Saturday, 8 October 2016

We are back!!

We are back!!
Out of hibernation...
Crikey! Winter would have to be the craziest busy time of year on the farm, I have lost count of the amount of bales of hay and baleage we have feed out and prefer to not think about the cost of it all (even though Mal reminds me daily) So to have 10 acres of grazing, seven head of cattle, plus two horses fed (just for winter) was well over the 2000.00 dollar mark. So we need to get our A’s in to gear and get the rest of the 42 acres sorted.
So what else has been happening?
Gosh where do I start!
We have had our solar system upgraded and spent the coldest part of winter without power, as the ‘brand new’ generator shat itself which to top it off it began to snow. So out came the board games and the fire got cranked up. Mal emptied the fridge putting everything out in the snow (mainly his beer) (priorities). Three months later we are still waiting for our generator. But on a positive we have learnt one valuable lesson. We need another generator as a backup.  Oh and Mal learnt when you have dogs perhaps emptying the fridge outside was not such a great idea.
Our winter wonderland

We have also decided to transform one of our paddocks into a fruit tree growing place…hmmm there’s a word for it???........anyhoo (doesn’t spark much confidence with growing fruit does it) but hey, optimism ppl!! Now I know you are going to ask me what fruit trees have we planted and what varieties...right?! well I would have been able to answer that with confidence until Spud (our baby goat) got hold of the trees and ate the tags then ring barked them….curried goat looked very appetising…little shit! So I have no idea what is planted where until they start providing fruit (actually survive would be good also) but I can say, I got black boy peach, 2x Plums and apple. I got one of each to see how they go throughout the year before I put in a bulk order. Plus I have been strictly told to not come home with fully grown fruit trees without discussing it with Mal, apparently he wants to get a digger in to do the holes…no idea why??? It only took 40mins per hole to hand dig (I couldn’t do it as the ground was too tough)….Oh the word is Orchid!!! Nope thats a flower...Orchard? crap! I have a little experience growing fruit trees in town, well I have learnt a few things growing fruit trees in town, well there is a cherry tree growing in town.  But I did learn something!! ….when you purchase a cherry tree you need to purchase two, not wait two years for fruit to grow and wonder why it’s not providing fruit…and when you finally realise you need a second cherry tree and go out to get one, read the tag really well…apparently ‘Cherry Blossom’ is not a cherry tree. Much to the kid’s amusement. I have no idea why someone would put a cherry blossom tree in the same isle as cherry trees…grrr but it was pretty.  So when I got these trees the first thing I asked was if they are, get this..’self-fertilising’ see I know the lingo! 

We also no longer have 33 & 34. We learnt very quickly when they are ready for slaughter best get them done. As when you are feeding out the impact on the land and pocket certainly becomes apparent. Even me ‘the animal lover’ realised they need to go. 34 was first, I was terrified, I was scared the Home kill guy would be mean and that the animal would suffer, that he wouldn’t kill him instantly, my head was buzzing with the worst case scenario…but boy was I wrong! This guy won’t kill until the animal is calm and content, he made sure 34 was eating, and before you knew it he was gone. I thought I would be upset but I wasn’t, seeing the carcass strung up on the truck.. it wasn’t 34 (then my embalming experience clicked in as I was fascinated with the size of the organs) (got a strange look then, and even stranger when I said its ok I use to be an embalmer) (gosh I need to have a filter), I didn’t watch the slaughter part, Mal was there, as he knew it was important for me that he had to make sure things were done the way I needed them to be done. But with 33, that was sadder, we kept him to long, he bonded with us and the herd of highlands, so when he was slaughtered they spent a week crying for him, I was so upset by that, and promised the girls I would never do that to them again. By the way…None of the slaughtering was done in front of the rest of the herd. We have a small area especially for that, full of long scrumptious grass to keep the animals happy.

We have also sadly lost our dear old nanny goat. Remembering back to the goat blog? About Savannah the ex-milking goat, she passed away yesterday, very peacefully; I was with her, stroking her head, balling my eyes out. Little Spud was there too. I moved Savannah in with Spud into the smaller paddock, with shelter etc. as I could see she was deteriorating, she had fresh hay daily, and spent the last days laying in the sun and sheltered from the rain, snuggled up to Spud. Yesterday morning I went down to paddock to feed Spud I knew she was nearing death, I ran up to house and got Mal to get his gun (I didn’t want her to suffer) he came down and checked on her and said she’s not suffering and won’t do anything until he thinks she is, which she never did, so I sat with her (brought back memories of losing my grandma) (I never left her side either) I spoke to her and said its ok to go, It was sad. Very sad.
 This morning Mal pipes up and says how about we do a Viking funeral for her…I said what do you mean?? Then realised he wanted to burn her, as our tradition is to bury the pets and plant a fruit tree, which is what I said to him yesterday. As for me they live on when the tree flowers, the bees pollenate and then providing fruit. But poor old Mal was thinking about the size of the hole he had to dig, and after the fruit tree digging he wasn’t keen, but it’s important we keep our tradition, so we will be burying her, and I know the perfect tree to plant, there is a variety of nashi pears that has the most amazing flowers, so it will be that one. Savannah was 12 years old. Rest in peace Savannah xx

And finally the babies, they are growing fast and are almost ready for breeding. Well Ruby and Loretta have shown signs of being ready now, and looks like William is ready also, however he needs to grow a bit taller, or we will have to get a step ladder for him…
I felt so sorry for him watching him trying to mount Ruby, and she was trying to help…it must have been very frustrating and demoralising…poor man (he couldn't reach)
January is the month for bubba making, as then we will have calves in spring, buying us time to get the land ready for the extra mouths to feed. The beauty of having Highland cattle is you don’t need to separate the bull, he can stay with the girls all the time, as he doesn’t mate until they are ready, so no unwanted or premature pregnancies.
As the babies grow... their colouring is becoming more evident. Booboo (panko) is losing her baby fuzz and becoming more Black (I hope she doesn’t lose the Dun (pale yellow) around her ears) BobBob is chocolate brown (still considered red but different shade) Taylor-rose appears to be brindle as she has speckles of black, red and dun over her and apparently the tell-tale sign of Brindle is black blotches around eyes and on nose which she has, really excited about this as I wanted a Brindle cow. William is growing a magnificent set of horns, and he is still such a cuddle bum. He loves cuddles!!!!
Sadly we have made the decision to remove Loretta’s horns, they are huge and she has no hesitation in using them. And because we never had her from the start I don’t trust her, plus I don’t want the babies learning her bad behaviour. She isn’t aggressive, I’m not scared of her, but one head flick and I could be impaled, and I need to be hands on with the babies and I would love to be more hands on with her, like I used to be, but since having Booboo she has become a bit of a stroppy coo. We will be getting the vet out to put her to sleep (I suggested vet speaks to Dr Danny)
And we are waiting for a week of fine weather to avoid infection.

Stay tuned for that adventure! However we are prepared this time, we have Yards!!!
our colourful coo's

Loretta's horns

Still to come....fertilising!!! there is more to caring for coo's than just harrowing poo!
Weed spraying....we may be needing a helicopter...gulp!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Lessons Learned

I thought since I am trapped inside I would write my next blog. Have been procrastinating over whether to tell the story of the Horses (tissue alert) or something a bit more light hearted. Think since its dark and gloomy I should chat about the funnier things that has been going on. The weather report looks like I may have time to write about the horses tomorrow!!! 
So here goes! Probably best to not be eating when reading this
Well I have been ‘Coo Girling’ it now for the past five months. I have never worked nor been up close to cattle (other than a horrific incident when camping at Robin Hood Bay) Actually now I mention it that should have been enough to make me realise what I was in for.  You see I have discovered a few things about farming; I call them ‘The lessons learned’
Figured I would bullet point them (could be useful for anyone else embarking on farming) especially if you are like me and was raised in the city.

  • Its hard work. I mean REALLY hard work. I have never worked so hard.
  • It costs money. If you have a budget, double it! Starting up is not cheap, especially if you want to ethically farm. Meaning, providing paddocks with shading and safe fencing methods. Our budget was dwindling fast, so decided to GST register. Turning our little farming venture into a business. Exciting stuff but incredibly daunting. This has to make money. Thankfully I studied business and marketing is something I am confident with. Stay tuned for future post on this and our new upcoming products and website.
  • Be prepared to get dirty. You know when you have been farming for a while when gumboots and bush clothing become your fashion accessories. We have clean gumboots and dirty gumboots. I go grocery shopping in gumboots, am over giving a shit on how I look, as I know as soon as I get home I have more shit to pick up. Perfume is the perfect investment to convince yourself you are still civilised. Make up is a waste of time (the coos don’t appreciate it)
  • A manicure is scraping under your fingernails and praying it is dirt.
  • It’s probably time to have a shower when the cows start grooming you.
  • Farming is all about poop, picking up poop, inspecting poop, finding things to do with poop, harrowing poop…POOP! It’s everywhere and I have become quite obsessed with it. I can’t pass a cow pat without kicking it and/or inspecting it. Poop gives you the information you need to determine the animal’s health. Did you know you can collect poop take it to the Vet to get it tested for parasites?! And they can give you an egg count?! Fascinating stuff! I bowled into Murchison Vets with two bags of poop, Gems (number 3 child’s horse) and Williams. I was pretty stressed as William was not doing well, and I had no idea what was wrong. Taylor was having a similar issue with Gem (she was not putting on weight) and asked me if I could take Gems poop to the Vet to get checked, so I figured if they count horse poo surely they do the same with coo poo. Thank God for plastic Shopping bags!! Filled them up and slapped it on the Vets counter. I knew at that point that poop fascination is quite normal in the farming world, as we were all in the Vets office (receptionist in all) inspecting Williams’ poo, and googling poo. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell William about how interested everyone was in his poop. So Gems poo count came back alarmingly high, hers was 1900/gm egg count, normal range is 150-200/gm (Gem is in next post, a sad heartfelt story) William was suspected to have Liver Fluke, We have been told our area at certain times of the year is susceptible for Liver Fluke,  IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS HEALTH PLAN WITH YOUR VET. They are an encyclopedia of information and more than willing to help educate you. THERE IS NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP. Sad but true but Child number 3 and I couldn’t wait to get outside to inspect the horses poop after we wormed them yesterday. Excuse the pun but it’s a shity job so one needs to find some form of entertainment.  Williams came back negative for Liver Fluke but positive for Tapeworm. Apparently most farmers are not too concerned about tapeworm, it is thought to not cause much problem in cattle, however for William it was creating an issue. So he along with the other babies where drenched. Stress on cattle can make infestations worse, so we figured the stress of his big trip from wellington to us was enough to create a problem.
  • Don’t cook pasta the night after discovering tape worms in your coos poop. I will never eat fettuccine again! (vomit)
  • Don’t over groom an adolescent bull calf. He may get the ‘wrong idea’ if you know what I mean, resulting in a 150kilo calf mounting you and smart enough to pin you down by standing on your thumb! Still feeling violated. Naughty boy! And as you probably can imagine Mal saw it all, and instead of coming to my rescue he roared with laughter and proceeded in spending the rest of the day giving me grief about it. Grrr
  • Remember that coos have dam good memories. If you do something once… for example…feed them cow nuts in the black rubber bowl…they will recognise the bowl as something wonderful. I decided to herd the girls into hill paddocks, thought it was a great idea to use cow nuts and popped them into the rubber bowl, I figured since I am walking up there I may as well take some hay. So in one hand, cow nuts and under the other arm were a few slabs of hay. I walk out of the barn calling the girls. Now at this point I should have considered the thought of keeping tabs on what was going on behind me, as there was a thundering sound coming from behind…and the thought did cross my mind that perhaps it was Loretta but shrugged it off as she’s pretty lazy. And once Ruby ran past me jumping and carrying on (you would have still thought I would turn around) but I was on a mission to get up the hill loaded with hay and nuts. I stopped briefly to catch my breath and that’s when I decided to turn around and check where the noise was coming from, well I went white with horror, I was faced by a charging coo, her eyes were glazed over in full focus on the cow nuts, and she was not going to stop for anyone. Including me! Next thing I took off… cow nuts flying in one direction and hay in the other. Bloody Bitch! I patted myself down (checking this wasn’t an ‘outer body’ experience) nope still alive…phew!
  • The best way to a coos heart is….COW NUTS.
  • Sprint when carrying cow nuts.
  • Yards are a structure to safely contain cattle when treating them. Way better than chasing them around the paddock.
  • Paddocks are not yards.

Last but certainly not least
  • If your husband is embracing the wild and decides that shaving is no longer required and growing a mullet is a great idea. Take it seriously!
    (Tips on containing the beast would be very much appreciated.)

I have learned a lot about farming already, and at the same time a lot about myself, our marriage and our family. Strength is in working together and supporting each other. Yes life must look great from the outside, and yes we are living the dream. But nothing comes easy and at times we get so exhausted that everything seems so shit.
But if everything came easy what would we have to appreciate?  I feel blessed to live here. I have learned a whole new level of respect for the essentials (and not so essential) in life, like water, power, food and sunlight (and really good deodorant) we are heavily reliant on these.  I have removed our microwave, we will never be able to use a hair dryer, a food processor is now replaced with, bloody good elbow grease and vacuuming gets done when the generator is on (making us aware of when things start costing money) I find it very fascinating what appliances cost the most to run, and it’s the ones you would never think of. We no longer have a toaster, toast is now cooked on the hotplate of the fire and nothing is better than a nice pot of pumpkin soup cooked and simmering on the fire. We have a new found respect for the simple things in life.
Happiness now comes from the environment we live in, from spending time with the Coos,  watching number 3 child ride her horse, lying in bed looking at the stars and listening to the moreporks at night or simply sitting on the deck and watch nature at its best.

You see Mal loves me when I am covered in hay, poo and stink like an old sock. He can see how happy I am which in turn makes him happy…and likewise (except for the mullet).

Update on Booboo
Look at her now!!! And she has little horn buds…so cute!!!

Booboo (left) and Bobby (right)
William Wallis our breeding bull calf and very naughty boy!
But gosh I love him!!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Home is where the coo is

So here I am sitting in a cabin aboard the ferry bound for Wellington. Bear with me as I have only had four hours sleep; had to get up at 3.30am to get to Picton for boarding. So far (other than a slight mishap mistaking hair fudge for moisturiser) (this is nothing in comparison to the hair removal cream incident!) our travels have been faultless, however the day is young and I am travelling with Mal!
So why are we on the ferry?....well I have been crazy busy making artworks (off the grid studio in future post) for an exhibition in Hamilton (which opens on Thursday evening) so we are heading over to attend, we also figured while we were up North why not visit Mal's old stomping ground (Tauranga) and also picking up a horse float from Napier. We decided to get one built as we had searched everywhere for a decent safe second hand float and what was available in our price range needed work, so we figured for an extra two thousand it makes more economic sense to buy new and not worry about things breaking or the safety of our animals. We researched the company and communicated with a wonderful man named Derry's at APEX Horse floats. We are getting just a basic model with removable middle thingy (can’t remember the name) as not only will this tow horses (horses future post), but I plan to take our calves to the shows. Have no idea on showing cattle and the thought did cross my mind that perhaps I will need to seriously groom the coos (god help me) (all I see when I think of that is dags, then I am thinking do I shave their bums? or spend hours cutting the dags off? are there special clippers? or do I use Mal's (he will never notice) is there a special shampoo I use? oh dear...washing them surely not?!

The animals are such a joy to us and we have left them in good hands (along with a four page essay of instructions) kinda looking forward to seeing what the animals have install for their baby sitters. I am sure one nut and toe rag will put on a good performance. This is what we encountered trying to feed the nut jumped on the back and helped...sort of
Mal and one-nut

So what’s been happening at Plum Tree Farm I hear you ask?!!
Well where  do I start!!

Oh yes!! Our three fuzzy wuzzy gorgeous Highland calves arrived from Wellington. They are the most adorable, affectionate babies. I am absolutely besotted with them. So introducing William Wallis, Taylor-rose and Maggie of Plum Tree Farm.

from back
Taylor-rose, Maggie and William's head

The big baby, William

You know when you do something and things happen that just makes you stop and think? Well the breeders named these calves, they had no idea what our children's names were, so you can imagine when they emailed introducing Taylor-rose I was gobsmacked! As that's number 3 child's name. I believe things happen for a reason and have taken it as a sign that we have done the right thing, and these babies were meant to be with us. (they have baby horns!!! so cute!!!). These babies have been halter trained and are highly social, they love to be with us and we are certainly enjoying being with them too!
William will be our breeding bull; he will be ready for business in around 12 months. I really hope he ‘man’s up’ soon as those girls are running rings around him. They love cow nuts will pretty much do anything for them, however (you would think I have learnt by now) DON'T over feed them!! I say no more....

Oh. And if you want to see a 500/600kilo Highland cow (with very big horns) run, cow nuts (or even carrying the bowl I normally feed them the nuts in) I got one hell of a fright when I got this amazing idea (no it wasn’t that, that surprised me) I thought it was genius to herd the cattle into the hill paddocks (as I have struggled to get them up there) by using cow nuts. So I filled the bowl, and stack a couple of slabs of hay under my arm and began walking toward the paddocks. (I probably should have kept an eye on what was going on behind me) as I heard this thundering sound, and the thought did cross my mind that perhaps Loretta is running toward me, but shrugged it off as she’s pretty lazy. The noise got louder and then Ruby over took me running and jumping (so cute) I thought perhaps I should turn around….Tourette’s returned, followed by the bowl of nuts and hay flying up in the air…as Loretta was right behind me in full charge (not attack charge) (I want the cow nuts charge) It gave me one hell of a fright, but didn’t scare me (if that makes sense), I recon I could get her to do pretty much anything for cow nuts! Bloody funny. I have to be pretty smart when it comes to feeding the cattle. As Loretta has a bit of a food addiction problem.

Anyhoo back to our trip to Tauranga. I guess you figured we made it...It got a bit close to us returning to Nelson as we both feel asleep on the ferry and had to be woken up...twice...I ended up racing down stairs, hair all over the place, eye makeup smeared everywhere and Mal standing next to me grinning from ear to ear. He thinks it's funny to not mention these things. Like the time we went to the supermarket and Mal went to grab a trolley, I thought he was behind me with the trolley (as I was in a rush) and began throwing things in (Mal was there but standing further back pissing himself laughing) then this old quietly spoken frail voice said “excuse me" I paused and went white then the silence was broken with this roar of laughter, grrrr
I didn’t speak to him for a couple of days.

We booked into the most stunning motel right on the water front. The room feels like it is sitting on the water. We went to sleep last night with the blinds open and awoke to this...

Tauranga on the Waterfront, simply stunning.
But I miss the coos

Back to the farm we have some other new members of misfits, Lulu one of the puppies we fostered for the SPCA, she is trouble with a capital T, full of mischief and loves Mal's jandels, well only one from each pair. To funny!! Snoop has also taken it upon himself to teach Lulu some of his traits much to my disgust! How to eat poo, roll in poo and bring poo into the house. And to top it off they now have a variety of poo to choose from; Goat poo, horse poo, coo poo and chicken poo. Dirty little shits (literally).

So getting back to Lulu, I went to animates (Mal has banned me from going there now) to get Lulu a new toy and walked out with an Alexandrine Parrot, I have named him Charlie. He was 10 weeks old when I got him and will eventually talk (fingers x his first words aren’t what I heard the kids trying to teach him)…sigh!
Charlie and Lulu have began a very convenient friendship, well in Lulu’s eyes.
See cute!


Now don’t start feeling sorry for Mal with my expenditures, trust me he benefits from this…good ol ‘trigger’ is the proud owner of yet another gun. Yes Quasimodo manages to straighten his back long enough to take aim. (Don’t tell him I said that).

So it’s an hour until the exhibition @ Soul Gallery opens with eight of my artworks. I am really looking forward to this. However we have a very early start tomorrow as we have to leave Hamilton around 4am to get to Napier to collect the Horse float then from there we have to get to Wellington for a 4pm sailing. We get to Picton around 7.30pm and then drive the 2hour journey home.
So far our travels have been pretty faultless other than a small mishap with the GPS on my phone (note to self) make sure phone isn’t upside down when giving directions. We saw a lot of Hamilton.
Here's a picy of the opening. Thank you Lisa and Frank @Soul Gallery xxxx

You know…I have enjoyed this trip, loved the scenery but I can’t help but feel a bit funny about the amount of farms I have seen that has not even a smidgen of shading for the animals. Now I used to not really pay much attention to this, as I always thought they didn’t need or want it. But now I have my own farm it has become evident they actually love the protection and comfort shading and shelter from a tree provides. Surely we care more than this?! Do we?

Well sitting on the ferry returning home from a whirl wind travelling adventure. The horse float collection went smoothly; actually we did such good time we got to Wellington to board an earlier sailing. Here’s a picy of our new truck (thanks to Tony @ Houston Motor's) (this truck came with two roosters and a bantam hen that sleeps in a tree) with signage and our new float destined for signage, such a big blank canvas!!

Now this is impressive, we managed to clock up 1800k’s. No wonder we are so exhausted and looking forward to getting home. You know Home is where the heart is.
It’s True xx

Only been home for an hour.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

The hills are alive with the sound of Coos

Well it seems like yesterday that I posted the last blog, but actually it’s been over a month!! Time Flies!!!! When you’re playing with coos.

Gosh we love them!

So the great news is!!!!

Loretta and Ruby have had their babies, two girls. Ruby’s baby is a red fuzz ball we have named, Lucy (Mal nicknamed, Bob Bob) and Loretta’s is a pitch black fuzzy wuzzy we named Pango (mal has nicknamed Booboo) both nicknames have kind of stuck. (pango is Maori for Black).

Booboo is a sweet heart; she is our golden egg, as Black highlands look mighty magnificent and not a very common colour, so we intend to breed her to get more black fuzz balls. Bob Bob is 4 weeks older and a real little shit! But very cute! We are attempting to catch her to pop a halter on, but we have realised we may have left it a bit late (something we don’t intend on doing with Booboo). We managed to herd Bob Bob in the stable (Mal wrestling her down yelling at me to get the halter on), I was somewhat distracted by the two screaming, angry cows on the other side of a rickety old gate. Before we knew it Bob Bob wacked Mal in his two golden eggs, popped her head under the gate lifting it off its hinges and escaped, we then had mamma coo and aunty coo to contend with, both not very impressed. Let’s just say I don’t recall jumping the fence! Mal is still a bit bitter with me for leaving him, but hey I haven’t sorted my life insurance yet! Mals injury was nothing a bag of ice couldn’t fix.

Anyhooo…we discovered Ruby had Bob Bob early (very early) I am relieved I did know this as I know I would have panicked. I wasn’t at the farm when it happened, I was guilted (by number 3 child) in spending the week in Nelson house with her, as she said she never sees me (gosh she is good with the guilt trips) (gotta love 16year olds) so Wednesday Mal rang me with the news that Ruby had her baby, I cried…I was so gutted I wasn’t there and couldn’t be there until tomorrow. But as soon as I dropped number 3 child at bus, I was gone!! I arrived at 12noon(ish) I had the biggest and greatest of expectations of calves and their mammas, I guess a romanticized dream. Cause boy was it not so! What I imagined… (Remember the introduction…no farming experience) was how it was for me when I had my children, I was besotted with them, never leaving them and incredibly over protective. Well did I get a rude shock when I arrived to find Ruby…No calf in sight!!
 I walked the entire section three times, by the third I was absolutely beside myself, so bad I ended up ringing mal (who was at work) I couldn’t find bubba anywhere! And I was even more confused to see Ruby couldn’t care less! So little did I realise…Coo’s hide their calves. Ruby knew exactly where her baby was and she was not letting on…so after hours of manically rummaging through some of the roughest terrain, I found her…HA! Ruby!!! You should have seen her face!! Yeah I won that round! So once I found her I got her up to the paddock to her mum and went about the day. I kept a very close eye on baby as I was very aware she hadn’t fed and it was a good 3 to four hours to find her. After another 2 hours I was getting pretty stressed again…I began to get concerned she was going far too long without food and decided to ring around for some advice. After ringing pretty much everyone in the vicinity from the neighbour the animal farm, and the breeders we have purchased our other coos from (future post) all were away from the phone, I decided to ring good old Dr Danny..I left him to last as I tried to avoid ringing him as I knew he would find it rather humorous. Which he did, but I didn’t care by this stage. He reassured me that within the first days babies don’t eat much, and sleep often. He said if baby hadn’t eaten by end of the day to let him know…well pretty much as soon as I hung up the phone the little turd began to fed from her mum. Phew! (If only this happened five minutes prior to my five hundred SOS phone calls…sigh!)

Loretta was next to become a mamma, and again I missed it. I knew she was close so stayed home to avoid missing it…but as soon as I left to go grocery shopping she had her baby. I got back to see the finale…Loretta eating the afterbirth (vomit) I could have sworn Ruby didn’t eat hers as I caught Snoop eating and rolling in it (I almost lost my lunch when I saw that!). Mal reassured me it is a good source of vitamins for her (thank goodness I am not a coo!)
We were pretty thrilled to say the least about having a Black female calf; this little bubba is what we will focus our dream on. Breeding rare coloured highlands, we are curious to see if she grows horns (as dad is a Hummel) (a highland without horns). We were pretty prepared Pango wasn’t going to feed often but what we noticed is mum wasn’t great at washing her baby, especially around the bum (I would have thought if you can stomach eating the after birth a shitty bum is nothing..Right?!) Well not so for Loretta, so it became my job. Every day I have to separate mum and baby (which you can imagine is not a pleasant experience) I removed the hard poop from around her bum and give it a wash. After a couple of days I had mal come with me, as it’s a juggle trying to hold the calf lift its tail and then attempt to wash. This particular day Mal held Booboo which enabled me to have a good look at her bottom (as I had noticed she was trying to scratch her rare constantly) I was horrified with what I saw…Maggots!! Everywhere up her little bottom and up her girl thingy….I panicked! Mal just kept saying to me to get them out, wash the area really well which I did with another bad case of Tourette’s!

As the day went on we noticed she was still scratching her rare, I decided to google cows with maggots and read that it can be extremely dangerous, so I rang the vet (this was good Friday…ouch!) who was awesome and came within the hour and fixed her up. We must thank our wonderful neighbours at HuHa Farmstay for helping us out with some Maggo; we have had to spray her bottom every day for a week. Since I had to do this I figured I might as well begin to halter train her (thanks again to google) I really enjoy my bum spraying time with Booboo she is so beautiful, such a gentle natured coo. I cuddle her, scratch her and talk to her (while mum is on the other side of the fence mooing her head off…if only I understood coo talk I can pretty much guess what she is saying!! But she is getting used to it, and she trusts me...I know she does, she doesn’t have a go at me just very vocal, I am very reassuring to Loretta and she even lets me brush her with Booboo nearby. Bob Bob is going to take some time and that’s fine…our object is to not terrify the crap out of these babies, we are about respecting them and ethically training them, Bob Bob is an anxious calf. Nothing cow nuts and molasses can’t fix…she just needs to be 100% weaned first. And at the end of the day, they are animals; they don’t know our language, our behaviours. We can’t expect them to be like us and understand us without introducing ourselves. Just because they are animals doesn’t mean we don’t offer them respect. 
Loretta with Booboo

Booboo prior to bum wash

Ruby and Bob Bob

Cheeky monkey Bob Bob with mamma Ruby

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Just Kidding around

So much has been happening here at Plum Tree farm. I am finding it hard to stay on track with the order in topics I want to discuss. Let’s just say, we are still waiting for Loretta to drop her bundle…yes...That might mean Ruby had her baby!!! But you will have to wait to hear about that. (Poor Dr Danny)

So about 6 weeks ago a couple of gorgeous pictures were posted on the Nelson SPCA Facebook page (and by all the tags I received from my friends) I had no choice but to checkout this particular post. Two of the most gorgeous goats (images somewhat resembling mugshots) (should have been a warning) dumped on a golf course. Mal and I had been discussing getting goats as they are great at cleaning up the land. So without hesitation we jumped at the opportunity to adopt them. So within 24 hours we were picking up two goats with the warning they are Houdini’s; I reassured the SPCA our land is fully deer fenced. Didn’t breathe a word of ‘The Great Escape’.
So we settled them in and (after a request from my brother) we named them Aaron and Brad (named after my brother and his partner of course). The goats had been neutered but told by SPCA one still had a nut! (Aaron). As the goats began to settle in it became apparent that Aaron’s one nut might actually still be functional, he became very friendly (if you know what I mean). At first Mal and I thought there must have been something wrong with him, we were concerned that he may be in pain; as his willy would become evident and he would urinate and lick it, rather unflattering behaviour to say the least! We soon discovered this was typically 'Billy Goat' behaviour. We promptly decided to change their names as it was too weird to have a very amorous goat named after my brother , so we decided to let Taylor (number 3 child) name them (something we try to avoid for obvious reasons) Aaron became yllib and Brad became taog…yup! Billy Goat backwards, Thank you Taylor!!

Mal being Mal nicknamed them (he does this with everything, for example Snoop is shit lips I guess you can imagine why) So Yllib became ‘One Nut’ and Taog became ‘Toe Rag’ too funny!! Sounds bad but they actually suit it...
Toe Rag and One Nut friended number 33 and 34 the four of them became inseparable (except when number 33 had his unfavourable side effect from the salt lick block) that certainly tested the friendship!!

While this awesome foursome were hanging out doing goat and cow things (pretty much eating and pooing) Mal and I were still moving into the farm. Mal needed to go to the hardware store to collect some ropes to help secure the loads of furniture, simple task right?! Well 2hours later he appears with the rope and a long list of people he bumped into…we have a  nickname for Mal ‘Mr Have a chat’ during his 2 hour gas bagging he managed to source (get this) two goats, two alpacas and a partridge in a pear tree! This is the moment where I just shake my head.
So after much thought we agreed on getting the goats and holding off on the Alpacas (until we get our land sorted) so the delivery of two more goats!! These two were already named, Savannah a 6 year old nanny goat and Bruiser, Savannah’s grandson. These were milking goats, well Savannah was. She had spent her entire life (6 years) on a concrete floor in a milking pen. She never stepped foot on grass let alone graze on it. I don’t judge, clearly the people loved her as we had a long list of all the things she liked etc. But a part of me felt very sad for her and even sadder when we put her in paddock with the awesome foursome and she had no idea what to do. Bruiser adjusted very quickly, but Savannah struggled. I was concerned that she would starve as she has been thrown into an environment she had no idea about. Mal reassured me she will be fine and after a worrisome few weeks she is now embracing her goatness, so wonderful to watch her climb the hills, munch on gorse, and hangout enjoying the freedom of the lower paddocks with her new pals. Makes me all warm and fuzzy!!! Now we were told (because Savannah was a milking goat) one of her teats would fill and might need expressing (I chose not to listen to that…Yuk!)  But we have to keep tabs on her teats.

I am starting to think that this farming thing is all about feeling teats, lifting tails (I made the mistake of googling calving cows), looking at where the poop comes from (near the region where calves come from), getting covered in poop (the result of googling calving cows)…I have come to the conclusion there is no dignity in farming! 

Now..we let a local beekeeper put some of his hives down in the lower paddock under the Manuka trees, in return we get as much honey as we want, yummo!! The cows and goats don’t mind the bees and they LOVE the bee man!! Especially One Nut. I had no idea the poor bee man was getting harassed every time he attended the bees, until he approached me almost begging for me to pen the goats in another paddock (which isn’t really that easy when I am not always here to do that) The bee man is a lovely man with a very strong European accent which makes it even more humorous when he tries to explain what is happening, and who the main culprit is…yup! ‘One Nut’ the bee man said the Goats won’t leave him alone, jumping all over his truck etc. Then he said “they are very friendly, especially the black one” (One Nut) I tried so hard to keep an empathetic expression but the visual image of what ‘One Nut’ was doing to the bee man, in his white bee suit, while attempting to attended the bees, was to much!!!! The laughter roared out of me… I know very immature…you had to be there. So after a very awkward outburst of laughter we came to the agreement he ties the goats up while he attends the bees, and releases them once he is finished. I must make sure I am around to watch him attempt to tie ‘One Nut’ .
So back to the teat watching, a couple of days ago I noticed Savannah’s teat was rather large, so Mal decided to try and express it, which proved to be a bit more complex than originally thought. What didn’t help was ‘One Nut’ and ‘Toe Rag’ kept getting in the way, jumping up and trying to smooch us!! poor Savannah started to get a bit flustered with all the attention, the last straw for her was Mal grabbing her teat and squeezing it while yelling at me to get around her back region and hold her still (don’t know why I can’t hold her head) as we all know what a nervous goat does! Thanks Mal!! So I am presuming you all are wondering how much milk we got?! Zero, nil, zilch, zippo, none! I think we have mentally scared poor Savannah also, and yet again I will have to swallow my pride and make a SOS call…sigh
On a positive!! It won’t be Dr Danny this time!! Ha!

I will let you know how we get on learning to milk Savannah. The thought makes me quite squeamish (as there is a very good reason why I don’t drink milk) and flavour is not one of them.
Me with 'One Nut' (he has a beautiful smile)

Toe Rag

One Nut

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

What memories are made of

A lot of people have asked why ‘Plum Tree’ as a name for our farm. Some have asked are there plum trees? Nope! Not one! Well we ended up planting two recently just so we can say yes there are plum trees. But they are not looking all that great; actually anyone who knew anything about plum trees would be in hysterics if they saw these two. So I guess we better explain the meaning behind the name ‘Plum Tree Farm’, as it has nothing to do with ‘Plum trees’.
Recently our family was devastated over the diagnoses of a terminal form of cancer with Mals dad. Chemo would buy him time, but as we soon discovered the time would not be quality. He opted to stop the chemo and enjoy the moments he had. Mal spent as much time on the phone or visiting as he could. It was during these visits that the conversations were about moments spent growing up on the Chatham Islands (it was a dream Mals dad had to return to the land he loved so much, but sadly time was ticking fast). Mal and I had been looking for land for a few years; we almost gave up as we didn’t want to grow old with a massive mortgage hanging over our heads. I just so happened to stumble across this place (plum tree farm) but instead of visiting it, I went to bank to see how possible it would be before getting our hopes up. The bank gave us the go ahead, so we viewed (twice) and purchased it, we then excitedly told our parents, both (mine and Mals) were a bit concerned that we were jumping in to fast, that it is so far away from things etc.…the usual concerns parents get. But as time passed and we took possession it became clear that we were happier, relaxed, that perhaps this was not such a bad idea after all. I guess it reflected through the changes in Mal and I.
Mal would spend many days sitting with his dad talking about the farm, which Mr G (Mals dad) enjoyed, I think it is because he saw himself when he was on his farm in his younger years.
When I would visit and told Mr G about our adventures I noticed it sparked some wonderful stories from the Chatam Islands, I loved seeing Mal and his dad talk of their times together and interestingly some of the stories reminded me of someone. It was during these discussions that it occurred to me that I was sitting here watching something pretty special.
You see 10 years ago I married a wonderful man, a man who loved me for me, who took on three children and fathered them like his own. A man with so much knowledge (some useful, some not so useful) a man who had an opinion on everything whether you wanted to hear it or not.  He can do anything, build houses, do electrical work, fix bikes, cars trucks, the list goes on. I married a man with a heart as big as hearts can get, a man who sees the good in everyone and everything, and sitting in this room watching father and son absorbed in conversation I saw two peas in a pod, and I have an inkling the older version was slightly accident prone also. It was a good time to chat further with Mr G to see what I am in for with the younger Mr G, just so I am prepared!!
Sadly mals dads health deteriorated very quickly, both Mal and I wanted Mr & Mrs G to visit the farm, I probably pushed more than Mal I guess because while mal was worried about Mr G’s health I was focussing on creating memories. Special memories. Well approx 4 weeks ago an opportunity arose where majority (not all) of the family was up at the farm except for Mals parents as his dad was too sick to drive the 2hours it would take to get him here. Two days prior we cheekily suggested a helicopter and along with the rest of the family thought why not enquire to see if it could be possible. Thinking nothing more of it (until the whanau arrived up at the farm) that we heard back from the pilot giving the all clear for travel in 40mins!!! We all chipped in to make this happen, within the hour we gathered to watch the helicopter land on our top paddock, Mr & Mrs G grinning from ear to ear.
You see prior to this we had a family meeting in Blenheim, and Mr G mentioned that the likely hood of visiting the farm was slim so he had carved a stone, blessed it and the family each took
turns in blessing the stone (it sits on our bedroom window sill) it was such an emotional experience.  But as much as the stone would be very special to us, deep down in my heart I felt it even more important to get Mr G to the farm. We felt it would help give some sense of closure for Mals dad (as far as land being back in the family, even though it’s not Chatham Island Land, but it is something). Both Mal and I felt very strongly about having land for our family and future generations.  I also knew how close Mal is to his dad, I knew loosing Mr G would affect Mal considerably, so it was important for me to do what I can to help Mals grieving when dad does pass away.
So once the helicopter landed we all gathered around the house while Mrs G began to bless it, it was one of the best experiences!! The pilot was so wonderful; he waited for as long as we wanted.

Making Memories
The Grennell’s at ‘Plum Tree Farm’

Plum tree was the name Mr G came up with when we asked him to name the farm.  There is a small bay on the Chatham Islands near where the Grennell’s grew up, a place where Mr G had the fondest of memories and was a meeting place for families to gather and share stories.

 Plum Tree Farm is named in memory of Mals dad. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Happy coo

Before I begin, Mal insisted I mention he was only on crutches for 2 days.

So the day arrived!! Dr Danny’s visit to fix poor Loretta’s foot. It had been an eventful few days with Mal being in Blenheim and me holding the fort at the farm, in Nelson and travelling to Blenheim. First BIG lesson, don’t leave fridge door open all night when your house is fully run off solar power. I didn’t stress too much at first as I figured I would just simply start the generator (as Mal gave me brief instructions how to get it going) …easy! That’s if you connected the key to the generator correctly. No one told me which way to turn it! But I certainly found out when sparks started flying out of the alternator. To cut a long death defying story short…I blew up the alternator. Not even the sparkie could replicate how I did it (sad… but I was a tad proud of that). (Bob the amazing sparkie and our solar power will be discussed in future post.)

You know when you have been married a long time when the hubby just simply shakes his head. He loves me!!

So after a night or two without power and an overactive imagination resulting in a very sleep deprived coo herder!! I got the girls up the top paddock with quad bike and a bag of apples (rather proud of that effort) however Little did I realise at the time (plus I was desperate) that a bag of apples was probably not such a great idea, and the after effect was rather unflattering (to put it nicely) to top it off, I forgot to remove the salt lick block from bottom paddock and number 33 got quite into it. The lady at farmlands did warn me that some cows go crazy on the salt blocks, it can give them diahorea, and not to panic it will settle down. What I wasn’t expecting was the most vile projectile poo explosion I have ever seen and after having three children I thought I had seen it all, but this was pretty intense! So 24 hours prior to Dr Danny’s visit Loretta’s tummy was rather upset and number 33 just spent the day splattering shit everywhere…bloody marvellous!
So I was a bit concerned Loretta’s upset tummy would still hang around next morning; I was up most of the night worrying, as I didn’t want to confess how I got the girls up to top paddock (I was still attempting to look like I knew what I was doing).
So Dr Danny arrived early and we got right into herding them into the yards. So I ran to top paddock and attempted to move the girls while Dr Danny hid behind a lump of dirt, but they knew something was up. What I didn’t realise about cattle (apparently this applies to all coos) they know when strangers are around, they can smell and hear unfamiliar scents and sounds, so they were already one step ahead of me and they were NOT going to budge! So I went to plan B the Truck, I got Dr Danny to drive and I sit on the back waving sticks (anything I could get my hands on) and managed to get them out of paddock. Now to get them in the stable (god help me) Dr Danny just happened to ask if they are familiar with the stable, I said no, they have only been in top paddock for 24 hours…he said that I should have got them familiar with the area by feeding them in the stable a couple of days prior (well this will be good!!) by this stage we had been chasing the girls around for an hour, we were getting pretty puffed!! So we went to plan C (Dr Danny’s suggestion) get them down to lower paddock (where they are familiar) and he will sedate her there. Now what happens next I have only seen in movies, so this was quite exciting (for me, not so for poor Dr Danny) anyway I get in truck Dr Danny jumps on the back with his big stick with a sedative needle on end. My job?! To herd the girls down to lower paddock, which I did quite easily, then Dr Danny yells out to throw the Truck in reverse as fast as I can…crikey!!! So I rammed her into reverse (now my feet don’t quite reach the clutch and accelerator so I do bunny hop a bit) (which I probably should have warned Dr Danny about). Imagine riding a bronco bull with a syringe and trying to stick it in a 500kilo agro cow. It would have looked pretty funny and I was quite impressed Dr Danny got the needle in…he did remark it wasn’t where he wanted it, but it will do. 

So we went for a walk as it takes time for sedative to work, so we had a good chat and he was so helpful with advice for future vet visits and training the coos to yards etc. He was so lovely during this horrifically embarrassing coo chase. So after a good 10mins Loretta was still up, still somewhat alert so we had to go again, this time he insisted on walking up to her and got her a second time. We then walked up to his truck to get his gear.

It was another 10mins by the time we headed down to check on Loretta (expecting her to be lying down fast asleep) (she had other plans) this girl was not going to go down without a fight! Sedative number 3, this time Dr Danny headed around to her rear end, I went white with horror, as firstly I thought not a great place to be after Loretta's upset tummy and secondly I assumed that needle was going up there!! geeez I couldnt watch! Thankfully (as I began to get squeamish) he lifted her tail and injected under her tail…phew!

Another 10mins later and good old Loretta still up (pretty drunk and wobbly) so Dr Danny says we will have to drop her. WHAT?! He pulls out this rope wraps it around her massive horns and tied them to fence, then gets a second rope folds in half and asks me to grab one half while he has other and instructs me to wrap under her front leg (This is where I got a bad case of tourettes) I could not believe what I was doing, oh and it gets better! He then says bring the rope over her back (we swapped ends) and he said wrap my end around her back leg (he was doing same on his side) then he yells PULL, I pulled as hard as I could and finally Loretta went down…and as quickly as she went down Dr Danny yells out for me to (get this) jump on her horns and hold her head down…(tourettes returned) he said if she moves to push as hard as I can, I almost lost bladder control! (Yes I said that out loud). Once Dr Danny knew Loretta was out, he asked me to move around to where he was working and hold her foot…(I can’t believe I held her beautiful foot in my hands, it was so big it filled both my hands put together) Then he got me to clip her feet, this was quite a visceral experience, he said it is like trimming our finger nails, but we were trimming away a lot as what he noticed  Loretta had a nasty infection in one of her front toes, the split was caused by the infection breaking through her foot, no wonder she was limping poor girl.
A very pregnant Loretta finally sedated

Dr Danny performing his magic

Loretta was still putting up a fight but between me jumping on her horns and Dr Danny pushing her down, he got her foot pretty well treated (well as best as he could considering the circumstances) he will treat all her feet after she has had her baby. As with Highland Coos they are designed for tough terrain and there feet are reliant on hard ground to keep them shortened, poor Loretta’s feet haven’t seen hard ground for a while and have over grown. So we will fix her. And we have the perfect property to keep her feet happy.

You know….most people would simply shrug off a limping cow as it is simply a cow. I am expecting a hefty Vet bill, but for us at Plum Tree Farm. We won’t sit back and choose money over our animal’s welfare. We got them; they are reliant on us to do the right thing by them. When I saw Loretta walking without pain, jumping, running and playing (yes a 500 kilo pregnant cow jumped and played, so damn cute!!) I can’t put a price on how that made us feel.

 It feels good!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Gone with the Coo's

So now we have a farm what do we do with it?
Something we didn't think about when we dreamt about it.
So we researched the area, what the climate is, what type of grass grows, how productive the land is, all the answers we got pointed to cattle, goats, alpacas, animals that can eat more than just grass; that are hardy and can handle cold winters.
When it comes to food Mal and I are polar opposites. I am an animal loving vegetarian, he LOVES meat! he loves animals also, just likes to eat them too! Trust me he has eaten pretty much everything! (as long as its wrapped in bread)
So there had to be a compromise; I didn't want our land to be a 'death' farm, meaning I didn't want to grow animals for slaughter. However I am a realist (well I think I am, I guess we will see in future posts how well I handle the death side to farming) we need to have animals that have a purpose. So I just happened to visit Trademe (an auction site) and happened to find Highland cattle. They look so cute! I had to have them and was pretty sure Mal would agree.We could breed them for crazy people like us!! So me being me jumped in (without much thought) and purchased three calves 1x bull 2x girls (not born yet) Once born we get to choose which ones we want and wait for them to be old enough and halter trained before coming to live with us. I then purchased two Highland cows (in Calf)  two for the price of one...awesome economics (I thought). This is coming from someone with zero farming experience...but hey how hard can it be?! These girls were bred with a highland bull designed to not grow horns (called a Hummel) we have one in four chance of getting a Hummel calf, so fingers x. Next was to get registered I sent off the registration application plus the 170.00 to be a registered breeder; all our cattle will be registered breeding animals. So exciting!!! By having the two girls bred with a Hummel means we can offer a selection to people.

So now to wait for the arrival of our babies. I feel like an expectant mum!

We were hoping the pregnant cows would arrive in February, however the owner wanted them gone pretty quickly. So we quickly prepped a small paddock for them (we were told to put them into a small area so they get used to us and easier for us to interact with)
 There names are Loretta (lighter fur) and Ruby (darker reddish fur)!! Don't be fooled by there cute faces!! little did we realise these two were plotting something!!

Prior to there arrival we were told Loretta had a sore foot and is limping. We were told it would mend on its own.

we kept the girls in the small paddock for a couple of weeks (until the steers were moved) (they belonged to previous farm owners), we managed to keep two, I chose them and thought I chose the two runts, the ones that got picked on. I felt sorry for them. These will be home killed once big enough so I got told not to name them, at this stage they are number 33 and 34. They are professional fence jumpers which is very naughty! so we have kept them in lower paddock (fully deer fenced) they also dance when it is feed dam cute!!!!

Anyway back to the coos!!
So once the the steers were removed Mal decided to move Loretta and Ruby into the lower paddock with number 33 and 34 (Fred and Frank). Biggest lesson in farming, check the gates before moving cattle!
Mal opened gate to paddocks walked in armed with hay and apples (Loretta loves apples) the girls looked at the food then looked at the BIG open gate, then food, open gate, food..... and before Mal knew it they were gone!! they bolted out of paddock down driveway (Mal didn't panic to much as he assumed the gate was shut) when he noticed it wasn't, and nothing was stopping the girls from getting onto State Highway 1.... he ran! and this is where things got even worse. Adrenaline was pumping at this stage and all common sense was gone (quite normal for Mal), Mal decided to jump the fence trying to get ahead of the girls, this decision resulted in a ripping sensation across Mal's calf muscle (Mal instantly thought 'this isn't going to be good') because of the rush of adrenaline the pain didn't quite register and he continued running after the girls, who were a couple of hundred metres down the highway, stopping traffic.Mal continued to run (holding his leg) the worst part is Ruby and Loretta thought this was rather fun, they would run then stop, look back at Mal, allowing him to catch up a bit then they would turn and run again (naughty girls!) Luckily a couple of people offered to help, one went up to our gate entrance and the other drove past the girls to stop them, giving Mal a chance to get ahead. They managed to turn the girls and herded them back toward our property. Mal had quite an audience by then, lines of traffic. It would have looked pretty impressive and I guess it did until Mal, hunched over holding his leg as he walked (Quasimodo comes to mind) came into view.

He finally got girls behind the gate, thanked the guys who helped. It was then that Mal began to feel the pain in his leg, he decided to get to doctor which is an hours drive away, he got 30mins up the road before he rang me (as I was at work when all this happened) I got a message that all is OK but he is on his way to A&E. What?!!! I leave him at the farm for 4 hours and he is on his way to A&E?! remember my introduction, a tad accident prone I recall the days antics resulted in a torn calf muscle and 6 weeks on crutches. This was the day before Mal was due to finish laying the floor in our Nelson home. He was adamant he was going to still do this (clearly still under the influence from his hospital visit) I called the builders.

So back to Loretta's foot (clearly not a problem to run on!) but I was quite concerned about it, I hate watching her walk, it looked so painful. So I decided to call the vet. His name is Danny and lives in the region. I told him what was going on with her foot (didn't mention her BIG escape) as I tried to appear to know what I was talking about, which I think went well until he mentioned to put the girls in yards. What the hell are YARDS??? as far as I knew we have 42 acres of YARDS? what a silly thing for a vet to say (I thought). I replied (this is where it gets embarrassing) which one? I have deer fenced yards, deer trap yard and a deer shed yard. Do you want them in a big yard or small yard? there was a moment of silence before he began trying to explain what he meant by a yard. something compact so he can check her foot and treat it so it is safe for her and him. OH!!! I said I would call him back when I knew if we had one...gulp! I then googled 'yards' Shit!!!
Mal was in Blenheim so I rang him in tears (as I felt like such an idiot) he was as sympathetic as a wet shit! finding it rather humorous, I promptly reminded him of his herding experience!
Anyway he said we have horse yards they might do? so I rang the Vet and told him, which he said would work if I get both the girls in there...crap! how the hell do I herd them in?? I have only plucked up the courage to move them to top paddock and that's only because I could do it on a quad bike. Well I have less than 12 hours to get this done, Danny arrives tomorrow morning at 9am and Mal has no sign of returning from Blenheim at this stage...its up to me!! stay tuned! this will be interesting!!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

So this is it! deposit down.
Now to sell our house in Nelson, well finish the renovations then sell it. Slightly bitter sweet, we have lived in this house for the past eight years, unfinished but still a palace now it has walls and ceilings! The thing is Mal refuses to get anyone in to help (because he can do it all... i call it stubborn!) down side....time and the fact that we will need to consider buying shares in Band-aid with all the plasters Mal goes through each time he begins a project. Our plan is to have the house on the market by the end of January...wish us luck!

So why did we buy a farm?
It had been a dream of ours for quite sometime. One of those dreams you never think would happen but often discussed. We got courageous (that or we lost our marbles) two of our three children had left home which meant we had spare money. I had been driving our neighbourhood nuts with my DIY backyard (492sq metre) funny farm in the heart of Nelson CBD. With three chickens, Red, a Rhode Island Red (shes the boss) hasn't laid an egg in months, teaches the others to jump the fence, eat the grapes, destroy our vege garden, enter the house and even take on the dogs at meal time. She even managed to drop all her feathers last winter resulting in an upper respiratory infection requiring weekly antibiotic injections (she is now our most expensive chook) but we love her; she had provided us with eggs for years so it was the least we could do to thank her. The other two are brown shavers, jumpy simple things and prolific layers. Mal named them Drumstick and Teriyaki (teri for short) His way of looking tough, he thinks if you name them after food people will assume he eats them (Our last chook 'Syrup' he trained to sit on his shoulder...I say no more!) We have a bee hive, hired last year, we get 15kilos of guilt free honey every year and plenty of pollen  (I eat it regularly, very good for you). Then we have the three dogs, Snoop, 4, he is huge! we adopted him after visiting the SPCA we saw him after he recovered from a nasty head injury (the lump on his head remains), He looked so vulnerable, we couldn't leave without him. I would describe Snoop as 'the lights are on, but no ones home', not a day goes by where he doesn't make us smile. Then there is Milly a big grumpy Bull mastiff x, abused as a puppy resulting in her having fear aggression, basically she spends her time mouthing visitors ankles. She is Mal's dog, she mourns the loss of Mal everytime he goes to work. Last but certainly not least is Chilli, my baby xxx an 8 year old, whippet x staffy who I accidentally trained to bark at the word 'cat' resulting in pure mayhem as Snoop reacts to Chilli's barking, running full speed across the floor, racing outside to chase a supposed cat  (usually there is no cat in sight), to make it worse our neighbours name is Cat. Then there is Spooky the cat (she doesn't like the dogs) not sure why she is called spooky. She is gorgeous, spends most of her day wanting to be let out the backdoor only to then scratch at the front door to come in (this goes on all day).

Plum Tree Farm

Now you have met the animals we already have, wait until you hear about the ones I have on order for the farm!!!! stay tuned!!