Category Archive: Random rural yarns

Jul 24

Floss’s Bark: Skirting around farm gear

A Blog by my Dog. Dear Readers, My boss recently went on a cattle moving mission dressed like a real girlie girl – and being a female, I’m qualified to comment. Oh, the shame! I was, of course, wildly excited when cattle broke through a fence and got onto the beach. Not only is this …

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Jul 08

Slimy brown scum – it has a name

Anticipating cultured conversation after a local theatre performance, we retired to the bar for a night cap. But as this is a rural area, talk was all about an entirely different type of culture – a strange gooey, gunky and shiny brown growth. I’d first spotted it while being a marshal for the Rally of …

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May 27

The learner gardener – just do it

Here’s a gentle plea to all those passionate people who exhort the rest of us to grow our own food – kindly stop insisting it’s all such jolly good fun. These gardeners – who you’ve seen on telly and read about in newspapers and magazines – gush and enthuse and rave and chortle. Gardening is …

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May 10

Talking to the animals

At a seminar about the challenges farmers face when employing staff, the farmer turned to me and whispered, “This is why I work with animals.” When you work with animals, you don’t need to talk to them and if you do, it doesn’t make a jot of difference to their behaviour. When he moved sheep …

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Jan 06

Letter from freaked out and slightly fat Floss

Dear Readers, I’ve recently lived through a stressful time worrying myself into knots because I was sure the farmer’s death wish would come true. My first inkling he had death wish came when I saw him photograph my boss’s rear end when she was leaning over helping herself to Christmas pudding, brandy butter, custard and …

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Dec 17

Meet Christina Ferens, author of ‘The Country Diary of a New Zealand Lady’

As a writer about rural life, I was recently asked to review a book by another Northland writer, Christina Ferens. The Country Diary of a New Zealand Lady is glorious; it’s both a meditation and a celebration of the birds, animals, and plants which many of us see every day and don’t give a second …

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Dec 07

Fabulous fruit cake

It dawned somewhat belatedly that a grand cake would be essential for the bash celebrating a century of Roadleys on the farm at Batley. Strangely, this occurred to the farmer’s mother at about the same time – indecently early one morning when random to-do thoughts ahead of a big party hit overdrive. “I’ll make it …

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Nov 27

Celebrating a century at Batley

  The Roadley family – about 130 of us – recently celebrated a century on a block of land whose first owner holds a dubious honour in New Zealand’s short history. Thomas Spencer Forsaith, who in 1839 signed on to buy 2000 acres on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour, will hopefully always retain his …

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Nov 05

Mysteries of firewood and breeding

“Ahhh, so that’s how it works,” said two people after I’d helped one grasp the principles surrounding wet and dry firewood and the other to understand duck reproduction. Here’s the lesson about firewood: “Wet firewood can be dry yet can still be wet, while dry firewood can be wet yet can still be dry.” This …

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Oct 29

Birthday book for Batley

2012 is a big year for big celebrations: the nearby township of Paparoa – 150; Roadleys at Batley – 100; The Kauri Museum at Matakohe – 50. Paparoa had a three-day community party, we’re having a family party and The Kauri Museum produced a book that’s so gorgeous I’m afraid to write in it. Problem …

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