Settling In

We have spent the week settling into our new home. It’s starting to feel like our own house, now that we have our things in it and have it in order. My goal for this week was to get the house tidy and everything ready for school to start next week, and we have met that goal.

For our first few days, we sat around the living room to eat.


On Monday, we unloaded the container—what a mess as we shoved things into the house to organize later! See the cats? They were thrilled to have their cushions back again!


Wednesday evening I started unpacking and sorting the books. Here I am, surrounded by about 1800 books!


Now the living room is tidy!


The kitchen is small, but well-organized.


The wide hallway is doubling as our library and Mr. Intelligence’s schoolroom.


The girls’ room.


The boys’ room.


Our room. That small room just off it will be the sewing room. It’s just big enough for a small table.


My garden.


The chicken coop that Simon and Mr. Diligence converted into a sleepout. They got it in place yesterday, and plan to start sleeping in it soon. I’m quite dubious about how they and all their stuff will fit in, but we’ll see. They are convinced it will work.


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Tomorrow is moving day, so I decided to take a moment this morning to quickly post a few pictures of this month’s activities leading up to the big move!

This was part of the second load that went across to our new house. The white building is the chicken coop that Simon and Mr. Diligence remodeled into a sleepout; the other shed is one that was given to Simon when it blew down at a shop in town. He rebuilt it, much sturdier, and it makes a good garden shed.


We pulled these shelves out of the kitchen, and Little Miss set to work cleaning them for me. She loves to clean!


Our garage sale.


When we loaded the container with everything we could stuff in, we packed our beds, only saving out a few foam mattresses for sleeping on for the last week. There wasn’t a bed available in Little Miss’s room at naptime, so I put her down on the foam in our room. It was a very hot day, as you can see by the posture of the kitten who joined her! The other kitten is barely visible between the bed and the curtain, on the slightly cooler floor.


The container was picked up two days ago, and 24 hours later it arrived at our new house. Here, the truck has just pulled up beside it.


Now, the crane at each end is chained on.


The container, probably weighing 8-9 tons, is lifted up and set down on the truck.


Each corner is locked in place, and off it goes!



One of the last jobs to be done was to turn the last bit of vegetable garden back into lawn. Mr. Diligence spent a day this week working the soil, leveling it, and sowing grass seed. We’re hoping for a decent rain today; if not, we’ll water it this afternoon.


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Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, we went to the same beach we’ve gone to the past two years, and had a picnic in our favorite grove of pine trees. The trees make a lovely shady spot, and their needles make a soft, springy floor to sit on.


After lunch, we headed down to the beach. Some of us sat on the shore and watched, and some spent the whole hour or two in the water! We laughed a lot at the boys at times, as the large waves picked up the inner tubes and dumped the boys upside down on the beach, sometimes piling all three of them together! Unfortunately, I didn’t think about taking pictures until just as the tide went low enough that the really funny antics weren’t happening anymore.


I told Simon he had grown a beard, so then Mr. Imagination tried to make one, too. Is it any wonder that I was scooping gravel out of the washing machine the next day?


Here is a video clip showing the fun the boys were having. It was a wonderful day!

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December 2017 Pictures

Simon helped me harvest the garlic on Christmas Day. We got 89 heads from an area about a meter square. 14-IMG_3928

We’re having a problem with fleas on the kittens. I don’t want to spend $30 each to buy the pour-on stuff from the vet, because the mama cat would just lick it right off and I don’t think that would be good for her, so we’re dusting them with diatomaceous earth every 2-3 days. They hate it!


This cat has always loved to sit in boxes—but I think she found one almost too small for her, this time!


This hen hatched six babies right after Christmas. We were able to sell the mother and all the babies.


The positions we find the kittens in are sometimes pretty funny!


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Our New House

We are buying a house. After eight years of renting, we have finally been able to save enough for a deposit on a house of our own—and that feels good! As I mentioned in a few previous posts, we found a house about six weeks ago that we liked and could afford, and we have finally reached the stage where it’s almost certain that we’ll be getting it. We paid the deposit on it yesterday, and in the next week we’ll sign the final papers. We plan to move in two weeks.

This house is in Ahaura, in the West Coast region. We’ll be about half an hour’s drive inland, so won’t get the torrential rains that the towns right along the coast do. Most of the time, though, there is a lot more rain than here in Canterbury! This year is the exception; they are having a bad drought over there. It’s about 3 hours and 45 minutes from here, so that makes moving rather challenging. We’re thankful for friends who are willing to help us out! I’m planning to make a trip in a few days with the rest of our garden and whatever else we can fit on the load. In a week, we’ll load our shipping container, and two weeks from today we plan to finish the move. So, whatever you see coming through on the blog has already been scheduled—I won’t likely be spending any time here for a little while!

Here are pictures I took of the house when we looked at it in early December. Some of the children stayed home and took care of things while the rest of us went over that time, so I took pictures to let them get a glimpse of it while we were deciding whether to buy it.

This is the door into the laundry and then the kitchen. That’s a lemon tree in the corner, although there isn’t any fruit on it.


The master bedroom. This has an alcove to the right, for a nursery or office.


The closet in the master bedroom.


The view out the door of this bedroom.



There is a big closet/cupboard at each end of the hallway! The hallway is wide enough we can put our bookshelves in there, and do you see the clotheslines? A place to hang laundry on wet days!


Little Miss walked into this room and immediately announced that it was for her and Esther! We do plan to redo the walls soon. Not only are they painted garish shades of pink and purple, the wall covering is an old type that is a fire hazard.


I asked Little Miss which corner the bed should go in. She considered carefully, then announced, “Right here!”


The boys’ room. This needs a coat of paint, too.


The boys love the garage. Gayle stepped it off; he says it is 18 meters long—that’s nearly 60 feet! This carport goes about halfway along it.


The back yard.



Inside the garage.


We need to do some work on the outside of the house, but it’s not bad at all, considering it was built in the 1930s. One thing that was attractive to us was the quarter-acre paddock on the other side of the garage from the house. We’ll put our three sheep in it at first, and a couple of turkeys and a few chickens; next spring we’re hoping to turn part of it into a garden. We’ll be living in town on a half acre, which will be quite different for us country people. We’re hoping to pay off this place in a few years, and then buy something with more land. In the meantime, it will be a comfortable house.

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Just for Grandma

Here are a couple of pictures just for Grandma’s benefit.

This is a Sandy-Tongued Paint Gobbler. We have finally discovered what they look like! (For the benefit of everyone else, we were discussing, when Grandma was here a year ago, why the roads going up to Arthur’s Pass had very little paint on them, and concluded that this creature must come out at night and eat it up. We didn’t know what they looked like, but when we got hold of some craft supplies a month ago, the little boys created models of them!)


Do you remember this pair of pants? I have finally retired them. I believe you made them for one of my brothers, and then passed them on to another family, who then passed them to us. I think most of our boys wore them. Good fabric!


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Building Project

Mr. Diligence decided about a month ago that he wanted to build a chicken coop for our new place. We didn’t know yet where we were going to move, or if we would need a coop, but I encouraged him to do it anyway. We figured that if we got a place that already had a coop, he could sell it. We had a lot of boards that Esther’s employer gave us when they remodeled their house, so this project didn’t cost anything except a few nails.


He decided to build in a curtain for times when we have tiny chicks that need protection from drafts. It is normally kept rolled up.


The builders, pleased with the results of their labor.


Simon’s boss wanted to help us move, but can’t the weekend we plan to move, because of family circumstances, so he came over to get a couple of loads during the two weeks Simon had off over Christmas/New Year’s. He used his large car transporter to haul buildings for us. The chicken coop was the first to go. It was a challenge to figure out how to get it on the trailer!


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North of Kaikoura

On Sunday after church, we drove north of Kaikoura, for the first time since the 7.8 earthquake 14 months ago. We have gotten used to seeing the new look of the cliff faces to the south of Kaikoura, but to see the ones to the north was incredible. It was shocking and awe-inspiring, all over again, to see the devastation wrought in that minute or two of shaking. We have certainly learned a lot about geology and plate tectonics and natural disasters in the past year.


This is just past Ohau Point, where the worst slip happened during the quake. We used to go to this spot to watch baby seals play in a pool at the base of a waterfall here. According to someone who walked back in there soon after the quake, the waterfall still exists but the pool has been filled in. Here are before-and-after pictures of the same hillside.



This is approximately the place where three cows were stranded on top of an island of soil when the hillside around them fell away.The owners of this farm have lost a lot of their land, and because the Clarence River has changed course, if it floods they are in danger of losing their home and all their farm buildings.


The Clarence River in flood from rain in the High Country.



Here is a picture I took a number of  years ago of the bridge above.

We were fascinated to see the evidence of seafloor uplift along the coast. All the white rocks used to be permanently underwater; the old low-tide line used to be at the top of the white line.


This was a spot we were especially interested in. We saw pictures immediately after the quake of a fault line at Waipapa Bay, where the rock looked like it had been sliced with a knife and uplifted 6-8 meters. We believe this is the spot.


More evidence of the seabed uplifting.


A new road/bridge was built out over the seabed at Iron Gate. This bridge was completed after just 14 weeks! The road construction crews were putting in very long hours so the road could be opened before Christmas.


The waves were quite high on Sunday afternoon when we went through. It was getting near low tide then, but when we drove to Kaikoura in the morning it had been high tide, and there was seawater on the road in places from waves breaking at the edge of the cliff. During the next high tide, during the night, waves washed some of the 5-ton blocks of concrete from the seawalls completely across the road! As a result, the road was closed for the morning on Monday while the blocks were put back in place.

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Spinning Wheels

Simon has been home for two weeks over the holidays, and we have really been enjoying having him here! There’s nothing like someone being away for awhile to make you thoroughly enjoy having him around again. He has been doing a number of construction projects, and having a lot of fun, too. One evening, he took an electric motor and fastened a round plate to it. Then, he used it to get a bicycle wheel spinning fast and tried to make it jump over various ramps. Esther got some video clips of this on her phone, and let me put them together into a short video to share here. (Enjoy, Grandma!)

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On the Move, Part 1

We will be moving again soon. We tried to buy the house we’re in, but weren’t able to get financing for it, so our landlord told us we need to be out by mid-January. We finally found another one to buy, and plan to move there the beginning of February. I’ll share more details here in a few weeks, after the next set of papers have been signed and we are as sure as can be that the place will be ours. For now, I’ll share a few of the many pictures I’ve taken as we work on down-sizing our menagerie.

This is my garden. I started all these plants before we knew we would have to move, and they were in pots way too long. I sold and gave away some, and then we finally took a load of them to where Simon is living, a few weeks ago, and planted them in that family’s garden. Most of the rest went over there a few days ago, and are growing in half barrels and other planters.


This kitty needs a new home, because we won’t have the kind of space he needs. I put this photo online, and minutes later someone asked for him. Hopefully, he’ll have a new family this week.


We’re keeping one of the kittens, but Grizzly needed another home, so I posted this picture—and within minutes she, too, had been spoken for. We get to keep her for another couple of weeks.


These pictures didn’t get the same kind of response—not many people want turkeys, apparently. If  you want some, we have 40-50 that need to go somewhere!12-IMG_383813-IMG_3839

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