We have been traveling the length of this crazy, beautiful country now for over almost a month and a half with just about 30 days before we subject our passports to unknown stamps. It seems like we have been here forever. The seasons are opposite from back home so it has been a trip to watch the gray leaden colors in the garden turn into an insane riot of pastel. There are so many daffodils I have stopped trying to avoid stepping on them (not really but almost that bad). The cherry tree's are puffs of pink and white that "rain" petals whenever the wind moves. I have watched the peonies come up from dirty angry fists in the dry leaves to large brushy shrubs with buds like shiny green/pink ping pong balls. I don't think I will be able to bare it if they don't bloom before we move on to our next appointment in Cromwell. Our time at our first Wwoofing location has been lovely. We have been based just outside of Queenstown which is 3/4 way down the south island . New Zealand's hot hip spot for snow sports, down hill biking, hiking, and water sports. This dosn't mention the bungy jumping, parasailing, zip lining, and anything and everything else that is EXTREME that gets the yougings excited. For those of you not fluent in the geography on New Zealand, a map below is here to enlighten.
We have been working for a man that has a gin distillery called Broken Heart Gin. We have unlimited gin (I know Miller's, eat your hearts out!) and ton's of great food. Our host is a German man named Joerg, who has two daughters aged 9 and 7. When Joerg isn't producing gin or working on his other company, Gibbston Spirits, he is a full time pilot for Korean Air. They also have a cat. Tiger, that has become equally in love with us as we are of him. He is a ferocious bunny hunter that loves to cuddle and "talk". He is some super expensive breed called a "Bengal". Hypoallergenic and all that. Here are some of his best photo's.
After two weeks of weeding, mowing, leaf blowing, rebuilding a wood shed (and RESTACKING all of the wood inside at least 3 times), chainsawing, woodsplitting, wood moving, more wood stacking, baby sitting, tree planting, table stripping and refinishing (I have HUGE respect for carpenters and such now), a little gin bottling, lots of cleaning, lots of laundry and dish washing, we came to the end of our time commitment. Much to our joy, Joerg offered us the opportunity to stay on for another two weeks while he did his pilot job. We have been keeping the home fires burning and the cat well petted.
We have finally had the time to take a break. I finished all of the "Game of Thrones" books that are out. For you die hard fans, that is book four and five. A beefy 2,000 pages of blood, guts, politics, and sexy scandal! Needless to say, I was bound to my reading chair for a few days. We also managed to put on our "Cork and Capsule" hats on for a day and did some marathon wine tasting. We met lovely people and toured vineyards making copious notes. Check out the standard webpage if you are into the grape juice stuff.
Also, we have been playing disc golf, which I thought was pretty lame until I started doing it. I basically throw a Frisbie around while drinking beer and speaking to friendly people that are doing the same thing. The courses are set in impossibley gorgeous areas that overlook mountains, lakes, and botanical gardens. I also get to rack up the ol' steps on my Fitbit.
I also had a birthday! I felt so loved and important. Thank you all for the kind words. I was lucky enough to have Andrew with me to make sure my day of nascence was properly celebrated. I was surprised at 12:01am by a birthday song and a candle. The next morning I was treated to home made eggs benedict with mushrooms and some dame tasty hollandaise sauce. In keeping with tradition, Andrew also sabered a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate. (Sabering is the art of "knocking off" of the cork by finding the seem of the bottle and sliding the back of a knife or saber at high speed, this breaks off the neck of the bottle where the cork is inserted, cleanly. It's a wine nerd trick that make if feel like a party!). We also went for a hike and got the blood moving. We saw waterfalls, dry tussock, snow, and folks out to pan for gold in amphibious jeeps. After we went to a tasty dinner in town where we met some friendly locals (none from New Zealand). It seems like everyone in Queenstown is from somewhere else. I have met ZERO Kiwi's there. Tons of Canadians, Americans, Scots, Irish, English, and a smattering of European mainlanders.
The beauty of the landscape here is a bit overwhelming if you pay attention. I was scrolling through all my pictures in order to share and was awed all over again by all of the amazing landscapes. In no particular order, I offer them to your jealous eyes...