Thursday, 10th February, 2011
Lloyd & Laura’s Farm, Bay of Islands
We have had an absolutely lovely few days here on the farm, after arriving on Sunday afternoon. We have so enjoyed the beauty of their property, and the adorable, light, airy cottage that has been ours while we are here. Our hosts have been nothing but wonderful, and on Monday afternoon they took us out fishing in the Bay of Islands (Matt and I kept looking at each other and exclaiming, “We’re going fishing in the Bay of Islands!” Another ultimate NZ experience). I had never been fishing before in my life, and Matt hadn’t been in years. We each caught a couple small snapper, but nothing big enough to keep. We had a great time, enjoyed the boat ride and the scenery, and the great company of course!
(Click on photos to enlarge)
We’ve really enjoyed doing some work here, and getting to know all the animals. The main job that we were given was to clear the front gate of wisteria, which had pretty much taken it over! We cut back all of the vines to discover that one of the gateposts had rotted and split, so yesterday we dug out the old post, and today we are going to work on putting in a new one and drilling in new gudgeon pins for the gate. We also need to dig out the ground under the other gate to allow it to swing more easily. All in all, it’s a very satisfying project, and nice to leave our mark and to help Lloyd & Laura out in exchange for our sweet accommodation here.
A praying mantis we found in the wisteria vines
With so much friendly livestock around, it’s been a great chance for me and Matt to get used to being around larger stock and be more comfortable with it. We have gone out into the paddocks to visit all the stock every day we’ve been here, just for the experience. The two donkeys, Rachel and Sheba, are the sweetest things I’ve ever met, and seem to think they’re my new best friends! Of course now I’m convinced I want donkeys someday, they’re just so friendly and fun. Whenever we so much as walk by their paddock, they come over to the fence hoping for a pat and an apple, and bray at us if we walk by without stopping to say hi! We’ve spent a lot of time brushing out their coats, they’ve been shedding a lot in the heat and seem to feel a lot better with the grooming. The big steers are the first cattle I’ve ever been able to get close to, and the brown speckled one is uber-friendly, if a little over eager. Once he got used to us, he licked us all over and tried to eat our shorts. With all of our sweat, we probably taste like big walking salt licks! Even the highland cattle, which are much more shy, get curious and come up to sniff our hands. We’ve gotten some licks from the little calf, who looks a bit like a bear cub.
The black highlander right outside the cottage fence, going for the goodies on the other side!
It’s been such fun having Laura’s flock of ducks around, too. They free range all over the property, through the paddocks and around our cottage. I keep cracking up at them because they are so entertaining, and yesterday they turned up outside our bedroom window when we were just waking up, quacking away like a friendly, ducky alarm clock. We’ve been eating the delicious eggs from the hens, and lots of fresh veg from the garden that was waiting for us in a basket in the cottage when we arrived.
Lunch at Acorn Cottage
We’ve had a couple gray and rainy days while we’ve been here, which has been a bit of a relief after all the very hot weather we’ve been having, and it has been nice to be able to veg out inside and watch a few movies and read. Our bodies have been enjoying it so much we haven’t been waking up particularly early, and working on a bit of a relaxed schedule. It’s supposed to clear up today, and we’re planning on taking the foot ferry from Paihia to Russell this afternoon, to get a little more sightseeing in before we leave the Bay of Islands. Matt and I are agreed that we’d be happy staying here on the farm pretty much forever, and that this experience has convinced us that we would be happy living pretty much this exact life! Our few days here have just flown by, and we’ll both be sad to leave here tomorrow. Many many thanks and much appreciation to Laura and Lloyd for having us and giving us such a lovely experience. I can’t tell you how cool it is to meet someone via the blogosphere, and to actually see all the places I’ve only seen in photos!