Fun in the Sun on Christmas!


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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Blenheim
December 25th 2010
Published: December 25th 2010
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Hello everyone! Work continued in the vineyards, though last week we had a little bit of a change where we were working on our boss’s brother’s farm because we had to wait for the plants to grow a bit more for the third wire lift. We went to his farm in Seddon and started off weeding wild oats from a wheat field, barley field and oats. They’re usually taller than the other crops so it’s not that hard to single them out, but it can be difficult to see them from a distance, especially in the oats. The reason we had to remove all the wild oats is because once the seeds get into the soil, they can remain there for years before growing again and they’re even bad for stock feed.

I was given a farm truck to use while we went from field to field (or paddocks as they call them here), but it was a manual transmission. I know the theory behind driving manual because I’ve ridden motorcycle before, but it’s different with the clutch on the ground and gearshift on the left. I did manage the get the hang of it, even if it took half of the first day, but I am happy to say that I didn’t bunny hop it even once!

After that we spent a few days removing the wild oats, we then went on to spray the weeds in a very large corn field with backpack sprayers. They can get pretty heavy after a while since they can hold 15 litres of liquid and when you’re wearing them for 7 hours a day they can get pretty heavy. The day went by fairly quickly so I can’t complain too much.

Work is done now, we were wire lifting for the last week and though we were rained out a couple of days, it, we did get something to the tune of 30 hours so that helps pad the bank account a little. Our boss James threw us a little BBQ as a thanks for all of our hard work and we even go at couple bottles of wine (Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Gris) from his private label “Starbourogh.” I don’t plan to work in New Zealand again but we’ll see how it goes.

Away from the work front I’ve been to the beach a few times (very odd a Christmas time ) and had a great time. I invented a game called Jandal Ball (Jandal Ball because we didn’t actually have a ball but had a surplus of sandals), you play it on the beach just in the water and have your end zones spaced about 50 feet apart, each marked out by sticks stuck in the sand. Your team starts just in front of your end zone and if you have possession of the jandal, you attempt to take it to the other team’s end zone to score a point. You can pass it to any team member to get it to the other side, but if an opposing player touched the sandal carrier then they must drop it, giving the opposing team a chance to pick it up and score a point for themselves. For such a simple game it was a pretty big hit!

Unfortunately I lost my good hat on the beach that day too. We climbed up to the top of the big rock at the end of the beach which affords a nice view of the surrounding area, but the wind was quite strong and I turned to just the right angle for it to remove the hat. It landed on the rocks somewhere below and I followed it down, but by the time I got there the wind had taken it somewhere else. So now there’s a well dressed crayfish (what they call lobster) out there!

My cousin Randi from German and her schoolmate Tony from Finland stopped by the hostel for an overnight visit. She had been studying in Sydney Australia for a semester and decided to do a little traveling before she returned home. We had a nice dinner the first night that consisted of the remaining food that they wanted to unload before going to Christchurch and their flight back to Australia.

I borrowed some fishing rods from someone at work and we (Randi, Tony, several people from the hostel and myself) went to a beach where the fishing was “supposed” to be “pretty good.” We didn’t catch any fish, but we did have a good time and to make up the for fact that we camp back empty handed, I bought some clams and kumara and cooked them up for us. Tony and Randi were pretty happy that they got to try a “real kiwi meal” before they left because they’d had neither when they were in Australia. They had to leave shortly after dinner, but it was very nice to see them.

Our hostel managers Scott and Ariane continued on with their travels and we had a big BBQ (seeing a theme here?) for them as well as to welcome the new manager in. We all decided to make something from our place of origin to add a little variety to it. There were lots of great potato and pasta salads made by the Germans, the Chileans made some nice spice and zesty tomato salads, and Ariane (from Quebec) made what she called a Chinese pie (similar to a cottage pie minus the ground beef), it’s origin fabled to be from the Canadian railroad days where a Chinese cook made it and became an instant favourite of the many Anglo backgrounded workers. For my part, I mad a mondo pot of chilli. My reasoning behind it was that we often eat it in the west coast during the summer, or sometimes when camping. Everyone really liked it and I got quite a few compliments on how it came out.

I had a nice Christmas party here with some of the others from the hostel, we celebrated on the 24th because that’s how the do it in Germany (and seeing as that about 55%!o(MISSING)f the hostel is occupied by Germans that’s how we do it too). There was a short day at the beach were we went swimming and played some Jandal ball (with an actual football) before going home for to make dinner. We had steak (we had planned on a turkey but a single 6kg bird was priced somewhere around $60 so steak was decided upon, however we found a turkey of the same size after the fact for only $30something…), cooked vegetables, spaetzle (a kind of home made noodle dumpling) and sauce, and a chocolate mousse dessert! We all ate far too much and partied way too hard afterwards.

I tried to get he pictures up again to no avail, it’s something to do with the blog website. I’ll try posting a few on Facebook, for now.

Have a very merry Christmas (albeit colder and wetter ) and a happy new year!


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29th December 2010

Merry Christmas
Deb and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! It sounds like you had a nice new experiance with your freinds. We had Christmas dinner yesterday(28th) with Emily and Johanny,Andrea and Greg, Granma and Grampa along with the star of the show, one 22 month old Riley! It was a good time had by all, and especially nice to get Granpa put of his chair to come over for dinner.Rilly performed as one would expect a 2 year old having her second Xmas of her life. We all ate to much as usual but no regrets just promise's not to do it again until next year. When do you head off to Aussi Land ? I will be looking forward to a good tutorial on the in's and out's of how to tend my grape vines when you get back. I am quite envious of your farm work experiance, it would be neat to be doing what you've done over the last months! Keep it up ,you will never be sorry to have taken the time to finish that which you have started. Be safe out there. Stan

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