Sum­mer of senses and sounds

Manawatu Standard - - Nz Farmer - Joyce Wyl­lie farmer at Kai­hoka in Golden Bay

Sum­mer is a sea­son of senses. All the sights of sunny days, smells of grass and dusty yards, taste of berries, feel of heat and cool swims and sounds of hol­i­day ac­tion.

Nel­son hummed with a mas­sive mu­sic fes­ti­val this sum­mer with over 20,000 peo­ple added to the usual hol­i­day pop­u­la­tion ex­plo­sion. I can only imag­ine the crowds and crams, bands and buses, peo­ple and par­ties and imag­ine just how out of place this coun­try bump­kin would feel there.

How dif­fer­ent city sum­mer sounds are com­pared with our out-of-town ex­pe­ri­ence and noises our ru­ral ears en­joy.

There’s all the nor­mal sounds of farm life. Rooster crow­ing about his chooks. Chooks cack­ling about eggs. Dogs in pad­docks bark­ing at work and dogs in ken­nels bark­ing ad­vice. Mo­tor­bikes head­ing out do­ing jobs and back for cup­pas. Wash­ing ma­chine rum­bling, cat crunch­ing bis­cuits.

There’s bird­song and chirp­ing, pukeko shriek­ing, and the in­evitable call of the phone. And usu­ally a back­ground roll of the waves from the sea we can’t see from our home.

Lambs have been weaned mob by mob and for a few days ewes and off­spring bleat across the val­ley un­til they set­tle. An in­di­ca­tion of healthy wa­ter in the lakes and ponds as frogs croaked court­ing calls. And at the lakes with those happy am­phib­ians, the happy sounds of chil­dren swim­ming, splash­ing, laugh­ing and spend­ing healthy ac­tive time away from screens and tech­nol­ogy.

The raft Jock and the kids made has been well used for div­ing off and pad­dling around on Huck­le­berry Finn-style ad­ven­tures.

The ve­hi­cle noise on the road in­creases with hol­i­day traf­fic. Camper­vans and fam­ily movers go up and down with kayaks and back­packs strapped on top. A sur­pris­ing num­ber of cars turn off and crawl up our drive. Vis­i­tors here are wel­comed by over-the-top woof­ing from our over en­thu­si­as­tic schnau­zer tak­ing his role as watch dog over se­ri­ously. Rossy’s noisy yap­ping is met with my own noisy yelling try­ing to stop him dan­ger­ously run­ning down to greet them. It prob­a­bly re­in­forces his bad be­hav­iour and now if I spot some­one com­ing up I shut the dog up.

This sum­mer has been windy and the con­stant blow­ing is tir­ing. It has whooshed from ev­ery di­rec­tion and an east­erly sneak­ing in our ill-fit­ting front door cre­ates a wear­ing whis­tle which is dif­fi­cult to si­lence.

I put the net out which brought in fish, and also brings fa­mil­iar sounds of squelch­ing mud and that dis­tinc­tive soft mu­si­cal sound that fish­er­folk recog­nise of breeze play­ing on the ny­lon net. One calm day, we kayaked up one of the rivers which run from the in­let into the bush-clad val­leys. I en­joy the sounds of pad­dles dip­ping and waves slap­ping the bot­tom of the boat. Yes­ter­day, I heard a sound that re­freshes mem­o­ries of late sum­mers and hot days. The first ci­cada emerged from the dark­ness of dirt, left his dried up shell, crawled up a pole and set up joy­ful song. That cheer­ful cic-cic-ci­c­c­ing is one of sum­mer’s lovely sounds giv­ing good rea­son to stop to let senses store the mem­o­ries of this sea­son.

The sounds of sum­mer in­clude dogs yap­ping and freshly weaned lambs at Joyce Wyl­lie’s farm at Kai­hoka; right, 20,000 fes­ti­val go­ers pack in to Nel­son’s Trafal­gar Park to party in the blaz­ing sun at Bay Dreams.

JOYCE WYL­LIE, BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

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