April Update

We officially moved in this month! WooHoo! 5 years in the planning and we are finally in our new house! And we had our first visitors even. Fiona & Mark come over from the UK (which is what actually prompted the move, we’d originally planned to be well and truly settled into the house by April, delays delays delaus). So, although the builders are still working around us while they finish a few things, we have made our selves at home. Untitled Pip in his new room Untitled Craig’s new office space UntitledOur first family dinner Untitled I has rainbows 🙂 Untitled View from the village working bee Untitled Although not house related, Pip is back at horse riding lessons and going strong. Untitled Our first official WWOOFers!

With Craig’s help and guidance, Letti and Fiona built us a wood storage shed, just in time for winter:

A time of great changes

A long while back I said that we had a new adventure ahead of us, I promised details and now I have a few minutes to tell you about it.

As you know, we have a new son, William, who is now almost 10 weeks old. He’s growing well and developing wonderfully well, keeping us very busy and pretty tired and deliriously happy. 2 weeks ago tomorrow we bundled him up into his car seat and headed off on a long drive from Auckland to Wellington, stayed with friends over night and then hopped a ferry to the South Island, another 2.5 hour drive and we ended up in our new home. That’s right, we have moved islands, from the wet and grey winters of Auckland to the perpetually sunny crisp winters of Motueka.

Now you might think that it’s simply the joy of living in a sunny environment that would encourage this move, well that turns out to be just a bonus. We’ve actually moved here to be part of a new eco-village called Atamai. Atamai Village Council currently owns around 30 ha (74 acres) of land on the Motueka Valley Highway, and has the option to lease or purchase a further 69 ha (170 acres). The sight is divided up into mostly commons plus 11 lots around 1 to 2.5 acres and an intensive housing area similar to Earthsong eco-neighbourhood (where we are selling our gorgeous studio apartment).

We plan to purchase a 1-2 acre block where we will build our traditional timber framed home. There are still several lots available for sale in Atamai and they haven’t even started on the intensive housing sight. We’ve been here for less then 2 weeks and already we are organising pot-lucks and a heard of 20 goats. It’s an extremely exciting time, with everything at the very early stages. The land has been purchased, the council permissions received and development just starting. Transition Towns, Carbon Neutrality, Climate Change, Community Development and Community Currency are all high priorities for those fueling the project.

I’m going to end with a few photos of the sight from our January trip and a link to more.

Currently this is the only pond on the sight, but once the main earth moving has been completed every property will be in easy access (I believe bordering) a body of water like this.

This is the river across the road from us.

More photos of the property are here.

New life in full colour (pic heavy)

Ok so here is the post where I overload you with photos of our new place.

 So this is the back of the house. The land goes on further behind me and off the right of the image (which you’ll see soon), to the left are trees, mainly pine, some tea-tree and tree ferns. The roof you can see sticking out on the left is the wood chopping area (I have some more plans for this space I think <insert evil laugh>). There are loads of small & medium sized raised beds, mostly surrounding fruit trees or along the deck space. We are going to replant these with our kitchen essentials. Those items that you want to grab to make a meal even when it’s raining outside (like this morning).


You can just see the glass house in the right hand side of the image, Fern (the lamb I was looking after) and I cleaned it out the other day. The floor was a carpet of weeds and peppermint (the smell got really heady after a while of me walking on and crushing the leaves). But it’s now all cobweb and weed free and ready for some serious planting to begin. I’m going to start the spring seedlings off soon so that we are ready to go with some early spring vegetables when spring finally arrives.

Looking back behind me (away from the house):

We are thinking it would be a good area to tether a pair of goats to, and there are some lovely secret spots to climb into under the trees up the back.

 The land goes down the slope to the driveway (off to the left) and the main fenced paddock, sheds and chicken house are up to the top right where you can see the red. I believe that is one of the olive trees, and a copse of bananas just behind the white electric fence tape. There are quite a lot of fruit trees, all in great need of love, including apples, olives, bananas, plums and figs (there may also be peaches and a few others but I’m not sure) oh and grapes as well. In the bottom left you can see what will be the perennials bed (here is one a bit closer in):

The bed is edged in rocks, has a good rich top layer about 6″ deep but the usual NZ clay soil under that. This bed will hopefully include:


  • Globe Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Chicory
  • Dandelions
  • Ginger
  • Kumeras
  • Rhubarb
  • Rocket
  • Sorrel
  • Yams
  • Parsley
  • 5 or 7 year beans (penny beans)
  • Chives
  • Fennel
  • Garlic (to harvest the tops only, not the bulbs)
  • Lovage
  • Lemon Balm (and maybe lime balm if we can find some)
We could probably like quite happily of this bed if need arose, but we wont have too because beyond that will be the 4 rotating beds. There needs to be a little bit of terracing done to them and a lot of digging.
And this would be the main fenced pasture land, it’s horrible pasture and not fit for horses, sheep or cows just yet. We are planning on putting some pigs through to turn it over, followed by the chickens then we will sow it with good livestock food like rye-grass and put in some herbal banks. It will take about 6 months for it to become usable pasture (I’m told). The pigs and chickens will be giving the same treatment to the rotating beds space before the hit the freezer.
Now for those who have been wondering, this is Fern (with Sparky):
(she’s actually all black but I put on a little felted cover to keep her a little warmer). She’s gone back home now but she really did give us a great peak into the reality of owning animals and what you have to do to keep orphans or abandoned babes alive (and we got her at 10 days old). She had to be bottle fed, 4 times a day at 5 hour intervals (we actually got it mixed and had been feeding her 5 times a day, oops).
Ines brought Luka over to see her right at feeding time:
It was rather cute 🙂
I think that should just about update everything now.

We have moved!

Not only have we moved from our 1 bedroom studio apartment, but we’ve moved into a 5 bedroom house on a total of 10 acres (I think I may have mentioned this was happening), we have gone from a 2 people and 1 cat house to 2 cats, 4 people, 1 horse, 4 geese, 2 ducks, 5 chickens 2 roosters and are currently baby sitting the sweetest week old Suffolk lamb.

Now as soon as I find the box with my cameras I’ll take some photos to share the wonderfulness that is our new home. 

We’ve been moved in for 5 days and already started on the big gardening plans. I’ve cleaned out the little green house near the house ready to start our spring seed raising, we’ve plotted out the large vegetable garden (made up of 4 plots and 8 beds which will rotate on a 4 yearly cycle). The entire experience is amazing. Banking the fire over night and bringing it back to life in the morning when I get up, popping on a jacket and gumboots and wondering down to the chook house to let them out. They aren’t early morning layers we’ve discovered, nor are they producing many eggs, but the joy of having them is enough for us right now.

It’s all very exciting, and I’m totally exhausted and have to run now to give Fern (the lamb) her last feed before bed.

Settled at last!

Well its official – Craig and I are now compleatly homeless. Our house settled yesturday morning (Monday) at 11.30am, there are still nigly things to sort out monies wise.

We ended up settling the road issue with a 50/50 split, not ideal but better then what they were trying to get *grrr*

In brighter news, Lippy has some more photos for us of the construction so as soon as she is able to scan them I will upload them to the flickr site 🙂

So why is it things have to go sour?

Things were going so well, you will note the excitement and happyness in my last post and now the frustration and saddness!

Remember how I said “our settlement WILL got through on Friday” well it’s Friday, its 30mins after settlement was due to happen and it ain’t happanin, in fact the whole entire sale might go compleatly bust and its all crap! 😦

Why you ask? Well the purchasers have tried to wriggle out of the deal in regards to payment of a cuncil road scheme, because it wasn’t put in the contract, it was just a verbal understanding between all parties, they have been listening to a stupid lawyer wo has said something like “hay you know you don’t actually have to pay this, verbal deal or not” and so they have decdided now that they are not going to honour the verbal deal and are trying to make us pay for the $10k+ and its NOT RIGHT! they agreed, we set the price on that agreement and now its going to cost us a fucking fortune because we either have to pay the money or take them to court and end up paying more! We were nice to them, we bloody well gave them the time they needed to get their finances in order, we could have sold the house a dozen times over in the last month but we believed everyone was happy and all was good, we were all dealing wit each other in a nice happy way and then sddenly they do this! Everyone is telling me it’s ok, don’t worry about, I’m sure things will work out just fine, see we got them to admit they are pulling a dodgy, but did anyone get it in writting again? NO and so we are screwed and maybe things will work out – fine, great, grand but what if it doesn’t? I want to sell my bloody house! I don’t want to go through all of this again, I want it over and done with, I want to be settled and done.

But that’s not all folks – our brocker in NZ is crap and only sent us the happy page 1 of a fax from the mortgage lenders, he forgot somehow to include page 2 that listed 12 conditions that had to be met before the loan will be okayed, many of which they should have had from him already but when I contact them, I discovered they had basicaly nothing, our brocker pissed off on holidas for a week (which I discovered after ringing his mobile and being told NOT to leave a message). So I ran around collecting documents again, signing documents I had never even seen before and getting really cross with incompitant people who are supposed to be there to make my life easier! grrr (can you tell I’m not a happy girl today?)

Well I shall go before I say something I’ll regret! 😦

Ohh so exciting

Not only is it official that our house is on the market, but we already have some very keen buyers interested. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite quick enough and hadn’t arranged the section 32 just yet so there will now be a short delay.

I really hadn’t expected things to be happening so fast – we spoke with the agent on Saturday, it went onto the websites on Monday and the paper yesterday (Wednesday), we had only just popped over late last night to do some final cleaning and put some things that we had just dumped in the lounge away, the wardrobe door had only be reinstalled yesterday – and I simply had not realised anyone would have been through the yet!

I don’t think anyone has actually put in an offer, the are waiting to see the section 32 first, but if there are interested buyers then that’s really good news for us (bidding war anyone??).

I’d like to not have to think about any of this realy until after Easter, but it would be a great buzz non-the-less if we could go away for Easter knowing that we had a buyer 🙂

The funds from our investment have transferred out and we are just waiting for them to clear in our access account, then we can arrange the initial deposit to Earthsong and send back all the forms to fully and compleatly secure our new home.

We have had some positive mumblings from our new brocker so here’s hopeing we have more success with the banks then we did with Prometheus – oh and apparently the NZ$ has fallen again making the AU$ stronger which is great news for us right now.

It’s Official

Our house is now officially on sale:

House For Sale

We have met with the Real Estate agent in Hurstbridge and our house will be listed for sale this week.

The decision has been made not to paint or do anything to the house as the agent does not believe it will raise the properties value enough to even recoup the costs. Although I was orginally very keen on the idea of painting the place and doing some gardening there, I am now very pleased that I will not have to do anything. The house can stay just as it is and still get us the same return.

Apparently houses are selling like hotcakes in Hurstbridge at the moment and the agent believes our place will sell very quickly – I hope he’s right!

Our life in a box

So our life (or at least the material possession part of it as my Shazza keeps reminding me), so far fits into half a container and involves exactly 60 parcels and I have the photos to prove it!

Yes we have moved out of our apartment and into Craig’s mums. The shipping company came on Saturday morning and collected everything that wasn’t coming to Craig’s mums with us. It will be stored until we have everything sorted out and a place to live in Earthsong. Wow!