Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Day 69 - End of this trip

Saturday was the last working day of my vacation and we still had lots to get done.  I started early and painted the ceilings of both bathrooms.  Heather joined me later and cut in the walls of the master bath and then I painted the walls.  The upstairs bath was too small for two people to work in so I cut in and painted the walls.  Mike's dad came over and helped Mike put the wire fencing up around the orchard.  Mike's mom had sent along a bacon and egg pie and we heated that up for lunch.  Later in the afternoon Heather and I went back and put the second coat of paint on both bathrooms.  So with the exception of the walk in closet in the master bedroom, all the walls and ceilings of all the rooms in the house are now painted!!  Mike grilled hamburgers for dinner and then in the evening I started to pack.

Sunday morning after finishing packing I walked around the property and took a few more pictures. The pictures below are a few "before and after" views.  

Lambs at two days and at two months

Poults at two days and at two weeks

The vegetable garden in late September, then late October, and then late November

The grape vine in September, October and then in November

And here are a few of my favorite memories.

The Wee Mansion

Silla, the pet sheep across the road

Newborn lambs

Romeo, the sire of all the 20 baby turkeys

Working on the house with Heather and  Mike

Overcoming my fear of heights

Watching Heather care for her animals

Incredible cloud formations

Amazing sunsets

Watching the baby turkeys grow

Interacting with wild life

Playing with big machines!

Roo and his girls

More turkeys!

Number Eleven

California poppies in New Zealand

The turkey house

Working in the garden with Heather

Fruit growing on the trees in the orchard

Good bye for now to my New Zealand friends and family. See you all next year!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Days 67 and 68

First job Thursday morning was to paint the ceiling in the hallway and laundry room.  Then Heather and I drove to Rangiora to pick up some paint for the bathrooms and more turkey food.  After a quick lunch we put the final coat of paint on the walls of the hallway and laundry room.  As soon as that was done we headed back to Rangiora to meet Mike for my birthday dinner at the Blue Rooster.   Heather and I had steak and Mike had a lamb shank and everything was delicious!  Happy Birthday to me : )

Friday Heather and I went into Christchurch to shop at the new Cashel Mall.  Here are some pictures of what the Cashel Mall looked like before the devastating earthquakes hit earlier this year.

Here are some pictures of what the Cashel Mall looked like after the three major earthquakes - September 2010, February 2011, and June 2011. These pictures were taken by professional photographer, Ross Becker.

The buildings show in these pictures have been demolished and the debris has 
been removed.  There is now a new mall in place, but it is completely constructed of huge shipping containers.  Here are some pictures I took of the new Cashel Mall.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Days 64, 65 and 66 - Number Eleven

First order of business on Monday morning was to check to see if Number Eleven had lived through the night.  Happily, she did and was stumbling around in the box Mike had made for her.  (We can't really tell if it's male or female, but we're saying it's a girl.) 

Heather managed to get her to eat a little and take some water and then we put her back in the box and let her warm up and sleep.  We checked her several times during the day and she seemed to be doing okay, cheeping and stumbling around, and her head didn't seem to be flopping around as much as it had the day before.

It had rained through the night Sunday and into Monday morning and Honky and Desdemona sat out in the rain with the other poults under them.  Both mothers were soaking wet and the poults were following them around the turkey enclosure and getting wet - not good for little turkeys to be wet and cold.  So Heather and I put screening across the front of the turkey hutch to keep the little ones confined in a dry space.  Then we had to get the 10 poults and their two mothers into the hutch!  I scooped up three and Heather got four and we put them in the hutch.  Then I guarded to door to keep them in while Heather chased down the last three.  All the while, the mothers were calling the poults to come to them and the little ones were cheeping furiously and trying to get out of the hutch to get to their mothers.  Finally, Heather caught the three poults and we got them all into the hutch.  Within a minute, Honky and Desdemona found their way into the hutch and we secured the screening over the doorway.  We gave them food and water and by the time we left they were all pecking away at the food.  It rained off and on the rest of the day, but at least we knew that the little turkeys would be dry.

Tuesday was warm and dry and Eleven had lived through another night.  Heather wanted to take her out of her box and let her run around on solid ground rather than the towels and padding that were in her box.  The office upstairs in the house gets the morning sun and was really warm so we took her up there to play on the carpet.

At this age, their natural instinct is to burrow into their mother's feathers for warmth and security.  She kept on trying to crawl up Heather's sleeve.  And when the sleeve was not available, she tried to get under Heather's leg as she sat on the floor.

In the afternoon we took her outside into the sunshine and put her down in the grass.  We cut the bottom out of a box to put around her and then got one of the other poults and put it in the box with her.  She followed the other little turkey around and tried snuggling up to it.  Her walking was so much better and she wasn't having any trouble holding up her head.  We decided to put her into the turkey hutch along with the other poults to see if the mothers would accept her.  And of course they did.  As soon as we put her in the hutch she walked/stumbled over to Desdemona and snuggled right into her feathers!  Later in the afternoon when we went out to check on her, it was hard to tell which poult was our little Eleven.

Wednesday we went back to working on the house.  We have one more coat of paint to put on the laundry room and downstairs hall area.  Mike has finished priming both bathrooms and they need to be painted, as well as all the interior doors.  And then we're done painting - at least until the holes in the ceiling of the kitchen are fixed.  

The garden continues to grow and of course there is now the bug problem to deal with!  Here is a picture of Heather mixing up some organic caterpillar repellent to spray on the grapevine.

We've also made a herb tea mixture with a few teaspoons of eco-friendly dish detergent that will be sprayed on all the other vegetables as an insect repellent.  

So much yet to do and so little time left before I leave for home : ( 

But I sure am looking forward to hugging my little grandsons : )

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Day 63 - More Baby Turkeys

Early Sunday morning we found five more empty egg shells in the turkey enclosure next to Desdemona and Honky who were still sitting on eggs, and obviously, some baby turkeys.  Later in the morning I saw that the mother turkeys were walking around near the back of the enclosure and sure enough there were little turkeys following them and getting under their feet.  All together there were ten poults.  

Then Heather found an egg abandoned in the nest that was cracked and partially hatched.  She took the egg in her hands to keep it warm and slowly helped the little turkey chip away the shell and get out of the egg.

And so we had baby turkey number Eleven.  Heather wrapped it and kept it warm until it dried off and started to open its eyes.  We tried to put it with the other new turkeys but the mothers just ignored it.  Mike came out to see what was going on and when it was apparent that Eleven was alive, he went to the garage and built a box for it, with a spotlight attached to give it warmth.  We put the other five eggs that had not hatched in the box to keep them warm in case they were also late in hatching.    We'll see if Eleven  makes it through the night.

The rest of the little turkeys are eating, drinking, and growing.  

The rest of the day we spent working on the house.  Mike primed the two bathrooms with a waterproof sealer and I did the final patching and sanding in the laundry room and downstairs hallway.  Tomorrow we prime the laundry room and hallway.