June 2012 Far North Organics Field Day

Far North Organic members congregated on this exceptionally fine winter’s day
in the Central Hokianga at Gail and John’s 65 acre farm which they took over about
3 years ago. We could see impressive pioneering work unfolding.

The day started with a cuppa at 10AM and an official committee meeting chaired
by Rob Downing.

Afterwards there was still time before lunch for a walk along the ridge with beautiful vistas down over the estuary river valley at high tide with extensive rural distant views.
Gail and John explained some of the work they had already completed while we
looked down to a Clydesdale horse, 7 Arapaha sheep, a small herd of Dexter cattle
and a pig enclosure.

Some of the large paddocks are now fenced into smaller ones for better
management and poplars planted as erosion control.
Some areas on this property are already planted in quite mature Eucalyptus,
Acacia and many other trees. Much work still ahead to control weeds like blackberry and gorse on steep land.

Some will be left to regenerate into Native Bush due to steepness.
Several ponds were put in for stock and garden irrigation.
After return we had a delicious lunch and lively discussion amongst members.
John milks two cows every morning and Gail is making Yoghurt, Kefir, fresh cheeses and
butter.

After lunch we walked down a long and steep drive to all the newly cultivated
gardens, orchard and farm animal areas.

Permaculture principles are beeing applied here and the future housesite is the
centre where all the other workplaces are structured around.

In the very extensive gardens much is grown for producing seeds on behalf of
Koanga Gardens as well as their selection of heritage fruit trees.

John demonstrated traditional ways using only simple hand tools of working green wood for making tool handles, chairs and the likes.

Closing the visit was an explanation of how to make your own charcoal using a
44 gallon steel drum.

Then we were all happy to have reached the top again and pleased not to have missed
this exceptionally inspiring fieldday. Many thanks to Gail and John.
Fieldday closed at 3:30PM.