Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Email to my Brother


I am alive and doing great!!! Sorry about not staying in touch. I have
been at the Shand's house for a week now and it is unbelievable!! They
have dial up Internet and it is connected to their phone line so it is
hard to get on and so slow. This is the first time I have checked my
email in over a week so I am sorry. I did catch my first trout!!! A
beautiful Brown Trout out of a lake.

I was invited to a sheep farm while I was on my own fishing on the east side of the southern alps range. I was near lake Sumner (if you want to look it up). It was so
random but as I was packing my pack next to my car (which I bought a
few weeks ago for $1000 its a white Honda accord) to go camping at one
of the most beautiful camping spots I had found yet and as I was
packing I helped an older lady as she drove up to the gate on the road
by opening the gate for her to drive through. Turns out she owned all
the land that I could see from that gate and more. Mountains, valleys,
rivers, and sheep lots of sheep!!

She invited me to come work on her farm for the day. She and her husband ran a 10,000+ sheep farm that they had owned for 33 years. The next morning I drove to the farm and was mustering sheep in no time! I was just looking around and
wondering how the hell I managed to get where I was. It such a great
and unexpected adventure. I figured that I would not speak to a soul
for 5 days straight and just fish the entire time but here I was
living the dream, I was a shepherd in New Zealand. I spent the night
in the shearers quarters and drank some local beer with some new
frends! It was quite an unusual group of guys. Reminded me of the
caddie shack at the golf club. Smoking and Drinking until late into
the night. The next day I shoveled sheep crap out from under the
shearing shed and then the lady that owned it came up to me and said
that their really wasn't much for me to do around the farm (because
they were almost done shearing).

The view of the valley gorge from my tent door!!!

She said why don't you just go fishing on our private lake! I was like ummm yeah! So I went up thereand after about an hour and a half of fishing I caught me a beautiful
20" Brownie!!

I couldn't have been more happy. I took him with me and
left the farm. I tramped 3 hours down this track to a cabin near
Sumner Lake. The cabin was built in 1930 and it was perfect! It was
called Gabriel's Hut (look it up on google under images and you can
see it) 4 bunks, fire place, log cross beams that you almost had to
duck down to avoid hitting your head. I filleted my fish and cooked it
outside next to a roaring fire!!! I could not have asked for a better
place to eat my first New Zealand Trout. I felt like a man for sure.
Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries for the hike so I could
not get a pic of the little cabin. It was something that I will never
forget though. I was alone and it was quite a different experience
than camping with your mates, but it was nice at the same time. As I
slept alone in my cabin, at around 2:30 in the morning a loud bang on
the door woke me up. At first I thought it was a possum, but then It
continued to bang over and over again. As I woke, I was freaking out!
There I was in the middle of the back country of NZ alone in a little
shanty hut and their is some thing banging on the side of my hut. What
the hell could it be? As I woke up I became more and more conscious
and I heard 2 men talking. I was like what in the world are two men
doing way out here in the rain at 2:30 in the morning. I think if I
had not been totally asleep it would have been scarier, but I felt
better after they asked if there was anymore room in the hut. So I
said yes and let them in. They had been out late hunting for boar and
I talked for a little while with them and then went back to sleep and
they were gone be the morning. It was like a dream. All in all it was
a great night!!

The next morning the sky was pouring rain and I walked 2 1/2 hours
back to my car. I was totally drenched. I drove back to Christchurch
and spent the night at robs apartment and work up the next morning to
pick up Taka. The Japanese guy that was coming to the Marlborough
Sounds with me. He was great! The drive up HW 1 to Port Ligar was
unreal!!! I can't wait to show pictures to everyone.


I have been here a week and have done many things on the farm. I have mustered sheep,
de-weeded the hillsides with a pick axe thing (which doesn't sound
cool, but if you could see the view that I had while I was working you
would want to do it too!!!), I have gone out on a boat into the sounds
and worked the mussel farms!, I have helped work the woodworking mill
near by, and tomorrow I believe I will get the rare chance in life to
kill a sheep and eat him for dinner and possibly go scuba diving!! I went
Kayaking today to a beach across the bay and it was relaxing to say the
least. On my way back I saw a "Little Blue". This is the name of the
penguins around hear and as I am writing this I hear themunderneath the floor in the kitchen of the shandshouse!! They come up in the late evening and spend the night either under the shearing shed or the house. Little Blues live here about 70%
of the year, so I am glad that I have been able to see them! Tonight we
went possum hunting and I shot the biggest one of the night. We had
seven people in the back of the truck and two in the front. The two in
front had 22rifles and one person in the back had a spotlight. We all
took turns holding the spotlight or shooting the possums. We had to
have killed about ten... some got away injured and some we just
couldn't find. It was great though.The moon was out and it was as
bright as ever! It reflected off the Cook Strait as we ascended to the
tops of the tall hills that wound through the sounds. Everything was
black except the stars, the moon, and the eeriewhitish grey reflection of light of the sea. It was breathtaking!

This is where I sleep... It's an old caravan with a built on porch!!

They work us a lot here. Thursday I worked 13 hours straight, but it
is fun and so diverse that I enjoy it. I have loved finally getting
some home cooked food and I am now eating more than just PB & J's all
the time. We have a good breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea,
and Dinner or as they call it, simply, Tea. Usually with dessert after
lunch and tea. It has been a dream. The stars at night are unlike
anything I have ever seen. The southern stars are beautiful!

Morning Sunrise from my porch!!!

Anyways, I want to get some pictures up soon. I hope all is well back
home. I heard it snowed a bunch last week. Did it get down to
Oxford??? How is the Ole Miss B-ball team this year? How is school
going? Are you ready to get the crap out of there??? Are you and
bouldin still going to Thailand??? Let me know whats up...

Love you and miss you,


P.S. When I was camping by myself for those 5 days I was thinking
about you a lot. I wished you were here so much. We must do this
sometime soon and do it together... I needed you there to take part in
my adventures with me. It was quite strange being by myself, for I
have not really done that much in my life, cause you have always been
there. We have to work that out soon....

Think about it?

Your Brother

The view from near the top of the farm looking out at the Tasman Sea off of Cape Point

Watching Sheep

1 comment:

  1. woooohey! gah that rocked. i want to pick some mussels, harpoon a whale, heard some sheep, grow a nasty beard, and eat trout. your story got me amped for my 3 exams today - thank you world of academica. i am glad you are living with strength and honor. my heart is light and my face pipped with a smile knowing that right now you are doing something only you would do. keep the words coming.