It suddenly occurred to us we had told you nothing of the new area Union Homestead is now part of.
It’s a funny thing that finding a rural address that fitted the bill for us was not as easy as we initially thought it would be. A real estate agent we bemoaned this to (actually the one who ended up overseeing our purchase) explained that rural properties tend to be either well-built, cosy, family homes on proper farms with a squillion acres attached, or the five or so acres we wanted with enormous, flashy houses, pools, tennis courts and/or fully heated stable blocks/cattery/boarding kennels that made them financially out of our reach. Over the course of our search we seriously considered 20 acres with a two bedroom, tumbledown house in Lincoln and an utterly neglected but once loved five bedroom tawdry “mansion” with squadrons of wild turkeys, rabbits, and multi-generational chicken families running riot over its seven Springston acres of overgrown paddocks. Things were getting a little desperate. In the end, our new home searched us out in a roundabout way and, in that same roundabout way, The Milk Maid has gone full circle.
Darfield is about 35 kilometres west of Christchurch and one of those service-hub townships that exist because cars used to struggle to make that drive reliably and people needed somewhere to buy their groceries and socialise, get their animal feed and fence posts – and stitched up when they slipped with the boning knife. It is also the name I have entered into the “Birthplace” box on every official form I have ever filled in. Yes, I was born in the hospital that is now a five minute drive from the Homestead’s letterbox (more of that later) although I have never before had a Darfield address. My parents farmed in one of those areas that are now just a name on a map and, having left fifty-mumble years ago, of which my memories are scant.
As for that letterbox, once we finally took up residence we experienced a great deal of difficulty actually finding it. When the sun goes down, it’s dark in the country. The sky is incredibly pretty and we spend way too much time star-gazing, but when you’re zipping along the road at 100k with an impatient Toyota Hi-Lux way too close to your backseat, you need to be able to locate your driveway and indicate decisively and in a timely fashion or you end up roaring past it with depressing regularity. Truly.
We needed something to make our regulation grey mailbox stand out…something unique…something that says “Union Homestead”…
Something like a hi-viz goat.
Turn right at the glowing goat.
Not that Geraldine is impressed with our handiwork.