Geese update

It’s been a while, but thought I should update you on our bird status.  From the goose eggs, we ended up with 5 babies.  Kevin hatched one himself, and this gave us Scooter, who thinks we’re Mum and Dad.  Fun times!  She lived in the house initially, and then on the deck, but she grew up so quickly and now, whilst she lives with the rest of the flock, she’s definitely closer to us than the other geese are.

Recently, we also added to our “family” with 10 ducks, and 13 chickens.  The ducks are just crazy!  When we put out their food, they’ll be climbing all over one another, and then they go for the bits of food that the messy geese drop.

With the chickens, we got 2 big brown roosters, 4 white bantam leghorns, a pair of Campines, and 5 little black chooks, however one of the little black ones has since passed away.  The new chooks live quite separately to our existing girls, but we’re already hearing some crowing from the boys and it’ll be interesting to see if any babies appear too!

We had all sorts of plans for our house – most of which have had to be shelved.  We initially thought we could sub-divide a couple of paddocks off, and this would help pay for a new house, but Council said “no” to subdivision.

Then we talked to an architect about the possibility of moving our existing house to another part of our land, and then building a new house, but the costs were HUGE.  So that’s a “no”.

We found a company called Easybuild who build modular, affordable homes, but that too was outside what we wanted to pay.

Now we’re thinking of extending the current house, and adding a relocatable 2 bedroomed unit on the side to give me a craft room, and an additional guest room/office.  If this works, it’s a great compromise, and, we believe, won’t require planning permission.  Watch this space!

Our lovely local friendly farmer took away his sheep a while back, but we’ve got some back again, which is nice.  We’ve also had 6 of his big black bulls on our land but they’ve been so naughty – eating the roses, poking their heads through the fence, and now they’ve burst a water valve and Kevin is NOT happy!  I hear they’re moving on soon though.

So that’s where we are for now!

The Geese

So if anyone is actually reading this, you might be wondering what’s with the “Geese” in the title…. so here’s the story.

Back in the day when we were living in the Wairarapa, Kevin had this thing about wanting to have geese.  He came home from an A&P Society auction with 2 geese at a bargain price a year or so back, but we had no water in our garden (other than in the paddling pool he bought from the Warehouse) and they seemed intent on ripping up our lawn, which the chickens then also got excited about and made a terrible mess.  So all that, along with the fact that they honked their little hearts out every time we stepped in the garden, meant we found a new home for them on an organic farm in Greytown, where they would be much happier.

When we decided to move to the Bay, Kevin’s property criteria was at least 2 acres of land, and some water.  And here we are with 15 acres and a couple of ponds.   Someone on Facebook told him about the Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust in Johnsonville, and it turned out they had 18 geese that they wanted to re-home.

We settled on the property on a Thursday and by the next week, Kevin had been to J-ville and returned to the bay with 10 geese in a cage.  We were told they were in pretty bad condition, and probably couldn’t fly, and that they were 2 boys and 8 girls.

On Day 2 however, Kevin reported that the geese made the Red Arrows look like amateurs…. 6 of them took flight, and although he got one of them back, the other 5 were in a paddock some way away.

Day 3 and the 5 runaways returned.  Then 2 got spooked and flew away again, though one returned quickly.  And the last runaway returned the following day.  Very stressful time for Kevin – and counting, counting, counting geese all the time!

After that initial carry-on though, they’ve stayed put, and have been mating!

We had 3 nests of goose eggs…

Nest 1 had 6 eggs – mother is Buddy.  Two disappeared (presumably taken by predators), 2 hatched into cute fluffy goslings, and the other 2 eggs were not viable.  The babies were born on 3rd October – one is slightly darker and slightly smaller than the other – “he” is known as Ryan, and the other is Gosling (get it?).  At this stage, we’re not sure if they are boys or girls.

Nest 2 – mother is Mary – had 8 eggs to start with, I think.  Ended up with 4, but all unviable (you don’t want to know the details….)

Nest 3 has 6 eggs.  The mother here is Anastasia, and as at yesterday, Kevin could hear chirping, so we know there are some live chicks in there – so exciting!

Initially, all the geese were fenced into their own paddock, where they mostly stayed, apart from occasional forays into the neighbouring paddock when they’re hungry, but Kevin has decided to allow them a little more freedom now, so they can come up the “posh” lawn to the house.  They’ve walked all around the outside of the house, so far, but not onto the Real Posh Lawn (such as it is) which is right in front of the house – this is a good thing.

We’re currently having discussions about whether he is “allowed” to take one of the new goslings to hand rear, and to “imprint” on him (so it thinks he is its mother…..).  Lots of issues with this, but we’ll see if he can even get close enough to make that an option!

Fun times….

Picture post

Aha!  I’ve worked it out – how to make pictures small enough to upload here for your delectation and delight.

First of all – our amazing mailbox, or house for tiny people.

And this is how the valley usually looks in the morning – just a little mist around (I don’t seem to have one yet that’s completely mist-less)….

And this was taken from the same point… honest… this morning…

I’m loving living here!

Misty morning

My intention here was to show you some lovely pictures of the valley I drive down into each morning.  Our house is 300m above sea level, so there’s a steep drop down to State Highway 2, and this morning, whilst we had a beautiful sunrise at home, once I’d driven 10 minutes along the road, the valley below was filled with fog – it’s a pretty impressive sight – it’s a bit like being in an aeroplane, above the clouds.    However,  the photos I took on my phone are too big to upload to the blog – I need to do a bit of fiddling around to fix that somehow….  Not sure how.  But I’ll try!

We’re here

With some whirlwind decision-making, we’ve moved from the Wairarapa to the Hawkes Bay – and from being in a small township, to being completely rural, on 15 acres of our own land.  Life has changed quite a lot for us in the recent months, and will no doubt continue to do so as we settle into rural life.  I’ve set up this blog to talk about the things we’ve encountered with our move, that were perhaps a bit of a surprise to us.

One of the first things we did was to sort out our mail – this was something that I’d never even considered would be an issue, but when you’re rural, it’s a little different.   We moved into the property, and realized there was no mailbox at the end of either of our driveways.  Strange…. we thought.  We were sure there was one at the end of the “back” driveway when we were at the Open Home and we thought it was odd that the previous owners would have taken it with them.

Going out in the car one day, we spotted a very old wooden mailbox at the side of the road – just about as far aware as you can get from either of our driveway entrances.  This couldn’t be our mailbox, could it?  Who would site a mailbox at a point so far from your actual entrance?  So we drove past, we stopped, and we checked.  And what do you know – it WAS our mailbox.  There was mail for us and the previous tenant in there.  One mystery solved.

But we didn’t want our mailbox there.

I went into the Post Shop to register for Rural Delivery – no cost, but apparently you have to actually “register” (even though we’d already received mail at that address) – and they recommend you speak to your Postie beforehand.  Well, how on earth you’re meant to catch that man in his red van as he shoots around the countryside, I have no idea!  We still haven’t seen him!

I asked the lady in the Post Shop about moving our mailbox, and she said we’d have to speak to the Council.  So off we went to the Council offices, and found a helpful lady there.   We also explained that the address allocated to our property was odd – it was an Argyll Road address, but Argyll Road ends before it gets to our property.  We think our land is a subdivision of a bigger property sometime in the past, and this address has been left with our section.  Could we change it to something more sensible that actually shows people (on Google Maps) where we live?  Yes, we can.

Our Council lady said she’d look into it for us.  They allocate rural addresses by their distance from the State Highway, and as it turns out, we must be 8.31km from the State Highway.  So we had a new address and a shiny number to stick on our mailbox.  But that was still in the wrong place.

So Kevin set to with all the wood he has, and some shingles, and built us a new letter box, that looks like a house for tiny people.  He hauled out the old letter box in its silly position, and installed a new one that the Rural Postie can still reach from the window of his red van.

Success! (Once I can work out how to add photos here, I’ll share with you all a picture of our lovely new mailbox).

Stage One complete!