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Bees over ‘beefies’
In late August of 2016, Richard and I bought some bees. At the beginning of the month I had gone on a cyclonic trip through the ins and outs of working with a hive. Called The Practical Beekeeping Course, it was a two-day immersive education in working a hive. When I got home each day around 8 pm, Richard and I would go over the notes, read some more and Google anything we had contradictory information on. Which, incidentally was
Manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata, haere whakamua. Care for the land, care for the people, go forward.
Do robots dream of electric cows?
Three years ago this week, on 4 March 2015, our oldest cow walked into stall number one to be milked by a robot. Five days before, she had also brazenly led the charge into the new shed with some fledglings behind her. This ‘dry run’ was to make the cows familiar with their new space by making it smell like them. For 95 years our family milked cows manually. Milking time would vary, depending on the number of cows. In
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.
Salt licks and seaweed and blackstrap molasses
Every day of the year our cows dine on a continuous buffet of organic salad. When the Waikato has had just the right amounts of rain and sunlight, these leaves are silky, dark green and sturdy. Over many years, Mum and Dad have developed an organic polyculture pasture that’s suited to our land. It’s constantly changing and is mainly made up of chicory, grasses, white and red clover, yarrow, lucerne and plantain. This diverse pasture benefits cow health and milk production, while also
I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.
The Minister of Conservation on choosing mosaic over monoculture
For 21 years, World Wetlands Day has been celebrated on 2 February. It was born out of the 1971 adoption of the Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, which is a global treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. In her maiden speech to Parliament in February of 2012, Green MP Eugenie Sage opened with an acknowledgment of ‘the rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and aquifers throughout Aotearoa for all the life they sustain. Without clean and
Love Song for a Vampire
Richard loves to cook. Every Sunday night (even if we’ve got back to Auckland from the farm an hour before midnight) he’s plundering the freezer, thumbing through recipe books and notes, deciding what to cook for the week. Cooking is an experiment, something to relentlessly improve on, to satisfy creative itches and his greedy, daily diner. My workmates like to gently taunt me with my ‘leftovers lunchbox’ every day, as it’s always much better than their ho-hum sandwiches or packet
let gardens grow, where beelines end,
sighing in roses, saffron blooms, buddleia;
where bees pray on their knees, sing, praise
in pear trees, plum trees; bees
are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.
On a dry day in spring
During Conservation Week in October, Horahora School teachers, children and parents came back to the farm for a morning to lend a helping hand with our weir planting. Armed with spades and gumboots, they learned about why we created two large pools of water on the farm and how the digger created the new area. Cabbage tree, kowhai, kahikatea and grasses were among the plants that were gingerly placed in the ground. The kids split up into smaller groups of two to three, and used
Cooking and gardening involve so many disciplines: math, chemistry, reading, history.