Bantman and Robyn, a perfect Pekin pair
The second anniversary of our permanent move to Muntanui quietly slipped by last Wednesday. It rained. Farmer Wan worked on our sheep yards and I spent the day inside, writing.
Because there's always so much to do here, we're always looking ahead. We don't often take the opportunity to reflect on what we've already done. Usually, that's done for us by people who have visited more than once and remarked on the changes.
Our biggest struggle so far hasn't been our ignorance of farming -- that tends to sort itself out whether you want it to or not. Stuff happens and you deal with it and the outcome isn't always good, so you work out how to prevent it from happening again or how to handle it better if it does. The farm shows us what our priorities need to be and we just get on with it. No, our biggest struggle over the last two years has been learning to work with each other.
That, for me, was a huge surprise. I thought we'd be great -- some kind of super-team, charging implacably, successfully, from one farming challenge to the next. Nah. Not even close. In reality, we've probably fought more over the last two years than in the previous 12 years combined. Neither of us likes being told what to do -- at least, not by each other. We think differently. We approach things differently. We have different levels of energy, stamina and patience. It's a wonder we haven't strung each other up. But when we're trying to solve a problem and we're on the same frequency and it's working -- ahh. It's magic. Until one of us tells the other what they should do next.
So it's a work in progress.
Muntanui itself continues to delight us. We both love this place so much and we have no regrets about moving here. We're firmly embedded in the local community, now. We've learnt a bit about farming and livestock and, once we get some remaining infrastructure sorted out and a bit more experience under our belts, we'll be better equipped to roll with the punches. We're not kidding ourselves that it will get easier (one word: weather) but we'll at least have the basics in place.
Some of the stuff on our To Do list from two years ago still hasn't been started, and we've done a lot that was never on the list in the first place. In our third year, we're getting serious about both renewing our pasture and practising livestock husbandry. We'll be making more changes to the landscape and should also be a lot closer to feeding ourselves. There might even be some surplus to sell.
So plenty to be getting on with, then. Lucky that we love work -- and each other!
Posted by Farmer Nik
About Ewan and Niki
Scottish mechanical engineer with a deep and abiding passion for good food. Outstanding cook. Builder of lots of stuff. Cattle whisperer. Connoisseur of beer. A lover rather than a fighter.
Kiwi writer and broadcaster who hates cabbage, even though she knows it's good for her. Chook wrangler. Grower of food and flowers. Maker of fine preserves. Lover of dancing and wine. Definitely a fighter.