Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Tararua Wind Farm

On Saturday Nov. 10th, my brother told me we were going to drive to Mana to stay on his boat "Drambuie" for the weekend, but before we did, he would take me on a drive to visit the Tararua wind farm.

Keewee AKA as Sis, and my brother Graeme

A healthy crop of wind turbines.

Even before leaving USA for New Zealand I had done some research on the wind farm and had already made plans see the wind turbines so was quite happy to have my brother take me to see the Wind farm.

The blades on these wind turbine machines, range in length 25-50 metres (27-54 yards) depending on size and design of each machine.

Oh! my goodness, I knew these structures were large but standing underneath one as the huge blades turned made me feel soooo small. Think of an ant standing at the base of a 12' blade of grass, I think you get the picture.

These turbines were actually in a different location, and I believe they are called the Apiti turbines.

The Tararua Wind Farm is the largest in the Southern hemisphere and is located just 10 kilometres NE of Palmerston North, on a 5.3 kilometre ( about 4 miles) long ridge of the Tararua ranges. For more technical information on wind turbines, HERE is a link.

The internal working of a wind turbine.

I leave you with a short video of a working wind turbine. The sound of the moving blades increased and decreased along with the speed of the wind.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 2 in Palmerston North NZ

Thursday 8th November and the beginning of my second day in NZ. I was wide awake at 4am which was my usual 7am USA time, this just has to change, I told myself, otherwise I am going to be exhausted by the end of each day. ( It took another couple of days, for my body to figure out that I could actually sleep in until 7am)

My plans for the morning was to drive to my daughter, Tina's home, spend some time with her, then do some exploring in the afternoon.

I was just about to leave my cabin when there was a knock on the door. I opened the door to find a young Maori man standing on the bottom step, he proceeded to tell me that my bonnet was unlatched. Huh?? It took me a second to translate into USA language, Oh yes, the hood of my car was unlatched. I could see right away that there were Kiwi terms I had not heard in a while and I would have to do some quick translation. *chuckle*

I spent the morning with Tina, going grocery shopping with her and her chore provider, then returning back to Tina's house to fix some meals to put in the freezer, so the chore provider could have a break from cooking for a few days.

After lunch I drove to the VictoriaEsplanade Gardens, which is conveniently just behind the Holiday Park where I was staying. The development of the Esplanade began in 1897 with a gravel footpath laid on one end of the 361 acres of land granted to the borough of Palmerston north in 1876 for use as a public park. The gravel footpath was named "Victoria Esplanade Drive" to commemorate Queen Victoria's 60th Jubilee.

The Date Palms line both sides of one of the roads through the park

The Victoria Esplanade covers an area of 19 hectares (approx 361 acres) adjacent to the Manawatu River.

Some of the bird aviaries

There is a conservatory and lath house, plant displays, native bush with trails throughout, a fernery, bird aviaries, BBQ and picnic areas, a kid's paddling pool and playground.

My brother and I rode the miniature train. More on this adventure later.

A miniature railway winds throughout the esplanade. You take in the color and fragrance of the Dugald Mackenzie Rose Garden, and much more. So you can understand why I spent much of my free time wandering the garden areas, trails and checking out everything there was to see. It is a most relaxing beautiful place to spend one's time.

The cherry blossoms had finished blooming, but the Azaleas and Rhododendrons were still beautiful

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day one in New Zealand

5.10am on Wednesday 7th of November, the Boeing 777 Jet landed in Auckland after 13 hrs 10 minutes of flying time. Now all I had left was a short 1 hour flight to Palmerston North, which could not go by fast enough.
By now I was feeling rather tired and not at all thinking very clearly. But I had to get my act together before arriving in Palmerston North, as I had a rental car to drive on the LEFT side of the road to the Holiday Park where I was to stay for my 13 days in NZ.

Up, up and away went the small "puddle jumper" AT7 on it's way South to Palmy. Lake Taupo, where my parents had a holiday home, in the distance, through the early morning mist.

A short time later we flew close by Mount Ruapehu which looks a little like Mount St Helen's here in Washington State.

I had forgotten how many, many miles of flat, very green pasture land there is in NZ, and the rows of trees and hedges which separate the paddocks.

Now I was feeling very excited, as I caught my first glimpse of Palmerston North, framed by the Tararua Ranges in the distance. We have had our tea and coffee cups collected, tray tables and seat backs back in position, and seat belts fastened, ready for landing at Palmerston North International airport.

We have lined up with the runway, and are slowly descending over the rich farmland surrounding the city, in preparation for our landing on the runway.

Across the road at the end of the runway, bump, bump, bump and we are on the runway. The plane rushes towards the end of the runway, flaps up, engines in reverse to slow our speed and we slowly come to a stop at the end of the runway. The plane turns and taxis back to the terminal where Don P. is waiting with the car I have arranged to rent for my stay.
It is now 8am and Don is there inside the terminal, waiting to drive me back to the rental car depot so I can fill out the necessary paper work before driving to the Holiday park. All I need to do now is collect my luggage from the carousel and start the first day of my vacation. I was pleasantly surprised to see the lovely little red Toyota Corolla waiting for me outside the terminal, small and very economical to drive. Gas being around $6nz a gallon I did not want a gas guzzler.

I would probably not be able to check into the park until 1pm, unless no one had rented the cabin the day before. Knowing this, after I had signed the car rental agreement, and figured out all the Toyota's controls, (everything opposite to what I am used to, I kept turning on the window wipers instead of the turn signals for the first couple of days) I drove to my daughter's home to visit, and fill in time before getting settled in my cabin.
At around 11 am I took a chance and drove to the holiday park to see what the status of the cabin was, and was very happy to be told I could move in right then.
I dragged my luggage inside, did a little unpacking then lay on the bed for a well needed nap.
After a short nap, I was hungry so found the nearest grocery store and stocked up on a cooked chicken, salad, fruit, soda, milk, and my favorite cookies, gingernuts, to get me through the next couple of days.
Around 5:30pm my brother Graeme, arrived home from work and we had a wonderful reunion. Graeme has lived in the holiday park for many years and loves it there. It is so quiet and peaceful with lovely trees and well kept gardens and many songbirds filling the air with Sweet songs.
The end of my first day came to a close very early. After a couple of glasses of wine with my brother, I was ready for a good night's sleep and fell into bed at 8pm, which in reality was 11pm USA time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tired but happy to be home.

I arrived back on Whidbey Island at 12:30 am this morning.
Today has been one of rest, as this trip back to New Zealand has left me feeling quite exhausted and it is going to be a few days before I manage to get around to editing some photos, which have been downloaded, for you to see.
Thanksgiving will be very low key for us, due to the fact that I really do not have much energy for cooking a huge meal. However we will enjoy the holiday and we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
Stay tuned for the upcoming news from my visit to Aotearoa, Land of the Long white cloud.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Last post from Aotearoa - New Zealand

This will be my last post until I get back to USA.
I have been running all over in the little Toyota Corolla I have rented, visiting friends, looking at all the houses I have lived in growing up in Palmerston North, and driving into town to wander around and seeing what, if anything is left of the old city as I remembered it. Sadly much has changed.

I have done some shopping, well actually I have walked the town several times over, trying to make up my mind what I really want to buy, as I am on a limited budget, DANG IT ANYWAY!!

I admit, I am missing my home on Whidbey Island, my Honey, and of course Rocket our cat. I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit so far and the time has just flown by way too quickly.

The days for the most part have been sunny, though there has been some rain which did not last too long. The seasons have changed as they have done there the States, where the really nice warm weather used to be December /January it is now March /April I guess I will plan to come back when it is warmer. Anyone got a few extra $$$$'s they do not want? *chuckle*

There is something I took for granted when I lived here, and that is the song of all the birds. As I sit here at my brother's PC I am listening to many songbirds singing, what a joyful sound.

The visits every day with my daughter, are pretty exhausting mentally, so returning to my cabin at the end of the day gives me a chance to rest and recharge for the next day. I know she has enjoyed my visit and it will be difficult to say goodbye on Tuesday.

Well that is all for now, stay tuned and I will have pictures for you in the near future, that is, when I get over my jet lag and have settled in back on Whidbey Island.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My first week in NZ

I can't believe I have been in NZ for almost one week.
Here is what I have been doing.

eating fabulous food & drinking plenty of good NZ vino.

visiting friends.

eating fabulous food & drinking plenty of good NZ vino

Spent the weekend on my brother's boat "Drambuie"

eating fabulous food & drinking plenty of good NZ vino

Spending time with my daughter.

And trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour, which has not been successful YET! but really, why waste time sleeping when there is so much to do.

Today I walked into a business owned by a friend I have not seen for about 18 years, boy! was she ever surprised. Then tomorrow after spending time at Tina's house celebrating her 38th birthday, I am meeting with someone I have not seen since High School days.

I have about 345 photos so far, enough for many posts in the future.

Bye for now, there is a glass, or two, perhaps three of fruit of the vine waiting to consumed. And if you think all I am doing is eating and drinking, well, that is pretty close to the truth *grin*

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

First post from Kiwi Land

OK folks I am here in Aotearoa, The land of the long white cloud.
I had a good flight, I took a sleep aid and knocked myself out for five hours., woke up in time for breakfast. I should have stayed asleep as the breakfast, or at least part of it was "not my cup of tea." When I booked my ticket I ordered low fat meals and the dinner was excellent, baked salmon and vegetables but for the breakfast there was a hot dish of mixed vegetables, the frozen kind, and small squares of tofu, BARF!! Thankfully there was some Orange juice, a dish of cantaloupe and strawberries, and a small blueberry muffin so I did not go hungry.
Yesterday, my first day, after I signed papers for the rental car, I drove to Tina's house to visit for a while before checking into the Holiday Park at around 11 am. My cabin is pretty basic, but is clean and comfy.

That evening I went to the supermarket with my brother Graeme and came home with a bottle of wine, (compliments of my brother ) which I am slurping on as I type, so if this does not make sense, blame it on this very good Kiwi wine *Chuckle*

Today I spent most of the day with my daughter and had a nice time, cooked for her, went for a drive out to the cemetary to visit her brother's grave and brought her home to take a nap. I think I wore her out.

That is all for now, posting is slow as Graeme is on dial up so I will not be posting any pictures. You will have to wait until I get home.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Family, I am on my way. Put the tea kettle on.

Just four and a half hours and I will be sitting on the shuttle taking me on the first leg of my journey to visit my homeland.
From Seattle by United Airlines to San Fransisco, by Air New Zealand to Auckland, then a "puddle jumper" 45 minute flight to Palmerston North where I was born and raised.
I did sleep quite well last night, considering the apprehension/excitement rush I have, though I was awake at my usual body clock time of 6am, 5am on the clock now daylight saving has kicked in.

My largest suitcase was all packed,weighed and ready to go last night. I managed to get under the 50lbs allowed, for one suitcase, just over 40lbs. I can tell you, for a petite person such as myself, hauling a 40lb suitcase off a carousel is quite enough, thank you. I am taking a smaller carry on bag containing all the gifts, and a backpack with a good book to read a travel blanket and inflatable pillow with a nice soft cover, and a few snacks to get me by until my flight leaves San Fransisco 7 pm tonight. I am not going to take the chance of the gifts going missing somewhere between the States and New Zealand so they will be with me at all times.

Last night I received an email from Tina's Aunt Tina is very excited, looking forward to seeing you I am afraid you will probably get a shock as she is becoming very bad with the Huntington's.
I am sure nothing is going to prepare me for the way my baby girl looks now. (She will celebrate her 38Th birthday on the 14Th of November) There is an 8x10 photo on the wall beside me, showing a cute dark haired smiling lovely young lady.
If any of you saw that anorexic model on TV lately, I am preparing myself to see my daughter looking like her, only very unsteady on her feet, a loss of control over her body movements and a loss of clear speech.

I will endeavor to keep you posted from NZ, but please give me a day or two, to get settled in and recover from the flight.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Changes in Keewee's life

This past Thursday my job, "is gone with the wind" ( a dear friend used this term and it suits the situation) anyhow, all I am going to say about that is "A door closed and now I wait for the next to open"

In the meantime I will go on my visit to New Zealand and enjoy all the time I have with my daughter Tina, who has Huntington's Disease. Her disease was inherited from her father's side of the family. She is not doing well at all, so all the time I spend with her will be so very special.

It is going to be a "bitter sweet" visit but is so very important that I go now, as Tina's HD is progressing very rapidly. She is at the stage where she is very unsteady on her feet and is falling down, and her speech is very difficult to understand. Tina's doctors are allowing her to stay in her little house with the help of care givers, until I get there. Shortly thereafter we expect her to be in a care facility.

And to balance all the tears and stress of my daughter's situation, my two brothers will be giving their Sis the "royal treatment"

Come Monday at 11 am I say goodbye to my sweetheart MrC and climb aboard the shuttle which will deliver me to the door at the airport. MrC and Rocket our cat, are going to have to take care of the place while I am gone.

Wish me well on my journey and please remember Tina in your prayers.