Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lord of the Lawn

Last night was one of the best and longest sleeps I've had in over a week, which is saying something, as it was spent on a very narrow cot, mummified up in my sleeping bag, and lacking a pillow. I think it was the a) lack of anyone else in the room to snore or get up at 6:00am and disturb me and b) that I didn't have to get up until 8am. Eight-o-clock, such luxury!

Glen swung by to pick up Kiko and I at 9am, and we came back to his house for breakfast (cereal, tea, and toast), which we dined on while Glen and Ivy went out to help a neighbour corral some more sheep for shearing. After breakfast Kiko I and I headed outside, armed with pruning shears, and chopped up the seaweed we had washed the day before into six-inch-long strips to aid its breakdown in the compost. To try and make the somewhat smelly and unpleasant task more bearable, I struck up a simple conversation with her, asking about her job back in Japan (she's a high school teacher), and her favourite foods (we both don't like unagi, but think tempura is delicious). It's so frustrating sometimes; I bet we could have wonderful conversations, if only I spoke some Japanese, or she spoke more English. At least with Thibaud we could sometimes exchange short phrases en français and figure out what the other person was trying to say.

When Glen returned Kiko and I were pulling up the lettuce that had gone to seed in the top garden, and then harvesting the broccoli flowers that were starting to actually flower as well, salvaging what we could to be eaten. We also pulled the netting off the strawberries, as they aren't fruiting right now (a meticulous process, as the silly things had started to grow through the net), and then scurried inside to escape the ever-intensifying summer New Zealand sun. Glen made some interesting nachos for lunch (covered in cheese, zucchini, peppers, beans, and hickory barbecue sauce), and while we were waiting for them to cook in his portable convection oven I made origami creations with Kiko and Ivy. I taught Ivy how to make a pop-up star, and made one of my origami boxes as well.

After lunch was afternoon siesta time; I started reading Kathy Reich's Monday Mourning, and actually just finished it a few minutes ago. Even though it's a book about murders and abductions, and even though I've never been to Montréal, it made me miss Canada. Glen says I can have the book if I want; another WWOOFer left it here, and Glen doesn't want it as he doesn't read for pleasure.

This afternoon I went for a walk up the hill behind the house, and when I was coming back, following the river, I had a nasty encounter with ongaonga, the native New Zealand stinging nettle. I brushed against the nettle with the back of my left hand, and it immediately went numb. This was followed by my left elbow, and then my left knee, before I realized something was wrong. It's nothing serious (although apparently a person did die after walking through a large bush of the stuff), although I did tell Glen, and he says the numbing sensation will last for about 36 hours... joy.

By 5:30pm the sun had sunk low enough in the sky that I was ready to venture out for my final task of the day: mowing the upper lawns (Kiko got the lower ones). Yes, I finally mowed a lawn today, for the first time in my life! There seems to be something wrong with making it to age 25 without actually working a lawnmower (or maybe it's just a testament to the hardworking horticultural skills of my dad and brother). Either way, there's a first day for everything, and I actually enjoyed pushing and pulling the mower (it's not self-propelled) back and forth across the lawn, up hills, and down into valleys. With my earplugs firmly in place, even the incessant drone of the motor didn't bother me. That being said, I of course in no way want to deprive my brother or dad of the pleasure of mowing our (extensive) lawns at home...

I've been informed that tomorrow morning the four of us are going to go and muster sheep, so it appears my encounters with New Zelaland's most numerous mammal are not over yet!

Now it is 8:45pm, we have yet to have dinner, and Glen and Ivy are going out for half an hour (I'm not sure where). I'm going to go dig up some potatoes and gather some silver beet with Kiko, and then we'll cut up some beans; hopefully by the time Glen gets back, all he'll have to do is cook, and then we can eat and go to bed!


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