Transition Blog Part 2

So last week saw us doing the huge job of packing up our house and moving the majority of the contents into our garage.

That meant that this week could be a bit more relaxed – on the shifting part that is.

When we knew that we had about 10 days from leaving our place in Te Awamutu to actually moving into our new home in Paeroa, we decided to book a couple of nights away to ourselves.

Monday was busy with a meeting with our lawyer to go over all our loan documents. My husband and I are equity partners with two other parties to form a company that will purchase a dairy farm, and we are then employed by that company as sharemilkers. This means quite an elaborate finance structure – which is all new to us! We have great equity partners who are a lot more experienced in this kind of thing so it’s been good to have them to help us out, and our rural bank manager has been amazing for help and advice.

Once these formalities were done we headed to Hamilton to stay the night with my Gran. It was lovely catching up with her and also some other family we don’t get to see much. The next day I had an acupuncture session which was the beginning of a relaxing couple of days.

We then made our way to Raglan for lunch – at The Shack. They have a great range of healthy food and also raw sweets. I had a roasted cauliflower salad and then we shared a raw salted caramel slice – YUM.

We could check into our little treehouse after this. My husband found it on airbnb and it was a two level tree house on a remote property about 12km out of Raglan. On a block full of pine trees with a view of the rugged west coast waters, we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We had no phone reception, internet or power – instead we relied on gas for our hot water, cooking and heating. To keep our food cool we had ice packs in a chilly bin outside and our pup Abby slept just inside the door in the warmth.

I have to say, the whole day we had in this little house was the MOST relaxed I have been in for as long as I can remember. I actually attempted (and failed) TWO sudoku’s!!! I had time to do this! Or should I say – nothing else to do with this time! There was zero washing that had to be hung out or folded, no dishes to do, no vaccuming, no internet to look things up, no TV and no deadlines of any sort.

It was amazing.

We had hoped to go on a bit of a hike that day but the weather was so rubbish – rain and wind all day until about 3pm. We went back to The Shack and had hot chocolates (almond milk for me), then walked along a dog beach until it got dark. Fresh salmon was eaten one night, and prime steak the next. We had fresh vegetables and a supply of herbal tea, and maybe some dark chocolate too! Absolute bliss.

After this we headed up to Whangamata to ear tag some heifer cows that we have bought to go on the farm, which took a couple of hours. We had lunch in Whangamata then went to Waihi and Paeroa to run a few errands.

Friday we went to a calf rearing workshop which was really interesting. This will be my main “hands on” job on the farm – rearing about 80 replacement heifer calves each season, and also making sure all the bobby calves are looked after before being put on the truck. Rearing calves is a big responsibility as they are the next generation of our herd. Their health, and immunity, is established from birth, so it’s really important to ensure this is in top condition. Spreading of disease is also very easy in calf pens, so we learnt how to minimise this as well.

Dairy farming is not just milking cows, I tell you what

Our last couple of days this week has been spent at my parents house in Mount Maunganui. My brother is also home from Sydney for a week and he’s helping us move next week, so it’s been great hanging out with him. The Mount has always been special to our family – we have holidayed here every single summer since I was born and now that my parents are here permanently it’s just amazing to visit. We also used this time to get some last minute paperwork done - re: policies and procedures. A dairy farm is a really complex business, with so many components to make the operation successful. We have had to go over health and safety policies, procedures for grass growing, treatment of cows and human resources policies just to name a few.

If you're not learning you're not getting anywhere. That's how I see this period, and this will go on for a while as we get the hang of running a farm!

Stay tuned for next week – we will be moving our stuff into our new house!

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