at right

 Each plant was protected from wind and wildlife using canes, a plastic sleeve and coconut fibre matting that also acts as a mulch.

Each plant was protected from wind and wildlife using canes, a plastic sleeve and coconut fibre matting that also acts as a mulch.

I Wish Lyttelton Had a Fishmonger

When we lived in Hondarribia, there was a small fishing fleet there and there were 5 fishmongers. Admittedly, it was a larger place than Lyttelton, but considering the size, there should be at least ONE fishmonger.

We buy fish from the market most Saturdays, so that's something. But I don't know if it comes off one of these little boats. I'll have to ask.

 

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Illustrated Epistle: Predator Free New Zealand Though Not Yet At Our House

I write this as we have insulation pumped into our old villa's timber walls. I wonder what the rats and mice think of this. Apparently, New Zealand is having a rodent explosion and many of them seem to be at our house.

 

 

 

 

 

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There is a government-backed committment to make New Zealand predator free by 2050 and Kiwis are being encouraged to trap and kill predators in their own backyard. The focus is on rats, possums and stoats, but they would also like to see the back of hedgehogs. I have to admit I couldn't bear to kill the two hedgehogs we found in the sump last summer. Hedgehogs are dying out in the UK but it seems they are thriving here.

We have however been trapping rats. We have 12 traps in the attic that Duncan checks on a regular basis and there are now 6 dead rats buried in the garden. Until recently I had three trap tunnels baited with peanut butter and set up around the house to catch rats. These didn't catch any rats, only sweet little field mice (which are also an invasive species).
Although I didn't like it, I continued trapping these poor mice until one of the traps caught and killed a sparrow. Another "exotic" species, but that was a the last straw for me and I've stopped using those traps for now.

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This is an excerpt from my Illustrated Epistle, which goes out in the middle of the month. It is a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a cartoonist (specifically, mine). I'd love it if you signed up at the bottom of this page, or here:

http://eepurl.com/cCOOeD

Lincoln: It's Much Nicer Than I Expected

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The boyf, Billie and I headed out to Lincoln last Friday and really quite enjoyed it. It is missing the sea, but has a little river and it doesn't have any hills, but it seems popular with cyclists. And what a library.

 

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Click to see options for using the image

 Click to see options for using the image. The closest you'll get to an English pub in Lincoln. Good food and dog friendly.

Click to see options for using the image. The closest you'll get to an English pub in Lincoln. Good food and dog friendly.

The laboratory was the closest you'll get to an English pub in Lincoln. Good food and dog friendly. Read more on the boyf's blog.

I Love New Brighton. It Has Many Reasons to Be Cheerful

If I didn't live in Lyttelton, I’d probably choose New Brighton (though I would be worried long-term about the threat of sea level rise and tsunamis). New Brighton has a fabulous long sandy beach and a cool modern pier that stretches out into the Pacific. The council had to do a lot of work to repair it after the earthquake and it is due to open to the public again tomorrow.

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New Brighton also has one of the new electric car charging points that are springing up around Christchurch.

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But the thing I like best about new Brighton is the library. You can sit and work in a chair that looks out over the ocean and there is a cafe below whenever you need a break from that.

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Stand Up Paddle Boarding to Quail Island

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We are having beautiful autumn weather here in New Zealand. I went out on the paddleboard yesterday because the forecast was for very light winds. It started out that way and I got to the island in about 25 minutes. But by that time I had paddled around the island the wind had changed and Lyttleton harbour became choppy. It was a good 35 minutes of paddling to get back to Magazine Bay. I was knackered but it was totally worth it.