New Zealand fur seals begging for a caption

It’s been raining for two days – not heavily, but enough to get things nice and wet. I doubt we’ll be irrigating any more this season. But Monday – Easter Monday – was an absolute cracker of a day. We had a couple of people staying in the farm cottage, and we took them up to Kaikoura to go swimming with the dolphins. While they did that, we walked round the point and admired the seals.

Rather begs for a caption, doesn’t it? [EOS 300D with 90-300mm zoom on full extension, roughly equivalent to 480mm on 35mm]

Under a northwest sky

Sometimes I can sit down after dinner, open my book and then glance out of the window and see something amazing…

That’s what I saw from our veranda last night, rapidly snapped with my Canon EOS 300D and then crudely stitched together in Photoshop. I’d have needed a w-i-d-e angle lens to get the whole thing in one shot, and they cost several small fortunes that I don’t have or can’t justify spending.

So what was happening? There was a moderate Nor’wester blowing, setting up a big wave cloud overhead. Out of that wave was falling some light rain, and the sun was setting behind me. Cue perfect double arch rainbow from horizon (or hill) to horizon.

No pot at the end of the rainbow, just the Deans…

You can see the end of the rainbow, and the wave cloud – the famous Nor’west arch – with rain falling out of it. Textbook stuff.

Whatever gets you here

One of the nice things about using Statcounter to log all site activity is that it can tell me how people find On The Farm. The referring link is most often a web search, and what you’re searching for is often interesting, sometimes bizarre. I get a few hits for the techy stuff – the wireless network or broadband modem model numbers seem to be surprisingly effective at finding me – but some search results are definitely strange.

One recent visitor had searched Google NZ for “sex with my wife”. Somehow that got him here. Given that my wife is currently in London, and has been overseas for a month, that topic is not something that I’m likely to be addressing here – even if I was so inclined. Which I’m not. And what on earth was he searching for? Aah, the dimly understood perversions that pass for social intercourse… and that little sentence will no doubt get me lots more strange referrals.

New site, new year

Welcome to the new On The Farm. The old iBlog site has been archived, and all the entries copied over into a new Tinderbox site (apart from a few pictures – they’ll follow). I’ve even played around with the blog templates and customised things a bit. There’s a fairly steep learning curve with Tinderbox, but that goes with the extra power that I wanted, and apart from maintaining this blog, it may also be useful a tool for organising the research for my books.

One consequence of this change is that I’m about to kiss goodbye to many of my page hits. I changed to the wonderful Statcounter a week or two ago (thanks to a tip on the Freeway discussion list), and I’m revelling in the information it lets me see about all my visitors. Not that I’m overwhelmed by the volume of hits or anything, but it is interesting to see how many referrals I get from search engines, and what searches lead you to me.

The Tinderbox On The Farm has a different page structure to the iBlog site, and so a lot of those referrals are going to bounce – or at least they will until the search engines catch up.

In the meantime, I hope you like the new look and structure. Let me know what you think of the changes (if you know what the old site looked like).

Attacking an iPod

My good lady wife does an enormous amount of travelling. She is addicted to Kiri Te Kanawa and exceptional tenors (this does not include Bocelli). Put the two things together and you have a prime candidate for an iPod. Much better than travelling with a Walkman and a bagful of tapes or CDs. Her 2002 Christmas present was one of the first generation 10GB models, and when she got her head round what it was for, and that it was easy to use, she fell in love with it. It became her constant companion.

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When can I start the justification process for a G5 PowerBook?

I do all my non-farm work (and the farm accounts) on a four year old Apple PowerBook G3 (Firewire), known to its friends (and there are many) as a Pismo PowerBook. I bought it in September 2000, just in time for my truffle research trip through France and Italy, and it’s since bumped along with me to the USA, Argentina, Britain and Australia. About a year ago it began to feel rather slow. It wasn’t new anymore. The PowerBooks in Magnum Mac looked shinier and sleeker and faster. The sluggishness was partly because I insist on using the latest iteration of Mac OS X, and partly because I was converting to digital photography and doing more work in Photoshop and InDesign – getting ready for the production of The Truffle Book. I began to feel that “time for an upgrade” itch.

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