What to do with Fe-af­fected stock

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Country Smile -

THIS CAN be a dilemma as un­less you get a GGT test done, you won’t know how badly FE has af­fected your stock. Re­search has shown that if there are 10% clin­i­cally-af­fected FE an­i­mals in a mob (that is, you can see symp­toms like swollen eyes or flak­ing skin), then at least 80% will be sub-clin­i­cally af­fected with dam­aged liv­ers and they will never be any good for breed­ing or long-term growth.

Putting af­fected stock into sale yards is against the law, and if you send them di­rect to the works, they will be con­demned. You may be in for a sur­prise as any sign of jaun­dice – which you may not see in sheep – will cause them to be con­demned too.

If you want to keep Fe-af­fected stock, be pre­pared for deaths in spring when they lamb and calve, and when the strain of lac­ta­tion hits them. Cat­tle are es­pe­cially prone to milk fever and ewes will pro­duce dead, often mum­mi­fied lambs, even if they have large fat stores in their bod­ies (which they can­not use due to their dam­aged liv­ers).

You’ll have to face the hard truth about get­ting rid of them be­fore win­ter for no re­turn, or keep­ing them to see how many sur­vive. If they pro­duce good off­spring, count that as a bonus, but you’ll need to make some hard de­ci­sions. Treat­ing them af­ter the fact with zinc is far too late, but take vet­eri­nary ad­vice on this for wel­fare rea­sons.

THERE ARE ANY NUM­BER of com­pelling rea­sons to build a barn-style home. They are open and spa­cious. A Cus­tomkit home/barn can truly re­flect your unique taste, per­son­al­ity and life­style…not theirs. Un­like some other hous­ing com­pa­nies they of­fer the flex­i­bil­ity to dec­o­rate or fin­ish the in­side as you want.

For An­nie and Mark For­rest noth­ing beats their Matakana Black Barn for al­low­ing the free­dom of ex­pres­sion. Es­pe­cially for An­nie, a flo­ral de­signer and en­vi­ron­ment cre­ator by trade, throw­ing off the shack­les of con­straints that some house plans lock you into is an es­sen­tial part of en­joy­ing her home.

“I like to do ‘dif­fer­ent’ things. The bolder it is, the bet­ter. It’s im­por­tant to keep things fresh and mov­ing with your de­signs – if you get stale it is time to move on or take a break. I love to keep re-in­vent­ing the wheel.”

“In that sense our Cus­tomkit-de­signed Black Barn house is marvellous. You can use your own style and spe­cial things that you trea­sure. You don’t have to be ho­mogenised into a ‘look’ any­one can achieve. I mix old and new to cre­ate some­thing that is unique and in­di­vid­ual.”

“The ba­sic barn struc­ture on the out­side pro­vides so much cre­ative flex­i­bil­ity on the in­side.”

Mak­ing the de­ci­sion to find an af­ford­able place to live that was still within com­mut­ing dis­tance to Auck­land prompted Mark and An­nie to go North. They fell in love with the Black Barn and a week later bought the prop­erty. The ba­sic struc­ture was al­ready in place but there was the abil­ity to ex­pand and ex­tend the house to al­low new spa­ces and places to be de­vel­oped.

“We con­verted the ex­ist­ing bed­rooms into a liv­ing space. When we moved in we had just one huge open barn with a small lounge only. We built two bed­rooms down­stairs as well as a bath­room.

Up­stairs we put in a king-sized bed plus ar­eas for stor­age. We sec­tioned off other rooms end­ing up with open plan liv­ing, din­ing and kitchen flow­ing off onto the court­yard which is great.”

“The barn was al­ready black which fits in so well in a ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment. We painted the in­side walls with a Re­sene white as this is the per­fect back­drop for art. Lit­tle sur­prises of colour also de­light the senses, such as the green fea­ture wall in the bath­room, and the hall­way chalked with wel­com­ing mes­sages on the walls (painted in Re­sene Black­board Paint).”

“Over­all I have ac­cen­tu­ated that fact that the style of our home is a barn. It is play­ful and colour­ful and has lots of in­dus­trial vin­tage finds that we got from de­mo­li­tion yards. It has lovely pol­ished con­crete floors that give it a bit of an ur­ban look. We’ve also in­te­grated ma­te­ri­als that en­hance the barn look such as rough sawn tim­ber. It is funky, re­ally cosy and you don’t feel like you’re liv­ing in a barn at all.”

As many Cus­tomkit cus­tomers have found, the flex­i­bil­ity and free­dom to cre­ate in­di­vid­ual and unique liv­ing spa­ces is a very clear ben­e­fit of their build­ing ap­proach. The sky is the limit in what can be achieved and the com­pany is open 24 hours to ideas and ar­eas of ex­pres­sion to make peo­ple’s home/barns won­der­ful places to live.

The cam­era-shy chooks are let out at lunchtime into a con­trolled space, skedad­dling past as John Mclean be­gins the guided tour of his gar­den. The veg­etable beds are in­side sep­a­rate fenced ar­eas with in­ter­con­nect­ing gates. When the flock fin­ish eat­ing out a gar­den bed, the cou­ple let them in to scratch around and help pre­pare the soil for the next plant­ing.

John, an ac­com­plished artist, and wife Chris have lived for 30 years al­most self-suf­fi­ciently at Mimi Farm in North Taranaki. It’s no sur­prise that his first foray into writ­ing, a won­der­fully il­lus­trated book en­ti­tled, The Farmer’s Wife and the Farmer: a painted New Zealand Odyssey, should be firmly an­chored in the land and the raw re­al­i­ties of farm­ing prac­tices.

“We usu­ally have about a dozen hens, but hatch chick­ens un­der a broody hen and keep the rooster quota out of that un­til they start crow­ing, at which time I wring necks and pop them in the freezer,” John says. “Five have just be­gun yodelling in the last cou­ple of days which is a mis­take on their part.”

As the tour con­tin­ues, pump­kin plants tum­ble along the ground all around you. There are cu­cum­bers and zuc­chi­nis, toma­toes, cel­ery, kale, mas­sive cab­bages and caulis, herbs, kumara, car­rots, corn, peas and pota­toes. There are blue­ber­ries, apri­cots, straw­berry beds, oranges man­darins, fei­joas, pears, and per­sim­mons laden with or­ange flow­ers.

The self-suf­fi­ciency prac­tices carry over

wet­lands, the last of their con­ser­va­tion plant­ing.

“When we came here there wasn’t a tree on the prop­erty so we planted thou­sands all around the river and the lit­tle in­let and down the banks. We did that all off our own bat and then in the last few years re­gional coun­cil has pro­vided trees, which has been re­ally good,” Chris says.

Al­most ev­ery­thing they’ve planted is na­tive, apart from some av­o­ca­dos which grew like weeds from stones they threw down the bank. The es­tu­ar­ine is all na­tives, and they have found some spe­cial­ized coastal species grow­ing there, in­clud­ing na­tive cel­ery, sea prim­rose, pin­gao, shore lo­belia and tree daisy.

The re­gional coun­cil des­ig­nates the es­tu­ary as a place of spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance John says.

“They rec­og­nize that it is very rare to have an es­tu­ary that hasn’t been built all around due to lack of ac­cess.”

The tree plant­ing brought an abun­dance of bird life, in­clud­ing a lot of spe­cial guests when the kowhai and flaxes are in bloom.

“We have tui like blowflies around the place,” says John.

Kereru, bell­birds, fan­tails and hawks abound, there are shining cuck­oos, grey

months off school.”

John re­turned to work, teach­ing art part time at a high school and do­ing “sundry jobs to make a crust.” But most im­por­tantly, he started paint­ing se­ri­ously, and spent re­cu­per­a­tive time with artist Michael Smither in his studio.

In 1978 the Mcleans moved to their first small cot­tage down the road from Mimi Farm. They were driven by need to en­gage in a self-suf­fi­cient life­style by their lim­ited in­come and hav­ing three chil­dren to raise.

Then an art gallery owner spot­ted John’s work, held some ex­hi­bi­tions and his ca­reer as an artist be­gan to take off. John has ex­hib­ited and sold works both in­ter­na­tion­ally and through­out New Zealand.

The farm, land­scape and coun­try char­ac­ters of North Taranaki in­spire his im­agery. Blend­ing ev­ery­day re­al­i­ties with his imag­i­na­tion through ex­per­i­men­tal paint­ing pro­cesses, John’s work has a myth­i­cal qual­ity that res­onates with uni­ver­sal themes of hu­man en­deav­our.

In his book, John takes read­ers through the New Zealand land­scape with Con­stance and Thomas on their sep­a­rate jour­neys of self-dis­cov­ery. They en­counter some strange folk – a trav­eller on his white horse, Cloud, a lost tribe, a blind boat­man and his sighted twin – a process that proves as trans­for­ma­tional as the life story of John their cre­ator. n

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