“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hooray for culture!

I've been having so much fun lately, when I'm not working, anyway. Good thing they pay me. Work certainly can be frustrating at times. But, I digress.
March 7 was Cheesefest, the first annual public tasting event after the New Zealand cheese awards. This year the Champion belonged to a small goat dairy, Crescent Dairy, for a lovely aged cheese, Old Gold. I enjoyed this so intensely because I've always been passionate about cheese. ("Mouse" was the nickname applied by my mom). Also, I've taken a course of cheesemaking from Univ. Washington and made it at home. It's like brewing beer or making bread in that it takes both science and art to do it well. I've harbored fantasies about having a cheese-making business, but after close examination, determined that, realistically, it is very hard work. Fortunately, there are many people who do it well in NZ, and the milk here is exceptionally good. My personal favorite was Karikaas Old Leyden, with cumin seeds. Heaven! Lucky for me, unlucky for my figure, it is sold just down the street from where I work at Jones The Grocer.
A few doors down from Jones is a little restaurant, the Olympic Cafe. My sister and her husband joined Darin and I for dinner there last Saturday to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of our first visit to Auckland. We really enjoyed it, the service was great, and then, it got better. We walked a short distance to the Auckland Domain to see a fireworks show by Group F. This was the kick-off to the Auckland Festival AK07. I have never seen anything like it, it was just amazing. Check out Holly's blog for a video of the event. The show was free and so very crowded, we waited hours to get our car out and go home. Just check out the photo of the people hanging out in the parked traffic, in the middle of the street. Too bad for that pregnant lady I heard about, she couldn't get to the hospital because of the traffic, and gave birth in one of the parking lots instead. We passed the time by going to the Cock and Bull pub, which had a live band playing "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie" when we walked in. We had a pint and watch rugby. I'm in a rugby pool at work, and the team I pulled was the Bulls (S. African). They were kicking the Waratahs' butts that night. The players are tough! Check out this guy, "one of the best scrumhalves in the world"- whatever that means!

The following day, we went to the Kumeu show.
I like cows. Here's a photo of a Highland cow, isn't is cute? Look out for those horns though, they could put an eye out!

The Kumeu show highlight for me was the woodchopping competitions. The photo here is of the winner of this particular competition, to see who could cut this log in half in the fewest strokes. This guy did it in 14. There were men from all over New Zealand there to compete, and even a guy from New York.

If you haven't checked it out already, have a look at the photos of my Rottweiler, Fargo, running a lure coursing track by clicking here. You should be on page 3 and find the photos there. Yes, he was barking as he chased the lure, so his mouth is open. He's a Greyhound in a Rottweiler suit.