a journal by stephanie claire birr & carson andrew maule.
WI to NZ & beyond.
Install Theme

spring is definitely making itself known. the plum and peach trees have blossoms, seedlings demand being put in the ground and each day a knew flower opens and reveals itself.

after our excursion to Stony Batter and fish & chips from our favorite place at Palm Beach, the four of us woke ready to tackled the day.

Betty Blue and Annabelle were useless.

this post is dedicated to Greg’s sleepout. it is where Troy (and sometimes Betty Blue) sleeps.

still standing tall and proud, Greg.

Stony Batter: last part (part one/part two/part three/part four)

Stony Batter: part four (part one/part two/part three)

Stony Batter: part three (part one/part two)

Stony Batter: part two (part one here)

stony batter: part 1

how do i begin? what if i told you that you would see everything from vineyards to beaches to giant trees to sheep to tunnels to gun emplacements to cows to huge rocks made from lava all in one area? you’d want to go there and you’d be right to. so let me see if my photos can do it justice.

on the far, mysterious part of the island, in the Hauraki Gulf lies Stony Batter. it is a historic reserve and at one time, top secret defense installation made during WW2, composed of tunnels, look outs and gun emplacements. the hope was to protect New Zealand from Germany and Japan. it didn’t get completed until the war was over and had a lot of quirks and issues.

today you can walk through the tunnels, with a guide or on your own, with a torch to light your way. it costs money so we opted out this time but i think Carson and i will head back sometime to get down there.

when i hear Stony Batter i think of cookie dough ice cream so i was hungry for most of our trip but very much in awe.

ice cream. mmm.



the duck has many nicknames now:  annabellian, dizzy, dizz, duck face killah, lola, annabella mozzarella. our new favorite thing with her is yelling: “release the quacken!” before letting her out in the morning. we all try to speak with her: “squeak. squeak squeak squeak.” or a “pew pew” (sometimes she makes a sound like a small laser gun)

tuesday was beautiful. it felt good to have the rhythm of the farm back, time to work hard and time to kick back and eat lunch in a hammock.

i think Carson would say his favorite part of the day was getting a few of his hops in the ground. we have some work to do on the structure they will one day climb over, but it was a wonderful start.

we’re all quackers over here,


monday: wind, trip to the library, horrible wind, ordered a flat white for take away, beer soaked mushroom burgers, wind wind wind, crustless brandy apple pie, reading in bed, dinner at our place, sleeping in bed.

wind! rain! weekend!

holy shit does it get and stay windy here. it is not very helpful for wanting to get work done on the farm. i at first thought we were just being babies about it, but the locals have been complaining too. winter, you beast!

the nice thing was that we got some time to relax, bottle beer and hang out with Troy and Amelia in the solace of our woolshed. saturday night the four of us made our way to a little spot in town called Vino Vino where we went all out and ordered steak and scallops and fancy wine. we even splurged on dessert and after dinner drinks. we all remarked it felt like Christmas, the chill in the air, the smells of the restaurant - i guess we just all felt a little festive. when we get off the farm it’s usually to run errands or to be on a beach or go for a hike, so when you find yourself at a fancy restaurant with smooth jazz playing and wine swirling in your hand you feel damn good. a way to beat the winter blues, i suppose.

these photos were in between the fancy moments and the rain, when the sun checked in for a few moments at a time. spoiled Betty Blue and Annabelle got a lot of “indoor time” but we don’t really mind.