G’bye, 2013 — Hello, 2014!
Yeah, I know, it’s been a while. But the Auckland summer for 2013-14 has turned out to be kind of uninspiringly blah (where last summer and winter were amazing and I was out photographing all the time), plus I’ve been distracted by our latest flurry of property hunting. It’s been over three years since we first landed in New Zealand, and while the plan was to quickly find a plot of land and build our dream house, the “quickly” part didn’t quite pan out the way we’d hoped.
However, I can announce (with much happiness and great relief) that the property search has finally concluded and we’re now the proud stewards of a lovely chunk of rolling farmland in the south island, nestled quietly in the Otago region, or more specifically, the Queenstown-Lakes district.
So one chapter ends and a new one begins.
My partner is talking about growing wheat in the lower flat portion of the property for making his own vodka, which means (of course) I’ll have to oversea some barley and corn production, too, so that I can make my own whisky. Because that’s what you do when you get older, right? You build a house in the country, get a dog and spend evenings by the outdoor fire pit, roasting fresh ears of corn and drinking home-brewed whisky while marvelling ceaselessly at the dazzling night sky.
At least, that’s what Bill Nighy says, and who wants to argue with Bill Nighy?
I guess this means we’re now members of the 21st century gentlemen farmers club. Though if that turns out to be true, we’re certainly going to need a lot of help. I may have grown up in seriously rural Michigan farm country, but I never actually lived or worked on a farm; yet the idea of living on wind-swept acres where I’m perpetually scraping sheep sh*t and mud off my boots doesn’t bother me as much as it might have twenty years ago.
You see? It’s that Bill Nighy “house in the country” thing rearing its welcome head.
Regarding the dog part: We have yet to settle on what kind of dog to get. We initially thought an Australian Cattle Dog would be a good choice for rolling farmland, but we won’t have any sheep or cattle to herd, so I’m afraid he’d eventually get incredibly bored if he’s not allowed to do what he’s been bred over generations to do. Not to mention that the land is bursting with rabbits since no one’s been living or working on it for years and the little furry critters have had an uncontested run of the place.
Never a good thing where rabbits are concerned.
Which means we’ll need a ridiculously affectionate doggy companion that also enjoys aggressively chasing rabbits around until they all just give up and move to more peaceful pastures. Maybe a Brittany?
Yeah, there are ponds and ducks and irrigation channels and rabbits and lots and lots of space to run. I think a Brittany might be just about perfect.
*ADDED: Getting ready to ring in the New Year. One bottle of champagne, check. One big batch of German Chocolate Cookies, check.
We contacted Jordan Rondel at The Caker and asked if she could whip-up a batch of these cookies in time for New Year’s Eve — she happily obliged, and by god they’re awesome! It’s like biting into . . . well, a cookie version of a delectable slice of German Chocolate Cake. She even included a small tub of extra frosting.
We’re in sweet Germanic heaven.