The Waikato Valley - Black Creek Farms

When Ross came to stay with us last year we were quickly invited to visit his farm in Taupiri. Just before Christmas we rolled up and found Ross sitting on the veranda. About this time after four weeks of constantly being on the move we were happy to plant ourselves for a while. We proceeded to spend five days on the farm barraging Ross with questions about the farm, the cows and 'assisting' (getting in the way, I think) with milking.

One of the best experiences was watching Ross' dog, Patch, bringing in the cows. She ran like lightening, so the pictures would be a blur if there were any. Patch is a header dog and is trained to run around the cows until they head into the milking shed. If she encounters a stubborn cow she stares at it. Seldom did she bark which as it turns out isn't that effective with timid animals anyway. We really enjoyed her.

On Boxing Day, we woke up to a cacauphony of mooing, motorcycles and men yelling. The neighbors herd of heifers had escaped and came to sing Christmas Carols to us right outside our bedroom window! We watched them being herded a couple of miles back up the road. When they get into a track fenced in on both sides heifers tend to run - so they stampeded right the way back home. Entertainment for tourists.

Ross had invited us to spend Christmas with his family and we had a lovely day down the road at June and Colin's farm sitting by the pool with brother Mike and his girlfriend Alex with cousins, grandmothers, aunts and uncles. It was the first time I had had an 80 degree Christmas. I highly recommend them. I especially enjoyed calling home on Christmas from the pig sty. June had just acquired two black piglets and called them from the garden gate singing "Pig! Pig! Pig!" Out of the grass came these little black sausages that were solidly built and hungry. Snorting and snuffling at the prospect of leftovers.