February 1st 2018 was pretty intense. Anna had her first day at High School, the hottest week of the year (we had around 30°C for several days!) finally ended with the remnants of a tropical storm that swept over both islands, and a ‘super blood moon’ (the first since 1866), which wasn’t visible to us because of the clouds, triggered a massive king tide. As the storm approached from the North and peaked just shortly before noon, the combined tide was the highest most people here can remember. Several blocks in the lower regions of Mapua were evacuated and dozens if not hundreds of houses were flooded with debris. Climate change and rising sea levels have arrived.
It’s such a pity that no bakers in our area are capable of making authentic pretzels. For some reason they substitute the required sodium hydroxide solution with something cheap (I guess a baking soda solution) so their pretzels look like real ones, but actually don’t taste as sour and tingly as they should. Or maybe it’s too dangerous for the bakers to deal with it correctly?
It took me a while to figure out where to buy food grade NAOH in New Zealand and admittedly, it wasn’t cheap, but it’s so worth it! Our first real Butterbrezeln in 3 years, just like they taste in their home Bavaria, Germany.
After about two months without any significant rain our garden wasn’t in the best possible shape anymore. But fortunately, just after New Year’s we’ve got plenty of rainfall. Everything is jump starting into bloom now.
Located in the Aniseed Valley near Richmond, these waterfalls look most impressive after rain. The 2h return walk doesn’t require much physical fitness but is a bit challenging at parts. Speaking of swing bridges, wash outs, narrow sections in steep terrain, river crossings/missing bridges, slippery steep sections, etc. I wouldn’t go there with children younger than 5.
Season two for our berry house. I didn’t expect that 18 little bushes can already provide more blueberries than we can eat every day. If they all grow to two meters in height as promised, we’ll soon be in big berry business. :P It’s gonna be a long blueberry season.
Note to berry lovers: The variety “Ebony” is the most amazing raspberry you can grow in NZ. Doesn’t mind wind as much as the others, not a single worm in any berry, great taste.
We just wanted to get some fresh salmon to test our recently built smoker, but going there on the second day of January was not quite the best idea. The fish were totally over-fed by the thousands of tourists and therefore were not interested in the bait at all. We spent 2-3 hours there but didn’t manage to catch a single fish and neither did most of the other people around. Luckily, a young boy next to us caught two fish with a net and was so kind to give us one in exchange for killing both. At the end of the day, a staff member showed us how to do it right and had a fish on the hook within seconds. We bought that one too to not go home hungry. ;)
We haven’t been there in a while, but had to show it to the grandparents. At least the number of totally unnecessary plastic toys has slightly reduced over the past couple of years.