Two steps forward, one step back

Dear friends and readers,

Please accept our apologies for this long break. While we have been doing our best to keep this blog updated, the complexities of life have threatened to overwhelm us. We’re surfacing for long enough to give this update.

We’ve posted before about a few days of illness. What we didn’t say at the time is that Grace has been unwell since partway through her pregnancy with Ducky, a sickness that has caused her ever-increasing pain as well as fatigue and heart trouble. After several months of this illness, and multiple doctor’s appointments with no clear way forward, last Friday (29 June) we went to Wellington to see a specialist. While Grace was able to get a provisional diagnosis and start treatment, it was too late to prevent her from becoming so unwell that she needed emergency treatment in hospital.

She is now well enough that she has been discharged, but is still weak, tired and in considerable pain. We are resting at her parents’ place so that we have help with the children, since I am still working full time.

This chain of events hasn’t weakened our resolve. On the other hand, it has strengthened it, for two reasons. One is that Grace’s condition seems to be exacerbated by mould and pollution, both of which are very common in Christchurch during winter. The other is that while we hope that Grace can make a full recovery and enjoy many healthy years, it may be that we face times when she or another member of our family is temporarily disabled. The best way to be able to manage that is to have a suitably accessible house.

At the same time as all this was unfolding, we discovered a feature of our current home that was contributing to our particular mould problem. While we try to keep a clean and dry home, the grounds outside were not so dry, and flooded every time we had a substantial rainfall. I thought this was simply a result of a blocked storm drain, and called in a tradesman to flush the lines. It turned out that most of our storm drains went not to the street, but rather to a device called a “soak pit”. A soak pit is a hole in the ground filled with rubble and surrounded by a filter cloth, which collects water in the hollows between the rubble, from where the water gradually drains away. But over time the filter cloth becomes clogged, and eventually the soak pit stops working. This happened to us during a heavy rainfall last year.

So, in preparation for sale, we have had to get new storm drains put in. In the short to medium term, this will help us to have a better property and a healthier life while we’re there; in the long term, the new owners will have a superior drainage solution.

Peace,

~Victor

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Another unexpected event

Hi Everyone,

So some of you who live in New Zealand may remember that there was a significant flooding event last winter in suburban Christchurch when a few of the rivers were overrun after a storm.  Fortunately, our house itself did not have ingress of water, but our yard and side yards were flooded up to the top of a gumboot (around 1-2 feet) in places.  We noticed after the flood receded that our yard was not draining as quickly as it used to and so the other day we called a plumber out to clear the drains.  We initially thought they might just be blocked.  It turns out that the flood waters caused more damage than we thought.  The flood apparently brought lots of silt and debris which has filled our soak pit which will prevent the water from draining away.  We also discovered that the soak pit is buried underneath one of our outbuildings!

As you would expect it’s going to be a bit costly to fix this problem and it must be done before sale.

As a piece of advice towards anyone who is buying a new property, please try to get an excellent building inspector. Ask around to see who is best or better yet, hire two different ones if you can afford it.  Make sure you’re present at the inspection.  Finding nearly $15k worth of problems over the last 2 1/2 years that the building inspector certified as being in “good condition” which were not even up to code has left an especially bad taste in my mouth.  Make sure you know the basics of current council requirements for houses.

As always – have a great week and keep following Kiwi Homesteading for more updates.

~Grace

Delays

Hi Guys,

Sorry for such a long break between posts. Sometimes real life can get in the way of being able to communicate clearly. Right now I’m going through a few things that are pretty challenging, and so you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t post right away.  Victor and I have recorded part of a segment on the property we’re actively looking at now. I’m not sure if it will be “the one” or not and I’m not even entirely sure we’re ready for the next big move, but hopefully we’ll hear some answers soon and things will get easier.  For now, please stay with us and keep bringing us your encouraging comments and your wonderful friendship.  Thank you for being so patient!

~Grace

A “Grace-full” evening

My birthday fell this year on a Monday.  Birthdays are the few days a year that we go out for dinner, so we decided to go a night early.  This year I wanted to try a small Japanese Restaurant in Rangiora called “Secret“.

Secret Japanese is hands down the best Japanese I have eaten in New Zealand.   I have tried many different restaurants all over the globe, but this one is up there with the better ones.  New Zealand Japanese Food is usually about par for the course (excuse the pun) with the likes of pop-up sushi shops on every corner, but tonight I got to taste some pretty darn good sushi from their sushi and teppanyaki chef.  The evening’s meals consisted of 3 sushi rolls which were quite large quantities compared with most and reasonably priced.  The most substantial roll had 14 large pieces.  We shared one rainbow roll, one dragon roll and a new one for me which was called a Godzilla roll.  The Godzilla was a California style roll with shrimp instead of the usual imitation crab.   It also had cashew nuts sprinkled on top and a wonderfully sweet glaze with a sharp, tangy ending note.  We also had their teppanyaki, mostly because it was late and the kids get bored quickly.  Little Duckie is still feeling unwell too, so it was nice that she wasn’t too easily disturbed by the shouts and cries of her older sisters which have become standard experiences when out to eat.  The manager was very accommodating and came around many times to clear dishes or entertain the little ones so that we could enjoy our evening in peace.   The customer service at Secret is fantastic.  When they did not have an item they sent someone out to get it rather than having to change my order.

The teppanyaki was delicious.  Each course was not overly rich or oily and had mild to moderate spice to complement the choice of meat, vegetable or fish.  Our two oldest girls had salmon (a treat I know, but they eat it rather than play with their chicken, so it works out more cost-effectively with very little on the floor).  Victor and I had a mixed set from the menu which came with seafood, steak, veggies, chicken, and rice as well as the customary miso soup and salad.   My parents also had set menu items as well as my brother.  After dinner, the manager greeted my husband and I privately and said that the kid’s menu item did come with a bit of frozen yogurt, but he didn’t want to offer it to them without speaking to us first.  So they enjoyed a nice dark chocolate one.  He also informed me that I would be welcome to have a frozen yogurt on the house because it was my birthday.  I shared this with Victor too as it was much too large for me to eat after such a wonderfully large dinner meal.

Cost wise I’d rank Secret as somewhere in the modest middle for a meal of this size and quality.  Each of adult dinner sets runs from $35-50NZD, drinks are extra, but water is free and served cold.  The restaurant itself is immaculate and well presented.   The music played varies from classic rock, soft rock, and some lighter notes with classical music.  It was not loud and even when other families were chatting I could always keep up with conversations around the table.  As I’m hard of hearing on my left side it’s quite nice to have a conversation and not have to shout because of the noise.

We ended the night’s meal and returned to my parent’s house to round out the night with an ice cream “Mud Pie” which is my preferred dessert for a birthday cake substitute.

It was a good night.  Hope you had a good one too!

~Grace

10 Subscriber Milestone!

Hi everyone,

I thought I would share that we’ve reached 10 subscribers! Wow! I want to thank everyone who has followed our journey thus far and encourage you all that even though things haven’t quickly moved in the direction, we’d like, we’re still striving for our future goals.  We haven’t given up our dream of building up a small rural lifestyle block, and we’re still working to find solutions to our property situation!  Your support means everything to us, and with your help, we’ll eventually reach our next milestone of 50 subscribers.  When we reach that goal, we’ll host a special event so don’t miss out.  As always, please like and subscribe if you enjoy our page.  Visit us on facebook too if you’d like to get in touch! Keep busy and have fun! God Bless you!

~Grace

The Lord speaks and we obey

In today’s post,

I will talk about something I’ve had on my heart to write about, but I didn’t really know what to say. You see, Victor and I are firm believers, but we are also cautious to write much about our views in a public forum because topics like religion and politics are very polarising (and quite emotionally aggressive) today. We don’t want to end up with people trolling us or making our lives difficult, but at the same time, we do want people to know where we are in Christ. We are reformed Presbyterians. We believe that God, through His son, Jesus, saved us from our sins through grace alone.  By this, we mean we cannot do anything to “win” or earn our salvation. It’s not up to us to try to get His love because it’s a free offering to anyone who believes and puts his trust in Jesus (John 3:16).

In New Zealand, there are a lot of different people from different backgrounds. Religion and belief in God are not central to the New Zealand way of life. Practising Christians aren’t exactly rare, but they are not as common as they used to be and the world as a whole is becoming more hostile to anyone who does not share the same beliefs as the status quo.  We want this site to be a page where anyone can come to gather information without feeling judged, but also a page where many might see through our actions what a real honest family does to represent God on the Earth.  We are by no means a perfect family, and we will undoubtedly make a lot of mistakes, but God offers forgiveness and helps us to grow.  That growth is what we want you to see.

This week we have learned that God is asking us to wait on Him for the right time to sell our current house and purchase the next.  He’s shown us that right now the market isn’t strong enough to list our home. There are properties that we could buy, but we believe that God is telling us a better option (or perhaps even one of the same options) awaits us in the future. So for right now, we will stay where we are and wait until springtime to sell. We will continue to blog on this page, talk about our progress with our home, bring you stories about our newest companion, and have many more fun adventures as time goes on. Please stay in touch and share our adventure with your friends!

~Grace

Sickness and more possibilities for property!

Hi all,

I’m sure you have all been wondering where we’ve been and why we haven’t posted in awhile.  Well, right after our big adventure post, Victor the kids and I all came down with the flu! We all spent pretty much the whole of last week with 39°C/102.2°F fevers.  Our youngest two children are recovering pretty slowly with runny noses, sore throats and a lot of tummy troubles.

Meanwhile, Victor and I have been browsing the internet on properties!  We found one with a small home on it for sale in our price range near one of the big rivers north of Christchurch.  We also saw a lifestyle size section of bare land that is quite desirable for us.  The section has 3 large tiered paddocks (upper, middle and lower) and a small extra bit of property that has a creek, massive trees and small waterfall in it.   It’s also wholly deer fenced so we won’t have to worry about stock getting stuck in there or mucking up the water, but we can still access it for picnics or an afternoon dip on hot days!

I’ll update this post with some pictures I took as soon as my camera and my phone are charged up enough to download them!

~  Grace