Fur and feathers, Guest blogs


Mum writes…

Today we celebrated Sabrina’s one week birthday – considering the faux pas of her inexperienced handler, it is amazing that she is still here and, to all accounts growing – one positive sign is the miniscule purple feather growing on her forehead – “What else would you expect, I am a pukeko” she shouts back at me – well, that’s another point, we are battling to get some sort of communication going – she can’t speak human and I can’t speak Pukeko so we are devising a unique language that we can both understand and we have already mastered our first link of understanding – a mixture of hand singles and sound.

She is beginning to follow me when she is on the ground – I wiggle my fingers in front of her with a chirpy sound and she follows the direction of my hands – whether she will remember to do this tomorrow is another thing. This afternoon when I was sewing, I put her on the floor to explore the terrain around us and she settled between my feet which were just a few inches apart, so I get the feeling that we are bonding – unless she was only looking for warmth and they represented  the two warm bottles in her basket.”

Fur and feathers, Guest blogs

We miss you Sophie

Mum has researched all about pukekos and is doing as much as she can to give both her little charges a good fighting chance, so was very sad when on DAY 6 little Sophie passed away.

Mum’s update –

 “Sabrina is lonely – she spends most of her day voicing her displeasure at being alone – that much of Pukeko language I understand – I try to comfort her but am a poor substitute for mamma – she’s forgotten about Sophie – all she knows is that there’s something lacking in her life.
I put her in my apron pocket for most of the day – in my wisdom I thought the movement would rock her to sleep – it didn’t – she kept chirping but at least it was a change from the basket. This afternoon we spent time in the garden, walking on grass and sand,  pecking at this and that and enjoying the warmth of the sun and three worms – they were delicious – water bottles have to be heated every couple of hours.
We’ve survived another day…………………and look forward to what tomorrow may bring!!!!”
Fur and feathers, Guest blogs

Day four in our baby pukekos lives

Mum reporting as Fernlea guest blogger and chief pukeko carer…

“The girls are pecking very well from the spoon – regularly and on demand!!   Yesterday I transferred them to a basket as they kept getting out through the bars of the cat traveller – definitely not able to fly over the 18cms side of the basket so all fine – my expertise was crushed this morning when Sabrina was missing – my first thought – “what will the the Hobbit and his missus say if I lose her” – frantic search – eventually found her in the back courtyard – she’d flapped and floundered down the passage and through the back door………….what relief………….the basket now has a cover made of old curtain lining with a hole at the top for me to view them …. see the photo”

New Basket Home

Fur and feathers, Guest blogs

Hand rearing Sabrina and Sophie

Mum is doing really well hand rearing the Fernlea baby pukekos and she has roped in dad to help. Here is her update of progress.

Mum’s blog for DAY 3

S&S are pecking.  Progress!   – a diet of worms is too arduous so back to the cat food.

What I can reveal after 3 days of playing mama is their vocabulary – long chirp screamsman of house trying his hand at feeding hunger – peck at food several times then close beak and utter similar sound in soft tones which denotes contentment – but don’t plan on doing anything in between feeds because the whole process starts again in 2 minutes – and this from an expert of three days who is being run ragged – but I had a brainwave after their 7 pm meal and that was to put them in the spare room in darkness.

The only sound now is a very soft chirp which I interpret as sleep mode – I believe we’ve  turned the first corner………………….goodnight…….”

Good job mum 🙂


Fur and feathers, Guest blogs

Pukeko babies

I haven’t written a blog for a long time, tut tut, and because I am still so crazily busy my 2018 blogs will be starting with a guest blogger, my mum.

pukeko-nest-eggs1My brother has just been to visit from Canada and while at Fernlea he found a pukeko egg at our little dam which he popped under one of our hens.

small dam

Well the egg hatched PLUS it so happened that the Hobbit found a second abandoned pukeko baby over the weekend, so what to do? Well you can always rely on your mum.

The blogs coming to you over the next while is from mum as she tries to hand rear the two baby pukekos. If you want to know more about the birds you can go to the NZ Department of Conservation CLICK HERE

Here’s hoping you enjoy mum’s blogs, the first one below…
 “My calm  unflustered life was shattered this morning with a frantic call from the ‘missus’ of Fernlea – please look after two Pukeko day-olds for me – I have to dash off to Hamilton and will be frightfully busy all week, simply don’t have the time………………… I have an option, I ask plaintively – not listening to me, she rambles on about not being able to drop them off and will I go and collect them – thanks mom, they only have to be fed every two hours, no sweat…………I consult Google where a lady on U-tube is showing how to feed the very same – I watch them pecking the food out of a teaspoon – quite a simple exercise, thinks I.
Don’t be fooled – my 2-day olds – Sabrina and Sophie, to be precise – I call them that because we have become so well acquainted – do not have an alarm system in their make-up that tells them to cry every 2 hours – my S&S cry continuously – don’t know how to peck and expect constant attention – I went out this afternoon and left the ‘man of the house’ in charge – he was an exhausted rag when I got home…..and the first thing he said was “don’t ever do that again!!!!!!Coaxing with a worm
Second Day – they’re still alive – what a relief but I have to change my feeding strategy – try to mimic mother – they clearly don’t want to peck from my spoon – food must come from above because that’s what mother does, she flies in and drops it into the expectant open beaks – secondly, what does mother bring – worms perhaps? So into the garden go I to gather worms and am delighted to find 4 skinny little earthworms – not quite a breeze but eventually success……….two each for breakfast…..may I relax for a cup of tea?”
Keep up the good work mum 🙂
Building, Design, Green fingers

BIG changes

Fernlea is about to get a face lift, she will have a whole new look. Over the next few weeks there will be blokes doing landscaping, the mud, the uneven surfaces, the rough garden edges will be all gone. WooHoo!

Because organising these big changes will take up most of our time, I won’t be blogging again till November, when I will post some before and after shots. If you can’t wait and would like to see what’s happening day by day please join us on the Fernlea Facebook page, where you will get to see the changes in real time.

To join us on the Fernlea Facebook page (if you haven’t already) CLICK HERE.

Up till now we have created temporary pathways using post peel (see photo) and have done our best 217912_10151426764569874_1621916520_nto tame the weeds and Kikuyu grass. This organic approach has meant we could change our minds relatively easily about how we want the area to look and be used, it has certainly been a creative journey.

We are now more than ready to make the spaces permanent with hard pathways, an archway, screens, flower bed edging, and retainer walls.

The photos below have been my inspiration.

The landscaping will be carefully planned to ensure for good drainage and forward  thinking, like laying pipes we will need for upcoming projects such as an outdoor bath.

We are also very excited about upgrading our front gate and signs, at the same time. The temporary sign we have now, see the photo on the left will be replaced by the signs on the right, classy.

Next time I blog I will be able to share the major makeover Fernlea has had, I am looking forward to that blog.

Back again in November.

Building, Coffee time, Food

Neighbours are so under rated.

What a busy weekend.

Late Friday afternoon we moved our cows onto the neighbour’s property. As we have very little grass at the moment on our property for our cows, it is a glennlife saver to be able to put them on Tim’s property for the weekends, it gives them a good feed, means we only have to supplement their feed during the week, and it gives our grass a chance to regrow.

The Hobbit was up early on Saturday morning and went to buy wood for the piles for the guest cabins which we have ordered and will be delivered in November.

On the way home he stopped into cuppa teaMorris’ for a cuppa. Morris is a Kaiwaka local who has lived in the area all his life, and he has a wealth of local knowledge. He owns a post rammer and has helped the Hobbit before to ram posts into the ground for fencing so the Hobbit popped in to ask Morris if he would be able to help with ramming piles for the cabin foundations. After solving the world’s problems, a cuppa often gives the drinkers that capability, the pile requirements were discussed and Morris said he would happily help the Hobbit next week end. The photo below shows four piles (there will be 16 in total) the Hobbit has put in place and Morris will ram them into the ground up to the pink mark. cabin piles

Before coming home the Hobbit stopped at another neighbour, a retired lady who had asked him previously to help her dispatch her cockerels. She had purchased chickens and to her dismay most of them turned out to be cockerels and they had become very aggressive, attacking her legs. She was very grateful for his help.

coffee-eggs-bacon-500While the Hobbit was out, I was at Fernlea having a little sleep in and then got brunch ready for his return.

We had just finished eating when we got a surprise drop-in visit from Rebecca, yet another awesome neighbour. She has a blog called Chick in Nature, if you want to read her blog CLICK HERE. We hadn’t seen her for awhile and as the coffee pot was warm she joined us for a coffee and we a fabulous catch up chat.

The day wasn’t over, we had a BBQ planned with our adjacent neighbours, Paul and Sharon. We have cadac-braaimaxx-0003 recently bought a new BBQ called the Braaimaxx and have been keen to give it a go and decided to make a pork roast for our first effort.

At three thirty the Hobbit prepped the meat with herbs and seasoning and then put it in a roasting tin and on the Braaimaxx. The controls on this BBQ are very sensitive and so the temperature can be kept constant, he set it for 150 degrees Celsius and left it for a couple of hours while he went off do continue working on the cabin piles.

I prepped the vegetables and set the table. In the second hood we roasted pumpkin and potatoes, cranking up the temperature to get them well caramelised. The dinner was fabulous, the pork succulent and we all cleared our plates. We asked our neighbours to rate the dinner, Sharon gave us a ten and Paul a one because we managed to burn the garlic bread, he scratched his score on the back of the burnt bread. There was much laughter, and drinking!

On Sunday the Hobbit went to collect roofing material, and he borrowed our neighbour’s (Paul) trailer as our wasn’t big enough for the long sheets, and later in the afternoon Paul popped over and 22255115_826108084229155_85261435148575405_ohelped the Hobbit move heavy wood at Fernlea because it was a two man job.

Country neighbours are pretty special, they will lend a hand, tools or equipment. There is always time for a cuppa, and time to ‘chew the fat’ and support and encourage each other. Most importantly there is always time to party.

We couldn’t achieve what we have without our neighbours.