Sunday, August 28, 2011

Winter Update, We had Record Snow

It is hard to believe with warm sunny days all week that only two weeks ago we were calf deep in snow. Knee deep in some parts of the block and very deep in parts of the golf course which borders our Lane.
NZ had an antartic blast bringing record snow falls across the country, even Auckland recorded a flurry of snow. And cold, pre-snow the wind chill was below zero and in two weeks we never got above single figure temperatures. But today 17C and some days this week got to 18C.

Imagine being a bee in that snow.

The photo below was taken during the first snow storm, we thought that was amazing but the second storm was so much heavier.

The second storm and by far the worst. But so picturesque, but you soon get over it. Especially when it starts to melt. 

Amazingly the worms survived the extreme cold very well. They instinctively gather together in the centre of the bin to keep warm, same behaviour as the bees.

Dave wandering through the golf course that is on our lane boundary.

My blood orange has come through its coat of snow seemingly with no side effects. I have been fussing over this orange tree in its pot ever since I bought it. Now two years old and laden with these lovely spanish oranges that we are dying to try. Haven't worked out how you know they are ready. Will have to pluck one and just try it. They are meant to be juicy and sweet but having never eaten one it is all mystery to me.

And somewhere under all that snow is Dave's car. We both abandoned going to work that particular Monday. Digging our cars out from under the snow just wasn't going to happen. We are not prepared for these events in the north island.

And like I said this week it is like spring. Today we planted 60 purple akeakes to create wind shelter for my vege garden and orchard, plus to create an outdoor room to cut the northerly wind. North westerly wind is our prevailing wind and gets really annoying during October.
The skylarks are flying overhead all day and singing their hearts out. The flutter above our house singing and then dive to the ground, looking to make nests in the grass I think.

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in His heaven

— All’s right with the world.
— Robert Browning

There is nothing which signifies or expresses summer more, I think, than the skylark singing as it soars high against the sun in a clear blue sky. Such an ecstatic song for such a nondescript bird. An exaltation of larks indeed!

The skylark was introduced to New Zealand from Europe along with so many other birds in the 1860s and had become established in open country from the coast to high up in the mountains. It avoids forests and other thick vegetation. The skylark’s most striking feature, and the one that gives the birds its name, is its song in flight. The territorial song of the male, heard mainly between August and January is an ecstatic torrent of variable trills and runs, sustained for up to five minutes while the bird soars high into the sky. It hovers 30–100 metres above the ground, facing into the breeze, and then drops slowly earthwards. The song ceases just before the final descent.

This is a wonderful youtube of a singing skylark. Copy into your browser as I cannot work out how to add the link so it opens from this page.

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