Friday, March 31st, 2017


Even when it’s grey outside, flowers indoors give me a feeling of sunshine and Spring…


…in black and white or in colour…


..they put some Spring into your life!

I always seek out spring flowers at this time of year. Yes, the stores are selling them, but we need them! They help us with that transition period from snow falling  to flowers blooming. And I do love the floppiness of Tulips, the pungency of Hyacinths.

On a springy note, the crocuses are up in our front lawn, and the Witch Hazel bush I planted last summer, is blooming. Spring is arriving, the calendar doesn’t lie.  Well, they did say in Jen’s part of N.Z. that they missed summer altogether this year and went right from spring into fall weather, and we experienced that when over there.. but we don’t want to go right from winter to summer weather here!  People who experience four definite seasons a year, need all of them to feel that things are in order in the world. It’s troubling when it doesn’t happen that way. Meanwhile, as I write this, the Hyacinth is so fragrant around me that it’s as though it’s beseeching me to get off the computer and just  admire it .


Saturday, March 25th to Sunday, March 26th, 2017


We spent Saturday at the Los Angeles Arboretum, which was so lush given all the rain L.A. has recently received.

It also happened to be the Arboretum’s Annual Peacock Day. The peacocks are always loose, but at this time of year, they know spring is here, and they like to strut about. Finn made a good attempt at blending in..

IMG_4361 did the girls…This photo made me think of the N.Z. property! We’ve been able to enjoy spring around the world…sort of.


The trees, the bamboo…it was all  awesome.


…and then it was time to leave..

..Clearly even the lovely scenery couldn’t keep us awake on the drive back. Finn had a giggle as Tish snapped the photo of the “old folks”…but we had just arrived from N.Z. two days ago.  And this is how we looked on into Saturday night, into Sunday we flew a “red-eye” home. Work/pleasure holiday over. Six grandchildren visited, plus their parents…now, on Sunday p.m., as we head to bed, it’s behind us…and we, missing the noise, the layers of voices, the activity, even while we are happy to be home….if only not to embarrass ourselves any longer in cars and planes!

Friday, March 24th, 2017

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Another day in this equine neighbourhood, where you don’t need to own a horse in order to enjoy horses around you.


The Bird of Paradise plant in the front garden tells the story.  It was great to hang out with the family, play cards, eat together, just be together…and enjoy the weather while we were at it, knowing that snow was falling back home.

Wednesday, March 22nd to Thursday, March 23rd, 2017


Last day with these five…we drove to Wellington, where we were catching the plane, and went to the lovely Wellington zoo (a carbon neutral zoo!)..This was a thrill…


…as was this!


..and seeing the zoo with these enthusiasts..Sad to leave the family, but grateful to have had the time with them.


Then there was an entire day of travelling!! but since N.Z. is 20 hr. ahead of L.A. it’s just the next day, i.e. Thursday, here (and now already Friday in N.Z…just messes with your mind!!!)   Here Finn and Frank are enjoying a morning walk..lovely weather, great spring blooms. Finn, like Asa, loves to take photos and create videos. It’s always fun to see what the boys in both countries, have created!


We passed this “Mobile Farrier Service”..horseshoeing the neighbour’s horse..


…then in contrast, a visit to North America’s largest Ikea…right here in Burbank. Caleigh is pretending to interview Maya here in this “office” in one of the room displays there.

We are very fortunate to be able to enjoy these warm climates while seeing our children and their families at the same time.



Tuesday, March 21st, 2017


Our last evening here. Frank worked all day until after dinner! I finished up curtains and did some gardening..And so it will end, this time living with this wildly energetic family. And just to end on a wild note, the kids told Will that they wanted to make a “circus”! This is where they started…with a tight rope.


And Asa’s face says it all…


The cat meanwhile was the ultimate in calm. No dog chasing her, no children chasing her, no neighbourhood cat chasing her, everyone outside!

The funny thing is, once the kids go down for the night, we four adults are whipped, energy-less, wanting only our beds! It’s an effort to perk up enough to engage with one another.  Strangely, this can happen even without young kids about. Once the day’s jobs are accomplished, you (or at least me) just feel like vegging…t.v., or a book..or Facebook..or knitting. At least with kids tucked into bed, you know this is now your first chance all day to do these things, (unlike our calm retired life back home)! So, no guilt here,  we’ll veg together doing our separate things, but sharing the same space, talking a little, already missing one another.


Monday, March 20th, 2017


The kids were quiet, outside on the deck…this is what we discovered…they were dipping the sidewalk chalk into water, as an experiment..then covering surfaces with it, which meant that their hands…


…became this!!  Creative colourists.


…and to think they were so sweet in the morning! Here we are looking at the photos and videos that Asa has taken…a real history of the past year. Has he started young on a future profession?


Saturday, March 18th to Sunday, March 19th, 2017


Will was away on a course, and Jen was laid up for a few days…who could feed the alpacas? Frank and I, the kids, the dog, set out just to find them…they have a large free range.


The goats came running..they can get under and over they had to be greeted and loved up..


Then the “alpaca whisperer” managed to find the alpacas and have them follow him! “Kale” oversaw the procedure. Success all around.


On Sunday Will’s mum Eleanor arrived…to save the day…entertain our mutual grandchildren, while making amazing food for us to eat. Soooo appreciated by all, and clearly the kids were pleased to see her!


Friday, March 20th, 2017


Frank can’t just work hard…he has to do some designing as well…so he designed the grill over the doorway, as he did at our home. Looks good in N.Z. as well. Jen had some art prints, and Will made a frame for this, jumping it right up. The baseboard and quarter round went in too..both guys working hard to get this job done…


Finishing off the hallway…we leave early next week, so we’re getting to the line. We had sun today, and it was pleasant just to sit in the shade and knit for awhile…all the time feeling a little guilty, but just a little. I still did the laundry, hung it up with my helper Astrid, and made the dinner… but really, Frank is the all day worker…and fortunately thrives on the challenge of this job.

Wednesday, March 17th to Thursday, March 18th, 2017


Wednesday was still chilly..   the wood stove going, the rain falling, and “Trip”  caring less!


The cat, meanwhile, didn’t have as good as time. Jen laughed about being an animal sanctuary and here Astrid was “abusing” the cat. Her grin was tighter than her squeeze, and the cat kept staying with her though it could escape, especially as this grip released immediately into petting and purring!


On Thursday the weather was sunny!! and the kids, Jen and I went exploring on the property.


We went way up to the top and could see the neighbour’s white donkey and two miniature horses from there.


Along that property border, there is a long row of eucalyptus trees. Asa removed some of the beautifully peeling bark…with a plan in mind…

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To gather sticks, bark, long strands of grass, and make a tepee…”Trip” took a special interest in the sticks.


Astrid checked it out to give her seal of approval..


Then we all headed back…wonderful to have adventures available not far from outside the front door!

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017


Astrid and I picked flowers on the property…all her choices. I was just the clipper-ess.


She also exerted a lot of  control over which flower went where.. I love the arrangement, and especially the ease of making these flowers look great…the colours do the heavy work…any way these were arranged, they’d look stunning. One is an amaryllis, (the light pink blooms) which we would never have growing profusely outside, let alone use for a cutting…but I think Astrid really had an “eye” for what she was picking.