Animals


Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? We did but for a different reason – it was Zsa Zsa’s birthday. She turned seven years old and is such a happy, happy dog. Every day, she brings joy into our life. She spends her days chasing butterflies, moths and dragonflies. So for little ZZ’s birthday, El Hubs bought us all a box of Valentine’s chocolates.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs so no, we did not feed Zeph or Zsa Zsa chocolates. But we had one each in celebration of her birthday. There’s a chocolate cafe about six minutes away from where we live. I avoid it as much as possible. It has the most wonderful cakes, gelato and handmade chocolates. But best to stay away.

I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned this but, down in the South island, I used to work in a book shop on Saturdays. I wanted to get retail experience. I often worked other days as well, filling in for someone else or when an extra hand was required around Christmas time.

After centuries working in organisations, I wondered if retail held any mysteries. It doesn’t and I turned out to be surprisingly good at the whole selling thing. I worked in the shop for over three years and loved it. One of the best aspects was working with a young girl. When we started working together, she was 18 years old and I remember thinking oh God, she will be useless. I thought this because, as you get older, you think that the generations behind you aren’t as well-educated or aren’t hard-working enough. You get stuck in the comfort zone of your own generation.

Wrong! She turned out to be extremely proficient and we became great friends. She would often come over to our place for coffee; when there were no customers we would talk about everything from history to the latest YA books she had read, philosophy and religion. And when she came over to visit, she always arrived with a plate of freshly-made scones.

Since moving to the North island, we have stayed in contact and she announced, about a month ago, that she is coming to visit me. She is travelling with an older sister (who became my hairdresser) and will be here next week. I’m super-excited to see her and very pleased to say that despite our significant age gap (since I’m incredibly ancient), a millennial finds me interesting enough to visit.

It’s like Cathy, the 20-something French girl who was in New Zealand for three years. We became great friends and she would come out from Christchurch to visit and we’d spend hours sitting together and talking in the hay barn. She returned to France in 2014 but we still remain in contact and chat on Skype.

When she was in NZ, she would talk to me about her future. She didn’t know what she wanted to do in life and we’d talk for ages about possibilities. I’m very proud of her actually because she has gone on to study nanotechnology.

I’ll probably take my young friend to the chocolate cafe, despite saying I try to avoid it. But her visit is a good excuse, don’t you think?

Zsa Zsa doing what she loves best – chasing butterflies.

We limited ourselves to a smallish box of chocs.

 

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Argo is two months old today. He has the Shire look about him in the face – his Dad is a magnificent Shire stallion. Argo is starting to come out of his shell and is not so shy these days. Miss Rosie has turned out to be the perfect mum – calm and allowing her foal to explore and make mistakes (like sniffing the electric tape and getting a nose zap, oops).

Karma was also the perfect mum to Saffy, so I wonder if Rosie picked up mothering tips along the way, as the three girls were always together.

Miss Rosie is more intent on eating. Argo knows how to pose for the camera!

Ooh, a camera. Let me pose!

You see I have a Shire face?!

I mentioned recently that Miss Rosie had her foal and his name is Argo. He’s now six weeks old and I think will be a very big boy. He’s quite shy but is starting to come out of his shell.

A week or so ago, the farrier visited and Argo was introduced to the foal halter. A bit of rearing went on but he soon settled. He loves being in the paddock with the Big Horses.

Miss Rosie is a Shire x TB (or Shire and Thoroughbred mix) and Argo’s dad is a magnificent full Shire. You can see a video of him here. I often watch this video as the movement of this stallion is just so fluid, so majestic. And it’s such a magical landscape with all that snow. Can’t wait to see how Argo reacts when he experiences his first snow fall. He was a bit stressed out with recent rain, wondering what on earth all that wet stuff was on his coat LOL

 

I haven’t posted recently about healthy eating. Back in 2013, I gave up eating meat. I was never a red meat eater but did like chicken and turkey. I have largely kept to the no meat eating regime but occasionally have some chicken or ham. About a year ago, I also gave up eating anything that had added sugar.

There’s a great food market near where we live that has a whole section devoted to products with no added sugar. So I buy things that have less than 5mg of sugar. The other day, I had a Big Day Out. Went off to our local shops. There’s a lot to look at – clothes shops, boutiques, book shops, jewellery stores, shoe shops, endless cafes and even a chocolate boutique. I skipped the latter but thought I would have a small carrot cake with a coffee from my fav place.

I could not get through the carrot cake. SO sickly sweet. A year of having no added sugar has really changed my palate. I’m thankful for that because as you head into old age, you really have to focus on good health.

Speaking of which…..we bought a Thermomix. Heard of the Thermomix? If not, go here. We call it the Thermi and it’s basically a wizard – it can chop, shred, whip, weigh, blend, knead, grate, cook. It can do everything but tap dance. The Thermi has online recipes and the little screen takes you through the recipe step by step. We have produced perfect, wobbly panna cotta desserts with this machine. We use it every day and can’t imagine a world without our Thermi. It actually makes cooking so much easier and faster.

You can consult the website of recipes and Favourite what you like. Then you synch these recipes so they are available on the Thermi. We’re rather partial to ham and cheese quinoa muffins for breakfast and whipped up a batch the other morning. We made an extra one for Zeph and Zsa Zsa. Zeph is a cheese connoisseur 🙂

Ham and cheese quinoa muffins.

Zeph knows that he has a special (smaller) muffin coming to him soon.

Still waiting….

The spectacular (and latest version) Thermomix.

One of my New Year resolutions is to try and blog more. I have been caught up this year with the move to the North Island and settling in. If you follow me on Twitter (if you don’t, why not? I’m @kimmar), you will know that I am extremely interested in the state of affairs in the United States since Trump became President. I often think I’m trapped in a Salvador Dali painting when I think of Trump as President.

Then, of course, I’ve been busy writing a lot this year and getting a few poems published. My latest poem was published by the NZ Poetry Society and was written for the theme Transformation. You can read it here.

Anywho! A lot of excuses for not blogging as much in 2017. I hope to make up for this in 2018. I’m really looking forward to the new year. I wouldn’t say 2017 has been a stressful year as I try to take things in my stride. But it’s been a year of letting go of a lot of stuff (we sold a lot before moving), getting established on our new property, and planning the house we’ll be building in 2018.

I am hoping to travel again in 2018. Can you believe it? I have not been overseas since 2014. Our last trip was to Hong Kong (for work) and then onto Indonesia. We may go to Brazil to see my step-son as we haven’t seen him since 2012. Or we may go to South Africa to see El Hubs’ family. Haven’t seen them since 2013.

While the house is being built, I may go to Bangkok and stay with my dear friend, Lalida, and her family. El Hubs will project manage the build and I find it disturbing to have a lot of workers around hammering away. So for peace and quiet I may go to Bangkok. I have not seen Lalida and Nataya (another Thai friend) since 2011.

I am planning a poetry chapbook and living in Bangkok for a few months will give me the opportunity to write poetry. Or…I may go to Rome. A wonderful person I still work with from time to time (on a contract basis) may go to London for a couple of months. She’s asked whether I might be able to babysit her beloved dogs and cats and live in her apartment in Trastevere. Well, someone has to do it, so why not?!! I left my heart back in Rome and would love another opportunity to go there. I was invited to go to Rome in March this year for work but, because we had just sold the house, could not go.

This is all a long way of saying that I think 2018 will be a fantastic year and who knows what it will bring us all.

Meanwhile my foal, Argo, would like to take the opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

There’s a lot to do when you move. We still haven’t unpacked everything and don’t plan to. We’ll wait until the house is built in 2018. Meanwhile, we’ve been steadily planting around The Shed and El Hubs has been designing the house and running the gauntlet of Local Council regulations and restrictions. I think it’s today that our plans go into Council. We wanted to get them in before Christmas.

So…eight months now in the Far North. It’s heating up I must say. Summer is here. But the mornings and nights are cool-ish, which is lovely. I far prefer the North to the South Island. The people are a lot friendlier and less reserved. This is not to say that I didn’t like the South Island but the two islands are quite different.

I’ve been super-busy with writing and planning next year’s goals. Hence, my quietness on this blog. I do have some news though. Miss Rosie has had her foal – a beautiful colt!!! And we’ve found the most wonderful kennels for Zeph and Zsa Zsa. The owner absolutely adores Zsa Zsa and tucks her in at night. So far, they’ve spent two weeks there over the last eight months. When we have trucks and equipment on the property (preparing the building platform), we prefer to have the Z Team at the kennels so they are safe.

The lady who runs the kennels offers farm walks. She makes sure dogs are socialised first before she takes them out together. The Z Team cannot get enough of these walks and the owner takes photos of them for me and her FB page. She thinks Zeph is magnificent. Well, he is LOL. This is by far the best kennels we’ve experienced and this, at least, has eased our minds should we go overseas in 2018.

Can you believe I have not travelled out of NZ since 2014? El Hubs has not seen his son since 2012. He now lives in Brazil, so we are considering a trip to see him next year but he wants us to go to Japan in 2019 for the Rugby World Cup. Then he’s thinking of coming back to NZ with us to stay for a few months. We also need to go to South Africa to see the family. Haven’t been there since 2013. Who knows where we’ll be going next year.

I’m excited for 2018. I think I’ve said a few times that I don’t like uneven-numbered years. 2017 has been a bit gruelling what with selling the house, moving to the North Island, establishing ourselves here, waiting for Miss Rosie’s foal and hoping for a safe birth and so on.

But 2017 is nearly over and here’s to 2018!!! Meanwhile, enjoy the photos of Zeph and Zsa Zsa running wild and free on a farm walk and Argo, Miss Rosie’s new foal.

 

Isn’t this a great photo of Zeph? He was looking at some sheep in the paddock next to The Shed.

I’m biased but I think he looks magnificent!!

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