9 ½ weeks: Life, Vol 7: Aug 21 – Nov 3, 2007

Wow, hard to believe I’ve been back in New Zealand for 2 ½ months. Time is speeding by; it’s springtime; and we’ve been busy, busy, busy.

Highlights of some of the fun things we’ve been up to:

In addition to attending Melting Man in August, we went to the local Little River Fire Festival in early October with friends Kirsty and Sess. A gathering of about 300 people all camped out in a couple of paddocks, the festival featured local musical acts; lots of juggling, hooping, and poi spinning during the day; and fire spinning and fire art at night. Two people demonstrated firewalking on hot coals and invited people afterwards to make the trek over the 3 metre long hot coal path. Bruce was not to be deterred – here he is in action across the coals. Sess joined along too as did about forty others. Exhilarating – yes. Totally safe – questionable. Both Bruce and Sess and a couple of others sustained a few 1st degree burns and blisters on their feetsies.

HoopingBruce firewalkingFire Festival


We went to the Body/Mind/Spirit Festival in mid-September. More an expo than a festival, the event was held in the local convention center over two days and featured various booths and hour-long seminars on various holistic and metaphysical modalities. We sat in on a talk on Orgone devices (right up Bruce’s alley and wild to find someone in Christchurch who’s making such unique devices); pendulum dowsing; Wu Tao dance; and a discussion on the paranormal. And I commissioned myself a necklace that will be made especially for me and me only from Soul Design. I can’t wait to get it!

Last weekend we attended a one-day workshop on the spring garden which was held on a beautiful 10-acre property owned by one of the country’s most well-known organic horticulture teachers & writers, Holger Kahl and his partner Mariella Stoppel. Small and intimate with only twelve participants, we received some good information and got to see firsthand how to set up the spring garden and prepare the soil for growing. A good day spent out in the country!



Chez Guidi/Scanlon is always open to a fellow-traveler and friend. Besides the Wellington & Ozzie folks who came down for Melting Man, we hosted new migrant Sess for two weeks in October. We were introduced to Sess via a friend and met him in the States in July. A keen young man, he was interested in migrating to New Zealand with just his backpack and laptop and nothing else. And thus he arrived in New Zealand. Originally planning to stay for just a night, Sess extended his stay to two weeks and kind of became our first woofer (willing worker on organic farms). He assisted Bruce with creating a new veggie bed in the garden (no small feat since they had to dig out the existing turf and then chop it into small pieces!) Sess is a bright, remarkable, thoughtful person and has become a good friend. And he likes to play board games.

CaptainDucksDucks on roof

Never one to be discriminatory, we also opened our home to a few non-homosapiens as well. Seems like a couple of the ducks of Christchurch really enjoy our yard. Two or three kept appearing daily over the course of the last five weeks. I discovered one had made a nest in a pile of prunings I had tucked in the front corner of our house. The duck would appear at strange times in our carpark and finally I observed her waddling into her nest (when I last looked she was gone and there were a few smashed eggs in the nest). The other two ducks would fly in in the afternoons, waddle around the yard, sip from the water bowl I left out, and often warm themselves on our roof. They spent so much time on the roof that I started calling them Mr & Mrs Captain (a Ghost and Mrs. Muir reference).

Birds eggs

In addition to the ducks, we were the proud hosts of two new baby birds. Mama & papa bird built a nest in one of our conifer shrubs that sat right in front of our dining room window. I watched as the birds painstakingly made their nest which took about two weeks. I could stand on a chair in the dining room and see into the nest – imagine my surprise when I saw two turquoise-colored eggs! A few weeks later and, much surprised again, two little babies were sitting in the next. I watched over the course of several days as both mama and papa poked around the garden for worms and brought them to the nest for the babies. Nature. Awesome. The babies are gone now and I was sad to have missed watching their first flight.

And of course, we have our pet bees!

Always eager to learn something new, I signed up for two 8-week classes: One on loom weaving where I’m learning how to weave on a rigid heddle loom; and the other is a woodshop class where I’m working on my art project for Kiwiburn. This years’ theme at Kiwiburn is ‘CombustInUnity’ and all attendees are invited to make an effigy of their liking to display in their camp. On burn night, everyone will procession down to the Man with their morphmen and add them to the pyre for burning.


I’ve been in class for four weeks so far. Here’s some photos of my first weaving project (coasters and a little matt) and my 12” tall models of my morphmen (planning to make a 1-metre tall one)

September 21st is United National International Peace Day and here in Christchurch it was celebrated with a ceremony at the Peace Bell in the Botanic Gardens. Speeches were made and then 1000 small candle lanterns were launched down the Avon river. A couple of us went to watch. Maggie scored us a free ride on a gondala so we got to see the lanterns up close. Spectacular.

MaggieBruce Peace DayTobi & Maggie

And we’ve had birthday celebrations, school projects, and the purchase of our new land to keep us busy — all which I’ve written about in separate posts.



Ah, springtime in the garden – flowers in bloom, and plenty of work to be done to prepare the garden for summer growing season. Seeds of various veggies were sown in trays in early September and have continued every two weeks. Most seeds need a lot of warmth to germinate, so we keep them in the warmest places in the house – our rooms! As the seedlings grow, they are transplanted into bigger pots (and as of last week, kept in our new tetrahedron-shaped glass house which Bruce built for me), and then eventually out into the garden. Some things grow faster than others (and some don’t grow at all) so we’ve got plants in various stages all over the place! I’ve been working on a massive spreadsheet which catalogues each type of plant and notes which are good as companion plants, which should not be planted together, which plants are good to follow others in a crop rotation. Lots to think about. But I’ve finally sketched out my plan for our nine veggie beds and things are coming along nicely.


From seed, we’re growing: two kinds of tomatoes, various lettuces, chives, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, squash, zucchini, cilantro, carrots, peas, beans, corn, parsnips, radish, buckwheat (good for attracting beneficial insects), marigolds (good companion plant), chamomile, basil, and jerusalem artichokes.

Herb GardenBroad beans

In the garden, growing over winter, we’re still producing cabbage, celery, silverbeet (swiss chard), kale, some lettuce, and loads of parsley, chives, thyme, and marjoram. Broad beans (fava beans) were planted last May and the first beans are just about ready for harvest (above photo). 100 cloves of garlic were planted in June and they’re all about 1 foot tall and should be ready for harvest by Dec 21st (plant on the shortest day of the year; harvest on the longest!).

Nov GardenNov Garden 2


Did we just do all that in 9 ½ weeks? I guess so. Never a dull moment………