Monthly Archives: March 2016

Hillary Trail South Day 1

Jasmine and I had a long Easter holiday and we decided to take the time and go for a weekend in the woods. The closest we could get to the woods via public transport was the Waitakere Ranges and so we went for it. There is a very nice 80 km loop trail called the Hillary Trail and we took advantage of the southern half of the loop from Titirangi out to Karekare. It was a quite delightful three day hike and we finally got to use our new tent in NZ which worked out well for us. Below, I put in some of the pictures from the first day. I’ll drop in the rest of the hike tomorrow.

Once we got about halfway west through the park the trail got quite nice and surrounded by Pohutukawa trees.

Once we got about halfway west through the park, the trail got quite nice and surrounded by Pohutukawa trees.

As always with NZ hikes numerous creek crossings were required. On this crossing I refilled our water and had to deal with a frisky eel. Just FYI an unexpected eel swimming on your leg is terrifying.

As always with NZ hikes, numerous creek crossings were required. On this crossing, I refilled our water and had to deal with a frisky eel. Just FYI, an unexpected eel swimming on your leg is terrifying.

When we got out to the ocean the landscape got a bit flatter and we got some pretty meadows.

When we got out to the ocean, the landscape got a bit flatter and we got some pretty meadows.

There were numerous beautiful vistas on the hike, I think this was our favorite.

There were numerous beautiful vistas on the hike; I think this was our favorite.

And we finally took a picture of the two of us together!

And we finally took a picture of the two of us together!

Whale Watching

Kaikoura is well known for marine life so when I found myself only a few kilometers from Kaikoura with my parents, we had to stop. We decided to go on a whale watching tour since none of us had ever seen a whale before. We took a fast boat (23 knots!) past the continental shelf to the deep ocean and went in search of whales.

We spotted out first whale fairly quickly!

We spotted our first whale fairly quickly!

They said this was a different whale. I'm not sold, but it was still cool to see.

They said this was a different whale. I’m not sold, but it was still cool to see.

Knit Buttoned Cowl

In anticipation of the coming cooler weather, I decided to knit myself a cowl. I found a pattern that I liked, and then proceeded to completely ignore it as I wanted to be able to button my cowl so I didn’t have to pull it on over my hair. Lloyd volunteered to make wooden buttons for me, which I was pretty excited about, so I scaled the button holes to fit them. The result was a 100% NZ cowl as the yarn was made from NZ fibers (including, of course, opossum fur) and the buttons were Rimu. It’s very warm and I’m hoping the temperature drops soon so I can use it.

The completed cowl. I really like the buttons. :)

The completed cowl. The buttons complement the yarn quite nicely. :)

The cowl buttoned up.

The cowl buttoned up.

Me wearing the cowl. Lloyd says I look like a surprised lemur in this picture. He's not wrong.

Me wearing the cowl. Lloyd says I look like a surprised lemur in this picture. He’s not wrong.

In case anyone is interested, the cowl pattern is here.

Pasadena Garden

We live on Pasadena Ave. here in Auckland, which amuses me to no end having just moved from California, and given that it is the tail end of summer, we are starting to get a decent amount of food stuffs out of the garden. The garden is a bit small and we split it with our neighbors, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in productivity. I don’t think much has been grown here for a couple years, and that combined with the compost from two houses has led to some extremely rich soil.

We kept it simple with tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions, fennel, basil, beets, swiss chard, buckwheat, sunflowers, sugar┬ápie pumpkins, and jalapenos. Everything minus the pumpkins and jalapenos are doing very well and we are eating heartily of the garden. I’m optimistic about the jalapenos just being slow growers, but the pumpkin has a bit of a mold on it so i’m not holding my breath, especially given the humid weather.

A weed away, A weed away, in the garden, the mighty garden...

A weed away, A weed away, in the garden, the mighty garden…

And the best performer of all – Giant Sunflowers. They are roughly 3 meters tall (10 ft!). We are going to save some the seeds for next year in the hopes of growing even taller sunflowers. The world record is 9 meters so we have a way to go, but a man can dream, :)

Super tall sunflowers! This is a picture from 2 weeks ago, they are large flowers now, but all droopy from the giant seed heads so they don't look as cool.

Super tall sunflowers! This is a picture from 2 weeks ago; they are larger flowers now, but all droopy from the giant seed heads so they don’t look as cool.

The bees love our sunflowers and the buckwheat. They will be sad, just like me, in a week or two when the flowers are gone.

The bees love our sunflowers and the buckwheat. They will be sad, just like me, in a week or two when the flowers are gone.