Seasons greetings 2019

Meri Kirihimete

Merry Christmas

As another Christmas arrives, please accept my very best wishes for a safe and happy time to all readers and followers of this page. While we settle in to our version of a New Zealand Christmas (yes, the raspberries will ripen in time and the fresh peas are ready to be harvested for the day), I spent a rainy day this week gathering one of every white flower I could find in the garden to contrast with the homegrown strawberries. I did not feel the need to buy Christmas nuts this year since we have diligently applied ourselves to gathering and drying the macadamia harvest. 

But my heart goes out to our neighbours across the Tasman Sea in Australia. With unprecedented bush fires, drought and extreme temperatures, the simple pleasures of a temperate Christmas – or even a wintry one with or without snow in the northern hemisphere – seem irrelevant. Our three children all live on the east coast of Australia, fortunately in urban areas so not in physical danger except from the appalling air quality in recent weeks. Like many New Zealanders, we are tracking the devastating impact of catastrophic fires and it is so far beyond anything we experience in this country as to be incomprehensible. All we can do is watch from afar and hope that people stay safe. Kia kaha, Australia.


Assembling the bits in one place

21 thoughts on “Seasons greetings 2019

  1. Pat Webster

    Seeing photos of the fires in Australia is an awful experience, even from this distance. My son and his family live in Perth and so are far, far away from the fires and the smoke and bad air. But to see so much destroyed, wherever it is, is a sad thing indeed.

    Merry Christmas to you and Mark, Abbie. And Nib8iamih8mek.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      My Canadian friend, now mostly resident here, says she has seen huge fires in Canada but nothing as catastrophic as that currently unfolding in Australia. Our son in Melbourne had escaped the smoke but I see that it hit that city a couple of days ago and his ability to get to Canberra by road for Christmas is no certainty.
      I hope you and your Canadian family have a lovely Christmas, maybe even a picturesque white one. Thank you for all your thoughtful interactions this year.

  2. sarahnorling2014

    And a happy Christmas and holiday season to you, Abbie. Thank you for another year of writings, always interesting, knowledgeable, entertaining, and thoughtful. I always enjoy reading your posts, and look forward to plenty more in 2020!

  3. lorraine blaney

    Thanks Abbie for all your columns this year. Always enjoy and look forward to them. We spent 10 days in New Plymouth in November and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The magnificent gardens, public and private and the friendly gardeners.The green, the green…and all those clear running streams. And Mt Egmont!! Its still pretty gruesome here in Aus and we are all hoping that Santa and his sleigh arrive trailing dense dark rain clouds.

  4. Robyn Kilty

    Thankyou for your readable and interesting posts throughout the year Abbie. I do endorse your wish that Australia particularly NSW may get rain soon as it seems that is the only way to bring an end to the horrendous fires. I, too have family and friends in and around Sydney.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      You got this comment through, Robyn! Merry Christmas. Having listened to Australia’s PM over the weekend and looking at the deniers and excusers on social media, my sympathy for Australia may wane quickly unless there is a popular uprising against these old ostriches.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Thank you Mark! And the same to you and Mrs H. I thought of you today as I charred capsicums to peel them before stuffing them. It was you who told me it was worth the effort.

      1. Mark Hubbard

        Hah! Yes, so sweet. Crikey, what memory you have.

        One of our family members arrives at our house Xmas morning about 2.00am and thinks if he makes enough noise, I’ll get up to let him in. Going to be interesting :)

        I’ve always loved Christmas. Especially the carols.

  5. Beverly Fothergill

    I read and enjoy your columns, Abbie, albeit some controversial opinions! It’s good to hear the arguments and different sides to them. I just love growing things and therefore find inspiration in the things you do which do have an influence on my old ways, e.g. allowing the meadows to grow and just mow paths. I haven’t managed to convince my good man – the mower – to adopt this practice, but I’ll keep trying!
    Enjoy the holiday season, if you’ve got time. If you’re anything like us you have to run around after watering systems and hoses quite a bit around summer!
    Warm regards,
    Bev Fothergill

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      How kind of you, Bev. Thank you. And best wishes and happy gardening to you. (We don’t water the garden. Ever really, bar a few of the vegetables. I got rid of almost all container plants because I couldn’t be bothered watering.)

  6. tonytomeo

    I am sorry I missed your posts.
    I must look at the news to see what is going on in Australia now, two weeks later. Their fires are very different from ours. Ours are very destructive because there is so much in the way of them. Those in Australia are actually MUCH bigger, and produce much more smoke.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Today’s post will give you an update. The fires are escalating.
      Land-wise, about 766,000 hectares were burnt in the fires in California.
      1000 000 hectares in the Amazon.
      Australia is heading upwards of six million hectares burnt already and climbing every day. The fires are uncontrollable and will continue with the hottest summer months still to come. Australia has such a unique wildlife and vast tracts of low population countryside that the losses must also be measured in loss of unique habitat and wildlife. Estimated half a billion animals killed. All the farm animals in the paths of the fire (sometimes they can get the horses and dogs out) but more of an impact long term at the loss of their wildlife. Houses can be rebuilt. The loss of their wildlife is more likely to be irreversible. I also wonder with the water bombing that is now starting on a much larger scale what the impact of dumping such vast amounts of sea water on coastal land will be. It is not like they have vast tracts of fresh water and lakes to call on for waterbombing.
      Tony, it is simply devastating to watch. And the long term effects of trauma on so many people must have repercussions down the years in the future.
      On current form, it is likely to be a similar situation next summer.

      1. tonytomeo

        For many of our ecosystems, the fires are an unfortunate consequence of so many decades of fire suppression. The forests are much more combustible than they have ever been before because they have not burned in so long. Fires are trying to correct the situation to some degree. The problem is that we all live in the way of these fires. Although rare in Australia, such extreme fire seasons likely occur every few centuries or so, but have not been documented by modern inhabitants. Endemic people were likely aware of them, but did not document their full scale. Endemic people of the Pacific Northwest documented a single fire that started on the coast of Washington and burned for a few years, and right through winters, and eventually reached the middle of Montana.

      2. Abbie Jury Post author

        Of course there have always been fires in Australia and they are used to coping with a usual fire season, even a bad one. But nothing on this scale and ferocity before. I don’t buy the argument that this is a normal part of nature’s cycle. Nothing normal about the entire continent registering temperatures over 40 degrees, topping around 50 in some areas.

      3. tonytomeo

        It is impossible to know what is normal though, when based on less than a few centuries of experience. Europeans who migrated to California were aware of earthquakes here, but did not anticipate the Great Earthquake in 1906 because they never experienced one like it here until it actually happened. They happen only every century or so. Because some of the trees here are thousands of years old, their rings document years or severely inhibited growth that were likely caused by droughts that were more extreme than any drought we have experienced so far.

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