A series of articles that will follow the fortunes, follies, and foibles of an ordinary person on an ordinary piece of dirt attempting to maintain an ordinary sort of existence within the boundaries of time, money, and skill.

After taking a hard look at 'who am I, what am I, and what am I doing here?' Althea decided enough was enough and opted for early retirement. To do this meant downsizing and (horrors!) a loss of a very good income. However, four years later the move is heralded as the best decision ever. Middelmost is only one and a half acres, is halfway between Marton and Hunterville, and is situated 1,000 feet up with stunning views of the Rangitikei from all sides. At Middelmost the emphasis is on subsistence farming (this is not a lifestyle block). The philosophy is "What would a Chinese peasant do with this section of Middelmost?". Hence, a great deal is achieved on very little.

Middelmost's greatest asset is the neighbours with a collective barter system now set up and with reasonably priced grazing available all year round. The economy is based on 'the house cow' with a herd of six hand-milked cows. The property is self-sufficient in meat, dairy products, vegetables, fruit, wine, and firewood, and what is not grown, or produced, is bartered for. The daily running expenses are covered by stock sales leaving any income from casual work for the unbarterable items and for the odd luxuries such as the annual holiday.

Althea brings to these articles years of practical experience with cows, pigs, and horses mixed with the sense of humour which enables Middelmost to survive the everyday problems that consistently dog us. Share the weekly timetable, the tips and practical suggestions, the fun, and the sadness as we follow Little Cream Cheese and the rest of the team through the annual cow calendar.