“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, April 18, 2009

Positive progress

As I mentioned in my previous post, an old friend was here to visit. We took him about an hour's drive north to the Warkworth area. We really enjoyed the Brick Bay winery and sculpture garden. We had fish and chips on the beach in Snell's Beach, and also had a little picnic at the beautiful Tawharanui Regional Park.
I also took him on the Auckland City Walk in the Cascade Kauri park, near our house in Swanson. The best part of this walk is the waterfall, which is on a side track. There are big boulders you can climb up on to get a better view of the falls, but they are mainly hidden in the rocks across a deep and cold pool.
The picture below is from the Piha area, also in the Waitakere Ranges. I wish I had time to walk around this area more often. As you can see it is just magical.
Darin and I bought a new water tank for the new garage on our Maungaturoto property, and Darin installed it over Easter (aka Zombie Jesus) holiday. The rainwater will be collected from the roof. The pipe hanging down on the side there is the "first flush" which drains off the first wash of water, which may be assumed to be more dirty than the following water. We stayed overnight, and made the dogs beds in the crate that Fargo travelled in from Los Angeles (Ruby on the left, Fargo on the right). They seemed quite comfortable in there, but Ruby got us up at 5 am, needing to go outside, probably because she feasted on too much sheep dung during the day. We also made progress on our Swanson property, where we had a new roof put on the house. Darin found that there was no insulation above the bedrooms, and only a tiny bit above the lounge, so he bought a bunch of "pink batts" (aka insulation). There is a great advertisement for this insulation here, with a guy dressed up in a pink bunny suit hugging a guy as he goes about getting ready to leave the house. The difference in the house temperature was immediately noticable. I was really surprised by how much warmer it felt. The cost was high, but it was such a worthy investment. We had leaks in the ceiling of our bedroom and lounge, so replacing the old roof was a high priority before winter starts here. These last two pictures were taken in Christchurch. I'm pleased with this last picture, which was taken at night. This artwork is displayed on the exterior of the art museum and is surreal and weird- just my style.
Chicken update: Our Araucana hen has died. She became sick while we were away in Christchurch last month. All the hens got some medication for coccidia, but only Araucana was showing any symptoms. We made sure she got some of the treated water, but she did not improve. I don't know what it was that she suffered from, but I was helpless to heal her. We still miss her. She was such a smart chicken, and a good mum too. We are pretty sure two of the chickens she raised are roosters, including Elvis, but they haven't started to crow yet, so they are safe for the moment.
On the reading list currently is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. It's pretty good. I absolutely loved Water for Elephants. I wish all novels could be so enjoyable. I learned a lot, but was deeply sadened by reading, A Crime So Monstrous, which is non-fiction. It's anamazingly well researched book about slavery in the modern times. Apparently the Bush administration made a decent effort to combat human trafficking, but focused exclusively on trafficking for prostitution. Their attitude was that all prostitution is slavery. This view is difficult to hold, considering that prostitution is legal, and well regulated, in New Zealand. At some point, I'd like to do a bit of research into this mostly-hidden cultural aspect by talking to someone at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. The government has a guide to occupational health and safety for sex work, which is probably very interesting reading, and can be found here.