25 Feb 2016 - Jo Duggan
Our lifestyle block - Olive oil, hazelnuts, and hens.


The week begins with two lovely friends from the UK arriving late afternoon to stay the night on their way around NZ.  It was so good to see familiar faces, we sat them down out in the courtyard with a cuppa and a piece of cake to listen to their travel stories, and to tell them what we are about here. All of a sudden it hit us - " is that our welcome present ?" Marion asks. We waited some 12 to 14 seconds before the house and garden stopped rocking and rolling around us. We were all a little bit in shock but OK, nothing had fallen over or been damaged. It was a 5 magnitude and just 8 km down. 

After that excitement we had a pleasant evening and morning with Jeff and Marion. They left at about 11 am on Monday. 

Now it was back to work with a vengeance. With a Molesworth Tour Group coming on Wednesday and preparing for the markets on Thursday, we will have a busy week. Then David told me 2 helpers were arriving tomorrow afternoon so I had to quickly think of a meal for them. What would we have done without the freezer and the veg. garden.

We start by David mowing the grass in and around the grove and I get on with tidying the garden, dead-heading the flowers and weeding........I used to wait for a rainy day before I did the housework but you can't do that here in Marlborough, it just doesn't rain often enough, so the next job is to clean the house.

Tuesday, and I'm still cleaning in the morning but the afternoon I start to prepare tomorrow's lunch and the evening meal. The French couple  who are from Helpx came late afternoon, Antony and Marie, they settled in ready to help tomorrow.  We have a relaxed evening getting to know the couple who have worked on New Caledonia for 2 years. They are heading to Tahiti when they leave NZ.

Today, Wednesday is the day the tour group come here. There is still a lot to do, I get on with the cooking while David and Antony get the tables and gazebo set up. Marie sweeps up the yard and lays the tables. The tasting table has to be set up with the different varieties of oil and a little bread for dipping. Wine is in the fridge, all is well. 

They usually arrive at about 12.30, look at our view from the sitting room then taste the oil and after that David takes them around the grove and garden explaining the process of olive oil making and the hazelnut production, among other things. He stops at the processing room where the press is kept and chiller room where the olive oil is kept. Then its a walk down to the lower grove to look at the hazelnuts and the chickens who follow faithfully waiting for anyone to drop some food. The tour then comes back up to the house to pass through the pottery and into the house for a light lunch of salmon quiche and salads, and a dessert including the current fruit growing in the garden. We try to use as much food grown in the garden as possible, and always include a good Marlborough wine.

After a pleasant chat over lunch the tour group leave at about 3pm. They go on to a winery then a meal and bed in Blenheim. But not so for us, we have plenty to do still

After a short rest we continue with the chores - David has to get everything watered well before we leave for the weekend so he is busy starting pumps and switching on taps to get the water up from the well - we do appreciate water here, it takes energy to get it - ours!

I have to check that we have everything ready for the markets - olive oil bottles, Hazelnut Pesto labels and pots, pottery and everything else we need for the market stall. Then we can relax for the rest of the evening.

Thursday and its all hands on deck for the Pesto making. Marie and I get on with preparing the ingredients, the garlic, lemons and Parmesan, while Antony harvests the basil. I then process the whole lot and Marie pots up while I clean up. Meanwhile, David is packing the car and getting himself ready for the drive to Christchurch - 3 1/2 hours.

We are finally ready to leave for Christchurch at 3pm. Thanks to Marie and Antony we feel confident in leaving the place in their hands for a couple of days. 

Now all we have to do is sell it all !!