Winter Wonderland

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Out of the kitchen window

In the past few weeks winter has well and truly come. Quinn and I frequently find ourselves stuck inside waiting for rain and cold to pass. Rather out of the norm not long ago it was snow. Snow that fell ALL DAY. This happens not too often in Christchurch, (however it did happen last year – which we missed because we were in Cambridge) so I worried and felt child-like excitement all at the same time. I worried about the electricity supply rendering our only form of heating useless (planning on getting a logburner too.. eventually) I had Quinn’s wardrobe all decided should the power go off. I worried about Kylie who headed off to work that morning when it was only sleeting and his attempt to get home again on roads with cars not organised for such weather. But he did get home early enough to take Quinn and chuck me out the house so I could take some photos. Have I not a good partner? Here are the results:

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Poor old Ducks, one duck came up to me for food. I chased him off the snow and back into the “steaming” pond.

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A stormy weather weekend had me wanting to go to the sea. So off we went to Raglan. The beach was blustery and quick showers threw themselves at us as we battled our way for a walk. I tried to take photos of the windblown sand making a sort of miniature dust storms around our feet. Turning back we forced our way into the wind getting peirced by rain that felt like pins the wind was so strong… as you can probably guess I found it exhilarating, all sorts of cheesy poetry and literature coming into my mind as I romanticised being really cold and wet. Needless to say I put the heaters on full when we got into the car and was glad we had a car to go to. Not sure I would of been as romantic if i had a pack on my back and warmth was hours away…
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We then headed to a crowded cafe for lunch. Debating on scones or ordering off the menu – I ordered off the menu, with all the fresh sea air I was a bit too hungry for just a scone! Kylie follwed suit or he would get jealous… and we were SO happy we did. The food was so yummy! Kylie agreed – its not often we ware impressed with food at restaurants either – once you spend time cooking at home and trying to make things tasty, restaurant food often becomes a bit bland. Not this stuff, we speculated on ingredients and left feeling inspired to cook like that ourselves! The cafe is called “The Shack” if your in the area check it out.
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After we filled our bellies we headed home, on impulse we decided on taking the detour to see the “Bridal Veil Falls”. We descended the many stairs and climbed back up… amused at my lack of fitness! They were beautiful, and tall!  The Waikato RAINS so much I don’t head out for as many little runs like I do in Christchurch. I still dream about earthquakes, and don’t miss the shaking at all, but I miss Christchurch. Its still an awesome place to live. Glad to be heading home soon!
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Post dramatic events

Just when you think your safe you get a wee reminder that you better keep your emergency kit stocked! You know sometimes with these aftershocks they’re so gentle and rocky it feels like your living on a ship! I have also decided if it feels like your swaying and ground in subtly moving… you probably are. Not all shakes are sudden and scary sometimes they are just weird!

We are a full house again here while my friends house goes through the same process (but alot faster this time) to see if ;one – its safe, two – it has power and amenities, and three – are they courageous enough to live there yet? So it begins! In the meantime Kylie is away and I am getting ready to leave Christchurch for three months (as some of you know – Kylie has a job up north for that time and I am coming along with him!)

I have decided to not take all the supplies for every “hobby” I employ. Instead its sewing, knitting and possibly drawing with a few paints. Thats not much gear right? If I limit my clothing I should have plenty to do, just not much to wear! Then there is the shopping I intend to do in Auckland… anyone know of awesome second hand shops (besides my cousins one – “two daughters“) then let me know.

With all thats happening there is always time to sit in the sun, knit and catch up with friends!
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And buy the occasional treat to make life easier and prettier in the kitchen.
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I feel compelled to voice a small bit of advice for those outside of Christchurch, those worry about us and our sanity – all your sympathy comes from good places. But at the moment I read at LEAST once an hour someone advising the people they know here to leave, to abandon everything and just go. Seriously at this time it’s the last thing we need to hear. Its just not the easy. (Ironically we can leave for a few months, but would be staying if there was an option!) Jobs, friends, homes, financial investment. Alot of us committed to living here many reasons, those reasons have not changed. Earthquakes have not taken jobs, have not taken friends and they certainly have not taken away the awesome stuff to do just hours away. Now I never “pledged” because there is something this earthquake has taught me, is no-one (not even you) is safe from life changing events like this. Who knows what will happen and what we will need to do to survive it. But as soon as you let go of the fear of it – knowing you cannot control it, you can become a little liberated. After every quake I have gotten increasingly more calm and ok with them. In fact the last one by far the worst part was being stuck at home again not knowing if things were really bad or ok. The trauma is not in the movement of the land but the potential loss of friends because of it. Once all the txt’s came in that everyone was fine then it was back to work. In reality – I have lost more loved ones to illness and accidents that happen everywhere than to natural disasters, and I live in natural disaster zone right now! If we have to move for survival, careers, family, friends then so be it. But I will not be bloody chased away from my hometown because of an irrational fear, I’m far too stubborn for that. Righto, thats enough cheese for one day. Back to work!

Finally my favorite dancing song right now…

I want her boots.

Foraging in Christchurch

With all the walks around the neighborhood lately I have been noticing and picking up walnuts here and there, little did I know I was mistakenly stumbling into an addictive and quite popular Christchurch (and indeed the world) pass time. Urban Foraging. It happened thus; I mentioned in passing conversation to my lovely ladies the walnuts I had been spotting who then agreed on their wonderfulness and told me all about  a “map”. I decided I needed to find this allusive treasure map, how does every modern girl start her education these days? Yes indeedy I went “googling”.

Christchurch Forgaging Map was found here. Although I have been told by these fellow foragers that not everything is on there, for there is an unspoken rule. No-one revels their spots, the good spots are found only by chance or rumors. Places where wild asparagus grows, the biggest sweetest chestnuts, the yummiest mushrooms – these spots will be harvested in secret and locations taken to graves.

The generosity and spirit of sharing must be very strong in the people that setup the map, from what I can tell this world would be a very secretive one to break into.

On the foraging note we collected Chestnuts in Hamner when we were there a couple of weekends back. I roasted them up and ate them with salt, Kylie and I both agreed they were worth finding more and foraging some locally. Lovely and sweet, I love sweet things with salt. Mmmm..

This is what they look like before a good roasting. Note they are not the “horse chestnuts” Which are poisonous.

Ready for roasting:

I have yet to have any success foraging for edible mushrooms. I have some verbal descriptions of what to look for. But really am a little scared to just try them… the consequences being rather dire. I continue to look on my walks and take photos with my phone, but I think I need someone who knows about mushrooms to take me on a tour… I will let you know if I have any success.

Here are some links to get you started on foraging or to help your already formed habit:

A blog (not very current) on urban foraging.

The facebook page – yes theres one for everything these days.

A bit about the people that started digitising it all

A small part of an old book on food gathering in New Zealand (look out for this book in second hand book dealers!)

Walnut Trees

Have fun exploring. I think the best part of all of this is just paying attention to the trees and the ground and appreciating what we can eat for free and its healthy! Not only that if I have time I will take a bike instead of the car and stop at the local park or graveyard just to look around and see what I can see! I am getting a new appreciation for our parky urbanness that is Christchurch.

Knitting for comfort

With crazy life once in a life time events happening around me and to me right now, phrases like “keep calm and carry on”, “nothing lasts forever” and “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Hold a whole other type of resonance I never thought possible. I may be able to explain all of these emotions and observations one day without feeling overwhelmed. But according to the documentation with methods to cope in times like these, I need to limit my thoughts and musings until its all processed and I can chat about it with introspective wisdom and tranquility! Until that day I will knit, crochet, spin and make until I have so many garments that remind me of this time it won’t be funny.

The kitty hat pattern

Luckily for us occasions to celebrate birthdays, seasons changing and friends needing knitwear is never stopped for such things as earthquakes! My first installment post earthquake is a hat yet to be photographed due to it being given to its owner quick smart! (I will try and get one this weekend.) Second installment was a hat for a dress up party celebrating a friend’s 30th. The theme was Beauty and the Beast. Kylie dressed in a top hat and jacket with tails and went as a “Beauty” I went as a Beast – with a knitted kitty hat.

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I knitted it up that day on impulse – just to see if i could knit a simple hat in a day. Turns out I can. I have not really stopped wearing it since. The yarn is so soft, so comforting. That and the cold beginning to envelope us here as autumn descends, knitwear is starting to be worn in abundance. All I need it knitted pants I will be entirely clothed in my own knits!


Next installment is a Kylie sweater. I have wanted to knit him one for awhile. I was going to attempt to make an Elizabeth Zimmerman number and wing it a bit. But when Jared from Brooklyn Tweed released this pattern called “Brownstone” I knew it would be perfect from my casual but practical other half, I showed it to him and he agreed. Sorry Elizabeth! I will knit your fair isle sweater for myself next perhaps.