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Friday, October 31, 2008

The Redwood Forest




While we were in Rotorua we went to go see the red wood forest.  Redwood forests only grow in the USA (California area) and New Zealand.  Walking through the redwood forest was like walking through something from a movie, everything is five times as big as normal  and you almost expected a T-rex to come hurdling from out behind one of the the redwood trees.  A single redwood tree can produce up to 500 gallons of moisture into the air per day.  When a redwood tree finally dies or gets blown over by a wind storm it can take 500 years for one of these huge logs to rot away.  During this time new plants will grow from the dead tree.  Fungi will begin to break it down, animals will lay there eggs there and many more things will happen.  The redwood forest is also an amazing mountain biking place, I did not get to personally ride any of the tracks but during some of our walk I had the chance to see glimpses of the track, and it looked really fun.  The day after we went to the redwood forest it was raining so we went to go see the "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in the theater.  We thought that Rotorua was a perfect city to see the movie because of the boiling mud pots and the giant redwood forest.

-Damon

-suggestion, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is a good movie, and it is worth it to see it. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moko




One night we were invited to the beach, Mahia, which is about 40 min. away.  I love going there and this time it was better because we were going with some friends to see if we could find Moko the dolphin!  When we got there, the Vickers (our friends) were already there.  They had brought 2 - 2 person sit on top kayaks!  It was about 5:00 when we got there so immediately my Mom, Dad, Ruth, & Russell went out to see if they could find Moko for us!  Suzelle, Maddie, Damon & I put out some cushions and blankets so we could get warm and watch them go out there!  They all got out there and we were in luck!  Moko was out and nobody else was there with us, so we got Moko all to ourselves.  Moko came up to the boats and he let them pet him and everything but they did not get out of the boats!
Soon they all tried to come in at the same time but Moko decided that he did not want that so he went under my Mom & Dad's boat and kind of picked it up and brought it back out.  My mom screamed!  I did not know what about.  I kept on playing cards with Suzelle and Damon and Maddie.  I only wanted to go in the boat if Moko was out there to play with me!  Russell came back  and Damon went out with him.  Russell and Damon distracted Moko while Mom & Dad came to shore to get Maddie.  Soon enough Russell came in to get Suzelle and they kept on switching until they got me out there.  I was out there for a long time just playing with Moko!
Soon pretty much all the kayaks went in to shore except for Suzelle and Russell but the rest of us were out in the water with our clothes on.  We had lots of fun when we were with Moko.  I went up to Moko and pet him a little, I grabbed onto his top fin and he started to swim.  It was so much fun I could not believe that I was pretty much riding a dolphin!  I think I had a lot of fun when I was swimming around with Moko!
-Elena

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Zorb




When my family went to Rotorua during our two week break from school, one of the things we did was go in the Zorb.  New Zealand is the capital of extreme sports of the world.  Zorb riding was invented in New Zealand.  The Zorb is an 11 foot high inflatable ball that you can see through.  Another ball just like that is inside of it and is seven feet high.  Two feet of air separates them, but tight strings hold them together.  It was cold the day we went.  We had to get in line to sign in on a computer.  Then we could put on our swimsuits.  We had to wait for the van to come to bring us to the top of the hill.  While we waited, we watched the other people come down.  If you go down the hill by yourself, you go down the curvy path.  If you go down with another person, you go down a straight path.  Damon, Elena and I went down together.  There was warm water in the Zorb.  Damon dove through the opening of the Zorb first, then Elena crawled through, and then me.  We felt a push and then down the hill we went.  We were splashing and rolling around.  I tried to sit up, but I just fell right back down again!  I was riding backward most of the time!  When we finally got down to the bottom of the hill we got out in the same order we got in.  It was like going down a water slide when I slid out of the Zorb.  We had a picture taken in front of the Zorb.  Elena and Damon went down two more times by themselves on the curvy path.  I was too cold!  It was fun though!
- Maddie

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hell's Gate




"Where are we going?"   Maddie asked mom.  "Hell" she said.  "Where is Hell?" I asked but she did not answer.  When we got there I knew right away because of the smell.  I could recognize that smell from anywhere!  Rotten Eggs!  Yuck!!!  (I plugged my nose right away!)  We walked up to the front desk.  If you don't know where we were, we were at the boiling mud pools.
Hells Gate geothermal reserve was formed about 10,000 years ago as a series of geothermal eruptions when an ancient lake drained to form lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua.  With the water gone steam, gas and hot fluids came to the surface.  Hell's Gate is unique because the heat source is only 1.5 km below the surface rather than 10+km of most geothermal spots.
I looked at some mud pools and I was hot I wanted to take off my jacket, but I would have to unplug my nose! I carefully took off my jacket, I stared at the pools. They were hot, boiling and had lots of steam coming up from them.  Next we came to the Mud Volcano.  My mom tried to lift up her arm because she could not see what she was taking a picture of but she was not tall enough so she handed the camera to me.  I took it from my mom and my dad lifted me up.  I got some pretty good pictures of inside the Mud Volcano but I was still a bit hot!  Bubble, Bubble, Bubble!!!  It was actually making a loud kind of sound when the Mud Volcano was bubbling!  
I can't believe people actually pay money to take spa baths in this mud!
It sure does smell but it actually is worth the money to go to Hell's Gate!
-Elena

Monday, October 6, 2008

Docking


"What"?
"Why"?
"Where"?
"Now"?
"Do I have to"?

This was my response to my mom after she told me what I was going to be doing that afternoon.  I have to admit that I was not very excited to be told that my afternoon was going to be spent helping dock sheep.

Docking sheep is were they cut off the lambs tails and put a rubber band around there balls.  They do this to keep them cleaner and free of disease.

So, if you are going to go work on a farm you should probably wear some clothes that can get dirty, right?  Well, when I was packing my clothes to bring to NZ I packed all of my nice clothes, not old ones with holes that I used for paint ball and could get dirty.  That was a problem, so I just put on some jeans and soccer zone t-shirt.

When I got there it was not anything like I had imagined.  I did basically nothing and they did everything.

I had to hold a special blow torch that had scissors as part of it.  The flames heated the scissors and cut of the tail. The heat made it easier to cut the tail.  Holding this contraption was like sticking your hand in the oven for a while.  Finally, after what seamed like forever, someone took the contraption from me and started to use it to cut off the lambs tails.  While one person would be docking another would be drenching (deworming) the lambs.

After we finished there was still one lamb left out in a paddock that we had to go round up with the 4-wheeler.  Another boy and I stood so that there was no where for the lamb to go except for out the gate.  Once we finished with that lamb we were finished and I went home.  

But before I left for home they gave me a little tub of white bait and that is how our white bait experience began.

I don't have a picture of me working that day so I put a picture of our friends Paul & Josie docking our two lambs.

-Damon

The garden


The house we are living in has a wonderful spot already prepared as a garden.  Now I have never had much of a vegetable garden before, just a "bruschetta garden" - tomatoes & basil.  So I have decided to give a try at gardening.  A friend sent me a unique book on "square foot gardening".  This sounded like a unique and creative method - something I could really get into. I mentioned this to my neighbor behind me shortly after we moved in.  He has an incredible yard of fruit trees and flower gardens with some vegetables mixed in.  He also has a rather large garden out at his son's house.  He wasn't too hip on the square idea, but I went ahead and got some rhubarb and garlic in.  
One day Stew rang me up and stated that he would be stopping by to turn over the garden for me.  I hurriedly got ready to help him out but he would hear none of that.  A week later he called again saying he wanted to take me out plant shopping.  Stew treated me and his wife Val to some coffee and treats then we picked out some lettuce, broccoli & cauliflower plants.  I thought I would get busy planting them, but Stew was a step ahead of me (literally) and made it to the garden first.  He has been over several more times turning over soil, hoeing, and planting seedlings he started.  Each time I have offered to help but Stew says "none of that Kris"!  
This morning we began the summer garden with a trip to the greenhouse.  Tomato plants, seeds, potting soil and a few flowers.  We then headed to Stew and Val's house to split a few of their plants for me and pick up some tools.  Oh, and it was time for a tea break in their garden.  Then Stew and I continued to my house for planting.  I found that planting the flowers I wanted while Stew planted the vegetable garden worked well.  Each time I moved to a new space to turn over some soil Stew would say "I'll get that for you Kris".  Stew suggested that we take on the square foot lines so he could plant a row of carrots.  Sorry April, but I gave up the idea and let Stew go ahead.  We lasted a few hours then Stew said that he would be back on Fri. to turn over and plant the melon area.  Secretly I do want to get my hands in the dirt, but regardless I think I will end up with a fabulous harvest and a good friend!
No Worries - Kris