Evening Light

Good morning everyone,

The weather is on the turn and it is getting cold in the nighttime now so I have insisted that WaiWai allow Tima to sleep with him. Without Gentle Tane as a referee this will be a noisy transition but Wai needs warmth and Tima has plenty to spare. So there is no choice and Wai will eventually have to agree to share.

Listening to him complain about the change he did not ask for is curiously amusing. The animals know nothing of the last few weeks and care even less. They just plod on with their lives. Moaning on about the weather then accepting the change. Precious Time, our constant companion, will sort things out for us.

The barn yard is all birds and a few pet pigs now. The dogs – the five cats and the Guineas and the peacocks are all present and accounted for but have become a large homogenous flock.

It is easy to stay safe here. I am up preparing for work at 4.30 every morning and home by about 6.30 every night. I pretty much go nowhere in between. We wear masks all day at work because of the flour and the virus so wearing a mask 12 hours a day is second nature. And the mill is not really work – more an extension of the farm.

Healing the land and husbanding our organic crops through to the mill and then the milling, and the bagging and selling of the flour is such a natural and linear old fashioned process that it feels like a worthy use of my time. Banishing chemicals from John’s family land and growing food on it has been a valuable endeavor.

Though many times lately I have wished my land and my job and my American people were in New Zealand.

And as this year drags it’s slow and sorry arse towards a close I miss my people more. I have been away from home for a long time and it wears on ones soul to always be the odd one out.

At work I am surrounded in women who were born here and live only a few miles from their birthplace. Their family and school friends are close by. They will meet someone new and the conversation will shuffle around until they find a person in common. Once that is established and they can track a persons lineage they all relax. This is a conversation as old as time. One I cannot join.

Well – this mornings letter went to places I did not expect.

It is very windy this morning – windy and cloudy and not terribly warm but not terribly cold either. I will work on Tima and Wai’s bed some more and plug the water dishes in outside for the big birds. All the cows are in their winter fields now and are firmly in John’s jurisdiction. So, nothing to do there.

I hope you have a lovely day!

Take good care.


44 Comments on “Evening Light

  1. Miss C, we are glad you are among us and share your farm life and work life with us. I understand your feeling of loss at not being with your family, mine aren’t continents away, but are still isolated from us now because of the pandemic. I also understand you not fitting in the conversation when someone new is in it. Though my maternal grandfather grew up only a few short miles from our farm, I never knew any of that side of the family as my Mom was an only child of older parents who were gone by the time of my memory and we never visited here. I grew up across the state and my familial connection was all paternal, so I don’t “fit” in to the conversational lineage here, none of my mother’s family is still here, though the name lives on in a community name.

  2. You are a part of the mill, just as anyone else working there is. You are also one of the most resourceful women I know, evidenced in part from your ability to connect with others on this blog. Surely a door will open wider, a deeper connection can be forged among all of you?

  3. I hear you 🙂 Not a gentle day here with a wind storm building up and likely a bunch of snow. While it’s not winter yet this will be the first taste of it at my new place. Lots of progress in the past couple of weeks, with the power line for electricity put in and the panel set up. I dug the 100′ trench by hand, couldn’t get a machine in where I needed it. My generator is working fine and all sorts of bits and pieces of repairs needed have been done. I won’t be doing much outside today. Maybe rearrange the inside of the trailer for a place to put my small wood heater.

  4. What a wonderful homogenous flock you have now, a very soothing mixture. Mr Flowers?is looking wonderful. Silly old Wai Wai l guess he will eventually realise what’s best for him. I’m sorry to read of your struggles at the moment and your craving for family and New Zealand.l certainly agree with your philosophy about the end of this sorry old year. Pandemic and present politics ( in UK too)! Not looking forward to up coming year but at least it must be an improvement in the States.

  5. I sympathize with your feelings of too much distance from your tribe. Hopefully you can visit soon or maybe some will come to see you? I love the little moaning whiny video….poor big piggy!!!!

  6. I share your feelings about ‘home’ Celi- more so now that I’m forbidden to visit there. Although my children and grands are right here in California , I miss the ‘Lucky Country’ land of Australia. The ‘atmosphere’ of the 2 used to be similar, but no more. And because of my accent(s), I feel foreign in both countries. It’s the downside of having the travel-bug as a young woman, and ‘broadening’ my world view!!!

  7. Good morning Celi. After reading your post this morning, I just wanted to let you know that you touch many, many lives across our country, even though you feel you do not fit in. Visiting friends last Saturday, one of which makes wonderful sourdough bread, your Mill was brought up in conversation. He buys flour from many mills….but treasures yours in particular. It is amazing that a gal from New Zeland sells bread to a guy in AZ ….. and has a blogging friend in Scottsdale who LOVES, LOVES to read blog posts from your farm.

    Have a great day.


  8. Oh Celi!!! these pictures of my Boo, TonTon, the Duckies, Chicks, Mr Flowers, the Piggies ~ is priceless!!! I’ve missed them so much ~ so great to see them!! but I’m missing the cows!! Yup ~ it’s super windy here too. I’m with ya in being lonesome for home ~ we miss our yearly international travels to different countries ~ and especially to Germany to visit my relatives. Take care ~ hugs to Boo!!

  9. Your comment: “At work I am surrounded in women who were born here and live only a few miles from their birthplace. Their family and school friends are close by. They will meet someone new and the conversation will shuffle around until they find a person in common. Once that is established and they can track a persons lineage they all relax. This is a conversation as old as time. One I cannot join.” strikes a sympathetic note for me. As an anthropologist that is our lot too. to some extent even when we study in our own culture, for as much as the US seems to be a single culture it’s not. Where I live in New England I’ve been in that position three time for extended years of work. A further complication is that “back home” things have also been changing. I’m from New York city. Now days I get into a cab in Manhattan and they ask me where I’m from. I don’t think we can go “home”.

    • I never meant to be away from home this long. America is still a mystery to me – so vast. I have to believe that I can go ‘home’ back to the sea. I would have liked to study anthropology.

  10. I love the last photo. A beacon in the night. so sweet. You have accomplished so much. It’s not easy being the outsider, but I’m sure if we gossiped around we’d find out you are very much appreciated. (At least I hope so! Because I am in the same boat. Sometimes I imagine my funeral here in Italy, and there’s no one there. Right now that makes me laugh, because I’m in a good mood, and honestly, it doesn’t matter. But let’s hope it’s not quite that bad.) x

  11. Hello The Lounge! Thank you for this, Ceci – beautiful photos – make me feel good, make me content and peaceful, though I would like to get a duster to get the grass off lovely piggy’s face – just because it might tickle him , causing sneezing!

    I understand about going home. Even though my family is in the next state up in Portland, Oregon, I can’t go to visit because of the virus. My younger sister is awaiting surgery and must be healthy enough to have it without complications. My older sis died Friday and I can’t go up to comfort my family or to find comfort. I feel isolated, but at least I know that eventually I’ll be able to drive there, whereas I don’t know how long complications with flying will persist and you really can’t drive to New Zealand – giggle!.

    Thank you for the lovely photos and the shoulders to lean on!

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. For me Covid has pretty much been life as usual, with the exception of not being able to see my sister who lives interstate. When I think about it too much that’s where I get a bit wobbly. I hope soon that your family are able to get together. Take care.

  12. Beautiful photos of the Farmy Flock. An appreciation of down-to-earth life. I’m hearing you but to a lesser extent. My adopted village and valley is peopled largely by names and kin that aren’t mine, although many are relatives of my husband. But I’m happy here, my own person, and there are enough of us outsiders with more and more interloping to the region especially now with Covid encouring people to treechange. That said, I’m not separated from my own family by oceans. Despite that like NZ, Australia appears to be coping ok with Covid, we’re still sticking close to home and playing it safe…. But the Covid numbers overseas are mind-boggling. It quite terrifies me. Stay safe on the farm and at the mill, for now.

  13. A welcome post beautiful to the eye but in some ways not easy to read. Celi – methinks the farmyard photos posted today are some of the most beautiful and meaningful I have ever seen on your blog . . . they seem to be scenes wanting to be painted for eternity . . . of various living creatures who manage to reside peacefully together . . . unlike so many of us. I have always wished you could be more part of the land in which you live . . . but, especially at the moment, I so understand your body living a busy and useful life on the prairies but your heart and soul ever transported back ‘home’ . . . time will work that out . . . Do take personal care regarding the rampaging beast . . . have read two long articles this morning about the reasons circumstances are so different Down Under . . . may the Powers be with you . . .

  14. I’m so grateful to Helen for mentioning how she enjoyed the video. I said to myself, what video? and went back to discover Wai speaking. I totally missed it. Just this afternoon, my cousin mentioned seeing something on Channel 5 about a pig caught in a burning barn and saved by a woman who saw it happening. That’s when I told her about my love affair with your creatures. And now, 7 hours later, I discover you’ve spoken! Yes, like the others above, I love love seeing all your brood. I have to laugh how intense TonTon is watching Wai.
    To get my daily “fix” on animals, I watch something called “Explore.org” There are cameras literally all over the world trained on creatures, especially in Africa you can watch 24/7. Elephants, hippos, impalas, giraffes. And then, Kitten Rescue in Los Angeles. I watch these kittens — at the moment, there are 6 with their mother,a calico, cavorting and playing about. Sleeping plenty too. This is what keeps me sane.

  15. I hear the dislocation you’re feeling. I am 18,000km from my roots; I love and value and treasure my new home, but while the Husband and his siblings happily catch up with people they were at school with, link to families who have been here for generations, remember life here 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago, I stand by silently, unable to contribute or even participate. Each encounter serves only to underline what an outsider I am. But it’s what I have chosen. And my family-visiting privileges were withdrawn 4 years ago, when back surgery made sitting on a plane for longer than 2 hours an excruciating impossibility. So I have decided to embed myself; I am working on gathering together a group of women who are also slightly isolated by virtue of location, their husband’s work, their own profession or simple shyness. We meet, drink coffee, eat cake and talk about what we’re doing or making or thinking or reading. Socially distanced, but together. It helps, it really does.
    I had to laugh at Wai’s groaning. He sounds like my dog, when he’s particularly contented and comfortable, moaning slightly in pleasure!

  16. Celi, The coloring in your photos today touch my soul. November is always an emotionally tough month for me. Losses seem so heavy this time of year. I blame it on the shortening of the days, almost as if the pull of gravity becomes heavier. I feel I start to feel better as soon as the winter solstice comes and the days again begin to get longer. I say it is the tilting of the earth.

  17. Sad for you being unable to see your family. For what it’s worth, I live within 50 miles of where I was born and raised and am still within 60 miles of my remaining immediate family but for as long as I can remember I’ve felt separate, more of an observer than a member. I know I was/am well loved but still feel somewhat apart. Perhaps it’s being 8 & 9 years younger than my sibs, I don’t know. I am fortunate in having a wonderful set of step kids and grands and in laws but as is said, you can be alone in a crowd. Hang in there, I’m always glad to see a post from you. I think with all going on in this country this past year you certainly aren’t alone in feeling unsettled.

  18. I am not so far from my school friends and other family, but still feel the gaps. The mothers of the children at the park go back their own park days. My park friends long grown, as I am, sit along the benches, hopefully masked and spaced, as their children make their own park friends. Generation after generation.
    I looked to go back. Spent this odd year’s summer months back that way. It is no longer home. Yet neither is here.
    So off we’ll go, perhaps when the sun warms the soil again (and the soul again, as my keyboard first offered) in search of Home.
    And perhaps, if we’re lucky, it’ll be a place for my children to stay once they’re grown, to laugh at dinners with park friends long since grown.

  19. I have not done a good job of following your blog. I do, however, check in from time-to-time. Apparently, I haven’t checked in some time though as I am just learning you have taken on a job off the farm. My how things change. Moving to Texas has had its own set of challenges, but a year after we moved into our house another family moved into the neighborhood. Mom, dad, son and daughter from Illinois. To top is all off, mom is from New Zealand. COVID hasn’t allowed us to visit like we used to, but my Naomi and her daughter are great friends. So good things do come from change.

  20. What about searching for a penpal or two that are in New Zealand? They could take photos and tell you stories of their day and then you could also be an adventure for them of America! You are for me, as I love seeing your farm and posts and I am only in North Florida. Here is my small blog. https://www.wisdomforpennies.com Take care and ignore those royal class born people. You are who you are! And that is an awesome you. Hugs and love.

  21. I woke up this morning thinking about you and realized I have not been advised of a post from you. So I went in search of you and found this! It resonates so deeply and I feel some of what you feel. Fortunately for me, my daughter lives with me and my son is only 1400 miles away, not continents. Everyone I know here has been raised here. I’m a gypsy courtesy of military life and life in general. I have very little in common and am ALWAYS the outsider trying to find a way to blend in just a bit. This darn virus has made that even more difficult. I could grumble just like Wai Wai, but what good would that do. I’m looking at what I have to be grateful as my daughter cooks our Sunday morning breakfast. She’s working from home and we are both safe but we miss that feeling of belonging somewhere. I’ve missed you too. I know you are burning the candle at both ends and keep you and your well being in my heart. Keep taking care of yourself and your motley crew there. Giant squishy hugs little tornado. 😉

    • You are such a glowing light! I think many of us writers are a little removed from the general hurly burly – it is how we see more clearly maybe? Family is wonderful –

  22. I check your blog everyday but there are no new posts………..are you closing your blog?

  23. I have followed your blog for so many years now and here it is almost the start of a “New Year”………….I wonder where you are? Are you still here in the US or have you traveled back to New Zealand? Have you decided not to write a blog anymore? I hope you will return to blogging. I wish you a very “Happy New Year”!

  24. Your stuck here in a land not yours and my friend has been trapped in NZ since last Oct. She is grateful they are virus free but missing her place and family here in New Hampshire. Hope you are well and enjoyed something of Christmas. (nutsfortreasure) did you every write a sequel to Liter Sister?

    • I did begin the sequel but it did not gain the momentum that the first book did. So I let it go. Hope all is well with you. Being trapped away from home is an awful feeling – I hope your friend can get home soon.

      • Yes she is safe and has fallen in love but he refuses to come to America lol she found a smart one too! Glad all is well with you. Happy New Year

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