Windy days and night…Coldest we’ve been in awhile…

Only a few pregnant moms remain in the paddock that will give birth this season. Many more are pregnant for next season. This most recent birth occurred in this past week. In this photo, the cria is less than one day old.

This is unusual for us…being cold. My hands are frozen. With no warm clothing with us, this morning I’m wearing spandex Capri-length workout pants, a tee-shirt, socks, and Tom’s zippered hoodie.

The temperature this morning is 10C, 51F. With the wind blowing fiercely for the past 36 hours, we’ve wondered how the alpacas are staying out of the wind since we can’t see them easily from our house especially with them huddled in a low spot in a distant paddock.

We haven’t wanted to venture out in this wind especially after one of the clothesline broke after I hung a few towels yesterday morning, leaving an entire row of fresh laundry on the grass. Foolish me. We brought everything inside hanging them over the glass shower stalls in each of the two bathrooms.

We giggled when we thought we saw the name of the newest cria. Look at the photo below for the name! 

We’d hope to go out sightseeing yesterday or today, but the high winds make it less enjoyable, especially when getting out and back into the car to take photos.  Surely, there will be better days down the road. The cool air is tolerable, but the wind is annoying.

There’s no doubt, many of our readers who live in frigid climates are laughing at our intolerance for the coolness. But, we’ve been in mostly tropical and arid climates over the past 41 months, only wearing our jackets on rainy days, rarely feeling cool enough to “bundle up.”

Our goals have been to “follow the sun” as much as possible. The last time we felt this cold was in Iceland in September 2014 when we went out on a cool, very rainy day for a 4 x 4 rough road tour in this vehicle below.

This was the 4 X 4 vehicle we used on the off-road tour of Iceland. Excuse the black lines on the edges of the photo.  It was raining so hard the automatic lens cover got wet and wouldn’t fully open.

It wasn’t the experience we’d hoped for due to the rain, although, overall, we got the gist of life in Iceland. Click here for the link to Part 1 of that adventure. It’s no wonder we go through cameras in no time at all!

There’s a gas fireplace in this house here in NZ but we try to be considerate as to the cost of utilities when we’re renting homes. We’ll only use it if the temps continue to drop during our upcoming remaining days.

Although generally, it doesn’t snow in New Plymouth, it can be cold during the winter months, as shown on the two charts below, one each for Celsius and Fahrenheit:
Average min and max temperatures in New Plymouth, New Zealand Copyright © 2015
Average min and max temperatures in New Plymouth, New Zealand Copyright © 2015
Luckily, we planned to be here mostly in the summer, arriving during the warmest period of the summer, in January. When we first arrived almost two months ago, it was warm enough to warrant the use of fans during the day and again at night. Now, we use neither, huddled under the warm comforter at night, exposed skins chilled to the touch.

Yesterday and last night, the house was literally shaking in the wind, startling us at times. It’s a solid, sturdy, well-built house. We had no fear of any damage occurring, but at times, it reminded us of the horrible spring and summer storms in Minnesota when we’d had considerable damage on several occasions.

Once we’re done here today we’ll head out hoping to find a few photo ops on a drive into town to head to the health food store. I’m chomping at the bit to get out to take more photos, but with recent heavy rains and now the heavy winds, we’ve decided to wait. We still have plenty of time.

For Tom…The cria’s name is “Minnesota!”  We couldn’t stop smiling!

It’s hard to believe that we’ll be on yet another cruise in only 34 days. As much as we love cruising, we’re easily embracing every last day here on the farm looking forward to the alpacas moving back closer to us sometime in the next few weeks. 

I’ve missed them during these inclement weather days and most certainly, we’ll be walking down to their current paddock to see them as soon as the winds abate to a degree.

Our new camera is able to zoom in to these cows on the neighboring farm.

As winter rolls into spring in the US we expect most of our family and friends in frigid Minnesota are looking forward to better weather in the near future. We recall only too well, the slush and mush in March and April as we all anticipated the short spring and summer. 

Now, all of that is behind us. In 15 months we’ll be in Minnesota to visit family and it will almost be summer when we arrive in early June, just in time for the grandchildren to be out of school for the season.

May all of our readers have a beautiful day wherever you may be with lots of warmth and sunshine in your lives!

Photo from one year ago today, March 12, 2015:

We were excited to see many more flowers blooming in Kauai as spring approached. For more details as we approached sister Julie’s visit, please click here.

Raining in buckets!…Touch of cabin fever?…Unreal video of another steep road…

Steep road to the house in Savusavu!

With our lifestyle geared toward making events less stressful when its within our control keeps us at “home” on rainy days. As of today, we’ve been in Savusavu for 15 days and its rained for 13 days.

My dish towels have been hanging outside on the ropes of the railing for days, partially drying during short dry periods and then becoming soaked a short time later. There’s not a single spot indoors to hang them.

These dish towels have been hanging outside for days unable to dry with the constant rain. We can’t throw them into the laundry when they’d be covered in ants by morning.  When necessary, I place the dirty towels in a bag in the freezer overnight.

Shalote will take the soaked towels along with our dirty laundry to the mysterious washer and dryer she and Usi use to do the laundry. I saw a clothesline in an obscure location on this five-acre property. I longingly think of those stand-up racks we’ve used in various countries throughout the world where we did our own wash, hanging the clothes to dry. This way I wouldn’t have this daily dish towel issue. 

We’d love to get out, me more than Tom. If we hardly ever went out and about, he’d be content. Somehow, he manages to entertain himself constantly reading online; looking for future cruises, airfares, and car rentals; listening to his favorite Minnesota podcast, Garage Logic (three hours daily); checking stock prices and financial matters; and, spending time spewing a variety of opines on Facebook, Cruise Critic and a few other choice newsy sites he fancies.

If we sat outside in the rain we’d be protected by the overhang. But, the mozzies are in full force during this rainy period.

I, on the other hand, prefer to be out exploring and taking photos. Good grief, I prepare a daily post and need photos! The great part is the enjoyment I derive from taking the photos and from posting them along with the story of an outing. It’s an indescribable pleasure. 

Fortunately, we’ve gone out during short dry periods able to take the many photos we’ve shared to date with still a stash in “inventory.” Our goal is to have no less than five or six days of yet un-posted photos on hand in the event of inclement weather. 

Tiny purple flowers with a tiny bee on the flower on the left.

At times, our photos may appear to be repeated, but we do not post repeats unless we mention in the caption they’ve been previously posted. Of course, there always will be the repeated “year ago” photo at the bottom of each post.

I’ll admit from time to time I have no choice but to wander about the yard looking for new photo ops to post over the next days if for whatever reason we haven’t been able to go anywhere of significance. 

Flowers are blooming with this excessive amount of rain.

Here in Fiji, with the slow wifi, we’re limited on how many photos will upload without taking hours. Once I start a post I usually stick with it until it’s online except for the time the photos take to load during which I usually chop and dice for the evening’s meal. Not one to sit and stare at the computer I can’t otherwise use, I find other ways to make use of the time.

Most days, it takes the entire morning to write, edit, and upload photos. Our post may not be editorially perfect by any means, but, we do make the effort. After it’s online Tom also proofreads it, often finding errors I missed after which I immediately return to the editing page to make the corrections.   

Another house in the area, down the hill from us.

Tom, whose grammar may be a result of growing up “in the hood” is actually an excellent proofreader. He waits to listen to his podcasts until after I’ve posted, offering considerable assistance in researching and fact-checking many aspects of each post. It truly is a team effort requiring our combined attention each morning.

The remainder of my days at “home,” referring to the afternoons, I spend searching for future locations and vacation rentals, working on the financials and our spreadsheet, and communicating with friends and family. I don’t spend more than 10 minutes daily on Facebook or other social media, preferring to spend time up and out of this chair when possible. 

Bougainvillea isn’t as prolific here as they were in Kenya.

With our limited way of eating, it’s always challenging coming up with new ways to prepare our food, creating and/or following new recipes I’ve found online at the zillions of low carb sites, many requiring tweaking here and there to make them suitably free of sugar, grains, and starch.

Last night, instead of plain steamed green beans with butter, I created a recipe for stir-fried, cooked in ghee and coconut oil, Asian seasoned green beans infused with bacon I’d first pre-cooked in the microwave. 

Baby palm fronds growing up on the sides of a larger frond.

We seldom have plain meat, veg, and salad.  In most cases, I make a “dish,” of some sort or other put together with a variety of ingredients making dining more interesting and varied. This requires a lot of work and time, of which I have had plenty, especially on these rainy days.

Thank goodness, we aren’t typical travelers on a two-week vacation/holiday to Fiji. We’d be sorely disappointed with the daily rain. Who wants to walk through a rainforest or visit a waterfall in the pouring rain? Maybe 20 year olds.  

The sun almost peeked out a few days ago.

It would be dangerous for us to walk from the house to the steep driveway in the rain, especially when we read online in a review for this property that a younger visitor had fallen on the road.  Why take a chance? The views easily make up for the potential risks so we’re not complaining, instead of being careful and appreciating the lovely home and location.

We can’t imagine driving in the rain on the steep driveway to the house as shown in the video we posted above.  There’s no doubt that the skies will eventually clear for many days in a row before too long. We had this same rainy early on in Trinity Beach with resulting sunny skies day after day when the rains finally died down.

These unusual flowers are blooming below the veranda.

Luckily, with the house on a hill with a solid tin roof, we’re not suffering any ill effects of the rain inside the house. So what about the soaked dish towels and being stuck indoors!

In our old lives, we wouldn’t have been doing much more when it rained with wild thunder and lightning, knocking out the power, a blizzard leaving snowdrifts taller than the tops of our heads, and with record temperatures in Minnesota dropping to -60F, -51C, with an estimated lowest record wind chill of -100F, -73C. 

We saw the same variety of beautiful yellow flowers in Trinity Beach.  As much as we’d like to post names of every flower posted, many we simply don’t recall and, are unable to use data to look to find them online.

Tom always says Minneapolis is as cold as Moscow. He spent 42 years working in that weather and remembers it well. A bit of rain in a tropical climate, even over a period of weeks is unimportant to us.

We hope our readers continue to enjoy our posts with the photos we do have available during this rainy spell. As soon as it clears we’ll be out and about, taking photos of this beautiful country. 

Instead of fussing over the weather, we find ourselves grateful for our lives, for good health, for being together, and for having this opportunity to stretch our wings and fly…and fly…and fly…

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2014:

One year ago, we posted our total expenses for six nights in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as we prepared to board the ship to Hawaii the next day.  For more details and the listed expenses, please click here.