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Moehau Community

Posted on 30 April, 2019 at 5:50 Comments comments (0)

In the course of my work for the bamboo society,  I have had a reason to visit the Moehau Community near the tip of the Coromandel Peninsular.  If you have a map, look for "Sandy Bay"  on the eastern side of the Coromandel,  near the tip.  Moehau is the highest part of the whole Coromandel Peninsular.  The Moehau Community  is just above Sandy Bay, and just below Moehau. Moehau is a mountain, but we don't say Moehau Mountain, or Mt Moehau.  We just say "Moehau". ... Just as if he was a neighbour or a friend.


The old farmhouse is the centre of the whole community.  Now that most members have their own dwellings it is not used for sleeping so much in winter.  In summer many visitors come and so then this house is full.


 

The drive begins at Sandy Bay and ends here.  It is rough but adequate.


This view is to the west and Moehau.  Moehau is not visible from anywhere where I walked on the farm.  However it is close, up behund the hills in this foto.  The bamboo is called "Oldhamii"


It takes a lot of time to keep running bamboo under proper control.  This lot..... called Henonis, is being a handful.


The stems of the bamboo [culms] are not very large here.  Many would think then that this was Aureus. Henonis and Aureus are similar. but Henonis can grow quite large.  That was the clue.  When looking at the largest culms it was clear it could not be Aureus.


Someone has woven the bamboo into a fence.  But the bamboo quickly gets attacked by fungus and starts to get old and weak.


Past the gate, down this slope, are some much larger culms of bamboo.


The bamboo has overun the fence and then been turned back.


At the base of some culms, you see some toroise-shell effect.  That is quite useful to me in the workshop, as I can make little insruments out of it.


There is a lot of work to do to tidy up this bamboo.



A member of the community uses this place for a dwelling and workshop.  What a great place to live!


The old orchard still produces fruit, and considering it is not sprayed or pruned, it does very well.



The Community farm goes up the valley much further.  This is as far as I went.   The view is breathtaking.



The Coromandel hills quickly aquire a thick covering of scrub.  This is the New Zealand term for thick bushy plant cover.  The plants are mostly Manuka, and in some places Matagouri.  The Manuka can be used as firewood.  The flowers give valuable honey.  Matagouri is so prickly you don't want to go near it.


A cottage and a resident of the community.


Cheers Chris the Pipemaker

Spalted Crabapple

Posted on 22 April, 2019 at 22:40 Comments comments (0)

A few days ago, the "Centre" for which I am a committee member had some trees cut down.  Seven of these were "Cabbage trees".  The wood is fibrous and not really suitable for woodwork.  One of the trees was an old crabapple, that had a large fungus growing in the trunk.  It was dying and growing rotten.  However, some of the wood could still be alright.


This foto shows some of the branches from the tree. One branch [showing in the foto]  seems to have some nice patterns in the wood.  Promising!




This branch shows some very nice colors and patterns.


Even this smaller branch has lots of heartwood with impressive colors.



One piece of the wood from near the top of the trunk, has a few fine lines that can be seen near the centre.  These black lines are highly sought after in decorative timber used for instrument making.  It is called "spalting".


 This trunk section shows more spalting.  It is nearer to where the fungus was growing.


This trunk section shows even more spalting as it was just next to the section of trunk with the fungus.


I have been asked to make some shrines for some-one who has an interest in Druidism.  This is the wood I have chosen for the project.  It has a lot of spalting.  Although it is a little soft because of the action of the fungus, it is still good enought to work.  I am letting it dry for six months and then I'll start work building.


This wood from one of the branches has no spalting, but has some lovely colors.  It is a billet ready for turning into a pipe.  It shoud be ready by Christmas.



This piece of timber is an "offcut" for which I have, as yet, no plans.  I will find something for it.



These are the blanks I have piled up ready for turning. Most of the blanks are oak, on the left.  Four others are Agonis, a common tree found in parks.  It is from Western Australia, orininally, but this wood is from a tree that was in some-ones garden. Right on the right hand side is a blank of wood from a bay tree.  When I turn this, I enjoy the fragrance of the wood.  It fills the whole workshop.   The trees with fragrance as strong as this belong to the family of trees known as  "Laurel trees".


Here are some pipes ready for tuning.  They are almost all Agonis, with some two or three Rimu.  One is of Oak.



This one is of oak.  It was turned by Sylva, who is learning to make pipes.

I hope you enjoyed the fotos of the wood in my workshop.  Spalting is rare so enjoy those fotos especailly.  Cheers Chris the Pipemaker


It Has Rained

Posted on 16 January, 2019 at 22:25 Comments comments (0)

Raining in January in Hawkes Bay's summer is something unusual.  But it did..... for three days.  So I went out with my trusty camera.

This is the Ngaruroro.  It is usually pretty low.  Its not now.


It is full.. of dirty water.



The Chesterhope Bridge is not in any danger, and has not ever been.  I have seen the distance between water and bridge half the amount now showing.....   in the seventies...  in winter.




There is, however, enough water to cover the grafiti.




 Upstream there is plenty more water on its way.



Not the time and place to cross the river.





A little riverside weed is enjoying the rain.





There are plenty of other riverside weeds also having a good time.





Daisies are classed as weeds.  They are very interesting plants.




I fotografed this plant when visiting my sisters place in Te Puke.  This weed does better up there.




This plant is so modest with its flowers.





Just remember that all garden flowers were once weeds and wild.... as these plants are.


Cheers Chris the Pipemaker


A days outing to Ruapehu

Posted on 9 January, 2019 at 20:45 Comments comments (0)

Mount Ruapehu is just a few hours drive away.   You take the Napier-Taihape road.  That gets you to Waiouru.  Waiouru sits under the mountain. 


After we cross through the range of hills joining the Kawekas to the Ruahines, we come to a high level plateau of good country.  This view looks along to the Ruahines.  We are just less than 1000m above sea-level here. 




Just above the trees we get a view of the eastern side of Ruapehus from more than forty kilometres away.


This view shows Ruapehu not far from Ohakune, the carrot growing capital of New Zealand.  Highfields with volcanic soil means low summer temperatures with lots of sunlight.  Perfect for carrots.





This is how Ruapehu appears from the west.




The Mountain is volcanic.  Where there has been a large amount of volcanic rock fallen from the air, the rivers cut into this deeply.  The rail-line has to bridge over these deep gorges.  This bridges dates from the first decade of the twentieth century.





Steel was the often chosen building material of that time.  This viaduct is one of New Zealands best examples of a steel reilway viaduct. It is one of the biggest.





Right down the bottom is the streambed, of large and small volcanic rocks.




This is bridge number one hundred and seventy nine, presumably counting from Auckland.  It is called the Makatote viaduct as it crosses the Makatote stream.  Pronounce the Maori as if it were Japanese.  "Ma-ka-to-te".



The bush around here has some big trees.  They are not as big as the ones near Ball's Clearing..... but they are not small.




I just had to fotograf this big Kenworth toiling up the hill.





And whatever that Kenworth was carrying could have been sent by train!



While Ruapehu is hidden from sight by foothills, Ngarahoe [Nga-ra-ho-e] at 2200m  [against Ruapehu's 2740M] comes into view.




We are at the "Top of the Bruce".  From here alpine lifts takes skiers up into the mountains in winter.  In summer the area seems so barren.



There is still some snow left, and a good smattering of winter accomodation,  also used quite a bit in summer.




On  winter's weekend, the place is full of people learning to ski.




In winter it is advertised as "Happy Valley".  Can't call it that now!  




A lot of money has been spent here to keep Aucklanders returning and spending.





What a spendid view of the valley below.


The strangest thing for me was.......  there were no lunch places open as far as I could find.  I had to return to "National Park Village" to eat.


Cheers Chris the Pipemaker. 





























January Sunrise at the Beach.

Posted on 9 January, 2019 at 16:15 Comments comments (0)

I got up early and got into to my car and drove to the beach before sunrise.  It was  already a beautiful day.


Much of the earth is grey, but the sky!!



Some mist shrouds Te Mata Peak and the surrounding hills.  Fisherman are out early drowning bait. The sun is at least ten minutes away.





To the North, Napier and the fertilzer works show their more bautiful sides.





A cheeky little cloud above Wairoa catches a little sunlight, even though the sun is at least ten minutes away from us.





The Pacific is peaceful.





The pink cloud has friends




A minute later and the light has spread.





In the East the light has become brighter.





The sun signals its arrival with light messengers.




Sunrise is only minutes away.




The sun is still below the horizon, but one little cloud is alreay in sunlight and glows brightly as if on fire.




Even a minute later and the light is different.





Now the sunrise is only fractions of a minute away.



This is about as late as it can be without the sun being in sight.





Just a sliver....  of sun.




In the time it takes to rewind the camera the amount of sun showing has doubled.




In another minute the sun will be above the horizon, and the glaring daylight will rob the shadows of their softness.  And I will be in the car and off for breakfast.  In ten minutes it will be six o'clock.


Cheers Chris the Pipemaker



Balls Clearing #5

Posted on 27 December, 2018 at 19:35 Comments comments (0)

The sun, hidden behind the trunk, plays magic with the shape of the tree.






Fungus plays an important part in breaking down fallen wood.





Another tall tree, possibly Miro or Matai.






This is an odd arrangement betweena tree fern and a tree.  They are both trying to occupy the same bit of forest.







Another massive trunk of another massive tree covered in ferns and stuff.  The leaves indicate it is a Miro.






As we get closer to the edge of the reserve, tha amount of light in the bush increases.





Light and shade.






More and more massive trees appear, as we walk along the track.




Huge areas of bush just like this bit, were cut down and carted away.  Although they built beautiful houses with the wood, much was wasted.  Today these houses are valued,  but few remain, victims to the changing fashions.




The character of the bush changes as we get closer to the edge of the reserve.





The smaller trees in the picture will never be as big as the grand trees behind.  They are a different kind of tree.





The tall trees have long trunks clear of branches.  It means great quality timber can be cut from these trees.





The tree in the foreground has moss, the one behind has none.






Th tree in the foreground has a very straight trunk.  Perfect for timber.  The one behind is twisted, as if it were dancing.  Great for fotografing....   but not for timber.




Balls clearing where Richard Ball lived for forty years around 1880 onwards.  He was able to clear the land as the ground was too swampy to sustain large trees.





Balls clearing is still farmed today as part of a much larger farm.  Another reserve is visible across the fields.

This is the last of the fotos of Balls clearing and the reserve.  Cheers Chris the Pipemaker.














































Balls Clearing #4

Posted on 25 December, 2018 at 20:40 Comments comments (0)

The tree fern is found in almost every bit of bush in the North Island.  It is less common but not unknown in the South Island.





This is a fotograf of SUNLIGHT!!  [Not the soap either.]





The information plate for the Kahikatea.




And the Kahikatea.





The base of a tree.  I was fascinated by the complete covering of the oustside of the tree by "stuff".








Wood does rot.  Especially when the understory of the forest is always damp.





The moisture allows mosses to thrive.





A close-up  of the moss






The moss even covers living trees.



The Miro is not a common tree in our bush.  It is similar to Matai,with leaves that are slightly smaller and longer.  I have not had wood from a Miro tree in my hand.I expect it is not too different from Matai.
 Just one post of "Balls Clearing" to go.  Cheers Chris the Pipemaker.



Balls Clearing #3

Posted on 25 December, 2018 at 4:05 Comments comments (0)

This is the compound leaf from a better perspective.  Seven leaves make up,  as a whole, a single leaf. 





The fern leaf is the compound leaf par excellence.  One large leaf made up of many smaller ones.  The smaller ones in turn are made of several even smaller ones.




Another view.






And another.





No words needed.





The bark of a treem is quite caracteristic of that breed of tree.  For some people, the bark is enough to identify a tree.  My belief is:-  this is a Rimu or a matai tree.








The sign says:-  Matai.







In one of these trees is enough wood to build and entire house!







 If the other was Matai, then this one must be Rimu.







The big trunk certainly wasn't Horopiro.  It is a small scrub with peppery tasting leaves.








This is not horopito, as this leaf has jagged edges.  It is pretty.





This is a native  .....   but not of New Zealand.  It is a native of England.






Thor has come by, looking for a toothpick for his teeth.  "This one will do!"






The fallen trunk had to be cut where it blocked the track.







This is the other end of the tree.  It lay stretched out over a great distance.

There is more!  Next time. ... ..  Cheers Chris the Pipemaker

Balls Clearing #3

Posted on 24 December, 2018 at 2:15 Comments comments (0)

This is a peppery plant that is quite common in the bush.  It is sometimes referred to as bush pepper.




You can see the compound shape of the leaves.  Seven individual leaves make a total shape that also resembles a leaf.




This foto creates sopm,e impression of just how big the Kahikatea are.





The base of the trunk of the tree in the last foto.




I find the bark of this tree so warm and friendly.




Some of these trees are huge. Again a Kahikatea.






It was a beautiful day.  Theplay of sunlight on the trunks and leaves of the trees is fascinating.




It was hard to find!!!  A hobbit home nestled in the roots of this tree....  or maybe it is a Totoro.






This foto needs no comment!

Balls Clearing #2

Posted on 22 December, 2018 at 22:35 Comments comments (0)

Some more fotos from the reserve at Balls Clearing

Tree ferns abound in this bush.  So do big trees.





This is the trunk of a Kahikatea, the tallest tree in the NZ bush.






The same trunk showing an unusual epifyte growing on the bark.





This is how ferns go when they produce lots of spores.





This is this years growth on a trackside plant.  It grows into a small tree.  The single leaf is large, made up in turn of seven  to ten smaller leaves. Some refer to this as a compound leaf.





 I love the fern for its ingenuity in taking a leaf shape made up out of a multiplicity of smaller leaf shapes.  These smaller leaf shapes are themselves made up of a mutiple of leaf shapes.   They managed this thousands of years before computers did it.





A fern tree wearing its old clothes.  It doesn't discard its old leaves,  it just lets them"hang around"!





This is how a new fern-leaf appears.  It "unfurls".




A tree branch has fallen off a tree, lost its bark and shows its bite.!! The wood is stil in good condition.





Further along the same tree branch.  Here it has begun to rot.





This is a tree trunk covered by another kind of epifyte.





This tree fern is wearing a grass skirt.  It is so modest.





This trunk is covered in moss, another kind of epifyte.


There is more to come.  Cheers Chris the Pipemaker


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