Well time to end the Mad Bush Farm blog. Took a lot of soul searching but my girls have grown up. Most of the animals now have gone and I've run out of stories to tell at least for a while. I'll be concentrating on sorting out the start of what I hope will become a sustainable permaculture based market garden. I've started a new blog that no doubt will have more failures than triumphs my land is that challenging to deal with. So here's to a new start. My wings have been rather clipped financially but you'll be amazed what you can utilise with absolutely little or no funds and still eat.
You can find me in the future from 2017 on at The Life & Times of the Mad Bush Farmer
Happy 2017 and I hope everyone has a great new year.
It's been a long time since I've been motivated enough to even attempt writing a blog post. 2016 is almost over. It's been a year of difficulties and huge challenges for me and the girls. At the end of the year my youngest will be leaving home to go and live with her dad in Auckland so she can find better opportunities in the hope of persuing her art and music, We had two more additions in the cat department arrive last May when Amy moved down the line to find new opportunities. Above is Socks he looks almost like Emerald one our cats and more than likely they're related. Then there is Petra who was very nervous when she first arrived and took almost a year to settle in. She's lovely and such a sweet natured cat.They'll be here with us until Amy finds a pet friendly place to live and then we can reunite her with her much beloved kitties.
In February I went up with Lisa to the Far North and we stayed overnight at Kerikeri. We had a fantastic time. I took heaps of photos way too many to post up on here all at once. We visited the Waitangi Treat grounds where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840 and our nation as we know it now was born.
We spent a few hours there and also visited the new Waitangi Museum opened earlier this year. It holds different artifacts and stories related to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the birthing pains of our nation. There is a $20 charge to get into the treaty grounds for New Zealand citizens. Tourists pay double the rate so it can get very expensive. Still it's one of those places that you have to visit at least once.
The grounds at Waitangi are really nice and you get a great view of the Bay of Islands. I loved the entire trip even though poor Lisa had to listen to the grouch writing this post snarl about us being charged to get to see the birthplace of our nation for several hours. I was not happy! That all being said I loved our trip in the Far North. We had such a great time. The photo below is the carved.prow of one of the great waka used at the Waitangi celebrations. I'll write more as I go. This is a start at least on resurrecting my badly neglected blog. Hope everyone is well and happy. Till next time. Liz
Back last year Fonterra had announced one of the lowest payouts ever to New Zealand dairy farmers from record highs for the previous seasons down to a mere $3.85 due to a massive fall in global diary prices. To add to the pressure already placed on farmers in the industry animal activist group Save Animals from Exploitation produced a video showing disturbing footage of bobby calves being callously thrown into the back of a stock truck along with the brutal inhumane bashing on the head of calves at an unidentified slaughter plant in the Waikato. The footage had been taken from hidden cameras placed by another activist group affiliated with SAFE (NZ) Farmwatch. Farmwatch investigator John Darroch was the person behind the investigation undertaken by the organisation across 14 farms and the slaughter plant in the Waikato. With the release of the footage the New Zealand Herald (November 30,2015) headliner read
"'We saw calves torn from mothers' - shocking video exposes dairy industry cruelty"
Fonterra, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers were swift to deplore the appalling footage as were farmers and the public.
This video produced by SAFE (NZ) has been posted on YouTube footage from it also aired on current affairs programme Sunday on November 29, 2015. If you watch this footage, along with the sinister sounding music it seems so compelling. The title "NZ Dairy Cruelty exposed" gives the impression this is normal in dairy farming. The disturbing footage especially at the slaughter plant is heartbreaking to watch but is it really where all bobby calves go to be turned into veal. Is it normal for truck drivers to throw calves into trucks or for a slaughterman to bludgeon calves to death. The manner in which this has been portrayed it appeared to be that way. However when getting to the bottom of it all things don't stack up especially the worst footage involving the inhumane slaughter of the calves.
For starters looking carefully it didn't appear to be at any plant associated with the main processors AFFCO or Silver Fern Farms. In fact it turned out to be a small Waikato based Petfood processor who confirmed they had dismissed the worker concerned. The men caught on the video throwing the calves into the stock truck were later dismissed by the company owner. SAFE (NZ) are by no means new to causing controversy. In 2009 former comedian Mike King and now spokesperson for Mental Health issues had featured in a video produced by SAFE (NZ) to highlight the issues regarding the use of sow crates in the pork farming industry. The former spokesman for NZ Pork was taken to an unnamed commercial piggery under cover of darkness by SAFE (NZ) affiliated activists. He said himself he had been appalled at the conditions the sows were kept in. However in an article in the New Zealand Farmer King had said he had been never been affiliated to SAFE (NZ) and was appalled by its actions over the bobby calf issue. He had written an email to Hans Kriek director of SAFE (NZ)
"Your portrayal of NZ farmers as 'animal terrorists' on the international (scene) are not only false, they are irresponsible in the extreme. The actions of a few is not a reflection of an entire industry, Hans, and one must question what your real motive is. Is it really about animal welfare? Or is it about destroying farmers and the NZ farming industry?"A few days ago another headliner appeared
Two women dairy farmers ,Waikato based herd manager Gina Greenwood and Jennifer Halligan told the media that animal activists on social media in some posts were telling farmers to commit suicide. A further example of one of the posts which had been given to the media stated:
"I completely agree that farmers are mentally ill. You have to to be to treat animals in such a brutal fashion. Unfortunately a lot of farm workers have the brain size of a pea, and no compassion at all. These helpless vunerable little calves should not be subjected to such viciousness. Their lives already suck. Being surround by these demented uneducated monsters must be terrifying. I don't see farmer suicides as a problem, I see it as justice for these more helpless creatures"SAFE (NZ) stated they did not support such actions taken by the persons concerned. However, SAFE (NZ) are responsible for this happening in the first place. Their silence by not posting an advisement to their supporters on their social media to refrain from such appalling actions. They should do and can do. So why haven't they? I'll leave SAFE (NZ) to perhaps answer that question.
Well I've bitten the bullet. I've thought about this for years, but never really did much about it until now. I'm proud as a peacock for making the decision I have made. After eleven years of not really doing much with the farm other than let my animals run riot everywhere I've decided to start a horticultural venture and finally do something with the land and for me. I need it. I've battled depression for a long time now. It got worse after I gave up my cows (yes I know that sounds so soppy) and even worse still when I found no matter how hard I tried to get a fulltime job it seemed nobody wanted a 51 year old woman who had spent the last seven years raising her last two children to be decent upstanding young people. Next year I'm starting a fulltime course in Sustainable Rural Development and Horticulture at Northtec (I hope!) I've got the enrollment form filled out and now all I have to do is send it in. In the meantime I've signed up with the Open Permaculture School based in the USA. I have to start somewhere so it seemed the logical choice given I have next to no funds for paying for a course! The peacock in the photo was taken down at Hamilton Gardens in the Waikato. I have more news to write about but just for now I thought I'd let you all know about my step into the abyss of the unknown. Wish me luck I'll be needing it! I've started a daily diary as well. You can read it here
Back in 2010 Michelle quit calf club, after she couldn't catch her calf she had chosen. It was a huge heartbreak for a little girl at the time. She didn't go near calves much until 2012, when she took one of the Cullen family calves to the school pet day, She did all the work herself that year and took out the champion calf on the day. There she is back at calf club after so long at Anne's complete with a very carefully chosen Fresian calf now going by the name of Blueberry. Over the last few years Michelle has gained a lot of experience showing cattle in the ring, last year she took out the handler's class at the Otamatea Group Day, has a trophy for Dexter cattle handling and just keeps on getting better. Now it's a serious business in her view. Blueberry has a cover and lots of Michelle's attention whenever she goes to the dairy farm three times a week. I like the teeth and the look of "Oh please just go away" My youngest daughter is one determined young woman. It's been a real joy seeing her grow from strength to strength. One day I bet she will be a top cattle judge. Maybe I need 400 acres She's making plans already for a beef stud as it is. I love my girls.