But we don't need to look at the videos to be reminded of those special friendships. We simply look at the wall in the lounge to recall special memories.
This star quilt came as a complete surprise to me from our friends Steve and Stephanie Lamb. Dani knew about it in advance, but she did not tell me. Receiving a star quilt in the Lakota tradition is like earning a haka or moko in Maori tradition.
Hangi is a traditional Maori greeting. This one made especially memorable for Brady's (centre of star quilt) reaction.
I was fairly cavalier about the whole wedding ceremony deal until I saw the star quilt hanging on the fence. That's when I lost my @#$%. Luckily the photographer trailing me knew when not to snap any shots.
Steph wrapped us in the quilt...
... while Steve sang us a pair of Lakota songs. It was one of a number of traditional Native American parts of the wedding ceremony. And, if I do have to admit, it was the best wedding ceremony I've ever been too, and it was 100% designed and planned by Dani. She did an amazing job along with help from her sisters, the moms, and to a lesser extent the dads.
There a few things in the world with the potential to be less eco and less thrifty than a wedding and a house renovation. But in the last year we have managed to pull off both. And because of both, I am filled with happiness and love. Along with my wife, here are some of the things I love.
90 degree Celsius solar hot water after the coldest week in recorded NZ history.
From an abandoned wreck, we have created a warm, dry, cozy home. Because of the passive solar redesign we've used, the house is warmer at the end of the coldest week in recorded NZ history than it was at the beginning of the week. This represents a huge success for me because I am neither a professional engineer nor builder. At the end of the day, we have a permaculture paradise for under $90,000 (NZ) or $45,000 - $75,000 (US depending on exchange rate).
I love our garlic.
I love our ducks. And I love that they eat the leaves and flowers of our tagasaste trees as proper permaculture ducks should do.
And I love that they eat puha, a native NZ green that grows prolifically on our section.
I love these lilies blooming in the middle of winter.
Beautiful, even against a roofing iron fence.
And I love the painting that Amy Lamb (Steve's niece) created for us from an old, broken villa window and a reused piece of Gib (drywall). I'm so glad that Amy and John Wright could spend time with us as our first interns. They were amazing! John went on to work on an organic farm in New England, and I hear that Amy has just started her own blog.
A. Lamb down under.
And finally (not a complete list, but this post needs to end sometime), I love my computer because my creative and skillful wife made the picture on the desktop.
Because it holds my 150,000 word (sorry, Chris) and growing thesis. And because it allows me to share our incredible eco-thrifty successes on this project with people worldwide. It's all good.
And that's the point. It is all good. And I love it all.