Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 11- Compost bin

So now that my garden is planted I am going to try my hand at building compost bins. Here is the model I am going to attempt. The ultimate compost bin. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 9 - New arrival

We had one heck of a storm yesterday. It started around 1:30 pm and raged all night. When we woke up to feed the babies this morning, low and behold what did we find but that one of our pregnant mums have given birth sometime in the night! Ladies and gentlemen meet Fem!

"Fem" translates to "five" in Danish. Named thusly because she had
an unmistakable 5 on her forehead when I went out to visit and also
because her mum has 5 teats instead of the standard 4.
She is still getting her land legs but she is such a sweetie. She just had to come and say hello.
Also today, I finished my first round of planting! My strawberry box, that I built with my own hands using a hammer, nails and a table saw, turned out beautifully. :-) My rows are more or less straight, and I only killed one courgette, and really I think that was more due to the storm than my black thumb. So now I water and wait. I think I'm going to tackle compost bins in the near future since I seem to have a certain inbred knack for the table saw. Here was the plot at the end of the day.
Strawberries, 3 types of peas, broccoli, 3 kinds of cauliflower,
green cucumbers, courgette (squash), peppers and celery.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 7- The planting begins

Gosh! I am so stoked. I actually got to plant today. After several days of laboring over the soil and trying to even out the left side of the garden which was significantly lower than the right I finally got the plot to a point where I thought, "Yep. This is as good as it's gonna get." (Though I'm sure I will labor over it again tomorrow once I've had all night to think about its flaws...)
I erected and staked the tomato teepees that I made yesterday first thing this morning. They turned out so well! I feel like a mom. Look at them standing so proud and tall!
I'm still sorting out my set up. I cleared a pathway all the way around this morning and started mapping out a keyhole design this afternoon. Thanks for that idea Tobi. It seems to be working fabulously well.
Beginning of the day.
End of the day complete with Sam in the background.
Look! Tomatoes! 6 of them in 5 different varieties! I can't wait to give them a taste! If I'm still around during harvest time maybe I will have the opportunity to try my hand at canning...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 3- The Goat's Head Garden

I started my garden today! Yee haw!  I hoed. A lot. It was brilliant. Here is my little plot.
On one of my breaks I went down to pet the cows and low and behold, what did I find hanging in a tree, but a goat's head! Complete with horns, teeth and fur. It was amazeballs! Look! See for yourself.
After a bit of recon I concluded that it must be the head that Blair, Craig's friend, had found because there was no body and I highly doubted that the thing struggled hard enough to take its own head off. 

After basking in horrified fascination I took it down by the horns and, using them like a set of handlebars, steered myself with appropriate sound effects back to my garden. After looking around I hooked it by it's horns to my fence and dubbed my plot " The Goat's head garden."

I have high hopes that Sam will be just as effective as a scarecrow.

Day 4- Ahhh Shoot!

I got to shoot guns today! 4 of them! And I got the nick name "Annie Oakley." They tell me this is good. -big grins- It was on my 5th round of 5 shots.
5 shots at 20 meters
I was using a BRNO bolt action 22. (And I totally know what all of those random words mean now!) I think maybe I like shooting.

Oh and here was the sunset today.

The road onto the farm. The house is behind the trees on the
left and the quarters are to the right.

The farm vehicles.

Day 5-Morning Feeding

Ok, so I have to share with you the best way to start the day. Ladies and gentlemen, my kids.

They are greedy buggars and they love their milkies. They come out with THE BEST milk faces you have ever seen. And yes, it's faces. The milk will not be contained to mere mustaches.

Meet the crew!

Mama: Connie
Babies: Mr. T, Gutsie, and the new spotty, brown, unnamed one. (I'm toying with Pinto but open to suggestions.)

Mama: Queenie
Babies: Prince George (He's a big fatty), Frank Castle aka. The punisher, and Elwood from the blues brothers.

Mama: (Mean name describing her temperament and the fact that she sometimes kicks her calves. We'll call her...FB)
Babies: Panda (on account that his spots look like a panda face), Gus, Daisy and Slick Rick.

I love them. They come and nuzzle me and I scratch their soft faces. It's everything I imaged it would be when I watched "City Slickers." Baby Normans. Everywhere. So much love.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 2- Drenching

Drenching the cows. We chased 20-22 into the run at a time
and then Craig administered the pink goop of health. 

Property Tour. A panorama of one of the lower fields down by the river. 

The ladies. We got to chase a small group down to a VIP pasture
to eat their fill.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oh sweet mercy

I am in heaven. I woke up this morning, walked out my front door and beheld the most beautiful sight I had ever seen in my life. Green hills bathed in golden sunlight and baby cows frolicking around in the pasture. I stepped off the porch, hopped the fence and gave my fleet of baby cows a morning scratch, visited FJ and Frankie the horses and then helped with the morning feeding.

While Brenden and I were working with the wee ones Craig rounded up the herd for drenching. We're going to be tackling that task after breakfast, which I burned. It was oatmeal.  I am ashamed to call myself a Mathis.

I am covered in wool, I smell of maneuver and hay and I couldn't be happier. Cheerio!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The classic cappuccino

This is for anyone who has ever worked at a coffee shop in Hawaii and has had an Aussie or a Kiwi look at them incredulously when you handed over a cappuccino without chocolate powder on top. This is what they are supposed to look like. Just less blurred. I had just taken a sip before I took this shot and my taste buds were dancing, hence the less than sharp picture. Yummity yum yum.

Auckland sights

St. Matthew's church.
Their take on the space needle. Except they BASE and Bungee jump off of theirs. ;-)
This guy just hangs at the airport. 

American observations of the land of New Zeal

Things are different here. -collective gasp- I know. I was shocked too. Here are a few things that I have noticed in the last 8 hours. 
1. We hire things like cars and suits now. We do not rent them.
2. We're driving on the left side of the road. I know I did this in Thailand, but my brain freaks out every time I stand at an intersection and watch people turn into "wrong" lanes. I just try not to scream and cover my eyes in horror. 
3. iSites are awesome and are officially my new best friends. They will book anything for you just because you ask them to. I hope they never find out that I'm just using them for their sweet connections. 
4. There are roofs of every variety. Metal, tile, flat, sloped, terra cotta, falling in... It's not super different per se, just fun to see the smorgasbord. 
5. Fire trucks look like dump trucks. And they say something about biohazards on them. I don't know, but it seems like maybe these fire professional are a little cooler than ours. I mean if you're in that crazy anti-fire suit already why not clean up a little flesh-eating green ooze while you're at it eh?
6. Everybody seems to know each other. I caught at least 5 interactions on my walk this afternoon, from high fives to enthusiastic head bobbles to support this. It's pretty neat.
7. We've got tomato sauce. Not Catsup. It tastes...saucy. That is sweet and perhaps a little slimy. Not a big fan.
8. Everybody is super nice. I haven't met a single kiwi that I have not liked yet. May that always be so. 

Tomorrow morning I'm taking off at the booty crack of dawn and start my voyage to Napier and the farm. A day in the city was enough for me. It's time for the comfort of green hills and livestock...yep. I said it. Onward! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Last post from the states

I am on the flipping plane! This is what I see! 
Classy, I know. 
For my two euro buddies meet "Air pacific!" He might be a necessary travel buddy. ;-) Seriously, traveling with me could be way better than ferrying around tourists to and from Fiji. 
And here I go. Last shot from LAX.
 I am settling down for a 10 hour and 20 minute flight and wishing maybe a little that I had the "hookups" I did when I made my trip in 2007. Hugs and love to all. I land 12:00 local time in NZ on "Monday." To the future! 


I have arrived! Everything about this place is magical. :-) I could almost hear the sheep from the plane. It's colder than I expected. The high today predicted to be 16 C and the low 9 C Mayhap it's time to find me some long johns. 
I think it's trying to say, "Welcome traveler! This is what you look like right now." 

Made it to Fiji!

Screaming babies on the plane and narcolepsy? A great combo. :-) Onward to New Zealand!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Hey Craig,
Had a garden question. 
 What is the wildlife like around the garden area. Are there animals that would eat delicious new plants? I'm trying to decide if we need to put up a fence. 

Hi Summer,
Yes there are quite a bit of rabbits so we are going to train you on the 22 so you can shoot them and provide dinner. ;-)

This is going to be fun. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What your baristas want to tell you but never will

Anybody who has ever worked in the service industry, whether they are jerks or the nicest people you've ever met,  has a list of things that annoy the living shit out of them. When I was working in the coffee industry several years ago in Hawaii I asked a few of my friends to write down a list of their pet peeves about customers. You should have seen their eyes light up. It was like giving a pyromaniac a gallon of gas and a box of matches and telling them to go have a good time. I ran across two of them today and still found it amusing so I thought I'd share.

Steve's list
1. Ya, ya, ya, I know...Nonfat, sugarfree, vanilla latte, extra hot, with 2 pumps and no foam. And are you looking for a publisher?
2. You know, you can tell a lot about a person by the coffee they order. High Maintenance? Probably...
3. I do not get paid enough to listen to you bitch.. Let me find someone who does get paid enough.
4. Seriously? You've been standing in line for 5 minutes and still don't know what the hell you want?
5. Yes...people like you are the reason you stood in line for so long. Know what you want and have your money ready.
6. Tall is bigger than small. Where did you go to school?
7. "Sugar-free caramel" is an oxymoron you ignorant ass.

Heather's list
1. A large, nonfat, caramel latte is NOT NONFAT.
2. I am a barista, not a tour guide.
3. I am a barista, not a restaurant connoisseur.
4. I don't set the prices just to piss you off. In fact, I don't set them at all.
5. Just because I work at a coffee shop doesn't mean that I'm not smart.
6. Just because I work for minimum wage doesn't give you the right to make inappropriate comments about me.
7. I know exactly what you're doing when you order your cafe macchiato iced in a medium cup.
8. You have no idea how much I want to spit in your drink when you talk to me like that.
9. If I were as mean as you are there WOULD be a loogie in your drink.
10. Don't use the fact that you haven't had YOUR coffee yet as an excuse to be an ass.
11. Listen when we repeat your order back to you. We do it because we know you are bound to change your mind.
12. We repeat your order back to you so you know how riddiculous you sound.

Yeah. That's happening.

So I leave a week from today and I am more than a little stoked. Perhaps the 14th is not quite so epic as the 11th but whatever. The number needed some pizzaz so henceforth it will be set aside as the start of epic journeys. So let it be written, so let it be done.

Let me introduce you to the place I will be going to. And please, let's reserve our jealousy until the end.    Ladies and gentlemen, New Zealand. 

It's a farm. With cows. Baby ones too. 
Look! A river runs through it!
That's 700 acres of untamed beauty.
This is Craig. Owner and CEO. Man with the best office view ever.
Please take note of his stockings. I'm more than a little excited to meet him .
So yeah. If you need me I will be planting a garden near Napier, going fishing in the afternoons and learning how to shoot. It's about time I got ready for the zombie apocalypse.