Sisters are doing it for themselves 

While Justin is working his way through the first few rounds of racing post injury, I have found myself a new hobby. Breaking up and removing concrete, woo hoo. 

The poor family who spent a small fortune putting in concrete paths and edges would be disappointed to see them being broken up and removed by a sledge hammer wielding me. 

My first project was the area outside our dining area and kitchen. Originally there was a path to the wool shed, which ran between what would have been a beautiful garden and lawn. The shed has long since been removed and the remains of the garden were mowed by my dearly beloved when we moved in. So we now had a path to a fence through the middle of a collection of green plants we call lawn. 


Pre attack, ‘lawn’ on left, garden lawn on right

So it struck me in the middle of the night why not rip the path out and re sow the lawn. Then while we are at it with a rotary-hoe it makes sense to flatten another reclaimed ‘lawn’ garden. 


Lawn claimed garden, early in the attack

There is something gratifying about swinging a sledge hammer being very pleasantly surprised how impressive the bang is and the watching the concrete crack. Despite very quickly realising that my Thor like swings were not the cause of the impressive bangs, it was the gas guns protecting our neighbouring grapes from birds. Anyway I persevered and managed to break it all, over load it onto the back of Justin’s truck and then off load it all.  

Don’t worry darling the suspension works


Less one path


Luca showing the correct technique


Filled and ready to rock and roll


All ready to be ripped up

 Sometimes logic doesn’t prevail, it took me a surprisingly long time to realise I could break the very large and heavy pieces into smaller, lighter ones.  However it was perfectly logical that Luca and I would do this on our own, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! 

That theory applies to these two

Bitter sweet season

Well we have reached that bitter sweet time of year, when Autumn starts the cool down here, while the ski fields and mountains of the Northern Hemisphere begin their Spring thaw. That means one thing, race season. On the weekend we did what seems to be a fairly routine family outing to the airport, this time it was to drop Justin off and send him on his merry way to South America. He will start with the first round of the Enduro World Series (EWS) in Chile, followed by the second in Argentina. Ok so technically it’s still the Southern Hemisphere but he will head North for the other rounds.

This photo isn’t as heart breaking when I say it was actually taken when Justin came home last and Luca was waiting to greet him.

You would think that after nearly 12 years of saying goodbye and him going off to race it would be a fairly low key goodbye but it always sucks. In my head  there is an emotional roller coaster of thoughts like, please don’t go, can’t we have a normal life, people already think I’m lying when I say I have a husband, your leaving me with two children this time?  But I am always cheered up by the thought of what might the season bring, is this a podium finish that you are flying off to? Also this year it’s the added excitement of racing with a new team.

Luca clearly decided that he was going with Daddy

One thing I have learnt in our prolific goodbyes is to keep it short and sweet and having two children surely helps with that. The prospect of sitting at the airport for half an hour waiting to say goodbye is easier to avoid. Like a band aid rip it off quickly.

There are a couple of things that will be guaranteed to happen while Justin is away, the mice have already come back and I have disposed of one, the drains will block and I will take on lots of projects to help time pass quickly. Today saw me transplanting Tree Lucern, fixing the shelter in the dog run and stacking various stray gates around the farm. My focus is on transitioning a old neglected garden into a native haven for birds, oh yeah and looking after two little munchkins.

But any way, I will keep on, keeping on and let’s see what the season holds. One thing I do know is that we will be waiting at home cheering.

In the fields

I think one of the things I miss the most about being over here is having my own home/garden to get stuck into. I thrive on seeing the results of my work.

So when the opportunity to help in the fields came up we were there. Admittedly helping with a one year old in tow probably isn’t actually classed as helping, but the kiwi in me knew what would. Pikelets and jam for smoko (ha translate that into Italian)

Needless to say we had a great time

IMG_6603This was half way through, we only stayed for a few rows. (Someone needs to learn how to walk and they won’t find the ground so scratchy.)


What amazed me is that the big ones are sorted into top grade, the small perfect tasty little gems we pay a fortune for at Christmas go into the rabbit feed crate. Lucky bunnies. Perhaps not, it is to fatten them.


Check, smoko perched in the shade of the grapes.


Countdown to summer

Well we have been having some brilliant Autumn days recently, the leaves are all turning beautiful copper shades and the vineyards are glowing rows of yellow. We have had a couple of good frosty mornings and merino wool is living up to its wonderful reputation as the warmest layers. To help with the adjustment to the cooler weather we got a brilliant delivery from Mons Royale recently and I can’t speak highly enough of their product. I am even converted to merino underwear, something I thought was originally reserved for onsie wearing hermits.

However, I can honestly say that I have no eager anticipation of the winter to come, we are on the countdown. It is less that two weeks until we are Italy bound. I am currently swinging in my mind between ‘oh wow we are moving to Italy next week’ followed by a smug smirk and serene sigh, and ‘OH MY GOSH WE ARE MOVING TO ITALY, WWWWHHHHAAATTTT?’ followed by panicked gasps and nausea. Luckily the first feeling seems to be far more frequent than the second.

Luca seems oblivious to the coming move, however is having a great time helping me pack, unpack and then just putting himself into the bags. Justin left last week, and we are now going through a slightly amusing stage of every time we are at the supermarket Luca will point at multiple men and say Dada.


If anyone has any sound advice for travelling with small and very active little person it is greatly appreciated. At the moment I plan on having hand luggage full of toys and food, and if we get some sleep that is a bonus. Gone are the days of a big glass of wine and an eye mask for 12 hours.

Onwards and upwards

Well life has been a little hectic to say the least.

I have had such kind words from people wanting to check that everything is ok in light of our selling our house.

I can say that everything is dandy, we have a solid reputation as a transient family and we are just making sure that we live up to it. Not really, we just saw an amazing opportunity in buying another property here in Marlborough (a couple of valleys over from where we were) and thought we would test the waters with selling our house. We were in a fortunate position, that we didn’t have to sell, which always takes the pressure off. I am a firm believer in if things are meant to happen they will, which was the case with our place, the first open home was on Sunday and we accepted an offer Monday afternoon.

We have now sold up, moved out and are back to our usual pikey ways staying in a book-a-bach until we fly out to Europe. We won’t move into our new house until we get back at the end of the season. The new house isn’t so new it is an 1880’s villa. I entertained the idea for about 5 minutes of returning the old girl into her former glory, but the capitalist in me took over and it is the land the really holds the value. We will eventually rebuild on the site but I don’t think we will end up staying there for too long. One day we will find a place that we stay in for longer than a summer!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if I had of known that we were going to be selling our house so soon, I don’t think I would have invested quite so much emotionally into its finishing. It was rather sad to say goodbye to our house and plans for the land and more so to leave the breathtaking views.


We managed to achieve so much from this simple block of land that we originally saw, into a home for a family


But on the upside our departure overseas is rapidly approaching, just over a month until we go. I keep thinking that one morning by some miracle I will wake up fluent in Italian but it hasn’t happened yet, I’m sure with a lot of sign language and slow loud speaking we will get by.

More hours in the day

Well a lot has happened since I updated the page!

Firstly an update on the house

Things are starting to feel like home, although I still do have frantic episodes of furniture moving. It has been so hot that I have loved throwing all the doors open and enjoying the full indoor outdoor flow that the house has to offer. Justin the clever man finished the Florida room which has come up fantastically. We have already had some magical nights in there enjoying the BBQ and wonderful deck. It feels like you are overlooking your own valley, there are no lights and only stars (plus a few bugs once it gets dark).

IMG_5385 IMG_5369 IMG_5203 IMG_5320

IMG_5421 IMG_5426

The Lawn:

We have a lawn and its not too shabby, a few weeds but I have seen far worse. Luca and I had our first sit on it today. He promptly decided to try and eat it but that is ok, there are worse things for him to consume.

From this….

IMG_4910 IMG_5081 IMG_5089 IMG_5170

To this….IMG_5428

That’s a bit lush!

We have also had our first experience of fires in a dry summer. I woke up at 4am to feed Luca and looked out the window bleary eyed to see our whole skyline in flames. Unfortunately in the dark it actually did look like it was our hills on fire, all I can say is the man who was on the end of the 111 call was so kind and patient. The fire was on the other side of the valley and there was a river between us so we were pretty safe, still a very unpleasant feeling.


I know I said in the last post I wouldn’t be doing any more furniture restoration and low and behold what have I just finished…. two bedside tables. It was a pretty minor case of repainting and ordering some new handles, but I am pretty pleased with the finished product. I thought it would be pretty cool to make his and hers, needless to say the deer handles are Justins’.


Old on the left and new ones on the right, the are the same colour but just show up differently in the light.

I had two weeks with Justin away at a race and it meant a bit of spare time up my sleeve. I spent hours borrowing dirt, filling in the gardens, planning and planting out the gardens. Im pretty pleased with the results, but not it is just a case of waiting for things to grow.

IMG_5225 IMG_5175 IMG_5314 IMG_5333

A lesson in … I’m not sure what really

Lately I have found that living out of town has let be me far more comfortable in my own skin. Most days are spent in shorts, singlet and gumboots with no make up on and hair that leaves little to be desired. (Lucky my husband loves me for my great personality) For those that know me from work I hope this is a far cry on how I presented myself. Today was the day to knock this slack behaviour on the head and make an effort, I dug out a dress, washed my hair (straightening was a bit far) put on some lippy and was planning to go to town to catch up with a friend and have a coffee. Plus drop in our coffee grinder which gave up the ghost this morning. Serious disaster.

Anyway as I went out to the truck I was greeted with the sight of the trailer from the hardware store still attached. It seemed logical that if I was going into town I might as well drop it off in the process. I then remembered that we had wood we needed to return, so it was ridiculous to not take that in as well.

So here were my best laid plains of arriving in town with an air of sophistication slowly diminishing. I loaded the 3.6-meter long planks onto the trailer and then took to stropping them down. I have never tied a strop in my life so gave myself a rapid lesson. During this I had a screaming baby who was not assisting the process or helping in the knot tying and it was about 27 degrees. I was a perspiring, crazy haired mess by this stage. In the end I figured the knots I know how to tie, can hold boats so surely they can hold some planks of wood.

I took a step back and admired my handy work, I love a bit of a challenge, and although this doesn’t sound like much it was a bit of an unexpected mission for the morning. I got in the truck and turned it on, at that moment I remembered…. It is Saturday the bloody hardware shop is shut until Monday. Time to unhook and unload the trailer.

The lawn

The lawn has been an ongoing bone of contention in our house. The size, the type, the mowing responsibilities. Justin has fairly pointed out he doesn’t want to spend his weekend mowing, so I have offered to take the lawn on as my responsibility or strange sort of pet, perhaps the lawn can be my tamagotchi (I always wanted one as a kid). Anyway I think we are making progress and have agreed on most elements of the lawn, anything is better than the piles of dirt which resemble giant earthworm poos outside the windows. Things should start happening in the next couple of weeks I hope.

What we currently have




Here are the scenarios running through my head….
Best case


Worst case


Tolerable, but I would be a harpy wife about it


No actually to be honest I don’t think I could tolerate that, oh the pressure to get this right!!


Well we have been working hard to tick the jobs off the list. It just seems unfortunate that the list must have some fungi spores on it, cause it keeps growing over night (much like the small child in our house).

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/845/78384324/files/2015/01/img_4856.jpg Since this photo Justin has perfected his skills and painted the fence too.

The house is starting to feel like home and it seems a little less unusual coming back to it every time. We have had the absolute pleasure of having family and friends staying over the holidays which helped break the house in and meant a chance to see so many lovely people. Marlborough has put on her finest summer weather and despite rain on New Years Eve the grass looks to be dried to a crisp. Number one job is to set up irrigation so we can support the natives, get the fruit trees in and do something with the dust bowl surrounding the house. Unless we wanted to go for a moonscape look, in which case we can leave it as is.

While unpacking some stray boxes I found this insightful page in an assignment I did within my first term of studying nursing some 10 years ago. I’m a little concerned at my lack of intellectual, career and academic aspirations at the time but oh well. Move over womans weekly 2015 horoscopes you have competition.


In my wisdom and attempt to save money I gave myself a project. The restoration of an old chair I found in the house we rented. It was one of those brilliant sleep deprived, slightly manic moments where it seemed like a great simple plan. It has been a fairly constant work in progress but I am pretty happy with the finished product. I just need to finish its partner now!






Land of Plenty

Marlborough is a food lovers paradise, needless to say every meal can also be accompanied by a high quality wine. This week we have eaten like kings! We were fortunate enough to have wild venison (shot by Justin), crayfish, fresh berries, stone fruit, chocolate and wine all gathered, grown or made regionally. I don’t think life gets any better than this! The epitome of this goodness, was taking Luca cherry picking. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more.

I have even been starting my own contribution to simple goodness. I can’t wait to start harvesting from these little gems.