Heres to being open.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 1.33.24 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-23 at 3.28.08 pmScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 3.16.04 pmScreen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.51.32 amscreen-shot-2017-02-27-at-1-14-34-pmScreen Shot 2016-02-17 at 7.09.48 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-07 at 6.21.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 4.35.49 PMLife on the farm is simple, minimalist and starting to shape itself toward being a sustainable little treasure.  We’re excited to now see progress as we take the small but inevitable steps toward a life with less and more good wholesome home grown food.

Our chicken coop is nearly finished, the lawn is drought hardy, the compost is heaped to the brim and the plans for the next phase are nearly under way.

Lately I’ve helping the community rally together against the Fracking Industry (as that fight is unfortunately still ongoing and will be a long process) in partnership with Lock the Gate, immersing myself in the joys of raising Wesley, copywriting from home and learning alongside Mike that the potential to make inner change is huge.

We have both been reading a number of books on mind development, cognitive decision making and positive communication.

Do you ever read books like this?  What’s a book you’ve read and felt really resonated with you?

For me the #1 is The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer – it’s simply given my mind a real shake up.

This is another year that is going to be filled to the brim with love, adventure, open hearts, cuddles, dancing, singing, photos, hiking and plenty of learning.

Lovely Things.

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.39.53 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.03 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.14 amI did not take many images in New Zealand but as usual it was lush and beautiful everywhere I looked!Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.40.27 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.05 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.18 amI’ve seen quite a number of jumping spiders since we first spotted one nearly two months ago now.  All of them have been male, and all of them have been wonderfully beautiful.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.30 amScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.41 amThese are juvenile yellow throated miners who were clumped together when I first spotted them.  They were quite noisy calling out for mum n dad to feed them.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 8.43.49 am

I’ve recently returned from a 10 day trip to New Zealand for surgery.  I had been on a wait list for 8 months and so when the date finally came rushed to buy a ticket and Mike arranged to have leave from work to care for Wesley.  10 days in New Zealand were to rest and recover from the near 1.5 years of little sleep or alone time… Mike was so brilliant with Wesley while I was away that I never had to worry, he was in excellent hands.

The surgery was very short and I was basically recovered within a day.

I spent my spare time either pushing my limits physically by hiking, swimming, walking… or resting with family and friends.  One hike particularly stood out for me, as it was just alive with the call of birds.  It was the Fern Track up in the Pohongina, which was a solo venture.  The forest gave me so much energy.  It was a restorative trip and I came home eager to see my little Wesley and embrace Mike with the biggest hug.

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Something else wonderfully beautiful…these flowers were waiting for me when I came home.  Mike and Wesley had set up the home and it was so welcoming and pleasing to be back in our little nook in this world.

Slight side note – While I was away, my favourite artist release a second album (after an 8 year hiatus) and I’ve been enjoying it thoroughly for a few days now.  Fever Ray – Plunge.  Her voice is childish, strained unpredictable, off key and difficult to imagine ever being emulated.  My ears love it.

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 – we 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

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!

Blueberry Picking in Ashurst

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-2-00-42-pmscreen-shot-2017-01-16-at-1-59-54-pmscreen-shot-2017-01-16-at-2-00-17-pmscreen-shot-2017-01-16-at-2-00-30-pmWe’ve just finished a really great visit with our friends Ashley and Emma.  They stayed with us for 5 nights and in that time we managed to cram in a tonne of activities.  Ashley was a neighbour of ours when we lived in Eneabba.  His farm was about 5 km from our home and we often spent time together.  He and Emma were just beginning to date when we met, and now have become married and are on their honeymoon.  Seeing them here in New Zealand feels quite surreal.

Some of the local activities we got into:

  • Glow worms in the Pohongina Ranges (my first time too – they were really beautiful).
  • Blueberry Picking in Ashurst
  • Mike and Ashley went for a wild boar hunt, and were successful – they also got a deer and were very stoked with the result.  Those animals were brought back to our friends farm for processing.
  • Hanging out at the Esplanade in the city and along the river
  • The Fielding Market and Livestock sales
  • Mount Bruce – to see eels, kiwi, kaka and other beautiful native birds
  • A small cheese farm where we met a lady who won some impressive awards for her rare raw cheese (apparently a cheddar – but not called that because it’s not from the place called Cheddar).  Who knew cheese was so exclusive!

We thoroughly enjoyed spending these past 6 days with our friends and wish them the best time during this next leg of their journey through New Zealand.

We were very sad to see them go this morning, but know soon enough we’ll be in each others company again.