Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kiwi Christmas

I left the farm I had been at for a month and a half to travel to the North Island for Christmas.  While I was at Wilderland, my friend Jess invited me to spend Christmas with her family, so I took her up on her offer.  Her Dad is Kiwi and her Mom is an American from Iowa.  Their whole family had traveled to America and Canada several times.  They own and operate a farm that has deer (about 1000), cattle (around 200), and sheep (around 600).  So it's a pretty big farm.  Before I came to New Zealand I had no idea that deer was or could be farmed.  Turns out they have been farming deer in New Zealand for around 40 years.  You have to have quite tall fences.  My first day there, I watched while they divided a mob of deer in two in order to separate out males that needed to be de-velveted (so the males don't kill each other, you have to remove their antlers or velvet).  To separate animals and to move them, using farm dogs is basically a necessity.  They have four farm dogs that are used to move the different herds of animals.  I found it amazing to watch.  They have to act a little bit differently depending on which animal they are herding.  Like with deer the dogs hang way back not to scare them too much, but with bulls they run right at their heels and if they don't move fast enough they nip at their heels.  I got to watch a home kill of the lamb we ate for Christmas Eve dinner.  I think I could do the butchering and skinning but I am not sure if I could do the actual cutting of the throat.  It was delicious, if you were curious.
As for Christmas traditions being different from the United States.  It was quite similar - food, family, games, and a little bit of day drinking.  What is different about it was that December is summer in New Zealand, so  Christmas day was warm and beautiful.  We were eating outside and had to move the tables out of the sun because it was too hot.
Over the Christmas holiday I also learned how to felt.  If you don't know what it is, you lay out wool then saturate it in warm soapy water and agitate it and the wool fibers shrink together to make a fabric.  I made a hot water bottle cover, a sunglasses, case, and a case for my ipod.
Here are the felted items that I made
Close up of my ipod case
 Now I am sitting in a McDonald's using their free wifi internet, willing myself not to buy a soft serve ice cream cone.  If it wasn't so cold in here I would probably have one already.  For some stupid reason I booked my ferry back to the south island at 2:30 in the morning.  I am guess it was like $5 cheaper.  Right now I have no idea what my next farm will be.  I was going to write people from the farm I was staying at over Christmas but when I got there, they only had dial-up internet.  It wouldn't even load the wwoofer website.  So I wrote a few people and hopefully will have a farm to go to soon.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Cheers to 2013.
 Here are some pics from the farm I left before Christmas and travels around that area.
Feeding the calf
The three calves together
Picking strawberries
Largest freshwater spring in New Zealand - extremely clear water
This beach reminded me a lot of the Oregon sand dunes
Some sea creatures

No comments: