All stabilised and ready to deplete the national grid
1. Making merry
Ah, Christmas. It only seems like 41 days ago.
We lovingly adhered to all the festive Muntanui traditions for our third Christmas here, the most notable being the Ritual of the Tree. It goes something like this:
1. Farmer Wan locates a suitable wilding Douglas Fir (they seed from the plantation next door), cuts it down and carries it home slung effortlessly over one mighty shoulder.
2. Farmer Nik spends all afternoon decorating it.
3. Anywhere from fifteen seconds to six hours after the decorating process is complete, the tree topples over. This year set a new record: the tree began falling as the last bauble was still being draped over its branch.
Best. Pav. Ever.
On Christmas Eve, we met a lovely Belgian couple and invited them to come to Muntanui the following afternoon and sample that most Kiwi* of summer desserts, the pavlova. Luckily for me, it was the best pav I've ever made. New Zealanders everywhere breathed a sigh of relief, national pride intact.
New Year's Eve was a very sedate affair, spent in the company of some of our neighbours and Farmer Wan's brother Malcolm, who'd touched down from Scotland a few hours earlier. While it's true there might have been drinking, dancing and singing, only one of us had to spend all of the next day in bed to recover. I'll leave it to you to guess who that was. The winner gets to help us scythe the orchard.
We've also been making general merriment of late because it's summer, we love summer and being happy in summer is kind of mandatory.
*Aussie friends, take note.
Two people, two scythes, a useless dog and a bloody great orchard.
2. Making hay
This one will get a post all to itself. The content will feature much physical effort, much scratching of heads to come up with creative solutions to all sorts of challenges, and a song.
I don't want to give too much away lest I spoil your hunger for this future hay-making narrative but I will share this about the song: it played a vital role in our first hay cut. It boosted morale and that's very important when you want to make hay but have no tractor, no baler and no money.
I wouldn't be surprised if the song catches on. When I share it with you, you'll see why. Maybe it will become a kind of hay-making anthem. Maybe we'll make an album and get rich and spend all our days lying around on tropical beaches reminiscing about how we used to scythe our orchard and sing funny songs.
3. Making progress
Work's underway on our solar power system; one side of the Polytunnel of Love is totally complete and functioning well; and we've decided that Farmer Wan needs a licence to bear arms. Details on all this and more to follow soon(ish).
Posted by Farmer Nik
If you're visiting Muntanui for the first time because of the feature in last weekend's Nelson Mail (or this weekend's edition of The Christchurch Press), hello and welcome! We hope you'll stop by often. If you're a regular, hello and welcome to you too. Farmer Wan and I, thanks to the afore-mentioned feature, are currently enjoying 15 seconds of fame. Feel free to follow the link, read the story, be mightily inspired and then send us money or something.
We've been beavering away on two major projects over the last few weeks:
Because both involve raised beds and there was no way we could fill them with the compost we're making ourselves, we forked out for 12 cubic metres of the yummy, black stuff. So far, I've loaded about a quarter of it into wheelbarrows and trundled it around the place. This is a very satisfying process, physically speaking. Sandflies now require oxygen when scaling my biceps.
Each project will get its own post, with lots of pics, in the near future. In the meantime, here's a sampling of images to show why we love Muntanui in the springtime.
Coming soon: Compost: the agony and the ecstasy. No, just make that the agony.
Posted by Farmer Nik
About Ewan and Niki
Scottish mechanical engineer with a deep and abiding passion for good food. Outstanding cook. Builder of lots of stuff. Cattle whisperer. Connoisseur of beer. A lover rather than a fighter.
Kiwi writer and broadcaster who hates cabbage, even though she knows it's good for her. Chook wrangler. Grower of food and flowers. Maker of fine preserves. Lover of dancing and wine. Definitely a fighter.