Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sun Went Down in Honey and the Moon Came Up in Wine

When I was a little kid, I had a tremendous fear of, actually, a lot of things. Among them were bees. I don't remember ever being actually stung, but if there was a bee near me, or if I heard a buzz, I ran inside. Wasps were worse.

Here, there are lots of bees of all types and they are often all over the flowers in the yard. Now we work in harmony. Turns out they are handy little bugs and somewhat friendly. You could almost pet them.

New Zealand is very protective of their bees and bee products. You cannot bring in honey from another country. They have detectors at the airports and harbors. You'd have less problems bringing in drugs.

We have talked about the honey before, but recently, we have discovered beeswax. Our buddy, Lance, the woodworking guy, puts it on all his stuff. We he brought over a small table the other day, it was slimy with wax made from a special formula. Then he rubs it off good and the result is beautiful finished wood. No commercial wood polish is needed.

Now, we treat all out wood furniture with beeswax which we get from Lance. He is our connection.

I spent a few hours yesterday waxing the outdoor furniture to make it ready for the intense summer sun. The tables and chairs were all dry and dull, but after waxing, they look like they did when we bought them. And when beeswax is warm, it goes on quite easily.

Well, Hanukkah is here and it is a real big deal in New Zealand. There are at least 10 Jews living in Nelson and all of them are atheists. We looked for the menorah, but then for some reason, did not light candles. We did not buy an, I guess. Perhaps the local stores were sold out.

But we had a turkey dinner and invited some friends over. They are not Jewish. We picked flowers from the yard and had a fine feast with Phil and Shirley. Phil is a full blooded Maori and
his wife is not. She is a nurse, and he is a house painter and golf buddy.

We are getting ready for Christmas. There are lots more people who celebrate that here. Also, there is no War on Christmas here.

Perhaps because, Bill O'Stupid has very little impact, although we do get the Fox Channel.

The stores are decorated, but you need to look close to tell. There is no music blaring all over the place about Santa, Jesus, or Bethlehem. It is much more subtle.

But it is also summer and people are off on holiday vacations around the country. One of those hot vacation spots is right here in Nelson. We expect to see the population double in the coming months.

Parking will be a problem and the beaches will be packed. Just like Carlsbad on the fourth of July.

Cheers for now and Happy Holidays. Except Bill O'Reilly, who can choke on his fruitcake.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trouble Ahead, Trouble behind

This was a week where some problems have been solved.

Firstly, we have a wrought iron gate that you need to go thru to get to the front door. The previous owners had a dog, so they didn't want him getting out. One day we realized that we didn't have a dog and that we really did not like the wrought iron fence. So we decided to take it down and do... I don't know what with it.

I started the removal process armed with my bolt removing tools, protective goggles and work gloves. But the concrete patio it was protecting was put in on top of the bolts holding it down. More tools would be needed than my tiny wrench.

Who walks in the door, but Lance, a guy we know who crafts wood. Turns out Lance has a baby and a dog and could sure use a wrought iron fence. And he had tools with him that could saw thru wrought iron. 30 minutes later, we were both happy.

Then, some of you will remember that we have been seeking bagels. We have been settling for the store ones, which are Farmer Boy Quality, at least. But as I have been know to say, if you can throw some money at a problem and make it go away, it wasn't really a problem.

From Wholly Bagels in Wellington, we can order 2 doz. (26) bagels to be delivered to our doorstep the same day they were made. Total cost - $44NZ (30US). OK, so that's a little more than a buck a bagel. But the problem has gone away.

Last, everyone needs to be near a chocolate store. We have a lot of places to get lollies, and ice cream. We can get decent candy at the grocery market. There is a darn good fudge shop in town, too. But we need that chocolatier, above See's level.

As I was to learn, and Kimberly already knew, Nelson is the home of Rosy Glow Chocolate, which was mentioned in an eariler entry. It is like The Wisteria Candy Cottage in Jacumba, Ca. We went there yesterday and met the manager, who is the fiance to the son of our horticulturist.

Small town. Seems like Mayberry.

But the chocolates could make a dead man come, according to Kimberly. I'm not sure what that says about me... She spent $50 on huge chunks of candy filled with rums and coconuts and fruits. Each chunk had weight, which will soon be transfered to my gut.

Luckily we found where to get coffee.

There is also a place that sells bulk coffees with tasty blends. It's called Sublime Coffee. It is near Butcher Boys, a meat market owned by Scottish people. Round the bend near the harbor is Guyton's, where one can get freshly caught fish.

Trouble just has no name here, Aunt Bee.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Shaking in the Garden

Shaking in the garden, the fear within you grows
Here there may be roses to punch you in the nose
Twist their arms around you, slap you till you cry,
Wrap you in their sweet perfume and love you till you die

Those who know us will not recall our having tools for gardening. We had a Mexican guy named Ricardo Galvan who would keep the place looking decent for 80 bucks a month.

We traded the lawnmower to a couple free months and wrote a check thereafter.
Case closed.

Well, it doesn't work that way here, sir.

My usual motto was ABM ... Anybody But Me.

Here, they have something called DIY...Do It Yourself. So now we have heaps of tools and the list keeps growing. Lawn Mower, several rakes, ax, edging tool, shovel, clippers, pruner, get the idea.

Our gardener is really a horticulturist with whom we work side by side. Kimberly does most and she is learning all about what's what back there. I am sort of labor. I cut the lawn and haul away the giant piles of rubbish.
It is like I have become Ricardo Galvan, without the 80 dollars.

The place looks lots better cleaned up.
So we have decided to stay and make some changes.

We are going to paint the outside with a fresh coat that is not so "pink".
And Kimberly got hold of a landscape architect who is working on a design for a patio in the back upper yard.

We reckon to put a little spa pool up there along with a garden. Boy, what we won't do to attract visitors!

The garden is small and experimental right now, but it grows so fast...we are already eating from it. We picked up a little BBQ and have been cooking out.

This is the view from the potential spa.

Come on over for a visit.

Especially if your name is Ricardo Galvan.