Swallows at Totara Valley

a swallow coming in for landing

a swallow coming in for landing

One of the delights this last week has been the dozen or so swallows that have swerved and manoeuvred around us as we have sat outside for meals and tea breaks.  We figured that they were feeding on the flies that ‘hung out’ on the limestone in the heat of the day.  Sometimes one would fly between us… they are amazingly skilled little beasties, and very hard to photograph!



pausing for breath I presume

pausing for breath I presume

examples of the animal kingdom at Okains Bay

some obliging beasties allowed these shots…

actually on an ornamental thistle

bee anenome…actually on an ornamental thistle




rear ended


boris & doris


boris & doris 2


squaring off




pukeko on mudflat at dusk


white cat who made herself at home


yawn or a bite for Jason Goroncy?


show off at Le Bons Bay

bird on wire

hen house grand opening

A fine collection of people (from our breakfast church) came over to our place for breakfast and to celebrate the opening of the henhouse at 8.30am with hen stories (Little Red Hen, Henny Penny – though not such a good ending unless you are a fox! – and Hattie the Hen), lollipops, and transferring the hens to their new house.
shifting the chooks from the old house to the new

hen house #5 Finished!

Finally the henhouse is completed ready for its official opening on Sunday morning where our breakfast church group will come and be part of it – balloons, lollipops, little red hen stories and our hens, who I imagine couldn’t care less about the love and labour that has gone into creating a place of space and rest for them to enjoy and produce eggs as a thank-offering for life’s many gifts.
I had the help of my brother Dave (a Melbourne dweller in normal life – if you can call him normal) today to finish the last wire attachments, door handle connections, and the ultimate last fixture – a “Ladies” sign.
Photos of the opening party on Sunday!!!

hen house #4

I am nearly there with the henhouse – today, the paint job – a curious work of art is my conclusion/excuse… the netting is mostly on – all donated, but not quite enough – so after a small roll of chicken-netting purchase, a few more staples, and a bit of work on making sure the ground level bits are vermin protected… we should be ready for the official launch and letting the new chooks in!  Maybe Sunday!

I’m thinking of a special afternoon tea celebration – there are some children at church who would love to be part of it!

henhouse #4


henhouse from the double-glazed side

Progress over two 2-3 hour afternoon tackles of the job… has left the world with many bent nails, a frequency of adjustments as things are never as square as one imagines, and a few naughty words – one in particular when the hammer decided to hit my thumb nail instead of the galvanised one… (Hammer hits nail – that’s what it is for, that is what it does, but I now want to define nail more tightly – NOT MINE!!!)
What can be seen in the picture above (apart from the now fully installed double-glazed windows) is the beginnings of the perching area and nesting boxes.  The design, of course, is patented… and impossible to describe as it is a ‘make it as you go’ kind of project.  If you look carefully, the underside of the nesting box is suspended from above… like the recipe for KFC, the combination to the main safe at Fort Knox, and the ability to understand women, the way to making this feat of engineering is a secret – kind of beyond me as well to be honest!

hen house #3

hen house frame up

Day 2 of the build – a week later
The framing is up and the door and double-glazed window!  Please note five important things before you make snide comments:
1. I am not a builder
2. All the materials are recycled
3. I really am not a builder
4. It is only a henhouse
5. I always wanted this to be of character!  That has now become an excuse!

double glazing and even on an angle!!!

henhouse # 2

little chook makes it to our place

There have been a few more nails driven in and plans made to complete the hen house.  But most importantly, there are new hens for it.  Four wee girls have been purchased and housed temporarily in the old hen house while the new is being fashioned from recycled whatevers!  They are still young and chirpy rather than older and clucky.  rather cute really, but alas, no eggs until mid-year.