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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pure Jersey Cream, Part 1 of 4

Hi friends & family!
My next WWOOFing adventure took place on a dairy farm on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.  This was my first true experience living and working on a farm; it was so exciting, mucky and rewarding!  In lieu of my normal large summary of events, I wrote about my experiences every day while I was there.  What follows is essentially my journal of Farm Living!  I was on the farm for 3 weeks, wrote a lot, and will send the adventures in 4 parts.
Enjoy! Jessie

Travel dates: May 17 – June 2, 2010

Waitaha Valley
“Hello, this is the Mayor of the Waitaha Valley .  I’m not in, but I am home.  I’m out on the farm either milking the cows, driving the tractor, or shooting a opossum for the night’s supper.  Please leave a message with your number, and I will call you back.”

After my first call to Stu Davidson (and receiving his above answering machine message), I knew I HAD to wwoof with this man.  Anyone with that message on their “answer phone” had to have a lot of character, and was someone I wanted to meet.  Turns out, that was one of the best thoughts, and subsequent decisions, that could have happened in New Zealand.

After several great days at the glaciers and hitchhiking 60 miles north, I met Stu at The Bushman Centre in Pukekura, NZ, which claims to be NZ’s smallest West Coast town: Population 2.  Bustling!  These illustrious two are a husband and wife duo that own an infamous touristy place that makes homemade “Possom Pies” for the locals and tourists alike; only place in NZ – go figure!

Stu would be around in 30-45 minutes, the lady behind the Possom Pies counter told me, as she recognized my WWOOFing book in hand and the confused look painted across my face.  To amuse myself, I watched a brief film on the West Coast’s extreme hunting techniques (Wild New Zealand) and “kiwi ingenuity” in a challenging landscape.  At first I thought the movie was somewhat inflated with all its men jumping out of helicopters on to wild animals, wild net guns, etc.  However, after only a few days at Stu’s, I became familiar with helicopters in the distance, and sometimes, you could see a small body launching itself out of the helicopter door onto unsuspecting wildlife.  The West Coast is definitely a wild bunch.  Around New Zealand West Coasters (aka ‘Coasters’) are known to be a little ‘different’ than your average Kiwi, much of the reputation due to the sparse population density.  1% of the country’s population is stretched out over 9% of its land mass = curious people with imaginative and clever approaches to life.  I was sure I’d fit right in.

To my surprise, as I strolled around the back porch of the Bushman Centre, I realized how perfectly at home I already felt.  There was a big beautiful stag out back (12 points?), big fat pig in the side yard, several goats… it was like I walked backwards in time to my Grandma’s house in Christmas, Florida… except that she would already be skinning the deer.  These animals, however, were primarily ‘show’ animals for the tourists to feed and snap photos.
Two locals were sitting on the back deck reading the peculiar Hokitika Guardian newspaper; I heard “Hahha, that Stu Davidson, haha, did you read this?  That’s great!”  Having no chance of snatching the newspaper out of their hands, my anticipation (and anxiety?) grew for my upcoming host’s arrival.  Turns out Stu had written an editorial and mentioned something about putting something “where the sun don’t shine…”

Stu arrived as promised, and we took home two freshly baked venison pies. This was the start of lots of wild game consumption, and the beginning of some of my most memorable times in New Zealand .  What follows is a day-by-day journal of some of my greatest and most memorable experiences in New Zealand , and many all new events on a dairy farm with more than 200 purebred Jersey cows!

Pictures link: Welcome to the Farm

1 comment:

  1. Hello, may I have the name of the farm? Furthermore, could you please provide farm or the owner's contact detail?
    My friend is work in there currently, but I cannot reach her...
    I'm a bit worried...
    Thank you in advance!