Tuesday, March 21st, 2017


Our last evening here. Frank worked all day until after dinner! I finished up curtains and did some gardening..And so it will end, this time living with this wildly energetic family. And just to end on a wild note, the kids told Will that they wanted to make a “circus”! This is where they started…with a tight rope.


And Asa’s face says it all…


The cat meanwhile was the ultimate in calm. No dog chasing her, no children chasing her, no neighbourhood cat chasing her, everyone outside!

The funny thing is, once the kids go down for the night, we four adults are whipped, energy-less, wanting only our beds! It’s an effort to perk up enough to engage with one another.  Strangely, this can happen even without young kids about. Once the day’s jobs are accomplished, you (or at least me) just feel like vegging…t.v., or a book..or Facebook..or knitting. At least with kids tucked into bed, you know this is now your first chance all day to do these things, (unlike our calm retired life back home)! So, no guilt here,  we’ll veg together doing our separate things, but sharing the same space, talking a little, already missing one another.


Monday, March 20th, 2017


The kids were quiet, outside on the deck…this is what we discovered…they were dipping the sidewalk chalk into water, as an experiment..then covering surfaces with it, which meant that their hands…


…became this!!  Creative colourists.


…and to think they were so sweet in the morning! Here we are looking at the photos and videos that Asa has taken…a real history of the past year. Has he started young on a future profession?


Saturday, March 18th to Sunday, March 19th, 2017


Will was away on a course, and Jen was laid up for a few days…who could feed the alpacas? Frank and I, the kids, the dog, set out just to find them…they have a large free range.


The goats came running..they can get under and over anything..so they had to be greeted and loved up..


Then the “alpaca whisperer” managed to find the alpacas and have them follow him! “Kale” oversaw the procedure. Success all around.


On Sunday Will’s mum Eleanor arrived…to save the day…entertain our mutual grandchildren, while making amazing food for us to eat. Soooo appreciated by all, and clearly the kids were pleased to see her!


Friday, March 20th, 2017


Frank can’t just work hard…he has to do some designing as well…so he designed the grill over the doorway, as he did at our home. Looks good in N.Z. as well. Jen had some art prints, and Will made a frame for this, jumping it right up. The baseboard and quarter round went in too..both guys working hard to get this job done…


Finishing off the hallway…we leave early next week, so we’re getting to the line. We had sun today, and it was pleasant just to sit in the shade and knit for awhile…all the time feeling a little guilty, but just a little. I still did the laundry, hung it up with my helper Astrid, and made the dinner… but really, Frank is the all day worker…and fortunately thrives on the challenge of this job.

Wednesday, March 17th to Thursday, March 18th, 2017


Wednesday was still chilly..   the wood stove going, the rain falling, and “Trip”  caring less!


The cat, meanwhile, didn’t have as good as time. Jen laughed about being an animal sanctuary and here Astrid was “abusing” the cat. Her grin was tighter than her squeeze, and the cat kept staying with her though it could escape, especially as this grip released immediately into petting and purring!


On Thursday the weather was sunny!! and the kids, Jen and I went exploring on the property.


We went way up to the top and could see the neighbour’s white donkey and two miniature horses from there.


Along that property border, there is a long row of eucalyptus trees. Asa removed some of the beautifully peeling bark…with a plan in mind…

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To gather sticks, bark, long strands of grass, and make a tepee…”Trip” took a special interest in the sticks.


Astrid checked it out to give her seal of approval..


Then we all headed back…wonderful to have adventures available not far from outside the front door!

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017


Astrid and I picked flowers on the property…all her choices. I was just the clipper-ess.


She also exerted a lot of  control over which flower went where.. I love the arrangement, and especially the ease of making these flowers look great…the colours do the heavy work…any way these were arranged, they’d look stunning. One is an amaryllis, (the light pink blooms) which we would never have growing profusely outside, let alone use for a cutting…but I think Astrid really had an “eye” for what she was picking.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday, March 10th-12th, 2017


On Friday more work was done, then on Saturday we all worked hard to put the furniture back in place, and it looked so good on the new real flooring! All that had been here before was a dark subfloor. The floor now creates light and a feeling of “lightness”.


Still the hallways to do…but on the last leg of the project.


Then on Saturday afternoon, house-sitters came, and we were off to Carterton to visit with Will’s mother. Rainy, cloudy, sheep everywhere…gorgeous.


We stopped along the way in Greytown, at “Food Forest Organic”…a vegan cafe, organic food place (great treats!)  where we came across this life sized Moa (they could be up to 3.6 m…about 12 ft.!) , an extinct flightless indigenous bird.


Inside the cafe…sweet place, great treats.


At Eleanor’s property. Look at the size of those trees…


The evening included drumming, sitars, guitars, a truly unique time for us…a wonderful time and great food and hospitality, thanks to Eleanor.


On our return on Sunday, I was struck, as always when I’m here, by the bareness of the hills, all mostly cleared in order to graze animals, …


..and in such contrast to the areas, around gorges, of what the original landscape would have been like.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017



Frank has moved on to the living room/dining room/kitchen open concept huge room. This is tricky as the furniture can only be moved to so many places. It’s all going to look great. It has about 2 more days ahead on the living room, and then there is a hallway left. Will is working on trim and baseboards.


Meanwhile outdoor play is available…The kids were delighted with these free reflective vests from a local building centre..it was getting to be dusk so the vests were starting to do their jobs.


The gardens are showing off too.

It’s always strange to think of being 17 hrs. ahead of ‘back home’…I feel the distance a lot because of that , and being in the opposite season. Here it’s heading into fall, with a wind, a sweater needed, cool mornings and evenings. We are getting into the “groove” of our days and evenings here. (evenings playing CATAN…and Scrabble if I can force anyone to play with me, and struggling with my knitting.)   And then, before you know it, we’ll be headed back, and adjusting anew. Being able to adapt to change is high on the list of  the 4 important aspects of Centenarians…these are: 1.being able to adapt to change    2. being mobile..as in being able to walk , get around  3. having a passion, be it family or stamps or knitting or reading… 4. belonging to a community.    SO…I expect to live till 100, from where I stand today. Now to go knit.


Tuesday, March 7th, 2017


Lots happening each day…Frank and Will work on the house, Jen and I manage the kids and the “household ” needs…food, laundry, animals, entertaining, but today’s special time was when Astrid and I went for a walk “alone”.. the animals joined us, and were a big part of the joy…seeing the interaction between them and Astrid.


She tries to love them all up…


..even if they won’t stay still for her.    The three children can all be so free in this rural setting, and with home schooling, it’s so interesting too with all the ways that everyday things become part of the learning process.

Sunday, March 5th, 2017



Frank and Forest spent hours (between dry wall compound drying..today’s job) on Forest’s “Dash”…a programmable robot. Forest is programming it on his I Pad, and this living room space, without its new flooring, was the perfect area to put down tape, then have Forest create turns and angles, commands, degrees, for his robot. Asa is looking on, taking it all in too. So impressed with what young children learn “these days”.


Meanwhile, Jen and I had been struggling on a 1000 piece puzzle, which we had to complete so that the kids would see “follow through”…the trouble was, this puzzle had all the pieces cut the same…things would fit and look correct. The most frustrating puzzle ever. Finally we recruited Will and Frank to finish it up!  so…that kind of Sunday…relaxing.