The friends we visited in Nelson took us to Kaiteriteri, about a half-hour drive from their house, for the day. What a beautiful place! The sand was even more golden than Lake Michigan, but very coarse. The sky was so blue! It was a perfect morning. The children climbed the rocks, dug in the sand, and played fox and geese.
We had planned to go to Nelson to visit friends over Easter weekend, but because of the storm had to change our plans. Three weeks later, we were able to go there. As we drove north, we were very thankful we hadn’t tried to go! The scars from the storm were still very visible, and it was obvious that we would not have made it through with our van.
Somewhere between Blenheim and Nelson.
We had the most beautiful day for our trip up there! The sun shone all day, and everyone was happy. No grumping all day—what a blessing!
We still have the aftermath of the big flood Easter weekend. Directly out our living room window, we can see this lake; in fact, I took these pictures out that window! Surprisingly, the boys have only played in it the one time. It’s about too cold most of the time this time of year to want to go swimming. The lake is larger now than when these pictures were taken, since we had another torrential rain a week or so ago. Thankfully, the creek didn’t flood around the buildings that time.
Our landlord’s cows visiting with our steer.
And, a brief video clip I got of the boys splashing.
One day a week or two ago, I went into the living room and noticed our landlord on the hill above our house, on his motorbike (4-wheeler). He had one dog with him, and the dog went into the trees near the top of the hill and herded a small mob (maybe 50) of sheep out. He bunched them in a tight mob, then headed them across the hill below the trees. The dog took the sheep back and forth a couple of times, with no apparent purpose, but we found out later that he was just being trained. It was quite fascinating to watch!
We’ve had Welcome Swallows around lately. They act and sound a lot like the barn swallows we had in Michigan—I love them!
This is what our milk refrigerator looked like one Saturday evening, after we were given about a dozen ducks, a turkey, and six geese, plus butchered a large lamb! We breasted most of the birds, or there would have been no room for all of them!
This hen laid her eggs 3 meters (10 feet) up in a pine tree in the hedge! Her eggs hatched while we were on our Timaru trip, and the morning of the day we got home the lady who was doing our chores saw the last one jump out of the tree!
We went to Timaru over Easter weekend for a conference, and that Friday evening, Esther had an idea. We had most of the next day free, since the only meeting was at 3:30 in the afternoon. She had met a girl last June at a conference in Christchurch, and has since had some contact with her online. She was thinking this girl and her family lived near Timaru, and thought it would be nice to visit her on Saturday. I thought they lived in Oamaru (pronounced Ah-muh-roo), about an hour’s drive farther south. We knew their last name, but not her father’s first name. I knew what letter her mother’s name started with, but not her full name. Esther looked in the phone book and found about half a dozen listings with that last name. One of them had a wife with the first initial I remembered, and the street name sounded familiar to Esther from a video the girl and her brothers had made, but that was all we had to go by. I told Esther she could try calling them on my cell phone and see if that was the right people, and it was! We went to visit them Saturday, and were able to spend a couple of hours visiting with that wonderful family. They live in an old house in the Victorian section of Oamaru (the most Victorian city in New Zealand), and took us on a tour of the old downtown section. One of their boys is a volunteer helping to restore old steam engines and because of that we got to tour the place they do that. What a special day!
There are a lot of old grain warehouses in Oamaru, left over from the time immediately after the city’s founding about 130 years ago, when fortunes were made from wheat. The boom ended after only 20 years or so, when there was a world-wide depression, and the city has never recovered. That means, however, that the old buildings have been preserved, because no one has had money to tear them down and build new ones!
A glimpse of the scenery between Timaru and Oamaru:
Water across the highway just north of Oamaru.
Easter weekend, Gayle had four days off work. Good Friday and Easter Monday are both national holidays here. We made plans to go to Nelson to visit friends, but God had other plans for us. A cyclone hit New Zealand that week, and hit much harder than we expected! We had torrential rains for several days, culminating in a flood Thursday night. Friday morning, we were still trying to decide whether to leave for Nelson or not when we were told that both routes north were blocked by slips (landslides). That made up our minds—it was not time to go! Instead, we decided to go to a conference we had been invited to at a church in Timaru. The first meeting was to begin at 1:30 that afternoon, but there was no way we would make it for that by the time we made contact with someone at the church in Timaru Friday morning! We kept working away at getting ready to go, however, and finally had the pop-top camper we were borrowing packed, the van loaded, and everything ready by noon. We weren’t sure how the roads would be going south, but they turned out to be fine. All the rivers were full to the brim, though!
The Waimakariri, just north of Christchurch. This one actually wasn’t quite as full as some of the others. I just didn’t get pictures of them!
We had a wonderful weekend of good preaching and fellowship with other believers. We had never met any of the people at the conference, except the one family from Hawarden who invited us, but we soon had a lot of new friends! We stayed at the home of one of the families from Timaru; it was funny how that man and his son argued about whose house we should stay at—they both wanted us! We really appreciated the hospitality we were shown. We set up our camper in their driveway, and they offered us a choice of a bedroom in the house or another man’s camper for most of the children. We chose the camper; the man moved into the house for the weekend. Five of the children slept in that camper, and the two youngest slept with us in the pop-top camper. The couple whose house we were at treated us like family; it felt like old times when we would go to meetings away from home! One of the speakers at the conference (they had two visiting speakers, from Australia) stayed there, also, and Gayle really appreciated visiting with him.
There were two meetings Friday afternoon, and then tea (dinner) was served. Saturday afternoon was another meeting, followed by a barbeque tea at the home of our host’s son. Sunday morning was a regular Sunday meeting, focusing on communion, and then everyone came for lunch at the place we stayed—quite a spread! We were the last ones to leave church that time, and shortly came up behind the person Gayle had been talking to, pulled over at the side of the road. He was driving a 1950 Buick, and had run out of gas because of a faulty gauge! It was good we were behind him and could take him to get some. After lunch, we went back to church for another meeting, followed by tea, and then one final meeting. After that, everyone went back to our host’s home for a singing! We sang, accompanied by piano and organ, for an hour and a half. After about an hour, I took our two youngest out to the camper to go to bed. The second-youngest realized he hadn’t had a snack yet, so I offered him bread. Well, there was a table-full of dessert waiting in the house for after the singing, so he wanted dessert. Thankfully, we had a few bananas in the van, so I offered him one and that satisfied the two of them and they went to sleep happy. After the singing, and dessert, we stayed up late visiting. It was so good to be there!
Monday morning we packed up and headed home. What a great weekend!
Left to right: Curry, Red, Checkers, Mrs. Moo.
Chessie was sad that she couldn’t go, but we reserved the good grazing in the paddock for her.
The next day, he took these cows down the road. That’s the kind of traffic jams we have to put up with.
Our littlest, who recently turned two, loves playing outside. One evening, I looked out the kitchen window to see him hanging over this gate! His big sister grabbed the camera, then ran to his assistance. It turns out that he had climbed up, dropped a pen he was playing with, then couldn’t get it. Poor little fellow was quite distressed. After he got the pen back, though, he was fine. The next act was to try to stare down the calf—and then he pretended to shoot him with the pen!
Another day, I was hanging laundry and he came out and wandered over to the shed where a puddle forms instantly under a leaky rain gutter when it rains. At that time, we hadn’t had rain for a few weeks, and he sadly commented that there was no water there. Within a few hours, however, it started raining and he happily discovered the puddle again!
He somehow manages to lose his pants frequently, and we often don’t get them back on for awhile. He likes it better this way.
This little fellow’s favorite activity for a couple of days was “cooking”. He would get all the pots he could carry from the cupboard in the kitchen, then spread them out on the floor in the living room and “cook eggs”. Those pots were HOT! he said.
We were all glad when some more hatched to keep him company, because he would set up such a racket when he wanted attention. He loves to ride on shoulders, but only one person likes it. He leaves “calling cards” behind!
He calls this chick his peregrine falcon!