Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Well hello again!  It has been a very long time since I last wrote. Oops.

Spring has sprung and things are looking more promising for this summer weather-wise.  I seem to always comment on the weather but it is because it plays such a huge part in our lives up here.  From whether we have enough grass to how animals will cope (especially with Dino who seems to be allergic to rain!) and whether we have enough water.

So, Mum and I went to Europe for a month.  I tried to post regularly on http://slothhunt.blogspot.com but it all got so crazy busy that I managed to get up to the 5th day or something and then it was abandoned.  Poor effort, sorry.  So here are a few more photos.  And I will go back and caption the ones on the other blog.  It was an incredible trip!

Cap Formentor, the lighthouse on Mallorca with spectacular views over the Mediterranean!

We stayed at Mary and Simon's picturesque house in the Loire Valley and visited quaint little towns and a very weird modern art gallery Chateaux D'Oiron.

Angles sur L'Anglin - forgive me if I have spelled that wrong.  it sounds like "Onglongslonglon'

In the tiny town of Santa Maria Maggiore, Italy, they have the annual Convention of Chimney Sweeps.  Awesome. 

Our first night in Ghiffa, Lake Maggiore.  An antipasti overlooking the lake.  Holy christ the Italians know how to do cheese! And fresh vegetables.  Drooool.

Isola Bella.  Insane.  Supposedly the neighbouring islands all tried to out-do each other with extravagance.  You can imagine what it turned into.

Our brief stay in Bellano, Lake Como, was slightly odd but this was the view from our bedroom window.

Ahhh... Venice.  Yes.

Venice wouldn't be complete without the Film Festival.  Above and below we see Robert Redford and Shia le Bouf 

Ljubljana was wonderful and great to see Gasper who was a fantastic host.  Thank god he knew where we were going because we would have been lost on our bicycles!

In Novo Mesto we encountered Ludvik and Dragica, friends of Sandi and Vesna, Eva's parents.  They have a cute little vineyard and treated us to a night of stupendous wine and impromptu singing... and much of both!  Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Lake Bled, Slovenia, was incredibly beautiful and the stunning day just added to the beauty of it.  

I have some others from Trieste, Rome and Hong Kong but my USB stick had a tantrum so I need to transfer them again.  Will do in the near future.

So needless to say when we got home we were pretty knackered.  Jet lag followed me the whole way through Europe and plagued me long after we got back.  I am finally over it now though!

More recenlty we had Jen. Em, Andy, Rach, Pete, Rowan and Greg here for the weekend as well as a random hitch hiker Greg and Marty picked up in Waipuk.  It was so good to have everyone here.  We made so much amazing food and generally just had a good time.  I managed to sneak in a ride on the Saturday morning before everyone got up.  First time I'd ridden Dino in a while.  We have a show coming up this weekend and he has been such a sweetie recently.  Will update on the results... definitely not holding out much hope for best presented!

Oh lovely Dino.

Happy as a pig in shit.

One morning Pete inadvertently dressed Rowan in exactly the same outfit as Marty. Complete with pants tucked in to socks.  Hilarious.

Pete vented some pent up rage.

River outing/dam-building


Rowan, as usual, channeling Pete.

Marty and Greg made a bbq out of half a 44-gallon drum and we joyfully sat around it and drank bubbles.  What a great way to start summer!

Computer is going to run out of battery and I need to go to bed.  

Will update about the show!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


So, after the last couple of posts I feel I should update on a few things. We got Rex back from the taxidermist...

He is now sitting proudly on top of the piano. When I picked him up I also needed to go to the mechanics. I should have done the mechanics first because when I did get there I had to ask them to be careful when taking the car for a drive because of my pheasant in the boot. They looked at me very oddly but when I returned Rex was still intact. Thanks guys :)

Last weekend Jen came to visit and I managed to rope her into helping me load Tigger onto the float to take her up to Napier. I wouldn't have been able to do it on my own so she was a great help even though we were both petrified and suffering from severe disaster vertigo throughout the experience. Tigger is pretty sweet. Not much phases her but she definitely tried a few sneaky tricks.

Once we had finally loaded her and jumped into the car, shaking uncontrollably, we just drove. We didn't want to stop for anything and I was praying that we had enough petrol to get to Napier. Jen was on 'ear checks' every 10 seconds to make sure that Tigger was still standing. She was swaying about all over the place and I could feel the drag on the car whenever she pulled backwards which made my heart race to my mouth thinking she may somehow push the ramp down and fall out (highly unlikely but this is the nature of disaster vertigo).

Halfway to our destination Jen suddenly said, "I can't see her ears". I almost died. This went on for quite a while and still her head didn't come up. We were on the motorway with nowhere to pull over and check on her so we had no choice but to keep driving until we had a clear space to stop. It was a while later, still no ears, and we managed to pull over on the side of the motorway with cars and trucks whizzing past. We looked in the window and Tigger had her head stuck under the front bar of the float and she had slipped her halter off somehow without breaking or undoing any of it. I have no idea how she did it but she was looking a bit confused when we opened the door and release her head. She actually didn't seem that fussed by it all by this point, it was more Jen and I that were trembling with anxiety. So we fixed her up, tied her with a very short rope and continued on our way, slightly relieved in the fact that she was coping well.

We got her to Bonnie's where Tigger was overjoyed with new smells and new friends. She and Bengali hit it off but there is a big mare in the paddock who is definitely the top dog. She gave Tigger a few deathly looks and a couple of charges but hopefully Tigger won't be so stupid as to taunt her (although I'm not holding my breath).

Jen and I left after a while to head down to Sanctuary Sounds Op-Shop Fashion Parade where Marty was playing music and modelling. We were both exhausted from our 2 hour adrenaline rush so we pulled up, watched Marty do his modelling (complete with moonwalk which he had been practicing in the kitchen for a week), had some food and then took off home.

A few days later Bonnie posted some photos of Tigger's progress. Her first ride.....

She looks so happy. I am ecstatic! I'm so proud of her and so thankful that Bonnie is breaking her in. I was so impressed with the way she handled Bengali and how he has turned out that I couldn't have sent her to a better person. Yay! Now just to find someone to ride her once she is broken in.

The cat has finally settled in - 3 months later - and is happily wandering outside of his own accord. No more forcing him outside only for him to run around the corner and straight back in the window. Hes put on heaps of weight and, as Marty said, is looking like a normal, healthy cat. You'd never know he was 17 years old. Although he still gives me this sad, slightly deranged look quite often....

Marty, dog and I are heading up to Mahia for the weekend. We were going to do the whole East Cape but the weather (the bloody weather) is not looking great and also we're a bit short of moolah so we decided on just the weekend. It's our 11 year anniversary tomorrow. Ridiculous. So, seeing as we both forgot our 10 yr we thought we should make the most of this year. Hopefully we'll be able to do some fishing and just spend some time together. The dog will hate the trip but love it when we get there. He will probably sit like this in the car....

He's quite strange. He has no idea he is a dog. He thinks he's people.

Anyway, I need to go and pack.


Kerry :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just another rainy afternoon.

It's still raining. Of course. And now the wind has joined the party. Wonderful.

Work has been very quiet recently so I have been playing housewife while Marty works. Obviously I am bored because I have been cleaning incessantly and tidying things that have never been tidied before. It appears that we never, ever need to buy body lotion, shampoo or soap ever again.

Also, I have become completely addicted to Pinterest.com and have been ogling over all sorts or crafty/edible/useful ideas. We now need to have parties for every occasion because I want to make fun food for all of them. Particularly Strawberry Santas and Apple and Marshmallow Smiles but there are many, many more.

Along with food I have also come across some cute things that are simple to make like these bookmarks....

And I have also made (and when I say 'made' I mean 'bought and painted') a necklace holder out of an old rake head. I painted it yesterday and bought a rust-killing paint that I thought was a matte grey but it turns out to be silver which I am not so happy about. I am going to have to now put another coat on in a different colour because now it just looks like a new rake which is not the look I was going for. I am quite excited about it though. I can't wait to get it up on the wall and to hang stuff from it. Oh the simple pleasures!

Piwaka is still lame (to be expected, I guess) but seems to be doing ok. The vet thinks the wound looks fairly good and now it is just going to be a month or so until it's healed. It's a terrible place for a cut because it is constantly moving so she keeps tearing the scab open. Yuck.

Tigger is going up to Napier soon to be broken in. She has been super cheeky recently so the breaking couldn't have come at a better time. She definitely needs to learn a few manners. Hopefully, once she's back, I'll be able to send her to a family down the road who do a lot of mounted games so she can get a few miles under her belt before I decide whether I sell her or lease her out. I think she would be perfect for games seeing as she is not really scared of anything. Her gangly legs may be an issue but hopefully one day she will grow into them.

Anyway, I think I am going to make some zucchini choc-chip muffins because we are, once again, overrun with zucchini. Then I am going to freeze them (and by 'freeze' I mean 'eat them all at once on my own'). I have no self-control.

And it's time to light the fire. Again. It is officially autumn now though. So long, 'summer'. It hasn't been fun.


Kerry :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Summer? What summer?

We have 9 days left of official summer and I am very disappointed that it has been so unbelievably crap. We have had the fire going almost nonstop and our paddocks are like swamps. This afternoon we are in for a thunderstorm (our third in 5 days) and our best weather is supposedly behind us now. Boo.

Luckily Christmas Day was a sunny, warm day but other than that it has been like mid- winter. I've been wearing polyprops most of the time and it's just not cool.

Between Christmas and New Year Marty accidentally killed Rex, the pheasant. He was just trying to scare him away from attacking Negrito Bembon (the rooster) and threw a tiny pine cone at him and accidentally hit him directly in the back of the head killing him instantly. He never would have got him if he'd been aiming for him, it was a complete fluke. So we all sat around and thought about what to do with him. Bury him? What a waste of such a beautiful creature. Eat him? No, he'll be tough and disgusting. Pluck him and keep the feathers? That seems so wrong. Jen (semi-jokingly): "Why don't you get him stuffed?" Fantastic idea! So we got on the internet to find a taxidermist in the area and googled how to preserve Rex until we got him to the taxidermists. Google suggested sliding him head first into a stocking to keep his feathers in good condition and then putting him in the freezer, making sure his tail didn't get damaged. So there I was holding the phone to my ear with my shoulder and trying to stuff a dead pheasant into the leg of my tights and almost crying with laughter. I accidentally dropped him and he plunged toward the ground inside the stocking at which case everyone in the room fell apart laughing as well. Luckily Rex was unharmed in the fall.

We arranged to meet the taxidermist later that day and what an exciting experience that was! Jen and I arrived to find a full grown Great White stuffed in this guy's garage among a zoo full of creatures in various stages of being mounted. Snakes, skunks, fish, deer, ducks, pheasants - you name it, he had stuffed it. We got a run down of what would happen to Rex and also how other animals were stuffed. At one point I commented on a fish eye that looked very realistic and he responded with, "Yes, girls make them, actually" as if he assumed that girls really were fairly useless at most things except making babies and cooking eggs.

So once we had confirmed a price, paid a deposit and made sure that he wasn't going to put Rex into some bizarre, unnatural position (flying? wings spread? mouth open? tail splayed? No. Just walking will be fine - he wasn't much into flying) Jen and I headed home to report back on our peculiar experience. I'm amazed we didn't crash the car we were laughing so hard.

That was just one event in what became an increasingly odd day but you can't expect much less from my family.

The rest of January and half of February have been spent organising a 'surprise' La Dolce Vita themed party for mum's 70th and sorting out the finer details of Dad's move into a rest home. I still haven't done all of that but it should be done very shortly. The party happened last weekend and was a huge success. Everyone looked amazing in their 50s/60s glam clothing (most of which was their own from the day rather than hired). I had a life-size cut out of mum in her Slim Anna days made which was hilarious. She hasn't aged a day....

Jen, Emma and I....

Things went almost too smoothly in the lead up to it though and I knew that something had to happen to add that element of drama that I am so used to. Sure enough, the day before the party Piwaka managed to get stuck badly in a fence and we had to get the vet out to cut her free. It was horrible. Luckily she didn't seem to have done too much damage but there is a serious risk of infection die to the fact that we can't get near her to bandage the wound. It looks pretty nasty though and we're just having to wait and see how she gets on. She's on her second round of antibiotics and painkillers so fingers crossed she'll be ok. It doesn't look great though....

The most recent weekend Marty went hunting with a friend and has finally shot a deer with his big rifle! Very exciting! We are now fully stocked with venison again. But the night he shot it I had gone to bed and when he got home at about midnight the dog went mental and barked and barked and barked so I got up to let him out only to find Marty covered in blood and looking very pleased with himself. I congratulated him and went back to bed. An hour later he came into our bedroom and said he needed a hand because the deer was too heavy for him to hoist into a tree on his own. So up I got, in my PJs, and hoisted a huge deer into a tree on the driveway - not what I had planned to be doing in the middle of the night! But we succeeded. When we finally got back to bed the dog was so wired from all the blood and smells that he wouldn't sleep on his own so started barking again and we decided to let him sleep in our bed that night just to shut him up. He then proceeded to toss and turn and push us around all night. Needless to say yesterday morning I was quite tired! But we got up and Marty set about butchering his deer....

Align Center

He had a gig in Otane that afternoon in celebration of the Art Deco Steam train coming through. Our wwoofer, Amanda and I went along for the ride which was fun. We got to sit in the locomotive and watch a sooty old man shoveling coal into the roaring inferno....

We were also 'chatted up' by a VERY drunk local who we then avoided like the plague for the rest of the evening. Amanda has been hit on by a large number of odd locals. I hope it hasn't smudged her view of NZ. I think she has had a good time thus far....

About a week ago we were inundated with Porina moths - thousands and thousands of them swarming around on the deck.....

In the morning all that is left is eggs crunching underfoot. It is quite disturbing. But last night was even worse. More moths and this time there were too many for the moreporks to manage on their own so we have woken up to a minefield of dead and semi-dead moths surrounded by mounds of black eggs. They are in everything. The eggs are all through our gloves and shoes and there are dead moths piled up in buckets and gumboots. Now that the chickens are out of the coop they think all their Christmas' have come at once and are absolutely stuffing themselves with the bodies. Even the ducks are joining the party. It is truly gross though. Here are the eggs covering the table. Bleugh....

Anyway, we're going to bake something today seeing as the freezing temperatures of the outside world are not particularly enticing.


K :)