Small Family in Six Suitcases

Hi. How are you? We're a family of three who moved to New Zealand from Seattle in July '05. We sold or gave away pretty much everything except what we could carry onto the 'plane. We thought we'd write a bit about it. We'll love it if you can join us for a few moments.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fescue to the rescue

Right: Winston with our local pals.

Grass seed should come with a sachet of scarecrow seed taped to the pack. You'd rip the sachet open a couple of days before using the main product, tap out the contents onto the ground, poke it down. Sprinkle it with a little water. Done. And by next weekend you'd have three weird sisters spiked in nasty relief against the skyline to put the wind up all sparrows who would think to scarf down the lawn hopes of honest men.

Some digging-machine work was done in our back yard recently. The guys put the earth back very nicely, contoured it well, and brought us a big scoop of topsoil besides, but grass needs to be put back over the brown earth strips and excavator marks. As this is mid-autumn, ideal grass-planting season, I was out there yesterday with my rake and my kilo bag of Hardwearing seed.

This morning, of course, I wiped a finger of condensation from the inside of the kitchen window and looked out to see a small advance column of birds out there. Ah, well. Good on them. The stuff is begging to be their food: it's tiny and tastes good. (That's my other idea, by the way: make each individual seed the size of an accordion and tape noisy foil ribbons to it. Wake up, manufacturers).

Funnily enough, though, they were about the only birds I saw out there for the whole day. It has crossed my mind that I might have bought a brand of seed that was coated with bird repellent, and that those early scouts winged home like beaten Chicago hoods. But I don't know. Personally I think the whole concept of a chemical bird repellent is a bit outlandish and clumsy.

Something else we did this weekend was to write and deliver nine cards to the neighbours we have not yet met personally. I bought some bright yellow blank cards, each die-cut with a single circle in the middle front, then borrowed a blue felt-tip pen from Winston and wrote a jaunty "Hello!" inside the circle. Then I opened the card and wrote a few lines in ballpen, introducing ourselves. After lunch Winston got into his wheelchair -- his leg cast comes off this week, hopefully, by the way -- and we all went out and popped the cards in mailboxes.

We came home from a shopping trip next day to find a huge bag of fejoas on the verandah. No note, just the bag of fruit. It was really nice. And it prompted us to hop up the steps, turn frontwards kinda sorta obliquely to the whole neighborhood -- in case the donor was watching -- and make the exact brand of "durn-kid's-a-mite-slow-in-the-head-is-all-thass'up-y'all" grin you see on a child who has just opened his main gift on Christmas morning.

Today Winston and I took a walk around the streets to see the local animals again. We were on our way to visit the pigs when we saw a man, the pig owners' opposite neighbor, striding over to them with a white bowl piled with vegetable scraps for their brunch. We got talking. What a nice guy. He worked as a train driver for many years and is now retired. In passing I told him that, the previous day, Vera, Winston and I had been watching the pigs and had heard one of them crunching and crunching on somthing very hard. Then we saw a chunk of glass bottle on the ground. We looked at each other: can pigs eat glass? Was this pig eating glass, or was it just an aural coincidence? Should we tell the owner? Anyway we strained our eyes for several minutes and could see not a trace of blood in her mouth as she chewed, so we just reached in and fished the glass hunk from their mud, threw it onto the verge and walked on. And today all four animals seemed in tiptop, Empress-like health.

Lots of phone calls today to the tax service and bank, because it's the time of year to start getting that sorted. Meanwhile Vera recovered from her morning drive to and from Auckland to work.

Tonight I told Winston three bedtime stories. He said "Just one more, Daddy..." but no, I said, that was three and enough for tonight. "Then I'll tell YOU one", he replied. And he did.


At 10:08 PM, Blogger Spindrift said...

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