Thursday, January 14, 2010

My dreams are getting closer ..

This morning I drove out to an organic dairy and beef farm situated in the beautiful Waitetuna Valley, half way to Raglan on the west coast. Max and Madeline, the owners had read the article about me and the bees in the local newspaper recently, and had emailed to ask if I would be interested in coming out to meet them as they are very interested in having hives on the farm. The valley is very picturesque, with farms that stretch high up into the steep hills on either side, a small river that runs down from the west side of Mt Pirongia the length of the valley and runs out into a finger of Raglan harbour.
M and M milk just over 100 cows, run wiltshire sheep ( these sheep don`t need shearing as they de-fleece naturally), and some cattle on their 600 acres of mainly steep hill sides and some river flats. The farm is certified organic with no sprays or artifical fertilisers used. The paddocks and stock all look very healthy with the stock being able to eat all the good herbs (weeds as some would call them) such as plantain, chikory, dock, and many others. Fresh, raw milk is sold at the dairy that is part of the milking shed, which is in high demand as all milk has to be pasturised in NZ, raw milk is only allowed to be sold at 5 litres per person a day and not advertised - the dairy board seems to think it is bad for people ??

There are a number of wetland areas that have been fenced off and planted back with native plants and trees like Swamp Cypress, Liquidambers and other exotics that provide duck food and autumn colour, plus all those root systems soak up any run-off from the land. Many birds are returning to the farm with a recent sighting of a pair of NZ falcon, really rare now as the introduced Australasian falcon has pushed them out of their natural habitat.
Anyway .... getting back to my dreams, Both M and M are very keen to have a number of hives, we will start with 2 TBH`s as they are really keen on the natural principles as I am - they will be my first customers !!!! ekkkk - I`m terrified, I am really going to do this, it feel so right, I know it will take a while to get things sorted, but the more I think about and talk about these ideas of consulting, putting hives on and caring for them for people, the more I feel in my being that it is the right way for me - I want to go TBH as much as possible so now I have to get cracking and get my friend to make some.

I have driven past this sign a thousand times over the years on my way to Raglan, today it was a sharpe left turn and into this pretty valley. The old settlers would have used part of the road or track, I think it was an old Maori walking track also, over the ranges down to the Waikato plains below.

This is the view from the top of the deviation looking back towards Mt Pirongia with the Waitetuna valley over the lower hills to the right. Mt Pirongia can be seen from most parts of the Waikato, it is a range of extinct volcanoes that once spread over the valley. I lived on the southern side of Pirongia as a teenager, after moving there from the King Country further south. It was isolated, we lived at the end of a metal road, right on the bushline - I would give anything to live there now, at that age all I wanted to do was go to town !!

This pretty little jenny (female donkey) watched me drink my coffee at the Herb Shop Cafe on the way back into Hamilton this afternoon. This great cafe is at Whatawhata, a small settlement on the Waipa river flats just after the city side of the deviation - nearly home. It is always a welcome stop, browse around all the wonderful herbs Linda sells and buy my free range eggs.
Well, that has been my day so far - I am on a high right now, with a million things going around in my head - best I relax with a nice glass of red and chill out !


Cally said...

hey! You could have come on and seen me!

Just on little point - going via Te Kauwhata would have been a hell of a long way home - you mean Whatawhata!

Very cool that you are moving forward with your dream :)

Ngaio said...

ooopps, I will fix that - thanks for the pointer !
I was running abit short of time after spending acouple of hours with Mike and Madeline.
Yes, I feel really positive - it won`t happen over night but I can start the wheels turning - bless the bees !!

Anonymous said...

Hola! So you're going into winter soon? Do you know I never realized that? How interesting that I could come to NZ in March and you're just starting winter and we're just beginning the spring thaw. I suppose you've seen that Lynn lost her beloved Walter hive. I know she's devastated, I know I would be. Love te pictures by the way!

Oh, and I haven't opened my new Ross Conrad book yet, but it looks like I have something to keep me occupied this weekend in the rain.

Lynn said...

Stunning photos as always. You've given me a lot to think about over the past few months. I'm hoping to more fully commit myself to this love of gardening and beekeeping and spread the word much as you're doing. You've become another important mentor for me, especially in the area of TB Hives which I practically knew nothing about until I met you. Thanks...

Also, thanks for the encouraging words about the loss of my hive. Much appreciated. It's only a momentary setback and will serve to make me a better beekeeper. As much as it saddened me to lose that hive, I've learned some things.

Doris said...

How exciting! Good for you for starting this new venture, the area looks so beautiful. It's really fun to read the posts of someone like myself who is so passionate about bees. Great pictures also.

Cliff W said...

Another fascinating trip in the hills in and around the NZ countryside. It looks absolutely idyllic. You're an inspiration!

Cabbage Tree Farm said...

How exciting. Hope it all goes well.