From the Farm

May 9, 2012

9 May 2012

Sorry i missed last week just had not a gap in my time so here is the 14 days all in one. So its going to be a long one. More like a book.
Well the start of May got the cattle and lambs in and sorted to send to the abattoir. Got the TB tags in with not too much bother even if my temper as always was up having to do it to keep the bureaucrats happy. I then phoned for the truck. Na sorry john we are flat out carting May to May grazers for the cow cocky .... Hang on i send stock every week do they pay ya every month?
o yes fair enough we will pick em up in two days. Two blooming days and all year you moan that you have to wait months to get paid for carting cows.
So with the cattle and lambs in the holding paddocks eating our saved grass we watched the truck and trailers go to and fro carting dairy stock into the sheep country and at 10 on third night our stock went.
I don't know, tell you what, we might as well bag up our top soil and export that cause thats whats happening, just in blocks of cheese and bags of milk powder.
Went to the carbon neutral home meeting sponsored by the green party. What a great evening. Fancy owning your own power station? Well you can and get the big boys to pay ya for power. Fantastic.
But the highlight was the talk on Hemp growing !! Not that wacky baccy stuff ........ the real thing........ Hemp that conquered the world with sails on sailing ships. What a fantastic versatile plant that locks in carbon and you can build houses with it. Im in, i want to grow it. Yes really, i can see so many good points so watch this space. May even have a hemp stall at the market - Meat eggs and hemp.
The tree strawberries are ripe and the birds are getting stuck into them but the wasps are as well. The wasps have been bad this year even though i've cleaned up a few nests. I hate them as they get into the bee hives and churn the honey.
So after a hectic 3 days i set off for the Rarebreeds AGM with a full load of full chilly boxes to meet on the Foxton Straits. Met and swapped for a bigger load of empty boxes and back to Wanganui at about 7 to stop at Aarons to get up at 2 in the morning and drive to Wellington to get the plane to Christchurch at 6. I said stop at Aarons as i got little sleep, im just not used to all the road noise and i just could not work out why my dogs were not barking at the cars coming up our track, well they would if i was home!
The drive to Wellington was good and good to see the place again as i lived there for 5 years. Many roads have changed. So boarding the plane on a fantastic fine clear day we flew to Christchurch and then onto Invercargill with fantastic views all the way.
At Invercargill we hopped on a taxi who drove us to our lodgings. Introducing Invercargill to real meat i paid the driver in Sausages and Bacon. Our lodgings "living space" (Aaron had negotiated a good cash discount) was right in the centre of town, a bland very straight building that i found out later was the old IRD building. We were on the top floor. So leaving our bags as it was only ten in the morning we went off in search of old book shops and antique shops.
Walked all the back streets looking at the great old houses and talking to friendly South Islanders who mostly asked "are you down for the duck shooting?" Big day 1st of May down there. Then finding a few old book shops but nothing we did not already have. There was an antique shop "Hubbers" that had some really good stuff in but probably the highest prices i have seen anywhere. So selecting some books, china and a hoop over cast iron frying pan just right for the Shepherd Hut I asked him how much for the pan and then gave him a good offer and he said NA FORGET IT and stormed off. O well his loss as he would have made a fair bit off me.
Woken at 7 with shot gun blasts - someone shooting ducks on the stream in town - then breakfast and Ava picked us up at 8 (yes i did sleep). With the sound of shot guns everywhere, we went to look at her poultry. She has some really nice Japanese bantams in colours i don't have and black Hamburg Light breed and a nice pair of Enderby Island Rabbits, the doe being the rare Beige Cream. The other thing i was keen on was an old Bedford truck about 1960 with 530,000 miles on the clock in very good order - a new truck in miles traveled. Just left in the shed with the bonnet up for years. She's a large one maybe 4 ton flat tray.
O yes if you get reincarnated as a duck don't stay in Southland.
So Ava then took us to the AGM, it was fantastic to meet up with old friends who are all pulling in the same direction unlike other societies and groups everywhere.
It was a good meeting and covered a lot of ground, the committee being voted in again. We then went and looked at the Tuataras and the animal park then back for a meal at Cobb and Co.
The following morning Ava picked us up to go and see a few rarebreed farms. The first was a quick call at Bryce and Edward Horrels to look at the heavy breed Sussex and Orpington chickens and their many pigeon breeds. Some nice Nun pigeons and some great barbed sheep.
From there we went to Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Dodd's at Wairo.... This is a large sheep and beef unit but i think Jimmy's passion is poultry as he has hundreds of them all in breeding sheds dotted everywhere just about every breed represented. The ones that impressed me the most were the Indian game jubilee hens, took me back 30 years to Ash Gibbon's ones I bought from him. Unfortunately i lost that strain with the kitchen sink 20 or more years ago. They had not only chooks but Gotland sheep, Kunekune pigs and Hokonui wild sheep. What a great farm and what a great place doing a great job.
Next onto Robbie Wilson at Riverton. This was a rushed visit as we had to be at the airport at one. I could see straight away Robbie is a keen poultry show man. His property is well set up and tidy, all gates swinging, posts painted, gateways concreted, a really good show trailer. His stock is spotless, some of the best Faveroles i have seen for years and those new Holland reds wow you just don't see them big uns up here. His ducks of many rarebreeds were well worth seeing. I was very taken with the Rouen Clare as i have never seen them before. The highlight for me was the Auckland Island pigs all sandy and black and like all his stock in great order .....Yes i know. I have to get em past Ruth but i did like them, a true old fashioned breed.
So leaving fast and onto the back roads to the airport i had this vision of Holland. Southland is so similar, flat vast and neatly set out, I think i will be back.
Onto the plane and flying away on an even clearer day straight to Wellington seeing most of the south island on the way.
I have to thank all that i seen down there and Ava as she gave her time and drove us everywhere.
Meanwhile at home Ruth and Beate spent a day doing a stoat trap line with Claudia out in the hills around Matau, a long hard hike by all accounts then the next night they went and saw the Warratahs play in Stratford, I was upset i missed it. But they bought me a twin CD 25 year collection. Meanwhile someone went shooting ducks while they were out and left a gate open and one latched at the end of the chain letting all the sheep together, all the rams with my hoggets, all breeds mixed GREAT.
So home now and back to reality. I am really appreciating the good food we eat. A huge list of emails to answer and many phone messages, lots from the bank, I don't think its that the girl there wants a date why she keeps calling. And the blooming ACC you haven't paid your bill. Can't understand that as i never ordered anything from the ACC, do they think we just wait for the bill and just send them thousands we have not got. I will get that sorted easy.
It was International Donkey day this week and next year we are going to do something for it.
And the Moon, what a moon, big and close, the roosters crow all night and no one sleeps well.
Ross will be back from Australia this week from doing his photo exhibition.

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