Each morning I stand at the bench and clean freshly laid eggs. Basically I am wiping of any dirt, straw, poos or blood from the egg, as we can’t have ‘townies’ seeing the eggs in their original delivery condition, can we? And as I wipe the eggs I have to wonder why…………..why do we protect town people from farm life?
Geeez snap out of it Debbie, there are far more deep and meaningful things to wonder/worry about.
And you maybe wondering where the last couple of months of travel went if I am talking about what’s happening now. Well I’m working backwards this time (which is not a new thing for me). You are welcome to start reading at the bottom of the blog and work backwards as well if you prefer.
The Pohangina Valley
So we’ve been doing a house/farm sit in the Pohangina district which is half an hour north of Palmerston North. It’s a beautiful valley with lots of farms and dotted with small lifestyle blocks like this one. We came across the house sit through helpx.com. The couple, Stu and Bev, were off to Queensland for 11 days. They have 7 sheep, 3 goats, 5 pigs (including Basil the Kuni Kuni boar), 1 bull, 2 steers, 4 cows and calves, 28 hens, 2 Muscovy ducks and 12 ducklings (plus frequent additional visitors at feeding times), 3 cats and 2 dogs. They all have names (except the hens of course) There’s Lulu, Leroy, Coco, Hugo, Rita, RJ, Milly, Molly, Mandy, Basil, Bailey, Tui, Bunderberg, Export and Gold, Mr & Mrs Khaki Campbell, Jeffrey, JJ, Jasmin, Maddie and Meeka. Phew!! That’s all I can remember. And they are all loved and cared for equally, even though some will end up in the freezer.
Basil the Kuni Kuni
Ducks & ducklings and a couple of chooks thrown in to the pic
While Stu and Bev were away, our job was to feed the animals morning and night and to look after the general health and welfare of the animals. And to collect scrap food for the pigs from a couple of bakeries in Palmerston North each day (which is 25 kms away). I won’t go on any more about the farm etc – hopefully the photos cover it all.
Hugo the Highland Bull
Rita and the girls
We have loved doing this house sit and seriously considered changing the locks to the front gate before Stu and Bev got home. But we didn’t – they are home and we plan to leave tomorrow.
If you squint at the pic you can see wind mills in the distance
While we were in the district, we visited the magnificent Cross Hills Gardens in Kimbolton. They were stunning!! We also went and checked out the massive wind farm on the hills behind Palmerston North. It is the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere, and is truly impressive. Each of the blades on the big windmills has a diameter of 47 metres (that’s half a football field)!
A very small part of Cross Hills Gardens
Prior to Pohangina we spent a 5 days freedom camping by a river near Carterton. We didn’t do much while we were there; read books, lazed about, drove down to Martinborough – took the bikes and biked around the town on one on the few sunny, windless days we’ve had.
When we crossed Cook Strait in September, we headed to a small lifestyle block just out of Otaki on the Kapiti Coast. This was a house sit again, organised through helpx.com, but quite different from other places we have been to. This one had very few animals; 1 dog, 1 cat and 3 chickens. But it had a beautiful house (with swimming pool and tennis court) set in approx. 2 acres of lawn and gardens. The couple were Jerry and Natalie and they were heading to Rarotonga for 10 days. So it was company for the animals (and food naturally) and looking after the grounds.
Mowing lawns took 3hours even on the ‘ride on’
Harry – the adorable collie
We ended up staying at Otaki for nearly 5 weeks, which was not our original plan (yeah yeah plans are made to be changed). Our original intention was to stay a week or so doing HelpX jobs, then spend another week in the Wairarapa area (Carterton, Martinborough, etc) then come back for the house sit for a further 10 days. But constant gale force nor’west winds in the Wairarapa kept us from leaving. We still had a wonderful time there though – went for lots of bike rides in the area, along river tracks and beaches etc.
Biking down Otaki River to the mouth
Finishing touches to the vege garden and rabbit proof fence
We also took the train from Waikanae and spent a day in Wellington; got my hair cut and coloured (greys camouflaged), shopped around for something to wear to my niece’s wedding, had dinner with Mathea and Keran (the couple we stayed and worked with in the Marlborough Sounds). It was great to see people we knew from the past, albeit only a month or 2 ago. It’s a strange feeling travelling like this, as you never see any familiar faces – ever. Well until we went to Wellington and caught up with Mathea & Keran. It really was wonderful to see them again.
Over the last couple of months we have spent considerable time and money on Polly and Buck. Some $1400 of unbudgeted funds later, and several days of maintenance work on Polly, we are mildly satisfied.
Whilst we had allowed a budget for R&M on vehicles, we just didn’t expect to have to spend more than twice the budgeted amount after only 6 months on the road. Hamish had begun to feel uneasy about the tyres on Buck several weeks ago. They were old but they had good tread on them, but a quick check with a couple of tyre places confirmed Hamish uneasiness – apparently they were so old that we were lucky we hadn’t had a blow-out. So almost $800 later Buck has a new set of sweet wheels.
Hamish working on Polly
And Polly…..where do I start? The poor old thing has sprung a leak. Maybe her age and all the travel has unravelled some of her seams, who knows, but we have removed all old sealant, treated and replaced it with new stuff. Plus we’ve replaced lots of pop rivets, and the two old marker lights on the front. And damn it all, today we had rain and there is the tiniest amount of water still getting in. More work to do. Bugger!! Also we found out that the tyres on Polly, even though they also had good tread, needed to be replaced. Their weight tolerance and age were the issue.
Then, to top it all off, the front wheels on Buck started to squeal (like a city boy) this week. Turns out the brake pads had to be changed.
So it’s been a bit of an ordeal on the maintenance front just recently – but I guess we can now travel with a bit more confidence knowing everything is up to scratch again. Well, once we get that pesky leak fixed it will be.
Tomorrow we are heading to Putai Ngahere Domain (Vinegar Hill) near Hunterville, which is only about an hour away. After that we’ll see what Ohakune has to offer besides a giant carrot.
Anything Can Happen by Finn Brothers (Tim Finn – Split Enz and Neil Finn – Crowded House). Good kiwi music
The album Everyone is Here is a favourite of mine.