Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Arriving at our new home and living with the seasons

I am thrilled to be blogging from our new home in sunny Hawke's Bay.  We all (including our two cats) survived the six hour car ride, even driving through snow during the last part.  Yes, it's winter here in New Zealand, but we didn't expect that.

The above picture is from our new kitchen window and I am excited to say that the daffodils were picked from our garden and the lemons are from our tree.

My husband and I had the biggest week last week, and it all started on Monday.  We'd already been packing boxes for our move from Auckland to Hawke’s Bay weeks prior, however on Monday it was time to pack everything left, with the truck coming Tuesday to collect it all.

The cats have been out of sorts for a while now, ever since brown cardboard boxes started appearing in fact.  On Tuesday, four strong men arrived and emptied our house into a huge lorry.  I saw one go past carrying our massive washing machine in his arms by himself – now that’s strong.

Tuesday night my husband and I and the two cats all squeezed onto a small double-sized airbed and had a surprisingly comfortable sleep, and then on Wednesday we packed up our last bits into the car and started the drive to our new home.  It is winter here in New Zealand and the weather was alternately rainy and sunshine which was an easy drive.

Living the dream! Our airbed for the last night in our old home.

Then, on our last leg from Taupo to Napier, a short 1.5 hour stretch the weather packed in.  This, combined with this part of our trip being high altitude meant we encountered snow.  First it was sleet, then it was snow, then the snow settled on the sides of the road, then it settled ON the road.  It was all very nerve-wracking.  I hoped the road wouldn’t be closed because it would be such a huge detour to turn back.  Or worse, our tyres slide off the road.

Unexpected snow on the Napier-Taupo Rd.  Very scary!

My husband is a good driver and has had a few snow-driving experiences before.  We took it easy and I was so happy and grateful when we reached sea-level and our snowy experience was behind us.  Our car is not four-wheel drive and we do not have snow-chains, having no need for them usually.

Onwards to my mum’s house for the night, and then on Thursday we picked up the keys to our new house and met the big truck there.  Everything was offloaded by 7.30pm - I know, we were all drooping by then!

Jessica snuggled under the covers most of the night staying at my mum's on our first night in Hawke's Bay

Then, on Friday, and Saturday and Sunday and Monday too actually, we started opening boxes and unpacking.  As well as welcoming family who come to visit us.  It’s so nice to be in the same town.  The cats are slowly coming to grips with probably the most stressful week they’ve ever had and enjoying having a nosy around their new house as well as finding the sunny spots.

It’s so peaceful here in the country on our four acres and the view is glorious.  I hope I never take it for granted.  We have only been here a few days, and already I am seeing what it means to live by the seasons.  I picked daffodils from our garden and picked up bright yellow lemons that had fallen from our tree.

The apple trees we can see from our living room window and grape vines we drive past on our road are all bare, whereas when we viewed this house a couple of months ago the entire area was a vista of autumn colour.  Next is spring when everything will become green again and blossom will abound.   Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, even when living in the city, meant we were aware of the seasons more than if we didn’t, but here in the country it will be even more pronounced.

We also have sheep and lambs in the paddock next door, and the lambs are tres cute.  They have high-pitched baby baas and their mums reply with a deep baritone baa.

I look forward to sharing more photos of our new home once we have everything unpacked and set up.  Currently the method that is most employed is emptying a box into the appropriate storage area and flossying about with it at a later date.  That later date is yet to come (but hopefully soon), because we still have a few boxes left – not that many but I want to get rid of them all as soon as possible.

Tell me what the favourite thing about the season you are in right now, whether it’s winter or summer at your place.  And if you are moving house at the moment, as I know a few of you are - good luck with everything, I feel for you, because even though it's our dream come true to move from the city to the country and our new house is gorgeous and almost twice the size of our old one, it's still unsettling.  I am trying to relax and enjoy this time when everything is new, but a tiny part of me needs time to settle in.  I suppose it's only natural.


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  1. Congratulations on your move! It sounds beautiful. Lemons in winter means winter can't be too harsh, despite the snow higher up.
    It's essential to be in touch with the seasons and to celebrate each in turn. We are linked to the earth, and turning a blind eye to that does no one any good.

    1. We get frost here in Hawke's Bay, but our property is slightly elevated (and therefore protected from frost) so we have trees such as lemon, tamarillo and even a baby banana palm :)

  2. I know that moving is stressful even when things go well, so just keep enjoying the little things that bring a smile to your face: things like the daffs, the lemons, and the baaing of the lambs. (Just imagining the lambs made me smile!)

    We're in the middle of summer right now, and we're picking our first tomatoes and hot peppers of the season, the eggplants and sweet peppers following close behind. My favorite part of the summer is when we have the tomatoes and eggplants coming at us from all directions, and using them to make dishes like salad caprese, eggplant parmesan, or zaalouk; the abundance that I can't use immediately, I can or pickle for a taste of summer in the winter months. It's a lot of work, but so worth it!

    1. I love finding ways to saving seasonal veges for later too, Mimi. Canning and pickling sounds advanced for me, I have frozen things though!

  3. Congratulations on moving to your new home Fiona. Shame we won't be 'city' neighbors any more. Mind you i was in Taupo this last week and we were to drive to Napier to take my overseas visitor, but got snowed out and they'd shut the road, maybe we passed you on the way.

    Best wishes with all the unpacking.


    1. Hi Jane, you got caught up in it too! Glad you were safe. Let me know if you ever do get to Napier, I'll be here :)

  4. We did the EXACT same thing as you last September - loaded up our 3 cats and drove 12 hours to our new country home! I am SO excited for you - you are going to love the serenity and pace of living in the country. I quit my job and am now a stay-at-home-wife (no kids) and I couldn't be happier. Setting my own schedule, nesting, cleaning, cooking, gardening....my very favorite thing about our summer is gardening in my newly constructed garden. I gave our contractor a picture of Susan Branch's white picket fence kitchen garden and said "That's what I want" and he built one just like it.

    I remember our moving guys told us it would be Christmas before we were unpacked but we were unpacked within 2 weeks - it'll go much faster than you think. I was so happy when our bed was delivered and we could stop sleeping on that air bed.

    Congratulations again, Fiona!

    1. Your new kitchen garden fence sounds delightful, Amy! As does your new life :) It was one week yesterday and all boxes are unpacked. I'm now tidying up each area/cupboard and making everything more homey. The cats have settled too and looking forward to getting outside.

    2. I love Susan Branch's white picket fence garden! Lucky you.

  5. Oh, Fiona...the daffodils are gorgeous! What a great treat to pick them in your new yard and enjoy them in your home. Good for you - hope you are enjoying the unpacking and getting everything just right. We are in the middle of moving...3 weeks from today the moving van will be here! No cats here, but my dear hubby and I are in flux with boxes everywhere and it being too early to pack everything, but we are packing what we won't need now. Very exciting, but a project. Good for you that you are past this part and on to the enjoying your new life part.
    In answer to your question - I don't have a favorite season. I really enjoy them all and look forward to the change of seasons. When looking for a place to retire we looked at a lot of places here in the USA. Florida is the spot that a lot of people are drawn to...we visited there when I had to go to a library conference there before I retired. We did not like it. It was beautiful and warm...but as we toured the homes I thought "how am I going to put out my pumpkins and make muffins in this heat? how am I going to enjoy a snow day with hot chocolate and movies all day ? I will never have that wonderful feel of spring in the air!" Not for us! We are moving to a spot just 30 miles south of where we are now...and will enjoy all the seasons without the fuss as we are moving to a retirement community where there is no snow to shovel or grass to mow!
    Want to leave you with this...it's on a picture that was my aunt's and it will be one of the last things I pack -
    God bless the corners of this house, and be the lintel blest.
    And bless the hearth and bless the board and bless each place of rest.
    And bless the door that opens wide to stranger as to kin,
    and bless each crystal window pane that lets the starlight in.
    And bless the rooftree overhead and every sturdy wall - the peace of man, the peace of God, the peace of love on all.

    That is my wish for you in your new home !

  6. Your view is glorious! I'm so happy for you. It's summer here, and very hot, but I am enjoying the almost daily short rain storms we have been getting to cool things off and I love how lush and green everything is right now. I'm so glad your cats are settled in. I was worried for your drive with them!

  7. Congratulations Fiona! It sounds so idyllic, every detail you've given I can picture it. I hope once you settle in you will love it even more, I know you will.

    My husband and I have been "discussing" (arguing, then discussing) moving to a slower paced, better vibes area - most likely to where we grew up by the ocean. He wasn't ready to make the move so soon, but as we talked about it more, he's decided it would be possible. There were a couple things holding him back besides the actual details of moving (a daunting task right? especially since he just moved his shop) was timing. We can't do it right now, but he says in about 4 years it would be possible. Also, his commute is a huge factor. Initially, he wanted to wait until closer to retirement so he wouldn't have to deal with a much longer commute to work. I totally understand that, so we'll see what happens.

    ~ Jessica looks nonplussed about the situation, she looks very comfortable :)
    ~ Laaambs!


  8. Congratulations on your new home, Fiona -- may it fill you with joy & be a place of dreams! And snow! I grew up on the Canadian prairies, so am well familiar with the challenges of driving through the stuff. My favorite season is fall, especially in eastern Canada where it's slow & lazy & gorgeous. Less so here on the west coast where the rain & fog moves in for weeks on end, but I still prefer it to high summer. I'm not a hot weather person.

    This summer is especially hot & bad -- wild-fires are destroying what seems like the entire province, hundreds of them burning. Ranch country is in flame, too, with so much stock & wildlife in jeopardy as well as the towns themselves, with whole communities under evacuation orders. We're OK where I live, for now anyway, but all of British Columbia is uneasy & on-edge & hoping for rain.

    Enjoy your new home & do keep us up on your news. And yes, moving with cats always provides its own special "joy", doesn't it. Yours sound like reasonably good travelers, at least. One of mine didn't stop howling for a solid week during & after my last move. LOL!

  9. Moving is so stressful. You seemed to have accomplished your move and preserved your equanimity!
    My favourite season is autumn with its crisp air and colourful leaves. I love summer here too, though, for the blue skies and semingly-endless sunshine.

  10. We're still stepping around packed boxes here. I'm finishing up the library then will leave the rest to the movers. Your home is so peaceful (well, except for baaing (smile). We're enjoying summer here and early evening swims where the water is warm but it's cooling down a bit. Where we're moving doesn't have a pool (YIKES) but we'll be building my dream house which will. Excellent exercise and a wonderful time to bond with Leland! Post more pictures as the house takes on your personality!! Nan

  11. Ah, so lovely Fiona and congrats! Your picture window is very beautiful with the view and flowers. Growing up in the cold snowy Midwest of the USA, we have driven many roads like that. (And that's why we moved to CA 18+ years ago as we like flowers and the ocean year-round.) We have moved 14 times in 37 years of marriage -- take it day by day organizing things to get functional and don't pressure yourself to have everything perfectly "decorated/styled" for 6 months is my motto. It evolves into the home it will be. I think you were wise to put the flowers and lemons on the table right away. I always hang a floral wreath on our new front door first thing when we move as it says "Welcome Home" to me right away and makes me feel cozy. Wishing you much happiness in your beautiful new home!

  12. Congratulations on your move Fiona! How wonderful to have lemons and daffodils, rays of sunshine to welcome you to your new home! I wish you all health and happiness 😊

  13. Congratulations on your move Fiona! I was thinking of you last week when I saw there was snow on the Napier Taupo road. I drove through a blizzard on the desert road about 3 yrs ago and it was pretty hair-raising! Lemons! I have been told they won't growfor us as we are too close to the sea but I am tempted to try anyway! Good work on upacking so quickly- it will be so much easier to settle in when you everything sorted. X

  14. I enjoy the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year. I tend to eat seasonally, so I don't buy peaches in December. Also, farmers markets give you so many options and versions of fruits I'd never seen till I moved here.

  15. What an adventure of the journey!
    The view from your new home is lovely and daffodils so charming.
    Bonne chance in the new chapter of your life.
    All good wishes

  16. Just to wish you and your husband and the cats the very best of luck in your lovely new home, may you always enjoy it and have a long and happy life there. Moving is stressful but you can put the move behind you now and enjoy settling in. I loved it when we moved into our brand new home here 32 years ago, I hope you have as lovely a time over the forthcoming years as we have had here.
    Love from Devon,
    Margaret P

  17. Your new place looks and sounds lovely Fiona. I'm very glad we got to meet, albeit briefly, before you moved! :-)
    Definitely understand the ups and downs with moving - you've done well and it's absolutely right that it one just needs time to settle in :-)
    Having had nearly 3 months of summer in the last couple of weeks before coming back to winter I am struggling a little ... but finding joy in cooking and eating warm dinners and being able to wear my winter coat out!

  18. Your view is beautiful there. Plus the springtime daffodils and your very own lemons! All so pretty. I love your motto "little and often" . I bet you are adapting it to your unpacking journey too! This is a wonderful time for you and your husband. Kay XO

  19. It is so lovely Fiona! This is my dream some day too! So wonderful! Enjoy this new season in your life.

  20. It's summer here now, and that means many days with temps over 100 F. I hate it! But I do enjoy getting up very early in the morning (before 6:00) for a walk in our neighborhood park. It's usually cool then, the sun is barely up, the trees and grass are green, and it's very peaceful. I also enjoy evenings after the sun goes down (say about 9 p.m.) IF the breeze comes up -- that can also be very pleasant, sitting out on the patio with a glass of wine or tea and just chatting. The best of part of summer.

    The view out your window is so wonderful. Congratulations on your move! All best wishes in your new home.

  21. Hi Fiona, Congratulations on finally moving in to your lovely home! I'm hoping you'll post piccies as you start to put your stamp on new home.
    I'm often talking to my hubby about moving house but just thinking of the reality when reading about all your boxes has put me off the idea a bit now!
    What I love about the season I'm in right now (British summer) is that I'm feeling so alive. In recent years I have developed quite severe sinusitis everywhere it can reach in my face, gums and head and arthritis in many parts of the body. Then ithe pain disappears when the temperature heats up! So I feel so alive and joyous right now!


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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