a wwoofer's morning adventure

Wake up at 6:30am to boys yelling at each other in other room, hear mom tell them to stop it, fall back to sleep. Wake up at 7:00am to boys yelling at each other in other room, hear mom tell them to stop it, fall back to sleep. Wake up at 7:30am to boys yelling at each other in other room, hear mom stirring her coffee, think: "Time to get up!" Take a moment to scratch the heck out of my likely to be forever bruised, battered and scarred legs due to a disastrous amount of unrelenting "sand flea" bites. Get up, put on grubby jeans and grubby shirt and grubby sweater (none are actually grubby.. but have deemed them this due to line of current work), join the family in the other room. boys seem very happy to see us, even though in the back of mind I'm thinking "you woke me at 6:30 you mongrels". I smile politely.

Make a cup of coffee, two scoops of instant crystals, one sugar (sometimes two), and a dollop of milk from Licky the cow. Sip coffee while reading a chapter of current book on the beautiful back deck in the crisp sunshine. Finish coffee, realize its much too hot out already for jeans and a sweater, go change into grubby shorts and grubby tank top (same rules as other "grubby" items).

Grab gumboots (there are a few pairs for wwoofers to use) and bucket for chicken feed, wander down towards the chickens. Enter first paddock that is empty, see all chickens at the fence, happily awaiting the arrival of food, pretend they're just excited to see me, try to get them more excited with a few high pitched "chicky chicky chicky" calls, feel happy that they're suddenly jumping on top of each other trying to get closer to me. (clearly it has nothing to do with the food in my swinging white bucket!!) Enter the chicken pen, feel overwhelmed with the amount of clucking chickens surrounding my feet and making it very difficult to walk without stepping on one and feeling bad for the terrible "SQWAK" I'd hear, then thinking "Hey! I'm the boss here, outta my way chickens!" Sadly, the chickens are clever little buggers. They know that white bucket = chicken feed, therefore they try not to let it out of their sight. I try tricking them by throwing a handful of chicken feed over to the left, then I quickly scurry over to the mini chicken-trough and start pouring the chicken feed into it. Usually as soon as I begin to pour the chickens are climbing on top of the trough and bucket and themselves.. so I devised a plan. Now I pour a little into the trough, get them all excited and munching away, then I secretly scurry away to the other chicken pen (which they have full access to, I'm not that tricky!) and pour the rest of the feed into the other trough. Usually over at this trough is my little chicken friend that I call Dementee. (maybe not PC... but hey, I'm on holidays). She had an accident of sorts. Her beak is all wonky and one wing is itsy bisty... kinda like Nemo! Her top beak bit always points West while her bottom beak bit always points North. Don't know why she's like this, but I get a little happy feeling inside when she's the only chicken in the other pen, so she gets full peck at the chicken feed trough while the others are climbing ontop of each other trying to get a few kernels in the other trough. "hah, dumb chickens" we laugh together. (likely just me laughing.. but I like to believe she gets me). Then while the chickens are all happily pecking away at their breakfast, I watch Luke feed the piggies. We got new piggies the other day, after the other much larger and "porky" looking piggies got "sent away". These newbies are much more shy and timid. Luke heaves a bunch of scraps and yuck stuff over the fence into their trough... and almost automatically, a few chickens come racing over to see what's going on with the pigs. There are usually one or two chickens in the piggy trough, pecking away at old vegetable scraps, bread, meat, leftovers, etc, along with the piggies! Silly chickens. Don't they know I gave them plenty of chicken feed?
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Chicken Run - "i don't want to be a pie, i don't like gravy"
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Piggy Piggy Piggy Piggy Piggy Piggy

Deanna's Random Thoughts

Lately I've been reading a new author, Marian Keyes. One of the books I read is very similar to what I wrote here, very short, basic and to the point. I have found that at night I now dream about my days in this style, so I thought I would try recording it. Quite fun to write!

On the topic of reading.. since coming to New Zealand I have managed to read five books! Quite a lot for me, as I never read very often in Victoria. Must be all this free time and free space in my brain :)

is it bad that i'm really really excited for my birthday in 5 days? turning 25 doesn't mean I'm now too old to get excited about it right?
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woooohoooo!
Have you ever taken the time to notice how your brain receptors adapt? I have been in one place for over two weeks now..the longest in one place since arriving in New Zealand.. and just today I was reflecting on the things that I noticed when I first arrived here, and how they now slip past my radar. I often imagine that as a "newbie" to an area (to a country, a region, a situation, etc) the things that your brain records as observations can often be completely different to what it records after some time. Once seeing something a few times, it just becomes normal, not worthy of consciously recognizing. So then it led me to wonder, am I still recognizing it, and my brain has simply decided that I have already given myself time to think about it, so there is no longer a need to do this again? Or do I just no longer recognize it?

.... these are the random thoughts that I have to hold myself back from waking Luke up in the middle of the night to discuss with him... he doesn't seem to find life quite so interesting and mysterious as I do at 2am. Hmmmm

Music for your ears :-)
 
 

today I wwoofed...

The car came to a halt on a gravelled incline driveway as Luke and I climbed out. We stole a brief, confused, and a wee bit worried, glance at each other and then wandered around what we hoped to be the back of the house. The entire time I was really hoping that we were wandering on the "correct" proprety, in hopes to avoid an angry yell from a local unhappy farmer. I didn't even know if New Zealand farmers were in fact "yellers", but really, I had no need to find out now did I? Around the corner and across the grass we tentatively walked up to a beautiful setting. A stunning view of the rolling hills landscape, chickens, pigs and cows and a backyard bbq with the entire family! Terri, her kids, Terri's sister, her kids, all the kids' friends, the baby nicknamed "fatty" and of course, the roley poley dog named Pudge. Immediately we were welcomed to table just as everyone sat down. Child after child stared at us as though were were foreigners as we ate. Although, I suppose we were foreigners weren't we? Luke immediately became Luke Skywalker which all the boys took to very quickly! As we finished up dinner with this massive new family, Luke and I stole another look at each other as if to say, "Here we go! Our first wwoofing experience."

After the intial overwhelming moment of meeting the whole family and all their friends at once over dinner, wwoofing became a very enjoyable arrangement. To wwoof is to engage in world wide opportunities on organic farms. It is an online organization developed primarily to provide support to organic farmers by means of eager-to-work travellers in exchange for a clean, quiet bed and three meals a day. BINGO! All travellers are focused on food and looking for new and exciting experiences, so this is a fool-proof concept. Wwoof hosts give the wwoofers a list of duties or projects they hope to have completed in the 2+ weeks of their visit. Wwoofers aim to complete approximately four hours of good solid work per day, depending on the requirements of the wwoof host of course. Completeing physical labour while having the joy of being outside is very satisfying after weeks of simply "touring around".

I have learned things about animals, organic growth and natural eating habits that I had never thought were necessary before. The experience of milking a cow, eating freshly lain chicken eggs, picking out piglettes to raise and then eat, planting an entire vegetable garden and learning just how many food items can be created purely from ingredients found around the yard has been truly astonishing! And being welcomed into their home as a part of the family has taught me more about New Zealand culture than I ever would have learned in a museum. It also feels good to provide those helping hands in order to give mom a few more minutes each day to spend with her kids - essential in any and all cultures!

The kids warmed up to us very quickly, as they are used to new wwoofers entering their family every few weeks or so. The house, the cats, the kids and the dog all feel like home now. Terri has told us that she has hosted many different wwoofers from all over the world - Europe, Peru, Malaysia, Canada and the USA, ...What an amazing opportunity for her children to hear different accents and learn about other parts of the world from their own living room. They have a world map with pegs in the city and country that each wwoofer is from. Wwoofing is a fantastic way to save money and have richer experiences while travelling, and eat much better too! (no more beans & white rice for two whole weeks! woohoo!) It also is a great way for organic farmers to open their doors to willing helping hands who are usually eager to learn. The opportunity to experience different cultures without leaving your land; sounds like a win-win if you ask me.
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My first time milking a cow. This lady's name is "Licky"
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Luke's first time playing on a sit-down lawn mower. He enjoyed himself!
 
 

Wellington!!

Wellington - the capital city of New Zealand - also known as "Windy Welly" "Wellytown" and the New Zealand equivilent of Victoria!
Luke and I have found our way to the bottom of the North Island.. and couldn't be happier. Wellington is much more appealing to each of us than Auckland. It's an interesting feeling to drive into a brand new city, one you've never seen before and know very little about, and know that with this visit you will be contemplating whether or not you want to plant some roots there. Provided, our roots won't go too deep as they likely will be short-term.. but still.. even committing to 5 months or so in one city is a form of root-setting.

Wellington is funky, unique, cool, different, beautiful and comfortable. Cuba Street is their main strip for bars, clubs, funky shopping, etc. Then there are many other quarters for expensive shopping, fancy eateries, etc. The city is based around the harbour, and has beautiful hills surrounding it, filled with gorgeous homes and huge trees! Both during the day and at night simply walking around town is a pleasure! I've found that most shops (and there are a LOT of shops!!) and eateries are one-offs, not part of a chain. I didn't realize how much I like that. It's refreshing. (Sarah.. you'd really love all the boutique stores!) They have this massive underground market on Saturdays down by the waterfront, and an outdoor market on Sunday mornings in a large parking lot near the Te Papa Museum (which is free to enter, has 6 floors, is actually interesting AND has free wifi...woohoo!) Luke and I spent the entire day yesterday simply walking around in the sun, exploring all the many different quarters.
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Luke's glorious photography skills at work
We took a big cable car up to this beautiful lookout called Kelburn Lookout.. we then happily walked through a massive Botanic Garden. The trail had beautiful little painted flowers on the trail to guide you all the way through the garden and back into the city... what a great idea! New Zealanders definitely understand the benefits and necessity of green space in the city! It's beautiful here. It also helps that it has been sunny every day and not very windy (even though the city's nickname is Windy Welly... hmmm)

We have both fallen in love with Wellington and will likely end up back down there to start our 'working' portion of the trip in a few weeks.  
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Enjoying the view of Wellington City from Kelburn Lookout - the sun was so hot, but as Autumn is coming, it gets cool when the shade or wind hits!
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While walking down the road, exploring the city, we saw a sign "$3 beers @ 3:00pm" It was 3:00pm - done BOOM! **Terik - this was your Happy Birthday beer**
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Oriental Bay - a swimming beach within walking distance from downtown Wellington. Beautiful isn't it?
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Day Trip to the Wellington Zoo :-D Our favourite animal was the Chimpanzee's. They were so entertaining! AND, we saw a live Kiwi Bird

Deanna's Random Thoughts

It's interesting how easy it is to forget that you are halfway across the world, separated from everything you know by a massive body of water, when you sit in a movie theatre, munching away at popcorn and slurping pop. At that moment, it's all the same. Luke and I opted to have a date night in Wellington. I found a coupon for cheap movie tickets so we went to watch the Hunger Games at the Reading Cinema. At first I hated the movie, feeling almost sick from how much the camera moved around and the fact that I had read the first part of the book (up to the reaping) I could see all the details they had left out (as is the case with any book turned movie). But, as often happens with big screen movies, I got into it and overall it was a good film. I still think the story concept is disgusting (which is why I stopped reading the book) but I concluded that I may watch the 2nd movie... maybe. What were your thoughts?
My life has changed. I can admit that now. It has finally set in that my priorities are different, and will be for an extended period of time. I used to get so stressed out about work and the events and things that I was in charge of, when I'd sleep at night, I would constantly dream of things I needed to do the next day before a deadline, or people I needed to call. To be honest, I hated it. I always felt a bit jipped. Sleepy time was MY time.. not works'. Turns out, I do this with anything in my life. I have begun dreaming about my current priorities... which are quite different than they used to be. For example, I woke up this morning and realized that I had had a very vivid dream that Luke had our deck of cards in HIS backpack, instead of where they usually are in MY backpack. I had been quite startled by this change of events. ha ha ha... wouldn't you say my priorities have changed?? 
Some "Fun" music for you to enjoy :)