We are farmers :)

Trip Start Jan 19, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Laksar's farm in Maungakaramea

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We decided to stay at a different hostel for our last night in Auckland before heading north... we ended up at City Garden Lodge right outside the city.  It turned out to be our favorite place yet.  We showed up unexpected and they were out of rooms, so we asked if we could just set up our tent and they happily offered us their larger tent with a bed already set up in it.  Perfect.  They even had a seperate building set up as a yoga/meditation room.  It was a nice and cool night, so we went to the grocery store to get some food and came back to our tent and played cards all night... it was quite delightful.  Good thing we enjoy hanging out together. :)  We got some sleep and got up and on the road in the morning.  We filled up with gas for the first time which was quite painful.  Thank God we bought a car the size of a roller skate, because it costed us $85 to fill up our tank.  Ouch! 

The drive was beautiful... lots of green rolling hills and mountains... some ocean too.  It felt wonderful to head out of the city.  We like the city, but we need more nature to bring us back to center.  We immediately rolled down the windows (partly because our car doesn't have A/C), turned on the tunes, took a few deep breathes, and allowed the "permagrin" to set in.  Wow, ... we are so blessed.  

We had contacted our first wwoofing farm the day earlier and he said to come whenever, so we decided to go the next day.  5 minutes outside of the city, we were happy we had gone.  Laksar's farm is about 2 hours north of Auckland in an area called Maungakaramea. (try and say that 5 times fast)  Colin had gotten shit directions from Laksar, so we had to stop and get a New Zealand road atlas,... but it will definitely come in handy in the next few months. (we joked about Colin working it in as a selling pitch with the car... "and for the bargain price of $2000 you get a free road atlas and size 13 mud boots"... you know you're interested :) )  Anyway, we made it... kindof,...we pulled into the wrong drive and met Laksar's neighbor Jenny first.  Everyone is so nice here.  We totally pulled up to her house, got out, thinking it was Laksar's place and started taking a look around.  She met us with a warm smile and heirloom gardening advice (vs. the shotgot that might have met us in some rural areas of the states)... she was a sweet woman.  If we had wanted, she probably would have let us stay there instead and kindly "stolen" us from Laksar.  But we decided to check out Laksar's place. 

Laksar is a wonderful man with a big heart and his place is very interesting.  He lives on land that his father bought years ago and put up "temperary" shelters/ housing... and has since been converting to more permanent living space.  He lives here alone most of the time and with his 12 year old son part-time.  He has built 2 yurts on the property (one in which he sleeps and one in which we sleep), a shower and kitchen space which are hooked up to stream water,... and a toilet that he calls the "long drop toilet"...(lives up to the name...use your imagination).  One of the projects we will be working on while we are here is a composting toilet... a large step up to the current system I would say.  It doesn't really bother us though... we really love it here.  He even has a trampoline!!  It slants to one side pretty heavily,but I've still managed to have some fun on it... brings back childhood memories for sure. :)

 It's been so fun meeting random people from all cultures along the way.  One of my favorite aspects of travel for sure.  We are also here with two other wwoofers... a sweet young couple from Austria, Christen and Zigi.  Therefore, we are learning a little German in our free time...Guten tag!  Danke schon,... bitte schon...I have German roots for God's sake,... I should atleast know how to say "hello" in German.  

Laksar is a drummer and even makes drums... he has offered to let Colin play around with making a drum... he's in heaven.  We brought out the drums last night and played a little after dinner around the fire pit.  I think we've found a place to settle for a bit.  There's even talk of Colin getting paid to be Laksar's assistant in some jobs around the land.  That could be really great.  Laksar needs the help and we could learn a lot from him. 

I've kindof taken on the role of tending the garden and making food( which i love). It's nice to have access to a kitchen again (eventhough it only has 1 1/2 burners and a toaster oven that don't work at the same time... definitely makes cooking inventive)  Not to mention eating out all the time is expensive.  Anyway,... we have settled into our roles here pretty quickly and we are happy.  The neighbors have lots of sheep too.  To get to our yurt and the garden, we have to jump a fence and walk through the pasture of sheep.  I've managed to get pretty close to a few without them seeing me,... but they are pretty skiddish and I don't think they are as excited about the possibility of a hug from me as I am.   It may happen... we'll see. :)

In the mean time... we are doing various jobs around the farm... weeding, building scaffolding for soffit mending, cutting down a tree, cooking, harvesting vegetables, moving wood, and making a marimba (our coolest job by far).  We really like it here so far,... we may be here for another week or two... who knows?  It's home for now.  :)
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Rebecca Matthys on

Try to make it over to Coromandel and up to the Bay of Islands. My favorite parts of the North Island. Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel is where we went on family vacations a lot. There is a nice campground there.

Christa on

Wow! You two are the envy of us all! I remember my home stays in New Zealand in high school but it was nothing like yours. I believe you two would make home where ever you both lay your heads. So great to see you enjoying the finer things of life, eachother and others. So proud of you both.
All my love, Christa

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