Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving at Uma Rapiti

"The wind is in from Africa, last night I couldn't sleep...."

After much debate about whether we should celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday or Friday (Thursday in the States) we settled on Thursday-mostly so we could rest our aching bodies for a day from the fencing job we're doing.

It's 11am.  The oven fire is going.  The three wwoofers went down to the water to catch fish for dinner.  Chad, not confident in their ability to catch us our main course, has gone into town to buy some variety of poultry.  That leaves me alone to start the breads.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I've got Joni Mitchell playing on the stereo (a staple in the kitchen from when Matt and I used to cook together in Denver), two loaves rising in the greenhouse, and I'm about to start a third.

"I remember that time you told me-you said 'love is touching souls.'  Surely you touch mine 'cause part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time...."

9pm: Bellies are full of fish, chicken, kumara, veggies, bread and dessert (four of them).  Dishes are washed, garden is watered, and company's gone.  Time to sit around the campfire and digest, listening to guitar and watching the stars. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

TED Talks and 100 Days in the Garden

Last weekend I ventured "into town" (as Waihekians say) to attend TEDx Auckland and came away filled with awe and inspiration.  TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, started in 1984 as a platform for sharing and spreading the ideas of the "world's most fascinating thinkers and doers".  Some speakers are world famous, some are well-known in their field, and others have never spoken in public before.  All of the talks are under 20 minutes, are recorded live, and available online.  If you've never watched any TED talks, or if you're in the need of some inspiration, no matter what field you're interested in, check them out at  

The TEDx talks in Auckland were all by people either from or living in New Zealand.  There were 19 different speakers or performers, ranging from a documentary filmmaker to a dental surgeon to a physicist to a synchronized swimmer.  The group was incredibly diverse.  A couple of the ideas talked about I had heard of before, others were completely new to me.  Some of the speeches on technology were a bit beyond me, as was the fact that everyone and their brother had their iphone out and was tweeting throughout the entire event.  At one of the intermissions, while discussing the previous talk regarding soundtracks to accompany electronic books, I made the mistake of making the comment that I'd prefer to read a paperback.  I was promptly accused of being a Luddite.  It's true that I felt a bit out place seated between someone taking notes on their ipad and someone tip-tapping away on their macbook while I spent the intermissions knitting socks, but there's something to be said about leaving the house without phone or computer or gps.  It's very freeing.  And I knew that no matter what I wore, nothing in my wardrobe could match the classiness of Aucklanders, so I just wore all black with hopes that even with the stains I'd be classified and dismissed as "one of those creative types." 

Speaking of creative types, one of my favorite talks was by Emma Rogan, a designer who founded New Zealand's 100 Days Project.  She borrowed the idea from a Yale art professor who asked students to create something everyday for 100 days within the parameters of their choosing.  It could be any medium but had to be documented.  Rogan decided to try this out for herself and open up the project to creative and non creative people of all ages who wanted a unique challenge-one that would be both fun and agonizing, but easier if done as a group.  She gave examples of someone who designed a dress every day for 100 days, someone who wrote a haiku about her family, someone who learned a new word.  As she spoke, my mind raced with ideas.  What would I, could I do for 100 days?  Crochet an afghan square, cook a new dish, draw a still life, weave a basket?  On the ferry ride home from Auckland I was thinking about writing up a blog post about the event and the thought occurred to me that I should incorporate my own 100 days project into the blog.  And where do I spend most of my time each day?  In the garden, of course.  There are so many things about the garden that I want to share on this blog but somehow lack the motivation to sit down and write.  So, as a challenge, I am going to start "100 days in the garden."  Everyday I'll post something about the garden, whether it be a picture, an observation, a drawing, or the description of a new plant.  I know it's not going to be easy but I'm going to give it a try.   The link is on the right hand side of this page.   I was going to wait until next Thursday to start it (because every endeavor such as this should begin on a Thursday if it is to have any chance of being completed) but Chad says that this sounds like an excuse to procrastinate so I guess I'll begin today.  If I don't complete it I'm blaming it on the fact that I began on a Saturday.  Who starts a project like this on Saturday?  And a windy Saturday, nonetheless.  A windy, raining sideways, Saturday.  But, really, what have I got to lose? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finger-lickin' Good!

Years ago, when I first set foot on an organic veggie farm, I devised a theory that the pitiful income made in this business is completely disproportionate to the extravagant meals available each day to all those who dare enter into it.  Chad and I have tested this theory day in and day out, and we find no fault in it.  Tonight's dinner cemented that theory into fact.  Our bellies have warned us that if we ever trade the amazing food we eat for a higher paying job there will be trouble.

This evening's feast that began with perfectly steamed purple artichokes dipped in garlic butter is only one example of the many dishes people pay high prices for either in the store or a restaurant that we eat regularly.  Lately, asparagus has been growing so fast that it must be picked nearly every other day.  It's so tender and sweet that I can't bare to cook it.  We eat it fresh in salads or straight from the garden.  Today Chad yelled halfway across the farm to me, "I just ate a two-foot piece of asparagus and it was delicious!"  Sugar snap peas are coming in strong, as are the heritage lettuces, Detroit dark red beets, and spicy arugula.  Combine these simple veggies with oysters from the beach or a squash leftover from last fall, some freshly baked bread, and 'voila!' a five star meal.  At least by our standards.  We'll be testing out our theory a french chef who's wwoofing with us next month.  Something tells me he'll be quite happy with how we eat here at Uma Rapiti.

We have significantly lowered our butter intake since wwoofers Christina and Zach left a couple of weeks ago.  Until this meal, that is.  (See bowl of melted butter, left, complete with roasted garlic)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Chicken Saga and Veggie Planting


vulgar. Worthless or contemptible (used as a general term of deprecation).

vulgar. A worthless or contemptible person.
    I have developed quite an interesting relationship with the chickens we have here on the farm.  They (we) have come a long way since their arrival here the first week of August.  If you hark back to a previous post, they originally came to us on an adventure specifically engineered to acquire said chickens.  We picked them up in a small suburb south of Auckland called Drury.  We were actually assisted by the fine fellows who run this shop in our frustrating quest to locate a camping spot that would allow us to have Betty Blue.  We tried to pick out four birds that you would be able to tell apart on sight since they were all of the same breed.  Brown Shavers.  We lovingly packed them away in a dog crate, covered them with a sheet to keep them calm since they were also riding with the four-legged, furry death machine, and made our way back to the car ferry for their trip to their new home.
    Here we are now two months later and I now have four feathery, bird-brained buddies.  The ladies and I have developed quite a routine and they are loathe to deviate from it.  Every morning I get up and before Lizzy and I eat, or Betty is fed, I'm off to feed and water the chickens.  Then breakfast for Lizzy and I, then the mutt.  Around 9:30am I wander back over to the chicken shack, "Coop de Tille", check for eggs, and let the ladies out for the day.  This in itself is comedy.  The coop is located in our orchard on one side of the farm, and as soon as the chickens see me walking back toward the sleep-out or the garden beds, they make a mad dash to follow.  We're talking sprints assisted by wing flapping!  Hilarity ensues.
    Through-out the day the girls are left to roam where they will.  They seem quite keen to try and assist you with what ever task you are trying to it working in tool shop trying to fabricate something with a squawking bird under your feet, or attempting to plant veggie starts and having the fool birds scratch them right out. (Note: If you are digging in the dirt or moving mulch around, the girls HAVE to be right there scratching right along side you.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Much to Lizzy's, and the veggie starts' chagrin.)  At the end of the evening I usually have to uproot Pirate from her makeshift roost in the woolshed, then you can see me marching across the farm with one chicken under my arm, dutifully being followed by the other three back to the safety and warmth of the coop.  Let me introduce you to the flock...
The first named bird and the second-most easily recognized chicken.  She has a short-cropped upper beak giving her a severe under-bite look, and is darker in color then the rest.   She is also at the top of the pecking order.  Funny, since she is the smallest of the chickens.
About two weeks ago something happened to her left eye causing it to become discolored and swollen.  We believe she is now blind in it and keeps it closed most of the time.  Hence: Pirate!  She is also our only bird not laying as of yet, and might have a short stay here on the farm.  Neither Lizzy or myself has the heart to dispatch her and we are in discussion as to what to do.

"Chicken" Noodle
Noodle and Henrietta are very seldom seen apart.  She seems to be the most friendly of the girls so far and will follow me all over the place.  Mainly to see what I'm scratching up in the dirt, but she tolerates me playing with her and picking her up all the time.  You can tell her by the single black tail feather she has.

This lady is the most individually-minded and strong-willed of all the chickens.  Friendly and amiable to humans, tolerant of Betty, but doesn't like to be picked up, pet, or messed with in general.  She is also the most vocal of all the birds, making a wide range of calls and sounds through-out the day.  Also named for my grandma.  I did it out of love!  I swear!

    When I was in Montana, I couldn't stand the chickens on the farm.  There were over 100 of the damnable birds everywhere, in everything, pooping on anything.  The porch, the skidsteer seat, in my shoe.  They were the epitome of my arch-nemesis.  If I could kick one firmly in her feathered backside, I felt just and righteous.  I never wanted a single bird on my future farm.  I have to say, I have changed my tune.  I can't imagine a farm without a couple of these girls running around.  I think all it took was a reduction in numbers and full injection of personality.  The funny bit is that Lizzy's patience with the birds is wearing thin since they get into everything, but she still manages to find compassion for the damn dog.  Myself, give me chickens any day and ship Betty Blue off to the nearest sheep farm. As for the chickenshit, well, we're finding out it's not so worthless or contemptible after all!

Before the "Makeover" and sans fence and grape trellis
Lizzy updating the veggie board

Finished fence, clean beds, chicken helpers, and what's "In Season"

I thought I would also include a little snippet about the veggie beds as well.  Lizzy has been working her rear off in the greenhouse and the upper beds over the past month and it is really paying off!  A few weeks ago we had couple with us from New York Wwoofing and we spent two days going to town weeding, cleaning, and rebuilding the raised beds in the upper garden.  Accompanied by a new fence to keep out the chickens, dog, and rabbits, this has rapidly become the heart of the farm.  Our greenhouse is located here as well and anytime I want to know where my better half is, I don't have far to look.  We are now eating about 2/3 or more of our veggies fresh from the garden.  Click on the picture with the chalkboard for a more detailed view of whats "In Season".  

Here's to your health and till next time!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Many Ways to Cook a Snapper

I buried a fish in the future corn bed today.  I do hope that it's corn that you're supposed to bury a fish with.  If it's not, we have enough to bury in all of the garden beds!  Ever since Chad discovered how much he loves fishing a couple of months ago we've had an abundant supply of fresh fish.  While Chad's out getting his hunter gatherer on, I come up with different ways to cook snapper.  So far we've had fried snapper fillets, grilled snapper, baked snapper, smoked snapper, snapper soup, snapper curry, snapper tacos, and multiple variations of fried fish cakes.

While I think Chad's a little tired of eating fish, I can't get enough of it.  And of course I always love a good kitchen challenge.  I think next we're going to have it sushi style!  Unfortunately, the freezer can't handle anymore fish stock, but even so, nothing goes to waste around here.  The chickens are given first choice on the carcases and the rest go into the compost pile.  Chad and I have debated whether or not this is a good idea, given the rats, the dog, the smell, but I just can't pass up an opportunity to add all of that good stuff to the garden once it breaks down.

In addition to catching fish to liven up our meals, we've also been taking advantage of the oysters and mussels that inhabit the beach nearby.  I love handing a hammer and  a bucket to our wwoofers and saying "It's low tide.  Let's go collect lunch!"

The vegetable garden is coming along.  We've been munching on plenty of salad greens, sugar snap peas, kale, chard, radishes, broccoli, spring onions, leeks, carrots, and asparagus.  The tomatoes and peppers are sprouting in the greenhouse and I think I even saw an okra sprout today!  At least I think it's okra.  I've never seen okra growing before.  Even more exciting than the okra, though, is the luffa that is sprouting.  Luffa, as in the bath sponge.  I'm growing bath sponges.  It's going to be a hit.  Too bad that by the time they're ready to use we won't have enough water to actually take baths.

The plum trees are beginning to blossom and as long as the wind isn't blowing rotting fish smell your direction the orchard is heavenly to walk through.  Chad and I, with help from our wwoofers, recently added two almonds, two pistachios, four macadamia nuts, a walnut, two pears, a peach, an apricot, and a plum to the orchard.  We also planted two grape vines along the garden fence.  We've been so happy to see that the sad looking twigs we put in the ground last month are now beginning to show signs of life.  The grapes, especially, show visible growth each day.

When we're not working in the garden we entertain ourselves by...

   trimming Chad's beard,

Jumping off big rocks,

And watching monks create pictures with tiny bits of colored sand.  
Never a dull moment....

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Note on Rain

Rain, Rain, go away...
    Come again another day.

Upper Uma Rapiti River flowing toward Rabbit Lake.
 This is just a short blog post for all of you whom are "Dying" in the heat of wherever you are.
Since about the first week of June we have had maybe three days straight of sun.

End of swale before extending. Emptying into fire pit and flax.
 The rest of our time here has been rather grey and rainy with punctuations of torrential downpour and extreme wind.  How extreme you ask?  Well, up to 40kph (25mph) sustained winds and 60kph (37mph gusts).  Doesn't sound like much you say?  I regularly find dishes blown off our counter and landed 30 feet away in our garden beds.

Our fire pit turned flowing pool.  Complete with iron feature!
 Three weeks ago it rained so much that the relief swale that was dug along the side our property to relieve water issues turned from a small stream to a mild river.  It overfilled and proceeded to turn our fire pit into a swimming pool.

Mysterious Pit a.k.a Rabbit Lake
 At the bottom corner of the property we found this random pit about 15 feet across and 5 feet deep when we first arrived.  It was bone dry with a couple of 2x4 ends and 2x6 pieces in it.  We now have a well-crafted duck pond.  Complete with floating detritus for the pukkekos and rabbits to sunbathe on.

Makeshift rain catchment system
Yes, that is correct.  7cm.  70mm.  2.7in.  A lot.

For those of you who might be in disbelief and thinking I'm leaning toward the exaggeration aspect of story-telling, I present exhibit A.  This is a tote that was left outside for about 18 hours before I realized it was there.  What you are seeing is proof in the pudding folks!  Approximately 70mm of rain in 18 hours!  Yes, 7cm (2.7 inches) of the wet stuff.  Please realize I come from Portland, Oregon where I'm used to it being wet for 6-8 months out of the year.  I will never complain again!  Lizzy stepped outside to use the restroom the other day which is about 50 feet away.  She ran there and ran back.  Upon her return she was literally soaked through front and back.

In parting I would just like to say, enjoy you 80, 90, even 100 degree weather.  I'm jealous.  And trying to find a decent pair of water wings!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

And The Trip Began...

     It seems every time I get left in charge of planning a camping trip, it comes out quite interesting.  This one was par for the course.  I have included a handy-dandy, color coded map to help you along the way.  Yes, Our journey was that complicated...

    Just click on the map above and you will be able to follow along.
Red: Day One, Part 1
Orange: Day One, Part 2
Blue: Day Two 
 Yellow: Day Three   

On the car ferry!
    Day one began with getting up at 6:00am to take the farm car to the mechanic shop for its yearly WOF (Warrant Of Fitness) tag.  Kind of like a DEQ inspection, only more invasive.  Last year when this was done, it cost our employers over $400.  Some mysterious seat belt issue.  This is example 1 of where "Chadding" as Lizzy likes to call it comes in handy.  After talking with the owner for 45 minutes, I'm handed a bill for $60 and sent on my way.  I stop at our neighbor's house to swap our car for his van, "Chad" for a few moments, end up with a keen place to go hiking and some ideas where o camp in the future, and home I go.  Lizzy in the meantime has done an incredible job of getting everything together in time for us to catch the 10:30am car ferry off the island.  Here we go, dog and all on our great adventure!
    Upon arriving in Auckland we are taught our first lesson.  Google maps in New Zealand really sucks.  Thank goodness paper maps still exist!  Driving in another country in it's most populous city in a borrowed vehicle is nerve-racking enough.  Doing it with a map that tells you to drive in circles...  Maddening!!!  Lizzy to the rescue!  She had the foresight to bring along the previously stated paper map, and as my wonderful co-pilot, managed to direct us to our first stop: Arataki Visitor Centre
The uhhh, "Masculine" entrance to the center
View from rear observation deck
     This is where we are taught our second lesson.  One that I thought I already learned when I was applying for my visa here in NZ.  Information on websites vs. information over the telephone vs. information in person is always conflicting!  And confounding!  While at the visitor's center I decided to confirm that it is ok for us to have Betty Blue in our campsite.  I looked on the website and yes, it's ok, I specifically asked when making our reservations and was told, "Yes, she's allowed.", and upon asking in person, nope.  No dogs allowed over night in any Auckland Regional Council campsite!  Arrrrgghhh!!!
    Example 2 of where "Chadding" helps out.  I speak with the park rangers for a bit, explain the situation and the fact that we just took a ferry from our island and drove an hour to come camp in their beautiful forest, and they relent and give us a new campsite and a pass with the dog for a night.  Rejoice and on with the adventure!  Next stop:  Piha for black sand beaches and the best surf on the North Island!
    The following are a few pictures from one of the most amazing beaches I have ever been on.  The sand is actually black, and is magnetic from the iron content.  When we arrived it was a torrential downpour and we had to wait in the van for it to stop.  And when it did, it was beautiful!
Lizzy and Betty on the way to Lion Rock

The view south from half way up Lion Rock

The view north from Lion Rock
Lizzy next to a monument to a Maori tribal ancestoress
    So, this is where our trip starts to get really, really interesting.  Lizzy, Betty Blue and I climbed up Lion Rock to get a better view of the beach.  Betty was off leash and minding pretty well.  We took some pictures, admired the scenery, then started to head back.  Betty lead the way down and disappeared into some grass.  I followed and found her licking some tin foil with some sort of residue on it on the ground.  I scolded her, then off we went.  We went and played on the beach for a bit, threw a stick for the dog and all was well.  Or so we thought.
    As we were driving away from the beach to our "new" campsite, Betty started acting a little strange.  She was riding in the back of the van just fine all day, and now she was freaked out about something and kept trying to jump into the front seat.  As I'm driving.  Up a very steep, very windy road.  She gets scolded again and off we go without further incident to the camp.
    Our campsite is just south-west of a little town called Huia in the southern part of the Waitakere Ranges.  What we were NOT told, was that to get to the actual camping area we had to ford a stream that was a bit too much for us with all the rains currently dumping on us.  We decide to camp in the van in the parking lot to save us the hassle.  This is where we notice Betty Blue acting very strange.  When she was walking around, she looked just fine.  When she stood still, it looked like her hind legs were about to give out.  Then she started staggering around and really freaking Lizzy and I out.  We get her to eat, then put her to bed in back of the van.  She can barely hold her head up, and when she does she does the bob n' weave like she was drunk!  We are nearly convinced the dog is going to die, but there is nothing we can do at that moment.  It is getting dark and we are miles from anywhere.  We decide to tough it out and she if she is better in the morning.  Lizzy and I hunker down after dinner to do some reading in the back of the van, and right when we are about to go to bed, a set of headlights appears in the parking lot.  We think it's the rangers come to tell us we can't camp in the van.  Nope.  We see one headlamp, then two, then four, then a whole bunch.  And they're running around.  And running some more.  Then talking right next to the van.  Then in the creek next to the parking lot.  Then they leave!  Were we just visited by boisterous aliens???
Gypsy van the next morning
More amazing carvings

Our kitchen

    The next morning we find that all is right in the world.  No strange lights, a perfectly normal dog, and the beginnings of some decent weather.  After our trip and consulting with some other people, we came to a final conclusion about the dog: She ate someone's dope stash on Lion Rock and suffered the effects for 18 hrs.  That'll teach her to lick strange bits of foil!  As for the strange lights, we run into some sort of high school outdoor group on the trail the next morning.  I can only assume (and hope) it was them.
    So day two has us starting on good weather, good dog health, good spirits with the humans, and an amazing hike through an amazing water catchment / rain forest in New Zealand.  It is also one of the more grueling and demanding hikes I have been on in a while.  The following pictures will give you an idea, but they just don't do any justice to the sights we saw:

A Kauri log on an old train cart used for logging circa 1900's

Waterfall off the side of a mountain

Lizzy and Betty Blue stream crossing

Waterfall and rock pool off trail

This was the trail a good portion of the way up the mountain

Even Betty had a hard time!

The sights were worth it

Nature's helping hand!
    We ended our hike just in time for the rains to come in.  Finally some good timing on our part.  We hosed our selves off, scrubbed the dog, headed to Drury where we were supposed to be picking up our Chickens on Saturday.  Upon arrival, I spent a few moments "Chadding" with the gentleman working the counter of the pet store making sure it was ok that we picked up our chooks the following day, and picking his brain about a dog/van/camper friendly area somewhat near.
 This was followed by a long, drawn out trip from the middle of the North Island, to the Firth of Thames (pronounced Timms...), disappointment at multiple potential camping spots, all the way to the town of Thames (pronounced Timms...).  Here we encountered petrol attendants who didn't know where any camping was around there (even though there was a sign for camping 15km away in their parking lot), and sidewalks that didn't allow any dogs...  go figure...  We decided to take the road next to the petrol station in hopes of finding a pullout we could stop and cook dinner and sleep in.  And we drove.  And drove.  And drove off the paved road.  And then drove over a ford in a stream.  And drove.  And then miracles!!!  We came across a visitor's center in the middle of nowhere!  Closed!!!  Arrrggghhhh!  So, we drove a bit more.  We found a campsite!  With a toilet, garbage, and water!  Huzzah! 

We promptly set up camp, cooked dinner, and tried to unwind a bit after a drawn out afternoon spent driving all over the place.  I told Lizzy we were going to have an adventure!
Oh. I almost forgot.  At some point I decided to go utilize the magnificent facilities available to us.  As a went to sit down on the great, white throne, my headlamp strayed across this guy here:        <-----------------------!!!!!!!!  El Monstro!  Almost scared the crap right back into me!  I had to take a picture to show Lizzy.

In the morning we woke up, had a leisurely breakfast, and restarted our wondrous journey back toward Drury.  We were  all about the kumara, eggs, and smiles!  Lizzy already posted prior what the next stage of our trip entailed.  By the way, we have to thank Karma and the DOC for our last night.  Our site was a honor system pay spot.  When we went to put money in the envelope, we found we didn't have any change other than a $50 bill.  Not going to put that in for $10 worth of camping.  So we promised ourselves it the visitor's center was open when we left, we would pay the tab.  Alas, it was closed and we had a good end to a hair-pulling camping trip.  Even when I think I've done my research.  I have to triple check.  Lizzy is planning the next one!


Monday, August 6, 2012

At Least the Trip Ended Well...

Chad and I have never had an uneventful camping trip.  This one was no exception.  It ended well, though, so I'll start there.  We awoke the third morning to sunshine (or was it drizzling rain).  Either way, it didn't matter, we were just happy to wake up at a quiet campground with a dog that was still alive and who would not be shunned, and where we could leisurely cook breakfast before heading to Drury to pick up our new chickens (or "chooks" as they say around here).  Potatoes and eggs were on the menu and our spirits were high.  Even taking our time, we left before the visitors' center opened, so with promises to the 'Powers that Be' that we'd pay double next time, we set off.

Back down the gravel road, through Thames, across farmland, over the Bombay hills, and back into Drury.  The hens all gathered around as we pulled up to the pet shop, each wanting to be the lucky lady chosen to go to Waiheke Island.  Before picking them out however, we had to engage in the obligatory chat with the fellows working at the store.  This procedure, which I have taken to calling "chadding" can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours, and while it usually results in some fascinating incites into local culture and/or useful information, my attention span can't handle that much small talk.  Realizing what was about to happen, I took the dog out for a walk.  When I returned, Chad was getting directions from the two gentlemen for shops where we might do some bulk food shopping.  After telling us just exactly how to get to the shops multiple times (complete with hand gestures on navigating the roundabouts), they drew a map and then proceeded to walk us through it one more time.  O-kay! I think it's about time we pick out those chickens and hit the road!

After visits to an Asian market, and Indian market, and a Fruit and Veg shop, our gypsy van was complete.  To compliment the poultry, the blue heeler, sleeping pads, campstove, and yesterday's smelly attire, we now had three sacks of potatoes, two sacks of rice, 6 varieties of dried beans, a gigantic bottle each of tamari, olive oil, and hot sauce, assorted spices, and way too many kiwifruit.  This is real life Oregon trail, minus the snakebites.  And the typhoid.  Although one more heavy rain and we would've had to caulk the wagon and float.

With Chad by now being proficient in Kiwi driving techniques along with my superb navigation skills, we made it back to Auckland with time to spare before our ferry.  Fish and Chips?  Yes, please.  A stroll along the harbor in the sunshine?  Oh if we must.  What a lovely ending.

 4 chooks, $96
1 bag of feed, $20
1 round-trip ferry ticket, $90
1 camp site, $12
petrol, $56
Fresh eggs every morning, priceless

 Stay tuned for the prequel!