Saturday, April 25, 2009

Anzac Day

It's Anzac Day here in New Zealand and I've spent much of the day watching remembrance services and documentaries on the Gallipoli campaign. It is a time for remembering our soldiers.

The poppy represents the fallen - it is, I believe, an allusion to the blood soaked fields in Europe during the first World War.

Photo courtesy of FreeFoto

Many thousands of New Zealand and Australian soldiers lost their lives on the beaches of Gallipoli during an ill fated landing in 1916. And many Turkish soldiers lost their lives in the campaign that followed.

After the battles were all ended, Turkish General Kamal Ataturk made this moving and gracious speech about our soldiers who had died there.

"You are heroes who spilled your blood and lost your lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
So, rest in peace.
There is no difference to us between the Allied soldier and the Turkish soldier.
They lie side by side in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, You sent your sons from far away countries.
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying close to our hearts and are in peace.
They lost their lives on our land.
So they have become our sons as well."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Matai Bur

This matai bur resides in my garden and I love it. It's an honored guest. So much character in that knotted face.

You may know it as a bur, or a burr, or a burl. All are accepted spellings in various parts of the world of this type of knobbly overgrowth of wood.

The matai tree it came from would have been maybe 800 years old and we found the bur in an area where the native bush was logged about 40 years ago. It had been cut from the trunk when the log was milled and left lying on the ground as an unwanted waste product. How could anything so lovely been seen as waste? The area was then replanted in pine trees for timber and pulp where once again this fabulous matai burr was covered with scrub and blackberry until it was re-exposed when the pines were harvested. This time, the land is being converted to dairy farms.

So I'm happy to offer a home for this "old-timer" in my garden. He doesn't deserve to be buried or burnt or have cows poo on him!

The matai tree is a New Zealand native and can grow up to 25 meters tall and live for over 1000 years. A bur is usually the result of some injury where the tree responds by making too much growth. This one is about knee high and is the biggest we've ever seen.

Times have changed and now he is of value to people like wood turners. But he'll grace my garden with his wonderful presence until I shuffle off!

We have a number of matia burrs about the garden but this old man is our pride and joy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It's me.

What do you mean "who am I?"

I haven't been gone that long - have I?

I shan't embarrass myself with excuses. It was the thought of coming up with a decent sounding excuse for my long absence that has delayed my return to blogging even further. Somehow I just couldn't get a story about a lengthy bout of yellow fever or black plague to sound convincing!

I shall simply say thanks to one of you for commenting on Facebook "Get back on the blog horse, Dawn. Please. You are missed."

UPDATE: Followed half an hour later by another person writing "You are missed in blogland! Good to see you here, though."

Luckily Facebook tells me when folk comment on my page because I'm never there either! But obviously all of you are! And the reason I was spotted on Facebook is because another one of you lovelies found my name and invited me to be a friend and it was while I was responding that my blog presence was suggested.

All of you lovely people know who you are.

So I've broken the ice and I'm back. Tomorrow I shall be able to nonchalantly carry on as if I've never been gone!

I shall leave you all with a lovely photo of our three dogs. That's Diesel in the foreground, and his 2 sons, Jem and Bruiser in the background. Diesel has been retired from pig hunting now and the two "lads" have taken over.

Diesel gets to stay home with me and whilst he still misses going out, he is getting used to it.