Archive for the ‘Seasons & Cycles’ Category

Professor Anita Wreford is an applied economist at Lincoln University who specialises in adaptation to climate change with a particular focus on agriculture and the primary sector. She pointed out that scientists have been saying for decades that climate change is a problem, and time has been wasted when we could have been taking action.

We’ve all seen changes in weather patterns, and extreme weather events can now definitely be attributed to climate change. In 2021 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) finally said it is “unequivocal that human influence has warmed the planet”, having previously used less strong language. The Paris Agreement was an international commitment to reduce emissions and keep global temperature rises below 2° above pre-industrial levels. Every degree of change matters!

Our agricultural systems in Aotearoa have evolved around a stable climate. Land is a critical resource which we rely on for food, and it is already under pressure. We are seeing changes in seasonality and average conditions, and the future impacts of climate change are complex and uncertain. Different pathways are possible and we need to be informed and flexible in our decision-making. Aotearoa is different from other countries because 50% of our emissions come from agriculture. We have great aspirations, but no policies or actions to achieve them. Policy is changing rapidly with alternatives to the Emissions Trading Scheme suggested by He Waka Eke Noa.

There are effective adaptation and mitigation options, and early action is likely to be more effective and cheaper. What is needed is long term decisions, which are difficult within the short term political cycle. One action we can all take is to talk to our local M.P. and let them know that climate change is important.

There’s so much more needs to be done
and we have barely just begun

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People usually erect a small tent when they’re working on the fibre box outside our house in the rain. Yesterday was different. Two men huddled under a large umbrella which fitted conveniently into a road cone.

Brolly for workmen

An excellent idea to avoid the drizzle, yet leave space on the footpath.

If you’re obliged to work in wet
a brolly may remove the threat

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The actual Equinox is on Tuesday at 10.24am, but we celebrated yesterday (Sunday). There were twelve people at a ritual led by Christine and me where we looked at how we could balance outgoing energy with inner nurturing. We crumbled up dead leaves and twigs to symbolise the aspects of our character we wanted to do way with, then took pieces of raffia and wove them into a card to symbolise the parts of ourselves that we want to nurture through the winter. The ritual was enhanced by the involvement of two musicians.

Autumn Equinox Altar

We finished with an Equinox Prayer. I’m uncertain who wrote this, so am not able to acknowledge the creator.

Equal hours of light and darkness
We celebrate the balance of the Equinox,
and ask the goddess to bless us.
For all that is bad, there is good.
For that which is despair, there is hope.
For the moments of pain, there are moments of love.
For all that falls, there is the chance to rise again.
May we find balance in our lives
as we find it in our hearts.

Blessed Be

Do you plan to celebrate the equinox?

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Today marks seventeen years since I first wrote in this blog. I never imagined in 2006 that it would go on for so long, but posting here has given me satisfaction and enabled me to make new friends and keep contact with old ones. The interaction with readers is what I enjoy most, along with the opportunity for creative expression.

Over the years I’ve made 4,620 posts which is an average of five every week. The blog gives me a searchable record of my life over the past 17 years. I’m reminded of Janis Ian’s song about learning the truth at seventeen. I guess my blog reveals truth about me. Years ago there used to be a magazine called Seventeen. It was one of the few publications aimed at teenage girls which was available in the Epsom Girls’ Grammar School Library.

I wonder if I’ll still be posting here in another 17 years.

My blog has now turned seventeen
a record of my local scene

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Somehow this week’s heatwave seems harder to take than the previous one.

is for more
than thirty degrees
I put on a loose cotton frock
and retreat out the back to our shady patio
at these times we are warned not to exert ourselves and to be sure to stay hydrated
I sit beside the garden pool with a long cool drink. conserving all my energy
and feeling grateful
I don’t need
to go

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While Auckland copes with the aftermath of flooding and Coromandel assesses the damage to its vital roads, Canterbury is experiencing a heatwave.

At 11.30am today the temperature in our shady backyard is already 30°, the third day in a row it’s been this high, with similar temperatures expected for the next few days. I’ve completed my few essential chores and am conserving my energy by sitting in the swing-seat drafting this blog post.

Last night’s lowest temperature was 20°, and Christchurch Hospital was completely without power for an hour. I hate to think what conditions must have been like for patients and staff.

I slept soundly with just a sheet over me. Today we have doors and windows open, but the backyard is the place to be, especially as there is a light breeze.

Shady spot

With no need for physical exertion, I’m able to remain comfortable despite the heat, and won’t be going for any walks today. I’m very aware that the climate crisis means we must expect many more days like this.

I keep thinking of the Cole Porter song, Too Darn Hot, sung by Ella Fitzgerald (who apparently was Marilyn Monroe’s favourite singer). There may well be a few people humming this today.

The weather’s getting too darn hot
I’m grateful for my shady spot

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Today is Lughnasad, the festival of First Fruits. As we move from summer towards Autumn it’s the time when cicadas sing and the toetoe bloom flies through the air. We are balanced between hope and fear – a time to think about the inner fears that hold you back, and what it is that you hope to harvest. We have worked hard to bring many things to fruition, but the rewards are not yet certain. For the harvest there must be a sacrifice, and warmth and light must pass into winter. What do you plan to store from the harvest to see you through the darker time of the year?

This is a time of abundance when we contemplate what we will harvest, and hope that our actions will bear fruit. In my garden the tomatoes are ripening.

Tomatoes are close to being harvested

We are aware that for some people there will be no bountiful harvest. Many of our friends and family in the North Island are experiencing the effects of our lack of action towards the climate crisis.

Here is a ritual blessing from Patricia Telesco:

I walk to the South of my sacred space:
Herein all negativity is erased.
I walk to the East where the magic winds dance;
Here I evoke the power of abundance.
I walk to the North where the fires burn bright;
There I shall banish, all evil, take flight!
I walk to the West, where clear waters flow;
The circle’s completed, blessings bestow!

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Crisis Contrasts

Almost two weeks have gone by since I last blogged. Little has happened close to home, but nationally there have been major events. Our much-admired Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has resigned and been replaced by Chris Hipkins. I appreciate all that Jacinda has done for us and hope she will now enjoy a stress-free time with her family.

On Friday it rained in Auckland, and it rained, and it rained. It was the city’s wettest day ever recorded, with almost 300% of a normal January rainfall over just a few days. I lived in Auckland for 37 years, was distressed to hear of the catastrophic effects of this deluge, and to see photos of the flooding in our old area of Onehunga. Ko Maungakiekie te Maunga. Ko Manukau te Moana.

The devastation brought back memories of our experiences during the earthquakes. We know what it’s like to be without power or water, and to be uncertain as to what may happen next. As far as I know friends in Auckland are all safe with only minimal damage to their homes, but many other lives have been shattered. The forecast is for more heavy rain this evening.

Meanwhile in Ōtautahi we are basking in warm sunny days. Today is Stephen’s birthday, we went out for breakfast, and are booked to also go out to dinner.

Breakfast at Meshino

I’m very conscious that people in Auckland have been told to stay home if possible, and that many businesses are not able to open. May everyone stay safe and have the resources to recover from this catastrophe.

May all rain safely drain away
to leave a warm and sunny day

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Horotane Valley offers tree-ripened apricots for just a few weeks each summer. This morning we made our fourth weekly trip there to stock up on this delicious fruit.

Sundrop Apricots

Apricots are an absolute favourite of mine and they remind me of my childhood. Our house in Manchester Street had an enormous apricot tree in the garden. A swing hung from it and the branches were good to climb. In January we would pick huge amounts of fruit and my mother would bottle them and make apricot jam. One year in the 1950s my brother spent six summer weeks in Taieri, doing his Compulsory Military Training and learning to fly a Tiger Moth. Mother, not wanting him to miss the harvest, packed a wooden crate with apricots and freighted it down to him by rail. My brother told me years later that this had been unnecessary as he was being fed five course dinners every night in the Officers’ Mess.

In 1991 I planted an apricot tree in the Cottage garden, but sadly it has never had more than a few fruit. In 2001 I planted another, called Aprigold, but the fruit eventually turned out to be Golden Queen peaches.

Apricots are high in Vitamin A, and were eaten by astronauts on the Apollo Moon Mission.

According to legend, the apricot tree is the only tree that Noah brought from the Ark, to plant in the new soil and grow it for the people. The Flood destroyed many fruit trees, but the apricot survived.

Due to its bright, orange color, the apricot represents optimism and hope for the future. It’s also a symbol of confidence, joyfulness, courage, and abundance.

I doubt that any would dispute
this is a most delicious fruit

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If your birthday is a public holiday it can be hard to find a restaurant that’s open for a meal out. A generous daughter discovered that High Tea was available at The George on my birth day, and arranged for us to go there at lunchtime.

Our table had a good view of Hagley Park for me, and a reflected view of the park for Stephen. The Bistro restaurant was busy, and we enjoyed people watching while we sipped champagne and contemplated our High Tea Tower.

High Tea at The George

This had an attractive selection of savoury and sweet items, which together made a very substantial lunch. It did take a while to attract a waiter’s attention to get my pot of Earl Grey tea and Stephen’s coffee. We wondered whether, like so many hospitality venues, they may be short-staffed.

Afterwards we drove home, and both had an afternoon nap. That may have been the effect of the champagne, or perhaps the effect of getting older.

I very much appreciate those who sent messages and cards for my birthday, all of which helped to make the day special.

A High Tea lunch just made the day
arranged from far off in U.K.

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