There was no gingerbread house in this saga! #farmvoices #NorthlandNZ

Once upon a time there was a stubborn little grey horse going by the name of Spirit. When all his friends the other little horses happily came out from the 6 acre paddock - Spirit refused to follow. For six long months we had tried to get him out of there. No amount of food, threats, promises of lots of attention could sway him to leave that haven he now had all to himself. Every evil plan concocted up by the Mad Bush Farmer failed in misery. I almost gave up; until two days ago when I had just one more evil plan up my sleeve. So down I went and cut the fence open at the bottom of the driveway and left it open. You would have thought the little horse would have come out. Noooo.........he stayed stubbornly under a tree refusing to budge. This time giving up wasn't an option. I needed him out of there and that was that. With a pile of bread and carrots a tempting trail was made out of that darned paddock.  It only took four hours but finally out he came and I shut the fence back up behind him.


Hello Summer it's about time you got here #FarmVoices

I've been wondering when our summer weather was coming. We've had a rather wet couple of months with low temperatures and very poor pasture growth. It's finally starting to warm up again. I haven't dared plant anything for the garden because the soil was just too wet, and the wind just kept on blowing a gale. It hasn't helped my rather bluish mood being frustrated by endless wind and rain. I am over it completely. Outside is a better day and I should be out there fixing my garden up so the cows can't get into it, and destroy everything like they did last year. I gave up in the end. I've had no incentive to blog of late. I'm out job hunting and so far no joy, which has made me feel rather blue and not worth much of anything. I've redone my CV several times but the odds are against me with my age for starters. It seems once you get over that magic 40 plus age mark - nobody wants to know. But I'll keep on persisting and not give up. Somewhere out there is the perfect job made just for me. That all aside, I've had plenty of reason to be very proud of my kids. My youngest had a part in the Otamatea Repertory Theatre's production of the Wind in the Willows. She played the part of the horse, sorry no photos because of copyright issues relating to the play and costumes - fair enough. I saw it last Sunday afternoon and what a delight it all was. So much fun. I needed something like that to lighten my rather dejected mood.  Michelle is also developing a very beautiful voice. She's joining a combined choir to sing christmas carols with a mixed harmony of sopranos and baritone singers of all ages. I am really looking forward to hearing them all later this month. It's so close now to Christmas I can't believe the year has gone so fast! Inaya has been working hard to obtain her Grand Prior for her St John Youth Cadet. She's finally achieved it - we were so over the moon. She tells me she is going to be going for her Sergeant's rank in St John then move on to become a youth leader. I'm so proud of my girls they've done so well. Michelle turns 16 years old tomorrow I have to wonder where all the years have gone. It makes me feel a little old even though I'm only 50. Right now the cows are roaming around outside the house and the old horse is giving me that "I'm still here so there!" look. I have to admit I love it here - so I'll smile again for the rest of the day and tell myself I'm not worthless afterall.


It's all rather fishy actually..........#FarmVoices #art

I've been having maybe a bit of a midlife crisis of late. I came to the realisation the other day my kids are growing up and rapidly.  At the end of next year Inaya is leaving school and heading off for university study a couple of hundred kilometres away down in Palmerston North. I can't say that won't miss her, because I will. While all the 'heck my kids are leaving home in a couple of years' thoughts were going around and around in my head I decided to paint something. Here's the result so far; and definitely no masterpiece. More an 'I need some creative therapy' kind of thing. Being a single parent living out in an isolated rural area can sometimes feel very lonely. I'm fortunate that I can be satisfied with my own company during the day, there's never a shortage of things to do around the farm. Me time is therapeutic and something I should do more often. I'm in the process of trying to get back into fulltime work. My resume has been done and I'm really making a huge effort with the applications. I'm doing this for me - my self esteem of late hasn't been particuarly good. Just doing the resume has made me feel a lot more positive about myself. That nagging little voice of doubt for now has been silenced. In between this rather pathetic midlife crisis thing, I had a lawyer travel up from Auckland to shoot possums in our bush and in our neighbour's pine block. All up eight less of the hairy pests are now resident on our farms. We've had really strange weather including a massive thunderstorm that hung around for a few hours the other week. I got a rather poor quality video of it at dawn. I think the birds were trying to drown out all the noise!


Life in a toilet paper roll (sounds wierd I know) #Farmvoices

A few weeks ago I found an old packet of bean seeds I forgot I had. Unfortunately they had expired. I took the chance any way just to see if any would come up. The problem I had until just the last week was cold, rain soaked soil. We had the worse winter ever in 47 years here in Northland, New Zealand. It was hopeless I was at the point of considering moving the animals off the property completely it was that bad.

You may have seen a recycling tip about planting seeds in empty toilet rolls. I've done it for years. It it protects the seed and the young plant,, plus gives a great alternative to using plastic. I put the entre roll into the soil once the plant is big enough to transplant into the garden.  Out of the seeds (which I didn't expect to germinate) one came up. I photographed it over 48 hours literally growing in front of my eyes.

I'm intrigued how in just two days from a small seed a plant emerges which will later produce something that will feed my family. Recycling your empty toilet rolls is a great way to help the environment and save more rubbish headed for the landfill, or being burned in the fire pile. Over the last few years, I've noticed more and more plastic is being used to package up our food in. It's not good for our environment. Each year thousands of tons of plastic end up in our oceans. We need to change that reliance on plastics for our packaging and come up with a better alternative. Recyle where you can. I compost our cardboard,  newspaper and food scraps in old tyres it works and the tyres don't end up polluting the environment. Worth thinking about.


Labour Weekend (of course I wore my gumboots!) #FarmVoices #NorthlandNZ

I don't do selfies of my mug.  I just do selfies of my gumboots instead. There are my gumboots looking out across beautiful Batley Bay yesterday. They got wet of course. I walked in the tide with them on as any self respecting Mad Bush Farmer would expect one to do. Amy and the kids came over, so we decided to go and visit the beach for a change of scenery. With my girls being teenagers these days, the beach was not an appealing option. Inaya wanted to stay home with the technology at her fingertips. Too bad I said we're getting you lot out of the crypt bedrooms well away from the Tumblr blogs and smart phones with discussions about Star Trek politics and heck knows what other fandom stuff. I used to do it too. Once a trekkie, always a trekkie. Just not yesterday.

The kids weren't all that keen of course on some isolated bay on the north eastern arm of the Kaipara Harbour. Amy and I had our cameras with us of course. We were after getting some more shots of the area and especially on such a stunning day. The tide was in, people were out and about and it was just a perfect opportunity to get some great images to remember the day by.

I love these old tin boat sheds that have been at Batley for years. People do use them to stay in. The paint is flaking off the old wooden doors and window frames. During the summer their owners sit out on the old timber decks, and just enjoy the harbour in all its glory. Batley itself has a long history. It was originally name Oahau, then later its name was changed to Batley. Named for the township in Yorkshire by a subsequent owner William Colbeck. Once there was a canning factory and a steam powered flour mill on the shore. All since vanished from memory. The only inhabitants of the now tranquil bay are Rex and Rae Roadley residing in the beautifully restored grand villa aptly named Batley House.

We spent a couple of hours catching up on everything while the teenagers denied of their technology roamed aimlessly around the beach. We'll have to take the technology away more often I think!