With the transition into a new year it’s only fitting we take a look back over the last year and see what we’ve managed to accomplish.
The biggest and most obvious change this year is, oh, um, I don’t know – maybe the fact that we bought a farm! Holy crap, what a life changer! But really, it’s the thing we’ve wanted above all else for many years now. The start of 2014 saw us road tripping around almost the whole of the North Island, searching for the right piece of land to call home. Once we’d found it, we then had to go through the emotional rollercoaster of trying to purchase a property that already had another offer on it… Did we get it? Is it ours? No, we missed out… Wait, we did get it?
After the thrill of learning we’d got the land, then began the month-long wait until settlement when we could finally visit the property again and reassure ourselves that we had made the right choice…
Then began seven months of long drives in the weekends to visit the farm whilst still working in Auckland. We slowly settled into a routine. Friday nights became: come home from work, franticly pack, then set out from our little unit in our little car, picking up greasy takeaways en route. We’d arrive at about 10pm at night in winter, wrapped in big jackets and beanies, so the first task was to get a fire going to warm the frosty house. We’d unpack the car in the dark, wait for the hot water to heat up, then after a toasty shower crash onto a foam mattress on the floor.
Weekends were spent cleaning up the outbuildings, exploring the logging road that runs next to our farm and the waterfall there too, grubbing thistles, restoring the old veggie patch, replacing a bit of old fence, demoing a water tower, restoring a rusty old iron bench and planting trees. Probably the most important thing that happened was getting a whole lot of big cypress trees cut down so that we could get internet on the farm and move forward with our plans. Of course this also meant we spent many hours chainsawing and splitting the offcuts from the felled trees into firewood for the coming winters.
After the weekend chores were over we’d pack up and tidy the house, then drive home on Sunday night, arriving back in Auckland at about 9pm with enough time to unpack and go to bed before getting up for work the next morning.
In November I was lucky enough to be able to start working from home so we were finally able to move to the farm. We packed all our belongings into the back of a couple of utes and a horse float and drove off into the sunset. Oh, and who could forget our moving day surprise! What a cutie!
We ended the year with our very first Christmas on the farm. We even felt festive enough to get a real tree!
Nick’s family came down for Christmas lunch, and his sister Caroline had outdone herself with handmade gift wrapping.
Overall, I’d say that 2014 has been a very successful year. Let’s hope we can say the same for 2015…
Fun facts for 2014
- 145 native trees planted
- 122 hours spent driving 9,800 kilometres to-and-from the farm
- 1 duckling rescued
Coming up in 2015
Looking forward to 2015 – we’ve got big plans, of course. Here are some of the things we want to make a start on this year:
- Start an orchard – obviously growing our own food is a big part of what we’re trying to achieve here so getting some fruit trees in is a high priority. We already have a small orchard close to the house with some old plum trees, but we’ll be striving to create a bigger one with lots more variety.
- Expand our veggie garden – ditto about growing food. This years garden is rather small but enough to help us learn about the climate and soil we have here. Next year we really need to take growing our own veggies more seriously.
- Get some livestock of our own – at the moment we’re leasing the land out and while this makes us a small amount of money it’s doing little more than paying the rates. Part of the reason we wanted a bigger-than-lifestlye-block piece of land is that we wanted to be able make a bit of money off the land, so it’s time we started doing that. Not only will getting our own livestock generate income, but it will also be another integral part of producing our own food. This year we’ll be looking at getting some cows and a few sheep.
- Keep planting our native boundary – we already planted 110 metres along the road front of one of our paddocks, but that’s just the beginning. Eventually we want to plant a native border along all road fronts and also along the stream we have going across our land. We’ve got many years of planting ahead of us yet.
- Plant some specimen trees – we’re not planning on being hard-core farmers – we’ve only got 40 acres, after all – so a big part of what we want to do with this land is beautify it. In addition to our native boundary, adding some lovely specimen trees at strategic locations will help with that.
- Make a start on renovating our house – it’s very small and old (have you seen the mauve walls?), but comfortable enough to live in for now. We really would like to make a start on doing it up this year and DIY the hell out of it. This one is going to be dependent on finances…
We’ve got some big plans ahead that will probably take longer than expected. But hey, we’re here for the long-haul!