GO­ING *ab­sent with­out live­stock Safe and se­cure

NZ Lifestyle Block - - THE GOOD LIFE -

Some­times I dream of a 9-5 job, four weeks an­nual hol­i­day, and a city flat where I just lock the door and walk away. Not for long, but it does flash through my mind as I stock up on chicken food, draw up graz­ing plans and make long lists while try­ing to pack.

How­ever, we have de­signed our block to al­low us week­end free­dom, and have im­ple­mented some other strate­gies which do make it eas­ier to go away.

Cul­ti­vate neigh­bourly net­works

It is about this time of year I put in­vites into my neigh­bour’s let­ter­boxes.

“Bring a drink and a plate and come for a Christ­mas get-to­gether.”

Some never re­spond, but the ones that have are now valu­able friends and I highly rec­om­mend the prac­tice. It is net­work­ing, ru­ral-style.

Friend­ship and laugh­ter aside, there is a to­tally prag­matic side to know­ing your neigh­bours.

If you have swapped an­i­mal anec­dotes over a bot­tle of wine, you know who to call when there is a strange kunekune in your vege gar­den. If your goats es­cape into their or­chard, there is a much higher chance they will call you in­stead of shoot­ing the plun­der­ing Hou­di­nis.

If you know your neigh­bours have gone to Bali, you might think it’s weird when a mov­ing van is up­load­ing all their fur­ni­ture. If you are go­ing away, you can pay their teenage daugh­ter to feed your cat and chick­ens.

It’s also peace of mind to know some­one with sense who is some­what fa­mil­iar with your in­fra­struc­ture, rou­tines and an­i­mals, and is keep­ing an eye on your house, teenagers, staff and/or an­i­mals when you aren’t there.

We don’t have a lot worth steal­ing, but I’d like to keep what we have.

First off, we’ve made sure our yard is vis­i­ble from the road. Pri­vacy is all well and good but I didn’t want a high fence that would-be bur­glars could hide be­hind. Our yard ac­tu­ally con­tains over 100 dy­ing Mercedes cars as stock for my hus­band’s parts busi­ness, so cam­eras and sen­sors alert us to any­one who tries to self-serve.

We de­cided a mon­i­tored se­cu­rity sys­tem would be use­less as the re­sponse is at least 20 min­utes away, so we in­stalled

a re­ally loud alarm that even It is a sad

the neigh­bours can hear. They state of af­fairs

phones us or friends if we are out when we have

to lock our of range. We have a net­work of pad­docks but neigh­bours who we can ask to

there’s too re­spond, and we do the same for much rustling them. This sys­tem also has a fixed go­ing on smoke alarm.

You also need to keep stock in. All our bound­ary gates are locked with com­bi­na­tion locks, and even the smartest, bored and most spite­ful cow still hasn’t worked out the num­ber.

This, com­bined with a hot wire on top of the seven-wire bound­ary fence, may not stop would-be rustlers, but at least it will make their job more dif­fi­cult.

It is a sad state of af­fairs when we have to lock our pad­docks but we suf­fered too much rustling when I lived on the East

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