I'm stoked. My treepee won the peoples' choice award at the exhibition worth $700 worth of prizes and I conned the gallery to let me leave it on the street (above). It's a risk because it could be stolen or damaged but it's great promotion as it's the main street of Hamilton, one of our biggest cities and right next to their prestigious museum.
We also did a round trip to Tauranga to deliver the portrait I painted of Elpie for her 50th birthday on Xmas Eve. Yes that is a gorgeous single malt whiskey from her fathers' distillery at Campbelltown on the Mull of Kintyre in my arms. Fair swap!!
A food magazine requested our scallop recipe so you (yes you) might as well have it too.
Fresh Scallops on Corn hotcake with Pernod Cream Sauce
Corn hotcake 3 free range eggs beaten 400gm can creamed corn 400gm can whole kernel corn 1 ½ cups flour 2 tsps baking powder 2 tbls sweet chilli sauce ½ tsp tabasco ½ red onion chopped fine 3 cloves garlic chopped fine small bunch coriander chopped 1 cup sour cream ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Simply mix ingredients until incorporated
To cook hotcakes…. heat oil in a saucepan until hot then spoon in mixture to make fritters golden on each side.
To cook scallops….we are lucky at Eggsentric, our local macadamia farm (Cathedral Cove Macadamia) makes us a macadamia chilli crumb which we mix with Japanese panko breadcrumbs and we toss the scallops in this mixture before cooking. You could use just the panko crumb or cook without crumbing. Heat oil in a saucepan until hot, add scallops and cook quickly, perhaps a minute, then turn, cook for 30 seconds and flash the pan with the pernod. Cover the bottom of the pan with cream add flakey salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and cook until sauce thickens. Don’t overcook the scallops, take them out if this is happening and finish the sauce by itself. Remember taste, taste, taste. This is how you learn about flavours.
To assemble…..Place a scallop shell on a large plate, lay two corn hotcakes on its’ edge with the scallops on top and pour the sauce over. Garnish.
The leftover hotcake mix makes a marvelous breakfast with bacon, hollandaise sauce and sweet Thai chilli next morning.
OK, I was seduced by the prize money!! But now I cringe to think I put all those baubels on my lovely treepee. Good road trip with Sam though. He drove his new (old) ute all the way to Hamilton (5 hours) without a hitch and without his father screaming. Called in to see Marion at Artspost Gallery and she will take some of my wooden sculpture for their foyer. All is not lost!
It is with great regret that I announce the death of Fern. It's not a physical demise but a blog site of honesty, joy and sadness. Her site came into her family domain and she felt her honesty about her feelings compromised family relationships and so with one push of a button obliterated all that wonderful poetry and insight. Maybe in hindsight a change of blog name might have been better Fern. I am constantly censoring my site for family and community reasons which isn't very truthful but I think even in everyday life we censor to make our society work. The truth isn't always right. But in saying that I've always felt I need a blog where I can be brutally honest and swear and be vindictive with no chance of damage and retaliation. I think it would tell me a lot about myself. So I'm sorry, dear readers, if I've given you the impression that I'm a nice bloke when underneath I'm a raging psycopath and I'm sorry to lose my blog pal Fern, may she rage in peace!
Reason (season) to be jolly. I hate this time of year when the feeding frenzy starts to buy, buy, buy, yet I get to be Santa. First at a pre school called Country Kids then at the local Playgroup. Now although I'm getting porky round the middle I don't fit the rotund bill so have to tie a pillow against my chest to fill out the santa suit. Then I try to put my socks on!! I get to ride on a fire engine or a helicopter or a farm bike or just take my little car and startle the odd pedestrian with my long white locks blowing in the wind ( I can bring a smile to the lips to even the most hardened teenaged criminal, not that we have many!) You probably think Santa is easy, just sit there on your decorated chair and hand out presents to the adoring kids but a lot of them are shit scared of you and you have to decide which of the gorgeous mammas you have to have sit on your knee to show the kids how it is done. So the challenge every year is to try and get every one of the sixty odd brats to at least come forward and take the offered present. I lie on the ground with my legs in the air (it's alright this ain't Scotland!), sing badly, crow, shout, pretend I'm sunning myself in Samoa, promise playstations, even try to be meek and mild which I sure aren't. Then after three years Amelia finally overcomes her fear and she is off to school and I have to start afresh on Ryan, Anika and Jackys' mum (sigh).
On Sunday I've got to dress my Treepee up for a christmas party. There is a festival in Hamilton two hours drive away and I've entered in the avant garde section. Not the most advantageous exhibition for my work but at least it will recieve a little attention. I will place Akio Hizumes' fibanacci star on top with lights and decorate the tree like our own christmas tree, the pohutukawa, which is just starting to flower. I can play with lights inside too
Most people don't feel comfortable in their feet anymore. With no shoes they walk differently, creeping along self consciously as if naked. So they encase them in leather and plastic and feel better up top but lose connection completely with good old mother earth. I remember tramping high in the Pasubio Mountains north of Venice with friend of the family Piero who knew no English and I knew no Italian which is a great way to experience the landscape together. Anyway we kept meeting these very well dressed Italian climbers with all the gear including alpine hats with feathers who were aghast that I was up there in bare feet. It was summer so there was no danger of my feet falling off and after time the soles harden and climbing becomes a breeze. Of course there are plenty of times when I have to wear shoes so I don't get an errant knife in my foot, but I can't wait to get them off and stand in some lush grass. Orgasmic!
Man it's a wonder those gannets procreate at all! They out front at the moment in the sun of a beautiful morning diving headlong into the sea from a great height. It must be headache material when they go home from work. Sorry mum.
I'm a grand daddy again! Number five, a girl to Duan my second son and Tracey, 9lbs, no trouble, a sister for Ella and Dylan. Who are these beings, these products from my loins, who have such separate lives.
Symposium has finished. Nice to have them, nice to see them go (not them but the dust and noise!) The quality is excellent this year but the auction was disappointing. I sold a small piece and Rika sold his. However the unsold ones stay in the garden for sale over the summer and now I have the joy of setting them in the garden which will make a total of 36 stone sculptures plus my wooden pieces. A good number! Anna Korver won first prize of $3000 with her sculpture 'Flight' below and Tai Meuli won second of $2000 with 'Ocean Life' (can't find his image!)
Anna Korver 'Flight'
Jocelyn Pratt 'Catching Kisses' and Tui Hobson 'Bird Watch' (above)
Lauren Kitts ' The ascending ins and outs of life' and Donald Buglass ' Space-Time 4' (above)
The sun, unseen yet making her presence felt, pushed back the darkness until only the valley lay slumbering, unwilling to rise, cuddled in a soft quilt-like mist. Bird song, tui and thrush together, spattered the clear cold air with notes like the silver dew drops hung out to dry on the mornings' spider webs.
The scene is a gardeen in Flaxmill Bay. There is high cloud and a breeze drifting in from the sea. Fifteen aliens in full suits and breathing apparatus stand waiting. Their weapons, huge nine inch grinders glisten in the sun while their victims lie passive on the ground. At a command from their leader the air erupts with high pitched screaming and clouds of dust as the attack begins. A scene from ‘Chainsaw Massacre 6’? No, ‘Inferno at the Egg’. Their annual sculpture symposium has started. Photos pending
My latest escapade with trailer and stone comes as no surprise to family and friends. I seem to have a penchant for disaster on the road, mainly because I'm not a planner. To put it more plainly I'm a rip, shit and bust artist who doesn't maintain his equipment. Things like the sliding door falling off the van on the mainstreet of Kaitaia and watching a wheel roll past near home in Kaiaka and wondering where it came from were small incidents. As was the axle breaking on the caravan while towing it with my truck, pulling the skids completely out from under our little house while towing it with my ex wife inside. Getting more serious was said ex and I sitting in the truck in the river looking at each other after the farm bridge broke and upending four large bins of potato chips for the pigs on a busy roundabout near Auckland. Perhaps the most serious was when I was carrying metal for farm tracks in my big truck up a steep, winding, narrow road and I missed crawler gear and it started to roll backwards and I couldn't get it back in gear or stop it with the brakes and there were steep drops on both sides and my young son was in the cab and I didn't know whether to tell him to jump or not. We picked up so much speed the metal was shifting as we went round corners and we would have flattened anybody coming up the hill. Gradually the road straightened out and flattened and we rolled to a stop 200 metres from another busy roundabout. But I'm still not cured so if I ask you to come on an adventure make sure your life insurance is up to date!!
In a week our 6th annual sculpture symposium starts. Yesterday I was picking up maratoto stone at the quarry and I broke the deck of my neighbours trailer. Said trailer came off on the way home and smashed the back of our car and I stood on an exposed nail to boot. Not an auspicious start!
We have 12 sculptors from around NZ coming this year to work for a week in the garden with live music and an auction of the pieces on the last day (Sun 30th). The local andersite is very hard and the sculptors use diamond grinders so for most of the week there is clouds of talc like dust seeping in everywhere. Would you like rock dust with your scallops?
It's a great week learning how other sculptors approach their work and the tools they use. We will set up a camp for them and there is usually a party every night with guitar strummings and uncertain warblings.
Even though I love the view and the proximity to the sea of our little house, I'm finding it too small. Everything I do is seen by the neighbours. Merlot barks and disturbs them. Teenagers come home late and wake them up and I haven't even started cutting stone yet!! So we are looking at a 4 acre orchard with bed and breakfast accomodation in the garden. Room for my sculptures and to breathe and we can live off the land when the financial world comes crashing down. Just like my hippy days
Sexy summer is stalking but cool spring won't let go. The plankton are thriving in our little bay and they are feeding the pipis who nourish the stingrays. Then the orcas come by for dinner dressed to kill. I am but a flea.
It was music, muzik, mewsick at the Eggsentric Cafe on Sunday night. The instruments were on stage, the house lights were dim, the spots were bright and then out of the Coromandel Mountains came a mish mash of finger picking, throat warbling, foot stomping, hairy musos who at other times can only be seen hugging trees and tending various organic gardens in the deep bush. The legend lives on! Then there was Ian, who has a bone carving studio, playing and singing his originals and poetry, young Josh sometime underwater ceramic engineer (dishwasher) with his distinctive voice and excellent guitar skills, even younger Jeremy (9) on his trombone. And still they came. Phil, a builder from Tairua, with his gravelly voice singing Dylan, Ronnie played with Julie who played with Ronnie an eclectic mix of originals and covers on keyboard and guitar with soaring vocals, Rob, who has a Lodge at Ferry Landing, gave us some Country and Western then his mate joined in and they belted out numbers like the Everly Brothers 'Bye Bye Love' and the crowd was up dancing and whooping. Then it was time to go home. After all we are responsible citizens and go to work on Monday mornings. To sit and dream. Of next month!!
Son Sam had an amazing dolphin experience. Last week he spent four days in his friends' Dads' lovely old sailing ship Windborne out at the Mercury Islands and a pod of dolphins stayed and played with them for two of those days. He has a little underwater video camera which also takes stills and shot some great footage up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. I will post some video when I can work out how to reduce them down.
For those of my readers who are hard of hearing and have strained eyesight and hair loss I have changed the background colour of this blog. It is certainly less artistic but perhaps more practical. Is that better Ellltttyyyyy??
Oh no, hard at work again and I thought I was retired! Very busy cooking for punters over our long Labour Day weekend. Did you know NZ was one of the first countries in the world to introduce the eight hour day in 1890? It seems people are still spending money here even with the fug of economic gloom. I have a theory that if the future looks sort of bad the populace will tighten their belts, but if it looks very bad they will go out and party like there is no tomorrow.
Been a long time coming but I finally finished my treepee. I made the last section on the ground and now that it is finished I don't know if I like the form. Do I change it which is a huge job or sunbathe on my beach!
The body lay face down in the shallows, lifted grotesquely up onto the rock face by the long swell, then sucked back into the waiting kelp. He manouvered the boat as close as he dared, worried about the reef that ran diagonally out from the shoreline, but was still not close enough to use the boat hook. He sat back and contemplated the terrain of the island. It was small, perhaps a couple of hectares, and mostly boulders and bare rock scarred with bird dung rising up to scrubby vegetation. Nowhere to land with the swell running in from the north. Maybe from the lee side he could run the boat ashore without harm and walk round. But how the hell was he going to get a water-logged corpse back? He considered using the radio but the light was fast going and it would be two hours before anyone from the port could make it out. There was nothing else for it but to get into the water. He eased the boat out to about thirty metres and went forward to change the sand anchor for a grapnel, it had to hold while he was in the water or there could be two bodies to be found. The motion changed from an uneasy rolling to a steady bucking as the anchor took hold and he waited some minutes with his hand on the warp to make sure there was no movement off the sea floor. The water looked cold and uninviting. Stripped down, he buckled his diving knife, uncleated a strong but soft rope and slung it over his head and one arm, rueing the decision to leave his wesuit at home. Again he poised on the stern. Sharks? The darkening water? More the tumbling body now turned face up and appearing to grasp for a handhold. He dived quickly and the shock of the water brought him to the surface within a few metres. The rope restricted his arm so he set off on a sideways crawl until he felt the waving arms of kelp clutching at his ankles. Treading water he tried to gauge the force of the swells and their backwash off the rocks. He felt alone and afraid. With death staring upwards close by him he suddenly didn't want any part of it. Perhaps not death but the ignoble way this man had gone like a piece of flotsam on the beach. No trumpets, just a cold deserted shoreline and an uncompromising sea. Already the swells were beginning to be difficult to judge with the darkening skies so he waited until the body was washed back then lunged forward, grabbed a twist of clothing and kicked hard as he could to get away from the danger zone. He wasn't quick enough. He felt the rising water and to his horror became tangled in clothing and limbs as they were rolled up and then pulled painfully back. Now he was really scared. He would somehow have to tie a rope around the body while battling the wash. It was difficult enough loosening an end without passing it around the torso so he settled for an arm while more skin was left on the rocks.