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Town day


We live a bit out of town, and I only go in to run errands and do some grocery shopping once a week if I can help it. So, when I do get into town, its a full day of business, in and out if shops and places. Having a baby in tow can make things take twice as long and after a while he grows tired of getting in and out of the car seat. So, thankfully, I’m able to drop him off at Darren’s parents place for a few hours. It feels great to be free to rush around, but when I’m done I can’t help but miss the little guy. It makes me think how I can’t imagine how some parents choose to put their babies into daycare everyday… You would miss so much. Boy had a lot of fun in some of the shops today. He likes to make happy noises with his voice, yelling out and bouncing in his trolley seat. Very cute.

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Here in New Zealand, I’ve noticed that there are no diners, or ‘family restaurants’. I do actually miss those. Places like Denny’s or Perkins, or IHOP, or sit down places with a huge menu where you can order ‘family food’…or evem places like Chipotle’s, or Panera Bread… Restaurant chains over here are limited to McDonalds, Burger King, Hardee’s (called Carl’s Junior here), Wendy’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Subway, all of which have smaller menus compared to the US. There are sit down restaurants that are not fast food, where you can get Indian, or Thai, or Meditteranian, or Italian, or Pizza, etc… But Diners and Family Restaurants kind of don’t exist. The sit down restaurants are not chains… which I think is cool. More small business owners can have their own place and get business.

The thing that kind of replaces the Diner though is the Cafe….. but really only in quantity, not anything else. But, I know what you’re thinking. Cafe’s sell coffee. Yes, but cafe’s here are not like Starbucks (NZ doesn’t really have that either). The cafe’s are not chains and are literally everywhere…. I would probably be able to safely estimate there being at least 30-40 of them in the city of Palmerston North (around 100,000 population), probably one on every corner in the down town city. They are small little restaurants where you can get coffee, but also lunch, and dinner food, and smoothies, and salads, and desserts, but on a smaller menu.

The price is not diner in resemblance at all though. You usually would pay around $20-30 NZ dollars for a meal, which would be around $15-25 US dollars. And that meal would just barely fill up a larger person if they were only medium hungry. No leftovers really at any restaurants here in NZ. The portion sizes are much smaller, for more money. But, the presentation is pretty nice. It’s very popular for people to go to a cafe for lunch, or catch up with a friend, or a work meeting etc… It’s really hard to explain completely, and it also took me a while to really grasp this difference between NZ and the US.

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Diner

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Cafe

 

 

So gradual


Boy has been sitting on his own for about a month now, and it amazes me how gradual all his skill are. You feel like your baby will always be that way, but then you lose track of time and when you remember to think again, they are mastering so many new skills. He’s also rolling both ways, and chattering away most days with babbles and squeels of laughter. I can see why people say to cherish them now, because its such a short time. I want to remember that during the nights when he wakes three times out if the blue… And then is up for the day at 5:30am. I won’t be able to cuddle him forever.

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The past few months have been a blur! The last month of my pregnancy was extremely uncomfortable. Being so big was just awful. The birth finally came, and while yes, it did hurt, most of it really wasn’t that bad. I’d say the last two hours were anything to really comment about, and yes it still has me questioning having any more lol… but as everyone says, the memory is fading. The recovery was almost worse, considering the healing process still isn’t finished. Couldn’t sit without hurting for at least a month, and I’m still a bit sore 10 weeks later. But enough of that… The result: a healthy baby boy. And what a precious one at that.

It is a marvellous thing to be a new mother. The love just grows and grows for this new human, that only a short while ago didn’t even exist. Just to keep things more private on a public blog, I’m going to refer to him as Boy. My baby boy:). He’s been growing so well. He didn’t lose any weight after his first week, and put on 300g each week for the first month. His eyes have finished clearing and they are a dark brown like mine. His skin colour is also revealing itself to be a beautiful olive, like mine as well. His body type is after Darren. He’ll probably be about average height but he’ll be tough and strong. I’m not sure what colour his hair will be yet. It seems to be a light brown, but he doesn’t have much of it. It will likely be curly like both of us.

What’s it like to be a new mom? Well, I’d say it really opens up the possibilities you have to connect with other women. You all of a sudden have the same thing in common and have something to talk about if nothing else. There’s a common ground. It’s really quite cool. As far as the work involved, well thankfully Boy is sleeping about 6-7 hours  at night now before needing another feed. He only wakes once around 3 or 4. The first month had me getting up 3-4 times a night and it was extremely challenging to say the least, but I’ve had so much support here from friends and family. I’ve been blessed to not have suffered from any type of post birth depression. I’m really thankful for how things have gone and it just gives me so much joy to think of all the new experiences and memories that are to be had with our new baby boy.

In other news, its Summer here and our garden is under way again. Darren bought me a seed house for seedlings so I don’t have to keep them in the spare room which has the most light in the house. We also have new chicks. Six to start, but two have been lost so I locked them up so they can’t get into any more trouble. Chickens aren’t very smart, but they’re cute. I need to keep at least three alive for a friend who is buying them from me for a Christmas gift.

For Christmas we are planning on going camping. I’m really looking forward to it because we are going for four days straight in the same place. This means we can really settle in for a while. I’ll be sure to put up pictures of this after we come back.

 

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1 week

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3 weeks – Buying some tomato plants for the garden.

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7 weeks – first smile on camera. First smile a few days earlier.

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7 weeks – Watching cars with Daddy

 

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8 weeks – more smiles, hard to capture!

 

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9 weeks – In his new flanny and overalls from Great Auntie Janice. What a handsome boy:)

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10 weeks – A friend lent me this carrier. Boy falls straight to sleep in it, but screams when he wakes up and wants to get out, haha…

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Seed house

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New chicks


One thing about raising chickens for the purpose of getting more hens is that you undoubtably will end up with more roosters than you would like. Roosters are beautiful, and it’s really quite cool to see their feathers come in as they are usually more colourful and striking than the hens.  It’s also kind of fun to try and guess which birds will be which. Unfortunately though, these roosters don’t really get along very well and in the long run cause unwanted stress in the flock and take up space and food that I don’t want them to have. After all, they aren’t giving me any eggs and no one really wants to buy them. So, what do I do?

 

Well, one solution is to find someone that is happy to fatten these roosters up on their own land and then eat them. I have found one such person who has taken some off my hands. This is a great solution because once I know which birds are roos, I just turn them over to him and know that they will have a happy life growing to adulthood the way they should with grass and fresh air. I realise they will not live much longer, but I gave them a good life while they were living, and I don’t have to do the killing.

 

Another solution is to find someone that is willing to take the roosters once they are already fattened up. This is less ideal but still an ok solution. I still have to feed them longer than I want to, but I do get to see them reach their full potential as they feather out and begin crowing. I did find someone who is willing to take these kind of roosters but there was a small dilemma, in that they don’t do the butchering themselves. They get a friend to do it and then the roo sits in their freezer until they are ready to use it. This causes a queue to build up on my end, as they don’t really have room for or even know what to do with so many roosters, plus it’s kind of an ordeal for them to get their friend to kill the birds and prepare them.

 

The last solution, which is the most surefire way to not have any roosters, is to butcher them yourself and prepare them so all you have to do is ask people, ‘Would you like some rooster meat?’ And they will be much more willing to say yes! So, this last solution is something I have embarked upon today. I never thought I would be willing or able to do this, but after some research, preparation and some caution I butchered my first rooster.

What I learned from the experience:

I did not enjoy it

It wasn’t actually that hard

It wasn’t gory, the rooster died humanely, but I don’t like the smell of blood.

Plucking feathers is actually kind of amusing

Once the bird has no face it becomes more of a science experiment/dissection

It’s fascinating to see the organs when you remove them and there is some pride in seeing how healthy your bird is.

 

The actual killing process did make my stomach turn a bit, but the rooster was so calm through it all and didn’t make any distressing noises, which I was thankful for. I am a vegetarian and don’t eat chicken myself, but I can see how this might be helpful knowledge to have someday if there is an emergency and I need to eat some of my birds. This seems unlikely, but you never do know.

 

 

 


Hello again, I just wanted to let everyone know first off, that if you write a comment on this blog it won’t show up right away because I have to approve it first. What that means is that I get a notification when you write a comment and then I usually don’t log in and approve them until I write another post. So, they don’t show up until then, but I read them right away. Anyway, I really do appreciate your comments and feedback because I love to stay in touch with you guys over there in the states.:) If ever you want to say something a bit longer or more private, just send me an email, I’ll likely respond much quicker. My email is katherinejustine@hotmail.com

 

So, life has moved on and it’s gotten colder here. I carried on with school until the end of the last term which ended about 4 weeks ago. So, now as I’m on maternity leave I’m happy to have more time to get on top of things before baby arrives. I’ve been madly sorting through areas of our house, trying to get rid of old things and give random things homes so they don’t feel like clutter anymore. Our house is small, but it’s cozy, and along with that goes limited storage space. So I’ve had to become inventive to get things looking tidy. One major thing I’ve been doing though has been sanding the floorboards of our kitchen, bathroom and hallway. Someone thought it was a good idea to put carpeting in these places which makes it really hard to clean properly. So, I’m hoping to have them all smooth and clean in a few weeks. I think this must be what everyone has been talking about when they mention ‘nesting’. I promise you, I’m taking it slow and easy so I don’t hurt myself.

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Beautiful native timber underneath those carpets.

 

Also, last time I showed you all sorts of plants that were going in our winter garden. Well, about that….. yes, this year we happened to get an unreasonable amount of rain and a large portion of our land was flooded, including the garden. So, our plants have rotted and died. I suppose that’s the way it goes sometimes. Thankfully, our house is old, and the people that built houses way back in the 20’s knew how to look for high spots when building houses. Our house didn’t get any floodwaters. It’s taken about 6 weeks and it’s just starting to look normal again as the water table falls back down. I’m glad I have a good pair of gumboots.:)

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Our front yard and garden…

 

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The acre next to us turned into a large lake that the swans liked to hang out on.

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The chickens didn’t get too wet.

We’ve been taking advantage of the early dark evenings by sometimes cooking outside. We’ve done this twice now and have roasted our food on a fire by star light. It’s been pretty fun.

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Bon fire and roasted veggies.

We have been so blessed. If you look around our living room there is only one thing that hasn’t been given to us for free, and that’s just a small book shelf that I bought for about $50. The rest, table, couch, two lounge chairs, large bookshelf and coffee table all cost us nothing. We are so thankful and I’d love to be in a position to help out others in the same way sometime. We were also given a baby crib recently which I’ve assembled and put in the baby’s room. We won’t be using it until baby is a bit bigger but it’s great to have it ready. Also, since we are waiting until the birth to find out the gender, my students baked me some blue and pink cupcakes as a goodbye gift a few weeks ago. I’m due in 7 weeks now. Baby likes to move a lot and Darren can hear it’s heartbeat when he puts his ear to my belly.

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Crib is ready.

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Boy or Girl?

 

And the most eventful thing we’ve done recently was to take a trip down to the south island a few weeks ago. We visited some of Darren’s family that I hadn’t met yet and had some fun with some friends. It was a nice time. Darren doesn’t seem to get cold, which is why he is wearing shorts and a vest.

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Split Apple Rock Able Tasman Park.

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Fishing, Darren caught a bigger one. We used this one for bait.

 

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Pancake Rocks.

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Hokitika Gorge. The water is so blue because it runs off from glaciers in the mountains and picks up minerals.

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Arthurs Pass. A road through the mountains going from west coast to east coast.

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Kea. These parrots were everywhere. They have a taste for rubber, so you don’t want to stay parked for very long or they will pop your tires and take your windscreen wipers. ha!

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Lunchtime!

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In the mountains.

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Castle Hill. This place was cool to explore. There are paths all in and around the rocks. You can even get up to the top of those big ones.

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Clear ice.

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Nice day for skating.

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Snow Angels.

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Playing in the snow.

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fun!

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Doing some donuts…

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Another pretty lake in the mountains.


So overall having autumn makes me think it’s November and I’m tricked into thinking about Thanksgiving and Holidays. Last week I made a pumpkin pie and it was wonderful… I found an overly priced can of Libby’s canned pumpkin which isn’t popular here. It made a delicious pie for my nostalgia. I also learned that the pumpkin they Libby’s uses don’t actually look like what you think of when you think pumpkin. They are a species they have cultivated themselves for their product and it looks a lot more like a butternut squash. All of the pumpkin grown for the millions of cans of the stuff is located within 8 miles of each other on a few farms in Illinois. Fascinating… Now I want to make my own pumpkin pie from butternut squash. Anyway, the days are getting shorter and shorter and the weather is getting cooler. We’ve been lighting more fires and Darren put in a heat transfer system so the heat in the living room can get to the bedroom. It makes it much more comfortable in our uninsulated house. Autumn is so different here in that most things get greener, but it’s also very similar with the weather changes and the few trees that do lose their leaves.

Winter Gardens

These are a new concept to me. In america where I’m from you wouldn’t even imagine growing something in the winter. There is so much ice and snow and cold that your garden would be better off as a ice skating rink. Well, in NZ winter gardens are very popular. People will grow all sorts of things that don’t need lots of sun and don’t mind a frost here and there. So, this year I’m going to give it a go. Things don’t grow as fast because they don’t get as much sunlight, but they get plenty of rain so you never have to water anything. We still have beets, carrots, and celery in the garden from the summer and I just pick what I need when I need it as they won’t die from the cold. I’ve just finished potting up some seedling from the local nursery here and will pop them in the ground when they are a little bigger. We’ve got Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Spinach, Silverbeet (another green, nothing related to beets) Lavender, Dill, and two kinds of Parsley. Darren is also planning on planting some garlic and onions in the next week or so. I’ve also been trying to collect seeds from our summer crop and was able to get seeds from the tomatoes, celery, broccoli, beans, zucchini and lettuce. And what’s really cool is that some of the lettuce seeds blew onto the soil after I pulled them out and have started sprouting on their own! So I’ll leave them be and we’ll have more lettuce soon.

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Chicken rearing is unpredictable

Remember last time I told you that I was hatching all these eggs and was going to have 30 some baby chickens to look after? Well, of the first batch of 10 I only have one left as some of them went mental and started attacking each other. By the time I put the injured ones down and culled the culprits I had 6 left. Two of which were eaten by a suspected cat and the rest were torn to bits and left in their night box by a stoat (similar to a weasel) who like to kill for fun.  The next lot had a problem with the incubator and the humidity, so out of 18 eggs set I only got 8 to hatch. These are still alive and are happily living with the one chicken a month older than them. And of the last lot I hatched, of 12 set only 4 hatched as I had more issues with humidity. So, I only have 13 chicks. I’ve learned a lot, maybe next year will be better.

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4 Wheel Driving

A few months ago we bought an old 4 wheel drive vehicle that Darren has been tinkering with. We took it out with some friends and had some fun the other weekend. We road up a dirt road and watched the sunset, had supper in the freezing cold outside and then drove back down in the dark. It was a good old time!

4 wheel drive

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Baby is growing 

I had my anatomy scan a couple weeks ago and got our first photo of our little one. When we got the photo I couldn’t help but pull out whenever I had a free minute to just stare at it. I try to imagine who it looks like. It’s presence is very well felt now as he/she especially likes to bounce it’s head on my bladder and other organs down in my pelvis. All is well and normal so far, and I’m for the most part feeling pretty good. We are waiting to find out the gender and have it as a surprise for the birth. We still haven’t picked any names though. I have had a go at sewing some clothes. I found this great tutorial on how to make a onesie which I tried out.

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Soap Making

About 6 weeks ago I made some soaps from scratch. They smell of Lavender and Spearmint. I’m hoping to make more of different scents and to even try making liquid soaps like shampoo.

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A visit from the neighbours sow

Last week Darren and I woke up to the sound of ripping and tearing. It took us a while to figure out that there was a large pig ripping holes in the bag of apples we had on the back porch. One of our neighbours had a hole in his fence and their pig decided to spend the day on our land, ripping holes in the dirt and gardens and eating our apples. It was mostly amusing but kinds of annoying and the neighbour gave us some money for the apples and has fixed his fence.

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