August Wanderings

The Moon Eclipse.  
I’ve seen the odd one during my life time but this one was the best.  It was sort of creepy though especially after watching it for awhile.  One can easily understand how earlier folk got all superstitious about eclipses.  Luckily, the clouds kept away.  The shadow of Earth seemed to take a long time to pass over the moon and then suddenly the moon was almost covered and I was still fiddling with my camera!  Anyway, it was worth getting up during the night to watch the rare event. 


Eclipse July 2018.

Conservation Work?
I’ve worked up the gully for 13 mornings during August (which mean anything from 4 to 6 hours each day) and most days with Kevin too. This year we have planted just over 1000 plants which is the highest number for any year. 
Now how about some of those carbon credits for all this work? When one thinks of all the conservation work of planting in our area alone being completed over the years, surely this must mean something in the way of helping with carbon credits, even if to offset excesses in other areas? If not, is the whole thing just political mumbo-jumbo? Another reason to tax people more?  We don’t even get any discount with our local body taxes! And these are set to sky rocket to pay for behind closed door deals. The countries overall public service, both national and local,  is something from the ‘good ‘ole’ days’ it seems.  


Flying Boat, Mission Bay Auckland c1950’s.

Those Old Slides

Over the years, I’ve taken many photo slides. Remember those Kodachrome slides? I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of them. I’ve had some scanned and after hearing that our local library has a new film scanner, I thought it should be worth while checking it out. It was and after three visits, I still have some more to do. Still, it’s a start and now the sorting of dates, place names and people’s names. Fortunately, I have in the past kept a number of diaries and these are a big help. A number of these slides are quite historic too like photos of the flying boats of TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Ltd) the early days of Air New Zealand, at their base in Auckland as are a number of photos of gravel (shingle) roads, old roadside buildings, since disappeared,  and the old way of loading cars onto the inter-island ferries by slings instead of the drive on like today.


Cardrona Pub c1963.


The Marble Quarry.  
In August we visited Kairuru Farm way up on Takaka Hill. Kairuru Farm has quite a lot of local history. It is of 4000 acres (1618.75 ha) and has been in the same family for three generations. We were with our walking group and after a run down on where to go and such, we were soon walking down an air strip to the old marble quarry. Between 1919 and 1921 about 5000 tons of this marble was quarried and shipped to Wellington for the building of the Parliament Buildings. During the 1970’s more marble was taken out for parts of the new additions to the Parliament Buildings, the Beehive.  Bellamy’s kitchen pastry slab is made from Kairuru marble, and weighs nearly half a ton. Some of the marble was used to build the Nelson Cathedral too. 
We wandered around the quarry, looking at the drill holes and the clean faces left behind then went a little further to the remains of an old boiler, abandoned railway wheels and other bits and pieces. In 1914 an Improved Cambridge wood fired gas producer was used on the site to drive the compressors for the drills and winching gear. The gas producer required dry low tar hard woods to produce hydrogen to drive the engine as the hydrogen was used instead of petrol. Hydrogen for petrol? How far or any progress made with this fuel process today?  The lifting cranes were driven by small steam boilers, the remains of one boiler is still on the site. 


The Takaka Marble Quarry.


Resting on blocks of the old marble, we had our morning tea. This marble is of very high quality and from an earlier quarry they had trouble cutting the blocks so a visit was made to Japan with some marble samples for the diamond saw manufacturer to test. The saws they were using were able to cut with a hardness of 20 while the Takaka marble has hardness of over 50, so it’s pretty hard stuff! Canterbury University College carried out crushing tests and found that the Takaka marble had a crushing  strength of up to 830 tons per ft3. Oamaru stone has a crushing strength of 90 tons per ft3.  
To transport the marble they built a railway or tramline line, from the quarry to the coast at Sandy Bay, all 10.46 km away. We had visited the site on occasions before but this had been through another private farm nearer the coast, by following this old tram line, so it was good to try another way.  
Kairuru – literally means  morepork (or NZ owl) food. Does it mean that there was plenty of food for the moreporks or were the moreporks used as food? 


Rainfall for August at our place was 121mm (average for August is 115mm)

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