Wowee! We have had quite the busy week. We were going to have a nice easy start last Tuesday with our flight to Sydney leaving at 4 pm. The night before, Darren tried to check us in online for our flight and he realized that his passport had expired four months ago. He was caught off guard because they usually expire every ten years but his last one was only issued for five. So, we drove to Wellington and applied for a renewal and got it in the same day only a few hours before our flight left. We only got three hours of sleep that night, ugh… and all three of us came down with a cold. Lots of runny noses, not fun. But, Boy did very well on the plane. Hardly worth mentioning compared to the horror stories you hear about flying with sick babies.

We took a train to Darren’s sisters house from Sydney to Hunter Valley. Then, Wed, Thu and Fri, we drove north. We took Sat off and just camped, which was a nice rest. We met some really cool people living in a house truck.They had six kids as well! They have been traveling around Australia sharing Jesus to the native peoples through country gospel music for the last three years! Quite interesting people and they were so friendly. 

The other two nights we stayed with a great uncle of Darren’s and then a friend of Darren’s mum. When we got there she asked us if we wanted some dinner and offered us some homemade spaghetti, with salsa. I was so confused because to me salsa is a dip served cold with chips. She was meaning what I thought should be called ‘pasta sauce’ or ‘marinara sauce’. If you say marinara sauce in this part of the world they won’t know what you are talking about though. The whole conversation was rather interesting… haha…

So all in all we traveled 1400 km in three days from Sydney to Emerald. The landscape hasnt changed all that much, but the temperature has. It’s much hotter up north. I’ve been keeping a list of the birds we’ve seen. So far I’ve identified the following:

  • Noisy Miner
  • Blue Faced Honeyeater 
  • Apostlebird 
  • Brush Turkey
  • Galah
  • Cockatoo
  • White-breasted Woodswallow 
  • Zebra Finch
  • Queensland Barn Owl
  • Brolga Crane
  • Australian Raven 

They are so many colourful birds here! I love it. And parrots! We have also seen kangaroo and a tree called the Bloodwood Tree. It leaks sap that looks like it’s bleeding. Apparently the aboriginal people use it as an antiseptic, and drink water from it’s roots.

I would love to post photos here but signal isn’t that great and it would suck up a lot of data, so I’ll just let you readers google the birds we’ve seen and how far we’ve traveled on the map. It’s worth the look.:)

We are going to Australia next week and won’t be back for six weeks! We will be exploring Cape York, the northern most region of the country. Just wanted to post some photos before we left. 

My poor Rooster just kept getting sicker even after the medicine, so we put him down. A neighbor will be looking after the other chooks while we are away.

Boy, loves the new piano, and is pulling himself up on anything he can.

Darren got an old Power Pony from his uncle while we were down south. Its like a mini tractor, so we can have an even bigger garden! It can pull things like a plow and other such work saving devices. Darren also bought me a precision planter, so I can plant a whole bunch of seeds by just walking back and forth for 10 minutes, instead of on my hands and knees for hours. It holds the seeds and pokes one in the ground at regular intervals.

And the last photo is from Boy’s baby dedication last month.

My rooster has been acting sick and this week took a turn for the worst so I called the vet and picked up some medicine for him. He’s staying in the house for a few days where it’s warm and dry. He seems to be perking up a bit. He does crow in the house. So far he hasn’t woke us up too terribly early. Since being sick, the last part of his crow, the doo, at the end of cock-a-doodle-doo has been all wobbly, like he’s Tarzan. It’s actually quite funny.

Last week I bought a second hand piano for $150. It plays pretty good, not too out of tune. Its nice to have some music in the house. Boy likes to bang the keys! Someday if likes, I’ll teach him to play. 

This morning I gave Boy some bread with peanut butter and banana on it. He seemed to suck the banana off and spit the rest out, haha! He does like bread, but maybe he didn’t like this kind. It’s amazing what he can gum up and swallow. No teeth yet at 9 months!!

Last week at church, Darrens uncle put Boy on one of our friend’s bike. He seemed to like being up there. He already instinctively knows to make a bbbbb, bbbbb, bbbbb sound when he plays with any toy that has wheels. He loves wheels! He is just like his daddy in this regard.

We picked up some Silkie chooks last weekend that someone had left by our town’s recycling bins, Not exactly sure why they didn’t want them. They are pretty friendly, and oh, so fluffy!!

NZ Yams


Here in NZ we have a vegetable known as a yam. But, this is not at all like what Americans think of as a yam. American ‘yams’ are known as ‘kumera’ here in NZ. There are several varieties of kumera. Most similar to the American yam or sweer potato, is the golden kumera and is that familiar orange colour. Other varieties are purple or white and are not as sweet.

The NZ yam is actually from South America where is it called ‘oca’. It is also a tuber. I think texture and taste wise it is like a mix between potato and turnip. Its starchy, but also a bit watery too. There is a bit of tang to the taste.They are nice, I like them. They are a bit different though. They are available here from May to October, a winter vegetable.

NZ yams are quite amazing to behold really because of their colour and shape. When I first saw them, I thought they looked like giant grubs! You can eat them raw, but I never have. They are usually roasted or boiled. Roasted is my favourite way to eat them. With herbs, oil and salt.

Anyway, I’m writing about them because while we were in the South Island this month, Darren’s Aunt gave us some from her garden. I think the colour is quite astounding so wanted to take a picture and share.đŸ˜€

We arrived safely near Christchurch and went to our family get together. It was a really nice day. We played some team games and had some good food and even carved some pumpkins. Mine was judged to be second place. Darren’s cousin got first place. I was really happy that Boy got to meet his cousin about his age. He loved to watch him crawl and then the same weekend he started crawling himself. They are second cousins. Then we crossed Aurthers pass, drove past lake Brunner, drove a bit up the west coast and camped the night. It was very cold that night, but we were still comfortable.

Below are some photos from the drive. Including a hoar frost, which I never saw before coming to New Zealand. It’s frost so thick that it looks like snow, but close up, its just ice crystals that grew really big. The west coast was really foggy. Trees were covered in moss. Boy enjoyed riding this wooden horse too. He couldn’t push himself, but enjoyed riding. Also a photo with Darren’s grand dad.








We are on our way to Darren’s grandma’s house for her 90th birthday. Yesterday we took the ferry across the Cook Straight and then traveled south about 1.5 hours to a favourite spot along the coast where we camped the night before continuing on this morning. In New Zealand, all land along rivers is public access land, and you are usually allowed to camp. It was quite cold, but we were dressed warmly, and built a fire. We have something called a ‘swag’, which is a canvas sleeping bag basically, but its big enough to put a bed in, and its so warm and toasty inside. You can zip it all the way up too and there is space above your head to breathe. Our swag can fit two people, so Boy and I slept in that, which was in our tent, and Darren was in a sleeping bag, on an air mattresses beside us. We rigged up our tent with a wool blanket over the top for some insulation and then even heated the inside with a catalytic heater just while we got into bed and got up in the morning. Hot water bottles for your feet too. It was quite nice! Funny, though, lots of people think we are crazy to camp when it frosts overnight. But, really, it was nice. Clear, night sky with bright stars. Even a hot breakfast! And a beautiful view to wake up to.




So, this is what’s been happening for the last couple of weeks… and now he can finally get shoulders and bum off the floor at the same time! No crawling yet. I’m banking on before June, he’ll have it sussed.




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