Building Project

Mr. Diligence decided about a month ago that he wanted to build a chicken coop for our new place. We didn’t know yet where we were going to move, or if we would need a coop, but I encouraged him to do it anyway. We figured that if we got a place that already had a coop, he could sell it. We had a lot of boards that Esther’s employer gave us when they remodeled their house, so this project didn’t cost anything except a few nails.


He decided to build in a curtain for times when we have tiny chicks that need protection from drafts. It is normally kept rolled up.


The builders, pleased with the results of their labor.


Simon’s boss wanted to help us move, but can’t the weekend we plan to move, because of family circumstances, so he came over to get a couple of loads during the two weeks Simon had off over Christmas/New Year’s. He used his large car transporter to haul buildings for us. The chicken coop was the first to go. It was a challenge to figure out how to get it on the trailer!


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North of Kaikoura

On Sunday after church, we drove north of Kaikoura, for the first time since the 7.8 earthquake 14 months ago. We have gotten used to seeing the new look of the cliff faces to the south of Kaikoura, but to see the ones to the north was incredible. It was shocking and awe-inspiring, all over again, to see the devastation wrought in that minute or two of shaking. We have certainly learned a lot about geology and plate tectonics and natural disasters in the past year.


This is just past Ohau Point, where the worst slip happened during the quake. We used to go to this spot to watch baby seals play in a pool at the base of a waterfall here. According to someone who walked back in there soon after the quake, the waterfall still exists but the pool has been filled in. Here are before-and-after pictures of the same hillside.



This is approximately the place where three cows were stranded on top of an island of soil when the hillside around them fell away.The owners of this farm have lost a lot of their land, and because the Clarence River has changed course, if it floods they are in danger of losing their home and all their farm buildings.


The Clarence River in flood from rain in the High Country.



Here is a picture I took a number of  years ago of the bridge above.

We were fascinated to see the evidence of seafloor uplift along the coast. All the white rocks used to be permanently underwater; the old low-tide line used to be at the top of the white line.


This was a spot we were especially interested in. We saw pictures immediately after the quake of a fault line at Waipapa Bay, where the rock looked like it had been sliced with a knife and uplifted 6-8 meters. We believe this is the spot.


More evidence of the seabed uplifting.


A new road/bridge was built out over the seabed at Iron Gate. This bridge was completed after just 14 weeks! The road construction crews were putting in very long hours so the road could be opened before Christmas.


The waves were quite high on Sunday afternoon when we went through. It was getting near low tide then, but when we drove to Kaikoura in the morning it had been high tide, and there was seawater on the road in places from waves breaking at the edge of the cliff. During the next high tide, during the night, waves washed some of the 5-ton blocks of concrete from the seawalls completely across the road! As a result, the road was closed for the morning on Monday while the blocks were put back in place.

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Spinning Wheels

Simon has been home for two weeks over the holidays, and we have really been enjoying having him here! There’s nothing like someone being away for awhile to make you thoroughly enjoy having him around again. He has been doing a number of construction projects, and having a lot of fun, too. One evening, he took an electric motor and fastened a round plate to it. Then, he used it to get a bicycle wheel spinning fast and tried to make it jump over various ramps. Esther got some video clips of this on her phone, and let me put them together into a short video to share here. (Enjoy, Grandma!)

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On the Move, Part 1

We will be moving again soon. We tried to buy the house we’re in, but weren’t able to get financing for it, so our landlord told us we need to be out by mid-January. We finally found another one to buy, and plan to move there the beginning of February. I’ll share more details here in a few weeks, after the next set of papers have been signed and we are as sure as can be that the place will be ours. For now, I’ll share a few of the many pictures I’ve taken as we work on down-sizing our menagerie.

This is my garden. I started all these plants before we knew we would have to move, and they were in pots way too long. I sold and gave away some, and then we finally took a load of them to where Simon is living, a few weeks ago, and planted them in that family’s garden. Most of the rest went over there a few days ago, and are growing in half barrels and other planters.


This kitty needs a new home, because we won’t have the kind of space he needs. I put this photo online, and minutes later someone asked for him. Hopefully, he’ll have a new family this week.


We’re keeping one of the kittens, but Grizzly needed another home, so I posted this picture—and within minutes she, too, had been spoken for. We get to keep her for another couple of weeks.


These pictures didn’t get the same kind of response—not many people want turkeys, apparently. If  you want some, we have 40-50 that need to go somewhere!12-IMG_383813-IMG_3839

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We are really enjoying having two kittens in the house! They are about six weeks  old now, and spend a lot of time playing. In fact, they are in my lap right now. Goofball is asleep, and Grizzly is chewing on her (yes, Goofball is sleeping through the chewing!). We gave them their names when they were quite little. Goofball has always been laid back about life, and would relax in our hands from the beginning. She has always liked to lay on her back to sleep or play. Grizzly, on the other hand, complained about everything—hence her name. She has been the favorite of their mother since the beginning, and the one that Princess almost always dragged into the house in the mornings. She would kick and scream the whole way in, rather than curling up like kittens are supposed to. Grizzly took about four weeks to stop crying every time we picked her up, but now she loves people as much as Goofball does.

Here they are at two weeks old.


Three weeks and starting to play.


Mr. Diligence holding them at about four weeks.


Mr. Imagination with Goofball, the one he chose to keep, at a month old.


Five weeks and wrestling. Grizzly is the one on the floor here, kicking at Goofball.


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November 2017 Pictures

Here are the rest of November’s pictures.

The kittens were born about the middle of November, and we have really been enjoying them. I allowed Mr. Imagination to choose one to keep, since he so badly wants a pet of his own. He chose this one, and was thrilled when her eyes opened and he could hold her.


For Mr. Diligence’s birthday, some friends came, and the boys went on a 31 kilometer bike ride around the area.


School time!


Esther helped Mr. Imagination make peanut butter balls one day. Little Miss enjoyed helping, too—and they both loved eating them!


The roses are a bit past their peak now, but a few weeks ago Mr. Imagination picked a bunch and made this arrangement!


Mr. Intellectual’s science experiment to show how the diaphragm and lungs work.


He has also been trying to work out how to make a small hot air balloon. So far, none of his designs has been light enough to get off the ground, and now that we’re back into a bad drought, he has to halt his experiments so he won’t cause a fire.


They attached a fishing line to the balloon, in case it would rise.



The geese and 3-week-old goslings.


The kittens at a day old.


Everyone was rather distracted one morning when a trucker came to take away a truck trailer that had been here for years. Mr. Intellectual helped him load some other stuff on his truck as well, to take to the owners of this place. My little people really enjoyed watching the crane in action! Mr. Sweetie took his schoolbook outside so he could work while he watched. He actually got a little done!

42-IMG_362343-IMG_3624This post is linked up here.

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Fun at Lewis Pass

On our way home from visiting Simon three weeks ago, we stopped for a few minutes just this side of Lewis Pass. The St James Walkway took off from a small parking area here. We only walked a short way from the car park to where a good view was promised. What a view! As you can see, the day was clear and sunny, and it was absolutely gorgeous there. Just for fun, we took several pictures.


The three of us happened to have on our matching dresses that day.


All six of the children who are currently living with us.


Mr. Sweetie is goofy about pictures. He didn’t want his picture to be taken with the other children, but on the way back to the car park he wanted it taken on top of this rock!

40-IMG_3612This post is linked up here.

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Port Robinson

One Monday afternoon a few weeks ago, we needed to be out of the house for awhile because our landlady was showing a potential buyer through the house. We decided to go out to Port Robinson; a few weeks before that date, Gayle had taken Mr. Diligence out for a picnic and fun time together, and they discovered the trail leading down to the old harbor. The rest of us wanted to see it, too, so we went there on that beautiful, sunny afternoon.


The path down to the beach parallels the old slipway for awhile. It’s pretty overgrown.


Gore Bay from the trail.


Port Robinson


This is what’s left of the bottom of the slipway. Approximately 120 years ago, the way I understand, this was about the only way to get goods in and out of Cheviot. They had a surfboat which they lowered down the slipway from the top of the cliff and out into the bay to where ships would anchor, to ship wool out. Supplies were brought back up in the surfboat with a winch.


Mr. Intellectual and Mr. Sweetie


That red blob is a sea anemone.


I was intrigued by the swirls in some of the rocks.


When we saw this flock of seagulls feeding just offshore, we wished we had brought our fishing poles! There would have been big fish there, too, feeding on a school of small ones.


There are two paua, known in California as abalone, in this picture. Can you find them?


We enjoyed finding these two large starfish!


Mr. Diligence was fascinated by the way the starfish held on to him.


Mr. Sweetie


Mr. Intellectual and Mr. Sweetie, with Mr. Imagination in the foreground.


We even got to see a jellyfish!


Another starfish!


When it was flipped over, we discovered that it was feeding! A couple of the children were able to see its stomach being sucked back inside after it let go of the snail.


This was a very fun afternoon—don’t tell the children it was a field trip! We ended our time with a stop at Gore Bay to play in the water for 15 minutes. I’m so glad I didn’t twist my ankle until after this trip and the one to Hurunui Mouth several days later.

I have linked this post up with other homeschooler’s posts, here.

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Book Review—Exploring Creation With Astronomy

We just finished science for the 2017 school year. This is the fourth year in a row that we have used Apologia’s Elementary science, and we’re still loving it. This year, we used Exploring Creation With Astronomy. I thought Jeanne Fulbright wrote great books before—but in this 2nd Edition she outdid herself! This was a very fascinating course. I’m glad I decided to buy the new book instead of borrowing the old one from a friend.


Since our school year began in February, we have traveled through the solar system and beyond. We began with a quick overview of astronomy and the solar system, and then took more in-depth looks at the Sun and each planet, as well as the moon. There was also a chapter on Space Rocks, tucked in between Mars and Jupiter. The section about the Asteroid Belt was especially fascinating to me; the hypothesis presented for the existence of the asteroids sure made sense to us! The second-to-last chapter was also very fascinating for me, as it presented information that has been discovered recently, so it was all new for me. I think it’s rather sad that Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet, but it was very interesting to learn about such things. The Kuiper Belt, too, was new to me—and so interesting! The last chapter talked about stars and space travel.

As we have done before, I bought the notebooking journals to use with the textbook. We get a lot more out of the course by using these workbooks. Every day as we read, the boys narrate a sentence or two (or more, if they enjoyed the section) about what they learned, and there are activities to do as you go through each of the chapters. Each chapter has anywhere from one to three minibooks to make, to help with review, and there is also a vocabulary activity. We liked the way the 2nd edition notebooking journal was laid out much better than the others we have used. Instead of having to find the pages for the minibooks in the back, they were right in each lesson, where we needed them. Also, these activities were interspersed with other things in the lesson, rather than always at the end. The book was a bit more attractive, too.

We didn’t do all the activities, but some that we did were great fun. Probably the most memorable was the time we made a “scale model” of the distances in the solar system if the sun were the size of a dime—so incredible!

As always, I highly recommend Apologia’s science! We love that God and His Word are honored all the way through, and we enjoy the very interesting way in which facts are presented.

You can see pictures of a couple of our projects from this course here and here.

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Fishing Expeditions

Gayle took the boys fishing one Sunday evening about a month ago. They were very excited to come home with 14 large kowai! Mr. Diligence had a birthday the next day, so we had fish for supper.11-IMG_3526

Today, we tried again. We all went out this time, hoping for a repeat—but not even one fish was caught this time. Oh, well. You never know when a school of fish will be coming in the river. It was a beautiful day out there anyway! This is what the Hurunui Mouth looked like today; quite different from the last time I was out there. We walked all the way around the lagoon to get to the mouth this time.


These gulls were flying around making quite a fuss. We found out why when someone discovered a nest!


I saw these ducks swimming in the lagoon.


A lupine bush. What a wonderful smell!


It was interesting to notice the variety in terrain just on that short walk along the lagoon. Here was a rock cliff; soon there was a patch of white limestone; and a lot of the time the hillside was covered with grass and bushes!


I wish I could share more of the experience with you. All I can do is give you a little glimpse of the scenery. There is so much more to it than that, however. There are the sounds—gulls screaming, waves crashing on the shore, and ripples lapping on the rocks and shores around the lagoon. There are the smells—the sea smell and the wonderful aroma of the lupines. There are the sensations—the hot sun, the cool sea breeze, the hot rocks and sand under foot. There is even taste—salt on your lips from the spray blown off the tops of the waves! And of course, the scenery is so much bigger and more beautiful than my camera can capture.

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