Day 13

Today we woke up at our second farm stay families' and here is a summary of what each of us did at our farm stays:
Dr. Walker returning from her farm stay, which funny enough was with the local head cop and his family (she was definitely not arrested)
Hattie, Jessica, Brandon and Rob after being dropped off. (They forgot to take a picture with their families because of the busy morning)
Jessica and Hattie stayed at Jason and Sandy Herrick’s house for the night at a dairy farm operated by Jason Herrick based on a share-milking system. The house was full as the family included three girls ranging from early to late teens. The family played Uno and watched Rugby with the students after a dinner. The next morning, Jessica and Hattie went out with Jason after breakfast to see the farm. The farm is 430 hectares and has about 1,000 dairy cows. Jason manages the dairy operation based on a seasonal lactation period where all the cows calve in the spring. He uses a 50 cow rotary system, and prefers the ¼ Jersey- ¾ Friesian Holstein cross cattle. He uses a barley/molasses pellet feed while the cows are on the rotary and supplements them with palm kernel after they step off the rotary. The girls then learned that the electric fence was invented in New Zealand! Jason uses electric fencing with his cattle, as do most producers to protect the hides. For irrigation of the paddocks, Jason uses center pivots and k-lines. The family even had a few pigs that they raise for their own personal use.
Naomi and Angel stayed with Paula and Roger Thompson along with their daughter, Ruby, and a worker from Germany.  They run a 700 acre red deer and sheep operation along with their Bed & Breakfast.  Roger also has around 50 cows that they use to groom the pasture for their sheep.  They have Romney sheep that they grow for meat and the fleeces are shipped to make carpet.  They have around 1,200 sheep and 300 red deer.  When we first arrived at their house, we talked as Paula finished preparing the lamb, peas, and potatoes.  We continued with wonderful conversation and then dessert.  After dessert, we continued to talk and watch television.  When we got up in the morning, Paula made us breakfast before Roger took us on a tour of their farm and let us see some of his herding dogs in action.
Scott and Jacob stayed with Steven and Melanie Wilson. They live on a 1,500 acre farm with sheep, beef cattle, and deer. The farm belongs to a local businessman, Steven works on the farm and Melanie has a job in town. Last night, they served us a dinner of lamb, corn, pumpkin, peas, and chocolate pudding with cream for dessert. We then watched a rugby game and talked for a couple of hours. We discussed a lot of topics, including politics, gun laws, farm issues including economics and animal welfare, and cost of living differences between New Zealand and the United States. In the morning, we had cereal and toast for breakfast and Steven drove us around their farm.
Maria and Kathryn stayed with Nigel and Jayne Beer, along with their daughter Aleina. They live on a farm comprised of 1,500 acres of land/pasture, including a wetland that is used for hunting native birds. On their farm, they raise Lincoln sheep and Angus cows.  Nigel farms with his two brothers that live close to the farm. Jayne works into town as a sports coordinator for the college. We watched Britain’s Got Talent for a while and chatted a little bit before dinner. We were then given a dinner that included mutton chops, peas, mashed potatoes, and pumpkins, along with a torte and fresh whipped cream for dessert. Afterwards, we watched Pirates of the Caribbean. In the morning, we were given a small tour of the farm. Including a look at their wool shed, and getting to meet their horses that are used for recreation and sport.
Jayd and Devin with their farm stay mom
Devin and Jayd stayed with Brigid Ponga, where she had worked on a dairy farm for 10 years. She had talked about how her husband was a sheep shearer and that the south island was primarily sheep farming, while dairy has slowly taken over. When we arrived we had rice, meatballs, pumpkin, and potatoes with a caramel and a chocolate pudding cake with cream. Her two daughters, Huriana and Haiku, and her son ate with us as well. Haiku recently works at a dairy farm so we got some insight on the rotary dairy she worked on. We talked about the different sports they all played including rugby, tennis, cross country, track, field hockey, net ball, and squash. It was very nice getting to know Brigid and her daughters.
Alana and Megan with their farm stay mom
Alana and Meagan stayed with Tracey Cullen. Her children Bernice and Scott were at their dads for the night and we got to stay in their bedroom for the night. Bernice got our beds and towels all ready for our stay with her mom. Our towels we all folded nicely on our beds. Once settled in, we had some pork roast and potatoes for dinner. After dinner, we moved into the living room and watched some Britain’s Got Talent and rugby, which is a popular sport in New Zealand. We also made good conversation, then off to bed.  Waking up, Tracey was already off and heading to Netball for the day. We got to walk around Tracey’s 10 acre farm with two cats and her chickens. She also lets the neighbors cows graze on her land. It was a beautiful home and fun to get to know Tracey and hear about her children. 
Sam and Ashley stayed with Mark and Gillian Evans and their three daughters Adrianna (12) Chonelle (10) and Gabby (6).  Mark manages a station where he raises 6400 Romney ewes, 300 Angus cows, and also feeds out dairy heifers.  We had supper when we arrived, with lamb roast, broccoli with cheese sauce, carrots, and roasted potatoes.  For dessert, we were offered pudding cake, which was amazing! We talked to Mark about farming and his operation for most of the evening.  In the morning, we got bacon, eggs, and hash browns. We also got to go out with Mark, and ride around his paddocks looking at his property lines, sheep, and cows.  It was a very fun and interesting farm stay!
Kylie and Kasey with their farm stay family
Kylie and Kasey stayed with Shona and Michael Dixon and their daughter Ali. They live in the town of Lumsden where both Shona and Mike teach at the college or high school. Shona teaches about the arts and Mike teaches a science class and woodshop. We had a supper of beef stew, potatoes, pumpkin, and veggies, with a dessert of a cake with custard. Our evening consisted of talking about the United States and New Zealand, focusing around food, culture, and travel while watching a movie. In the morning, we talked about the Dixon’s pet chickens, and ate homemade blueberry pancakes and bacon.
Katelyn G and Katelyn J stayed with Vilma Soldevilla. She lives in town with her husband, who works on a 950 dairy cattle farm with a 50 cow rotary, and they have two children, a boy and a girl. They moved to New Zealand about 5 years ago from the Philippines. When he was working in Saudi Arabia, he said it was harder work because there was very little extra time to get the cows all milked.
Shawn, Seth, Cody and Jason with their farm stay family
Cody, Shawn, Jason, and Seth stayed with Chris and Andrea Bullied. They have three children with the names Blake, Gemma, and Dillion. On their farm of 2000 acres, they raise 4,000 breeding ewes, 35 Angus-Fresian cross cows, and they also feed out around 400 dairy heifers each year. They have owned their farm for nine years, and have made a lot of improvements. Andrea made us exceptionally good lasagna for supper, and, for breakfast, we were lucky enough to have steak and eggs. As Americans, we had not had many grass fed beef steaks before, but it was very good.
Kirby and Kadem spent the evening with Theresa and Cliver Wilson. Theresa has two part-time jobs, one as a teacher’s aide in the local primary school, and the other as a farmhand at a local dairy farm. The dairy farm she works at milks 1000 cows once a day because it is the end of the season. They will be drying off their entire herd at the end of the week. Cliver works as a truck driver for a fertilizer company for 10 months of the year, and spends the other two months doing mechanic work for people in town. He also has been a heavy equipment operator in the gold mines. They served mutton with spuds, carrots, and cabbage. The meal was followed with dessert of ice cream, berries, custard, and cream. The rest of the evening was filled with good conversation. The next morning, we had breakfast which was eggs, sausage, baked beans, and toast. After a cup of tea and a trip around town, we headed back to the bus.
Dathan and Bennet with their farm stay mom
Dathan and Bennet stayed with Chris and Amanda Senior. They live on a 1,200 acre farm where they run about 2,500 Romney ewes, about 80 head of beef cattle, and 120 head of red deer. Chris and Amanda own the farm, and it has been in Chris’s family for many years. The farm is located in the flat of a valley where there is high quality land that produces a lot of grass in the summer months. For dinner, we ate lamb, vegetable salad, squash, potatoes, corn, and garlic bread. After supper, we had brownies and ice cream for dessert, and we continued our pleasant conversation about many things regarding agriculture and their farming operation. We talked for a while, and then went to bed. We woke up in the morning, and had waffles with bananas on them. Chris then gave us a tour of his operation, and we helped move a large mob of sheep from one paddock to the next.
Brandon and Rob stayed with Michelle Mitchell. They had a delicious dinner of lamb, salad, potatoes and tomato sauce. They had a very good conversation about agriculture and gun laws in the US compared to New Zealand. After supper, Rob and Brandon tagged along to go hunting for hare, deer, and possums with the guys for the Big 3 contest. After being out for an hour, we ended up with a bad/dead torch battery, and a dead truck battery, and had to be picked up by the ladies, and were able to get a hare by the end of the night.
Kelly and her farm stay family
Kelly stayed with Nic and Paul Bennett, last night for the farm stay. Nic and Paul own 750 acres of land and own 2,000 headwater sheep and this is their main source of income. In addition they feed 50 Hereford/ Fresian cross cattle and 100 dear. For supper, we had a delicious meal of lamb, chicken, rice, potatoes, and Pavlova. In the morning we had breakfast, and went outside to move the sheep and cattle to different paddocks.
Ron and Ben stayed with Debbie and Greg Drummond, who provide pasture and fodder beets for producers in need of feed in the winter, and they enjoyed their farm stay as well. Julie stayed with Eveline Roberts and got to learn more about the horse industry here in New Zealand and enjoyed her farm stay as well.
Dunedin from afar.
After we were all dropped off at the school by our farm stay families, we got in the bus and started traveling up the coast to our next destination in Oamaru. On the way, we traveled through many towns, including Gore, Dunedin, and then we got to Oamaru. We stopped and ate lunch on our own in Dunedin, and we all chose to explore various local restaurants. When we were between Dunedin and Oamaru, we stopped on Moneraki beach to see the Moneraki Boulders. The beach has over 50 boulders on it that range in size, the largest being 2.2 meters in diameter. Even though it was a little chilly on the beach, we all still enjoyed getting to see the ocean. We then stopped at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, where we got to see the cute little blue penguins. We weren’t able to take any pictures because the flash would scare away the penguins, so we don’t have any pictures of that to share, but we will have access to some when we get home. The day was full of quite a bit of driving, but the scenery in New Zealand is beautiful which makes the driving go by a bit faster.
Seth frolicking along the Moeraki Beach
Overall it was a fun day and we all enjoyed our farm stays. We are also all getting pretty excited for or long flights back to see all of you.
From yours truly,
Brandon and Jessica