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The Back Garden

27th November 2011

Terri with creepers

I say this loosely; bear in mind we have 13 ha of land, and probably 8 ha of this is bush. Today (5 months after moving in) we decided to see if we could find the bottom of our land. I had been the other side of the paddock fence before, when our friend the farmer from Taumarunui was here - but Hubby had not.

I packed for the expedition - backpack with water, muesli bars, mobile phone, fleece, printed out satellite copy of the section from Google Maps, GPS and camera. Bag with secateurs, garden gloves and saw. I was tempted to take a rope. 'What do you want that lot for?' says Hubby. He soon found out.

We went through the wire of the stock fence, and were immediately surrounded by thick bush. Within five minutes he was asking for the secateurs, and discussing where we could buy a machete. The bush was really healthy though - loads of native trees, shrubs and ferns. But there were loads of creepers running across potential pathways.

Terri in Bush

We carried on south, towards the bottom of the property. It was a steep downhill slope. We had to go very carefully, and at many places we had to virtually climb down. I had a vision of where I wanted to get to in mind - between two large trees, that we could see from the top paddock - but in the wilderness it was difficult to know even which direction they were in. What didn't help was that the co-ordinates that I'd marked on the map were in decimal, but the GPS was in degrees, minutes and seconds. Never mind - we could always find our way home as I had it marked on the GPS.

Now these two trees are not at the bottom of our section - they are only two-thirds of the way down. But if we reached them then we'd have been double the distance of our journeys so far. We struggled on. The bush was getting thicker. One good thing - there was no gorse in the bush itself.

Art in Slash and Burn mode

We hit a fenceline. And there was very badly overgrown paddock the other side. Now - was this our boundary fence? I thought so - but it was on our western boundary which meant that the end of the section was still further south. But by this time we'd decided that we were not going to make it much further without mechanical means, so gave in gracefully and headed north.

Now there have been a number of articles in the local papers recently warning you to be wary of strangers in your bushland. This is Marijuana planting season - and the planters tend to use other people's land to plant it. All I can say is that if anyone had seen us crashing about in our bushland they'd have called the local cops straight away! The only way ahead was to push through or go back - and that was looking more and more difficult. We were now into gorse territory, and this is very prickly. We both had bits in our hair and down our shirts. Very uncomfortable!

foxgloves & ragwort

Eventually we hit a patch of grass. It looked like it had been paddock once - but was full of foxgloves and ragwort. Now both of these are very poisonous to stock - even if we could get animals into the paddock, we'd have to do a lot of work first.

We drew breath, and stopped for a drink and refreshment. I turned round - and lo and behold! There were the two trees I'd been looking for! And we were (just) to the south of them ! So - just a short uphill walk and we'd find them…..

Two chances - fat and slim. Between us and the trees was thick gorse. We gave up and struggled gamely forward towards our house.

The large trees - I still don't know what they are!

At last, we struggled into a patch of grass just below one of our paddocks. The end was in sight. But I knew that I'd attempted to find my way down to this piece of grass before - and there was a wall of gorse in the way. Would we find a way up? Yes! There was a thin steep path of grass cutting between the gorse at one point. We clambered up…

Adventure over. A short walk through our bottom paddock then a hop, skip and a jump on our quad bike, and the Alpaca boys met us at the gate. The swimming pool looked very inviting - even at 22 degrees C. But even more inviting was that ice cold beer in the fridge.

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living_in_new_zealand/country_calendar/country_calendar_7a_new_zealand_bush.txt · Last modified: 2011/12/19 17:38 by art
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