Monday, December 31, 2007

Neighbours - who'd have them?!

Hurray, new neighbours. After the steers were moved from the the paddock it's been lonely with no friends to talk to.

Fear not, we've got new neighbours this week. The dinkiest, sweetest family of goats - billy, bessy and their little kids.

Dramatic scenes today though as I turned into the lonely goat herder. They obviously didn't like the paddock much and escaped to be found wandering on the highway. I did manage to get them back although MT doesn't think I'll make the next round of "one man and his dog".

Whilst I did marvellously for style, there were a few penalty points for taking the goats into the neighbours garden and then a slow move back down the lane to their rightful place.

Whilst they may look happily through our fence they escaped again tonight..... can you believe it. A few words were spoken to the neighbours house sitter (well dog and goat sitter). Hopefully he's mended the hold in the fence and they will be around for while.

The Bassets are curious but not interested enough to make friends. That's tomorrow's excitement.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Domestic water

Regular blog readers will know that there are all sorts of exciting things we experience living in a rural area. One of which is having a rural water supply.

What this means is we collect the rain from the roof, fill the tank and then pump it back into the house via a fancy filtering system. Very ecco you may say and yes it is. However the success of this system relies on two key things - rain and a working pump.

Yes you've guessed it. We've had neither recently!

First it didn't rain for weeks and weeks so that the water supply dropped to worrying levels. How embarressing would that be to have visitors and no water? So what do you do when the ritual rain dance of Kaitoke failed?

You get a man to deliver silly......yes, the lovely Colin and his shiny truck brought 10,000 litres of water to save the day in time for Christmas.

Great got the water. Now the issue is that the pump decided to give up the ghost on a Sunday morning!
So what do you do? You get the plumber out of bed and get him to replace it......
In the 2 hours that we were without any form of water pump it was most definitely a worry. Makes you realise how you rely on (a) water and (b) electricity to drive the pump. Need contingency for both future eventualities. In the meantime you can be reassured that we're celebrating the new year with our domestic water supply doing what it is suposed to do.
Now all we need is more rain and an alternative power supply - but that's for another day I think.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Festive Domesticity

I know that this sounds like a cheap excuse for not blogging but it really has been full on. Festive domesticity is always a challenge but for this domestic executive in this year it's been more challenging than most.

Fortunatly my just in time methodology served me well and we didn't miss out on any of the essential festive treats. We had presents to unwrap, food to scoff and plenty to drink. Also, we found the fancy china from our secret storage place and dusted off the Christmas decorations to put a bit of festive cheer.

Now I am ready to relax. To live for the moment and not the ones coming up. I am officially on domestic executive leave and looking forward to enjoying some sights and r&r to recharge the batteries.

With this new found time I might actually find some time to do some blogging more regularly, now that would be a novelty eh!

Houseblogging: plants

My parents project since they've arrived is to help turn the landscape planting plan into a reality. We've been cruising to nurseries and the internet to find the array of plants specified in the plan.

Having tracked down about 100 plants then the challenge of placing them in the right spot started. After lots of tweaking we finally got them where we think they should be. Next step is to dig the holes and put them in to create the first bit of our new garden!

Yes there is a lawn there - or at least lawn seed!

Basset Blogging: boys at play

Our Bassets, Fortnum and Mason, are worth their weight in comic value. I've not laughed so much in years. I can watch them for hours at play which is pretty rough and tumble - well they are boys.

Play is how puppies learn and my boys are no different although I think that they think that they are cleverer than they really are. After all the cunning sideways glances to pretend that they are not playing any more only to then swing around and leap on top of each other is pretty transparent to the human eye but they just love to surprise each other.

Hooning, is a traditional kiwi youth pursuit where you hoon around in your car making as much noise as possible and drawing attention to yourself. Bassets like to hoon but without the car. Generally speaking this is after they've eaten, done their business and are refueled and comfortable for more play. Hooning hour in the evening can be quite exhausting at the end of a long day but boys being boys there is no stopping them.

What's funniest of all is that just like cinderella at the witching hour, around 8pm every evening our puppies are just pooped out and flop into their bed and snooze the night away until its time to start playing again in the morning. Not a bad life eh!
Ready to pounce!

Got ya!
It wasn't us, we didn't do it!

Same game, different place.

This time with a stick!

Mason - having grown to 9.6kg (2kg since he arrived)

Fortnum at 12.3 kg (3kg more)

Up to mischief with their dog house

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Basset Blogging: Christmas goodies

Bassets' first Christmas was full of excitment. Lots of paper to chew. Fortnum and Mason were not forgotten by santa although they were a little unsure of what to do with their parcels from under the tree!

Fortnum sucking his parcel
"Here, I'll help" said Mason

It's all mine!
Hmm, paper was much more fun......

So, what do we do now?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Domestic fast lane

I feel like I've been motoring at a million miles an hour this week. There are puppy routines to manage, builders to coral and family to organise for. Still, I'm over the hump and now heading into the middle lane towards the slow lane for the holidays.

Quite unexpectedly I was also called to present for some coaching business with a large Government department. I needed it like a hole in the head in terms of current priorities but need to invest for future. Although technically I've finished with MSD I'm still playing flexi time to pay back for the time owed when I was up to my neck earlier this month.

All in all it's felt quite stressful but this evening as I finished my domestic responsibilities (fetching the washing in) I got a lump in my throat when I glanced back at the view. It's an amazing place we've found here in New Zealand and whilst there is life in the fast pace inside the house you just need to look around and life moves at a natural pace in a complicated yet stress free way.

Trying to pick up on the country pace I've failed to get my photo blogging done this weekend. But tomorrow is another day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Houseblogging: it's starting to look like a garden

It's quite something to see the lanscapers turn our "cow pat" into the start of a garden. The front flower beds are now in with work in progress to the side of the house. The lawn area is looking good although there is one patch that will need a bit more work as it got flooded when the rains came down today. We're very excited about the rain arriving to fill up the water tank!

Hopefully we're on the home run with the final bits of construction and then we can start planting - the really fund bit.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

New constructions

Our landscapers have done a great job on the temporary puppy play pen. This keeps Fortnum and Mason very happy being able to play outside. It's all mod cons you know - special soft washable grass, smashing dog house and lots of room to run around. It's an ideal spot for people watching too.

Note picture taken after rain arrived - it was beautiful sunshine when the Bassets were first playing there!

"Not sure about this green stuff, think I might stick to this dirt area and make more mess"

"Nah, come on, it's great for rolling around on!"

"Oh OK, since you're my brother I'll come and lie down with you and see if I can get my belly rubbed too!"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bassets love their routines. It's hard to imagine LBB (life before Bassets) now after 5 days of getting the hang of what's required for keeping puppies happy.

We've spared you the photos of the personal moments but basically this is what Fortnum and Mason do on a repeated basis thoughout the day.

Chow, personal moment, play, personal moment, sleep, personal moment, chow, personal moment, play, personal moment, sleep, personal moment, chow, personal moment, play personal moment, sleep, personal moment, chow.... get the idea?

Don't be fooled by the butter wouldn't melt in our mouths look in the final picture!!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

More domestic than executive

Increasingly my time is more domestic than executive. It was a real shock to the system to be back in work harness yesterday for a full day's work. Not slouching in Domestic-Executive HQ proper commuting from Maymourn to the big smoke.

All I can say is that puppies are demanding on your time and energy. We've gradually got more organised and the hang of it. Put that together with more builders than you can shake a stick at it makes for full and tiring days at home. Still, the rewards come every day as we tip toe towards completing the snagging list. It's nice around 4pm each day when they head off in a cloud of dust to leave us back in our peaceful haven.

Watch out for some photo blogging this weekend to show progress which includes foundations for the lawn, drains for the sewage system, final piece of kitchen installed and tiled oh yes and the construction of an interim puppy pen complete with their own Astra turf for their rough and tumble games. The puppy ramps arrive next week as the veranda steps are a bit much for Fortnum and Mason to keep clambering up and down.

Hard to believe that I've only got hours left on my MSD countdown and not much more before parents arrive. Next week is going to continue to be hectic with the final painting push and not to mention prepping for a pitch presentation for a very large coaching contract with a Government Department which would be a nice tidy sum to keep the puppies in treats should we win the business.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Domestic Chaos

I thought builders were disruptive but not a patch on bringing in two puppies to our home!

Introducing Courtside Robbie Coltrane (big boy) and Courtside Billy Connolly (wrinkle) and now officially Fortnum and Mason Treanor. We think that they are fine, distinguished and up market and although not by Royal Appointment they are already royalty in the Treanor household.

It's been an exhausting day for the puppies (and me) with a two hour car ride back to base (phew no car sickness) and then total chaos as rank amateur owners try to bring order to their first few hours here. Let's just say that there is lots to learn but we'll get there I am sure.

One thing that the Master of the house hasn't mastered yet is photography of said dogs. So, this is our first and best efforts on day one of Fortnum and Mason settling in.

Mason (8.6kg with long ears and lots of wrinkles)
Fortnum (10kg with really really big paws)
It's mine, no it's mine!

The reality of being dog tired (it was an early night for these pooches)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Garden taking shape

There's been a constant hum of machinery at work this week as the landscaping got underway. The beds have been dug and top soil spread after gypsum goes down to help break down the clay. The lawn and herb garden are also being done.

With the resculpting going on we've been able to claw back some of the metal from the drive and spread it to start to fill the gap around the barn. Not wishing to be tight about these things but better to respread and save the money. We're going to need to to fill the beds with plants!

The flower beds are huge. You need a pack lunch and walking boots to get across them! Still it will keep my parents happy as we can spend hours at nurseries picking out the plants. Just need the planting plan from the landscape designer now.

Precious top soil saved from the original groundworks
Side view towards living room
Ginormous front bed ready for filling

Other side already filled!

Rear area getting ready for the lawn

Hmm, now what do we do! The hazards of rain collection drains.

More boys toys.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Country living

Phew back where a country mouse can feel more comfortable after two days hacking into town. Boy is life as a domestic executive much more appealing.

After doing my stint this week I'm all ready to down shift into a slower pace. I fear that this is unlikely to be possible given that we've got earth moving machinery on site and builders due to do snagging. Also, granite installers will be here to finish their work. Did I mention plumbers to site water pumps and filters, oh and put the kitchen taps in.

As if that wasn't enough excitement we will have two new residents to join us next week. Let's just say that they are not going to be easy to live with as they have a demanding diet, expect lots of attention and will not be terribly obedient until they've learned the house rules.

Watch out for the photoblogging this week – these flower beds have to be seen to be believed!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

You need vision

Our landscape designer is taking no chances - he's carefully marked out the areas for landscaping and to avoid any doubt, he's labelled some areas clearly!

They are due to start this week laying the lawn and digging the flower beds. This will at least make the front of the house presentable for our visitors. It will be quite an operation to plant up, when the beds are marked out they are huge!

Next on the list of lanscaping priorities is the removal of the gorse which is a NZ blight and needs to be removed/destroyed to avoid it taking over the bush and rest of the landscape. Also, we need to reinstate the fencing as soon as possible to make it all basset proof.

We've been enjoying a heat wave this week - yesterday it was 30 degrees and last evening was very balmy. I just hope it's not summer already - of if it is that it lasts until our last visitor departs. Wishful thinking........

Friday, November 23, 2007

Domestic Footprint

One of the misnomers about New Zealand is the clean and green substance behind its image. We're trying to do our bit though with our solar water heating, sheep wool insulation, heat pump heating and rainwater capture. MT has eyes for a wind turbine too!

The thing that's most concerning me at the moment is our waste management. That's rubbish disposal in plain speak.

Being in a rural area we miss out on luxuries like a postman and also trash collection. The options are pretty limited with the only polite one is to take it all to the landfill. So we did.

It cost us $8 so you don't want to trundle up with just one bag of rubbish. You need to save up heaps so you get your money's worth. What upset me most about spending that $8 was grossness of it all.

As I stood over the pit where you drop stuff (and then they shovel it with a digger into the land) for the first time I came face to face with the wastefulness of human beings and the impact we're having on the environment. The guy in the next lane chucked in a home gym. What is all that about? A pile of metal and junk that will never decompose is now ensconced below the earth (or ready to be buried) for ever.

I felt sick – literally. Not because of the stench (because there wasn't any) but rather because I'd come face to face with the gross negligent behaviour over waste management. Did I feel any better throwing in piles of polystyrene packaging, paper, debris and other miscellaneous waste from my own house? Heck no. I felt rubbish (sorry about the pun) and haven't felt much better about it since.

So, we need to get organised with our own waste disposal system. We'll have an incinerator unit so we can burn stuff (it will be a metal bin with lid) and other receptacles for sorting the recycling. I'm on a mission to try and reduce our waste so that whatever we do have to send to landfill it's not going to have the same damaging impact as the guy who threw away his fitness promises into the pit.

Top tips:

  1. No more carrier bags from the supermarket – it's Pam's cloth bags for us
  2. No more black bags – it's the large brown paper sacks from now on
  3. No tomatoes, cakes and other foodstuffs packed in plastic boxes – loose and fancy free is best
  4. Shred and recycle everything paper (to feed it to the compost or recycle)
  5. Compost vegetable waste and other green matter
  6. No more home gym equipment – a run in the country is better for the lungs!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New additions

Part of the domestic executive plan was to get some home companions in the shape of Basset hounds. Well now were in it seemed prudent to start the search for our new additions to the household.

As luck would have it there were puppies born in the Coramandel on 16 November. Here they are 3 days old. We're hoping to be able to pick two of these little pups and bring them home in early 2008.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Unpacking over

I am so over the unpacking. We finally finished unpacking all the boxes. Also managed to get the guest bedroom unpacked too. A major relief I am sure for my parents arriving in 3 weeks time. Now I just need to sort out everything jammed in the cupboards and give them room to unpack their bags!

The barn is now functional - well almost. We're waiting for the power to be retrenched to reach it (you can see how far it's short). Then we'll be able to get the electrics in and doors open. Also it will mean we can resite the water pump and filter system.

Well, all the hording of stuff had to go somewhere!

I know - there a few packages lurking. These are pictures and mirrors etc which don't count as boxes!