Customer Service Officers on Active Duty

Oscar and Shadow take their duties very seriously when it comes to taking guests for a walk.

MeeLin and Kevin from Singapore took these lovely photos on the hill behind the Lodge, Oscar and Shadow were very appreciative of the opportunity for a walk and to practice their Customer Service training!

Oscar is particularly enthusiastic, and Shadow likes to make sure everyone keeps up and doesn’t left behind

 

 

 

Shadow is on the left here by the fence, Oscar on the right. You can see their personalities – Shadow looking concerned, Oscar looking keen as mustard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware of guests bearing Schmackos!

Some lovely guests from Singapore arrived this week with a good supply of doggy treats. Oscar and Shadow couldn’t believe their luck – being taken out for some lovely walks with new friends with delectable Schmacko morsels in their pockets. Of course the pockets were empty when they all returned to the lodge.

Watercress – what a wonderful weed

Watercress grows wild in the ditches and creeks around the lodge, and we are lucky to have an area available that the farm animals cannot get to, where the water is lovely and pure. Spring has sprung with a vengeance here after the recent snowy weather, and the watercress is happily sprouting away!

Watercress is one of the oldest known green leafy vegetables consumed by human beings. It is a member of the same family as mustard greens and grows naturally in New Zealand. It is called Puha or Rauriki by Maori, who used to chew the milky sap as chewing gum.

Watercress is said to be (yet another) superfood as it is a very good source of vitamins and minerals! It’s delicious too. Spring watercress is very bright green and the leaves are beautifully tender.

It has lots of other uses apart from being good to eat! It acts as a blood purifier, helps with constipation, is anti-inflammatory, has sedative qualities and may also have anti-cancer qualities. Externally it is used for boils and carbuncles, to stop bleeding, as a poultice and as a remedy for toothache. It can also  be used as an insecticide.

Remarkable!

I’ve been using watercress in salads, soups and sandwiches because it tastes great. I’ve found it goes particularly well with walnuts, oranges and mustard. I made a watercress and orange salad, drizzled with honey mustard dressing, which was particularly nice and very quick and easy.

Honey Mustard Dressing

Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Now honey and walnuts – some more delicious things that are available around Murchison.

Eat local and well!

 

What a difference a day makes!

This time last week we were in the middle of a blizzard, with five inches of snow and a power cut to boot. No sooner had we dug out the torches, candles and non electric kettle, the power came back on! The snow was lovely fluffy stuff, that squeaked underfoot and settled beautifully on the trees.

Just one week later I am sitting in the sun at the end of a beautiful day. We did have a frost this morning but the sun has been shining all day.

Just a week to go to the first day of spring! I can’t wait.

Wonderful fresh vegetables for winter

Our vegetable garden is looking good for winter with just the garlic waiting to to be planted.

We have purple sprouting broccoli almost ready for harvesting although we have been sneaking a few shoots early – makes delicious pasta e broccoli with anchovy, garlic and breadcrumbs. It will be even more delicious when the purple sprouts are ready. Oscar is also partial to broccoli leaves, fortunately the fence around the vegetable garden stops him from helping himself!

We have also picked the last of the rhubarb, with our unseasonably warm weather producing lovely fresh growth.

Under the tunnel house is rocket (arugula), pak choi, spinach, coriander (cilantro), radishes, mesclun lettuce, black cabbage (cavalo nero) and kale.

Pasta e broccoli

2 handfuls of  broccoli or spring greens, divided into small florets or pieces, washed
400g short pasta such as penne, rigatoni or orechiette
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and whole but crushed with the back of a heavy knife
1 small red chilli (fresh or dried, deseeded and finely chopped) or pinch of chilli flakes
salt
6 anchovies chopped
Black or green olives to taste
Couple of handfuls of breadcrumbs, toasted with a little olive oil

Bring a large pan of well salted water to a fast boil and then add the broccoli or greens and cook for 6 – 8 minutes or until they are just tender. Using a slotted spoon remove to a colander.

Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan gently warm the olive oil and then add the garlic, anchovies and chilli and cook gently for about five minutes. Do not allow the garlic to brown.

Bring the same water you cooked the broccoli in back to a fast boil and add the pasta. Follow the instructions on the packet, orechiette takes 8 minutes and it is al dente as we like it.

Add the broccoli to the frying pan, stir so each floret is coated with the garlic and chilli infused oil, cover and cook gently for another 5 minutes, mash the florets/greens roughly with a fork. Take off heat and stir in a little olive oil, olives, pasta – taste and add salt to taste.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs over and serve.

Enjoy!

Paddles and picnics in an enchanting place

There are two beautiful lakes in Nelson Lakes National Park at the northern tip of the Southern Alps – an enchanting alpine park of rugged peaks, forests and glacial lakes. Lake Rotoroa (large waters)  is larger than Lake Rotoiti (small waters).

After several months of procrastinating, we loaded a pair of double kayaks onto the car, packed a picnic and headed off to Lake Rotoiti, 40 minutes drive from Korimako Lodge. We were so glad we did! It was a perfect autumn day, the sun was shining and the lake was still and calm.

Hats, glasses and sunscreen were the order of the day and amazingly there were no sandflies. Once we left West Bay, we had the lake to ourselves so we took our time and headed for Whisky Falls, stopping for lunch at a little bay on the way.

We sat in the sun and Pauline even had a swim – the water was very refreshing apparently. The Lake was crystal clear and like a mirror – absolutely beautiful. We pulled in to Whisky Falls and walked up through lovely bush to the waterfall . The air was full of the sweetness of honeydew, a source of high-energy food for many native birds, lizards and insects.

We swapped the crews around to give Steve some practice steering and headed back to West Bay.  We made some friends on the way – a pair of mallards who really seemed to enjoy our company and followed us for quite some way – and no we didn’t feed them!

So we loaded the kayaks back onto the car and headed back home.

Supermoon graced the skies tonight

We have just said goodbye to Philip and Henny from the Netherlands after their second visit to Korimako Lodge.

It was a stunning autumn day yesterday, still and warm followed by a clear night with an enormous full moon – the biggest in nearly 20 years. It was certainly very big and very bright.

Murchison Fly In

Nelson Aero Club are holding the annual Murchison Fly In this weekend, it has been beautiful weather for the event. We have just been standing on the deck at Korimako Lodge watching nine aircraft flying up the Matakitaki valley following the river – gyroplanes, motorised hang gliders, fixed wing planes. The views would be amazing.

Oscar the labrador is normally very mellow and hardly ever barks, but does take exception to “intruders” in the sky – he is beside himself trying to see the planes off. Do dogs get hoarse from too much barking I wonder?

Christchurch earthquake

There has just been a major earthquake in Christchurch with some loss of life, many injuries and major damage.

We are located 305 kilometers (190 miles) from Christchurch and fortunately have not suffered any damage.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Christchurch as they try to cope with this very difficult time.

Flying lessons

We have been having a long dry spell (read drought!), the rivers are low and all the shrubs and trees around the lodge are stressed for lack of water. Finally we have had some rain, the sun has come out and the birds are celebrating!

Fledglings are starting to leave the nest and learn to fly. It is really entertaining watching the tui families deal with their demanding youngsters and try to prepare them for independence.

We stood on the deck after dinner, glass of wine in hand, watching 12 tuis and 2 korimako (bellbirds) feasting on the flaxes – 3 keas swooped overhead and scared them off – but not for long.

There was a lot of beautiful noise as the tuis blustered and postured, puffing themselves up as they jockeyed for the best flax flowers. The keas were wheeling overhead calling out to each other. And the reticent korimako quietly sipped on nectar then burst into beautiful bell like song.

It was magical!