Saturday, 31 May 2014

Recent discovery

The packing is still progressing.  We've almost gotten rid of everything we're not taking, just a fridge, a freezer, a computer desk and a few odds and ends (and lots of rubbish) to go.  I'm trying not to pack "mess to be sorted out later" but it is difficult.  There are quite a few things that don't really belong anywhere. We have found homes for 3 of the rabbit cages already, which will take the pressure off later.  Any spare time this week has been spent weighing, taping and labelling boxes.  I'm trying to make sure most of them are under 15kg by repacking the heaviest ones with some light stuff.  They are also numbered on all sides after Mum pointed out labelling them on the top is useless if they're stacked.  I must make sure I don't lose the master list, though, or the numbers will also be pointless!

Anyway, this week we discovered this (click here), which we thought was nice...

Saturday, 17 May 2014

I want one of these!

We went to the Taranaki Aviation Transport & Technology Museum  on Wednesday and had a look around.  The kids liked the plane they were allowed to climb on,

and the wee zoomy things that shot about like rocket-propelled flying foxes. I can't remember what they were called but they were used to send notes back and forth in factories or large offices, I think.  There was a good collection of old stuff, some of which I recognised, like the washing machine Grandma Merrilees used to have, and a mincer just like my one.

The highlight for me, though, was this machine, a corn shucker.  We grow our own popcorn, which pops really well, but the problem is getting it off the cob.  And this year we grew Blue Hopi corn, planning to grind it in our grain mill, but it's a very labour-intensive job, and hard on the fingers, to remove it from the cob.  I might start looking out for one of these on Trademe!

I'm not sure why this has uploaded at such low res, it should be much less blurry...


The kids went on a bit of an explore while we were at the Eco Inn, and found lots of Fungi.  The first one was the Fly Agaric, classic fairy-tale toadstool.  It is famous for being poisonous, but apparently you can eat them if you boil them up in lots of water for about 15 mins, to wash the toxins out.  We won't be trying it, although that's useful to know if we're ever lost and starving in a pine forest somewhere (unlikely...)

We couldn't identify the others, because we didn't have our fungi book handy.  There were some that looked like puffballs,

And some other wee ones

and a big slimy one

Taranaki is a great place for finding fungi, having a mild and damp climate.  We have birds-nest fungi in the front garden, bracket fungi on the cherry tree out the back and sometimes field mushrooms in the lawn.  There is also wood-ear fungi in the bush by the house.  It used to be a major export of Taranaki, so much so that it was nicknamed "Taranaki wool", and is used in Chinese cooking.  Maybe we should try it before we leave.  I used to grow Oyster mushrooms from a kit.  They were pretty yummy but unfortunately we went on holiday just before the main flush and the friends we asked to babysit them had to eat most of them.  Hopefully we'll be able to have another go at that sometime.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Eco Inn

This weekend we went out to the Eco Inn for a couple of nights, thanks to some generous friends of ours, Heather and Merv.  They came along too and we were able to share some time together before we leave in June.
The Eco Inn is pretty cool.  It is completely off-grid, with a whole lot of solar panels, at least 2 windmills and a water-powered turbine or 5 providing the electricity.  It's a back-packer's really but we had the hostel to ourselves (6 beds, sleeps 8 - Eva slept on squabs on the floor) and Heather and Merv had the cottage.

 The kids loved the pool table, and Andrew beat all comers at table soccer, with much giggling.

 They also had a few turns on the flying fox, and went for a spin on the "raft-bath" and the kayaks.

 We made pizza in the pizza oven, which was fun, and got to light the fire every morning to warm the place up (although it didn't really get cold overnight).

The decor was rustic, and reminded me of our old woolshed, but gave a nice friendly atmosphere.  The whole place was peaceful, and we had a welcome rest from thinking about real estate and shifting house.