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…
Shane Matheson trains racehorses — pacers to be precise. I could say he does it in his spare time, but he really doesn’t have any.
I’ve never been to a racing stables before but I’m fascinated by the whole horse training process. So it was thrilling to visit Shane and his partner Lisa at their Balfour stables to find out what makes a racehorse trainer tick.
Running a farm is an all-encompassing affair. It’s your livelihood and your life. So when you start having kids, lambing time becomes a family affair.
Our children were immersed in the farming lifestyle from their earliest days, and never more so than in Spring. During this busy season, our motto has always been “all hands on deck.”
When the kids were small, tiny lambs were their main delight. Because of the intensive way we lambed back then, there were always spare lambs in the pen waiting for new mothers. They were fed four times a day, and the kids quickly learned all the tricks of the trade, from mixing up multiple batches of milk to persuading a reluctant lamb to drink.
Winter is an interesting season on the farm. It gets cold down here in the South. Not frigid like Siberia, or Alaska of course, but chilly by New Zealand standards. The grass doesn’t grow much in winter and feeding out takes up a big part of the farmer’s day. Of course, it wasn’t always as easy as it is today.