Posted in House, Plants and Gardens on September 27th, 2010 by Coffee

The weather report today sounded like conditions would be much better for spraying, so we loaded up the car again, and off we went. Sounds easy, but we were trying to drag ourselves out of bed as early as possible so we could start in the early morning when we figured the wind would be still asleep too. And just to make it that much harder, it was the daylight-savings change last night too, so we lost an extra hour. Yawn!

As it turned out, the advantage of starting early today wasn’t so much avoiding the wind (which managed to stay away just about all the time we were there) but managing to avoid an hour or two of the baking hot sun! Boy was it hot! And spraying about 900sqm isn’t quick with only a backpack sprayer, but we got there without expiring. Well, I say we, but Bec did most of the spraying in the heat while I did other chores like pulling out fences and rolling up wire. I’m not sure who had the better deal really.

So hopefully that’s stage one towards getting a reasonably big bit of dirt ready to plant some natives on sometime soon. The only small wrinkle is that one of the trees we planted 2 or 3 years ago that we thought were now dead sticks has a couple of itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny leaves on it that means we’re not quite ready to pull it out. It might mean that in our stand of natives we have a single maple tree with purple leaves*. Hmmm. That might take some explaining! I think I give it a 60% chance of survival anyway. Mind you, it has managed to last this long. We gave it wide berth with the spray anyway.

The real bonus of the day turned up about 11am. A digger! So we were luckily on site when the first bit of dirt got shifted for the house. Well, dirt might be a bit of a misnomer. I think it’s probably 60-70% shingle and rocks, and 30% dirt. But at least some of it might be useful in a vege garden. If we can work out a way to separate it easily enough.

We even managed to keep out of their way most of the time as we were too busy with our own chores. I wonder how long that will last! For us it’s all pretty exciting really. I guess it’s starting to be a bit real now!

Still looks small though!

*That might sound a weird way of putting it, but three of us can’t work out if it’s leaved or leafed in “purple _____ maple.”

Starting chores…

Posted in House on September 25th, 2010 by Coffee

Today was chore day. Just a few little things to do, like collecting the base for our pump-shed. I knew we bought a station wagon for some reason! Much to Bec’s (and the shed guy’s) surprise, we managed to coax the 3.1m timbers into the wagon and even close the back door!

It did mean that I had to sit in the passenger seat like one of the many Barry the Bogans that seem to cruise around here, but maybe now I can see the attraction of the fully reclined seat position. Not sure I could ever drive like it though!

And as there’s some building finally started, we’re thinking it was about time that we started on the “garden” as well. So we stocked up the car with bits and pieces and headed out to the plot. First job, of course, was to admire the pegs that had multiplied since we’d last been out a bit. And discuss how it still looks small!

The main chore today was going to be a bit of spraying to kill the grass off so we can plant a few trees without them being smothered, but when the weather forecast suggests the day might be filled with “blustery northerlies” spraying isn’t really an option. Unless you don’t really care what you spray, of course!

So plan B. Harvest the seed heads of last seasons weeds. I assume these are foxglove thingees, but we’re not yet experts on the local wild-flowers and weeds. We probably did as much to help scatter the seeds as anything else, but at least we know now where there’s likely to be the biggest collection of them in the next few years if we decide we want to cultivate some!

It was nice to spend some decent time out there though, on a lovely but windy day. The spraying will keep!

It starts now…

Posted in House on September 23rd, 2010 by Coffee

I don’t think we’ve ever been so excited to see a pile of wood in a field before. Although maybe that’s not a great surprise to anyone! (Excuse the poor photo – memo to self: Make sure the camera hasn’t been flicked to manual in the bag before taking important shots for the record…) By the way there’s still a lot more wood to come.

But after seemingly forever waiting for things to start, it looks like we’re off and running with the construction! Things are finally happening on site. Yeee-ha! All a bit scary really all of a sudden.

As we’d been warned, at this stage with only a few pegs in the ground everything looks really small! Hopefully it will start to grow in size!

Expect updates to come thick and fast from now on in!

Putting along…

Posted in New Zealand on September 14th, 2010 by Coffee

Well, things have been a bit stressful over the last few days. We’ve been experiencing the aftermath and aftershocks of the earthquake (really glad we missed the main event!), and also putting our uncling and auntying skills to the test child-minding (they’re not babies any more) for a few days. Not sure which has been the more nerve-racking! But what better way to forget all about that for a while when we got a break than to pick up another couple of folk also at a bit of a loose end and head out for a round of mini-put. Or put-put if you prefer. Whatever.

Initially we were thinking the weather wasn’t the best so we should head to an indoor course, but when we got there we found that although their website said they were open seven days, the seven apparently don’t include Mondays. Hey ho. Outside it was then, at the Ferrymead golf complex. As it turned out it became a fantastic day, just right for mini-put. Sun in the sky, but not too hot. No wind to speak of to compensate for. Pearler! Only problem was that the course had been rained on fairly heavily the night before, so there were a number of water hazards on the course that made life a bit interesting. But the really best part was that for the entire time we had the entire course just to ourselves. Our own private course! Fantastic.

Competition between Bec, Megan, Nate-Dog and myself was intense, and it was only going through the back 9 that a clear winner emerged. And that would be Nate. We’ll keep you guessing about the minor places and the actual scores…

Looks like we might have to have another similar trip out soon, so I guess we should have a record to compare them against. Our assessment of the course is:

Course Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Only a couple of trickier holes.
Course State: Average. A bit of work needed, and the greens could have been swept a bit, but generally well maintained.
Price: Reasonable with a two-for-one voucher, but we’re still getting used to NZ prices.
Playing company: High class.

I almost thought we’d have to admit defeat…

Posted in Rants And Rambles on September 3rd, 2010 by Coffee

What better way to while away a bit of time while we’re waiting for any news then to do a puzzle! What a good idea! Only… we didn’t start it until late in the stay at the current free accommodation providers. Almost too late! You know you’re going to be in for an interesting puzzle-time when you can only work out 4 different piles to sort the pieces into when you drag them out of the box (and one of those is edge bits), and when you’re fighting each other to do the sky! At more than a few times over the last couple of days I’ve thought we’d just have to admit defeat, and go though all the pain again some other time.

But anyway, we managed to get it all done. Just in time to have to pack it all up. Whew! Another one to chuck in a cupboard (when we get one!) and pull out once the memory of this time has subsided enough!