Every day in August – and now in early September, I stride back and forth across the paddocks helping to shift electric fences. Each one takes about half an hour so I have had plenty of time to reflect while I get my daily exercise.
These days we’re a well-oiled electric fencing team, my farmer and me. But this wasn’t always the case…
Pumpkin Soup is an easy, hearty dish to cook in the cold months of winter.One thing I love to do is cook my soup and stews on our wood-burner stove. With the fire turned down low, it heats the house and at the same time, our dinner simmers for hours. The flavours merge and mingle and the soup or stew is tender and delicious.
Teaching at Garston School was never boring, and we’ve had a fair few “education adventures” over the years. One of the best was the wonderful week when we brought an old gold mining shanty town to life.
Blue gums line the gravel road that winds past our dusty little farmhouse. Look out to the west. Once you could see for miles, but not any more. Now your gaze stops at the towering gums.
Why are they still there, blocking my view?
Eucalyptus trees, as blue gums are more properly called, are a hardy bunch with more than a few annoying features.
You couldn’t call them pretty trees. Their bark peels like last week’s sunburnt skin littering the lawn with long brown stripes. Branches sprout every which way and their dull green leaves hang limply from every twig.
Kiwi Saffron’s Steve and Jo Daley are as down-to-earth as any couple you’re likely to meet. He’s originally from Te Puke – think Kiwifruit and beekeeping. She’s from pioneer Southern farming stock. With those backgrounds, as you can imagine, they’re not afraid of a bit of work.
And that’s just as well because as well as caring for cows on the farm, beekeeping and contract fencing, Steve and Jo are the hard-working duo behind this small, but increasingly successful, organic saffron company.
Take 30+ curious beer aficionados and a bumper crop of hops. Throw in a delicious barbeque and a keg of Altitude Brewing’s best thirst-quenching brew. Mix with a dollop of music and you have yourself a recipe for the Garston Hops 2019 Hop-Picking Party.
The Big Hops Harvest Problem:
200 hop vines on two farms — all of them covered in ripe, cone-shaped flowers. A tiny window of time in which to pick them — and only two busy farmers both trying to juggle multiple farm jobs. The big hop companies have this process all mechanised, but we’re a tiny outfit, just starting out.