The Breath of Life and “You guys are geeks”

“We didn’t kill any hares so we had to eat chicken (free range) instead. Possum tomorrow,” Sandra said. “How do we fit this in” asked Marian. There is a rule up this valley. What comes up the Wakatipu does not go back down it. This is sort of like our blog. What has once gone in cannot come out. Ever. So how does this little statement that slipped in fit with anything else. Who knows? If you figure it out, please let us know.

Crazy In Their Brains

We delivered TLG to the plants today. Is that TLC, you ask? Sort of. Triabon, Lime, and Gypsum is more or less related to Tender Loving Care. Triabon is a fertilizer with proper concentrations of Nitrogen, Potasium, and Phosphorous. Bored yet? Lime makes acidic soil more alkaline. Soil becomes acidic when you water it with irrigation, because the water is a bit acidic here (or anywhere really). You’ve gotta be bored now. No? Okay. Gypsum helps the plants breathe because the little calcium carbonate particles – like chalk dust – cohere to the roots and open a tiny air-hole next to them, hence the breath of life.

Sandra and Marian have become TLG masters. No, that doesn’t mean they’re old fogies, but true dyed-in-the-wool “masters.” But what does that mean, to master TLG? For each plant, it’s not just about fertilizing it. You have to unpin a desiccated weed-mat, somehow wrap it around the tree, deposit triabon 5 cms from the trunk, construct a perfect circle of lime and gypsum, then repin the tattered remains of the mat with a rusted dissolving piece of thin wire, all while struggling to follow a maze of black alkathane irrigation pipe that has become overgown, buried, and rat chewed for a year in the wild. So TLG is a process that one must master. And you do it for not one, not ten, not a hundred, but thousands – hundreds of thousands – of trees which “makes one a little bit crazy in their brains.”

Then we sprayed. Marian was nervous about catching the plants with the backpack sprayer or slipping and avalanching all the trees. It’s called TLGing them to death.

Marian is developing favorites of the plant family. She likes coprosma ragosa, broadleaves, and morning star hebes, long walks on the beach, and brunches on Sunday afternoon. Takers anyone?

“Sandra, what are your favorites?” Marian asked. “Cabbage Trees, Lancewoods, and Marbleleaves, roasted (free range) chicken, sautéed veges, and dead hares, all over a nice glass of Marlborough Carbernet!” (But all we had was Savignon Blanc from Australia.)

The Evening Runs (some people run at least)

After the day’s work is done, Rob, Sandra, Eve and Marian will head out into the beautiful landscape that surrounds Camhannan. Tonight, we ventured out onto the world famous Great Walk of the Routeburn. “Awesome!” quote Marian. “I almost made it to the epic waterfall,” she moaned. “I could hear it just around the corner. But Rob had put the fear of god into us about turning around at forty-five minutes. So, being the good Wwoofer that I am, I turned, and will probably regret it the rest of my life…” Call in the whambulance boys!

Marian called us geeks, Sandra and Rob. But it’s like the pot calling the kettle black. “Rob pulled out his hat and it’s full of leaves to identify. And Sandra took pictures, but only of plants for God’s sake. You guys are GEEKS!!!” Right. Dream on Marian…

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