This was my first real summer in New Zealand. (Friendly fact: summer takes place over the U.S. winter months [December-March], since we are in the southern hemisphere). Last year didn’t really count. It was cold and windy and rainy; sunny days were few and far between. The weather forecasters kept talking about the absence of summer. I wasn’t impressed. Summer in New Zealand wasn’t anything to brag about. But this year was different. The long days of sunshine never ended. We went 2 and 1/2 months without a drop of rain.
This is actually detrimental to farm life, because the grass begins to yellow and die off and there is a lack of food for the animals, and home life, because the collected rain water is what flows out of your taps and the tanks in your backyard holding this water begin to dry up. But I digress, that’s another post.
As a lover of fresh, organic foods and knowing exactly what is going into your body, summer in New Zealand, with plenty of sunshine and no space restrictions, was the perfect opportunity to explore a sustainable living lifestyle.
With a green house and raised garden bed in the backyard, I was able, for the first time, to grow my own food. Some things worked (swiss chard, carrots, corn, onions, potatoes, raspberries) and other things struggled (cauliflower, peppers).
Like anything, it was a learning process. Not knowing any better, I planted 4 different packets of tomatoes, not realizing that just about every single seed would sprout. I also struggled with every pest and bug out there. While squeamish at the beginning, I now pick them off with my bare hands. (For a city girl scared of bugs, this is a big feat).
Much to my amazement, some things also grew wild. Blackberries lined the walkways to the beach.
Edible mushrooms, literally the size of my head, grew in the fields.
And there was of course fresh seafood right outside our door.
I really couldn’t have asked for a better summer or a better spot to dive into sustainable living. And I’m already planning what to buy for next year.
But for now, like anywhere in the world, the summer months arrive just as quickly as they slip away. Because once that first rain came summer was gone.
The sun is no longer up when I rise in the morning, the flower blossoms have slowly disappeared from the fields, and the abundance of summer vegetables have been harvested. The cooler, shorter days are settling in as mother nature takes a break for the year.
Til next year sweet summer.