Some friends from Dunedin came for a visit on a weekend in March. We took them down to the riverbed for a picnic. It was a perfect late-summer day, and the children enjoyed playing in the water, as usual.
It was a wonderful day!
We decided, to make Sundays a bit more special while we’re on lockdown, to have a picnic by the creek down the hill from our town. We built a small fire and roasted sausages and marshmallows, and then played in the creek with Simon’s kayak and a couple of boats the boys built. When everyone had their fill of the water, we went across the creek and did target practice with Simon’s air rifle, aiming toward a sand dune. We really enjoy having this safe, private place to be outside! It’s within walking distance of our house, and the water is shallow enough there is no danger even if a boat flips.
Miss Joy loves boat rides! I apologize for so many pictures, but I couldn’t decide which of these to leave out.
Here are a few video clips I put together from our afternoon at the creek.
Our family Christmas tradition, since moving to the Southern Hemisphere where December is the beginning of summer, is to go on a picnic. Usually, we go away from home somewhere that we don’t often get to, such as the beach. This year, no one felt like going away. We took votes, and all but two of us voted to stay home! We decided to go down to the riverbed below our village and have a cookout beside the creek that flows into the river down there. Gayle and the two little boys went down ahead and started the fire; the rest of us went down when we were ready. The big boys loaded their barrel boat onto the trailer and took it down. We let them off at a place where the creek and road meet, and they loaded our food and other things into it, as the easiest way to get it all to the picnic site. Esther and I then drove on to the parking spot while they floated and poled downstream. Here they come around the bend!
Mr. Sweetie broke his arm last week, so he has it in a sling. It’s a greenstick (or hairline) fracture an inch or two below his shoulder, so they didn’t put a cast on it. He’s looking forward to not having to wear the sling next week! It hasn’t slowed him down much, though.
Simon took his air rifle along, so after lunch he boated Esther and I across the creek and we got to try shooting. I never hit the target, but felt better later when he said that he had discovered, after we went home, that the scope was a bit off.
Mr. Sweetie turned 10 yesterday. He wanted to celebrate with a fire down at the river, and roast sausages and marshmallows. We invited some friends to join us, but because of an emergency on their part, we ended up just having our family. We weren’t sure we could even do it, though, until the last minute, because it’s been rainy all week and was threatening this morning. About 11:30, Gayle and the boys decided to give it a try, and went down to the riverbed to start a fire. We’ve just gotten back, at 2:00 pm, and it’s still not raining—we got away with it this time!
I didn’t get any pictures while we were roasting our sausages. Once we were finished with them and the children had started roasting marshmallows, I remembered I had a camera! The marshmallow roasting was the amusing part, anyway. One boy declared that he couldn’t catch his marshmallow on fire. He roasted them slowly and perfectly. The next thing we knew, his marshmallow was on fire! He did do one perfectly for me. Another boy deliberately caught every one of his on fire. He’s too impatient to do them slowly.
Miss Joy seemed to enjoy her first cookout. She looked around, and slept for five minutes, and looked around some more.
Mr. Imagination charred his marshmallow, then worked at picking the charcoal off.
Several people put roasted marshmallows on top of their chocolate cupcakes.
Despite the early-spring chill, Mr. Diligence wanted to go swimming. He put on his togs and leaped into the creek—and came right back out again, shivering!
Several of the boys went up the creek with their sausage sticks to try to spear eels. They didn’t get any.
The last step before leaving was to douse the fire, which these two did, gleefully!
Well, I should have looked at my memory card again before publishing last week’s post of pictures. There were several more good ones.
Mr. Diligence made the lions for the skit they performed at the concert. I found him a picture of a lion online, and Esther enlarged it. He glued them together, cut them out, and painted them. Then, he glued them to cardboard and made them stand up.
Simon learned to ride a backwards bike when someone loaned them one many years ago. He has wished for one ever since, so when he had a couple of days off work on a recent long weekend, he built one. When you turn the handlebars right, the wheel turns left, and when you turn the handlebars left, the wheel turns right. So far, all three of the older boys have learned to ride it.
I looked in the living room recently and saw Mr. Imagination telling Goofball to hold still. He wanted her to pose for him to draw a picture of her, but she wouldn’t cooperate. I suggested he hold her still while I took a picture, and then he could draw from that.
Here is the picture he drew and cut out.
Some of our friends from Dead Boring came to see us a few weeks ago. We met in Moana, and had a picnic together beside Lake Brunner. They had two 9-year-old girls along, and Little Miss, once she warmed up to them, had great fun helping them build a “hut.” It was basically an outline of grass, with flowers arranged artistically in it.
I wished I had taken a picture of this scene earlier. When we first arrived, the lake was calm and the mountains were mirrored in it, but then a wind came up. It was still beautiful!
This coal train came along, and stopped on the side track. Soon, we saw the passenger train come from the other direction and pass it, and then the coal train started moving again.
A couple of weeks ago, we spent a Sunday with friends who were camping beside a river about 30-40 minutes drive from us. It was a beautiful, sunny warm day, just perfect for being outside—although a couple of us got pretty sunburned, because we aren’t used to being in the sun!
The children discovered tadpoles in a boggy spot close to the campsite, so they spent the afternoon hunting. At first, they were finding tiny ones, and then they started finding very large tadpoles. We brought some home, and they took home a large number.
The glimpses we got of the snow-capped Southern Alps were gorgeous!
This is the Haupiri River. If you’ve ever heard of Gloriavale, it is directly between where we were standing here, and the mountain in the background.
My big boys tired of hunting tadpoles and wanted something more exciting to do. They borrowed a rope and used it to lower themselves to a pier of the bridge.
Then, they tied a rock to the rope and used it to measure the depth of the river—till the rock fell off!
Little Miss loves having girls her own size to play with!
The gorse is in bloom everywhere. It’s so pretty—wish it wasn’t such a horrible nuisance!
Here is one of our tadpoles. They are living, quite happily as far as we can see, in a tank of rain water with a log floating in it for when they need to climb out. We’re hoping they live long enough to develop into frogs so we can release them!
The Saturday after we moved, the first Saturday since the beginning of December that we were free to do what we wanted to instead of working on the house, we were invited to a Sunday School picnic with a church in Waikari that we attended one time before. One of their families lives way up in the hills over Hawarden, almost to the mountains, and the picnic was there. After enjoying the meal and fellowship all afternoon, we drove to the end of the road before coming home. The views were spectacular!