On the 160th anniversary of the Carrington Event, the biggest solar storm ever recorded, we were blessed with a visit from Aurora Australis here in New Zealand. Nothing like the power of the phenomena in September 1859, it was nevertheless, a beautiful sight. Those down in the deep south saw the best of it, but here in North Canterbury, this is what we saw. I am so lucky that I can take these photos from my front door step, looking due south.
The second photo shows the passage of the International Space Station across the sky. Now that wouldn’t have happened in 1859!
Who knew that in 1860 it cost £8 for a hogshead of beer in Canterbury, a swine could be yours for £2, or maybe a pound of salt for a shilling?
Who knew that over 48 inches of rain fell in New Zealand in 1860?
And, who knew that the country was divided into North Island and Middle Island at the time? I guess that made Stewart Island the South Island in those days!
Who knew that we couldn’t count the Maori population because :-
‘ the Native Insurrection would have interposed during the last year almost insuperable difficulties in the way of any attempt to collect definite Statistical facts in some of the most important Maori Districts‘?
All this, and more can be found in the Statistics of New Zealand for 1860, an absolute treasure trove of information for those writing a book about the period!
You can buy all sorts of things from vending machines these days, but Timaru Library brings us the only short story dispenser in New Zealand. Choose from a 1, 3 or 5 minute read. What a great idea!
Read the full story here – Timaru Library Short Story Dispenser
But, of course, if you prefer a longer read, why not buy The Wideawake Hat
I came across this today – oh, so true. And Lily (above) agrees.
All I Need To Know In Life I Learned From My Hens – Anon
Wake up early, stay busy, rest when you need to, but always stay alert.
Visit your favorite places each day.
Scratch out a living.
Routine is good.
Plump is good.
Don’t ponder your purpose in life – your brain is too small.
Accept the pecking order and know your enemies.
Weed your garden.
Protect your children fiercely – sit on them if you need to.
Take them for walks, show them the little things and talk constantly.
Make a nice nest. Share it with friends.
Brag on your accomplishments.
Don’t count your chicks before they hatch.
Protect your nest egg.
Test your wings once in awhile.
Squawk when necessary.
As you age, demand respect.
Leave a little something for those who care about you.
Chase butterflies XX
I’ve been writing about birdsong today. And it reminded me about the South Island Kokako. A real life treasure hunt, or should I say bird hunt?
There’s a kokako that lives up north. It was doing pretty badly but, by developing breeding programmes in places like Tiritiri Matangi, it is recovering quite well. It has bright blue wattles which Maori thought were bags to could carry water. It also has a beautiful and melodious song.
In the South Island, the kokako had orange wattles, and it too had a melodious song and feathers of great beauty. I say ‘had’ because the last sighting of the S.Island kokako was in 1907. Officially extinct. HOWEVER – there have been reported sightings over the last few years, mostly in the forests of the west coast. There is even a reward for the first official, ratified sighting.
I love a good mystery, and I live in hope that South Island kokako once again grace our forests in my lifetime.
Read more about the South Island Kokako
Photo credit – Original image of NI kokako by Tara Swan, creative touches by Oscar Thomas and Geoff Reid