Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Gecko Gearz Kaikoura - Where I Spend My Working Days!

 While I'm house sitting in Kaikoura for a month, this
is where I work for three days a week. I start at 9am and
close when the last customer goes, somewhere between
5 and 6pm. I meet some very interesting people from all
round the world and have learned to process Eftpos and 
credit cards, cash up and balance the till at the end of each
day, lock up and set the alarm... Lots of new skills!

 This is the counter where I do the usual wrapping and 
processing payment things...

 It's an Aladin's Cave full of all sorts of things...
Racks of clothes from tops, summer tops, dresses...
jewellery, hats, fancy hair clips, kids friendship bracelets
and looms...

 Little bags, boots, incense... More jewellery and dresses...

 Some dresses and coats from a New Zealand
designer in Nelson...

 Bikini's, T shirts, shorts...

 Scarves galore of every colour... And one of the biggest
winter sellers, these thick heavy zip up woollen jackets.
 Made in Nepal from New Zealand wool, fully lined,
some with hoods...

 A good selection of warm jackets and rain coats...

 These are Possum/Merino scarves, hats and gloves... The
wall is looking rather bare I have sold so many.

And a selection of thick knitted gloves and slippers.

All sorts of things for keeping warm, being cool if you are
going tripping to the northern hemisphere where it's summer, 
going to a wedding or funeral or picking up a sale bargain.
If you are passing this way, call in you can browse and
keep warm from the cold weather for ages.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Kaikoura Sunrise...

On the days that I get up early enough... That is on the days I go to work...
I enjoy some wonderful sunrises... Just three minutes after the sun rises out of the sea in the east just a few kilometers away.

The first rays hit the tops of the snowy mountains...

Then flood the whole garden... The beginning of another beautiful Kaikoura day.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

House Sitting... And Animals...

 This is where I'm house sitting for a month... About ten minutes
drive from Kaikoura town... On the Inland Road... The
road that goes to Mt Lyford (52km) and Hanmer Springs(126km).
It basks in the sun but with the snowy mountain close by
it still needs the log burner fire going to keep it warm.

 The property is five acres, neighbors around but none too close
so it's beautifully private and quiet.

 Three little vegetable and herb gardens, all fenced in to keep the
chickens out and any rats and possums.

 This is the barn where hay for the sheep is and the
chicken feed... And the firewood. There is a wheelbarrow
that I pile the hay onto and a bucket for the chook
feed, they also eat the kitchen scraps.
 The driveway up to the front door. Great when it's raining,
not that it does much. Can you spot the barrow load
of wood tucked under the eaves so it keeps dry and I don't get wet.

 The driveway back to the road...

 These are three of the chooks who free range....

 And the eight sheep... They are Wiltshires, self shedding wool,
hence their funny looking coats... I've found that out since
I've been here. One was a pet lamb so every morning wants
it's nose scratched! They're in lamb but no babies yet thank goodness.
 In the top right corner you can see the chook house. I climb over
 a style and tramp across the paddock.
The first week I was here was a week of extremely heavy frosts.
The grass was frozen and slippery and the water trough
was thick frozen ice. I smashed it with a big rock...
Managing to get wet in the process of course!

The other four chooks live in this newly erected house. It seems
a bit mean shutting them up so I leave the door open and
they wander around but go back in at night and to get fed.
The rooster from here fights with the other free range roosters.
Quite a sight and entertaining as they fly into the
air and their feathers ruffle round their necks.
They haven't killed each other yet!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Ten Days In Christchurch...

Well... Here I am again. Have you missed me?
I haven't really been doing anything exciting...
And for the last two months I've been battling colds
and had pneumonia. I'm well again now - more or less -
I don't cope with the cold South Island winters very well.

I was in Kaikoura, both getting over pneumonia and
spending time with a friend here who had a hip replacement.
Then went back to Christchurch to see my Dad again 
for ten days. I had a rental car... And I tell you I could 
hardly keep up with the old bugger. It's hard work 
taking somebody out in a wheel chair.

 Here I am parked on the side of the road again - In my usual
spot outside Dad's rest home. Over time I have become a
bit of a fixture and a regular part of the neighbourhood. The
lady who lives in the house where I am parked gives me
vegetables out of her garden and asks me to have showers
in her house - I never did get round to that. Another neighbour
brought me fresh eggs and gave me firewood and the people
who live in the villa that Dad used to occupy come and visit
and chat and sit by my fire. It's lovely.

 As soon as I told Dad I was getting a rental car he wanted to 
go out... He would have gone out every day!
Here we are at a cafe up on Cashmere Hills in the
sun enjoying lunch. There is a view out the window looking
out over Christchurch. It takes Dad ages to decide what he
wants to eat. After being in a rest home with little
choice, it takes a lot of thinking about. Here he's enjoying
bacon, mushrooms and sausages with ciabatta bread and
a beer as big as he is. He laughed and laughed at that!
At the end of this month he will be 97! Nothing
wrong with his appetite when he's out.
He had a lovely surprise visit from one of his grand daughters.
She and her family live in Brisbane so it was a special
time.  We all went out for lunch to Pukeko Junction.
Again great choices of food and it was all lovely.

We also had hearing aid check ups, stocked up on
necessary new clothes and toiletries and whisky and
chocolate and he likes to have his own jars of honey, marmalade
vegemite and the pickle he's very find of - on his
toast for breakfast.

And it was time for me to go again... Back to Kaikoura
where I am house sitting for a friend for a month and
I have become a working girl, also for the same friend
looking after her shop "Gecko Gearz" that sells
clothes, jewellery, woolly hats, scarves and slippers.
But more about that soon...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Kaikoura... The Whaling Days...

 This is the southern end of the Kaikoura Peninsula walkway.
 At Limestone Bay...

 There are excellent maps and lots of walks information and
good historical information and Maori myths.

 We walked round here...

 Only as far as where the track goes up the hill. I will
go back, take a picnic lunch and walk the whole track.

 But today, we turned around and walked the other way...

 Through the picnic reserve to the remains of
the South Bay whaling industry.

 The whaling industry attracted the earliest European settlers to
 the area. Whales occur here because of the unusually deep waters
close to shore, some pausing in their migration from feeding
grounds in Antarctic waters to breeding grounds in the warm
sub-tropical seas of the Pacific Ocean, north of New Zealand.
Robert Fyffe established the first shore-whaling station,
Waiopuka, in 1843; other stations were built soon 
after in South Bay...

This is what remains today.

 Kaikōura, on the Marlborough coast, is isolated by mountains
 and hills to both north and south. Before 1900 it had only bridle
 tracks north and south, and no rail connection in either direction 
until 1945. In the 1820s and 1830s Te Rauparaha and his allies
 attacked Ngāi Tahu here. Ngāi Tahu retained its mana in the district,
 but numbers slowly fell. Early Pākehā settlers, many of Irish origin, 
struggled to clear the forest and create swamp-free pastures. 
Kaikōura languished for over a century. On 15 December 1945 
the Christchurch–Picton railway was opened at Kaikōura in front 
of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 5,000. From 1962 the roll-on, 
roll-off ferry between Wellington and Picton brought more freight 
and passenger traffic, both road and rail. The undersea Kaikōura 
Canyon brings abyssal depths and sperm whales close to the coast, 
and whale watching has been a major tourist attraction since the 1980s.
This is today's modern bus and fleet of boats that takes people
to see the whales. 

Due to the pressure of the whaling industry, whale numbers
steadily declined after 1850 and it became uneconomic to
exploit them. Today, with marine mammals in New Zealand
being fully protected, the whales again find Kaikoura a safe
environment. Kaikoura is now internationally renowned as a
whale-watching location.
The Kaikōura (Te Tai ō Marokura) Marine Management
Act came in to effect in August 2014. The Act established
the Kaikoura Marine Management Area which integrates
a number of marine protection and sustainable fisheries
measures in the Kaikōura marine environment. These include
a marine reserve, a whale sanctuary, a fur seal sanctuary, two
taiāpure (one of which surrounds the Kaikōura peninsula),
three mātaitai and new fishing regulations.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Black Gold... And...

 Kaikoura... Means Kai = food... Koura = crayfish...
But the other thing Kaikoura is well know for is Paua... In
other countries known as Abalone. In Kaikoura it is referred to
as 'black gold'... It is sold for $107.50 for 0.5kg. That's a
whopping $215 per kilo... Like eating gold? Read about it here.

We were given some, probably about 1/2 a kg.  Minced
up and made into fritters... Mmm... I could have been
eating my old gumboots! But other people love it.
The best part of this meal was the butterfish fillets
pan friend in butter served with spinach, pear,
walnut and feta salad.

I found this recipe in a 'Wilderness' magazine I was reading...
I have had some almond meal in my fridge for ages... They
were delicious. I used a mixture of fruit and nuts I had in my
pantry. A good was to use up bits and pieces. I would
make them again, great for snacks with morning coffee or
when out on a walk/tramp.

This is the other thing I have made recently... A Frittata...
I get really annoyed when I'm at a cafe for lunch and
their fittata is full of big lumps of potato and they
tend to be quite tasteless... So I set myself a challenge...
And here is the end result.
It was the end of the shopping week so lots of 'bit's'
of veges left in the fridge... I used pumpkin, kumera,
celery, carrot, chopped and pre-cooked some streaky
bacon and grated some parmesan cheese. Par cook
the veges, tip into a suitable container, add bacon and
cheese and mix through. Beat 4 eggs, add some cream
and pour over. Bake 180deg till set in the middle.
Yum... Yum... As good as any cafe and SO easy.