While we work on the house and all the renovations, the garden and grass continue to grow and we continue to mow. We have tried to maintain the grounds and garden over the last many months and thanks to woofers we’ve managed to almost stay on top of things.
In December we had woofers Iwen from Australia for a few days and she helped us transplant our 80 tomato seedlings which we started from seed in August. The tomatoes are doing really well and we should soon be harvesting.
During the time Pete, Kat, and Purple were here, we also hosted woofers Katie and Ashley, both from the U.S. They were a great help to us and they spent many days sheet mulching around the fruit trees, weeding the gully, weeding the floral gardens, and helping us with general household chores.
Katie is a master sewer and on one rainy day she spent several hours mending one of Bruce’s coats; she also has training in floral arrangements and created amazing bouquets for the house; and she can draw and loves animals and drew an awesome portrait of Nina!
Ashely, also a talented lass and with experience with Habitat for Humanity, helped Pete and Kat with the renovations; cooked us up some fine TexMex cuisine; and found some time to make us some beautiful wall art!
The gals also got a first-hand glimpse of how to distill your own alcohol as Bruce has been busy brewing up batches of vodka for Kiwiburn!
In the garden, we started harvesting our broccoli crop – some of the largest we’ve grown so far!
The cherry trees which we planted two winters ago produced a mighty bowlful of deliciously sweet cherries which we savoured with delight.
We also got two small bowlfuls of strawberries and one big handful of black currants!
The peas and kale did wonderfully and we’ve been picking both for almost three months now.
Our second year asparagus seedlings are coming along.
And finally, the garlic crop was ready to harvest – all 200 bulbs of varying sizes. I am pleased with the crop and think we might actually have enough for the year!
In the kitchen, we were busy making elderflower cordial and a few batches of strawberry/rhubarb jam – a new favorite!
We all attended a local seaweed walk/tour where we learned about the many varieties of edible seaweeds in the harbour and managed to collect some for sampling. Katie made us an awesome fresh seaweed salad.
And as we approached the holidays, we were busy with much socializing.
We had a lovely meal out at a swank Christchurch restaurant (Tiffanys) for friend Tobi’s birthday.
And we hosted an amazing solstice party in Wainui. The summer solstice was quite special this year with a full moon and lunar eclipse. About 15 people trekked out from Christchurch for the night, in addition to the seven of us already here. Folks set up tents or slept in their vans and it was quite inspiring to know we could fit so many people comfortably on the property.
Friend Andrew from the States arrived the morning of the 20th, just in time to celebrate his birthday on the 21st for the first time in the southern hemisphere! With cake ready, we welcomed in his birthday and he was treated to a very nice body detox foot spa bath!
We had a big potluck dinner and then most of us trekked up into the hills to watch the full moon eclipse. It was magical.
And then we rolled into Christmas. Friends Tobi, Alex, and Dennis came out for a few nights and friend Amba and mom and nephew came out for the day. Unfortunately I was a bit under the weather with a bout of food poisoning which put a damper on my culinary intake but did not put a damper on my Christmas spirit!
Once everyone departed by Boxing Day, we were just the three of us and Nina for the week leading into New Years. Much needed quiet time ensued with our New Years Eve consisting of making gourmet burgers and poutine (French fries with gravy and melted cheese), playing board games, and having a few glasses of champagne. I managed to stay up till 12:15 am to welcome in the new year.
And January 1st blessed us with a stunningly beautiful day. We all hopped in the truck and drove around the harbour up to Mt. Bossu and had a really lovely hike with amazing views of the peninsula.
And so we begin this new decade. May it bring us clarity in our visions, peace in our hearts, and lots of smiles on our faces.
PS: In case you didn’t know, Birdsong is the name we’ve given to the property. Birdsong Retreat and Sanctuary – come see us some time!