“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.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy new year 2009

We spent Xmas morning at Cornwallis Park (above) with my sister and bro-in-law. The beautiful red flowering trees are the Pohutakawa, AKA New Zealand Christmas tree. Darin brought our camping stove, fresh eggs from our hens, chopped veggies, and free range bacon, and made omelettes for breakfast. We were glad we got there early, because this remote beach became fairly busy as the morning progressed. We played a couple games of Bocce ball, then headed further down the road, through Huia and on to Whatipu, where I knew of some sea caves within an easy walking distance. Sadly we didn't bring any flashlights or sunscreen with us, so the cave tour was cut short.
There are about 5 caves of different sizes, and one can be camped in. I love caves! There are lots here in NZ, and sometimes people get trapped in them.
The picture below shows how far away from the ocean the caves are. The location is at the mouth of the Manukau Harbor, where sand has been deposited over the years. You can get to the beach from here, but it is a bit of a walk and there are many swampy areas.
For Xmas dinner I made a lamb stew recipe using a lamb shoulder (bone in) from my sister's Julia Childs cookbook, and it was the best! Pretty easy, too.
The weekend after Xmas, Darin and I went up to camp in our orchard, on our land outside Maungaturoto. We had a satisfying time walking around with a beer in one hand, machete in the other, smashing the thistle bushes to death. I did get a few scratches, but that's the price you pay when you do battle with the REAL evil weed.

Fargo and Ruby had fun playing in the recently filled pond next to our driveway. Ruby improved her swimming skills immensely, and she enjoys launching herself from the shore into the water. She and Fargo are master stick-fetchers.
We knew there was a rabbit living in the ravine just uphill from the pond, and Darin found him hopping about early in the morning. He hadn't even had any coffee yet, but his aim was perfect, right in the head! The dogs had fresh rabbit for breakfast (post-butchering).
After making ourselves breakfast, we drove 10 minutes to Whakapirau, where we tried out our new surf-casting rods and reels. The tide was out, and the shore was hella-muddy. Note to self, wear your gumboots next time. After 1.5 hrs without a nibble, we gave up. It was a lovely morning for standing around the beach, watching the birds and the tide come in.

Though I meant to paint my bedroom during the break, it just didn't happen. We did have some fun with friends, and ate lots of good food. I took the time to experiment with the goat meat, and found it to be really quite good. I made 2/3 goat, 1/3 beef sausages with pork fat, seasoned with rosemary, mustard, garlic, and salt of course. I also made a goat meat chili, cooking the goat legs in beer and broth with carrots, onion, shallot, leek, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, etc. The cooked meat was removed from the broth, cut off the bones, and the broth drained. Then I made the typical chili sauce using some of the broth, and just added the meat back to it. I have never fully appreciated the awesomeness of braising meat before this break, and I feel enlightened by the time and effort I put into learning it.

I finished reading Steve Martin's autobiography, Born Standing Up, and also Are You There Vodka, It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. They were both ok, quick reads.

Finally, my new favorite blog is CakeWrecks. I frequently laugh out loud when I see it- check it out here. I will add it to my liks also.