Today I woke up and there was honest to god, real life snow, just lying everywhere, being all lazy.
Even though it's winter, around these parts there hasn't been snow since 1995.
So, what better way to spend a Monday morning than to go for a walk up a local hill? (rhetorical question)
This hill, unsurprisingly.
Mum brought her gloves, made from 100% genuine Muppet, and we were away!
We passed a couple of ducks. One looked like this:
The other looked different. Grumpier (I think).
There were also some wild quail. They hopped away in that bizarre quailly manner, which can't really be explained. They weren't particularly scared of us, so I'm guessing there aren't a whole lot of quail hunters in this suburb. As a side note, guns are rather damn difficult to get your hands on in New Zealand, so that probably helps. I'm not sure, exactly, how quail keep up with current gun legislation, but they did seem to have a handle on it.
New Zealand is also very green (you may have heard).
There's plenty of green to go round. Lots of other bits look like this too.
Mum got very excited by the first bit of snow we found (I did mention it's rare here, right?)
It was also crunchy under foot (always a nice sound).
I told Mum I was going to take a photo of myself throwing a snowball at her. Thus, this is blurry — as I'm frantically clicking with one hand & biffing with the other. However, note, just left of her left shoulder — voila! Snowball! In the air! I claim victory! (even if this one did miss her, dammit)
We also saw lots of crazy gorse. Flowering (in winter), in the snow:
Gorse is something of a huge pest here in NZ. This is similar to many innovative & brilliant ideas we gained from the British, who brought gorse over to use as hedges. They didn't allow for the fact that NZ is on the other side of the planet (surprise!), thus has a completely different climate.. and voila! Gorse The (now) Noxious Pest took over the country. See also: rabbits, and possums. Thanks England! (I'm signalling my disapproval with two thumbs up!)
Gorse is, however, rather pretty (aww).
We're also pretty good at growing ferns over here:
Mum insisted I get this pic. The framing is crazy coz the ferns were so giant, and the track so small, the only way I could get the pic was by holding my camera over my head (ie, I really had no idea where it was pointing).
When we got to the top, there were a ton of gums & pines (it's forestry area, sorta), all looking as pretty as a picture:
So, you know, here's a picture.
I also made a snow man (I said I would!). Well, a snow alien:
He was tiny but cute (kinda like me — at least some of the time).
Mum reckoned he was starting to look like a rabbit, but No! He's An Alien!
Mum did try to twizzle her hair up into antenna, but since everything was pretty wet by now (snow! it's wet! who knew?) it didn't work so well. I reckon she's got the arms pretty much perfect though.
Which was good timing, coz about a minute later one of the arms fell off the alien (who obviously didn't have quite such a strong grasp on the whole arm/body concept).
The view from the top was pretty spectacular:
You can just (if you tilt your head and squint) see the blue of the sea, right off in the distance between those two hills. Trick is, the river runs down into it. They do that sometimes, I'm told.
I also took enough shots to get a panorama of sorts, but I need to figure out how to do that (without wasting hours of my life painstakingly aligning everything & adjusting brightnesses etc).
Everything in general was pretty damn pretty.
Also, we had coffee from a thermos, which made everything more awesome.
This gum was quite beautiful too:
I've always had a soft spot for gum trees, but I think five years in Australia has made me love them more than ever.
Oh, and proof that the five or six snowball fights weren't all one sided?
All that snow on me? That was after I'd brushed myself off. I was covered in it! All thanks to my Mum. Sheesh! I used to think she loved me! What a meanie.
One reason I'm laughing so much was that she'd never used my camera before, so picked it up the wrong way. She was about to take a giant photo of her face — which of course I could see perfectly, since the screen was facing me. Oh Mum!
On the way back down, we found a giant branch that had fallen onto the road, so we dragged it off to the side so no-one would come round the corner & drive their truck into it.
We also found the perfect picnic spot:
And that was in the middle of a snow storm! Now imagine how beautiful that'll be in the summer!