Amazing and unexpected things do happen! I was parked at the
Hurunui Bluff lookout. I showed you the sign and
wondered what was further round the road... would I go and
have a look? I had stayed the night and was just pottering
away the next morning enjoying the view and the sun...
And 'Mr Hillbilly' pulled up alongside in his car.
This total stranger, who had seen me there
the day before as we all watched the fire, asked if I
would like to house sit for a week, was I doing anything?
He and his family were going away the next day
and would I have a look and consider the job?
So... Here I am, parked at Hillbilly Farm and in charge
of 20 acres, a house, 7 hens and a rooster, a cat and
watering large gardens... It's rained so I haven't had
to do that yet. In return there is home killed organic meat
in the freezer, eggs from the chooks, hot showers if I light
the big fire in the kitchen to heat the water, as many fresh
veges as I want and unlimited firewood.
This property is five km further round the Hurunui Bluff Road...
It widens out into a strip of land between the river and the hills.
It goes another 20km further east along the valley but I haven't
been any further. The road is gravel and incredibly dusty
creating thick clouds of dust. You can see the brown paddocks
and why it is such a fire risk.
This is looking at the property from the front gate.
The dry, dry paddocks and my nearest neighbours to the east.
Beside where I am parked, up on the ridge beside the
house to give me some shelter from the westerly wind,
is a bath full of strawberries... I've had a few ripe ones
and feed them my coffee grounds.
Another old bus, I'm told it is a 'Park Royal'... It's the guest
accommodation if you don't bring your own!
The old horse float is the hen house... Not the most
The tractor and implement shed with the black currant
bushes behind it - laden and yummy.
There are numerous peach, nectarine and apricot
trees, also some apples and grape vines...
The hot house... Access from the other side. It's a sauna in
there and all sorts of things growing madly...
Incuding sugar cane and taro...
Past the hot house is a large and rambling garden...
Potatoes which I've been digging and eating...
The watering system! There is also a big hose system
that has to be turned on and manually watered and the
hose joined together to reach far enough - I'm glad it's rained.
This is the spinach and fat hen patch...
Did you know fat hen is edible - in stir frys or raw... Pick the tips.
I've tried it and I'm still alive!
Several varieties of cabbage and lettuce...
On the bottom level, closer to the road is another cultivated
garden... Long rows of potatoes... Broad beans and new
ones coming on...
Garlic and sweet corn...
Today I picked broad beans and some garlic from the bottom
garden, dug some potatoes and a courgette from the top
garden and a cucumber from the hot house...
The broad beans shelled, ready to cook for 2 minutes, then
I put them in cold water. Was then able to squeeze the thick grey
skins off and be left with the green bean inside. Stir fried in
coconut oil with garlic, bacon and chilli...
Breakfast was steamed spinach and fresh poached eggs.
Avocado for some good fat. No need to ever be hungry here!