This adventure takes place on a small family farm south of Napier. This farm consisted of a mother, father, three children (all girls aged 4, 6, and 11), some sheep, 2 milking cows, chickens, an alpaca, 3 cats, an adorable kitten, 3 dogs, an old horse, 4 rabbits, several ducks and ducklings, calves, the cutest lamb (named Stevie Nibbles), and possibly more I'm missing. They had names for almost everyone; I have no idea how they remembered them all. They attempted to be as self-sufficient as possible, but in a laid-back way. It's not their main concern. They make their own milk, butter, cheese, bread, beer, and more.
I had a really great time there. I helped with the daily job of milking the 2 cows and feeding calves. I helped pull thistles. I helped pick black currants. I helped with some general sheep care. I learned a lot of random farm things. I helped trim some incredibly overgrown hedges. I planted potatoes and beans and cauliflower. I saw a nearly hatched baby duckling. I helped take down some fence. I helped put a small watering system into a greenhouse.
As an added bonus, their neighbor had a very large sheep farm and happened to be sheering on my second day. We stopped by and I got to watch the professionals at work. IT WAS SO COOL! It looked very impressive. And their neighbor was great. He was more than happy to explain everything to me. Success.
|The milking shed.|
|Poppy being milked.|
|The adorable Stevie Nibbles.|
|Cool view from a nearby hill.|
|Things that go together well.|
I really enjoyed just being a part of the family. I didn't take off to do something else in the afternoon. I hung out with them. I played with the kids. We bounced on the trampoline and went on walks and climbed trees and made up adventures. I read my book outside or in the comfy living room. I watched cricket on TV and had the game hopelessly explained to me. We had some very interesting conversations about politics (both NZ and US), life in NZ, kids, family, jobs, and everything. I enjoyed home brewed beer. I was taught to juggle. I plotted ways to steal their kitten and Stevie Nibbles and maybe Possum the dog. It was really lovely.
I found a lot of parallels to my childhood. In the farm, in the general family attitude, in the creative minds of the girls, in books and toys I used to have, and in strange little coincidences (like the way they tallied allowance money on a dry-erase board). There was just an enormous amount of nostalgia. I miss you childhood; you were great.
Other things to note: