Sunday, May 31, 2009

Southerly Drift

Paul rang last night; seems that he'd not talked with Tom about using the boat, or at least how it would be towed. Dunno, must be getting nappy brain already (this does happen to males also - my observation only). So how he and Andrew were going to hunt with no tow vehicle (Tom's gor the 'Baru at Whanga)... well, that's a big unanswered question. But shit, when Rilee was due I was a mess, couldn't remember what day it was. Leaving in 30 minutes, wind is fresh Southerly and its a bluebird day. A walk on the phezzies and an evening shoot, that's the order of the day. (Man I need this).

Saturday, May 30, 2009

More hot dekes

How's this lot? Full Curl Mallard drake dekes. Sweeeet.

And a GHG drake. No expert can convince me that flocked dekes are not the way to go.

Pond People

Rick left a message that no birds went into the ponds and that hut was in good shape. Andrew jut called, I'll meet Paul at Mt Roskill and help load the boat. I reckon its shaping up nicely for tomorrow afternoon/night.

Really nice guns

Not everyday that I read CNN Fortune (some intellectuals that I know actually do...) but this is a darn good reason to.

Calm Saturday

No weather to speak of here on the sunny North Shore. Have texted Rick to see what's happening in the ponds, not much I suspect but you can never tell. Roll on tomorrow and some hunting. I think the night flight will be pretty intense if its drizzly. :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Office

A big week, restructure, change, people's expectations damaged and feelings hurt. With 10 minutes to go I'm feeling really tired. I 'get' why Friday after work drinks are so popular. I'd prefer to be somewhere with ducks getting ready to come in. Roll on Sunday!
Spoke with cuz Paul and he's up in Kaikohe - says "there's lots of ducks up here". I would (if I were him) take the gun everywhere, we don't often have chances handed to us and he spends lots of time outside with his job.

Sounds fantastic really. A job with minimal time in "The Office".


I bet there would be a fair farkin uproar if F&G really does ban lead in sub-gauge guns. Definition of sub-gauge is a bore smaller than 12, so it includes 16, 28, 28 & .410 (which is a bore, no, not boring, you know what I mean...). I read ages ago that of all the shotgun gauges or bores, the 16g throws the most consistent pattern, almost irrespective of load and shot size. I can't tell you why. Maybe they are like the snowflake of the gun world, when it hits the pattern is perfectly symmetrical.

I don't really believe that a magnum lead load through a 20g is anywhere near the same load as a 3" load of quality steel. I think that a 20g is a perfectly adequate gun for pheasant, and quail, and partridges (maybe I'll shoot one of those this year). Those birds are all soft in the body with droopy feathers. But waterfowl are different, they have layers of feathers, the outer layers are hard and water repellent. They have stronger bone structure, it takes more energy to bust their bones. No, 20g magnum lead waterfowl loads give some people the excuse to carry on using lead over water. But I think that I want to have that excuse. But I want a big fat killing payload of lead at my disposal, I want an awesome, even, nasty powerful pattern of bone busting flesh shocking lead. I want a 16g.

The fact is that I have always wanted one, just like I want a Beretta SO5. My 16g would most likely be a gun of American extraction. It would be a double, it would be classy, sweet lines, schnabel fore grip... dream dream dream. Delivered to me by one of Yamaha's paddock girls....

I would paint ducks from the sky with it. Pheasants too. I would be invincible, irresistable. Muwahahaaa.

Weekend Weather

Looking good for tomorrow, so Rick's going in to ponds tonight. Sweet, glad he's using the area. He's got a night shooting spot close to town, in fact I've often looked 'down' (hint-hint) on the area in question and thought how good it looked. Now, to apply a gentle arm twist...


Weather map thanks to Metvuw. Not trying to rip them off, ok?


Its pretty clear that amongst the really fanatical waterfowlers that the brand of decoys used makes a difference to their bag. These days all the good decoy makers are up with the play, moving away from the 'head bolt upright' models that we've had access to, to newer and better ranges of heads with various more relaxed poses, better and more realistic colours. Even so, some decoys are still better than others.

Take the new Flambeau with "U Vision". I wont comment on UV, that's for some scientists. But as long as Flambeau gives their decoys triangular shaped heads and paints the hens bums white they will not pass the truly real test in my opinion.

Market leaders by design and main choice of NZ's 'gurus' seems to be Avery's Greenhead Gear range. The top of the line and oversize ranges are very realistic in their original paint schemes and poses as far as I can see in photos. Given the strong mix of grey duck genes in the mallard population here our drakes often tend to be darker, although it must be said that as the season progresses and the birds colour up for mating the American colours do come to the fore.

Hard on their heels are the new Final Approach range. Again, great colours (dark) and realistic poses and attitudes. I think that Avery should be worried here in NZ (if they care) because FA is backed by the Hunting & Fishing group, whereas Avery choose to distribute via a retailer with no wholesale reps on the road. Just my opinion, but I think we'll see far more FA decoys around than GHG in a few years.

Most of our original plastic dekes were the fine Italian made Carrylites. Obviously production has now moved to China or Taepei or someplace like that. Their latest hen is fine, but the drake is not going to cut it against the better designs of GHG and FA. Looks like a rugby ball with a head stuck on it. They will work early season for sure but.... anyhow, the old Carrylites were almost indestructable and I really liked the Super Magnums, although again the drake had some pose problems.....

And a new contender - the colours of the new range of Higdons look very realistic. While not offering the same range of head poses as FA & GHG, they pretty much have it sorted. They offer foam filled dekes too - so they can survive the old stray shot or rat chewing. They've even thought through the drake tail curl getting stuck in the decoy bag mesh issue. Nice. Colour maybe too light but that could be worked on.

Manufacturers also produce budget ranges. Last year I saw alot of GHG 'Hot Buy' decoys on TradeMe for pretty decent prices. Take a closer look though, and you can see that while pretty sweet, they aren't of the same standard as the top of the line ranges.

I'll put up some flocked headed decoys later... they are the bomb (drakes are at least).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Andy H

He's emailed me, things are looking good for Sunday. I get as much buzz from planning as I do from executing the plan. This is already turning into Twitter fodder, a blow by blow account of my thoughts.... shame on me :)


Marce has agreed that I can shoot Sunday night. Yay! Rick's in touch, he's looking at Saturday/Sunday. Neato.

The Season to be Jolly - Opening Day to now

So for 2009, our party looked quite different. Darryl was gone. Tom was recuperating. My cartilage operation was half recuperated – I had to look after the knee only 2 weeks post op. We numbered up as follows; Dad, me, Paul, Tim, Andrew, Frank (only for 1 day) and invited shooters Rick, Valerij and junior shooter Flynn. 9 shooters is a good number for our ponds. It gives us 2 on Willow, and Puru, and this time around Rick & Valerij could shoot Park.

Saturday May 2nd 2009

Dad arrived in on Thursday to begin his preps, picking up Rick & V on Friday morning. I got there yesterday (Friday) afternoon and set the dekes on Bollocks, Puru, Watsons and McLennan’s with Rick & V. Park looks great, flocked head decoys are something special, plus Rick has a remote controlled Mallard Machine, spin wing pole mounted birds and a couple of decoys that sprayed water out of their bums – all adding to the perception of movement! The shooting roster: Dad and Flynn at Willow, Paul and I at Puru, Frank at Watson’s, Rick & V at Park, Tim at McLennan’s and Andrew at Bollocks.

The shoot

Opening was interesting; Paul and I got a decent bag. Tim had a bad run at McLennan’s, in fact the worst that pond has shot since it was opened up again. Andrew did ok down at Bollocks, dad and Flynn competed against the Thames guys’ sky busting for as long as they could stand and Frank had an early gun problem so decided to sleep in the maimai. I think the final tally was mid eighties, once the guys had moved around ponds and got into the action. Rick & V stuck it out, I had moved down to help them call birds and they got some pretty quick results before I hightailed it with Rick’s dog to find downed birds. I will get another dog one day, just need to sort out Marce. I ended up in Bollocks in the afternoon, flagging mallards to get their attention. The wind dropped and then Rick’s pond came into its own with birds dropping into his motion dekes relentlessly. He and V ended the day with limit bags, which was a fantastic result for them. For the evening dad and Flynn went into McLennan’s but something’s not right there at the moment….. So mixed results, but overall a highly enjoyable opening. I got a “5 with 5 shots” today, 5 birds in one flock with 5 shots…. But I’m not saying more. The evening meal was lovely – marinated venison, veges, yum yum.

Sunday May 3rd 2009

Tim & I went to Willow. We expected some stiff competition from the guys next door but it didn’t eventuate. I remember re-setting the decoys mid morning because I didn’t like their placement. We got a half dozen mallards, on what turned out to be a super quiet day for everyone. According to Tim who has a good memory (although I can’t think why) the rest of the party got something like – “Rick and V got 2 or 4, 2 I think, Andrew 0, Paul 2, Dick 0 and Flynn Brock's Greatest Hits got 1”. So it was quiet all right. This evening Flynn and I went across to the night spot, but it was a bit early in the season for the birds to be present in numbers there. We got called to by a bird back in the trees, but she stayed put. I had a shot at a drake that circled a few times and plucked a bunch of feathers but he kept going. Tim, Paul and Andrew at Puru put down a few birds, in fact they had a really solid shoot so Flynn and I got to sit and listen to their shots. Doesn’t bother me so much because I’d normally back my ability to put myself near birds; but Flynn, well he’s only a young guy and wanted to be in middle of the action. This was my first chance to talk to him; already he has some impressive achievements including deer to his name. He expressed how much he’d enjoyed himself and I reckon he’d be the type who’s just get feral; hunt the swamp hard and get the results. He’ll just get better and better I think. We ate steak that night, lovely prime fillet steak thanks Rick!

Monday May 4th 2009

I decided to give McLennan’s a whirl on Monday morning, all the time aware that today was going home day. Its always a tough day, wanting to see wife and child; but regrets that I’m leaving the swamp behind. I started taking up the dekes at about 8.30 due to lack of action. While I was at it the ducks flew of course, and I managed to bang up my knee running up the ladder at McLennan’s. Pretty sure the surgeon said not to do that sort of stuff until mid June. No shots for me from there. I wandered down the gut to see dad at Watsons, he had a couple in the bag. Two came around and we dropped them both (I’ll claim them) and I got another later. 3 for the morning, dad’s couple and Flynn had 4 from Puru including a spoonie hen which he’d beheaded. We cleaned up the balance of the ducks, got the boats packed and headed out. Dad and I took the hired boat to his place and water blasted it clean again. It had been truly filthy.

Thursday May 7th – Saturday May 9th 2009

Dad and his mate Larry went to the ponds, shooting Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday morning. Paul took his mate in on Friday. I think they got about a dozen birds, a slow-ish result for the second weekend. Paul mentioned that the ducks were dropping in on the feeder. New motor on the boat – 70 horses of Yammy power. Sweet. The diary shows that the guys all had a great time. I’m writing this blog a little late. Oh yes, we’ve had a bag of dekes stolen. Some asshole just couldn’t help his sticky fingers.

Friday May 15th 2009

Weekend 3 and it’s me and the Holland boys. We have some plans, boy do we. Tonight I’ve nipped over to Paeroa to pick up the boat… its iffy me being here because Rilee is sick, but the boys need the boat. And I really want to shoot. Yeah it’s shitty on Marcia. I promise to keep in close contact and keep to my word. By the time Tim arrives (he’s taken Quinn to his Friday night rugby match) it’s getting on. Andrew and I discover that the punt keys are not at the hut so a call is put in to dad, and sure enough they’re in his jacket pocket. So he agrees to bring them to the landing. We get there and the timing is sweet, dad and Tim are both there so we load up Tim’s stuff, grab the keys from dad and head back down river. It’s after 11.30pm before we sit down to write the diary and have a cup of tea/beer. We’ve set up Watsons and Puru, and with Westerly forecast we’re thinking happy thoughts, chatting happy chats and we’re ready – at least I know that I am. I’m going down to Watsons and the boys will take Puru.

Saturday May 16th 2009

It’s wet, windy but warm, so we know there’s a good dollop of North in the wind. More in fact than I had expected, so I’m not that happy with the decoy layout. I’m really unhappy about the maimai – its only week 2 and a bit but its looking really shabby. It’s getting to me - so while I do drop a couple of ducks in one flock, I’m not feeling on top of my game. I blow one chance at a pair really badly – sky busting even? Normally I’m good for ducks up to 45m and sometimes a little further, and they were in good range so it’s a block.

********* (Greatest Hits & Misses!)

I tend to remember misses more than hits, which can get annoying. I do remember my first ever double. I remember a sunny day long ago - maybe 20 years ago - where I took a limit in high overhead doubles at Willow. 10 shots, 10 ducks, all left & rights – that was before the new maimai. I remember 5 ducks with 5 shots several years ago in the dusk light. I remember dad and me, opening day 1985, we took 50 birds at Willow. I remember in particular from that day, a single that dived in with cupped wings as I was retrieving at the end of the pond near the corner. I took him out with dad’s Simson U/O. I remember some happy bags, happy times, and happy shots. But misses just burn into my memory. I remember lots of misses. I remember sight pictures of misses. I try and take my own advice, ‘watch the chin’…. Which incidentally doesn’t work on departing pheasants…


Saturday 16th May – 10.30am

But back to the situation in hand. Musing is good, but I live for today and tomorrow. I’ve finished resetting the dekes and have decorated the maimai. I grab Geordie and head down to Puru. The boys have 4 and one of mine they’ve finished (makes it theirs, rather than ‘mine’ under our rules). The wind is stiffening; its northerly and ducks are moving. But we have places to be, Tim’s got us access to a nearby property in the foothills – and this place has pheasants. We’re looking at each other – it’s a northerly for god’s sake!!! Who gives up a Northerly? It’s the best duck wind of all and it comes around one in 20 days in the field. Makes it hard when you’re office-bound. But we go anyway, pulling the boat out and taking it with us. Not Geordie though, he hasn’t got the legs for it and besides I can’t prove he’s had his inoculation shots – and that’s important when stock and farm dogs are concerned. We arrive and are greeted by a delightful guy, a few hand shakes and we’re off! We’re on the back of his quad, Tim & I in the trailer, Andrew on the quad for grip. This’ll be a test of my knee for sure. We get out and talk about the go and no-go zones. And then, we’re away. I’ve told the guys that pheasants are very spooky, they have great hearing and very good eye sight. And so they do… we’re 5 minutes in and a big rooster is off and heading from cover patch to cover patch. He dives into a creek bed. Tim’s on one side, Andrew and I on the other. A big hare shoots the gap; I draw a bead but hold off. Its only 5 minutes in after all… carrying one of those big buggers gets tiring! Behind us a hen is off and running. Another flies from above us somewhere, gliding away down and to the right as I look over my shoulder. Where’s the boy? Andrew holds still, while I pick up a stick and start hitting the fence line I’m on. I close the gap to him. Arriving back beside him I throw the stick out of sight into the creek bed – and THERE HE IS! The unmistakeable take off of a cock bird, the frantic bush crashing flapping and he’s out of there. I’ve got a split second and take the shot – and can’t see what’s happened. Andrew tells me “you’ve winged a pook” (pukeko) but I know it’s better than that…. In fact I already know what I’ve just shot and I’m off over to where the bird performs his final death roll…. And there he is - a beautiful melanistic cock bird.

Rapt hardly describes how I’m feeling. I’ve shot hundreds of pheasants but nothing like this. This is living! I celebrate! The boys are happy for me too, and congrats are passed and accepted, photos taken, and a quick drink. Meanwhile, the original rooster has leapt high, got power into his wing thrusts and is out of there. Tim later told me he had just half a chance to take a shot. I didn’t tell him that 80% of walk up chances are half or less chances, you gotta go to know. Many times I’ve taken out pheasants with only one or two pellets, they are soft birds and a gut, neck or head hit is normally fatal.

********** (Time Warp!)

I was hard on the dog’s heals. His nose was full of rooster and his head was down. This was typical Rex, he self hunted and was a hard charging flush ‘em out dog. That was his nature. Running through the willow tangle was difficult and I was breathing hard, Brian was far behind us now. Rex was through and I was half way under the tangle when the bird climbed vertically, 30 yards out. The gun wasn’t even at my shoulder when I fired, I saw the leaves around the bird shimmer as the shot impacted them but he was gone, up, up and over. Waiting for Brian, I called Rex in. Brian and I sat and talked for 5 minutes, then fanned out and carried on through the trees. Brian didn’t like Rex’s hunting style; he would have preferred a pointer I think. 10 minutes later Brian called out – there on the ground laid the big pheasant, stone dead. By chance we had followed his last flight path. One pellet through his gullet had finally killed him. That’s pheasants for you.


Saturday 16th May 2009 11.30am

We‘re approaching a swampy gulley so I motion for the boys to spread out. We’re getting good at keeping quiet now, its all hand signals, and it’s all good. I head up left, Andrew’s on the right and Tim’s in the middle. Tim and I see some spent cartridges on the ground – these birds have been hunted. This gulley is great, there’s inkweed, its moist, there’s open sunny patches, there’s water… its perfect. And we’re doing the right things too. But the birds are on to us, they’re getting ahead, they’re leaving us behind and they’re getting outta Dodge. I can’t know how many we’re walking past or are holding real tight, this is pretty hit & miss without a dog. But we persevere and we’re learning the lay of the land. This will pay off next time. So it’s up and over into the next gulley. Shit. Birds are getting out. They are flying downwind but still getting up and over the steep sided gulley. Cocks & hens. Lots of birds in a relative way. I’m up and doubling back to check some cover patches, Tim & Andrew are down there in the pines and thick crap. A shot! Andrew’s scored! I yell at him to mark his bird – with no dog a rooster can disappear in a small patch of grass. But he’s found it and it’s all good, a young fact perfectly formed cock bird and the kid’s chuffed all right! High fives, photos, and you know, melanistic aside I reckon the pheasant is the best of all birds in the looks and flying department – the perfect game bird. We walk a lot further but our chances are all used up. The perfect day really, 2 shots, 2 birds, 2 new achievements. My first melanistic, and Andrew’s first ring neck. Sweet. Tim’s being good about this, but that’s how things shake down and it’ll be his turn soon.

Saturday 16th May 2009 9pm

We got back to the ponds by 4 for the evening flight. We do well with 7 birds, everyone is on them. I get a scotch double on a pair of greys. What a day. We drop Tim off at the landing that night and Andrew and I sit around talking shit. Happy days.

Sunday 17th May 2009

We’re up, not super early but it’s colder today. So I think; but the Northerly is soon back and it gets warm fast – soon I’m losing layers of clothes. The ducks are in the mood today and we’re getting into them, or at least I am. Andrew’s having a bad day with the gun. Only way out of a slump is to shoot your out, that’s my way of thinking. Flocks today, flocks are flying and some are responding to the 8 motion and spin wing dekes we have out. 8. I never thought I’d do that. Andrew and I are to leave at 11, so we pull the decoys at 9, bit not before taking 9 ducks between us. I know that on this day a limit is there for the taking, but in the back of my mind is the gnawing thought that I promised to be home ‘early’. We clean the birds, thinking that well breast them out but the majority are fine roasters, fat, and with yellow or white skin. The few that we do breast have taking full loads of shot in the chest. They’ll end up as sausages. Worse though… the tide is out of whack, the Northerly can do that and the boat is hard on the mud. Not great, we’re going to be waiting a while. We clean up the hut, pack the rubbish, bury the offal, and cut wood, by the time we’re done we have water to float the boat out. Paeroa at 1pm to clean down the boat, show dad the pheasants, drop off the dog and get on the road back to Auckland. Home-coming is tense.


Wednesday 20th May 2009

The Lake Wairarapa guys seem to have had a slow start to the season, but right now we’re blessed with strong weather systems and they’re getting stuck in. Reports of decoys being ripped from their stakes and water pushed km’s back into the paddocks are true. I’d love to see that so my resolution is to go and visit there next season. And the reports from Lake Ellesmere are similar, the southerly driving the birds. Lovely.

Monday 25th May 2009

I’ve had a home weekend with Marce & Rilee and it’s been nice. Busy Saturday, cleaning car, mowing lawns, chopping wood. Loaf of bread from bakery for lunch, and a scone each. Rilee loves scones. Rilee helped me clean the Winchester. One shot this season so she’s on 100%. I spoke with Guy and am very seriously considering going back to the double gun for my duck work. Dad’s been in the ponds since Thursday night with Larry, and Tim’s in with his mate Aaron. He texted me at 2.30 Friday that he’s on his way to pick up Quinn. One day that’ll be Rilee and me I hope. Sunday and Mum, dad and Geordie came around yesterday for lunch and so Rilee can play with the dog. He’s excitable as ever. Andrew Perring dropped around to swap flies (and ideas), steal my pheasant tail feathers and pick up some ducks. I haven’t heard from Tim. Cleaned the Xtrema today, filthy filthy gas gun. More thinking still about going back to the double gun.
Pond stats: Season is 23 days old, and 12 of those have seen our party on the ponds.
Tim’s just reported in – sounds like the kids had a great time! Some pretty special photos too. Tim says: “Fog Saturday morning so ducks appeared just in range and disappeared pretty damn quick, Dick got a shot (or 5) at a duck I stirred up out of the pen nibs between Puru and MacLennan’s when I went for a walk but it escaped unmolested. I got a pukeko.Night shoot was great, Aaron and 2 kids in Puru and me and 3 kids on the western front, got the worlds stupidest duck (a grey) at about 5, circled in from the north, over us sitting on the bank, around the pond where Aaron emptied the gun at it and missed, I bowled it heading north again.Pair of mallards at 5.30, Aaron got the hen and I bowled the drake but lost it in the trees towards Prangles (I need a dog), then a single grey appeared from nowhere, Quinn called it and I bowled it.Morning shoot, no wind, Liam took a duck but I couldn't find it anywhere. Packed up as the easterly nasty weather came in. I have the empty batteries to give to Dick for charging along with his knife.This weekend crew will need no fuel (gen fuel there's plenty, outboard fuel 1.5 cans, there's a new bottle of outboard oil there now too), but will need coal. There's plenty of long life milk there, running low on tea bags from what I saw, might need some more eggs and there's only 3 bog rolls left. They'll also need the batteries from Dick. There's one motor, the blue one packed a sad.”
Aaron has the fastest trigger finger in that I’ve seen, having shot with him once before he put up 5 shots in maybe 1.5 seconds. Impressive as a trigger man, and good for ammo companies. :)

Tuesday 27th May 2009

I’ve been to see Rick about Roboduk, she’s in a poor way, all wobbly. Discovered that wing shafts are bent. Replaced wings & motor. Still wobbly but much better. There’s a strong rumour that a preserve operator has shot a poacher’s Labrador. It’s a bad situation – on the one hand these assholes are poaching, and yes I have a vested interest in the birds they are taking, on the other shooting their dog? V was at Rick’s and invited us around for dinner next week. Ran it past Marce, but I’m away Thursday night, Friday night & Saturday night so she’s not, ummm, happy.

Weds 28th May 2009

Have spoken with cuz Paul, maybe I can catch up with him and Andrew on Sunday for the evening shoot in the swamp. Called V and uninvited myself from dinner next Weds, disappointed really. Andrew P is hassling me re work connections, maybe will uninvited from swamp weekend. Grr.

History - Pre Season

My Duck Blog

2009 looked to be an interesting season from the outset. Dynamics within the duck party had changed somewhat, with one core member leaving, one down & out with major surgery, a keen new junior shooter (by invite), the return of Andrew after a number of years in the UK, and several of the non core members indicating that they would be with us, only to be waylaid due to work and health issues.
Jump back a season – a drought had meant that given our abundance of water, the season was a big one numbers-wise. In fact almost too big, ducks came to us almost non stop for the first 3 days and the hunting became shooting. With limits or near limits each day in the field, the party accounted for quite a head of birds. Party 08 was Dad, me, Tom, Paul, Tim, Frank, Darryl, Lyndell and the invited Jr. Shooter from Steve Chapman’s party. While some of the team left on the Sunday, by the time the rest of us pulled out on the Monday we had accounted for maybe 250 head. It was big. The 2nd weekend came around with dad and I, my mate Nikolaij and his wife Ann Marie (both duck virgins) on the ponds and doing very well. If I recall correctly (need to check diary) we put 33 in the boot for a day and a half’s shooting, which between 2.5 guns (Nik & AM shared) was a good result. The guys regularly visited the ponds over the season, and we got decent results all season which really vindicated the work put in. I finished the season with over 100 ducks to my name, which was pleasing considering that I was quite stuck for time what with my young daughter and family demands. 100 was always a benchmark for me, if I could hunt say 15 days of the season and bag 100, it was pretty good. I think for ’08 I got into the field for ducks 12 days. So far in this current season I’ve hunted 5 days and the season is 20 days old. I’ll struggle to do a dozen days I think. Such is life. The old man is doing really well, enjoying his semi-retirement and making the most of his chances which is great.
Pre-season ‘09 required a decent amount of maintenance – 3 days spent dragging the weed from Willow Pond by hand. 2 big days building the new maimai at Park. Another day’s maintenance on the dam, and the hut – the rain guttering was completely replaced, and trees knocked down. A new feeder was purchased and installed. Firewood was cut and stacked. The decoys were moved in by dad. We really needed to spray the ponds but summer seemed to just fly by in a blur. We never learn... well, we do, but life seems so much busier these days. Everyone got stuck in too, with Andrew returning in time to run the final maimai dressing trip, involving cutting, stacking, bundling and transporting enough tea tree to cover 6 maimais. 3 weeks out and the ponds were empty – the Thames party (Twin Willows) had obviously pulled the main dam on the Twin Willows stream, not allowing the water to back up through our place and back into the swamp. Illegal of course, but they’re a law unto themselves and I can’t really be bothered with them. Shooting means something else to those guys, they pack their ponds with guns and the sky busting isn’t far away. Each to their own. Our outboard had packed in a week pre-season, leaving us with an expense on our hands. The old motor had expired with a thrown piston. So for the season, dad hired a boat from the guy who services ours.

Why a blog?

The funniest part is that just yesterday I was speaking with a friend, an "IT Guru" (or as close to one as I know) who told me that blogging is dead, and that everyone is "tweeting" or "twittering" or something like that. He's moving with the times, his PC is gone in favour of a Macbook, (he explained the marvellous features such as "backlit keyboard", "Time Capsule") .... but his work is now almost solely focussed in agency land, so I reckon he just needs the cred.

I don't want to tell everyone where I am and what I'm doing. That to me implies being captured, captivated and compelled by technology and all for someone else's benefit, or some notoriety, or...

My blog is going to start focused on the duck season in progress. I don't know if I want to focus on stuff like work, the economy... in fact I really don't know where this could lead. Should be fun!