Blogs

Polly's Blog: The Sunday smoke

This week Polly's fishy tale all ends in smoke.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Keeping up with the kids

This week Jim suffers from a wounded ego when he lags behind his daughters on the sports field.

Polly's Blog: In hot water

‘Valve’ becomes an offensive word when Polly and co suffer plumbing problems.

 

Jim Kayes' blog: Dad's on strike!

This week Jim is on strike to help improve his daughters’ usefulness around the house.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Get a job

This week Jim sends a daughter out to work - and not only for the money.

Polly Greek's blog: Taro misadventures and aphid rain

The children are fascinated by the sight of inky falling insects, while a spot of foraging nearly sends James to meet his maker.

Jim Kayes' Blog: Playing with fire in Samoa

 This week Jim takes the family to Samoa and it is confirmed, those daughters are an easy step ahead of him in his Apia-bought jandals.

Polly's blog: Meeting Far North Boogeyman

Polly comes face-to-face with Brutus, the local boar, and the Far North version of the Boogeyman.

Jim Kayes' blog: Saying goodbye

This week Jim ponders different ways of grieving and wonders, yet-again, if those daughters aren’t a step ahead of him.

Polly's blog: the circle of life

Polly's children learn about life and death in the animal kingdom.

Jim Kayes' blog: cutting the cord

It's the end of an era as Jim Kayes prepares to cut the cord to the land line.

birthday party cake

Polly's blog: Please and thanks

This week, Polly finds manners put grease in social cogs while attending a children's birthday party.

Jim Kayes' blog: breaking bad

This week the sky falls in after a slip on the rocks.

Polly's blog: listening to the natural world

The family visit the local marae, and reap the mother of all harvests.

Jim Kayes' blog: 7 ways to embarrass a teenager

This week Jim finds novel ways to humiliate his daughters.

Polly's blog: Ducking for cover

The Pekin ducks are ruffling feathers again at Polly's mudbrick homestead.

Jim Kayes' blog: growing up quickly

This week Jim realises he’s been left behind - again.

Polly's blog: Things that go bump in the night

This week, when life gets scary, Polly goes on a witch hunt.

Jim Kayes' blog: Musical tastes heading in One Direction (downhill)

This week Jim blames the girls for a bad case of musical infection.

Polly's Blog: Pondering parenting styles

Polly tests an alternative parenting method on for size

Jim Kayes' blog: Am I turning into my mum?

Jim turns from hero to zero when channeling his mother's parenting style.

Polly's Blog: A legendary stick-in-the-mud

Polly  channels Crumpy and Scotty when she braves flood waters in a Hilux - and becomes a true bush woman in the process.

Jim Kayes' blog: Coach dad

Jim Kayes finds himself cast in the role of coach, but can he hold court in the world of school netball?

Polly's Blog: Pig hunting with the Scottish Bear Grylls

James hogs the limelight when he goes on the hunt for a pig and Polly wisely stays at home.

Jim's blog: Driving me mad

This week Jim Kayes teaches his daughter how to drive, and lives to tell the tale.

Polly's blog: 'Save New Zealand's rivers for our kids'

As the debate over the country’s polluted waterways heats up, Polly Greeks writes a love letter to Aotearoa’s rivers and streams.

Jim Kayes' blog: Good morning sunshine

Jim Kayes has been a journalist for 25 years. He survived growing up with four sisters and is now married with two daughters. Despite this, he thinks he's in charge.

Blog: treasure hunting in the Far North

In which Polly trades in foreign treasure-hunting for a more sedate seeking of materials and finds it just as rewarding.

Polly's blog: a whale tale

Polly turns to a whale when time rushes by.

Blog: the pros and cons of homeschool

The land is proving to be a natural classroom in more ways than one for Polly and her family.

Blog: traveling with kids

Polly finds traveling with kids a less-than-relaxing experience.

Blog: is it time for the ducks to get the chop?

This week, Polly defends her ducks from a date with  the casserole pot.

Blog: wet, wet weather and harvest fever

Polly gets wet feet during the storm and discovers she has to reap what she sows.

Blog: no such thing as lazy summer days

Lazy summer days? Huh. For Polly and family the warmer months are too busy spent making hay while the sun shines.

Blog: No such thing as a stranger

At a time when travel bans and giant walls place severe strain on international relations, Polly reflects on the kind hospitality she received in the Middle East.

Blog: The case of the disappearing duck

In Polly Greek's blog this week: when a Pekin duck goes missing, James goes on stoat-catching duty.

boys at campfire

Blog: boys gone wild

Young boys run wild on Polly's  family camping trip.

Blog: The great Christmas debate

Polly debates whether to boycott Christmas and celebrate the Summer Solstice instead.

Blog: Insolent chickens and wayward eggs

Polly joins 'Team Duck' when her chickens send her on an egg hunt.

Blog: No walk in the park

A walk in the forest with the kids proves hard work for Polly.

Blog: Feature windows and communal beds

Polly laments the communal bed while a new DIY feature window brings some unexpected lessons – and just a little pain.

Polly Greeks

Blog: You can't get good help these days

As the mudbrick  house construction progresses, Polly finds some workers are more help than others.

Blog: a phone full of memories

A Hungarian couch surfer's crazy music brings back memories for Polly Greeks.

Blog: The big packing debate

There are two types of suitcase packers in this world, writes Polly Greeks, the  Johnny-Go-Lightlies and the Just-In-Case packers.

Blog: near noodle starvation

A new wwoof-er demonstrates his unfamiliarity with wholefoods and a spiral staircase sends the family’s spirits to heaven.

Blog: Big windfall and the big smoke

The big city beckons for a Kaitaia local, but sometimes the hitting the jackpot comes with a price.

juice clense

Blog: fasting and furious

An all-liquid diet brings Polly to breaking point.

cider apples

Rainy day ideas for bush babies

What do you do on a rainy day when you live off-the-grid ? Make cider vinegar!

local horse

Blog: A bathroom at last

The demise of a local coincides with the near-death of the family’s bathroom plumbing.

Polly's secret chocolate stash

Blog: The secret chocolate stash

Polly tries giving up sugar, but thankfully follows reason.

Blog: Online shopping fails

Why all-terrain roller skates are no match for a goat track in the Far North.

compost toilet

Blog: When compost loos go bad

This week Polly Greeks discovers the perils of a compost toilet.

Blog: Off-the-grid and online

In the first of her fortnightly blogs,  NZ Life & Leisure columnist Polly Greeks shares an update of life in her mudbrick off-the-grid home in the Far North.

A batch of mud-brick batter

Mud, muck and madness … the family ditch the churn of house building and find peace (and perspective) on an unpeopled Pacific beach.

When it all feels a bit hard

James and Polly hear the gasp of the Grim Reaper but swiftly shut him up.

Sowing a kauri legacy

Kauri, puriri, totara and rimu – these are the leafy sentinals standing guard over the Greeks family. And, in return, the family is taking just as much care of them.

An ode to laundry

A gypsy arrives bearing trinkets, spinning yarns and sorely lamenting the fact the kitchen is now indoors.

Kiwis in the kitchen

When nocturnal noises interrupt Polly and James’ sleep, it could mean unexpected visitors of anything from iconic wildlife to decidedly dubious characters.

Ruffling feathers

Polly and James welcome a major upgrade to their culinary arrangements with the arrival of an indoor kitchen and a flock of chooks.

Hunting and gathering for our mud-brick home

Polly and James feel there’s a bit of magic involved in their hunt for building materials.

Gone with the wind

House construction becomes frustrating with unsolicited input from a three-year-old and a devil wind.

Raising a bush baby

Polly ponders the joys of raising babes in the bush

A beginner’s guide to bush fashion

Polly comes to the conclusion that although bush wardrobes owe nothing to fashion, friendships are more desirable than clothes.

Less than willing woofers

The ww part of wwoof is not always obvious.

Showers and cling film

With the arrival of hot water and some imaginative use of cling film, the level of luxury in life off the grid moves up a notch

A shaggy dog story

The newest addition to the family generates a case of puppy love.

Beware the posse of pillaging pigs

The idea of a gift economy works well in a weekend café but is not so welcome when garden pests help themselves

Meeting the neighbours

Although not exactly living next door, James and Polly’s new friends are models of neighbourliness.

Welcome to the Lighthouse

Polly and James bask in the (mostly) golden silence of their surroundings and become involved in a community venture run as a gift economy.

Preparing for guests – in an off-grid house

Polly and James welcome visitors to their one-roomed mud-brick house although cooking in their open-air kitchen is still something of a challenge

A roof at last!

At last there’s a roof over their heads and Polly and James hunt for recycled treasure tales from a rumpty carava

From Versailles to the mud-brick house

Polly and James’ mud-brick house in the bush begins to take shape with assistance from a Frenchman who helped restore the Palace of Versailles.

The definition of “rumpty”

Life in the off-grid remoteness of the Northland bush suddenly blossoms with social conviviality and the good cheer of neighbours.

A newborn in a caravan

Mason bees, mice and a new baby… there’s no room for them all in an off-the-grid existence

The start of a new adventure

It sounded so romantic… living in off-grid self-sufficiency in the country... but then it rained… and rained

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