Harbingers of Spring

When it gets towards the end of winter, what a change a couple of warmer drier weeks can make.

What stood out in May, June and a great deal of July here at Pukeokahu on the Rangitikei River in the central North island of New Zealand, was rain, rain and more rain. In fact, there was that much water in the soil that it felt like our paddocks were floating.

And as far as rafting was concerned, the river seemed to be in almost perpetual flood, with only one trip a week being able to put on.

There was also a snow fall and power outage to keep us on our toes.

Contrast That with Now

While temperatures are still not tropical, after all it is still winter, the sun is now shining on a regular basis. The surface of the soil is slowly drying, while every step you take on bare dirt no longer ends with a thick wad of mud on the sole of your boots.

There is Much to Love About This Time of Year

The first daffodils and jonquils are flowering, with many many more just a week or two away

Snowdrops are in full bloom

Early wattles (acacias) are quickly becoming cloaked in yellow

Roadside wild plum trees have big fat flower buds ready to burst into short lived glory

The odd early lamb is frolicking around on pastures that are starting to green up, ready for that explosive spring growth

The river is starting to get that special blue colour that only early spring light gives it

Garlic shoots in the vegetable garden are growing strongly, and onions have just been planted

But this time of year, does not only bring changes in plants and animals. It also brings changes in us.

spring flowers at river valley lodge
spring flowers at river valley lodge
spring planting in the vegetable garden at river valley lodge
spring lamb at river valley lodge

Changes in Our Spirits and How we Look at Life

For myself, the winter period, while still busy with lots of chores, writing and tree planting, is still a time of mental rest. Now as each day sneaks just that little bit longer than the one before, I feel my spirits lifting and a deep excitement building.

I get excited when I think about multi day rafting trips, such as an early season trip on the Ngaruroro River in Hawkes Bay.

I get excited when I think about that special spring blue colour of the river

I get excited when I think about the grass in the horse pastures exploding into lush green multi species growth – though the effect that can have on the horses is not always welcomed by the trekking guides

I get excited when I hear the orchestra of birdsong as our feathered neighbours get active and go through their noisy mating rituals

I get excited when I think about many of the seasonal staff, old friends and new, returning for another few months of work, fun and occasionally a touch of mayhem.

Yes, there is much to love about this time of year. Just embrace it.

Brian Megaw

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