We’ve been itching to rope friends and family into visiting our new farm, but currently our humble rural abode can only accommodate a small number of guests at a time. Last weekend we arranged for a couple of good friends to come down, offering the meagre comforts of a blow-up mattress and bare rooms.
Arriving Friday afternoon we wasted no time in giving them the grand tour of our blank canvas, including a battle through the bush to the nearby waterfall. In my excitement I annoyingly left the camera at the cottage. Luckily, Dingus had his phone.
Saturday’s weather was mostly poo, but that didn’t stop us from bunging the remaining trees in the ground that we’d bought for our border.
As a matter of record and sentiment, the first ever trees planted on our farm by our friends Dingus and Lauren were a snazzy pink manuka and a giant-to-be kahikatea, respectively.
The first-time visitors seemed thrilled by the idea of seeing their tree-planting efforts grow over the years. How much bigger would they be in five years? In ten?
Two extra pairs of hands saw a third of the border completed in half the time. Our hard-working guests were rewarded with bacon sandwiches.
Here is a happy Char. Why is she so happy? Because bacon. Bacon is the life-force.
After lunch we called it a day and settled in early, driven inside by the relentless rain. Both nights we stayed up far too late playing Monopoly. The theme of the board we used was based on the Hobbit films. For a first-time player, this was an odd experience. Purchasing “properties” the likes of Legolas Greenleaf and Bilbo Baggins felt as if I were somehow partaking in a Middle-Earth slave-trade… Nevertheless, the game had us enthralled to the wee hours, resulting in a wake-up time that would mortify the sensibilities of any farmer.
Sunday thankfully brought clearer skies for viewing the farm in a more charming light. We did a spot of archery then casually goaded our guests into chopping some wood. Maybe if we brand this as an “authentic homesteading experience” we can score some more free labour… Muhaha.
The grimace of manliness:
The girls decided to clean up the mess I’d left when I’d last cleaved carbon. Thanks girls – oh, and Dingus too at one point when Lauren was wielding the maul. While everyone busied themselves, I hung back and stuck to the laborious task of snapping photos.
The girls soon wandered off to go thistle grubbing. We men continued to contend with the wood pile. Dingus found splitting the rounds quite meditative and satisfying once he got into a rhythm, which seems to be a common appreciation by most who give it a go.
A little while later when I scanned the distant paddocks to see where the girls were, what I spied was not thistle grubbing. No, something else had caught their attention…
Donkeys! Needless to say, we found them just as irresistible and made a beeline straight for them. These sweeties are our neighbours, and are very friendly. We hadn’t met them before. They were quite keen on introducing themselves with kisses.
The friendliness of these gentle burros made us long for some of our own to care for.
Quite a lot of thistles were grubbed in the end. We all had a fair whack, probably annihilating a couple hundred of the prickly bastards altogether. The satisfaction of this task, likewise with the wood chopping, did not go unnoticed by the friends. The novelty hasn’t worn off for us yet, either, but I’m sure it will over the coming years. Hopefully it will remain an entertaining pastime for our infrequent visitors.
We had a blast sharing our new country home with some of our closest friends, despite the weather being pretty lame. Thanks for the help, guys – come back any time!