Originally Posted by nathansmum
There is a trainline that goes through the north island but it is just one main trunkline - so doesn't go beyond that line as far as I'm aware. There are a lot of tour busses though.
with the self sufficiency, the people who I know who get pretty close to doing it also rely a lot on the local community they are within to trade with rather than doing it all themselves.
some areas do get a drought over summer - up north being one of them
(my in-laws live there)! As well as the East Cape side - I have friends who have recently moved there to do the self sufficient thing, build a straw bale house etc but I think there too can go into a drought over summer. Nice and warm, but can be lacking in water. I'm not sure where the optimal place would be unfortunately.
Hm, that's interesting. I am in awe of the amazing diversity of climate there. Canada obviously has some diversity given it's enormous land mass, but NZ is like a taste of nearly everything the earth has to offer, it seems. I suppose it might be much better to do as suggested then- to move there and take the time to roam around and see what area would be best rather than making any hasty (and uninformed) decisions. In Canada, in terms of climate, it's not a big stretch to choose somewhere on the other side of the country and be pretty familiar with what it's going to be like before actually arriving. It doesn't seem like that's very likely there.
On the self-sufficiency thing, I'm never sure how to label what we want to do. We really want to be (moderately or somewhat) involved in a community, and also able to support ourselves, so that if it works better for everyone that we supply a few families with eggs and they supply us with lettuces or whatever, then that's wonderful! BUT we also really cherish our privacy and independence as well, so communal living or too-involved community farming would be emotionally exhausting. I think a co-op might be the best way to label what we anticipate would likely work out best for us and others like us, but again, I guess we'll have to feel the place and the people out to figure out how things will best benefit everyone.
I'm excited about the train too!
Originally Posted by tiffani
check out areas around the coromandel peninsula too, it's beautiful there, and probably good farming.
NZ is very accommodating and sensible in most ways. I have found that in north america, if there is a policy in place, that is the way it goes, even if it doesn't make sense, or your particular situation is a little different -- here you'll find that people are willing to work around policies and rules, and do what makes sense, not what the rule tells them to do. I like that a lot.
on the crunchiness issue, I didn't want to say that NZ is "behind" because that's kind of rude, but it is similar to how you compare vancouver to the rest of canada -- "not as progressive"
. at the same time, people aren't judgmental about differences, and the spirit of 'live and let live' is alive and well. I like that in a lot of ways, but I find that sometimes the kids here are not as kind and polite as in Canada, and the parents are not quick to step in if kids are having social trouble with each other -- I know that is a HUGE generalization, but kiwis have a "harden up, kids will be kids" mentality, and my sensitive child has definitely hardened up here, though it took a while and was a little rough at times.
In Vancouver, parents sometimes "over parent" but here kids are often left to their own devices, and bullying is a problem in a lot of schools, I've heard -- our kids are homeschooled, so they are mostly around kids whose parents are right there and engaged if problems arise, which they rarely ever do. at the playground, however, kids are pretty quick to sort of tease and taunt -- it's almost like how they play together, and maybe that's normal outside of Vancouver!
on the topic of food, you'll find that when you go to a kiwi kids birthday party, there HAS to be fairy bread, which is white bread with butter and "100's and 1000's" (sprinkles) and bright pink cocktail sausages (called cheerios) and sausage rolls... compare that to the birthday parties in vancouver with the veggie trays and the sugarless spelt cake with goat cheese frosting, and you'll start to see a few of the differences.
the kids in our neighborhood "go to the dairy" for candy or ice cream just about every day, which is awesome good fun for them, but just really different than our friends in vancouver. we have a 'when in rome' mentality about being here, because we know it's temporary, and we were never super hardcore about that kind of thing anyway. you won't find a wide array of healthy snack foods or organic convenience foods like you do elsewhere -- especially in the US -- but you're probably not used to those anyway, being where you are now. I miss being able to go to the store and buy whole fruit popsicles and annie's pasta and veggie booty -- you either go hardcore and make your own everything, or, if you're lazy and having a crazy year like us, you just buy more junk processed stuff than you EVER would have before, and rationalize that your kids will survive.
so that's the extent of my complaints about NZ. It truly is beautiful here, and very laid back. It's not crime-free, it's not hugely crunchy, and the cost of living can be very high, but as long as you're realistic about the pros and cons of living here, then you'll probably love it. I'm so glad that we've spent 18 months here, and would love to come back someday!
hope you make your dream a reality!
Okay, so I just checked out the Coromandel Penninsula.
We love to barefoot and do so as soon as the weather permits; some of those places are our feets' paradise!!! Or maybe all of them.
I'm going to see where people settle there. From the sites I've seen, there's a lot of tourism (fine with us). I'm going to search for the farmers! WOW! Thanks for the tip! So beautiful!!!
It's funny about how children are sort of left to their own there. I think where we are there's a mix and we're probably of the 'let them sort it out' type in general, but our children receive a lot of guidance from us in that, so that when they are with other children and their parents become concerned initially when we don't run interference immediately, we delight in sitting back and watching as the tension in the place disappears because our boys are so adept at conflict resolution. The teasing and being rude thing, though, I'm feeling a bit apprehensive about as I read your description... We've encountered some of that here, and our boys were dumbfounded; they truly didn't understand why someone in real life
would be rude without provocation; they really think that behaviour is reserved for fictional characters who end up resolving their issues or having them resolved for them in the story...
I guess we'll have to deal with that when we need to; it's pretty hard to do any pre-emptory work on that without making it seem scary: Now when people shout at you and call you names, just tell them that they may speak to you kindly or not at all.
Our boys are sensitive, and also fiercely loyal to one another, and a few children have learned that when they didn't realise that an attempt to ostracise one of our boys would result in them
being alone; being four, our boys tend to make up a significant portion of children wherever there are groups. There are not a lot of children overall here. Our boys don't abide cruelty at all; we've never had to coach them in that- they know this innately or at least through their own brotherly interractions, and they remain respectful of others even those children who seem to be unaware of the reality of cruelty.
I guess it will be interesting to see how things go; I am a little baffled about a cultural acceptance of children treating one another cruelly though. I'm not really sure howto prepare myself
for that even. Maybe Canada really is a polite nation. Lots of children say and do mean things here, but I don't know any adult who thinks that's okay- even if they don't actually do anything about it. Hmmm...
For food, how long do the farmer's markets operate? Are there many of them? Not having access to real food is very upsetting to me, but if I can get a hold of a few whole ingredients and some pastured meat and eggs, then I can feed us well. Of course, I recognise that it may take a while to locate sources. It took a little over a year to find everything we need here, which is very fast, imo (and considering that the seasons make all the difference in finding local food), but I did a lot of 'digging' and we happened to meet one of the organic farmers who organises the market and works in cooperation with all of the other organic farmers here on our first day
, so that helped.
I'm trying to think of any organic convenience foods that we eat now... I usually consider fruit
Milled flour (instead of whole grain-berries)...? BREAD! We buy our sprouted bread because I am pg and have wicked contractions if I knead bread or have to stir a very tough and gloppy mixture in a bowl.
I am having the feeling that these might not be items that you are considering convenience foods.
By then, I should be able to knead/stir my own bread though. I really can't come up with anything not plain and whole that we buy. I make
lots of convenience foods with
I'm reading my post and thinking that I either seem like a total back-country pioneer woman or holier-than-thou. I'm really not either!!! I think we'd both be laughing if we were talking in person.
It must be the subject matter...
I really like the way you described how people view policies/legislation there. It's very much like that here too, which was a major drawing point for us. I really cannot stand meddling and 'protect them from themselves' mentalities, which is how we ended up in the west having come from Ontario where it seems that many/most people think the highest calling they have in life is to make sure their neighbours are adhering to petty legislation. The amount of court-decided cases about how high (to 1/2 inch increments!) a garden arbour or privacy fence can be is a testament to that. No thanks. I am definitely
of the live and let live
During our trip into town today, dp and I were talking about driving there, on the other side of the road, and how hard it will be to change ingrained and habitual actions like checking for cyclists and turning through large intersections, or worse, switching sides to drive standard. Are the vehicles automatic or standard there? We drive both, and prefer standard overall, although I do appreciate having a hand free with children in the vehicle because I can pull over and put it in park, deal, and then drive. When we drove children in a standard, it took just a bit longer because we'd have to turn off the car if we needed to stop, and of course, being pg, I like being able to eat with one hand.
But, no biggie either way; just a point of interest.
So reading your posts makes me wonder why we didn't move to Vancouver from the first!
Veggie trays at birthday parties??? That's awesome! That doesn't happen here either, but we combat it by making sure we arrive after lunch and we stuff our boys full of good food so that they end up eating only a small-ish amount of junkfood. It's not the worst thing on occasion, to have them eat something that is half sugar by volume and half white flour... they end up having a pancreatic crash and then sleep through the night, which almost never happens otherwise.
Birthday parties are dp's and my "What are we gonna do tonight when the children actually sleep?!" nights. They are infrequent and a really nice break. I'm a horrible mother
Tomorrow we start on our first step in our plan!
Originally Posted by nathansmum
I'm LOL, coz that's so true! In saying that I live in crunchy-central because there is a Steiner/Waldorf school in the neighbourhood and I have several friends who go there - so I feel "at home" when around them and I belong to an organic co-op that some of the Steiner mums set up. My kids don't have all that stuff at their parties since we eat gluten free and mostly sugar free even though most of our guests would be non-crunchy. Crunchy isn't even a word here lol (applied in this sense).
Re cost of living - we live on a very average retail manager wage (mid-$40k) - single income and do manage to get by quite well, own our own home, have the chickens in our backyard, have a typical 1/4 acre section (not so common these days though) with permaculture garden but do live frugally without going without.
This is very encouraging. Nobody could do that in most places here without some really wonderful luck and unusual circumstances (we have friends who fall into that category, so it does happen, but it's very rare; land is very expensive). It is more expensive here in general than what you're describing, but I guess I cannot account for the actual buying power of the dollar in relation because I don't know how much things actually cost there. Maybe it is the same or close.
That amount of supportive people would be absolutely adequate for us. We love to have friends, but we're not what some would call 'joiners' and we like to enjoy social gatherings, but infrequently. It is too much for us otherwise. Ideally, we love to live near friends and have a very informal relationship so that we just drop over or they do (ideal for me tending four children) and we just find ourselves in company for the afternoon or all day or whatever. Arranging social gatherings just doesn't happen for us, but perhaps that will change as our children grow out of this very intense stage in their lives.
I was considering what amount of friendship support or community I need to feel content and fulfilled. Right now, given the intensity of relationship with our children at their ages, I am very happy to have one or two friend sets- couple or family- and about two acquaintances sets- couples or families. That's my saturation level presently. I imagine that will change though. So saying, it seems that my social needs for now are pretty easy to meet.
In five years, our children will range in age from 11 yrs to 5 yrs, and there will be five of them and dp and me. Our plan has built-in flexibility to accommodate the changes we cannot yet anticipate as our children grow. In every case though, homesteading and free-learning describe our lifestyle of choice. I think it's likely that we'll be able to find someone who is at least open to that, if not also doing it; does that seem reasonable or likely to you? (please say yes...
Jk, I do want to be prepared, so have at it.
We've been content with 'open to' here because there is nobody doing what we're doing. There are homesteaders, but they either don't have children, or send their children to school.
Thanks so much again for all the information and experiences you shared, mamas! Dp and I are loving reading what you've shared and learning as we read about the country and accumulate others' personal stories about what it's like there.