New Ground

Hi Guys,

Instead of posting the pictures on my last blog post I will include them in this post.  Victor and I have set off on this adventure with new vigour.  We’ve contacted several banks as well as talked to the local council in the area we are considering purchasing land.  We also got some positive comments back on one property that appears to not only be in our budget but also has very sensible covenants.

A Covenant, also called a building scheme, is a restriction placed on a title or a LIM usually with the aim of maintaining the quality of the subdivision and the value of the properties subject to the covenant.  These can sometimes be very aggressive with regards to what the purchaser can do with his or her newly acquired land, but most of the time the restrictions are just about what type of house you can put on it and other things like that.  I’ve read about one particularly nasty section with covenants which mainly limited the buyer from growing anything on the 5-hectare block except for standard grass. The developer said that even pumpkins were considered “pests” and would become out of control if allowed.  Can you imagine having 10 acres of lawn?  I can’t… that’s like having your own golf course for a backyard.

Please have a look at this beautiful stretch!

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New Ground

The land is advertised to be 4 hectares (10 acres) in size. It has some extra bits which we think make it a bit more special than the others available in this subdivision.  It’s a bit more affordable because the developer believes the included creek and trees are a downside to the property.  It does contain a significant drop off on the second level, but that part is fully fenced off and contained so that animals cannot get to it.  The trees do make the middle section a bit more damp in the rain, but they made some improvements to the drainage so it won’t cause any issues for stock.  The trees are mostly over the creek area which is not somewhere we would build and not somewhere stock would go anyway!

You can’t see how significant the drop off is from these angles, but I will probably get a better shot of it at a later date if we go ahead with the purchase of this property.


The property has deer fencing, and all the paddocks are enclosed.  I’ve tried to show you as many shots of the various tiers as I could, but I didn’t go into the upper or lower sections.

So what do you guys think?  As always if you like seeing our adventures and you like reading our blog please like, subscribe and share it with your friends so we can continue to bring you content!

Thanks for reading!

~ Grace

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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

An Unexpected Journey

Yesterday was a warm Saturday afternoon in late autumn. During the week, we had found another possible rural property, this one in the valley of the Okuku River, one of the tributaries of the Ashley River in North Canterbury. About 3:30 in the afternoon, we left where we are staying, drove out there, stopped at the bridge to walk the puppy (more on her later) and were on our way back around about sunset.

This is where things got interesting. I was driving, as I usually do on family trips, and when we were in the village of Loburn and about to turn right to go to Rangiora and so eventually back home, Grace asked me to turn left instead. It was about 5:00, and late afternoon was giving way to sunset.

We headed up the valley, a pleasant green space mostly occupied by small farms. We passed one or two more farms and blocks for sale and made a note to look them up later, and through Loburn North and on to White Rock, which we think got its name from a stunning limestone outcrop, now an active quarry and lime works but still with the rock face clearly visible to travellers. We wished we had brought our good camera with us. Note to self, do so in future.

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The route over the Okuku Pass and through Lees Valley. We made it approximately 40% of the way before our path was blocked by the Okuku River.

The last few houses petered out, and we headed up towards the Okuku Pass. We climbed on a narrow gravel road through mixed pine and beech forest, and up into subalpine tussock and matagouri. At this point, we hoped to follow the road through to Lees Valley, coming out near the Ashley Gorge and the town of Oxford.

Coming down from the Okuku Pass, the road became more challenging and the countryside more isolated. Descending down a series of hairpin bends, we came upon a murky stream of uncertain depth that blocked our path. We tried to go around on what appeared to be a dry weather route, and the bank was too steep for our car. We were just considering turning around when another car (not a four wheel drive or SUV) came along and drove calmly through the ford. The driver said he was just going for a drive, but seemed a little lost and asked us if the way would take us back to the main road. Thinking he meant the main road at Oxford, we said it would and set out after him.

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The crossing of the Birds Eye Stream, the first of many fords we encountered on our journey.

For the next half hour or more, as darkness fell, our impromptu convoy drove through a starlit landscape of barren hills, punctuated by the occasional farm gate, somewhat more frequent fords over the small streams that drain the hills, and various animals (mostly rabbits and hedgehogs, but also two horses). Finally, we found our way blocked by what we think was the upper Okuku River, still a substantial stream and impassable to either of our vehicles. After some work to get out of the gravel riverbed typical of Canterbury’s braided rivers, we turned around and went back the way we had come under the dim light of the rising new moon.

The following clip is a typical ford crossing in our people mover. You can hear Grace practicing her poise and dignity while Stargazer cheers us on from the back seat.

We were a little concerned for our travelling companion, a road construction worker, who said that he was low on petrol and furthermore that one of his tyres was flat, so we took care not to lose him as we drove back. It was now well after 7 p.m. and he would have to make it to Rangiora, the nearest town by road with a 24-hour service station (or, for that matter, any service station). Seldom has a sealed road and the sight of the distant clustered lights of a large town been more welcome than when we came back over the Okuku Pass and down into White Rock.

Not long after that, our lost companion (who had been trying to make it to Waiau in far north Canterbury, accessible via a quite different road) pulled over, saying that his tyre was so flat as to be unusable. In a strange injection of modern city slicker technology into a country setting, we performed a field tyre change by the light of a smartphone (we, naturally, carrying a jack and a wheel spanner with us at all times). We finished the day’s adventures by escorting the gentleman to the nearest petrol station, taking a hungry and weary family to McDonald’s, and returning home for a long sleep.

We still don’t know all of why Grace was led to feel as though turning left at Loburn, instead of right, was the thing to be done. But for us it was an opportunity to learn more about trusting God, help someone in need, and have a family adventure. We also learned that there is a limit to the remoteness we’re physically and mentally equipped for as yet, a valuable lesson as we consider our next steps.

~ Victor

Please excuse our mess!

Hello and welcome back!

I thought I would start off by sharing our recent paint job. When we bought our big house, it needed quite a bit of work to get it to a place where we would have a comfortable existence.  Among other things we added insulation, replaced the HRV system (a home ventilation unit) and added lights and new appliances where the originals were either broken or non-com pliant with the city’s housing codes.  We have now lived in this comfortable home for 2 and a half years, but there was still work to do.  The original owners had decided to paint the central living area an insanely dark blue colour called Takaka. Even after we replaced the one light in the room with 20 odd LED lights, it was still dark.We didn’t have the time or money to paint it back then, though, so we just left it for another day.  Fast forward to moving time, and we’ve chosen a much better colour.  It’s a paint by Resene called “Resene Double Pearl Lusta”.  It’s a beautiful warm soft yellow colour with lots of character.

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Starting to undercoat the first wall

We didn’t have the time or money to paint it back then, though, so we just left it for another day.  Fast forward to moving time, and we’ve chosen a much better colour.  It’s a paint by Resene called “Resene Double Pearl Lusta”.  It’s a beautiful warm soft yellow colour with lots of character.

We started painting by masking off the room and applying the first layer of undercoat to the big wall. You can see our progress in the pictures above and below.  It took about three layers of undercoat to cover the Takaka paint. Victor and I worked tirelessly to cover this room.  We had to work in shifts to get it all done because we started out with only one set of proper painting tools! We really needed to get another set so we decided to head to our favourite New Zealand home improvement store, Mitre 10! When we returned we were able to get significantly more progress done before the night fell.  Thankfully, the undercoat we chose was a fast drying type20180414_090844.

When doing painting of any kind, it is vitally important to cover the carpet and furniture. As we found, it’s also useful to keep boisterous year-old cats as far away from the work area as possible. They have a propensity to seriously mess up your protective covers and can track paint all over the house. We didn’t want to have to do a full re-carpet as well!

As you can see we have done our best to cover most of the exposed surfaces so that our final result would be pleasing to any potential buyer.  We want to get the “best bang for our buck here” as they say so it was really important to tape things correctly and take off all the light switches and sockets well before we painted the wall around them!

We’ll upload some more pictures later so you can see the final paint job! Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

 

 

Introducing ourselves

Welcome to Kiwi Homesteading! We hope that you will have fun and learn lots as you join us on our exciting new adventure.

For reasons of safety and security, we will use pseudonyms on this blog. We respectfully ask that you refrain from publicly referring to us by our real names or attempting to identify us, either in comments on our blog or elsewhere.

Victor, the husband and father, is a software developer who grew up in semi-rural New Zealand. After time spent overseas and in the big city, he’s keen to return to the country for fresher air, a slower pace of life, and a healthy environment for us and our children. He believes in greater self-sufficiency, strong community relationships, and less dependence on the vast, impersonal networks that define much of modern city life.

Grace, the wife and mother, is a full time parent to our young children. She grew up in semi-rural Midwest United States.  She spent most of her teenage and early adult years developing a professional traditional art practice and studying under a Master of Arts.  She now focuses on raising our three young girls, with a secondary focus on growing the family chickens, veggies, and other homesteading activities.  In addition to those things, Grace still finds time to practice her art.

The first of our three young girls is Stargazer.  Stargazer is currently three and a half years old, going on 10. She loves to ask lots of questions! When she gets in trouble (which is very frequent), she often asks, “What happened?” or, “Why?”.  She’s a lovely little girl with plenty of aspirations regarding horses and puppies.  We hope these things keep her out of trouble!

The second of our girls is Honeybee.  Honeybee is one and a half years old. She’s as sweet as can be but is going through some hard times on account of some nerve problems which unfortunately make it difficult for her to be as active as she would like to be. She’s doing her best to learn to talk, though, and still tries some things like bouncing on trampolines that are physically demanding for a toddler! Honeybee has overcome so many obstacles in her short life thus far and we believe that a rural life will help improve her health and give her relief from her troubles.

The third of our girls is Ducky. Ducky (sometimes affectionately called “Rubber Duck” or “Little Duck”) is currently a baby.  She’s growing very fast and has started having interest in her hands and toys.  She can’t sit up or crawl yet, but she loves to watch people and she has a strong affection for rubber ducks and ducks of all sorts.  Grace thinks this love is because she was introduced to a toy that Stargazer put on her after her first bath. She particularly likes to watch the ducks at the park and watch the leaves on the trees at the pond too.  She’s a happy baby but due to some family genetics is allergic to milk and soy protein and unable to digest breast milk, so she’s on a specialty paediatric formula diet.

We look forward to sharing our journey with you!