Our weekend

We had a great morning in the school room on Saturday. Got lots done despite Shannie being lethargic and not really into it. The power was going on and off all day with the power cuts getting longer each time. At times like this it is such a blessing to have the wood stove. It finally came on as we were finishing dinner and after Nathan had spent 5 minutes trying to get two lit candles to stand up on the saucers!

Tim and the guys did some mustering and then spent the day at the mill with Graham. The children were all put to bed after lunch because they are all so heavy eyed, full of coughs and so irritable that I figured they needed sleep. The rest improved their temperaments considerably and a couple of hours later the went out and played with the Cottage children for the rest of the afternoon. Wilma came up and had a cuppa with me, it was nice to visit with her.

I have borrowed the 3 video set of ‘Roots – the 2nd generation’ from the library so I went to bed and started watching it. Tim was asleep before the first episode finished. It was the last day of daylight saving – yaaaahhh!

Today I woke up with a headache and felt absolutely yuck so I went back to bed and watched some more of ‘Roots’. It was so good having an extra hour to wallow. Tim and the three little ones peeled pears for breakfast. I managed to drag myself out of bed and into the shower and be presentable by the time Jesika and the Minnee family arrived for fellowship. We enjoyed a shared lunch afterwards. Then Martin decided to take his children for a walk so my three went too. It was so peaceful, I took some Panadol as my headache was not improving any, and went to bed and watched more of ‘Roots’. I had put a chicken in the oven so Nathan & Seb just got the veges done and dinner was easy.

It is such a great feeling tonight to look at the clock and see it is only 8pm and the children are in bed, Seb has gone to play cards with the Minnee young folk and Ivan & Gustav have gone up to their sleep out with books and I can hop into bed and watch some more of the movie and not feel like I am burning the candle.


Friday again.

Thursday was so hard to get out of bed. But it was a beautiful morning and a lot to do so we dragged ourselves out. Seb, Nate & Gustav zipped up to help Jesika & Ivan (from Ireland) clean the Lodge. They were all back here by 10am to say goodbye to Rachel & Shlomo. Here they are with Jesika sizing up to Seb
It was sad to have see them go but their time in NZ is running out.
so – Next year in Jerusalem – it is! One day we will get there, if we don’t have dreams then nothing will ever happen

Mahalia had a great day – her real birthday. She spent all day playing with her many new toys. She was very spoilt this year. I had found so many of the things she loves in sales over past months, so she actually did very nicely thankyou.

Tim, Graham, Gustav & Ivan spent the afternoon working at the mill and stripping posts. A home schooling family from up north arrived to stay in the Cottage. They have 9 children. I was very tired so found it rather exhausting to have so many extra kids all around the place so had to get stroppy and insist they all play outside. Which they did, but mostly on the deck outside my office

I finally sent them all home to the Cottage at 5pm and got my children cleaned up and into pj’s and we blobbed out in front of Little House on the Prairie. It is such a never ageing story. Always appeals. Even Nathan was watching it once his WW2 movie finished! The girls pleaded to watch a 2nd episode so I dished dinner for them and they ate and watched so by the time the guys came in I was able to put the children straight to bed. The 3 children are below par at the moment with coughs and mild temps on and off. Just enough to knock them off their perches and lower their appetites and make them a little disagreeable at times.

Today it is overcast and stormy and even though it is Saturday we are doing school work because yesterday went out the window with the busyness of life.

Oh! what a night….

Well, Cat arrived home at 11:30pm, had a quick snack and went to bed.
She was absolutely had it, but very grateful that she had the American guy with her to help drive cause she was so tired she wouldn’t have made it otherwise. She left him in Nelson and made it the rest of the way ok. She decided that her wee car was sad and needed a rest so she wouldn’t go out later in the day with Seb but would hitch a ride out with Anson & Jesika.

I woke at 5am and saw light under the door, so got up and found Cat at the computer. She had been up since 4am! She was all packed and ready to go. She and Anson headed out the door just before 6am and met Jesika and Azzan at the top of the hill. Here they are trying to look awake. They had coffee at Anson’s bosses place just before Nelson and apparently Cat went to sleep while they were talking. I somehow don’t think she is going to have a problem sleeping on the plane-!!
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Tim went back to bed but I stayed up and did some emailing. It was a beautiful clear and relatively calm morning so Tim took Gustav, Shlomo & Rachel out to see and do mussel work. The children and I got into the school work and had a really good morning. Best so far which was great. When we finished we had lunch and then watched some more of Little House on the Prairie. It was brilliant today because the girls were going to school for the first time and they were using slates to write on. Mahalia was fascinated, she also loved the spelling the Laura was doing because she is just at that level. Just something else that ties in with our Before Writing project without planning!

This afternoon the girls spent ages playing with Mahalia’s new Polly Pockets water fountain. They decided it was safer and less messy to use it in the bath. They ended up in the bath too! Shannie seems to be coming down with Mahalia’s cold, she’s been very flushed and lethargic. Very happy to just read and read. It has turned so cold her these past two days that I have been lighting both fires. It has been so much cosier to have the big fire going, crazy – it is sposed to be still summer

The guys all went up the hill to unload another load of timber after lunch. Anson had phoned this morning and said that the wind from yesterday’s storm had blown some timber around. Tim said there were huge lengths of 12″x8″ timber blown clean over the fence and into the cattle yards and around the next paddock. Man! I knew it was stormy but that is amazing. I am so glad there was no one up there at the time it would have been lethal.

Dinner was easy tonight – lots of tasty leftovers from the birthday dinner. Anson text me from Auckland just before they left so we are now waiting for them to email on arrival in USA. Tim commented this morning that we need to put GPS locater beacons on the children just to keep up with them!

I had a lovely comment sent to me today from the main man at the Young New Zealander’s Challenge office – just had to share it

Your kids!….they are the most active bunch of globe-trotters I have
ever met…you should be proud of them…not a couch-potato amongst

And yes I am proud of them – very proud

travel safe kids – love you heaps xxxx

An extremely stormy day

Talk about a crazy day!
Last night Anson got word that Cat could go to the US with him. Only problem was she was on her way to Wanaka with 3 friends and we couldn’t get hold of her until 8:30pm. Their plane leaves Nelson at lunchtime tomorrow! Then it was a matter of finding out if the agent could get her on the same flights. So at 9:30am today I was talking to the travel agent in Auckland on the landline phone and Cat on the other ear with my cell phone. It was all go so Cat had to turn around a drive all the way back home today – only a 12 hour drive. She still isn’t home but hopefully not too far away. She thankfully had a hitch hiker with her the whole way and he helped with driving. She also had problems with a water hose which kept on blowing and each time they had to wait for it to cool down before they could fix it. Joy’s of an older car!

Then I had to get on the net and organise money, and flying points and a heap of other stuff. By this time it was absolutely bucketing down outside so Tim got the crew peeling more pears. I had just managed to get everything accomplished and the power went off. We were having thunder and lightning, wind and rain – it was an absolutely humdinger of a storm. Not a lot to do on a day like this except play games. There were various board and card games going most of the morning.

Azzan crashed out mid morning and spent most of the day sleeping on the couch. He had a temperature and didn’t want to eat. Jesika arrived over after lunch with a heap of food that she had managed to prepare before the power cut. The power came back on just as Seb was getting the gas element going to help cook dinner.

It is Mahalia’s birthday tomorrow but because of the mass exodus we had her party tonight. She has gone a bit horse crazy lately so she got a lot of horsey things. Jesika made her cake accordingly too which delighted her no end.
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She had lots of fun opening her presents and then she and Shannie and Azzan disappeared to play leaving the big and noisy ones at the table-!! It is going to be extremely quiet here without Anson home. We are sure going to miss him. Azzan perked up suddenly at dinner time and ate a small amount of food then decided he was well enough to go to town with Jesika so they packed his bag and he went home to sleep at her house.

I spent the evening helping Anson get packed and sorted and now am waiting for Cat to arrive home to get her stuff finalised.

Tomorrow we breath more slowly

An adventursome day

Tim was up and gone by 4:30am today. He spent all day in Blenheim at two mussel hearings. He arrived home tonight at 8:30pm very tired. He brought home Gustav from Sweden.

Anson was up with the birds to so he organised breakfast for the children – eggs on toast, nice treat! Then there was a big clean. The wee three did their bedrooms and Seb & Nate did the bathrooms. Anson then was exhausted by his supervisory capacity so he and Azzan retired to my study and watched ‘Valiant’ and after the girls did a tad of schoolwork they watched the first chapter of Little House on the Prairie.

Shannie made gingerbread men with the ‘help’ of Mahalia & Azzan – I think they ate quite a bit because they didn’t seem to fussed on eating lunch later. I managed to get quite a bit done on the altered book I am working on. Rachel managed to convince Shlomo to go kayaking until the wind came up and it got a bit rough Then due to my 4am waking I needed to have a sleep so Shlomo & Rachel took the 3 children for an adventure. Azzan was broken hearted because Shannie told him he couldn’t wear a dress, so she conceded and he went happily after changing. They stopped to feed Freddie a pear
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It is always fun to find sticks and create an adventure

a swing in the gumtree & the gate on the way past…..
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Afternoon tea on the hillside with Rachel

They had a wonderful time. Found a hillside of dried long grass and spent an hour rolling down the hill side.
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Azzan decided Shlomo would be a good grandad

They came home totally exhausted. 10 mins after this pic was taken Azzan was sound asleep at the table.

Monday, sigh…..

Today was Monday – all day!
We woke to rain at 5am this morning – great celebrations, however it didn’t last too long and even the washing was dry by lunch time.
I managed to get some school work done with the little people after I cracked the whip and got them to clean up the school room – again!. Today we looked at the early Chinese writing and how they made their characters. Over 50,000 of them! It was great because a Japanese guy had left me a heap of calligraphy paper, four bamboo and goat hair brushes and an ink block and ink. So the children had a ball trying to write Chinese.

Then the children enjoyed lunch Japanese style – well they thought it was – at the outside low table.

Rachel was great and got all the dinner veggies prepared and then spent a great part of the afternoon entertaining or being entertained by Azzan. He so enjoyed having someone to play games with. He has been at a bit of a loose end lately because we have all been so busy and he has been missing out on individual attention. Consequently he gets demanding which then drives the older children nuts and they get impatient without stopping to think about the reason he is behaving like that. He is very excited because he is going to town on Thursday with Jesika and Anson – the bargain is he has to keep his room tidy to earn some pocket money to buy him an icecream, and lunch for Jesika Well, that was Jesika’s idea!!

Tim & Shlomo took the barbecue over to Waterfall Bay and then came back for tools to replace the trailer wheel. It was rather knackered!
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They borrowed Anson’s ute to take it over and burned rubbish in the pit on the way. Despite the small amount of rain we had you can see it is extremely dry here.

Rachel went with them when they zipped back up in the dinghy to finish the wheel change. Consequently our lunch was late – 3pm. I then spent the rest of the afternoon clearing the study – seem to have been doing a lot of that lately! I will be ready to begin doing the gst soon – I need to have a clear and tidy sorted space before I begin or I just cannot work. Same as in the school room or my art room, need order before I begin – once I am into it I am fine, make as much mess as necessary but need that orderly space before hand.

The children have been sorta off beam today. Nothing major, just enough to make them titchy at times. Mahalia has a cough and blocked nose – had a few tearful sessions through the day, Azzan needed time out this arvo so he lay on my bed and watched a video. Nathan was very happy to just blob in the hammock with his book. The girls kept busy doing races outside and then needed an early dinner. None of them complained about being fed and put to bed early so I guess they all agreed with their mother for once

Our weekend

Friday night Tim & Anson took a load of posts up the hill. Anson had been cutting and skinning all 77 of them.
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Katy and he mother Anna arrived while they were up there. Katy had been wwoofing here 2 years ago so it was lovely to have them here for the weekend. We all spent Sat morning processing pears. Our trees have been prolific this year. Jesika came over so with a full team on board we got a heap put into jars and some in the freezer.

Anna was revelling in the beauty of Port Ligar – she was rather star struck and she had a brilliant weekend to be here. Azzan found a friend and spent a lot of time with Anna – not just dozing in the hammock either, but they did look very comfy!
Jesika took them and Azzan & Mahalia home with her so Katy could see the new kitchen then they all walked back around the track. Anna loves to walk slowly and enjoy the surroundings which suited Azzan as he loves to collect stuff. He came running in with some ‘special stuff’ for me and I had to smell it – it was mint and he was so excited to bring me home something beautiful We were just sitting down for dinner when Cat said she would take them out in the dinghy to see the dolphins. So I put there dinner in the oven and they took off at a rate of knots and spent ages out playing with the dolphins. There were heaps of them and they were really playing for the audience.

Sunday morning Seb, Nate and Shannie went yup to help Jesika clean the Lodge and then they came back for church. Afterwards Katy & Anna had to leave as they have still lots to see and do before flying out next week. Cat had given them lots of great ideas for exploring Golden Bay instead of joining the myriad’s of tourists on the Able Tasman track-!!

After lunch a friend picked up Anson, Shannie ands myself and we went to see some sharks being fed. They were very large Bronze Whaler sharks around 12′ (4m) long – it was very impressive to see, and a sight that definitely put you off wanting to be in the sea with them-!!
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Everyone blobbed out in front of movies for the rest of the afternoon until Rob, Jimmy and Anson returned from diving and then our ‘new’ friends from Israel arrived. Ido was wwoofing here 4 years ago and his parents Shlomo and Rachel have come to NZ and are spending the week with us. So cool to meet after all this time.

I went to bed early and finished watching ‘The Importance of being Earnest’ – such a fun story.

Today we woke to rain – such an unusual sound – we haven’t had rain in over a month and the place is sooooo dry. A good start to the week

Random Thoughts

Today Tim was doing a kidney stone cleanse.
It was an interesting one.
Drink 7 cans of flat coke over a period of 2 hours.
It contains Phosphoric acid which dissolves stones. The eat 2 cans mashed asparagus to soothe the kidneys.
Sounds weird – maybe, but way better than having to undergo medical intervention to see if he has any!
He said it wasn’t too bad, pretty tasty in fact.
Seb was totally fascinated at his father drinking Coke. He never drinks coke – hence the photo.

Azzan was sitting in his car seat when we went out to town on Saturday. He commented at one stage that he was learning to drive.
I asked him how he was doing that. He replied that whenever he goes out in the car he watches and learns – one astute 4yr old!

Today, he said to me that he couldn’t learn French. I asked him why not. He said ‘because my sisters don’t speak French so they can’t teach me.’ What influence older siblings have! That explains his fluency in Japanese and Spanish He asked once ‘How do you saw Hola in Japanese?’ that give you an idea of his ability and understanding of foreign languages. I was fascinated that he wanted to translate Spanish into Japanese rather than from English.

Thought this pic of the view from where the kids go hunting and camping was a good one and worth sharing.
Also thought you might like to meet my boy. Isn’t he gorgeous? He’s heading to the USA this week – anyone interested in meeting him – he does scrub up pretty well but his preference is being blood covered

The children were talking this morning and I heard Mahalia and Azzan discussing the colour of their blood – Azzan’s is green-!!

Today I boiled up the piccalilli. It was disgusting. So I found some other recipes and compared them Decided to reboil and add more sugar – ended up adding heaps more and now it is really yummy.

Did more sorting and biffing of old unnecessary papers and books in the study – the fuller the rubbish bin gets the more better I feel

Also finally managed to do a broadband test on my computer – found I can get 816-Kbit/sec here so it may be a go-er. Will have to look into costings now and make a decision. Oh decisions, so hard!

Tonight Katy from Germany and her mother Anna arrived. They are on a whirl wind 6 week trip around NZ. Katy wwoofed here two years ago, so it is lovely to see her back again.

Anson took a load of posts up the hill. He has cut & skinned them in past week so they are now ready to go out for treatment. All 77 of them. Done well hasn’t he? He is getting organised for fencing next year. Tim & Nate were mustering so they were able to help unload them.

Am trying to get things finialised for Anson as it is only a few days now till he leaves. Was trying to explain to the older ones how much the younger children miss them and how excited they are when they know they are coming home again. Anson said they probably don’t want him around cause he’ll given them ‘The Bash’! But as I explained – the same as in ‘Liar Liar’ where the boys dad was the only one who could produce ‘The Claw’ – Anson is the only one who can give ‘The Bash’. And they love him for it

Food, food and more food.

I was up and going by 6am Wed as I had a lot I wanted to do before the troops arrived back. Cleared through a lot of paperwork. Sorted Young NZers Challenge stuff, finally had lunch around 3pm and the boat got home at just after 4pm.

They had had a good time – but the trip around the back of the island on Monday had been pretty rough – the 3 German’s were sharing the bucket most of the way. Poor things. Cat said if I had gone I would have been freaking out and they would have had to turn back – glad I didn’t go!

They got a deer, some fish, Cat went diving and got 3 crayfish and this huge moki. It weighed in at 8-kilos (19lbs). A real granddaddy of a fish.

As per normal there was mountainous piles of washing to do. Managed to get it on the line today – thankfully it was good drying and some dried quick enough to be replaced by the next loads.

Andy, Petra & Troute left this morning so it is just us here for a day or so till our next visitors arrive tomorrow night. Anson zipped over to Forsyth Island in the dinghy to help with shearing and go for a hunt with his mentor Gary.

Graham had bought down a heap of vegetables which had been stored in Jesika’s chiller while we were all away. She bought it all over today and we spent all day processing beans, tomatoes, capsicum and corn. I had to chuckle at the ways they found to alleviate the boredom of processing the huge bin of beans. Seb & Cat had their ipods going at one stage and I found out why Mahalia was so quietly working away – she was sharing Cats earphones. Then after lunch they put on ‘Hoodwinked’ – it is easy to watch while cutting and made the time fly a wee bit quicker.
Tim cleaned out the large freezer and moved it along to make room for the small freezer we bought home from my Mum. It fits in well and is now full of neat and orderly arrangements of food – we will see how long that lasts!

Cat was very relieved to get outside into the garden late this arvo – it was a l-o-n-g time for her to be sitting inside in one place. We were very grateful to all the children for their help. They all pitched in – the younger children for shorter periods of time, but it all helped. The beans literally took all day. Nathan did all the corn and then helped Seb & Cat with the beans and Jesika and I did the capsicum and tomatoes. Jesika and I cut up a heap of piccalilli which I will have to cook up tomorrow.

I was so exhausted that I was happy to have some space to wallow in a hot deep bath with my book before dinner. Dinner was very easy tonight and all the more delicious because of that fact.

Talking about my book – I am reading a really interesting story at the moment. It is a very thick tome and a rather chilling read. ‘The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth’ by Sister Dianna Ortiz. A true story about a woman from New Mexico who went to Guatemala as a missionary nun. She was taken prisoner and endured horrific torture. It is her story of her campaign to reveal the truth, and her struggle to heal. Google her name and you will find many websites about her. I found her book quite by accident when surfing the net last year, sent for the book and then left it sitting because it looked to weighty for me at the time. However, I now cannot put it down.

I’m off to bed to read some more……..

Duke of Edinburgh Award

I have been asked for info re the Gold Award which Cat is aiming for.
So in a nutshell below is a quote from the main international website – http://www.intaward.org
and also the history of the Award programme from – http://www.challengenz.org.nz/Site/About/History.aspx

I have been a co-ordinator for 10 years basically because we live so remotely and I wanted to give my children the chance to obtain this award.
Here in New Zealand it is now operating as The Young New Zealanders Challenge – http://www.challengenz.org.nz

UK is http://www.theaward.org/

You can begin at any level depending on your age. My first 3 Gold Awardees have all been direct entrant in the Gold whereas Cat has acheived Bronze and Silver first.
Here is an overview of each stage – http://www.challengenz.org.nz/Site/About/default.aspx

It is a brilliant programme. It is also has much kudos with future employers and institutions
Check out these website for more information.


How the Award Began
by H R H The Duke of Edinburgh
“In the summer of 1938, I found myself walking five miles, as fast as I could, along country roads in Morayshire. I had never done anything like it before, and I fervently prayed I would never have to do anything like it again. It so happens my prayer was answered because I was completing – successfully as it turned out – a section of the Moray badge, a direct ancestor of what has come to be known as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

The original idea came from the same man who thought up the Outward Bound Schools and the Atlantic (now World) Colleges. Kurt Hahn had been a Rhodes Scholar and a Private Secretary to the last Imperial German Chancellor before becoming a school-master. He founded the boarding school at Salem in Germany along English public school lines, but neither this nor his Jewish background, endeared him to the Nazis and he only just managed to escape to this country in the early 1930’s. By 1935, he had founded another school at Gordonstoun and, for very good reasons which I will not go into here, I followed him there from Salem.

All this was forgotten during the war and it was only in the early ‘fifties that Hahn started to make intermittent approaches to me about a National badge scheme, based on the old Moray badge idea. By 1954, I had agreed that, if he could get a representative committee to give their approval to the general idea, I would be prepared to take the chair and thrash out the practical details.

A first draft appeared in 1955 and we sent it to all sorts of voluntary youth and other organisations for their comments. After a further round of discussions and amendments, the Scheme was launched, first in an experimental form for three years, in September 1956. Originally designed for boys only, a version suitable for girls was launched two years later, and in 1969, the two versions were merged into one, but with slightly different requirements for boys and girls.”

In New Zealand although one or two organisations started taking part in the Award in 1962, it was not until 19 July 1963 that the Governor General, Sir Bernard Fergusson, held the inaugural meeting of the National Council of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in New Zealand at Government House in Wellington when a Constitution of the Award in New Zealand was drawn up. A General Secretary, Brigadier J R Page, was appointed and an Award Office on a part time basis established.

On the 27 September 1963, Prince Philip acknowledged the establishment of the Award in New Zealand and sent his formal greetings from Buckingham Palace.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

The International Award is an exciting self-development programme available to all young people aged 14-25, equipping them with life skills to make a difference to themselves, their communities and the world. To date over 6 million young people from over 110 countries have been motivated to undertake a variety of voluntary and challenging activities through the Award.

The Award concept is one of individual challenge designed to encourage young people to develop into responsible, active citizens who will positively contribute towards society. It presents a balanced, non-competative and enjoyable programme of voluntary activities which encourage personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perserverance, responsibility and service to the community.

There are three levels of participation: Bronze, Silver and Gold Award

The four sections that need to be completed in order to gain the Award at each level include:
Adventurous Journey
Physical Recreation
Residential (Gold Award)

The Award began in 1956 in the UK and has since spread to 117 countries because both the philosophy and the four-section format have proved resilient, attractive and adaptable to many cultures, languages and climates.