The Friendly Friday challenge is hosted alternately by The Snow Melts Somewhere and this week by Something to Ponder About. The theme this week is ‘Revisited’, which I thought would be easy, but then had to really think about.
In the end I chose somewhere that has been a large part of my life over the last 20 years or so, my Dad’s farm in Northland New Zealand. When he moved there with my stepmother Jackie originally, they lived in a converted garage building, with an outside ‘dunny’ that’s toilet to those who speak Kiwi/Aussie. They then built their house, having cut the trees from their own ‘bush’ (Forest), milled the wood, designed and built a house. Quite an epic challenge really.
The property was about 70 acres, largely of native bush, the beauty of which will always stay with me. The house evolved over time, to its final ‘finished’ state, but in reality it was an ever changing work of art, as were the gardens and land around it as you will see. When I first visited they were still living in the garage, the house was up, but empty inside apart from timber. Over the years as I revisited, I got to see the creation come to life, and at time helped when I could.
Dad moved from the farm a couple of years back. Age waits for no man, and a farm and property this size is a lot of hard work. All things come to an end, but please see below just some of the photos I have taken over the years.
These first photos were taken when I first got back to NZ as an adult back in 1995 to 1996. At this time only parts of the house were usable. The land around was still part building site. I had to post the photo with the spider as I never did work out how that got in the shot. I was living in Auckland for about a year and a half and used to get up to the farm when I could. When my brother and I had first arrived we had slept in the house with hammocks strung from the wooden batons inside.
Then these were taken about 5 years later on another trip down to NZ. They were living full time in the house although there was still plenty of work to do. Dad asked me to build him a Dinosaur, which was an interesting project. I used steel foundation poles, which I bent into shape anyway I could, often under the wheel of a tractor. I had to learn to weld as well, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The space and materials. I had to include the shot of my younger brother Jamie with green hair sticking out of a Dinosaur bum!
The next shots were taken in 2006. The house was a lot more complete by this point, and the dinosaur had found a home. He still wasn’t finished, but looked comfortable on his newly built island.
A lot happened in the next ten years, my life changed considerably and I ended up with my two boys, the next great adventure. I took them to NZ in 2016, not long before the farm was sold, so at least they got to experience it. Sorry about the quantity of photos, but we had gone digital and I was working with a camera, and iphone and an ipad so many photos were taken. It was great to see the house complete, and to see the bush just the same as it had always been. Dino finally got his permanent coat. Over the years I had many adventures there, cutting down a hillside of tea tree with a chainsaw, spending all day digging a post out of clay, building the woolshed on Christmas day, hunting possum at night with my little brother, and of course building a dinosaur! So many different things, but mostly it was my home away from home. When I first arrived I was a young man with a backpack. When I revisited for the last time I was a Father approaching my half century!