I had the opportunity to head up the Waihopai Valley to Mt Olympus station last week, bearing gifts of chocolate from San Francisco that a friend had sent out to Lynne Russell the owner, as a thank you for a visit a while back. I love going out there. There's nothing like getting away from the 'city' or 'town' to breathe fresh country air and feel space around you, and to see the animals and watch Lynne work with them is just lovely.
I'll introduce you to a few here..
First - meet Rock - the wonder dog who is a Border Collie extroadinaire. A few years ago, Rock started showing signs of a bad back. It got to the stage where he could no longer jump into the back of the ute, or even work for any period of time and it was obvious he was in pain. Off to the vet, where the vet thought with lack of movement, and the amount of pain Rock seemed to be in, that it was most likely cancer in the spine. He asked Lynne if she would like the dog put down as that seemed the most humane thing to do.
Lynne wasn't ready for that, she was very fond of the dog and said no, that as a dog owner and farmer she would take responsibility for it, so took the dog home laden with lots of pain killers for him. After a couple of weeks, Rock was no better, in fact seemed considerably worse and miserable, so she decided that she had to do the humane thing and ease his suffering.
With tears running down her face, she took him into the barn, pointed a rifle just behind Rocks ear and shot him point blank range.
With a yelp Rock leapt up and jumped to the other side of the barn where he sat there panting. Lynne waited for a few seconds expecting him to collapse and die as he should do, but he just sat there panting. On investigation she found the bullet was a dud, it had gone off, and there was gunpowder all around his ear. Yet it was obvious that he could now move freely and had no pain, and was eager to get back to work!!
Seems that the shock of the noise of the rifle gave Rock such a fright that when he leapt up, whatever was lodged in his spine was released and fixed the problem completely. Rock went on to become one of Lynne's best herding dog.
She has other dogs being trained up to replace Rock now, as he is getting on slightly. First - Sweep.
Then there's Mike..
Now meet the National Endurance champion horse for three years running. Retired now and living the life of Riley on Mt Olympus...
Lynne then popped us into the four wheel drive and we headed up to the top of the Mountain. We were on the lookout for falcons. We were also testing out Lynn's new camera before she heads out overseas. I lvoe the layers of the valleys and hills in the next photo. This is about three quarters of the way up.
At the top - looking over to the chain of mountains known as the Inland Kaikouras. You can tell winter is on the way because of the light dusting of snow on them!
Looking down the other side to the Wairau Valley, and the Richmond Ranges. In the middle of the image, you can see Mt Fishtail, which I can see from my lounge. It's interesting getting a different perspective of it.
I thought the tussock grass was an interesting pattern. Made from the sheep going through it and the wind.
I stopped outside the Benhopai Station. They have some interesting buildings. The big old barn...
And an old dilapidated cottage with the last of the afternoon sun on it. I took a few shots on the road first, but then walked into the driveway and shot it a bit closer.
A closer shot with the shadows of the winter trees and the peeling paint.
As I left I took another shot of the big barn - which lost that light very soon afterwards..
As I left, I noticed that the sun was shining through the leaves of a tree that had still not quite lost all it's leaves. Out came my macro lens.
At this stage I was wishing I had my tripod, but on opening the boot found that it was obviously still in the garage. I could have kicked myself!
A tiny bit of silhouette around the leaves on this one makes it interesting too..
Yet another fantastic trip out to the station. Thanks Lynne!