The Farm Gets Wheels

Posted by Nick  | 01 Sep 2014  | 3 comments

Since we bought the farm our tiny two-door coupe has been the sole mode of transport for any and all items; mattresses, chairs, and tools of all shapes and sizes (mostly awkward). Every trip down has been three-dimensional Tetris: “Will this fit? Maybe, but only if that is rotated and then those sit on top of these.”

Whilst loyal and oddly accommodating, the little city car’s limited size has prevented us from transporting many crucial items needed for a farm, as well as basic items for comfort, like a place to plonk our bottoms. But not anymore! Now the farm has some wheels more suited to its needs (namely hauling a butt-load of trees), and, thank heavens, we can finally get a couch to put our feet up after a long day on the farm.

At first we cringed at the expected increase in fuel consumption and decrease in efficiency between our little coupe’s engine (one-point-three litre) and the ute’s which is over twice the size. We were relieved to discover, however, that the ute’s fuel efficiency rating was quite high (only one star less than the coupe’s), especially for its engine size. When shopping around we’d seen other utes whose engine sizes were smaller but fuel efficiency was oddly worse, so it’s not too bad as far as bigger vehicles go. And hey, the future diet of this baby may not be based on fossil fuels at all…

The first weekend we had the ute we put it to work, naturally. We packed it full of the sorrowful potted trees we’ve been storing for years at our unit in town. Destination: Farm. Stunted, malnourished, and root-bound, we are eager, and now able, to give them permanent homes in delicious volcanic soil. It’s deeply saddening that our two metre tall kauri was mortally infected by some sort of fungal rot and has perished only months before being able to be transplanted on the farm. Whimpers and sobs.

Filled to the brim with dishevelled plants from our unit, ready to be driven to a happier place:

Exploding from the boot at their new home:

The sad-looking bunch comprises an olive, grisilinea, a couple of Asian bell flowers, a blueberry, guava, avocado, pine nut, mandarin, lemon, and a feijoa, most of which are about five years old but because of their hermitage have never yielded much more than the odd diminutive lemon, tart berry, or terribly bitter – and I know this from an unfortunate first-hand experience – olive (not that any raw olive should ever be sampled and isn’t anything but bitter).

We’re not sure where to plant this lot just yet, so for now they’ll stay in their pots and be acclimating to a higher altitude, heavy frosts, and plenty more sun. We’d better get on to finding them appropriate homes before summer.

The following weekend we drove out to my family’s house north of Auckland to pick up a sofa set that they said we could borrow. Everything’s so temporary at the moment in the cottage that furniture loans like this are really appreciated.

We opted for a dual-cab ute (which has four doors/seats but a shorter tray) because we thought the pros outweighed the cons even if it meant sacrificing a longer tray. As such, it was a little tight fitting a whole sofa set. No worries, at times like this we’ll just have to have the back open.

Here’s our makeshift “living room”, consisting of outdoor bench, folding chair, dresser seat, camping mats, and picnic blankets, before the introduction of the sofa set (and yes, that is a fitted sheet posing as a curtain):

And here it is looking a bit more welcoming:

After putting up with the previous arrangement for a few months you realise just how taken for granted a comfy sitting area is. Thanks mum and sis! The same goes for Char’s family, who kindly brought down a little dining set for us to borrow – eating dinner on a cold hard floor gets old pretty quick.

Next we plan on filling the ute with some native saplings so we can start planting up the road front, adding both privacy and a windbreak for those chilly southerlies. Stay tuned!