Sunday, October 21, 2007

Introducing Katie to the outdoor life

Katie is now three and a half and we have decided that it's time to start taking her out walking, with a view to building her up for tramping in this great country. Now for some people this would be easy - but Katie is a runner, jumper, explorer and absconder. In the shopping mall she is always 'being a butterfly' and bumping into people by accident. She loves stopping and touching things then running off without taking any notice of her immediate surroundings. So it has taken us this long to trust her! Annabelle goes in the backpack so we don't have to worry about her too much yet.

Anyway this weekend we took her to Godley Head for an introduction. The day was beautiful - windy but very warm. She loved running round and exploring. It actually took us over an hour to do the 30 minute walk - but we did see everything. At least twice. And most rocks were scrambled up on. And all sheep bleated at. You get the idea.

Today we went over to Glentui falls. It was another glorious day. We had left the house by just after 9am. At least when you have early risers then you get quiet roads and easy parking! We took the path to the falls first. Katie was quite worried - as there have been a lot of waterfalls on TV and her favourite characters only just manage to escape from plunging into the icy depths! Anyway her ideas have changed and she thinks that they are 'very pretty' now. We started the loop track and got as far as the river and then picnicked. I guess you have to stop a lot when you have little kids! All told we were walking over an hour - quite enough for little legs - for now.

Big supermarkets

I have grown tired of spending far too much in my local supermarket and seemingly getting not much in my trolley. So last week I sat and wrote a shopping list for a month's supplies of 'staples'. I've decided that I will allow myself visits to the butchers and veg shop. And to the bakery for 'emergency' bread and milk. But nothing else. For me this is a big deal.

Anyway I went down to try my local butcher - a nice guy who told me about where the free range chickens came from and how he was trying to source decent organic meat. It's not perfect - but it is pretty close and he even held the door open as I left so I could manage the stroller and toddler!

But the thing is I am fed up with supermarkets. Meat comes heavily packaged. And I have no idea where it comes from. And when I want to get the milk I have to walk all the way round of course with toddler in tow and pushing the stroller just to buy a few dollars worth! There's lollies at the checkouts and bright eat-me-now packaged goodies on every shelf at toddler height - lollies, chocs, pink-iced buns, biscuits, cakes, chippies, flavoured popcorn...

Why do I put myself through it every week? So this month is an experiment. How much will it save me or cost me - to do the one big monthly shop and then to use the local suppliers?

I think that this is the start of the decline of the big impersonal supermarket and the rise of the local specialist. I will let you know the results of the experiment in the new year.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I have been buying free range for as long as I can remember. Personally I like to think that happy hens produce happy eggs and a happy consumer, but recently I got to thinking about the nutritional content. Are free range eggs actually more nutritionally sound? After all we know that wild salmon has a different omega-3 structure to farmed and that game is leaner than farm reared meat. Surely a hen that is free to roam about and is fed a varied diet would produce eggs that would nutritionally differ from ther caged counterparts?

Well I am still trawling through the research to find anything that might sufficiently answer this question in an unbiaised study. I will let you know if I actually find the answer!

Meanwhile I am still happy buying happy eggs, trying to do my bit for the poor caged birds that lead such a miserable existence.