It happened so quickly…

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Friday 14th April

I have been periodically looking at the stationary caterpillars this morning and was away from them about 20 minutes when this amazing transformation had already taken place. ¬†We have one left to make the change into a chrysalis and I’m hoping to capture it on film…we’ll see if it manages to happen when we’re paying attention.

I honestly cannot believe how quickly the caterpillar shed it’s skin to become this capsule of green.

Saturday 15th April

The more smooth capsule photo was taken (3rd image down) after 24 hours. ¬†The golden markings are quite beautiful and it’s simply amazing how delicate and yet ornate it is.

This morning we went to a little boys first birthday. ¬†We’d wrapped a few books as gifts and were getting ready when I decided it would be nice to also gift him a monarch caterpillar with some swan plant leaves in a mason jar in the hopes that it too would transform for him and become a butterfly. ¬†We were at the part enjoying the good food and company, when it came time to open the presents. ¬†The mason jar was unwrapped and quickly a hush fell on the crowd. ¬†The little boys father looked at me and said “My grandfather passed away one year ago, he bred butterflies. ¬†My son Te Ahorangi was named after him’. ¬†He had the faintest smile and it was apparent he was feeling sentimental…almost emotional. ¬†It was a beautiful revelation.

It’s later in the evening on the same day – and Mike and I still are baffled as to the sheer coincidence and connectedness of the universe. ¬†We have been pondering the odds of this happening…

Hopefully when the butterfly emerges we’ll be ready! ¬†I’ll be posting more images as the week progresses. ¬†I think we should have 2 butterflies emerging in approximately 6 days.

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Thursday 20th April

So far there have been little changes in the pods – the lines of the wings can be seen more clearly and the top end of the structure appears to be getting darker… this could mean maybe tomorrow we may see one open? ¬†Finger crossed!

Australia!

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 10.59.02 amScreen Shot 2017-04-10 at 10.58.14 amScreen Shot 2017-04-10 at 10.57.47 amIf you’d have asked me a year ago if we’d be in Australia again in 1.5 years time – I would have shaken my head firmly and reassured you that we were going to be in New Zealand forever. ¬†We both thought that was what we were committing to upon arrival. ¬†We were here to stay.

Now a year on, our little boy is growing and we’ve settled in but are more flexible with where we need to be. ¬†Mike was offered a position back in Western Australia that honestly was too good to turn down. ¬†He’ll be flying over next month and in 4 months time Wesley and I will follow over to join him. ¬†Just like that everything changes.

This is a conflicting decisions as we’re not too happy to be parting with family; however it does open up an opportunity for us to buy land now in New Zealand and eventually be able to set up our own little business. ¬†I’m just in the process of submitting paperwork for another 5 year visa to stay and work within Australia, and when that’s all secured we’ll be ready to go.

I’m sure many of the readers here are shaking their heads. ¬†How many times have we moved over the past 7 and a bit years?

We have moved from 6 locations: Banff, Melbourne, Eneabba, Coorow, Perth, Palmerston North… ¬†I think we probably travel more than military families at this point.

Some more family is waiting in Australia for us in Adelaide and Melbourne so we shall be flying more often to see them as well, along with our network of friends which will be nice to see them more often (a few of them have had babies too) but it’s truly with heavy hearts that we made the call to leave New Zealand for now. ¬†The only solace is that it’s not permanent.

I’ll be applying for permanent residency by this Christmas and hopefully that will make transitioning to and from a bit easier.

After we buy land, there will be developments that we will need to tend to, so you shall be seeing more of us again int the near future. ¬†Wesley has his own little New Zealand passport and I know we’ll be back often for family visits as he continues to grow and turn into a little independent person.

Side note: ¬†Wesley stood all on his own yesterday for nearly 30 seconds. ¬†It was pretty incredible to watch. ¬†We’ve also just planted a small winter crop of veggies that should hopefully be ready in a few months.

So I guess, if you’ve not had the chance to see us in New Zealand, you’ll have to come and check out Australia!

With love,

Holly, Mike & Wesley

Ps: The photo of Mike was taken during a very special time when we were camping in the South West of WA. ¬†We were whale watching and embracing the somewhat unconfirmed news that we were very likely travelling with the beginnings of life in my belly. ¬†I’m really hoping we can show Wesley the area…it’s magical!

Manitoba & A New Slightly Altered Dad

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.31 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.42 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.46.58 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.47.41 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.47.54 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.02 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.15 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.28 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.48.55 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.18 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.44 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.49.56 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.10 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.25 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.50.38 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.32 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.51 amScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.52.08 amWell, sitting here in our living room it feels surreal that we were just in Manitoba, Canada for 10 days. ¬†Wesley and I flew over to spend time with my dad who’d just survived a harrowing ordeal which involved a complicated emergency surgery. ¬†Frankly we were expecting him to be in serious shape when we boarded the plane. ¬†The dad that we encountered was walking, eating and generally moving about without too many issues.

His recovery was to put it simply… Amazing. ¬†

Our trip was initially meant to be much longer – but travelling solo with Wesley and trying our best not to get in the way…it became clear early on that we wouldn’t stay longer than we were needed. ¬†So 10 days it was. ¬†My sister and her husband Jordan were our hosts along with the two dogs Odie and Maggie. ¬†Dad was driving himself by his second day and it was really nice to know he’d be basically independent.

The weather at first was quite a shock.  We arrived to -16 degree weather, though over the course of a few days spring took hold and began to thaw the snow and ice.  The dogs were a huge source of entertainment for Wesley which was awesome Рwe were inside quite a bit of the time.

We’d never been to this area of Manitoba before, and in all honesty – I felt like such a tourist! ¬†There were little details I was noticing that the younger me wouldn’t have really paid attention to. ¬†The plants, cats tails, a red squirrel, the geese flying in for spring and the grass turning from brown to green in only a few short days. ¬†We stayed in a trailer at Ron and Madelines property, which was great to escape and sleep in peace and quiet whilst listening to the geese fly overhead. ¬†The property has a very large oak forest which we also had the pleasure of tramping through a few times. ¬†I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is in the summer with the leaves and greenery.

One of the day’s Wesley and I joined Ron (Liz’s boss) and he took us out to do some bird watching. ¬†We spotted 2 eagles and several different species of hawk. ¬†He also took us into a Hutterite colony and we got an up close and personal view of what it’s like inside these exclusive communities. ¬†I might write more about that at a later time. ¬†I did refrain from taking photos – out of respect. ¬†I didn’t want them thinking we were there to gawk.

Agriculture and mass farming is hugely popular in the region.  We were staying in a little town called St. Pierre Jolys which has quite a french influence.  Most of the accents in the region had a slight french style to them which is unusual to find outside of Quebec.

My twin sister also made it down for a day en-route to Alberta to spend some time with the family and meet Wesley for the first time.  Here he was lunging in for a bite.  She was excellent with him, and gave me a bit of a break to shower and was super helpful.

He picked up a few interesting skills whilst we were there including: biting me when he wanted food, eating dog food (almost daily) and throwing a ball for the energetic and friendly Odie. ¬†Thankfully on the way home Wesley stopped the biting. ¬†I’ve a large bruise on my left are from one good chomp he gave me…and refused to release the skin from his teeth.

I drove on the right hand side of the road, which at first was kind of a dangerous transition. ¬†After a day I was ok… but I did blame it on the epic lack of sleep and jet lag.

We ate poutine a couple of times (it was so goooooood) and also brought back some moccasins to keep my toes warm this winter.  They are sheepskin lined and are like heaven on my feet.

All in all it was a successful trip. ¬†We survived the journey to and from (thankfully Wesley is a people person – he made so many friends during each leg of the trip) and it was fairly easy going to and from…lots of games and singing and horsing around on my part to keep wee man entertained. ¬†Travelling with a little baby is daunting, but at the same time it made it alot more fun than usual. ¬†I probably wont be putting my hand up again for that any time soon – but it is nice to know that Wesley loves the planes and is stimulated by all the people. ¬†He was adorable.

Coming home to New Zealand – it was so beautiful to see the green and even though it’s raining and a little chilly we’re sooo pleased to stretch our legs and settle into our little life here again. ¬†Mike had flowers waiting and firewood stacked along the front of our home. ¬†Such a wonderful welcome!

But… I’ll warn you all now. ¬†We have news. ¬†It involves…relocation. ¬†To another country…

Can you guess where we are headed?

I’ll reveal this to you shortly!

Take care all and be well

x

Holly

Pukaha Mount Bruce

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-43-48-pmWesley and I visited Pukaha Mount Bruce this afternoon whilst Mike was helping some friends on a farm nearby.  Mount Bruce is a wildlife restoration centre that focuses on reestablishing endangered and rare New Zealand birds.  The centre spans some 940 hectares of dense native forest and is a beautiful place to hike and enjoy a native forest.

We spent a few hours walking around taking in all the gorgeous colours and sounds.  At the moment the forest is absolutely teeming with cicada.  The sounds of summer calling in the humid air!

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-34-35-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-37-14-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-08-pm¬†Conservation has been taking place within the park since the 1960’s and is maintained by international volunteers throughout the seasons.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-43-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-38-55-pmHere you’ll find encounters with endangered (and rare white) kiwi, eels, and quite a few beautiful birds including: kokako, kaka, hihi, takahe, kakariki and whio.screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-34-18-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-9-56-55-amThe kaka particularly captivate me. ¬†The dark wine colours of their feathers paired with their cheeky personalities make them irresistible to watch. ¬†There are roughly 160 kaka in the forest that are all free to travel and are indeed quite wild. ¬†They have an impressive range of calls…some almost gremlin like and others quite sweet. ¬†screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-40-42-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-41-55-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-26-at-5-42-08-pm

If you are near Masterton, I highly recommend checking this place out. ¬†It’s not to be missed!

The first crop of onions.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-37-50-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-33-16-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-01-at-9-04-17-amscreen-shot-2017-02-06-at-4-27-13-pmTo put a seed into the soil is to believe in the future.  You trust that earth, water and time will bring you nourishing food.  Time has brought us 8 red onions and a random white one.

They grew in rather close quarters, and a tiny lesson has been learned.  We must plant them at a greater space to allow for bigger bulbs next year.

I’ve trimmed them and foolishly placed said onions onto the mantle in our kitchen. ¬†Now, I am airing out our whole home from the intense perfume of fresh onions.

Another novice mistake.

Now they sit on the porch airing out for a few days before I store them in the cupboard.

Do you have a recipe that features onions that you love? ¬†I’ll probably need to get through these red ones rather quick! ¬†

We’ve been misted today in a dainty almost microscopic rain. ¬†You know the kind that lightly falls on your face and skin, it feels refreshing? ¬†Eventually it saturates you to the core, and yet at the same time is lovely because it is warm. ¬†Summer rain, is so pleasant.

This constant rain has made New Zealand’s soil fertile and created an optimal growing season in many regions. ¬†Palmerston North has had one of the wettest summers on record. ¬†We can only help but flash back to our struggles in Eneabba trying to grow our food in the hot heat of summer. ¬†We watered it endlessly. ¬†Many of our plants died. ¬†Here, we hope for some more sunlight to help ripen our green tomatoes. Though, I’ve heard they are good fried green anyway!