polly's Blog

Polly Greeks: On never getting a second dog...

One dog is fun; two dogs are a nightmare, wails Polly.

Polly Greeks: A life lesson that stung

Seven-year-old Zendo gets lessons in courage, caution and comeuppance.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Guiding out of insanity

Polly attends to a relative. The truth can withstand any amount of scrutiny...

Polly Greeks' Blog: Puppy ponderings

Despite vowing “never again”, Polly gets a puppy.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: Rooster raises a ruckus

Polly Greeks has a run-in with a good rooster gone bad.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Conditional country loving

Polly and the children get positively broody, but news in the valley isn’t all good.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: The beauty of unpredictability

Polly muses over the lessons learnt when life doesn’t go to plan.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The new chooks on the block

Polly’s brood gets clucky over new chooks.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: The forest calls for minimalism

Polly and co welcome — with love — a large slab of concrete to their off-grid idyll.

Polly Greeks’ Blog: The fertile soil of marriage

Polly considers the anatomy of her marriage.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Pedaling forward

Polly needs a few breathers when teaching her daughter to ride a bike.

Polly Greeks' Blog: DIY debacle

Life whizzes past when James and Polly build a flying fox.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Contact tracing in the Far North

Polly is left scratching her head when her children catch an unwanted bug during lockdown.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The in between

Buddhists might describe the lockdown as a bardo state, a time of being in between, writes Polly Greeks.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Lockdown in a far north forest

One would expect Polly, lover of gloriously empty days, would embrace a mandatory lockdown. But like a wild animal caught in confinement, she can't stop pacing.

Polly Greeks' Blog: How to age well in the forest

Polly’s off-grid life hasn’t been good for the wrinkles. Turns out, trees are excellent teachers on ageing well.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Reclaiming menstruality

Polly embraces an honest discussion about periods.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Water wars

Polly considers the controversial use of the local water supply as the Far North experiences its driest summer yet.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Spiritual intelligence

Polly ponders life and death after bumping into Dave, an electrician and the victim of a nasty shock.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Embracing routine

Polly had long feared of a life built around routine. But just as seasons change and mountains rise, she realises that routines are a natural phase in life.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Making lemonade

Polly attempts to look on the bright side after a series of sour events occur at home – and across the Tasman Sea.

Polly Greeks' Blog: A festive tightrope

Polly considers the seasonal magic of the Far-North while avoiding the consumer extravagance of Christmas traditions.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Magic in the mundane

A big-city visit causes Polly to question the family's isolated lifestyle - if only for a moment.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Heat wave

The early arrival of summer in the Far North is a delight, reflects Polly, so long as it doesn't outstay its welcome.

Polly Greeks' Blog: A pampered pooch

A posh poodle learns to embrace the wild, carefree outdoors in an extended stay with Polly.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Mother tongue

Polly uses her cunning tongue – one of the many languages taught in her household – to get her mum's travel insurance paid out.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Lost in translation

Polly is deeply touched by the power of people when her mum goes missing in Spain.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The bunny boiler

Polly and co take their revenge on rampaging rabbits.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Writing retreat

Polly quickly gets distracted while attempting to write her second book at a writer's retreat.

Mosaic shower

Polly Greeks' Blog: The Big Bang

An explosive moment makes Polly reflect on the enterprising wilderness women in the Far North.

Polly Greeks' Blog: All in a lather

Polly searches for the recipe for success when she gives soap making another shot.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The Great Disconnect

Polly reconnects with land and life after losing cellphone coverage.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Cold discomforts

In an effort to beat a never-ending cold, Polly embraces an extreme athlete's chilly bathing method.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The rumpty retreat

Polly and co return to the rumpty caravan (and former tiny home), this time to test out their DIY fireplace.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Swapping clothes

It's clothes-swap time again. As Polly bids farewell to unwanted garments, she reflects on the snowballing effect of modern fashion habits.

Polly Greeks' Blog: What does the future hold for planet Earth?

Some predict Earth's imminent doom while optimists remain eternally hopeful. As a mum, Polly wonders where she should stand.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The kiss that cost a friendship

Polly's seven-year-old daughter gets a lesson on relationships after she steals an innocent kiss from an exciting new visitor.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The workforce

Polly makes an uncomfortable personal discovery when she enlists the help of voluntary workers from overseas.

Polly Greeks' Blog: When grief recedes

Grief is as much about loss as it is an expression of love, reflects Polly Greeks.

Polly Greeks' Blog: The rumpty caravan sees a new life

James and Polly breathe life into an old Oxford that’s more companion than caravan.

Polly Greeks' Blog: An advert for the off-grid lifestyle

A fish-fuelled weekend has Polly dreaming of how to write the perfect advert for the off-grid lifestyle.

zendo and kauri

Polly Greeks' Blog: Growing forest kaitiaki

While teaching her kids about the plight of threatened kauri, Polly hopes to propagate passion for the environment that will last a lifetime.

Polly Greeks' Blog: holidays and summer spots

Polly declares that fortune favours those who follow winding dirt roads over sun-scorched hills and people who keep abreast of their moles.

Polly's Blog: Potty mouths, revelations and #MeToo

When her seven-year-old expresses foul-mouthed fury, Polly reviews events in her own life that should have provoked absolute outrage but left her confusingly silent.

Polly Greeks' Blog: Power versus Peru

The family’s plan for electricity is jeopardized by a dangerous thought.

Polly's Blog: The fine print of the parenting contract

Polly plays doctor after four-year-old Zen’s latest misadventure — an unfortunate incident with a packet of crayons and a staple.

Polly's Blog: Bird calls and tubular bells

Polly digs deep to make sense of a world that keeps spinning despite the family’s ongoing efforts to slow it.

Cape Reinga

Polly Greeks' Blog: Just passing through

Polly and the family take a spiritual journey to Cape Reinga.

Polly's Blog: The Unfathomable life kaleidoscope

Polly and James are on nursing duties as the kids battle a nasty bug, but in the backyard Bugs Bunny has been at play.

Polly Greeks' blog: Bunnies and penguins

Natural bunny behaviour gives rise to far broader learnings than Polly had bargained for.

Pollys' blog: Wheelchair ballet

Wheelchair-bound Zendo discovers a new dance routine.



Polly Greeks' blog: A ghastly silence

Polly knows trouble is afoot when rambunctious three-year-old Zendo is suddenly silent.

Polly's Blog: Teaching in Iraq

Training young minds to think creatively is the best schooling possible – and Polly leaves no stone (or leaf) unturned in her mission.

Polly's Blog: Matariki musings

Our Far North blogger Polly gazes into the Matariki sky to see if the future is clear and bright or if it's a little hazier for struggling Northland families.

brown kiwi in New Zealand forest

Polly's Blog: kiwi encounters

Polly and the kids delight in things that go whistle and scrape in the night while Pax the dog quivers in the corner.

Polly's Blog: Growing up in the olden days

Polly ponders the 'olden days' of her 1970s childhood and how her own children are growing up in different times.

Polly's Blog: A vegetarian quandary

When a pig ventures close to home, six-year-old Vita discovers country living cuts a short track from food source to the table. *Warning this post contains a graphic photo some readers may find disturbing.*

polly featured

Polly's Blog: The grass isn’t always greener

Polly and the family escape the forest mud by visiting the South Island.

Polly's Blog: Solo rat-trapping duty

Left in sole charge of the children and the land, Polly connects with the wildness within.

Polly's Blog: Headlamp season

This week, Polly feels illuminated when investigating solar power.

Polly's Blog: Love thy neighbour

Tensions with a neighbour force Polly to learn lessons from the land.

camping at New Zealand beach

Polly's blog: Easter camping misadventures

While townies flock to the campgrounds to get away from it all, for bush baby Polly the holiday park is a chance to reconnect.

Polly's Blog: A lesson from the children

All it takes is a different point of view to see wild pigs and whole grains from a new perspective.

Polly's Blog: A barefoot summer

The sensual joys of bucolic living include hardened soles and far better olfactory resilience.

Polly's blog: Rising rain

This week, storm horizons have Polly pondering about the world her children will grow up in.

Blogger Polly Greeks chopping wood

Polly's Blog: Stacks of work to do

This week, Polly and James' to-do list reaches critical mass.

Polly's blog: heartbreak in the holiday season

A seaside town is brought to a standstill after a drowning.

Polly's Blog: Summer mornings

This week Polly learns rabbits can climb fences and enjoys her quiet summer mornings - thanks to the ducks.

Polly's Blog: The Sunday smoke

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

Polly's Blog: In hot water

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


Polly's Blog: Away with the fairies

In which Barbie is banished, and the kids are away with the fairies.

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.

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.

Polly's blog: the circle of life

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

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.

Polly's blog: listening to the natural world

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

Polly's blog: Ducking for cover

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

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

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

Polly's Blog: Pondering parenting styles

Polly tests an alternative parenting method on for size

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.

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.

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.

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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