This blog just has to be about a wonderful summer (so far), what happens when pollination coincides with Christmas and why our country closes down for two weeks at this time of year.
Although summer in New Zealand officially starts at the beginning of December it is rare for us to enjoy, warm, settled weather before the end of the first week in January. People however, always forget and complain bitterly when their Christmas barbecue is hijacked by totally normal, cool, breezy weather. Not so this year, at least not in Wanganui. Since the second week in November we’ve been basking in 20DegC+ weather with only the odd day of rain and cooler temperatures.We’ve had more summer before the end of December than we often enjoy all year. Next week looks like more of the same ....25DegC, sunny and dry. I'll have to water the garden to keep it looking like this...
What rain we have had has been plentiful and warm, cementing a beaming smile onto the faces of local farmers who’ve just learned that their dairy payout rate for the year will be, yet again, a record. This means more money per kilogram of milk solids and more production too.
What a Christmas! Farmers are smiling. Unprecedented!
Christmas has however taken its toll. I’m feeling lazy. We’ve had our children and grandchildren to visit for a week, Caroline and Bruno, (some dear, young friends from Angers, France) on holiday in NZ and calling in to see us and friends generally, making our life a really nice one....But it’s time to start work again. - for Janice and I at least. The tradesmen taking a four week break in the middle of building our new plastic house have other ideas, likewise the council who are dragging the chain with a building consent for our house extension. For the exalted, things are different.
For our pollinating staff, things are different too. Our delphiniums choose to flower at their fullest right on Christmas and the New Year. This is normal for them and a pain for the pollinators. I wonder if it would be worth investigating supplementary lighting to force them (the delphiniums, not the pollinators) to flower a week earlier.
By and large however, unless you are a farmer or employed in retail, health and other essential government services (such as police) the period from December 25th until January 6th or 7th represents holiday time. This is because the kids are off school, no-one wants to work between Christmas and the New Year, the do-it-yourselfers want to use their new hand tools they got for Christmas and the weather is starting to settle. The fact that half the population is on holiday too, all the beaches are packed, the roads are chocker, tempers are frayed,the hole in the ozone layer is peaking the money is spent and the settled weather is likely to be punctuated with tropical downpours does nothing to dampen this unbridled enthusiasm for torment and tan. We NZers are gluttons for punishment.....which is why I took a jet boat ride up the Whanganui River with Caroline and Bruno, to see the “Bridge to Nowhere”. The image on the right is taken from the bridge looking down into the Maungaparoa stream - quite a way below. To the left are Caroline and Bruno.
Today is New Year’s Eve. Janice and I and some friends will be taking a midnight cruise on the paddle steamer “Waimarie”. We’ll have a great time, relax and be happy. Tomorrow, well, just about time to get back to work again. Ok, just one more day off!