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A Bit of Backyard Exploring

Winter has now truly arrived, covering the landscape with a chill. Frequently smudging the skies with ominous grey clouds which grow heavy and release blankets of rain leaving squelching soil and drooping branches. Then frigid winds sweep through shaking the resolve of even the most tenacious autumn leaf until only the skeleton tree is left standing.

It's our first winter here and with this we see the garden in a new, naked light. Where fluttery leaves and fruit adorned trees and shrubs and colour exploded from Hydrangeas, Dahlias and Roses, now there is not. It's a dramatic change and although an obvious symptom of winter I've found myself mourning the colour and gasping a little as the necessary pruning takes place. It's the first good cut-back this garden has seen in a while so I guess things seem a bit brutal, but required I'm told.

While the country's had a chilly start to the season, there are definitely breaks here in the north that I don't recall getting in our more southern capital. On these milder days while lower in the sky, the sun does have a chance to warm the air and the earth. It's even easy to forget the time of year and, as we found on a recent windless day, a perfect time to take to the bush and explore our lovely backyard.
The bush does not fall victim to winter's grasp, here the trees remain in full leaf and although not providing a rainbow of colour, I'm always fascinated by just how many different shades of green there are in the world. A colour I find endlessly refreshing.

Just below our little rustic orchard (particularly rustic at the moment with the knee-length grass in desperate need of a trim!) a wide path opens up and beckons you to follow it's curving terrain. A work mission bought us out here on this day, a few patches of pesky gorse needed defensive action before the prickly pest gets too comfortable in an otherwise beautiful patch of regenerating native bush.

While Joe has ventured off-the-beaten-track a number of times to discover the patch of bush we now own, I have not so it was a great excuse to get a little side tracked with a wander along the stream at the bottom of the valley.
The stream meanders through, shallow and pebbly then opening up to deeper pools, then faster waters letting go through narrow channels creating little waterfalls. For as long as we walk beautiful rays of sun gleam through the forest canopy. Glistening off the water and lighting up the myriad of greens.
Moss covered rocks and layers of New Zealand natives paint a textured canvas that's hard not to be captivated by. It's quiet down here, the air is so clean and the water, while icy cold urges to be slurped from cupped hands, it's like tasting the trees and cleanses like rain.

Breathing it all in I'm still a bit disbelieving that this is our back yard. Here, there are no lawns to be mowed, no weeding, pruning or landscaping requirements. Mother nature is managing all of those tasks quite competently and what a stunning job she does! It's no wonder at all that those little Kiwi birds are hanging on to this as a place to make their home.

When we head back up the track, those gorse patches do require some intervention though but I'm glad to note they're far out numbered when compared with the surrounding native goodness. We have a very good chance of stunting any invasion.
In between work there's always time for a little cloud watching. With the warm sun on my face and thoughts drifting far away like the slow moving sky scape, it's for at least this moment in time when all feels right in the world.

Later, with rosy cheeks and panting a little as I reach the summit of the track arriving back at the cottages, it's always steep walk back but I feel energized and rewarded. What a great way to spend a few hours, next time I look forward to crossing the stream and exploring the other side.