Posts Tagged ‘new zealand’

Fish and chips are a thing that began in Great Britian I think, which is why it’s a thing here in New Zealand. There are fish and chip shops all over the place. It’s a very popular, easy meal and Kiwis everywhere love it. 

What is it? Its battered fish with a ‘scoop’ of chips, or rather french fries as they are commonly known in America. A scoop is usually a nice serving of say the size of both hands cupped together. This is served wrapped in paper ready to take away and eat elsewhere. 

It’s very common for Kiwis to have fish and chips at a park on a nice day, and its also very common to see sandwiches made from this between white bread and tomato sauce or ‘ketchup’.

Today we had fish and chips at a park for tea, or ‘dinner’, our last meal of the day. Darren was asking me if there was anything iconic in America that compared to this. All I could think of was eating pizza. Maybe I’ve forgotten though, haha, is there something like this? 

Boy enjoyed the experience as did we. He loves slides and climbing as well. It was a nice close to the day together. 🙂


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I just finished reading, Woman in the Wilderness by Miriam Lancewood. She’s Dutch and she lives a nomadic lifestyle in the wilderness areas of New Zealand with her husband. They spend months at a time sleeping in tents and huts, cooking on an open fire and hunting and gathering. They eat mostly dried beans, lentils, rice, fire baked bread, along with meat they kill. There are lots of introduced species in NZ that they hunt such as possums, rabbits, goats, deer, etc. They come out to restock supplies in town. They live off the interest produced by their small but sufficient savings. I found the book very fascinating and it has reminded me to enjoy the small things, slow down, look for beauty everywhere, and to spend more time in nature. 

So, this morning Boy and I drove out to the Pahongina Valley just north of us and walked the Kahikatea loop track. It’s a 1km track through NZ native bush with some Kahikatea trees. These trees were harvested in the early 1900s to be used as butter boxes to transport New Zealand butter to the UK, as the wood didn’t taint the butter and other wood did. There are not very many trees left, but there are some and they are the tallest growing trees in NZ. 

Boy enjoyed the walk, but he was a little unsure as he kept turning around in the beginning saying ‘Car? car?’ I’d like to take him on more walks like that more often. I wonder if he thought we weren’t coming back. He loves walks around the farm and could easily spend more time than we did outside, but it was a different setting than he was used to. Below are some photos we took and some things we took back with us. 

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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.


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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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.


Snow Angels.


Playing in the snow.




Doing some donuts…


Another pretty lake in the mountains.

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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!!

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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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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

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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

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