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!!