Thursday, March 26, 2009

Watch your toes

More photos left undpublished from earlier in the year. These ones are from our holiday in Taupo in January. Desiree, Jayne & Nicky enjoyed feeding the swans on the Lake while we holidayed in Taupo. So I was able to capture them braving the threat of ravenous swans scavenging the bread, and threatening toes while they were about it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Not quite Christmas past ...

I was cleaning up photo files recently, and discovered a bunch of Christmas photos I had forgotten about. These are in addition to the ones I published previously.

So here they are.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hmmmmm ... Pikelets

I like pikelets. I also make pikelets. I'm told they are also known as 'drop scones' in other parts of the world.

They are a favourite Sunday lunch.

The preferred and reliable recipe is from the iconic Edmonds Cookbook although, strangely enough, they don't have the recipe on their website. Probably because they now sell a pre-prepared mix for pikelets.

The Recipe

1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon Edmonds Baking Powder
1 oz Butter (suit yourself)

Beat the egg and sugar until thick and add with the milk to the sifted flour, salt and baking powder.

Lastly add melted butter.

Mix until smooth and cook in spoonfuls on a hot greased gridle. (A frypan is OK, provided the heat is kept low.)

Cicadas in the air

It's a quiet Sunday morning. I'm up on my own, pottering about - read the paper, check the state of our new voice recorder, have a cup of tea, see if there are any emails, have a cup of tea, sterilise some bottles for the latest beer batch, have a cup of tea.

You get the picture.

I open the back door - it is warm, there is a gentle breeze, and the constant noise of cicadas.

That is a sound New Zealanders grow up with in late summer. I can remember walking home down Narbada Crescent in Khandallah past wooden powerpoles with as many as 2 dozen cicadas on each one. And each cicada was making it's repititious, vibrating noise.

I've just had a quick look online, and found which is actually a website hosting company, and nothing to do with cicadas at all but it does have a page of information about the insects!

There are in fact a whole host of websites devoted to cicadas, including what might be considered the 'official' one for New Zealand, at Landcare Research.

But what prompted this was that on Thursday morning I went out onto the deck, and there was a cicada, just sitting minding it's own business, and ignoring me (as far as I could tell!).

And it was silent.

So of course I got my camera, and happily snapped away for a moment or two.

What surprised me was that after all these years of thinking cicadas were brown and black so they are camouflaged for hiding on tree trunks, that in fact they have startling green and yellow and purple, and black and brown. I knew their wings were opaque, but not that you can see right through them.

I agree I've never made a study of cicadas, or any insect for that matter, but it is startling to have ones assumptions undermined so forcefully.