When Kate Brennan and her husband bought their first lifestyle block in 1998, she quickly realised that there was a lot to learn and very few resources for new lifestyle farmers. So she and a friend got together and created the lifestyleblock website to provide advice and support to lifetyle farmers.
From the first 4 acre Waikato block, Kate is now on a 220 acre Northland block, living off-grid and farming cattle and her beloved angora goats. For the last 20 years she's been living and breathing farming in NZ and wouldn't have it any other way.
As you drive around our beautiful country you can see cattle of all sizes and shapes. Delicate, doe-eyed Jerseys; rangy, angular Friesians; placid red and white Herefords with their tightly curling facial hair. You don't have to travel far afield before you spot a few shaggy-coated Highlands, two-tone Belted Galloways or even pint-sized Dexters.
One of the features of farming is planning ahead and while we're sweltering under the summer sun it's time to think about keeping ourselves warm in winter. Of course if you have a heat pump or other non-firewood based heating system you can sit on your deck with a cold drink and picture the rest of us slabbing and chopping and stacking until we drop.
I know, I know, many parts of the country are still suffering from a lack of pasture after months of drough. But waterlogged ground isn't great for grass growth either. That's not the problem though. A combination of warm temperatures and wet weather have contributed to our worst Barber's Pole season for years.
Summer has barely begun and already many parts of the country are very dry. It's galling when you've complained all winter that it's too wet to suddenly find yourself hoping for rain. It doesn't help when your work colleagues are delighted by the 'wonderful' weather and it can be hard not to explain (through tightly gritted teeth) exactly why it's not 'wonderful' at all but an absolute nightmare!