The last couple of days have been great! We have spent lots of time working in Kristina and Eddy’s garden keeping all the plants happy!
Our second day here we had off in exchange for a longer working day later this week. We woke up early and went to the waterfront in town to go paddling with the local Waka Ama group. We hopped into this boat that is similar to a canoe but has an outrigger attached the to left side of it to provide balance to the boat. Our boat had 6 people in it; Richard & Alex who are both member of the club, 2 other lovely Sweds who were also WWOOFing at a nearby host, and Rachel and I. We paddled to Alex’s pace (not leisurely) and actually got pretty far. The whole route was about 6km. The view of the town, the coast, the rocky shore, and the water that filled the bay was just stunning. It was hard to believe that it was real. When we got back to town we grabbed some coffee with Alex and Richard and chatted for a bit until Alex had to leave. Richard kindly offered to show us around Russell (the places we couldn’t walk to). We saw Kerikeri trees, the historical Flagstaff Hill (which also had a beautiful look out of the Town of Russell – the entire 3 streets), Richard’s home and some beautiful look out points.
We were gassed by the end of our adventure so we went and relaxed at the beach for the rest of the day! We enjoyed another fantastic fresh dinner which we prepared with Kristina and had an early night and a great sleep.
Our third day Rachel and I brought sawdust down to the gardens to cover the paths between plants – this prevents the soil from moving around when it rains. After about an hour and a half Rachel was feeling sick and Kristina instructed her to take the rest of the day easy so she could focus her energy on getting better. I worked the rest of the morning on cleaning out the dog kennel where the two pups, Kiara and Siri, stayed. It was a couple good hours of work – it hadn’t been cleaned in 12 years. However, the work wasn’t too bad and it was nice to chat with Kristina while we cleaned – plus it wasn’t poop so there’s that.
The afternoon was pretty easy – I Face-Timed Mom & Dad, and my dearest Shannon for just long enough to say hi and see the amazing dinner she was cooking for her family. I also organized our next WWOOF and made arrangements for the bus pick ups and drop offs! In the evening it rained a bit through dinner which was a bit of a bummer because we were thinking about walking into to town maybe get some ice cream and walk around. Instead around 8 the rain stopped and the sun splashed the most beautiful colours into some clouds creating a gorgeous sunset sky.
Yesterday we trekked off to a farm to fill up some sawdust bags that we had emptied. We stopped through the cute town of KawaKawa which is known for something a little bizarre – a toilet. It was created by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an Austrian artists who landed in New Zealand and loved the town so much he decided to make a tourist attraction – a beautiful public restroom made completely of recycled materials. It quite beautiful – I have no pictures but if you google the Hundertwasser Toilet you should come across it.
We stuffed and loaded the bags of sawdust and headed back to the house. The afternoon was spent getting ice cream in town, walking around the craft markets, and then back to the beach for some swimming and Vitamin D.
This morning we spread out some more sawdust, worked on the compost (I got to use a macchetti to cut down banana trunk- so cool!), and then re-potted a bunch of succulents and made a beautiful little succulent garden for the top of the dog kennel. We just finished lunch and are currently deciding on what to do with the rest of our overcast day in Russell.
I am feeling so incredibly lucky to be here. Although it’s hard work (muscles are SORE AS) it’s so rewarding and it really makes you feel like your efforts and contributions are important. I feel like I love Russell just that much more now because I have planted and gardened and worked hard on trying to maintain and add to its lush beauty. I have learned so much from how to saw properly, to how to lift bags of horse poo without hurting your back (its very heavy), to how to pick the perfect beet leaf for our green salad. I sort of feel like a student again – not in a desk and not learning about the effects of media of society. But rather getting my hands dirty and experiencing. What’s a better place to learn about gardening and permaculture than right in the heart of a crazy jungle garden (since I’m still learning I can still use the student discount right?) It’s already the 7th of December and I can’t believe we only have 2.5 more days here. Trying to soak up every wonderful minute in the Bay of Islands and with sweet Kristina and Eddy.
Sending love from the beaches and bushes 🌱❤️. Xxo