Thursday, July 22, 2010

Winter in Tuateawa

This winter has been a mix of wind and rain, lovely sunny days and cold, clear nights. While we tuck in early to warm up by the fireplace (it's dark by 6pm), we still have accomplished quite a bit with the help of some awesome volunteers: Cat, Mel, Dave, Nico and Jenn... Right now, as the rain pours down outside, I'd love to recap just some of the activities that have been keeping us busy...

You see the "s" there? We've got cabins. Not one, but three! There's a cabin for everyone: moms, nieces, friends.. Cabin 1 is jokingly called "Ninya's cabin" because it's near to the dog run, and I think Ninya might have the idea that it's for her... Cabin 2 will probably be called the Pohutakawa cabin, as it's under a Pohutakawa tree. And Cabin 3 is called the bathhouse cabin, because it was designed to be a bathhouse, but reworked to be a cabin..

Cabin 1: "Ninya's cabin" Dave and Nico working on the frame. Don't worry, Dave's a rock-climber..

Cabin two with a view

Hammer time!

Cabin 3: Currently known as the Bathhouse cabin

Cabin 2 again.. getting to the final touches

I'll post some more photos of the finished cabins soon...

We've planted over 1,000 trees during the months of May, June and July. There are all kinds: acacias, eucalyptus, fruit trees including 100 feijoas and a few apples, passionfruit, etc...and NZ natives such as tarata (lemonwood), kauri, and more... The acacias are planted to improve conditions for future trees. They're hardy trees that will provide shelter and soil nutrition so that we can plant more natives and fruit trees between them in the future.

Acacia Pravisima


We've worked on a lot of little projects during the winter too. We're planting at least one new type of fruit or vege a week. This week Jon planted passionfruit, and we all worked on a strawberry planter, which we call the Strawberry Condo, made of a mussel buoy that washed ashore..

Baby strawberries from the Waihi weekend market

Jon made a base out of wood scraps leftover from the cabins. Then he cut windows with his chainsaw. There are 22 residents in the strawberry condo.. Jenn and I put in a french drain down the middle, which is a plastic tube with slots in it to improve drainage (kind of like an elevator for water to go down!). Then we filled it with mulch, soil and pine needles, planting in the baby strawberries level by level as we filled. There's even a penthouse for the Hiltons.

We've also made improvements to our worm bath (pics to come up soon).. It now is rat-proof, rain-proof, raised to waist level and easy to use. Everybody and everything is living in style in Tuateawa this winter!

And as I mentioned, at night we have fire and dogs to keep us warm until a new work day begins..