Nelson, known for being the sunniest place in New Zealand, has been mostly cloudy and pouring rain since we arrived, but we've still managed to enjoy ourselves. We've even had a bit of sunshine. We're in good company with Bill, our HelpX host, his deaf old dog Bear and his feisty chicken Fuifui Moimoi. Fuifui was named for a rugby league player, in case you're wondering.
|Fuifui stalking around Bear while he gnaws a fresh bone.|
The animals get along well, even when cooped up on the veranda to avoid the rain. They're friends, but Bear will still growl at Fuifui when she tries to steal his food.
Bill is a joiner who specializes in building sliding doors and windows, and Sam has enjoyed helping him in the workshop and learning from someone who's been doing it for 20 years. I've been on domestic duty, cleaning and cooking. Bill has good taste and lots of fresh veggies, so cooking has been fun. I even baked my first chicken, which turned out very tasty! I prepped it with a dry spice rub and baked it with onions and garlic, which caramelized nicely.
|Bark hanging from a Eucalyptus tree on Rabbit Island.|
Yesterday we had a bit of sun, so we decided to go explore the other side of Nelson, and maybe stop at a cafe on the beach. The closer we drove towards Nelson, however, the worse the weather got. The rain gave us a great excuse to explore an antique shop we spotted. We couldn't afford to buy, but we enjoyed taking a peek, and the owner of the shop was very friendly. Below are a couple of my favorite things from the store.
|Natural history book from the late 1800s|
|Two original oil paintings of Maori chiefs. I was curious about the note "Last of the Cannibals."|
A bit later, Sam and I were thirsty, driving down the road to Rabbit Island. We saw a sign for fresh fruit being sold at a stall next to a farm. We bought a bag of green kiwis for $1.50 and a bag of golden kiwis for $2! Then we ate seven of them in the car.
I can't speak for all Americans, but I had never heard of golden kiwis before coming to New Zealand. I've only ever seen the green ones. Having tried both, I love each in their own way. Green kiwis are more sour and tart, while golden ones are a bit sweeter and have another level of flavor, almost like a kiwi blended with a mango. Mangoes and kiwis are my two favorite fruits, so naturally that flavor appeals to me. You can see a difference in the shape of golden kiwis: they're a bit longer and skinnier, with a pinched, puckered end.
|Sam carved this little happy kiwiman with pocket knife.|
Bill's house is still unfinished inside, but his HelpX cabin is finished and very comfortable. It's also painted one of my favorite colors! The shower is on the porch, with two opaque walls facing the house and a glass wall overlooking the valley. I've never showered like this before, but it's pretty cool.
The cabin is surrounded by trees and native birds. We've been waking up to the sounds of tuis and bellbirds, along with others. Both the tui and the bellbird have an interesting range of sounds, some of which evoke bells, whistles & lasers. Listen below:
There are 4 sheep in the paddock surrounding our cabin, so more than once I've accidentally made them jump by opening the door quickly.
|We're also sharing the cabin with a small stick insect.|
|The view from Bill's yard|
We leave Bill's on Saturday, when we head to new hosts outside of Christchurch for a week. After that we'll be house sitting for 10 days, including Christmas, before heading to Oamaru & Dunedin. For those of you reading this from the US, I hope you're staying warm!