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We've just had a visit from someone with an aerial photography business. They did a project nearby and took a photo of our house while in the area which they offered to us at a tempting price. I decided to accept as it is right on the anniversary of our coming here and a driveway project that will alter the view substantially is soon to be underway.

I've taken a of the framed photo to share. It is almost impossible to avoid reflections from the glass in the frame but you get the idea.

We've just past the here in the Southern Hemisphere and this marks the sixth year since we arrived at our little farm here in Kaukapakapa.

The Poplars are shedding their leaves copiously now and the Amaryllis are in full bloom, making it a beautiful time of the year.

The weather has been mild but cooler evenings warn of the approach of the winter and I am busy getting in firewood for our wood-burner.

I carved the stumps of two Poplar trees into facing seats, for fun.

Being in Auckland it was not possible to ignore the Americas Cup races. Our small country has done well to produce winning yachts and teams of sailors to win this cup and defend it two times now.

Retaining the cup is also important to our economy, both to the hospitality industry and to the boat-building industry.

I try to keep it in balance, remembering that this is the sport of billionaires and has little to do with the day-to-day lives of New Zealanders.

More # flowers.

I hardly notice this grouping of Amaryllis for most of the year as the bulbs are mostly hidden beneath the grass cover and when not in flower the leaves are a deep green that melds into the prevailing green of the pasture.

Scattered around the farm there are areas where are growing.

They look almost dead in the hard, dry ground at the end of the summer. But, on cue, with the end of summer approaching, they send up masses of on long stalks.

Then when the flowers are spent they send out their leaves; quite an unusual behaviour for a plant.

I wonder how they know when it is time to start flowering? We are close to the Equinox so they may be measuring the length of the days.

I've been having fun using my long rope and a snatch-pulley as a redirect, to drag the rounds cut from a felled Poplar higher up and beside the farm driveway, for splitting into winter firewood.

I found a hand-truck that I had in the shed worked well on the end of the rope to pull the rounds up from the gully where they were likely to stay wet with early autumn rains beginning.

Last year I split all the wood with a splitting maul but hope to borrow a log-splitter this year.

I have enjoyed having a single rose bud and flower on this legacy rose bush on the farm, and a couple of days ago I was delighted to see that it has grown a strong water-shoot, proving that the plant is in good condition. This is how a rose bush rejuvenates itself, creating new, strong flowering wood from low down on the main stem. It is a harbinger of more flowers the next flowering season.

I am encouraged enough to be planning to build a wire-netting enclosure to protect it.

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We lived in the house I built for 30 years sold it six years ago and moved to the farm where we now live with one of our daughters and her growing family.

It was as affordable for our daughter to pay off the mortgage on our farm, with my wife and I putting our equity in, as for her to rent but impossible to save the necessary deposit to buy a property on today's market. For us, in retirement, we have the benefit of living with our granddaughters and with the beauty of nature.

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Once we had made the decision to move before our girls went to school I started looking for a suitable place, but nothing that was suitable was affordable so I had to think of another way forward.

I said to my wife that what we needed to do was to find a cheap section in a good neighbourhood and I would build our house myself.

After much searching, a sub-divided section came up for sale at an affordable price and I borrowed again and started paying off the section.

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My story starts with buying my first house for $2000 deposit, an vendor loan of $12,000 and two solicitor-mortgages, one over my house and the other over my mother's flat.

Being single at the time and employed as an accountant, I could easily afford the repayments of over 50% my salary and still have enough to live on.

I got married a couple of years later and we decided we needed to move to bring up a family, so after 7 years I sold for double what I had purchased.

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After watching some YouTube gardening videos I decided to watch this three-part series on building a simple cabin,, by way of relaxation.

The first two videos actually complete the build and the third is a Q&A answering viewers' questions/comments on the first two.

The videos are well produced and show the process well but the third really resonated with me as I have been through a similar process that the author describes for himself.

Nigel Farage's exit interview

I like listening to Nigel Farage, he always makes sense to me. Here he is interviewed as to what he intends to do after withdrawing from party-politics.

At 18 minutes in he's asked "What is next for you?" and he replies with advice given him on the morning after he was first elected, by his mentor, Christopher Booker, "You need to decide today if you're into politics to make a name for yourself or to make a difference"

Interestingly, this earthquake near the Kermadec Islands is the strongest in two years, world-wide, and ranks up there with the most powerful quakes ever recorded.

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It is difficult to get any accurate information about the tsunami that resulted from today's earthquake centred on the Kermadec Islands. But I did find a measurement from Norfolk Island of a wave measuring 64 cm in height.

Extrapolating from that, using the relative distances, converted to the circumference of the expanding wave, I have calculated the height of the wave reaching Whangarei at 92 cm, which could conceivably do some damage very close to the shoreline.

An earthquake of even greater magnitude, but further away, has occurred while I have been sleeping but further afield, near the Kermadec Islands and over 1000 km from Auckland.

8.1 magnitude earthquake
Today about 3 hours ago at 19:28
March 04, 2021 UTC

Epicenter at -29.74, -177.267
959.2 km from ‘Ohonua (596.2 miles)

Kermadec Islands, New Zealand

Depth: 19 km

We have received a tsunami warning but are not vulnerable here.

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We've just had an earthquake off the coast of NZ. I did not feel it but my daughter's partner just came down to tell me that he had felt it. That's at about 460 km from the epicentre.

6.9 magnitude earthquake
Today about an hour ago at 13:27
March 04, 2021 UTC

Epicenter at -37.596, 179.544
178.2 km from Gisborne (111.2 miles)

E. Coast Of N. Island, New Zealand

Depth: 10 km

I'm currently watching "Planet of the humans" and @ 47:42 the transcript reads:

"...1000s of years to reach a population of 700 M, then, with the use of stored energy, in 200 years to 7 B and consumption per person increased by 10 X

... a total human impact 100 X greater than only 200 years ago ... the most terrifying realization ..."

I've thought for years that , and have been the basis of an exploding human population.

No current policies will cope with this crisis.

Here are some of other that I was working on this past week.

All my wood is now down, cut into and just waiting to be and for for this coming winter's .

The last few cuts, near the root-ball, were a challenge: avoiding getting the chain into the ground.

Despite feeling almost too tired to be able to think, I am satisfied with progress thus far as we are mostly totally dependent upon the fires for heating in our flat over the .

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I worked myself near to total exhaustion this past week, cutting down unwanted trees while I had the chainsaw in my hand and cutting into rounds some logs that were already down.

One , fallen across a pond in the winter, presented a challenge to get out and cut into rounds, to clear the pond and to make use of the wood before the winter sets in.

I was able to use a long , anchored on a standing tree, and a snatch block attached to another rope around the log to pull it out.

I'm feeling a bit at a loss: I have misplaced my cellphone and reverted to using my old one again - without a SIM card and no network connection.

My main use is with the camera, but the quality is not nearly as good as the one on the missing phone.

Here's some shots of the grape harvest. I filled a washing-basket with bunches of lovely , weighing in at over 7 kg with an estimate of about 50 bunches.

There has been no Possum damage so far but the birds and bees have taken a toll.

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