This past week, my friend Melissa and I did a farmstay in Dairy Flat, about 40 minutes outside of central Auckland. In exchange for food and accommodation, we do a few hours of work. Melissa and I stayed with Jackie Plaistowe, a 76-year old Kiwi who lives on a small farm with 2 horses and lots of sheep, ducks, and chickens.
Melissa and I did mainly yardwork, clearing thistles out of her paddocks. Sounds easy, but those things were spiky and put up a good fight!
We also cleaned some of Jackie's house. It was pretty filthy, to say the least. As a completely independent woman with 5 cats, Jackie didn't seem to mind the dust, mildew, and animal traces around the house. The ducks would just waddle outside and tap her glass doors for some bread all day, leaving poop and all sorts of mess outside. Melissa and I had a few good-natured laughs about it all, but after returning to Auckland, we agreed that it was nice to eat dinner without the fear of each bite being covered in cat hair.
It felt good to get out of the city and get to know a real Kiwi. She was so happy to share her life with us, from her paintings and glass etchings to her assortment of jams and spreads (some outdated, but still tasty!). A very active woman, Jackie is an ambulance volunteer, coaches at the local Pony Club, and also helps a Chinese lady with English.
Jackie cooked us some good meals with eggs from her chickens and even one of her lambs. She also drove us out to the local scenic spots--Orewa beach and Wenderholm Regional Park. It's amazing that these places are not that far from the skyscrapers of Auckland!
One night, Melissa and I decided to dress up in some of her dusty clothes in our bedroom's closet. Below are a select few pictures from our fashion show!
Apologies for the long post. It was a good way to procrastinate studying for exams, which begin Thursday.
Anyway, congrats to the Giants, sympathies to All Blacks fans (such a frustrating game yesterday against the Wallabies!) and a Happy Halloween to all!