Heading out soon...Final expenses for New Zealand...Saying goodbye...The cycle of life on the farm..

Me and Miss Jessica.  I was flattered that Trish and Neil named this sweet girl after me.
Checking and rechecking, I confirmed our final expenses for 87 days in New Zealand.  Its important we keep accurate records for our ongoing world travels. It was a relief to see how reasonably we lived in this lovely country on this equally enchanting alpaca farm.
Then, they named a new male, Minnesota. 
When we originally booked the property, it was evident Trish and Neil gave us special pricing based on our long term stay.  Also, with the added worldwide exposure our landlords receive when we're frequently posting links for properties in which we live, this becomes an additional factor in providing us with an excellent long term rate.

Considering the reasonable cost for fresh organic produce, grass fed meat and free range chicken and eggs, we've been pleasantly surprised with the cost of groceries.

One of our favorite scenery photos of the shore close to the town of New Plymouth.

Dining out was also reasonable, although we only dined out on four occasions.  Do most people dine out a lot more often than we did here on an average of once every three weeks?  We've been gone from the US for so long, we don't have a clue what others may do. 

Most certainly working people purchase ready-made and carry out (takeaway)meals when busy and/or disinterested in cooking. Furthermore, most tourists dine out for most meals except perhaps one meal a day when they a kitchen or facilities in their hotel or vacation rental.

Trish and Neil's two adorable pink cockatoos.
Then, again, we aren't tourists.  Dining out just isn't important to either of us, nor has it ever been.  Even when I wasn't eating this restricted diet, we seldom dined out preferring to enjoy homemade meals and to entertain at our home. 

With these two above points in mind, most likely we spend less than most travelers would spend in this time frame.  Also, the fact that Tom seldom orders a cocktail when we do dine out (except on cruises) and the fact that I haven't been ordering wine or a cocktail for many years, that's another area where we've saved tremendous sums over these past years on the move.

This face is too cute for words.  Is she smiling?
Recently, I had some wine while here at the farm but once the two bottles we shared were gone, a red and a white, we had little interest in purchasing more.  I get drunk too quickly.  I'd have to build up a tolerance to the alcohol in the wine.  Is that something I really want to do after my diligent efforts to improve my health?

Te Rewa Rewa Bridge in New Plymouth was quite a site to see.
As a result, we spend less in many areas, one of the reasons we're generally able to stay within our budget each year.  Of course, the pricey Antarctica cruise is an exception we've chosen to make for the beginning of 2018 which we're already considering in our future spending as we continue on.

In the photo booth at Everybody's Theatre in Opunake.
To avoid prolonging the suspense a moment longer, here is the breakdown of our expenses in New Zealand:

ExpenseUS DollarNew Zealand Dollar
Vacation Rental $  4,701.00  $ 6,855.00
Auto Rental & Fuel $  1,999.00 $ 2,884.00
Airfare (arrived by ship) $         0     $      0                              
Taxi $         0                        $      0                              
House Cleaning $       442.00  $     645.00
Wifi $       528.00  $     770.00
Groceries $    2,547.00 $  3,673.00
Dining Out $       163.00  $      238.00
Clothing $       263.00  $      384.00
Camera $       404.00  $      589.00
Pharmacy/ Dental $       564.00  $      814.00
Total $ 11,611.00  $ 16,749.00
Avg Daily Cost -
87 Days
 $    133.00  $    192.00

Surprising?  Perhaps to some, perhaps not to others.  For us, we're pleased.  We certainly got our money's worth out of this extraordinary experience.  On numerous occasions we've espoused the virtues of this beautiful, perfectly built and well equipped house, let alone the magnificent surroundings, views, sounds, and smells.

A bee on a flower at the botanical garden.
Tom mentioned a few days ago that he'd hesitated over the concept of living on a farm fearing annoying biting flies and the smells one encounters in close proximity to farm animals.  Not the case here. 

Tom standing next to a Minnesota State Trooper vehicle when we were at the AmeriCarna show in Opunake.

The smells of the fresh green pastures, the clean air, the blooming flowers, plants and nature itself was almost intoxicating.  I'll miss that. The alpacas don't seem to have an unpleasant smell and walking through the paddocks doesn't present any offensive aroma. 

The lily pad pool on the grounds was always blooming while we were on the farm.
The sounds?  Music to our ears.  The gentle humming sounds these precious creatures make, which we've been able to easily mimic to gain their attention, is unlike any sound we've ever heard in nature.  I'll miss that sound.

This Optical illusion photo made us laugh when we stopped to visit the Belted Galloways.
And them?  If a person can miss a razor sharp tusked warthog in the bush, can you imagine how easy it will be to recall the joy of the tender nature of alpacas? When people heard we'd be living on an alpaca farm, they warned that they spit and could be nasty.  We never saw that, never once. 

Tom, my happy guy, when we were out to dinner on Valentine's Day.
We laughed over their playful antics, whether young or mature and the beautiful way they so lovingly relate to one another, even when competing for a handful of special grasses or bumping into one another. 

This is perfect for "overly grumpy" days which could prove to be today on travel day.  We shall see how it goes.
In all this time, we never wrapped our arms around an alpaca other than in today's photo of me and my namesake cria, Miss Jessica, a tribute to my love of them that Trish and Neil quickly discovered through our daily posting and stories.

Our favorite cow and her offspring separated by a fence often stood side by side.
And later, a male was named "Minnesota" which equally warmed our hearts as our home state from many moons ago.  These namesakes were a gift handed to us on a silver platter. 

This face...so precious.
And then, Mont Blanc...we never once held him in our arms or scratched his head when alpacas prefer not to be touched by humans.  But, the look in his eyes, said it all and I fell in love with him from the moment he escaped the paddock. And then, he was gone.  Tears well up in my eyes over the loss of his little life.  He tried so hard to make it.

Alpacas mating.  The male is called the "macho" and the female, the "dam."
So now, dear readers, we carry on.  We learn, we grow, we change in the process as we acquire a new perspective of an area of life we'd never imagined or experienced before. 

Mount Blanc and his mom Giselle on the day they were reunited after he'd escaped from the paddock.
We say goodbye to this wonderful life on the alpaca farm where we saw the creation of life, the birth of the cria and the loss of little Mont Blanc.  Once again, we say hello to the world...in awe, in love and eternally grateful.  There's so much more yet to come.

Photo from one year ago today, April 15, 2015:
The sea across the street from our condo in Kauai always presented gorgeous views.  For more photos, please click here.


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