June 25, 2007
I'm learning that Christchurch is a lot like northern California in the winter, just a little colder. We get lots of sunshine - it's fun looking at the weather map on TV as there are usually clouds everywhere except around Christchurch. Yesterday was sunny and 14C. This morning it was pouring rain, 5C and there was a howling southerly (think howling northerly if you live in the northern hemisphere). There is snow on the hills on the Banks Peninsula that I can see from the beach. But by noon the sun was shining and my study is now nice and cozy from the sun shining in the north-facing window.
I'm trying to think of everything that has happened since I last posted to this blog - too much to relate so I'll touch on the highlights. I swam in nationals in May and despite being a little out of shape and swimming my worst times ever in every event, I got 4 firsts, a second and a third. That's the difference between a country of 4 million people and a country of 250 million people! The pool here is indoors and I sure appreciate it now. None of that breaking the ice out of your jandals (aka flip-flops) so you can put them on after you get out of the pool.
I'm back living in New Brighton right across the street from the beach as I moved in with Ross. We go for great runs on the beach about three times a week. The surf has been awesome. One day last week it must have been about 3 meters high. Not one surfer was out. Hopefully it will calm down a little when Amy gets here in July so she can give it a go. I still haven't tried it again. The tides have been huge too - going right up to the top of the beach at high tide and out about 200 feet at low tide. Makes for some challenging runs when the tide is in!
Ross and I have made an offer on a property in the Port Hills and are hoping that everything goes through so we can start building. It faces north and a little west so we are planning on going solar - passive solar + solar hot water + solar electric. They have this cool setup here where you can put in photovoltaic panels and then connect to the grid. When you are generating more power than you need, it goes out to the grid. When you don't have enough power, you take it from the grid. There is a meter for each direction and you only pay for the net amount! Cool, eh? The photos show the land and a view to the north. You can see the snow-covered mountains to the west on a clear day.
Ross has an awesome vegetable garden and he is still managing to grow things in the winter! In the fall we dried a ton of cherry tomatoes and grapes. I made several batches of tomato relish and spagetti sauce. I even made fruit leathers from grape juice. He has lots of strawberry plants so I guess I'll be making strawberry jam next. I really miss my Myer lemon marmalade so we bought a Myer lemon tree but it will be a couple of years before it has enough lemons for marmalade. So by the time we get our house built with a huge vegetable garden and a little orchard, I'll be a true earth mother. I'm even baking all our bread now. I better buy some Birkenstocks!
This weekend we're heading out on a winter fly fishing trip including camping out (brr!) . I'm taking all my warmest clothes. Hopefully I won't wimp out and retreat to a motel! Amy's coming in July on her way home from India. We're going skiing 90 minutes form here, hopefully doing a little surfing and then Amy and I are heading to Cairns for some scuba diving, crocodile wrestling ;o) and hiking in Cairns, Australia. So I should have more interesting news and photos next time I post.