“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.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

South Island surprises part 2

In my previous post, I described the road trip from Christchurch to Greymouth and up to Pancake Rocks. The road (highway? 6) runs along the coast before heading inland and north toward Nelson. You can click here for a map of the area. We were awed by the lower and upper Buller River Gorge, as we drove along for what seemed like hours. I developed an understanding of why the poison 1080 is applied here for possum control. To hunt the critters out of this rugged terrain would be next to impossible. Unfortunately, this poison is dropped over mountainous forests via helicopter, and kills deer and other ruminants, besides possums. It's a horrible, agonizing death for the deer. Sometimes cows, horses, or dogs get poisoned by it. But I digress.We had lunch in Murchison and discovered the winner of a NZ bacon competition located here. I had some on a BLT sandwich for lunch at the Rivers Cafe across the street. Yum! We would really like to go back there and go river rafting. For our afternoon entertainment, we stopped at the Buller Gorge Swingbridge "adventure and heritage park". We did the tandem comet line, wihch was fun, but not long enough. The swing bridge was narrow and bouncy. We had a bit of rain during the drive, but it was just overcast when we got to Nelson. We went for a stroll on the beach to stretch our legs before heading to dinner with friends Don and Angela. We had a great time with them. Angela wrote a good bit about NZ elections on her blog, here. As immigrants with permanant residence, we get to vote for a new Prime Minister this Saturday. I already voted in the US presidential election (for Obama, of course).
The next day, we went to the fabulous Nelson Saturday Market, where you can buy fresh produce, cheese, sausages, plants, art, crafts, clothes, and other good, fun stuff. I got a skirt from Vintage Heaven. Have a look at their clothes here. I also replaced my torn raincoat with a new one.
We had an afternoon ferry crossing with our rental vehicle, so we headed out of Nelson toward Picton. The Queen Charlotte Drive into Picton is super twisty and scenic. I would like to go back some time to do the Queen Charlotte Track. Hopefully when it's not raining, as it was when we got on the ferry. I dashed out of the lounge on board the ferry to snap a few photos, but it was too windy, wet, and cold to linger.
I'll have to save the North Island for the next post.
We have put a deposit on a building for our Maungaturoto property. It is a Kiwi Span garage, with two roller doors, one window, and one personal door. We will have the ground prepared sometime this month.
The trees in our orchard are now fully fenced, and the neigbor's beasts (cows and sheep) have been let back on property to mow the grass. They have to be kept away from the trees, because they love to eat them. Darin took the mower up this week, and spent 4 brutal hours cutting the grass in the orchard. Though the trees were spared from the cows and sheep, some of them fell victim to aphids. Poor, innocent little trees, with their fresh young leaves, corrupted by the nasty, ugly aphids! They were treated with pesticide, and we'll have to keep a close eye on them for recurrence.