Posts Tagged ‘new zealand’

My husband once said to me, “I’m glad you’re not afraid of work”. I took great pride in hearing that. And yet there I was, stomping around in my gumboots trying to find the mini tractor and trailer so I could get a load of wood for our empty wood pile by the bus.

I was very irritated and bothered because the trailer was full of grass and needed be emptied. Also, because it was really hard for me to reverse the trailer into a good spot to load wood from the bulk wood pile. And, because I would also need to back it up to our woodpile near the bus, only to then unload it with a baby on my back and a two and a half year old helping not helping.

For some reason I felt that this job was too hard, and not fit for me to do. It was real work and I’d have no help. I’d done it once before for the same reason. Darren is usually at work when it’s a good time to do it. Yet my irritation raged because I was forced into doing it again.

It’s getting colder at nights and we need the fire. Many people in New Zealand heat their homes this way. It’s a lovely feeling, sitting in front of the warm glow, cocooned in from the elements. But, along with this privilege of being comfortable and warm comes work.

I said a prayer for help. Not for help doing the wood, but for help with my attitude. I believed that I was being a cry baby. I was having an internal tantrum because I grew up a soft city girl and didn’t want to struggle with this job.

My prayer was answered. My attitude slowly softened and melted. “This is what it’s about. Whoever is able and free does this kind of work. Living in the country means learning to look after yourself without being pampered. Learning to reverse the trailer without help is a badge to be worn. I can be proud of this rather than wounded.”

I was almost finished unloading the wood and taking a rest when I stopped to watched Boy run down the hill to the tree swing. He was yelling back to me, “That was fun Mummy!” It was a beautiful, still, sunny, Autumn day. Perfect. Nothing to complain about. This was an opportunity to be outside with my children, an opportunity to grow my confidence, my patience, my skills.

Sure, I would prefer if Darren did it. If he had time, he would do it. But if he did, I’d really feel better if I was helping him, so we could at least spend his time free working together. And if I was helping him, I’d be doing much of the same work that I was doing now. My irritation was unfounded. I wish I would have at first not balked at the job but lived up to the compliment, “I’m glad you’re not afraid of work”.

I’m a bit better at backing that trailer now… Give me a few more years and I’ll be a pro… Maybe.


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These things are awesome… Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Asparagus rolls are a traditional finger food found at pretty much all gatherings here in New Zealand. I had never heard of such a thing or tried anything similar before moving to here.

Soft bread with the crusts cut off, spread with mayo, place canned asparagus at the corner and roll it up. Yum! Asparagus Rolls! Try it try it!!! And let me know what you think.

Do you have any recipes like this in your part of the world? I’d love to hear about them.

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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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