Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

Slowdown Post #15: Almond Harvest!

10/09/2020

During lockdown we had time to pick almonds. You don’t actually pick them, you use long sticks or PVC pipe, and wack them off the branches so they land on a tarp. Just don’t get hit as they fall. It hurts! Then the work of taking off the skin and cracking the shells begins. We’re still looking a good for a good almond cracker, so if anyone knows of one, let us know. Right now, we’re doing the cro-magnum technique of smashing them with a river rock. After they’re out of the shell, we’re ready to make almond butter, almond milk or even eat nuts! We have about 6 almond trees here at Mountain Spirit, and since the nuts keep well, unlike the sweet chestnuts we have, we’re able to enjoy them throughout the winter. @purenewzealand

Slowdown Post #14: Wood Chopping and Stackin

09/09/2020

Stoking up for the winter, Conner splits and Jess stacks, nearing the end of a few day’s farm workout plan. Poplar dries quickly, and is quick to light, but its only good for a fire starter. Hardwoods are best for the slow burn. WE debated whether to hire a mechanical splitter, but Conner was happy to have the workout, and since poplar splits so easily, it went fairly quickly. Nevertheless, as you can see, there was quite a bit to split and stack. Living off the grid has its advantages and having warm fires to heat the house is a big one, not to mention the cost savings! purenewzealand#newzealand#wanaka#lovewanaka#mountainspirit

Fulfilling our Mission, and Our Passion

15/08/2020

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Before lock-down, here on the South Island of New Zealand, we were quite busy renting out our accommodation to AirBnB guests from all over the world. We enjoyed meeting people from Italy to the US, from China to India. Since lock-down, we’ve been gettingIMG_8761 - Copy copy bookings from individuals and families here in New Zealand, who want a “digital detox”, or to reset their perspective on life. There’s a huge demand for going within, and reconnecting with one’s self, with others and with nature. Humbly, I think we do that well here at Mountain Spirit. We’ve been at it for a while and are excited to share our space and experience. Amanda offers wonderful and centering YinYoga classes. Randall offers re-connection through “solo’s”, sailing and other experiential activities. Randall worked with Outward Bound for many years, then a mountain guide in South America for Alpine Ascents International, leading climbers up peaks in Peru, Argentina and Ecuador and has landed in New Zealand. Amanda has studied yoga most of her life, and spent some months in India practicing and learning. She most recently has been training under Sarah Powers. Come join IMG_8794 copyus if you’re so inclined to dive into your inner world. We’re at mtnspirit.nz

 

 

 

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Slowdown Post #13: “Hayice” Climbing!

13/08/2020

20200513_120509 copyDuring lockdown Level 4, we eyed the farmer’s hay bales, the next field over, and received permission to take ice axes and crampons to them “as long as we didn’t tip any over on us”. It was remarkably realistic climbing except the occasional piece of straw in your boot and of course the warmth! Who knows, maybe it will catch on. It’s a great way to get a pump, and practice your skills. When growing up in New Hampshire, I took for granted the ice climbs that were 10-15 minutes’ walk from the car, Frankenstein Cliff’s in the White Mountains, come to mind, or smaller local climbs hidden in the woods near Sunapee. In New Zealand, you’ll need a full day’s approach by ski touring into Wye Creek, or Black Peak here in Wanaka to see any ice. No driving to the ice fall or belaying off the bumper here!

Slowdown Post #12: Apple Press v 1.0

12/08/2020

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Jess and Conner rev up for our first round of cider making. This version had a few design flaws that was solved with our later version, which you’ll see soon. Mainly we had to beef up the cross beams because of the incredible amount of pressure exerted by the Toyota car jack. I also used sheets of thick steel for  the top compressor plate, and bottom drainage plate. We did away with the Mitre 10 bucket, replacing it with a cut-off from some large thick culvert drainage pipe from a building site.  It’s white and looks great. Since it was an offcut, it hadn’t been in the ground yet, so is usable for making cider. The storage contain top also has been replace by the beefy sheet of steel, also courtesy of the same building site, used with permission of course. @purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #lovewanaka #mountainspirit

Slowdown Post #11: Working with Micro Hydro Power

10/08/2020

Conner at Intake

Our micro hydro intake with the first layer of cement anchoring in place. Notice the newly installed anchor points for the next layer of anchoring material. This intake still has no water passing over the stream bed yet, which makes it easy to work in the stream bed. Otherwise one would have to divert the water while pouring cement.  We’ll just have to wait on Mother Nature.  This is 60 meters above the the turbine back at our house, and we’re about 600 meters away, so it’s quite a bit of pipe to lay down.We have  also use masonry bolts and chain to anchor the cement better into the stream bed. The chain runs through the hardened cement, leading to the bolts which are place on the large rocks in the stream bed. Hopefully that will keep the intake in place for years to come.   @purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #mountainspirit

Slowdown Post #10: Sweet chestnuts

09/08/2020

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Sweet chestnuts are part of the bounty at Mountain Spirit during lockdown. North America saw a blight that eliminated the sweet chestnut tree from the whole continent, although through the American Chestnut Foundation, a blight resistant tree is growing. A friend of mine, John Herrington, was the executive director for a them, and I learned a little through his efforts in the early stages some years ago. Congratulations go to the foundation for doing a great job in the states. I look forward to learning more about their success in bringing the tree back.
So we feel extra grateful for these little roasters on the wood stove during the cold evenings.

Sweet chestnuts don’t keep very long, and we’re still experimenting on ways to preserve them over the winter months. Ground up into a flour, it’s great for baking, and of course, roasted on a stovetop or wood stove, they’re the best. IMAGE: Courtesy of Jessica, who helped us while woofing during lockdown.
@purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #lovewanaka #mountainspirit

Lockdown/Slowdown Post #9: Drying Berries!

06/08/2020

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Rosehips and Hawthorne berries dry in the autumn sun. Pick before a frost and dry the rosehips berries, then use a food processor to break them up to make a tea very high in vitamin C. You have to watch out when picking rosehips as they have little stickers on them that can stick you! Use gloves and pick as many as you can. When making the tea, just steep and filter after grinding, then add a bit of honey.
#purenewzealand #newzealand #wanaka #lovewanak #mountainspirit

Lockdown/Slowdown Post #8: Micro Hydro Install

05/08/2020

 Drilling holes into a perfectly good micro-hydro intake box! Conner, our helper and wonderful person during lockdown helps me add anchor points which will help hold the micro hydro intake to the stream bed. It will take two pours of concrete to hold the intake in place, not to mention some bolts and chains anchored from big rocks in the stream bed, going under the cement. Only a 100 yr flood event will take this out.. if that we hope!

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Lockdown/Slowdown Post #7: Micro Hydro

05/08/2020

The Powerspout micro-hydro in action last spring during its initial trial run, when we had a running stream. During Lockdown, it was Conner’s and my job to build a more permanent footing and structure for this gizmo, and to secure the intake. More on that later…stay tuned. We’ll show you images and text of this hydro system, called the Powerspout, how we set it up, how the company configured the system to our water flow and drop, (called head) and how it works now that we’ve got water flowing in our stream. It’s the perfect dovetail to our solar. Tons of sun in the summer and tons of water in the stream in the winters.

 

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