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Letters from Middelmost Dairy Farm

“Hey!” said Friend’s voice on the end of the phone.

“Althea!  You have to come and have a look at this little farm that’s up for sale.  It’s perfect for you and your girls.  Can you come this weekend?”

As you can tell, Friend was not one for mucking about.

And so a new MIDDEMOST began.  A MIDDELMOST I never imagined would ever come true.  A MIDDELMOST that required the stars and the moon and a strange set of circumstances to line up, and a MIDDELMOST that needed a huge leap of faith mixed with a huge bit of madness for it to even be contemplated as something that could happen.

But it did – and this is the journey.


27chwRah! Rah! Rah! I’m sick of the word ‘failure’. 

shedThe Bafor and the Bahafta, is what my Dad used to say as he surveyed his day’s battle with the garden.

PeppermintPeppermint! #@**@# !!!




AltheaI have won an award! Amazing.

snowLast week I had a little reminder of what was to come.

chapter22aw“I don’t want to be sustainable. It’s not who I am. It’s not what this little farm is about.”

chapter21awStrategizing is a skill you use when all else fails or if the problem looks to be too big.

chapter20When I came here, the farm was a mess. I knew what I was taking on – including the state of the soil.

chapter19“How extraordinary,” I thought as I watched the wind gusts swing the backing gate across the dairy shed yard.

chapter18Men love to keep tough things a mystery … and the way we ladies have been ‘conditioned’ to being semi-hopeless, hopeless, or drastically hopeless is a matter for the situation or the man’s ego.

chapter17Well, pregnancy testing is over. Thank goodness. Anxiety dissipates as the verdict “Pregnant” … “Pregnant” … “Pregnant” exits the vet’s mouth and I add another tick alongside another cow’s name.

grass fed milkRecently I made another one of those proper-dairy-farmer decisions and I changed my whole farming system so that I could supply a specialised GRASS FED milk.

chapter15Now, the most dreadful part of getting to know my girls again was the reality that I was a commercial dairy farmer and I had to make THOSE commercial dairy farmer decisions.

calvesLast season was wonderful in terms of reconnecting the old friendships I had with the girls.

chapter13wOne of the best things about the move to the dairy farm was getting to know my lovely cows again.

chapter122wAs I metamorphosed into a local, the weather became a key factor in my daily life. 

fencingBecoming a South Islander had a few problems … or should I put that as ‘becoming a North Cantabrian’ … 

chapter10But then, there was another one of ‘those phone calls’.

middelmostIn the meantime, while this was all going on, I was trotting back up to the North Island on a reasonably regular basis to care for my little farmlet up there.

They couldn’t believe their luck.The girls thought they had died and gone to heaven, and making the decision to go “Once a Day” was part of it.

The girlsThe rest of the season melded into a blur and, looking back, I realise how much the wonderful people around me became a gift that saved the farm from the disasters that might have happened.

storm damageAnd so my first season began. With high hopes and heaps of enthusiasm, I launched headlong into what turned into a series of nightmares.

middelmostMy head was exploding. People who know about stuff seem to be so willing to part with and share their knowledge.

LFMDF chapter 4The fourth 'Letter from Middelmost Dairy Farm'. I had to make the North to South move as simple and as smooth as possible otherwise I knew I was going to crumple before the trek had even begun.

chapter3wLetters from Middelmost Dairy Farm.  To have good people around you is essential and, in this matter, I was blessed.

chapter2wAnd so the scramble began.  First things first … I needed to sort the cows out as they had been dried off and were nearly ready to move to their next lease location.

chapter1I always wanted to be a dairy farmer but who has a spare few million lying about?

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