Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Victory Garden...

My husband was very busy this weekend building his raised beds for the garden and planting lots of plants. He put in pole beans (green beans), peas, carrots, turnips, basil, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini and mesclun lettuce. I'm not sure what else he planted. Our strawberries are growing and the herbs are looking good, too. The garlic will be ready towards the end of summer. He is going to plant some potatoes, as well. I can't wait to eat this stuff! The food tastes so good when you can go outside and pick it and then cook it right then.

He built the picket fence to keep the puppy out (BTW, she turns 1 on June 1st). The little house in the back is a play house that the first owners used for storage. We are going to paint the fence later on in the summer. I think he did a great job.In other news, my brother got remarried yesterday. My dad sent me some pictures and he looks really happy. He deserves it! I'll meet my new sister-in-law towards the end of June. He told me "they just love hanging out together." Imagine that. :)

A few more pictures on our way across the South Island

Here is something funny that we saw and it's common around New Zealand. People rent these vans and drive around the country. This one was painted all funky. I just had to take a picture of it.

The same day we went to the penguin reserve. The yellow-eyed penguin is one of the rarest penguins and they are trying to protect it so it's numbers will come back.

And the picture below was taken at Cromwell, New Zealand. This town is in the heart of wine country.

Here we are stopping for lunch on our way to Queenstown. The guys were doing some wine tasting. I had a little.
This little kitten belonged to the owner's of the restaurant. There were two adult cats wondering around outside. My kind of place!

And here we are finally at Queenstown. Richard and Nicola are in the back. The town is situated on Lake Wakatipu. It was beautiful, but touristy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Zealand trip

I did write a little in a journal the first few days. Here it is:

At first, it looked as if we might miss our connection in Philadelphia. The incoming plane was delayed already when we checked in. We were called back to the counter and informed we were going to miss the flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. The agent was excellent and she rebooked us on another airline so we would make it to LA and catch our NZ flight. Things were looking up. We ended up flying to DC and then onto LA. It was a long flight.

Flying over the southwest was beautiful. We flew over the Grand Canyon! Los Angeles area was amazing, but not necessarily in a good way. The houses were identical and packed in. But, the sky was blue and the sunshine was reflecting off the roofs.
The flight to Auckland was just over 12 hours. That was the longest flight I'd ever been on. The airport in Auckland had a Maori carving we had to walk under. The Maoris were originally on the North Island. From Auckland, we flew to Dunedin. It took 20+ hours in the air to go from State College to Dunedin.

Dunedin is a beautiful city. It's very hilly with quaint Victorian homes in the city and newer construction in the suburbs. There is a beautiful bay called Otago Bay. There is a university in Dunedin as well as a pharmacy school. The only dental school in NZ in located in Dunedin.
We arrived Wednesday, May 6, 2009. It was cool and rainy. I got off the plane and said to Pete, "I should have brought my gloves." It was cold and people were dressed for cold

Richard met us at the gate. We did a group hug and then he presented me with a pair of black, wool gloves! I had just commented that I needed a pair. After saying hello we collected our luggage and Richard took us to his house. After a nap (kip) we picked up Nicola and found a place for lunch. I believe we ate at a cafe called Nova. It was great to be in NZ. After lunch, we walked around the Octagon and looked at some shops. There are a lot of cute shops.
Day 2 was Thursday and the day was lovely. It was cool, but sunny. We had croissants for breakfast and I saw the sun come up. Richard and Nicola's house has wonderful views.

We took Nicola to work and Richard drove Pete and me to St. Clair Beach. There was a person in the water riding a boogie board. There was a great sea breeze. We walked to a coffee shop for some java. I had a cappuccino and Pete and Richard had a "flat white." From this place we drove to Tunnel Beach. The views were breathtaking---amazing. We walked down a steep slope to the beach. R had to help carry me back up the hill. The mountainsides were sprinkled with sheep. The waves were crashing into the sea. I felt very insignificant in the world. It was amazing to think the closest land mass was Antarctica. I had been to the southern hemisphere before, but it was really hitting me at that point where I was.

Pete walking through the tunnel

views above Dunedin

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Zealand recap--first few days

On Mt. Cargill with Dunedin and the bay behind me

Pete and I at St. Clair Beach the day we arrived
After 20+ hours of actual flying time, I ended up in Dunedin, New Zealand. It was a long haul to get there, but oh so worth it. My regret about NZ was that I only stayed a week.

After Pete and I arrived, we napped--correction--I napped about two hours. I had no idea what
time it was but I was exhausted. After the nap, Richard, Pete and I picked up Nicola from the library and headed to a late lunch.

Here I am looking very jet-lagged.

And according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Baldwin Street in Dunedin is the world's steepest street.

Standing on Baldwin St. The world's steepest street.

I'll post more later. I need to jog my (bad) memory about the trip!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The little guy turns 5!

Five years ago today, Clayton was born. The little guy has grown up fast and will be going to kindergarten in the fall. I can't believe it. When his daddy gets back, we'll have a party. Happy Birthday, Clayton!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

World Hepatitis Day 2009

It's today--May 19, 2009. You can click here for more information. But, I'm just doing my part so people will be aware of this.

Take care and be healthy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Doubtful Sound Dolphins

While heading back from our over night cruise, our boat came along some dolphins. There were at least 50 around us and we saw around eight at this time. It was great. They started jumping when they realized we were taking pictures.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sneak preview

Shadows at Tunnel Beach, New Zealand

Reflections in Doubtful Sound

Rainbow over Doubtful Sound.

View from Wilmot Pass overlooking Doubtful Sound

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hello from NZ!

Greetings from New Zealand. I've had a wonderful time and am heading home today. Pete is staying here a little longer. I'll post pictures when I get home. I can't wait to tell you all about it!:)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Getting excited!

My mom's flight arrived last night. Today, we will do some last minute shopping to make sure I've got some snacks that my mom likes. I had to drive to three different stores to find her Diet Dr. Pepper! But, I think that's a small thing to do since she's watching the kids so I can go on this trip. She's the best!

It looks like the weather will be in the low 50s for the highs with a chance of rain when we arrive. It's fall in New Zealand so I will pack cords, jeans, a sweater, rain jacket and long sleeve shirts. I'm going to try to pack light. I always over pack but end up wearing the same things over and over. Maybe this will be the trip where I pack correctly! :)

I'm going to try to post from there but I can't make any promises!

Friday, May 01, 2009

I deserve a raise...

I had to take the 11 month old puppy in to the vet today. Pete had noticed that one of her mammary glands was swollen. Yes, I am a cat person. I'm a practical cat person. So, with that, let me tell the story.

I couldn't find the leash but I knew the vet had one I could borrow when I got there. Clayton, Lilly and I got in the car. Lilly began eating all the crumbs and probably left over chocolate in the back seat of the car. I should let her loose more often back there. Anyhoo. We started down the road. When I arrived at the vet, I ran in to get the leash. It was a plastic rope thing. Of course, I didn't know how to attach it. I finally made a loop through Lilly's collar but it wasn't right. There was nothing for me to grab. I got her out of the car and she almost pulled me down. My hand felt like it was getting a rope burn. I finally just grabbed her by the collar and walked her over to the building. I opened the door to the vet and Lilly lunged forward pulling me down to my knees in front of 4 people. I think I said something not so nice as I looked around. Oh well.

We got back to the vet and I had never seen this guy before. He was funny, which I appreciated and he liked the breed. He asked if she was still intact or spayed. I said, "intact." He asked if we were going to breed her. I told him we were "because there aren't enough dogs in the world, right?" For whatever reason, Pete wants Lilly to live on. Remember, I'm the practical cat person speaking.

It turned out she has moderate mastitis. She even was lactating a bit. I asked the doctor if she was pregnant. He asked how long ago was she in heat. I answered, "two months." "Do you have puppies under a couch at home?" Ha, ha. The gestation period for dogs is about 60 days.

Thank the Lord, we do not have puppies at our house. At least, not yet.