Written 2:40 PM, Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Posted 3:30 PM same day
We haven’t been out adventuring too much lately, but have been homebodies, partially because Lucy is in the shop, getting her locks and door latches repaired. We’d had about enough of having to crawl over the driver’s seat to get to the passenger side, and it was a safety issue anyway!
We did get out on Saturday, to see the Motu Challenge, a multisport event hosted by Opotiki, to which athletes from all over the country travel to compete. It involves mountain biking, running, road biking, and kayaking. The race started in Opotiki at 7 AM, and we actually dragged ourselves out of bed and into town to see it:
Then we drove to Motu, a very remote and tiny town, 75 km up the beautiful Waioeka Gorge, towards Gisborne. It turned out that the stress of the drive may not have been worth it, after miles of winding and treacherous roads in pouring rain and driving winds. Motu is the transition point where the racers switch from mountain biking to running, and Lyn & Kate were marshaling at the transition, so it was nice to support them, but the distance and the driving conditions were a bit dodgy for us. However, the scenery was fantastic!
(Click on photos to enlarge)
Competitors kayaking down the Waioeka River
We worked a full day on Sunday, Matt has been scraping the house before it gets painted, and I’ve been doing all kinds of gardening work. Lyn went back to work yesterday (she teaches Phys. Ed. part time at Opotiki College [high school] and was on school holiday when we arrived), so now our chores include tending to the chickens and ducks on days she is working, and cooking the occasional meal (Kate is a graphic designer and works full time from home, so she can’t easily interrupt her work day to cook and clean, and we are more than happy to cook for everyone!). We also do the clearing and washing of dishes frequently as part of our contribution.
So, our days now look a bit like this: Start work around 8 AM by taking the chicken bucket (kitchen scraps) to the chooks, and giving them their grain feed as well. Clean out and refill the “duckling pond” (a repurposed hubcap) and put some duck feed in it for the ducklets, and give some soaked corn to the two hens currently sitting on eggs. Today Matt also collected the eggs, since Lyn hadn’t gotten to it last night- he collected a full dozen! We also let the ducks out if there is a duck egg (yes, it’s conditional release) and collect that egg and feed the ducks. The rest of our work is a variety of garden work, repairs on the house and greenhouse, landscaping work, and occasionally heading over to the farm to help Don with the livestock. And tonight, we’re in charge of dinner :)
We are planning to be in Opotiki until around October 20th, when we will clear out for at least a little while as Lyn & Kate are hosting another group on Labour Weekend. Plans for that time consist of either leaving for real and heading to the Coromandel, or taking off on a backpacking trip (“tramp”) for 5 or 6 days and then coming back to Opotiki for a bit.
Life here is very pleasant- we eat very well, the work is fulfilling, and we are learning loads of information in regards to farming and gardening. We are eagerly taking in all of what we learn, as we have hopes for our own property someday.
A view of the sideyard and the dead cherry tree that Matt has cut down, with the neighbor's kiwifruit orchards behind.
This afternoon, we are staying inside, as we’ve been in a fit of wintery, windy weather for the last couple days. After a nice long run of summery weather, it was a bit of a shock to wake on Saturday to wind and rain and chilly temperatures. The winds today are about 35 mph, and on Saturday in Motu there were gusts of around 50 mph, which made it hard to stay on our feet! The sun has come back today, but the wind is still here, and it’s still cold- we’ve been going out to work in multiple layers of shirts and two pairs of socks. Nice to be back inside with a big fire in the woodstove.
A huge branch has just snapped off a big tree out in the yard and is resting on top of a camellia bush, so Kate and Matt are having a look at it to figure out how to get it down so it doesn’t blow off on top of someone! All in a day’s work.
A family of Wellingtons on the front porch.