Usually, at this time of the year, with spring being a month away, I would write about how I revive the garden beds, plant seeds and grow some produce. Presently, a volunteer called Cole is on benisland (and I hope he gets most of the garden preparations done.).
When it comes to food, a few things have changed since I moved to the Barrier. The most obvious ones are that I spend less money on food and that the time spent in the (grocery) shop has decreased considerably. Stonewall Store, where I exclusively buy my goods, is in comparison to a supermarket rather tiny, yet it has a great selection and variety of foods and alcoholic drinks. I’m really fortunate to live close to the heart of Tryphena, the biggest settlement on the Island, where Stonewall – the best store on the Barrier (biggest variety, best price, best staff, open 7 days a week) – is located.
You probably have experienced more than once that feeling, be it after a birthday, a vacation, the beginning of a new year or a random occurrence, when you realize that you want to and/or need to change. The last couple of years have been rather comfortable, I don’t owe money, my micro-home has come together nicely, the firewood is sorted for winter, visited family and friends in Europe twice, became a keen photographer and other good stuff happened, too.
It feels unusual not to have a full work-programme during the school holidays, and I admit I had a great week. Busier than usual though, lots of walking, hiking, a bit of drive-way work, took a family fishing, some photography, went up Mt. Hirakimata and things going well, I’ll even be “busier” in the upcoming weeks. There is a vacation coming up as well soon, and I’m looking forward to assembling and using my new chainsaw.
I made a short video using the photos taken during the building process of my small, off-grid home. All the materials were brought onto site using a quad and the major tools used were: hammer, nails, circular saw, protractor, calculator, tape measure, theodolite and a level. I certainly learned how to hammer a nail in.
After building the foundation, I spread the word that I need someone to help me with building the rest. A dream came true when a seasoned man showed up on beniSland, a very experienced builder, man of god and good friend. He taught me how to build and when times were stressful or confusing, he just smiled and we moved on.
The music (Persian march) is by Johann Strauss Jr.
I made a short video from a few photographs I’ve taken this year. Brandon Stanley mentioned Adobe After Effects to me as a way to visualize photos. I had a bit of a go at it and ended up using the free Video Editor OpenShot. I’m content with the outcome, easy to use software and stable on my Ubuntu OS. The pan and zoom effects are unfortunately not comprehensive enough. I had also a go at Kdenlive (another free, open-source video editor), which seemed to offer a better range and diversity of effects, but it crashed on my system.
Set the youtube settings to Youtube-HD 720p for best resolution.
If you’re interested in the state of New Zealand’s fish stocks, you’ll find an enourmous volume of publications from government and ministry of fisheries claiming that they are on the rise, improving in quantity and quality. NZ fish and commercial fishing methods applied are up with the world’s best.
Well, I’ve lived 13 years in New Zealand and one thing every immigrant learns quickly is that New Zealand is world class in EVERYTHING. Full stop. I believe we also make some of the best mozzarella cheese worldwide.
It has been lately rather hot here on the Barrier. More than 25 deg. Celsius at seven in the morning doesn’t feel normal, but I certainly don’t mind. As a matter of fact, I’ve been practising FKK (German for doing the stuff you do, as you do, but naked). I have a few cool off showers per day, the water comes straight from the creek and have otherwise been enjoying staying on the land. Listening to operas, reading, eating and walking through the bush.
life is easy and comfortable on beniSland. I have been rather lazy in the last three weeks, often having to check what day it is. I don’t do much, attend to the gardens (not good this year) and animals, go for walks in the backyard, read about my hobbies, do a couple stretches and cook yummy food.
I’m happy and also pissed off.