So, on sunday we leave for our big trip to America. We are very excited and trying to make sure we don’t forget anything… But before we go I’d like to post a few photos about what we’ve been up to. I do plan on posting some wedding photos later on, but will wait until we get back. We’ve been married for 3 months tomorrow. Time has flown by! We have been very busy! Here are some of the things we’ve been up to:


Darren had his 30th birthday. We were invited to lunch on Sabbath by some friends and we brought a trifle and I put candles on it so we could sing to him. He didn’t want a big party so that’s all we did and it was delicious. :)


We hatched out some chicks from the eggs that my chickens laid by putting them in our incubator. A few days after they hatched I gave them to a student at school because we had too much to raise them at the moment. I hope to hatch some more out when we get back from america.


Darren has been having fun pulling an old lawn mower to bits to try and get it working. He got a great deal on it because it was broken but he is trying to make it into a tractor even if it can’t mow.


We lost one of our ducks shortly after my previous post. I accidentally stepped on him and he died shortly after. It was quite sad. Darren said, ‘And that’s why ducks have so many babies…’ So down to three. Then I let them out to see if they would go or stay. They hated being confined all the time and I didn’t have time to watch them all day so I said, ‘well you can go, it’s better that you’re free and happy than a slave and safe.’ They went exploring and came back that night. Now they hardly ever wander very far. They love their little pond. and sit in it paddling around most of the time.


Darren made some progress on the lawnmower and attached the push mower to it to try it out. It works pretty good, and it gave us a good laugh too.


A lady in our little town has offered to teach me how to spin. She’s lent me her wheel and even given me some wool for free.


It took me about 3 or 4 sessions to finish this much wool. I had two colours and spun them together. It’s kind of hard at first but she said I did very well for my first time. I’m excited to knit something with it as it will be handmade from the raw materials.


After it’s spun it needs a good wash. So I did that in our bathtub and then hung it up to dry.


I think I might make some socks or maybe a hat. We’ll see and I’ll be sure to update.


We lost yet another duck. I had noticed that as their feathers came in two of the three had a green sheen other their head even thought they don’t get their gender determining feathers until later. So I’m pretty sure I had 2 boys and a girl. The boys were Lucky and Webster, with Lucky being my favourite – he was almost eaten by a dog. And then Dina is the girl – Short for Houdini as she is the little escape artist. They went for their normal little wander last week in the morning and when I came home from work Lucky and Dina were on my front porch and they were very happy to see me. I think they were scared and Lucky had a limp. I’m pretty sure a cat or something must have eaten Webster. Anyway, I hope the other two have learned to stay away from cats. They are just about ready to fly and I’ll be away in America. I hope they are still there when I come home.


We have one hen that has gone broody. She sits on the nest all day, so we put 8 eggs under her and they will be 1 week on Sunday. When we get back, if all goes well, they will be 4 weeks old by then. Kind of exciting. I hope she’s a good mum. Darren’s parents will be looking after out place while we are gone.


The birds like to eat all the chicken food I put out so I made this automatic chicken feeder:


They have yet to figure out how it works and I have to modify it a bit so the parts don’t stick when it rains… but this was my first wood working project ever, and I’m pretty excited about it.


Anyway, all is well with us. We hope to see many of you during our trip overseas and we also hope to make a few posts about our adventures while we are there as well. Until then!!

Darren and I have been spending most weekends and some evenings getting our garden set up. It’s a lot of hard work, but I think its nearly ready to just let it grow. We’ve been mowing, tilling weeding, mulching, planting, transplanting, watering, patrolling for pests, replanting etc… Most of our tomatoes plants were killed by a frost, but fortunately Darren’s Nana had some extras that she gave us. Our goal is to be as self sustainable as possible. We want to produce our own produce and then process it so it can be stored when it’s not in season. We’ve planted the following so far: Tomatoes, Leeks, Lettuce, Sweet Corn, Beets, Carrots, Celery, Beans, Peas, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Rhubarb, Pumpkin, Artichoke, Silverbeet, Potatoes and Zucchini.

One of our first projects after our wedding was to build a chicken run for our chickens so they didn’t eat our garden. They love scratching and having dust baths in the nicely prepared soil. So After that was finished we could plant, but then the frost came… So after about two weeks we planted again.

I’ve also realised that we have a slug and snail problem here. every time the pumpkins would come up I would rejoice only to find them eaten all the way down to the roots by the darn slugs and snails. I used to think their were cute, but now I wish for their death. I went out on a rainy evening a last week and collected about 150 of them and fed them to the chickens the next day. Finally I bought some slug bait and our pumpkins are finally thriving. The ducks are great in the garden. They love to eat bugs AND snails! and they don’t scratch.

Anyway, below are a few pictures. Hopefully we will have a good harvest in a few months. We are having Darrens parents water it while we are away over christmas and when’d we get back everything should be just about ready to eat. Yum!

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We have ducklings at the moment. They’re two weeks old. Darrens dad found a duck sitting on his farm and asked us if we wanted any of the eggs. He doesn’t want the ducks to eat his crops so it would be a help to us to take them. So, we took 6 eggs and put them in our incubator bought to raise chickens. One of the eggs turned out to be infertile and the rest hatched but one was killed by our dog AB. We ended up deciding to give AB to Darrens sister who has two little girls. That way he’ll have kids to play with and won’t have to worry about not eating ducklings and chicks.

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Anyway, they are so adorable. I thought I’d share some pictures with you. Another one almost got eaten and we’ve named him Lucky. Another one is always trying to avoid being picked up even though he likes to snuggle too. We call him Houdini the little escape artist, haha. The other two don’t have names yet and we don’t know which ones are boys or girls. They are growing really fast. It’s amazing how different they are to chicks. They know how to swim right after they are born and their bodies are made for that purpose. Their feathers  are made is just the right way on their belly nice and thick and full of air so they float like boats. Their bills are nice and flat so they can siphon water through to catch any food in the water. They make a royal mess doing this, spitting water from their food bowl all over their box. Their webbed feet allow them to paddle effortlessly and quickly. Their stream lined body lets them dive to get things a little deeper. I’m really amazed by these little creatures.


Oh, and they also think I’m their mother, so they follow me all over. We are hoping they remain friendly and so we bring them where we go when there are lots of people around. They like to fall asleep in your hands. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed seeing them. I’m sure I post more pictures when they grow up.

Here’s a complation of videos from the trip with Tania and Adrienne. It was a blast and full of memories. I hope you enjoy the footage as much as we did making the memories. :)

If you want to read about the trip it’s below in 4 posts:

South Island Road Trip Part 1

South Island Road Trip Part 2

South Island Road Trip Part 3

South Island Road Trip Part 4

So, next up we had a day to get to Dunedin, which was only about 200 km. But, there were some things we had hoped to see before the day was over. This part of New Zealand is called the ‘Catlins’ and I personally thought it was the least interesting. I probably would not come back here if I could choose to revisit any part of NZ. We did go to the southernmost point of the South Island and we did see a place called Nugget Point, which was pretty cool, and we also stopped at another pretty cool water fall. This day we were all extremely unenthusiastic but were glad to have seen the places we did after we were done. Getting out of the car was actually a chore for most of us, haha! I learned on this trip that it’s important when planning a vacation to plan ‘nothing’ days where you can catch up and rest so you’re not exhausted when you get home. Vacation is supposed to be about rest and relaxation.

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DSC04901When we got to Dunedin we stayed with a friend that lived and worked down there. She lived in this little room that had a shared kitchen to a bunch of other rooms. It was pretty interesting. I’m not sure I’d ever want to live in anything like that now but it would be great for university students. We checked out the city during the next morning and then went to New Zealand’s only genuine castle. We had a tour and then had ‘high tea’ served to us like the british and the queen and such people have and how they used to do it in the olden days. We had little pastry snacks and 3 different types of tea to try. I liked Adrienne’s tea so much that I bought some to take home. It’s called Christmas Tea. We also found out about these ruins to the castle that were in the woods outside the gates. It’s not really advertised or anything but we ended searching for a while and finally found it. It was the ruins of the maids quarters back when people actually lived in the castle. It was probably my favourite part of the day. We also check out the steepest street in the whole world called Baldwin Street. It was a bit scary driving up it, but it was pretty cool. They have this thing that they do once a year here where they roll little candies down this street. It’s a race to see who’s candy makes it to the bottom first and then they win something somehow.

IMG_0307 IMG_0332IMG_0423 DSC04916IMG_0456 IMG_0563 IMG_0580The next day we had to travel from Dunedin all the way to Hamner springs, but we were going to take the long way so we could see Lake Tekapo Which is a famous lake with a famous church which is next to another lake that’s this vibrant blue colour. In all this day had 700 km in it. We also stopped at the Moerake Boulders which are huge rocks that look like marbles. They formed naturally like that and were pretty cool. We spent the night in Hamner Springs.

IMG_0669 IMG_0708 IMG_0657IMG_0743DSC04950 IMG_0759 IMG_0785 DSC04962Hamner Springs is basically a town built for tourists to come and enjoy the thermal pools that exist there. We paid to get in and spent the whole day in the nice steamy, naturally heated pools. It was very relaxing after being so tired. It was nice to just do nothing at all. We took a look around the town as well and had an interesting conversation with another american at the backpackers place we stayed at. It turned out he lived both in NZ and the USA going back and forth all year to manage a vineyard he owned. Fascinating.

The next day we drove to Nelson where we spent the second day of our trip. Almost home.

It was dark on the way there and I accidentally ran over a log going full speed. I honestly thought it was a large piece of cardboard, and then all of a sudden, thump thump! It was really scary, but thankfully it didn’t hurt the car. We got out and I thought my hubcap must have been lost when I ran it over, but Adrienne was like, ‘No, you’ve been missing that the whole time’. We laughed because I only just noticed it now and it had probably been gone for months…. haha!

When we were in Nelson, I was so tired that I just hung around town. I found the library and just vegged out. The other two went on a little boat tour of the Tasman Sea. I honestly had seen so much that I couldn’t care less about one more touristy thing. I knew the pictures they brought back would be good enough for me. My day was lovely and so was the girls.

We spent that night with another really nice family. They fed us and showed us some of their treasures like their rock collection.

The last day we drove to Picton where we would get on the ferry to go back home. Let me tell you this day was full of adventure. The short end of the story is that Adrienne accidentally broke my only car key off in the boot (trunk) while we were in line to get on the Ferry. All the other cars had to go around us and we were stuck. Some of the guys that worked there had to rush me to the hardware store where a new key was made. It was really a miracle because even the lady that did it thought it wasn’t going to work because the key was pretty bent up. But, it did and we rolled onto the Ferry with literally 30 seconds to spare because they weren’t going to wait for us. We were very thankful that it worked out ok. We got home that night at about 9 pm. It was Friday and we had school again on Monday. I’ll try to post a compilation of the videos we took on the trip in my next post.

IMG_0896 IMG_1265 IMG_1266Anyway, thanks for reading! This was such an awesome trip, I’ll remember it forever. I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures and reading about it too. :)

Click here for the South Island Road Trip Video

Alright, on to another instalment of the South Island Road Trip! I hope you don’t mind all the details, but I like to include them so I can look back and remember too.

We spend the night in Queenstown at another backpackers place and this time we didn’t get a room to our selves. We checked in and the other girls noticed that someone had their bag on one of the beds but wasn’t actually in the room. They thought it looked like a masculine type bag and we discussed the possibility of it being a man and how weird it would be to sleep in the same room as a strange man. We were a little nervous but went down to bring up more of our things. When we got back the owner of the bag was back and it turned out to me a woman and we were all secretly relieved. She had short grey hair and looked to be in her early forties. She was a backpacker for real, unlike us who had each brought 3 large suitcases on our trip and were traveling by car. She would walk or take a bus and had been doing so for several weeks as she was checking out the south island. She was a very interesting woman and I found later on that she was spiritual as well. I got into a conversation with her and it turns out that she was interested in mediation and made time for it every morning before she woke up. She wasn’t a christian, but I told her that I too spent quiet time in the mornings asking God for guidance and that I relied on the Bible for the peace in my life. She found it interesting to hear what I had to say and we kind of compared a few of our experiences with each other. We wished her well the next morning and both went our own ways.

Next we traveled to the little town of Te Anau, where we dropped off our things at another backpackers which was much more like a camp ground and had much better facilities. It was very comfortable and had separate little cabins for groups of 4 with really flash bathrooms and showers a short walk away. The last place was really sketchy, with co-ed bathrooms. Tanya was surprised when she went to use the toilet that there was a man in his underwear brushing his teach. We guessed by their accent that these people were from Europe. We found on our trip that there were a lot of Europeans and Germans in particular, that were traveling in New Zealand. They seemed to be a lot more open about things like privacy. Anyway, like I said, the new place was really nice. We dropped off our stuff and then carried on to Milford.

Milford was a dead end and we had to come back this way after we saw it. This day was by far my favourite day of the whole trip. It was the most fun, the most beautiful and the most interesting. I wish I could show you how beautiful this part of the world was… We drove through the huge mountains and even through a long tunnel, through forests and winding roads for about 3 hours until we reached the fjord, which was an inlet from the sea. Milford Sound it was called, even though it was actually a fjord. Anyway, we had a quick bite to eat and then got on a boat and road out through the sound to the ocean. The most famous peak in Milford sound is called Mitre Peak and is in some of the photos below. There are tramping tracks that let you hike to the top of it and around the general area and someday I’d love to come back and do that. When we reached the ocean the waves started getting really big which made the boat jump up and down. Adrienne and I started this game out on the front deck where we would wait for a wave and then jump as big as we could when the front of the boat reached the top of it. We would feel like we were flung into the air and got that funny feeling in our stomachs like you get when your drive fast over a hill. We did this again and again and just kept laughing each time. The other passengers came out and watched us from the upper deck and found it quite amusing to just hear our fun. We were so tired and wet by the end, but I’ll never forget it. Then the boat turned around and came back as the sun set. It was very cloudy, so the pictures were not as good as they could have been but still lovely. We also got to experience glacial water from a waterfall rain down on us. It rains 200 days a hear in the Fjordlands and when it does the water pours out from every crevasse. We drove back to Te Anau and spent the night warm in our beds.








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This was really the turning point for out trip. Every day after this we were just very tired and we sort of wished we hadn’t planned so much. But, we kept on going according to our plans and still found it enjoyable. We were now starting the 8th day for our trip. It was Friday and we needed to make it to Invercargill. It was about 4 hours drive and we had only a few things we wanted to see. We ended up doing a walking track but got tired after 30 minutes and turned around. Then we made a quick stop at a little limestone gave we found advertised on a brochure and walked through it. I’d like to come back and check it out again. I think it’s one of those little gems of a place that most people don’t know about. Then we stopped at gemstone beach which is a beach littered with rocks that are green and blue and yellow. I took a few home. It was raining and real really windy. Then we finally arrived at our destination and stayed the night with a family that had a 11 year old son and a baby boy. Lovely people. They fed us and everything. Their house used to be a school and they were fixing it up. It was pretty neat to see.

The next day we went to church in Invercargill and came back to the house for lunch. The family had plans to go camping that weekend, so they said goodbye and then left us to sleep one more night in their house. Saturday afternoon we drove out to a place called bluff, which has a sign that points in all directions to all sorts of destinations It was very cool. Then on the way home we stopped at the Queens Gardens which were really lovely. Before we had found the garden we had given Invercargill a pretty low rating because it was so flat and boring. Compared to the rest of the South Island it was pretty blah. But, it’s not all that bad. It’s the southern most city in the world and is truly at the bottom of the world.


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The rest of our trip was the journey back north up towards home. I’ll leave that for one more instalment of the South Island Road Trip posts. I hope to post a compilation of the videos we took along the way as well.

Click here to view South Island Road Trip Part 4

So, I’m ready to post again about another section of our journey. Sorry about all the english errors in the last one. I was in a bit of a hurry. I left off in Christchurch. We woke up the next morning to Tuesday. Day 5 of 15. We had to get up very early because we had a very long day and a lot of ground to cover to keep in line with our plans. First up was Mount Sunday. This was way out of the way and probably added 5 to 6 hours to our day. It was way out in the middle of no where on a dead end gravel road. It wasn’t really a mountain either. More of a mound really in the middle of a bunch of other mountains. The view was supposed to be spectacular, but it was raining and very misty, so we didn’t get to see much really except the mound. All the mountains around it were covered in clouds. We had our rain gear and after getting a little lost and then driving an hour on the gravel road we took an hour and a half to hike up the mound and look around. It was really fun actually. This location had apparently been featured in the movies, The lord of the rings and was where the little village of Edoras was located.

This is what it looks like on a good day

This is what it looks like on a good day

This is what we saw

This is what we saw

This is the view from on top of Mount Sunday. Only the foothills of the mountains are visible

This is the view from on top of Mount Sunday. Only the foothills of the mountains are visible


Here is Adrienne looking angelic on a rock we found and climbed

Next up was Springfield. Home of the Homer Simpson Donut. We asked why they had the donut and the people at this cafe said that when the movie makers of the Simpsons movie made their movie, that gave 2 donuts to 2 random towns called Springfield in the world. And this was one of them. So we each got one of these famous donuts and a hot drink and continued on our way.


Springfield’s Donut

Cafe we stopped at

Cafe we stopped at

Actual donut. It was more interesting to look at than to eat. It tasted pretty average to be honest.

Actual donut. It was more interesting to look at than to eat. It tasted pretty average to be honest.

Next we stopped at a place called ‘Cave Stream’ I really want to come back here in the summer because it was a bit cold to actually go through the cave. It’s a cave with a river running through it. You take torches (flashlights) and wear water shoes and walk through, climbing up over little waterfalls and such until you reach the other end. It’s about 1 km long and must be done when there is no chance or rain or else the water level is too high and you could drown. I tried to get in the water and it hurt pretty bad because it was so cold. So we just had a look around and continued on our journey.

Here is the Exit end of the stream

Here is the Exit end of the stream


Here we are walking to the other end over the top of the cave

Here is the Entrance end of the stream

Here is the Entrance end of the stream

The main point of this day was to travel over Arthurs Pass which would take us from the East Coast over to the West Coast. It was a lot of ground to cover and so much to see. This was probably a favourite day for me and I’d choose to come back here again in an instant. The views were beautiful and we passed many places which would have been great for hiking and camping or exploring. April is Autumn in New Zealand and the colours were perfectly timed for our trip.
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Next we stopped at the Devil’s Punchbowl which was a giant water fall. We hiked out which took about 15 minutes. The viewing platform wasn’t quite close enough for our liking so we read the sign that said continue at your own risk and jumped the fence and got right next to the water fall were there water collected in a big basin or the ‘punchbowl’. It was very misty from all the water. It was hard to take photos here.


A sign to direct our way

View from the parking lot

View from the parking lot


The walking track stopped here

The sun was close to setting now and we had to cut out a few things in our plans to make our next sleepover for the night. We were scheduled to stay at a backpackers but didn’t realise that there was a road closure that closed at 7 pm. We didn’t make it to that part of the highway until after 7 so had to stop early for the night at a different backpackers place. This would add a few more hours of driving for the next day and subtract from our time in Queenstown. We had hoped to arrive at a gorge near the west coast before it got dark where the water looked an emerald green from the glacier head waters. We did’t make it though so maybe next time. Below are a few more pictures from the day before it got dark.

Friendly Fantail

Friendly Fantail

Pretty views



At the backpackers. We got a room to ourselves with one extra bunk

At the backpackers. We got a room to ourselves with one extra bunk

We awoke the next morning and drove several hours south to Arrowtown and then Queenstown. Arrowtown is famous for it’s beautiful autumn colours and we were there at the perfect time to see this. I wish we could have spent more time here. It was a quaint little town with a few shops and lots of touristy stuff. Right before we arrived we had a nice view from the top of a large set of hills. We got some fun pictures here before going down. I realised when we got to the bottom that my car was making a funny smell, like burning rubber. It went away after a while and so I thought it was all ok. Later on I realised what it was but I don’t want to get out of order with my story so, will tell more about that later.

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Then it was on to Queenstown which is famous in New Zealand for the mountain range called ‘The Remarkables’. It’s also famous for the skiing and the shops, but I personally thought it was over commercialised and not as amazing as it was hyped up to be. We were all starting to get a little tired at this point and wanted to do different things. Tanya wanted to take the gondola up to the look out to view the Remarkables from up high. I didn’t want to spend the $30 dollars for this and wanted to drive up to a look out that would give a not as good view but still get to see them. Adrienne wanted to shop for souvenirs for her family so we all split up. Adrienne ended up joining Tanya in the end and they had a great time and said it was worth the money. I had a nice time as well and got to see a guy parasailing from off a cliff. On my way back down I noticed that the smell in my car was getting bad again and I thought, ‘It must be my breaks….’ So, I called a friend that knew a lot about cars and explained what was happening and we came to the conclusion that I was driving wrong. Since I only just learned how to drive a manual the year before, I unknowingly was coming down hills wrong. I was coming down with my foot on the clutch and using my breaks to slow down instead of the engine. This was in turn burning out my breaks because there were a lot of hills. From that point on I tried to engine break as much as I could and the problem stopped happening. Phew…. glad we got that figured out, or else my breaks could have given out. This was not the only close call we had. I’ll tell you about that later.

The Remarkables from the gondola

The Remarkables from the gondola

The ladies having fun shopping

The ladies having fun shopping

A view from the street

A view from the street

The hang glider I saw

The hang glider I saw

The view from my lookout

The view from my lookout

The view from the garden I checked out

The view from the garden I checked out

Anyway, I came back and looked around in a garden and got some more photos and then met up with the ladies. Then we had supper at a famous burger restaurant called ‘Fergburger’ where you have to put your order in and then come back in an hour when it’s ready. It was worth it thought. It was soooo delicious. While we were waiting Adrienne saw this guy that she thought was cute waiting in line behind us. She made some small talk and then after we put in our order we went our separate ways. We had an hour to wait so we did some looking around. She thought it was be a funny idea to go up to him and give him a note with her phone number on it. She told herself that she had to do it, even though she knew that it probably wouldn’t turn into anything. So, we came back and got our burgers and the guy was still waiting for his. She got up the guts and walked up to him and his friend. She asked him what his name was, said ‘nice to meet you’, put the paper in his hand and then walked away. Tanya and I were watching from farther away. We met up later and were laughing so hard because we couldn’t believe she did it and neither could she… The guy looked really confused when she did it, and he never called her, but it was funny, and the story was worth it.


Click here to view South Island Road Trip Part 3



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