Thursday, May 17, 2012

Farm #2

I have been at Farm #2 for about a week now and I like it.  The farm is owned by a German couple (Uli and Waltruad) who when they immigrated here from Germany they decided to sail.  So they sailed from Italy to New Zealand - which I think is pretty awesome - (it makes me want to do a sail around the world trip).  About seven years ago they got into a car accident with a drunk driver where they barely lived after the crash.  They still have effects from the crash like Uli can't concentrate for long periods of time and Waltruad walks with crutches when she has to walk long distances.  Despite the accident they still run a fairly thriving permaculture farm.  They have cows, pigs, goats, and chickens that they use for eggs, meat, and milk.  There are several perennial plants on the property so they have different fruits and nuts all year round.  It is pretty tropical here so some of those include bananas and macadamias.  They also have a veggie garden near their house.  They own 170 acres of property but a lot of it is unusable because it is on a very steep hill.  The view from their porch is pretty amazing - it is rolling green hills to the pacific ocean.  It faces the east so I see the sunrise about every morning (currently which is around 7:15 here in NZ). 
The sunrise this morning from the porch
 My tasks so far have included fence building, fence area clearing, firewood gathering, fruit and nut gathering, weeding, and seed saving (corn).  I have now officially driven a tractor and used a chainsaw!!  I also usually try to help with dishes when Uli and Waltruad will let me.  I only work a few days a week because the other days they have to go into town for physical therapy and such.  I usually go with them and explore the town of Whangarei which is pretty fun.  Uli and Waltruad are very interesting people.  They both got masters degrees (biology and finance) before coming to New Zealand.  They have very strong beliefs about diet (high protein and fat, low carb) and about how eventually the earth is going to reach a carrying capacity and our population will crash.  Anyways my diet here is muesli (granola) for breakfast, salad, hard boiled eggs, meat, bread for lunch, and some sort of meat with a vegetable for dinner.  For snacks we have a sweet bread.  Waltruad does the cooking and she is a great cook.  Everything is made from scratch and everything is very high quality ingredients.  They even make their own ice cream - without an ice cream maker - it is delicious!  So I have been pretty happy - there is no TV here, which I like.  There are no other WWOOFers so it is a little bit lonlier then Caretaker farm but that is ok because I am only here for another week.  So today was one of my days off and one of my first days off where I didn't have an important reason to go into town (like buy gum boots) and the weather was fairly nice.  It was cloudy but it didn't rain.  So I decided to go in search of a beach and hopefully a hike.  I found both.  Actually I found several beaches.  I ended up hiking for about 3 hours, the hike was up to a ridge that had beautiful look outs of the surrounding hills and beaches.  I came upon a guy hiking alone about halfway through my hike and I had plans to turn around when I was tired but he asked if I wanted to trade keys so that we could both do a through hike.  I liked the idea and took him up.  Don't worry I got my car back and ended up talking to him and he does consulting work for the Department of Conservation and right now they are trail building but it is hard to find people who want to do it because they spend the night for a few days at a time.  I said that sounded fun and by the end of it he handed me his card and said to call if I was interested in a job.  Turns out I am not but good to know if I was I could find one.  Here are some pics from my day. 
Other side of the pacific!!  Wasn't as cold as what I remember in WA
One of the amazing views from my hike
Cheeese - plenty more self portraits to come
If you look close you can see the hobbits
I sat on this bench - it was nice
Finished the day with a beer and a burger. 
Yes that is a beet (called beet root here) on the burger and yes that is the darkest beer I have found yet.  Pretty good beer - not as full flavered as from the PNW (woot woot!).
 As you know I have a car.  This means I have also recently learned to drive on the left hand side of the road instead of the right.  When I first tried it I felt like I was 16 again.  So far I have done pretty well until this morning after some construction got me all confused I started to drive on the right until a car was coming at me head on.  It wasn't a close call or anything because both of us were going slow but yeah I will have to be more careful.  I have always thought about if countries that drive on the other side of the road also walk like that - when are walking at someone pass on your right side.  The answer is yes and yes it had led to some awkward walking situations. 

1 comment:

Holly said...

Love this post! Keep up the good work.