Pears, Paths and a Potato Digger

A recent conclusion: when life makes maple syrup astronomically expensive – make pear syrup.

When I woke up this morning, I thought to myself: pancake breakfast! The realization that quickly followed: no maple syrup! Maple syrup (when you can find it in New Zealand) often hovers around the $45 mark for a little bottle. Needless to say, that’s well outside of my price range. Still, the Canadian in me has a difficult time imagining that pancakes can even exist without maple syrup. But this morning I was determined. Looking around me (only a little bit frantically…), I identified an available source of sweetness: a big bag of delicious, organic pears from a nearby grower. Bingo! Pear syrup. A sink full of dishes and a flour-covered countertop later, I was sitting down to buttermilk pear and quince pancakes with a pear caramel syrup. And the day was off to a good start!


Another realization: this little tradition of blog writing has become a good memory test. Not just for me, but also for whoever happens to be around me when I sit down to write and start asking questions like “Do you remember what happened on Sunday?” or “When was it that we….?”

So here, with the support of Andy and Dominique (one of our lovely friends and co-dwellers), comes a recap of recent events around here:

Saturday was a very full, very fun day. It began with a stop in the neighbouring village of Glentunnel to check out a car boot sale at the community centre. Ten minutes later, with newly purchased carrot cake in tow, it was off to the next-biggest town, Darfield, to run a few errands and poke our heads into the farmers’ market. Then into Christchurch for the usual round of shopping at the small, organic grocery stores. Then a double date at the movies with a couple of Andy’s parkour friends. While being entertained by Johnny Depp and his vampiric antics in Dark Shadows, I experienced my first taste of Christchurch earthquakes. It was just a little shake, but enough to up the tension level in the theatre and to have people pulling out their smart phones to update their Facebook statuses and the like.  After that little bit of excitement, we had a great visit with a good friend of my family and a dinner with some new permaculture friends at the beautiful Lotus Heart restaurant. A great day in the city!

We have no idea what happened on Sunday.

Highlights from the rest of the week include:

  • a day helping to pull out broom and gorse along a friend’s fence line (a very welcome reintroduction to what a full day of physical labour feels like!)
  • watching water buffalo supervising us from the neighbouring farm
  • meeting a gorgeous goat and then enjoying a latte prepared with her fresh milk
  • visiting Hohepa – an organization providing opportunities for folks with intellectual disabilities. Their facilities included, up until about four years ago, a fully functioning organic farm. Now that they are no longer farming, they have a great deal of equipment looking for a new home. And because they were farming on a relatively small scale, much of that equipment, Andy thinks, could be adapted to farming with horses. They all need some TLC (and in some cases some searching through the grass to find them!) but they may turn out to be very valuable finds.

Logan and Andy checking out the potato digger at Hohepa

  • a visit to a Cookie Time factory…just because it was on the way…
  • walks by the river
  • shovelling wheelbarrows of gravel to make a new path from the parking area to our building
  • …and more garden planning!

Now here we are, on another Saturday, looking forward to the week to come. Tomorrow, we’re planning to check out the Oxford Farmers’ Market. After that, there’s plenty of work to be done in the garden (digging up Jerusalem artichokes, transplanting our rhubarb and lavender out, digging up beds and planting green manures, turning compost, etc.) and on the land in general (preparing for the arrival of the shipping containers at the end of the month, cutting grass around newly planted trees, finishing the composting toilet, etc.). Should be enough to keep us out of trouble!

But for the moment, it’s off to enjoy some lunch and some outside time on another sunny, autumn-y Saturday afternoon.

Plaid drying by the fire

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