We went to South Bay, the south side of the Kaikoura Peninsula, after leaving church yesterday. We walked up the steep path to the top of the peninsula, and then Gayle offered to go back and drive around to the other end to pick us up if we wanted to walk across the top. Sounded like fun to me, so we did that! I had never been across the entire top; we’ve walked around at sea level twice. It was a gorgeous day! The sun shone part of the time, and part of the time clouds came over. The colors were so vivid. A sailboat left South Bay about the same time we did, and we watched it tacking around to the north side of the peninsula. It arrived about the same time we did.
Saturday night I finally got around to doing haircuts–long overdue, for some of our fellows! Even with a fast, efficient set of clippers (bought when I was in America several months ago–we haven’t found a good set here yet), it takes awhile to cut seven heads of hair! Yes, seven. I got tired of hearing comments about putting ponytails in Baby’s hair, and having people make it into Mohawks with water, and people fussing at me about how messy his hair was. So, I cut it. I don’t like that first haircut. He’s not a baby so much anymore!
It’s too windy to work outside this afternoon. I tried to plant garden, but kept loosing my balance because the wind was blowing so hard! So, I ended up in the house, not knowing what to do because my plans weren’t working out. I know, that’s a weird situation for a mother of several to be in. Yes, there are lots of things I should be doing, but when you have your mind fixed in one direction, and that direction changes, it takes awhile to redirect. Anyway, I finally remembered that I needed to make butter. Then, when I was most of the way through the process, I decided this might make a half-decent topic for a blog post, so you get pictures starting partway through. I love that cow of ours–she gives us so much!
As a mother of seven, ranging in age from 1-15, I end up with quite an interesting range of conversations throughout a typical day. I was working in the kitchen a few minutes ago, and burst out laughing as I thought about the last three conversations I had with my children, over the past 15-20 minutes. First, I was sitting at the table, reading a lesson in a sourdough course I’m working through with Esther. I am quite interested in using sourdough, so I decided it would be a good Home Ec project for her. We are having fun reading it together, a lesson every few weeks, and trying out the recipes. While we were doing that, the 4-year-old came in, holding something in his hand, saying, “It can stretch out!” Turned out he had an earthworm, and was intrigued by how it stretched out longer. He laid it on the table, and we watched it hitch itself along, and discussed it for a few minutes, and then I was able to persuade him to take it back outside to the dirt where it wanted to be. Esther and I went on to discuss the sourdough artisan bread we were reading about, and then she went to work on a blog post and I went to work on straining broth off of beef bones.
The next thing I knew, she was telling me, “I need to hack into our printer!”
“What!??!” I said! Well, she had written a post for her blog several days ago, and set it to publish tomorrow. Today, she discovered that it had disappeared! The only way she can get it back is if she hacks into the printer, because she printed a copy for her dad and I to proofread. That’s what really struck me funny–earthworms to hacking a printer, in a few minutes! Whether she can accomplish it or not, is another story–we’ll see.
And now, the two littlest boys just came through again, saying hi, and the 4-year-old says, “The sky is straight lines, like stripes! Isn’t that neat?” The only reason I haven’t had conversations, simultaneously, about cows and sheep and ride-on mowers and motorbikes and chain saws and Laura Ingalls Wilder and you name it is that the other boys are away with Daddy right now! Sometimes I feel like my head is about to explode from having to carry on (intelligently) three or four wildly different conversations at once–but at the same time I really wouldn’t change anything. This time of life is anything but boring!
Our fourth boy was walking across a muddy paddock one day last week when he looked down and saw a coin on top of the ground. He brought it in the house to show me. It was so corroded we couldn’t see what it was, so he dropped it in a cup of kombucha to try cleaning it up. He’s changed the kombucha every day, and every day it has gotten a little cleaner. This morning, he was looking at it and realized he could see words! I looked closely, and after studying it awhile figured out that it was a half penny from 1915! It has a picture of George V on one side, and a Greek god on the other. The lettering around George V’s picture is Latin. He was pretty tickled to have found something so old. I thought it was fun to finally see a half penny–something I’ve heard of but never seen before. It’s about the diameter of an American quarter, but half as thick.
Friday we needed to pick up 100 day-old chicks in Christchurch, from a hatchery farther south. Since it was a birthday in our family, we decided to make it a family day and go to the zoo on the outskirts of Christchurch, Orana Wildlife Park. We had never gone, because it is very expensive, but decided to splurge this once. It turns out to be a very fun zoo to visit! It isn’t very big; nothing compared to some zoos we’ve been in in America as far as number of animals; but the experience was special. They have feedings scheduled through the afternoon, and organized quite well so you go from one species to another, around the zoo. For an extra $35 per person, we could have ridden in the truck from which they feed the lions! We did get to feed the giraffes; that was free, and quite fun. An older man, a volunteer, went around the route, and he seemed to really enjoy telling us more about the animals and the feeding. One really good thing about this is how active the animals are, compared to most zoos. For example, the lions–practically every zoo I’ve been to before, the lions just laid around, but here, they were running, and jumping.
Whew! Another month has gone by, in a hurry! It’s already been two weeks since I posted. Here are a few pictures, just to give you a tiny glimpse into our lives.
We’ve had 28 chicks hatch over the past week–so cute!
Short Stuff learned this week to make vehicle noises, and one afternoon he pretended that a nail was a key and he was starting himself up with it! The first time, he started himself, then raced across the room.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id5_wrOxJxY&w=420&h=315]
He also practiced standing on his head this week.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THcwyJ0PWA0&w=420&h=315]
I posted this one a couple of weeks ago, but the post has totally disappeared. I read aloud a lot to the children, and record some books onto an mp3 player so they can listen to them again later, and one afternoon this little fellow did the same![youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnlSakneSHI&w=420&h=315]
We’ve had quite an interesting week! Monday and Tuesday were normal days, but Tuesday night when we went to bed there was a strong wind blowing and I saw online that a violent storm was making its way north up the island towards us. Soon after we went to bed, apparently about 11:00, the power went out–and didn’t come back on for over 42 hours! Towards morning, we started having thunder and lightning, and when it was light enough to see we saw a number of branches down around the place. There was no power where Gayle works, either, so after he went in to see if there was anything he could do with the power out, he came home again to start cleaning up the mess around here. The boys really enjoyed working with their daddy on that kind of job! I spent the day working on the mending pile. Of course, without electricity, I couldn’t use the sewing machine, so I just pinned on patches and did some hand sewing. The entire mending pile is now waiting for me to sit down at the sewing machine–I should be able to whip right through once I get there. Esther spent the day reading and writing, but it was rather frustrating because the day was so dark and cloudy. We don’t realize how reliant we are on electricity till we don’t have it anymore. We were very thankful for the gas grill we had been given, enabling us to at least cook, and for the fact that we have chest freezers rather than upright ones. I moved all the things from the fridge freezers to the chest freezers, and we opened them as little as possible. I also fed the fresh milk to the calves, since we had no way to chill it. The milk that was already in the one fridge stayed fresh, since I had turned the temperature way down a couple of days earlier and forgot to turn it back up–the milk froze in it! That was a blessing in disguise! We used up the food that would go bad in the other fridge, but mostly we had milk products in there which are all right even if they warm up.
That evening we had a very interesting experience. About an hour before dark, a car pulled up at the driveway. There were four people in it, three men and one woman, French tourists in the country for nine months. They are trying to see the country in the least expensive way, and were asking for a place to set up their tents for the night! We gave them permission to camp in our yard, and invited them in for supper. I put together a stew for supper, using potatoes and cooked beef from the fridge, a couple of jars of tomatoes and one of carrots, and a leek that Simon brought in. Soon after I put it on the grill to cook, I realized that the flame was lower than it had been. Sure enough, the flame went out after awhile, but the stew was hot enough to eat. The leeks were just a bit crunchy, still! We had a fun evening chatting with our surprise guests by the light from headlamps placed strategically around the top of the room, and candles on the table. They said several times how good the meal was (stew, cabbage salad, bread and butter, and homemade cheese). I didn’t think it was that extraordinary, but then Gayle asked them what they’ve been eating: Ramen noodles! No wonder they enjoyed what we offered!
That night the wind came up again, and by morning was blowing at gale force again. We still had no power, but at 6:30 Gayle called in to work and learned that they had a generator, so he went in. I went to town as soon as the shop opened to get a new cylinder of gas so we could cook breakfast! Our French visitors left about the same time Gayle left for work–I was relieved, as they had pitched their tents close to a big gum tree, which was swaying their way in the strong wind. It didn’t fall, but if it had it would have crushed them.
The second day, the sun shone and it was bright–what a nice change. We still had no power all day, and I was preparing myself mentally for another dark evening of cooking over the grill outside, and planning a breakfast and lunch for the next day that would not require cooking or washing dishes. Then, praise God, the power came back on at 5:35! What a wonderful sight. Life is now back to normal for us, and we didn’t lose any more than a cup or two of food. The boys were quite disappointed; they like playing with candles. One of them was saving all the extra wax that ran off the candles, and melted it down, making another candle from it.
We were also glad be be back in touch with the rest of the world, although it was very peaceful and quiet during the power cut! We had no internet, of course, and the cell service was also out. Our landline worked the first day, but the second day it didn’t.
We had an interesting experience the week before, also. We had helped to organize a meeting here in Cheviot with a speaker from Creation Ministries International. We had a barbeque before the meeting; about 50 people came for that, and there were probably about 75 at the meeting itself. That was very good, but we also really enjoyed having the speaker, Tas Walker, and his driver in our home for the night. Friday morning before they took off for Christchurch, we took them, and a single lady from our church, who also slept here overnight in her van, to Gore Bay. We really enjoyed our chance to get to know Tas.