A Time Capsule

I have been working on Room Two in The Palace and things have gotten a little out of hand and I have found myself embroiled in an exciting side project.  You see I have done a spot of brick laying to build a plinth for my sundial.  I’ve never laid a brick before and was surprised how well it went.  The full details should be in the June edition of the Kiwi Gardener Magazine so look out for it if you can.  I do love being able to write about my gardening journey in the magazine as it pushes my creativity, but it also motivates me and keeps the projects moving along as there is always a deadline to be met.

A cavity for a time capsule
It would be wrong to let a perfectly good hole go to waste.

So anyway…  the brick plinth ended up with a cavity down the centre and just before I moved to the final stage of sealing it up, I had a fab idea – what if I put a time capsule in there.    You don’t get many opportunities to create a time capsule, so I have been doing what I need to do to meet the gratefully extended deadline because of my fall, keeping the garden ticking over and gathering all the things a want to put into the time capsule.

But as a writer, I couldn’t just leave it as things… I had to tell them about us, life, and everything.  So, in another form of putting things out there FOREVER….  I’ve decided to share what I’m going to tell them – the people in the future.  (Although I’ve left out some personal details that matter now but won’t matter in 100 years.)  So below is what I’ve written…

Come again soon – we’ll be back to normal gardening presently!

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

Hello from the past. 

You found our time capsule.  This would mean my brickwork on the sundial plinth hasn’t stood the test of time.  But as the building of the sundial created a cavity, we thought it would be a good idea to pop in a time capsule.   

The sundial was part of the second garden in what I call The Palace Garden which is to be a series of garden rooms along the length of this plateau in part of the 10 acres of land we own.  At the point of sealing the time capsule Room Two was a work in progress. 

The first garden is beside it closer to the ocean.  The rock in the middle (if it is still there) was handmade like papier mache with chicken wire, cut up fluffy bedsheets and cement and sand.

Time capsule
I’ve included some things that show our cost of living but also shows what is important to us these days.

The land itself was new to us from January 2018.  There was nothing here except some cows being grazed.  Then after 100 days of living in a caravan on the land with two teenage boys, we relocated our house on site.  It came from Tauranga and was cut in two to be transported.  The house was originally built in 1934 in Onehunga and was shifted to Tauranga 10 years before we moved it.    This was the most affordable way to get a nice property.  Property prices are considered really high right now. 

Having a garden here was a priority as I am a garden writer but living here on the coast is a harsh environment and the worst storm to date had gusts of up to 212km / hour.  It isn’t the easiest to garden here, but I’m determined to create something special.  Hopefully what we have created will stand the test of time.

Time capsule
I couldn’t not miss an opportunity to encourage someone to get into gardening.

Life right now is tough, we are 2 years into the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused unprecedented responses such as lockdowns and closed borders.  At this point around the world 6.18 million people have died.  In New Zealand we have been well looked after and it was the Omicron variant outbreak at the start of this year that drove our death rate from 52 to just over 500 and we aren’t out of the woods yet.  I hope we haven’t locked Covid in the Time Capsule – to be unleashed like Tutankhamun’s tomb… Just kidding – We have been hunkering down and restricting our movements to avoid catching it.   

And as I write this Russia is causing indescribable atrocities in the Ukraine.  The combined effects of these global challenges, mean many things are scarce or really expensive.  Climate change is also of huge concern, but I worry we aren’t doing enough to protect the planet for the future.  But I guess you will know how that turns out. 

Time capsule
We couldn’t really avoid the current affairs. There is so much going on right now, but one day it will all be a distant memory and some people won’t even know it happened at all.

But I’m jumping around – who are we?  We are Tom and Sarah and we have 2 kids – Tim, who at this time is 18 and has left home to study to become a commercial pilot.  And Joey, who is 16 and doesn’t know what he wants to do yet, but that is ok. 

We also have Jasper the Dog, Fennel the Cat, Snowy the Goat and 2 chickens – one of which is a special one raised from a day old for a primary school calf club project.  She is called Turducken.

We run a successful business called CV.CO.NZ writing CVs and doing career coaching for people and helping them to get jobs and develop their careers.  It gives us the lifestyle we love – working from home, here beside the sea.  Tom does most of the work and we have people working for us all over the country.     I don’t do all that much as I’m too busy being a garden writer and blogger, tending the garden and being a brand ambassador for Yates and Gardena.  I also have Multiple Sclerosis so that does slow me down a little – but I try not to let it get in the way.   You can find me on the internet – if social media still exists, as Sarah the Gardener.  I’ve also written three gardening books – The Good Life; Play in the Garden and Growing Vegetables.  I’m hoping to add a coastal gardening book to the list once I understand how to work with this land.

Time capsule
And of course we needed a snapshot of us

Now something I should point out – if it hasn’t been discovered yet – the hill on right closest to sea, may or may not have an unexploded World War 2 bomb in it.  The American GIs did some training out here before heading off to the Pacific.  Our neighbour’s dad was a kid at the time and used to watch them and remembered a bomb going into the hill but not exploding.  So, when our neighbour bought a bulldozer, his elderly dad said ‘Son, don’t take the bully into that hill, there is a bomb in there!’  

Time capsule
Reds store well don’t they?! I hope the people in the future appreciate a good glass of wine.

So, what I have included in our time capsule for you is:  A copy of the NZ Herald newspaper because that is always interesting.  A copy of the Kiwi Gardener Magazine.  You can read about my plans for this part of the garden on page 28.  The story of this time capsule will be in the June 2022 edition.  I have also included a packet of tomato seeds and a Yates brochure with advice on growing from seed.  The use by date is 2025, but I’ve seen 100 year old tomato seeds grown before, so give it a go.  I have included one of each of all of our coins, and I was surprised to find a full set because I rarely use cash at all.  And there is also some cost of living things – a supermarket flyer with the cost of food and essentials, a Briscoes flyer that shows how much homeware products cost and also what we think we need in our homes.  And a hardware store flyer for tools and materials. I also put in some receipts, but they are printed on thermal paper so may not last.  Petrol is really expensive and currently hovering around almost $3 a litre.  Electric cars are beginning to become more popular. 

Time capsule
I tried to think – if I opened a time capsule what would I want to find. Hopefully this will bring great joy to whoever finds it.

Oh, and there are some photos of us and the house and garden and of the land before we got here.  And a bit of a bonus we’ve popped in a bottle of red wine – I hope it ages well.  Raise a glass in remembrance of us.

Gosh I wish I could tell you more about our lives, but hopefully I have given a bit of an insight as to what it is like to live in New Zealand in April 2022.

Stay safe and well.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

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