Thursday, 21 October 2010

Returning to New Zealand, Apple Juicing, Winter Arrives

Yesterday we bade farewell to our Kiwi visitor. She has been with us for 4 months and had really become part of the family. We were all very sad to see her go & I think she was sorry to leave us. She has had a marvellous different to life in Timaru & no earthquakes to worry about.
Apparently this last week or so there has been another large tremor in Christchurch and also in the areas south of the city. The Kiwi said her parent's house has shifted & doors no longer open easily and everything has dropped of the walls. Since the first big earthquake in Christchurch over a month ago there have been well over 1200 (!) minor quakes monitored, but the latest ones are getting stronger it seems. Christchurch airport was closed at the beginning of the week, so we hope that S. will be able to get home without too much difficulty.

On Tuesday, a number of members of the local Transition Group came to the farm with their crops of apples to be juiced.
The Farmer has been juicing most of our apple crop with a very efficient pulping machine and juicer. He bottles the juice in small plastic milk bottles and then freezes them. Ideally we would like to pasteurise the juice which would then save on the expense of having to run freezers, although at present we are able to store the apple juice in freezers that also contain meat.
The bringers of apples certainly brought plenty of fruit & of several
different varieties. The variation of flavours was very interesting. Our   own apples produce quite a sharp but pleasant juice, though unfortunately we don't know what the varieties are, just that they are very old trees, probably a good 100 years or more in age.

Tomorrow we take Younger Son up to Ludlow to meet his friend J. with whom he is travelling back to New Zealand for a 4th stint working on Canterbury Plain. J.'s father will drive the boys to Heathrow. This year they will both be working for the same agricultural contractor and no doubt will have a good time driving huge machinery for long hours earning lots of money through a hot NZ summer again. I hope the earthquakes do not cause problems.

With YS & the Kiwi returning to New Zealand for the summer, winter is beginning to creep into our lives in Wales; we had  the first frost this week, very light but frost nonetheless and the leaves are coming off the trees and forming drifts of copper & gold in every corner of the yard and around the house. I've started my regular replenishments of the log supply in the porch as I'm lighting fires every afternoon wheelbarrow & I have a very deep & meaningful relationship!
The swallows left duruing the week the Farmer & I were away...there was one family still flying around the buildings when we left presumably waiting until their last brood was grown & ready for their long journey to Africa. They probably had reared three broods over the summer. We seemed to have had many more swallows this year for some unknown reason. Let's hope that most if not all manage to return next April.

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