Posted by: Joan Spiller | May 26, 2013

A long overdue update

I’ll start from the beginning.. hmm, this could take awhile so go get a coffee or wine.. it’s okay, I’ll wait..  Right, ready? Let’s go .. So you see, 24 and a half years ago I gave birth to .. OK maybe I won’t go back that far 🙂

Most of you will know that I now live in the thriving metropolis of Linton, New Zealand. Known only as that place you drive through if you take the back road between HB and Wgtn.. Or that place with the army base  .. and the only reason the popn is over 1000!

Nearest to Palmerston North – Known as a windy, rainy, cold hole (filled with agriculture students or military types) I was happy to not include Palmy as a place where I would live. Little did I know what fate had in mind 😉

Now if you’re a regular reader then you will also know that I work in Wellington, but live(d) in Hawke’s Bay. A beautiful region, famous for wine, food and sunshine. You can see why I’d leave and go to live in Linton, eh? No .. me either .. but work with me k ..

So anyway one Sunday afternoon I was hooning along the backroads to Wellington / work and as I whizzed around a particular nasty corner, I slowed down and just happened to look through a gap in the trees of a property, to see a cute little sleep out and bungalow house.


I actually said to myself “gosh that looks cute!” in the split second it took me to see it. Imagine my surprise when I went past the gate and saw a FOR SALE sign on it!

Fast forward a few weeks and there I am .. walking along the verandah of my new home set on four acres of land.. Thinking to myself “oh boy what have you done, woman!?” But also thinking to myself: “Omg I love this place!”

Opening the door first time

In the first weeks of being here, those two emotions vied for top position amid many others but these were the main ones!

The night the sink leaked all through the cupboards and I didn’t know how to stop the water: “What have you done, woman!?”

The morning I was on the porch watching a beautiful sunrise, listening to the myriad wild life waking up around me, dogs and cats happily at my feet, drinking a coffee:
Omg I love this place!”


Luckily, the latter event is more regular than the former..

As we settled in to the place, I found myself becoming frustrated with all the jobs I wanted to do. The list is long (I have a 2B8 exercise book filled with scribbles, ideas and plans) and I have had to learn the valuable lesson: I can’t do everything I want in 5 minutes flat 😉 That frustration lead to my prioritising the things I wanted to do and the list of achievements to date is pretty impressive if I do say so myself. Not the least because I am not here much..

In the last few months, I have (in no particular order):

1. Stacked 8 cubic metres of firewood. And bought a “tarp” to cover it with. Most grown up thing I own – feels very rural having a tarp and ropes and such stuff 😉
FYI 8cm of wood is a LOT OF WOOD lol but refer earlier “cold hole” comment and you will see why I stacked up for winter!

2. Installed French doors in the sunniest wall of the living room (cannot believe the impact!) See for yourself: (and imagine all that gorgeous afternoon sun in winter – not being able to get in? Madness and a no brainer job to have done ..

3. Had new fencing put in, including creating a “hen” paddock for the chooks that are yet to be. I am waiting til Springtime for them.

4. Shored up existing fencing, in order to make the place dog proof (both to keep mine in and keep the neighbours ones out!)
Dogs and mushrooms

The girls love romping around in the paddocks (I was out mushrooming as you can see by the pic above) so I want to ensure they’re safe when they go off to explore and play.

5. Had a heap of wiring and maintenance done – the last owner was a bit of a “handy man” so I wanted a thorough check of what he’d done. And the sleep out needed a stove wired in plus some more power points etc. So that was a good job to get sorted.

There’s lots of little things that add up to make it feel like I’ve been super busy, for example I am now the proud owner of a shiny new lawn mower, weed eater and even a hatchet. I’ve learned how to mow lawns, weed edges and wherever I want, as well as cut kindling – all very exciting, tiring and satisfying activities.

No one told me how messy it was though!

Whilst by no means any sort of pioneer woman, I am more at home in a restaurant than a woodshed, tis fair to say I am enjoying myself here. Learning lots – for example I fixed a leaking sink with duct tape, amazing product! I’ve learned how to concrete in fence posts. I even built myself a small garden box for my winter veges to grow in!

And as I explore different tasks and succeed @them, I occasionally find myself contemplating self sufficiency but til I can learn how to make champagne that aint gonna happen, is it! 😉

What’s next? Well, it’s coming into Winter so probably more inside chores as time permits.

When I moved in here I set myself up in the spare room, as I want to change the colours in what will be the master bedroom. And I know that if I get myself all perfectly set up then the will to paint and whatever will wane for sure.

Never painted anything but ONE ceiling many years ago, in CJs bedroom. And vowed I’d never do it again: so this is going to be interesting!!

Speaking of CJ’s bedroom, here is her “home” .. the sleep-out that I originally spied thru the trees:

Fully self contained, this is an old school classroom that has been modified into a cute two room out-house. Complete with tiny kitchen, bathroom and huge bedroom & living area. She loves her little home and when its bathed in sunshine as in this pic – it’s quite lovely. And only a 10 step excursion to the main house if she needs Mum 😉

Now I find myself being asked regularly what on earth made us decide to move to Palmerston North (or Linton, as it really is) and I basically just say that it’s all CJ’s fault!

You see, CJ has decided to go into Vet school this year and the only vet school is here at Massey University. So originally I ‘d thought I would buy a small house for her to live in.

My thinking was it would be half way between work in Wgtn and my home in Hawke’s Bay so I could leave the animals with her during the week and stop in on Fridays, before heading back to Sunny HB. Then drop them off en route work ..etc

However things changed the day I saw this place through “dead man’s gap” and the rest, as they say – is history!

I am going to try and keep this blog more up to date as and when I can with what we’re up to here. Life is fairly hectic with travelling to and fro work and whatever else I happen to have on but it’s good. And that is what matters!

The good life, hmmm I feel a sitcom in the making – oh ..
Already been done?

Well, here’s to MY version of the good life!



  1. […] on a bit of a whim. I won’t go into details on that, if you’re interested, you can click here to find out […]


  2. That sleepout is fantastic! Was not familiar with the term, but now I am 🙂
    What a great place! ~ Linne


    • I guess another name for it would be granny-flat maybe? What do you call this sort of thing?


      • If it’s part of a large house, usually it’s the ‘in-law’ suite, but I have heard ‘granny suite’, too. But your’s (CJ’s) looks to be separate from the house. If so, I’d call it the cottage and the larger place would then be the mansion by default 😉

        I love your place SO much; just the sort of thing I’d love for myself, if all were ideal. I’d turn the sleepout into a studio with provision for friends who dropped by for a few days . . .

        And I love the cattle, too! Are you going to milk Bella? or is she past all that . . .


      • Oh! Love the inlaw suite concept LOLOL! This is about 10 large steps away from the main house, so yeah very much an out house .. mansion and cottage sounds rather grand, where are my servants?? *grin*

        I imagine that once CJ has finished her studies I will do the same for the sleep out.. It’s awesome having a sep place for visitors to be able to relax in ..

        Bella is past milking, so they’re very much just “lawn mowers” and company and gorgeousness 😉


  3. Just awesome. Been there done that and I do still (occasionally – on a fine day) miss the lifestyle! I loved the cows – even milking the damned things before God had got out of bed! I love what you have done there and your plans – I wish you and Cee Jay all the very best in your new homes!


  4. Congratulations, Joan! It sounds like there has been a big learning curve, but it also sounds like the experience has been tremendously rewarding too.


  5. Aw, this looks great 🙂 I hope you have many happy years there and I am sure you’ll have lots of new experiences….there’s always homemade wines!!


  6. I am so jealous….you are living the dream babe, living the dream. Perfect little place for you, CJ, and anee-mules and the yet to arrive chickens.


    • Thanks chick, will be a long endeavour getting the place how I want it but it’s all part of the fun 🙂


      • It’s the journey, not just the destination.. :o)


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