|Nearly finished, with only the fence remaining.|
During our last two days at Naturally Alpacas, we transformed a small patch of grass and dirt into a large vegetable garden for Christine. It was hard, satisfying work leveling the ground, building the frames and moving the dirt and gravel into place. I want one for myself someday!
|The before picture!|
|Alpaca family portrait|
Friday morning we said goodbye to the alpacas (they didn't say much in return) and headed south to our new hosts. We drove leisurely, stopping along the way a few times and running out to see the Pacific Ocean when we saw we were close to the beach on the map. Before you get jealous, it was very cold and windy, so we ran back to the car pretty quickly. Parked near us we saw a purple & white van with three "chooks" pecking around it. At first, we thought this van was traveling with them and had let them out to stretch their wings, but I've since been told that people dump roosters when they no longer want them, which is why they are clustered at rest stops.
|Lunch on the road: avocado, peanut butter & honey sandwiches with a Dr. Pepper!|
Elaine & Grant are a very funny couple who don't seem rooted in one place. At the moment, we're all staying at their "bach" in Pahi, on a small peninsula in the Kaipara Harbor. We're working on a larger house they've purchased around the corner, which needs a lot of work to make it habitable. So far I am stripping out old trim and drywall, or "gib board" as they call it here, Sam is moving doors around and building cabinets, and an English couple, Emma & Tom, are clearing out overgrown plants and building a retaining wall behind the house. Elaine & Grant also run a holiday park in Whangerei called the Blue Heron, where we might stay a bit next week.
After work, Sam and I went to a nearby pub with Emma & Tom. The bartender gave Emma & me our first round free, and later a woman came by to share a tray of delicious homemade "sticky date pudding" (Free? Go on then!), so it was a very nice experience.
|Sam, Emma, Tom & Elaine having morning tea on the deck.|
|Elaine & Grant let us borrow their kayaks today!|
I would like to take this opportunity to warn arachnophobes that New Zealand is crawling with spiders. I have seen hundreds already: brown ones, black ones, well camouflaged ones wondering why I was causing an earthquake on their fence post with my hammer, and more Daddy long-legs than I could possibly count. I'm not particularly scared of spiders, but I find comfort in the knowledge that hardly any spiders in New Zealand are dangerous to humans.
On that many-legged note, goodnight!