Loo: (n.) toilet
Here in the southern hemisphere today is the spring equinox. The Celtic planting calender next to our loo tells me that Alban Eiler is a time where light and dark are in balance, a time for celebrating beginnings and praising the goddess of dawn, wisdom, and enlightenment.
That seems fitting given the fact that we officially sold our farm in New Hampshire this week. We’ve been contemplating the Buddhist notion that all suffering is caused by attachment and are balancing the loss we feel for the farm with the excitement of the new friends and connections we are building in New Zealand. Last night our friends at the Environment Center threw an equinox party with a speaker about transition towns, heaps of food, and music-making.
Those of you in the northern hemisphere are also celebrating an equinox today. Alban Elued, the autumn equinox, is also a time of balance between light and dark. It is a time of feeling fulfillment and completion, closing the cycle of seasons, and also a time of preparation for the winter. Hmmm… preparation for winter… I think we moved at the perfect time.
Oh and look who figured out how to work the camera just in time to snap some pictures of the festivities last night. Good on ya Nelson!
New Zealand finds new ways to surprise us every day. Let’s take a sojourn to our local supermarket.
Succulent Lamb and Mint potato chips?
Even Subway is in on the act.
Just who did ask for that Subway? I may be bold enough to brave Sylvia’s green juice, but I haven’t been brave enough yet to tackle the mint sensation sweeping this small nation. There are some things about New Zealand that I just don’t get.
Heaps: (adj.) a lot
We read an article in the paper the other day announcing proudly that while New Zealand has been the butt of jokes for years because of its 40:1 sheep:human population, that population has in fact halved and now there are only 20 times as many sheep per people in New Zealand. The fact that this was a headline in a national paper, may be self-defeating.
We had heard that in New Zealand there were more sheep than people, but after seeing factory farms in the US that fact didn’t seem too surprising. Undoubtedly if they can fit tens of thousands of cattle into a square mile, then it shouldn’t be hard to surpass a population of four million people spread out over two islands. But here in New Zealand factory farming, feed lots, and corn-fed cattle is unheard of. “What do you mean you can’t find grass-fed meat where you live? What else would cows eat?” asks our friend Lisa. Not surprisingly, “spray-free” fruits and veggies are also much easier to find here. The things we take for granted in the states. When did “conventional” foods become the ones that require the most sprays, shipping, processing, and corn?
Here are a few photos of our six hour bus ride from Hamilton to Wanganui, where we will be house-sitting for 9 weeks. We rode almost the entire length of the north island and passed endless miles of fields with sheep and cattle grazing. No doubt, millions of sheep and cattle grazing happily, and not one feed lot.