In the lead up to this summer, the dreaded phrase “El Nino” had been bandied about with a great deal of foreboding and gloom. Talk of drought and perishing gardens, water restrictions and that old chestnut of water metering dominated all the usual places you encounter weather small talk (as a group, we try to avoid these) prompting Homestead garden mulching to the point of absurdity. Maybe it just hasn’t turned up yet or maybe they got it wrong; whatever. Suffice to say that to date there’s been a marked absence of enduring summery weather. “Changeable” sums it up perfectly if, for you, the word conjures up images of gasping in 30 odd degrees one day, shivering in 9 the next and struggling to keep your footing in 120k/hr wind gusts another.
With that in mind, we’re feeling pretty impressed that we’ve managed to finish anything this week…but we have.
The garlic has been harvested, dried and plaited up
Half the living room has been repainted and reorganised
and the garden vacated by the garlic has been trenched , composted and re-sown (this time an experimental combination of leek, carrot and celery – we have anecdotal evidence of this being a winner).
Our Trade Me Goats for Sale advertisement has borne fruit. Within the month, Ulrika will be moving to a lifestyle block in Cust, charged with the task of keeping her new owners latest foundling, Tilly (an abandoned goat kid with an off-the-scale cute-factor), company. The two girls hit it off famously despite the interference of the other paddock occupants (thankfully in much better temper with the reopening of Mairehau Feeds and the reinstatement of hay to their diet; straw just doesn’t cut the mustard!) and much to the delight of all interested human parties. The advertisement also prompted an email questioning the ease of keeping goats which, when a Homestead visit was mooted, turned out to be from an almost neighbour. After a paddock visit and prolonged chin-wag, the idea of relocating Leia’s two babes as lawn mowers for the collective of five families relocating to the good life in Little River met with a great deal of interest. Fingers crossed it will pan out well for all parties. So, within a week we are down to worrying about the future of just one paddock patron. Surely the wonderful attributes of Sir Ulrich will not go unnoticed much longer.
A great deal of time has also been spent extracting Farm Girl from one education system and preparing the means for her entry into another. The expected response from The Kingdom of Nova has been a little slow in arriving causing our collective heart rate to climb a fraction. To ensure we retain the support of BLENNZ, Farm Girl must be enrolled in a registered New Zealand school. Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu (The NZ Correspondence School) ticks this box and so Farm Girl will become a pupil of the this, our country’s largest school, for the core curriculum subjects of English and Mathematics. However, information regarding her learning level is mandatory for enrolment. To avoid her enrolment being stalled by a tardy response from her “current school”, the Homestead resident teacher has put her through the required hoops. Both parties were very nervous, but the magic details have now been obtained should the need arise.
In reflection it’s been an odd week. The weather’s been all over the place, we’ve spent a great deal of time chatting goatie goings-on with previously unknown folk, our heads hurt from filling in forms and jumping through hoops, and there’s the nagging feeling that the garden could do so much better if only we were more knowledgeable. Still, we’ve managed to be part of Mr Ezekiel’s fourth birthday celebrations, hosted The Elders and Auntie Trish to the usual Monday evening meal, and kept all the Homestead menagerie relatively happy and definitely well tendered.
It was with a great deal of relief and exhaustion we sat down to our customary bottle of wine and block of Whittakers last night.