A "Moa" in the bush

Years ago when my Dad was still alive and I was still a kid, we had a special get-away place at Tramcar Bay on the Whangateau Harbour. It was high up on a hill overlooking the bay, and from there we could see out over to Omaha Peninisula, and further out to the point where Tarawhanui ended at the rocky edge of Takatu point. Dad loved to have us youngest kids on. Sometimes we would ask him what was for dinner, and he would say "Bees knees and potato bread". Took a while to click that bees knees were a little difficult to obtain, and making bread out of potatoes wouldn't really work that well.

One summer Dad mentioned there was a "moa" in the bush. We had a lovely stand of ancient native bush just down below, with a clay track lined with ancient pohutukawa trees, and a rope swing over the water at the end of the short journey down to the bay. A moa? A real live moa? Of course, kids will believe anything at such a tender age, as I was back then.

Just before Christmas, I had learned all about the gigantic moa birds that once walked New Zealand's forests. Typically, the imagination was running wild about finding a HUGE moa bird hiding in the bush.  Still, with faith that my dear dad wasn't kidding about that moa bird - off a couple of kids went in search of a long since-extinct monster.

Up the trees we looked and down the trees we looked. Through the tracks, under the ferns, there we hunted for the giant, that shouldn't be able to hide from a couple of keen eyed kids. All afternoon we hunted high and low, but alas, no moa was to be found anywhere in the bush. Crestfallen, we both headed back with heads down and frustration in our minds. That moa had to be somewhere, it had to be, because Dad said it was.

And thus we returned sad in our defeat, to tell our dad that no moa was to be found. It just had to hiding, because it knew we were looking  for it. Dad though, had a cheeky grin and a little chuckle. He just quietly led us kids back down the path, then slightly off to the left. Indeed there was a mower - a lawn mower that was. A rusty old lawn mower long ago left by someone in the bush. All dad could say as he laughed loudly "See? I told you there was a mower in the bush!".

And the lesson for us kids was to check our spelling!


The "B" word

Yesterday I read the forecast for Northland and I used the "B" word. It's now Autumn, and yet again we're in a drought. So is the Waikato and things are looking rather grim where rainfall goes. I'm letting the Toyota crew there say the "B" word on my behalf, and the rest of the rural crew out there looking up at the skies and praying it rains and soon!


Bovine Blackmailers and half a kennel

The cows know I have a bag of feed just inside the door right now. It's not theirs to have of course; it belongs to the old man. Sometimes, though, I do give them some of it, even though right now they don't really need feeding much more than some hay.  Trouble is they've cottoned on that I feed the old man twice a day. They have it all figured out, along with how to muck up my recently cleaned windows (forget that now!)

 It's been a month or more since I did my last blog post. I've had nothing much to say I guess. I have a lot to tell now. More to think on before I write about it. But just for laughter's sake, a smile and a chuckle, the dog ended up with half a kennel after Cyclone Lusi came through and blew everything to kingdom come.

No need to tell the rest of the story it's all there in my visual diary. Simon at times is a bit dense. Maybe he was enjoying the rain. And sorry about the big water mark. Some people who don't seem to respect that thing called copyright have been taking my photos and my artwork and sticking them on so called "Free Wallpaper" websites and claiming they have my permission. Like heck they do. Sadly that's what happens when you blog and put your creative work on the internet. More to tell in the next post about the trip Mum and I did a few weeks back to Glinks Gully and Waipoua Kauri Forest to see a gigantic and very iconic tree. This is just my way of saying hey I'm still here and sorry about the wait.


And the last thing you'll see is a tractor! Oh and an electrifying story too.

I made a video. Yes I did make one. Indeed I made one. It's a little story I put together about the history of our region before the land was turned into dairy, beef and sheep farms, with a few cropping areas dotted in between. If you have about 6 minutes to spare and can stand watching my amateur attempts at trying to make something look cool then go for it. And the last thing you'll see is a tractor! Mark my words on that. Every good vid about a rural area just has to have a tractor in there somewhere.

And on a funnier note. We have seven turkeys roaming around the farm at the moment.  Of course, around here, only one name comes to mind for such feathered brainless minions of their ilk. Christmas Dinners! Today, the seven christmas dinners decided to hang around the house. On past the door they strutted, gobbling, and doing whatever walking christmas dinners tend to do on a slightly damp day. I wish just a few mere seconds later I had a video camera. One of the christmas dinners, decided it would try perching its bulk on the electric fence! I've never seen a christmas dinner have such an electrifying moment of realisation before. A rather shocking realisation I suppose for that tiny little bird brain to consider. 3000 volts of current and a turkey make for one heck of a launch. Shame it wasn't in the space programme. It might have made a record - for a turkey at least that is. The thing shot straight up in the air gobbling in pain, only to promptly hit the cabbage tree in midflight. It knocked itself out. Wrong month to nab for turning into a frozen christmas dinner. So I left it there for a while. There it lay,  watched over by six other unblinking dumb-as future festivity delights (evil grin). After a few minutes it finally recovered, staggered up and went off with its pals. Not long now until that month without an 'r' in it happens along. All I need now is to find some cranberry sauce.....


Defending champion returns

Defending Tasman champion, Reuben Carter, is the first Grand Finalist to be named for the 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The thirty year old agronomist took first place at the Tasman Regional Final in Murchison at the A&P Show over the weekend, Saturday 15 February.

Mr Carter had a dominant performance leading for most of the day and took out both the Silver Fern Farms Agri-Sports and Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenges giving him solid platform going into the evening show.

The Christchurch City Club member went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

Second place went to Andrew Wiffen, 26, of the Renwick Club. Mr Wiffen took home $2,900 worth of prizes and also won the Lincoln University Agri-Growth Challenge.

Sarah O’Connell, 29, of the Dunsandel Club, placed third and was also the top scorer in the AGMARDT Agri-Business Challenge.

And, in a close fourth, was James Hoban, of the Hurunui Club.

It was a strong group of competitors with plenty of knowledge and talent on display. The eight contestants were put through their paces in a variety of challenging modules touching on all aspects of farming from practical hands on tasks to theory and business components.

Mr Carter is off to the Grand Final in Christchurch, 3-5 July where he will battle it out for the Champion’s title and over $300,000 in prizes.

He now has eight Regional Finals under his belt and placed fourth overall in the 2013 Grand Final. Contest rules dictate that competitors can only participate twice at the Grand Final level, so this will be his last chance to be the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion.

“I have a lot of passion and drive for the agricultural sector and this is what drives me in the contest,” he said. Mr Carter does admit to having quite the competitive streak. “I have always been competitive and enjoy the challenge,” he said.
Mr Carter grew up on a sheep and beef farm at Opononi in Northland and later moved to Canterbury for study and earned his Bachelor of Agriculture from Lincoln University.

Outside of work he enjoys hunting, wood chopping, 4-wheel driving and is very active in stock judging. He was the 2012 winner for the NZ & Australasian Junior Meat and Wool Breeds Sheep Judging Championship.

Mr Carter is also working on raising his sheep stud, “Hurricane Romney,” and building up his equity for the ultimate goal of buying a drystock and cropping farm.

Be sure to tune in to ‘Road To The Young Farmer Final’. The series covers each of the seven Regional Finals and follows the seven top achievers who make it through to the Grand Final. Catch all the action starting Sunday 18th May, 8.30pm exclusively on TVNZ Heartland.

For more information visit www.youngfarmers.co.nz