Made it to Russell – yesterday we woke up at a nice early 5:30am and took local buses back to the city centre of Auckland to catch out first Kiwi Experience bus of the trip. The bus stopped a couple of times – once for bathrooms, once for coffee, and once to take a quick peak of the Whangarei Falls!
Our bus driver was super informative filling us in on all details about what we were driving by. The bus dropped us off in the small town of Paihia where we grabbed a quick bite to eat and indulged in an ice cream & iced coffee. We didn’t spend too much time exploring Paihia because we are actually WWOOFing with another family there on December 10th.
We hopped on the ‘ferry’ (more like a slightly larger fisherman’s boat) and puddle hopped to the town of Russell. We thought Sharon seemed small – this lovely little town has 700 locals, 5 churches, 3 main streets and 1 policeman – who isn’t even always on duty. We waited at the ferry port in Russell for our hosts Kristina and Eddy to pick us up.
Kristina and Eddy are so lovely! An older couple who have lived here for about 25 years. They built the house they live in an support a huge beautiful lush garden where they grow all sorts of great things. The house also had a fabulous view of the beach and when you walk up to the top of the road you can actually see the water on both sides of the Penninsula.
We cleaned ourselves up and then went upstairs to the main part of the house where Kristina and Eddy live. Kristina took us through her garden to show us all the vegetables and fruits that she tends to, informing us about how the climate, soil, sun, and location all effect the growth of the produce.
We picked some greens for the salad which we ate alongside a quiche pie with lentils and some local fish. It was so nice to have a home-cooked meal especially one with fresh veggies!
Post dinner we retired to our room and unpacked our stuff a bit – aired out Nellie for the first time in a long time. She is quite happy. Our work day started at 7:30 so we knew we would be up early to get ready and eat before the day started.
We woke up and had muesli and yogurt along with some French-pressed coffee for breakfast. Kristina told us to wear long sleeves and pants and good closed toed shoes and that today would be tough but one of the tougher days we would have together. We got into the car and she said “we are going to get us some brown goat today”… This we learned is farmer lingo for horse poop. We pulled up to a farm after a 10 minutes drive, threw on some gloves, grabbed some bags and headed onto the field. The horses were supposed to have been moved to another field so we could do our poop-picking in peace but there must have been a miscommunication as all the horses met us at the gate to say hi.
We picked up droppings (plus a got a few horse kisses) for about 2.5 hours until all our bags were full. We packed them all in the trailer and headed home. The manure is especially good for banana trees and Kristina and Eddy grow 3 different kinds! (Not sure what kinds those are yet though). Once we got back to the house we unloaded all the bags and dumped them on the different lots of banana trees. To prevent the rain for washing it away and to preserve the moisture we packed hay on top of it. This took us till about 12 – lunch time! I had some avocados from the garden and some of the fresh green salad from the night before.
I can’t say it was the most glamorous morning adventure but I have to say I felt a weird sense of pride when we were done. When I was eating lunch all I could think was I did something to help make this food happen! Kristina was so pleased as well and it’s such a nice feeling to make someone that happy knowing that all it took was a little sweat and smearing of some horse poop.
There are no photos with me and the horse poop- sorry to disappoint. My hands were otherwise occupied and I would like to save myself from embarrassing photos that could be used against me at a later date ;). I like to think of today as a little bit of WWOOFer initiation – and we passed. Hooray!
The plan for this afternoon is to dip myself in the ocean this after a tough morning. Some salt and sun sound like the perfect way to relax and clean off (I will still take a shower I’m not gross). There are some nice walks along the coast as well which I might try! I am so excited and happy to be here. The first of many hard working days 🙂
Sending love from Russell (with 2 L’s) 💚