Heavy Metal

5 11 2009

We’ve arrived in New Zealand. After spending four days learning to drive on the left hand side of the road, finding pubs that would show the World Series, and staring in awe at the country’s beauty (though everyone swears that we haven’t seen the beautiful part yet), we are at our first “farm.” Turns out it’s not so much a farm as it is a beautiful house and grounds, and besides a few chickens and cauliflowers, there is not much growing here. However, the house has an extensive trail system and access to the coast, and our tasks mostly involve maintaining this.


Yesterday, we spent the day fortifying a track in the bush (read trail on the mountain). Sunny had the lovely job of carting loads of gravel, which they call metal, down a narrow, winding, steep track. Key word: Down. On a wheelbarrow. With only two wheels. The proper response is: Wow.

My job was to clear the trail, change some of its slope, and rake out the gravel when it arrived. I don’t get a wow for that one.

Afterward, we were given the task of using up the large pile of metal by re-graveling the driveway. I think we might deserve another wow for that. Or at least a, “Sounds like a load of work. No pun intended.”

I know my dad might read this and say, “If you wanted to work with gravel, you could have come to Cleveland.” He would have a point. However, what this “farm” offers is not only fascinating job opportunities. We are living, rent and board-free, perched among a set of mountains on the edge of a fjord. We work in the morning and kayak or hike in the afternoon. It’s a multi-taskers paradise.

Truly, this way of travel seems to be relatively brilliant, as we’re getting three abundant meals, great company, and access to some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever seen. All for four hours of manual labor a day.

We’ve finished our tasks with the heavy metal and now we’re on to wood splitting, deck scraping, and tomato growing. Our host and boss is an older man who has bushy eyebrows and seems to enjoy the company of Wwoofers (as we’re called) as much as or more than the actual work we provide. He apologizes profusely when he gives us our daily tasks, and has already corrected us many times for being “too much of a perfectionist about it.” At each meal, he fills us with stories from his very eccentric life. I can’t quite get the life story down, but I know he dropped out of school and spent several years traipsing around the globe, where he happened to be in South Africa and witness some apartheid laws coming into effect in Parliament. He also seems to have thought up a dozen different inventions, and based on the look of the house, at least a few of these have been successful.

So despite the blisters on our hands, we are happy to be here and to be earning our keep. Back to the grind, as they say.



2 responses

9 11 2009
Meg Stanton

Hi guys! I’ve finally connected to your blog. It’s so much fun to read, as always, Joce! I confess the type of work you have been asked to do is not at all what I was expecting!! I’m glad you are young, and I hope your backs hold out!! It sounds very taxing!! But what do you expect for living for free, right?!! What an experience you’re having!! Nancy and Pat Reymann are newly back from New Zealand, and they had a wonderful time. I’m anxious to see their pictures so I can get an idea of what you’re seeing there.

Fiji sounded quite heavenly – a honeymoon before the wedding!!!

Take care, and keep enjoying life!


20 11 2009
Steph Joyce

Love hearing about your adventures. Sounds like you are having an amazing time. Keep ’em coming!

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