A Greenhorn's Journal

Lizzy733

Overrun with beasties
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Northland, New Zealand
November 29th, 2021 is the date if our escape.

Ten more days and we can finally see our new home: 3.16 hectares of hilltop pasture, sprawling orchard, productive gardens and native bush.

I'll get to meet my new flock of Romney and the 3 old wild ewes which inhabited the land before fences were erected.

There are lambs, 7 fluffy ewes and another 3 little rams. The youngest is currently 2 weeks old. There are 10 adult ewes total - all but the natives, 4 toothers. A ram, and some 'eaters'. Sounds like we will have lots of meat coming into winter.

In the meantime, I am letting the poultry flock occupy my time. My hatch in October added 6 to my existing flock of 3 hens and I just added a new blue splash silkie today because I need another organic incubator to go with my first white fluff muffin.

The new property is sounding like quite a handful already, but in a good way - we'll be having trouble keeping up with the 200 tree orchard, berry patches and produce that's going to be coming up.

Good news is it sounds like predators are scarce - hawks, yes, but that's to be expected. Many in the community actively trap and the current owner has caught very few since he's been there - the most being 4 feral cats over the course of 5 years, only 1 possum and no traces of stoats, which was my worry with poultry.

It looks like the sheep are due for a shear in December. Did I mention I am new to ruminants? It seems the quality of the land and our fair winters allow them to be quite hands-off, with no need for supplemental feeding. A handfull of nuts here or there to get them moving sounds like the most they'll need aside from drenching, shearing and trimming.

Water is plentiful. With all the irrigation and drip systems in place and with two people, it's only ever run half empty and at 60k+ litres of storage, that's quite a generous float.

In drought, the land can handle over a dozen sheep without supplemental feeding, so I think we'll be okay for a good while if we manage our flock numbers.

Maybe we can do a mass sell-off to fund my goat and pig aspirations 🤣. It sounds like there will be ample food waste and spoilage to keep them all happy.

It's all coming both too fast and too slow. I have move week off, then have to go back to work for another two weeks before christmas break, which will be nearly four weeks of paid leave and public holidays. Plenty of time to ease into our new roles as wardens of this new domain we will soon call home.

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Lizzy733

Overrun with beasties
Joined
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Location
Northland, New Zealand
Two more sleeps...

The lawyers have all our money and our savings account has never looked so empty but everything's been paid upfront 😂.

I've spent today breaking down our old 5x6m chicken run and letting everyone get a good free-range in the backyard. Our flock is all happily integrated and I brought home 5 baby poults to add to the menagerie.

Just a quick rundown of our chicken flock; we have 10 total.

Two silkies, one white hen, one new blue splash pullet (pol). One Silver Laced Wyandotte hen, one all black hen from an Ayam Cemani breeding project, then there's the chicks... All 6 weeks old, two golden Campine pullets and two cockerels; one black orpington pullet and one cockerel. Once we're set up, the boys will be kept in a bachelor arrangement so I can be selective when breeding.

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Our new poults are all around 3 weeks old and of mixed parentage. Hopefully, we have 2 jakes and 3 jennys... Time will tell. They're a mix colors, mostly heritage bronze in varying shades with one white (I think) boy with a sizeable snood. These will be our founding flock, so all are pardoned from freezer camp.

There are a few scale babies as well to move across - my bearded dragon, Mazdamundi, and our 3 green and golden bell frogs who have not been happy with my gutting their viv and putting them in temporary housing for the move - I did not know frogs could throw a tantrum...

Two more sleeps, then we get to settle our new home. This little one's got the right idea...

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Lizzy733

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Oct 31, 2021
Messages
46
Reaction score
113
Points
76
Location
Northland, New Zealand
Three days in and it's all been a blur.

Our move day happened to coincide with record breaking temperatures and no wind.

Our spanframe home was *hot*... So hot, it killed our bell frogs who were in a sheltered central location on day two. So hot, I took our bearded dragon for a walk to cool him down.

My poor chooks have been heat stressed and several moves and modifications later and they're finally comfortable for the time being.

There's still much work to be done erecting their tunnel house - my husband and the tools are still back in Auckland awaiting covid results so he can cross back over the border to northland.

Our turkey poults? Absolutely not fussed about the weather and begging for their humans to come back. Let them have the run of the back where all the tropical plants are and they had a ball. Went up onto a ladder to hang a sail on the top corner of one container and had one suddenly fly up to my shoulder. Really intimidating how high they can and will fly if they want.

I'm slowly whittling down the flight zone on our sheep. Sheep nut and patience... Closest I've gotten them is maybe 3 meters. The boys are much braver, but I'm keeping myself on the opposite side of the fence while trying to gain their trust. They're so wooly... Shearing to be done soon for sure.

There's so much here. The previous owner took a few personal effects and left everything else - furniture, dishware, linens, books, knick knacks, clutter... Going through it all has been an adventure and there's already a big chuck\give away\burn pile outside.

I've been working on my office space and have found the start of a fernery! Really want to expand on that. There's a few basic ferns and ponga in pots... Now just need to add some nikau, kawa kawa, kaka beak.. more ferns...

Also, we found a half dry pond we didn't know about and it looks like we have a forest guardian waay down the back in the native bush. Here he is in all his glory, surrounded by moss covered boulders and a carpeting of ferns. The pic really doesn't do it justice.
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Still so much work to do and I'm so glad I took the week off. It's a shame the covid lockdown has kept us from freely traveling back down and has trapped my husband in Auckland for the first few days, but he'll hopefully be coming home tomorrow...

Still such a strange concept calling this place home and being that we own it and can do as we please. Being life-long city renters, it's been quite a shock. My son summed it up best when he told me he felt like it was all a dream on day one. Still is in many ways, but a good one nonetheless.
 

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