Ranger Tim is back in the back of beyond working as a hut warden for DOC. This year he took the twins with him. I look forward every night to their crackly transmissions on the bush channel radio in which they try to tell me all the things they did that day in two minutes flat. One of the most exciting things they’re doing is tracking a kiwi with a dodgy transmitter so they can change her batteries. That’s a real kiwi with the feathers and the beak Mummy. I especially love their sign offs… luuuuurve you kiss kiss kiss… on the bush radio for everyone to hear.
And just like last year, Tim is also sending us stray Europeans who need a bed for a night or a week or maybe even forever. Lena originally came for a night, then she came back for a week and now we’re asking if please she could stay forever. Lena is a whizz in the kitchen and she bakes all manner of German goodies. I’m constantly finding stray scraps of paper in the kitchen and the dining room with quick dashes of measurements and cryptic instructions which produce the most outrageously good cakes and breads.
Despite the very ordinary name, Lena’s Carrot Bread is something special. It’s supposed to be eaten as a snack with coffee but it’s great toasted for breakfast too. It’s nothing like the heavy oily carrot cakes we have here but rather a light creamy-coloured loaf with the surprise of coconut. She’s promised a full translation so that I can bake my own bread if she ever leaves. She was going to fly to the North Island but has decided to join in the Arthur’s Pass expedition instead and she has a loaf of Carrot Bread all ready for Ranger Tim when we do the swap-over on Friday. I’m driving 4 big kids and their packs to the start of his track and then picking up two little kids and their packs when they arrive out. Quality time in the mountains with Dad.