Yes, it is officially o-v-e-r and if we needed any proof, these last six days of continuous rain and hail and evening temperatures down to zero tells me that we are transitioning from one season to the other.
It has been a really good autumn with lots of activities and lots of scrumptious bounty. I’ve written previously about our wasp adventure and our autumn harvest and here’s the low-down on the rest of our adventures:
March & April were exhausting months as we had so many workshops, outings, and social engagements, we barely had time to breathe. The Clyde household continued to be full with Sola & Inayat in the final stages of readying for Tonga. They’d been shopping for two solid months to source a container’s worth of goods to bring to Tonga and these goods made their way into the house for ‘storage’. The container finally got parked out on the sidewalk and was packed over the course of weeks’ time. No small feat since Inayat threw out his back the first day and we were in Wainui for the week. We called upon our younger friends in town to come save the day.
Inayat, being a builder, offered his assistance to do a few projects around the house and we finally got some work done in the laundry room and we had a big weekend ‘workfest’ installing insulation in the attic. Everyone pitched in to get the job done and hopefully the house will stay a wee bit warmer this winter.
The four of us managed to have a bit of fun together, embarking on several outings into town for dinner and we were treated to evening of music listening to violinist Fiona Pears play at the Christchurch Cathedral. We had a beautiful sendoff party for them in late March complete with yummy food and heartwarming Sufi dancing which Inayat led us in. We wish them well in Tonga and look forward to the day we can go visit!
The biggest flower/garden show in New Zealand happened in March and was held in Christchurch for the first time. The City Council purchased the ‘rights’ to the Ellerslie Flower Show, which had been held in Auckland for many years. It was a big ‘to-do’ and over 77,000 people attended during its five days at the Hagley Park showgrounds. A landscape architect friend of ours, Carl Pickens of One Earth Matters, was one of many local designers who built a large display booth and I went and helped ‘build’ it – well, my job was to stain the wood – and I spent two days at it. Carl won a Gold Medal (middle photo above) of which the entire team was quite proud! Maggie and I spent the day at the show, a solid eight hours of enjoying the amazing floral and landscaped displays and sampling the culinary delights of the tasting tent. We came home with bags of goodies and a head full of ideas. I can’t wait for next year.
And during March we squeezed in a 3-day intensive weekend spiritual meditation workshop called The Melchizedek Method given by Gail Nichols, a very quirky and non-linear speaking woman. Three days from 9 to 5 of discussions and guided meditations where we ‘learned’ to focus, focus, focus, and where the catch phrase was ‘thought-intention’. I was in a room full of very highly evolved spiritualists, many of whom could detect the varying energies and could ‘see’ the spirit guides. I have to say it was hard for me and pushed many buttons and there was a time or two when I thought I really should not be there. But I decided to surrender to my inhibitions and fears and just do the best I could. Some meditations I got absolutely nothing out of but on a few others I had amazing ‘fourth-dimensional’ experiences. We came home with a big binder of materials and a CD case full of guided meditations, which both Bruce & I have continued to do and enjoy. Another notch added onto the spiritual belt.
We kicked off April out in Wainui celebrating Bruce’s birthday. Number 44! Given that it was mid-week, it was difficult for folks to come out to celebrate but Briar and her daughter Alice managed to come for a few days. We had lovely weather and we got dressed up and had a wee bit of a party complete with a delicious cake, presents, food, and dancing! Look at my handsome Bruce!
And although we’re an hour-plus outside of Christchurch in what some would call the wop-wops, we seem to have no lack of visitors which greatly pleases my heart and bodes well for our desire to build a small retreat centre. Our Kiwiburn friend from Auckland, Shelley, came down for the weekend, and another young Kiwiburn traveler, Kat, spent a few days hanging out and wwoofing with us. We tackled quite a few projects including mulching the orchard and putting down an herbal ley and we continued to sheet mulch the lower paddock, preparing beds for the spring planting. And I finally got out the chainsaw (almost a year after attending the chainsaw class) and went at it on a fallen tree.
For Easter, the entire Clyde household head south three hours to Pete’s Autumn Arena in Oamaru. Pete’s on a one acre block in the midst of farm country and during the eight years of being on his land, he’s created an amazing oasis using permaculture principles. Every Easter he holds a gathering where friends come to feast, play, and learn. People give workshops during the day and by night there is dancing, music & drumming, hanging out, movie watching, and whatever else suits ones fancy. Bruce brought down and set up the Merkabah and next to it, Cyrina & Richard set up a small sweat lodge. It totally rocked and was very, very special. Others led dance, honey-extraction, Mayan calendar, drumming, and beading ‘classes’ and the weekend culminated in a hangi, which is similar to a luau, where a lamb & veggies were roasted in the ground for the day and everyone contributed a dish to the giant potluck.
On the way back to Christchurch, Bruce & I detoured out to Mt Cook. We were on a stealthy secret mission to place a small orgone device somewhere around the premises. Apparently Mt. Cook is the crown chakra centre of the earth and a group of folks in the US have a plan to place an orgone device at each of the earth’s chakra points. So here I am holding the orgonite before we place it at our desired spot. Ssssssssssssssssshhhh, it’s a secret so I can’t say any more.
In mid-April we did attended one more workshop. It was an intensive permaculture course given in Oxford, about 40 minutes from Christchurch, on an intentional community’s 25-acre farm. We know some folks living in the community and were invited to attend, and we’d heard many good things about the facilitator, Robina McCurdy, from Golden Bay, so we decided to go. It was mainly a refresher course for us as we’ve done several permaculture courses in the past, but there was still much to be learned and we were able to have a one on one session with Robina to talk about some specific questions we had with the Wainui property.
And so we come to May. Wonderful, quiet, slowing-down May. The leaves are changing, it’s getting colder, it’s time to nest. We’re back on some semblance of a routine, spending 60 – 80% of our time in Wainui and the rest in Christchurch. Although there’s plenty of work to be done, with the daylight hours shorter, we’re only outside a few hours a day and then it’s time to be inside, by the fire, reading, talking, thinking, planning. Our Total Span garage project has virtually come to a halt. We got a letter from the Council denying our building permit until we can submit an engineer’s report. And so we began the very slow process of scheduling an engineer to come out to do the soil samples. We’ve had lots of rain this month and with that, lots of delays. And so we wait patiently.
Our house renovation plans have also slowed down and we’re now meeting with Russell every two weeks. We had some very long and intense meetings in April where we went through each room in fine detail, changing window placement, door openings, sizes, etc. We talked ad naseum about the kitchen and bathroom designs. We reviewed the heating plan and electrics. There are just so many details and the working drawings are mind boggling to me. Bruce & I went to the salvage yards and started looking at used doors and windows. And we’ve started making the rounds to the house design centres in town. We have still yet to file our building consent application, but it should be happening soon.
And so we slow the bodies down and hunker in for winter. It’s calmer, it’s colder, it’s all good.