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Life on the Kermadecs.

a Mr Thomas; Bell formerly ,a IJepr Zealand colonist but who' has been living at Sunday; Island for the ;last t^flre^ye years, has, placed his :diary at ;the disposal of the "Auckland-Star." Evidently the island is anything but a desirable. ph\ce to live! in, among numerous inconveniences—to apply to them a very*mild term^-being irie presence* of swarms to? rate,? 1 which ate all his potatoes and other! seedsKa^fast as they were r put into the ground. "At last" 'he'says #*-&'■ despair, I dug up a seed bed irr~front of our dwelling, and 7filled it with" the lait 1 •ofo'our pumpkin, marrow,"'and-'melon seeds. Bound this I made T fires at night, and sat alongside^ thelini stick "in hand, for a ■ week, until they-sho wed above the ground, when they- were safest Durittg^his time ifc rained alnwet continuously, ■ and 1 had the greatest difficulty- in keepintj the, fire goiiig/ 5 However^whett^tlle'^ttuints were strong enough,' 1! carefully planted them out, one at 1 a time F in; the clearing, where they, grew all right.,, I thought I liad out- .. wittedthe ra'ts/buill was mistaken. When: .theflowers appeared on the pumpkins they devored the ovaty'of all:43ie female ones ;' marrows the^sa'irie;.';' The melons, however, .they left, urifcouched"until ;Ttliey,had at-' tairied the size of orangeS^whetf they disappeared like magic.i • Out of, nearly two . acres Of iriaize, .only about twelve plants escaped. I tried to 1 save tUi seed from these byjputting the,few ; tins J/had over ,them; but, r it-was ,4tute u.s^^Bjft; I did not get a single? grain of maize from it, nor had we, any on the; island, for^.ti^o years afterwards. At this r time the rats had in-

creased to > s,uch, an extent as to 4 be, '*-. almost ■ , , indescribable. iThejrswarmedoyefusinbed, and we had .to take refuge in the )patakv.: Towards,, evening, the .ground^in the > neighborhood-pf our "dweUingi seemed to be a moving mass, of .rats. dis-' turbed, they darted into some large heaps ,of jpumicejstone thathad-been gathered off ' ihe;land}by,former*residents. ,{l'_'yraa at a., loss at first tp.'knp^r.what^such vast:/'" numbers of rats could find to .'eat, until gqing into the, bush, I observed the ; * ground rooted up* ii i many places, seem- : ingly < -for .jearth . worms; rpAcres ■ were rooted up in "this manner, resembling pig- <■ rooting on a small scale.,. These rat« were alive wlth^fteaß, I'which' soon made up for ■ the absence of sand flies, and^osquitoes.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900530.2.16

Bibliographic details

Life on the Kermadecs., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2438, 30 May 1890

Word Count
392

Life on the Kermadecs. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2438, 30 May 1890

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