A long hot summer 
Cyclone Dovi just went past. Rather high winds and lots of heat and humidity, but not a lot of rain. We've lost an old peach tree and the old telephone cable fell off the pole at the road. But all is calm again. And it's a lot cooler!

We didn't have any rain from mid December to just last week. The tank was getting rather low. Fortunately, we've got a huge dam to water the garden (and the farm) with. And now that it's rained, the tank is looking a lot healthier again.

Omicron arrived a couple of weeks ago. It was inevitable that we'd get it eventually with all the cases coming into the border quarantine. It took a while to take off, but we've just had 810 cases. They've lifted quite a few restrictions; we've been able to meet and travel around. They've recognised that they can't stop it like they did with Alpha, and even with Delta. So it's a case of slowing it down, and getting people boosted.

There are a lot of people who have lost their jobs due to the vaccine mandates. Several smaller schools have had to close down due to lack of staff. Large events have been cancelled (the limit is now 100 if all are vaccinated).

There's been a protest running on the grounds of the Houses of Parliament, against vaccine and mask mandates. The Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, is in charge of the site, and decided to try and make their lives uncomfortable. He turned on the garden sprinklers, despite the rain. The protesters dug trenches to drain the water, and put out plastic duck decoys to try and lure the Mallard out of hiding. The Mallard started playing the Macarena and Barry Manilow hits on repeat. The protesters have retaliated with their own music. Now that the grounds are full of mud, they've also laid down hay bales as well. Sounds fun, but I'll be staying at home!

We had a quiet few weeks, and then a holiday by the beach, followed by another one a week later where Rachael had wanted us to visit some limestone caves. This was an experience. We were told to wear clothes that we didn't mind getting wet and dirty. Of course, "wet and dirty" meant wading through an underground stream for a kilometre, snd squeezing and crawling along a rather narrow section. But we all managed it. And it was worth it. The cave was filled with glow worms, stalactites and stalagmites all the way along. Some were huge (ok, the glow worms weren't huge, but there were lots of them!). I've been in bigger caves, and caves with numerous branches, but this one was really rather special.

Rachael was gushing over the Jurassic sedimentation (I think we should name the place Jurassic Park). We found fossilised sticks and layers of pumice. And fossilised worm poo. At least, that's what Rach said it was. Apparently this Jurassic layer goes underground and emerges way down in the Catlins where we were last year. Covered with hundreds of volcanoes all over the place.

Sarah has been back at school, and it almost feels back to normal. At least until someone at the school gets Omicron of course. The weather should be more in season too, now the blast from Fiji has headed off again. We've had a good crop of potatoes and tomatoes. I've dried a lot of tomatoes on the car dashboard, and Bronwyn has been making pasta sauce. And still there's more out in the garden. Although the cows got into our paddock and briefly into the back garden, so it depends on whether we can stop them eating our dinner as well as theirs!

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