The thought of moving a farm from Whangamata to Kaitaia was much worse than actually doing it. What stressed me out the most was feeling as if I was doing it on my own, but of course I wasn't.
Local sharemilkers James and Roger took a day from their busy schedules with farm and family, stepped in and helped the truckies load all my equipment, which involved some tricky male backingmanoeuvres.
A phone call to a Kaitaia contractor saved me another 1000km round trip by unloading all my stuff in Northland.
The next day, 101 cows went up and the owner of the farm I have leased kindly offered to set up for them and help unload – another 1000km saved.
Employing cleaning contractors to leave the house spick and span meant I could travel to Kaitaia with my furniture. I was so happy to see those three ladies arrive armed with mops, sprays and cleaning cloths.
I employed NZ Move it, Whitianga moving contractor. A husband and wife team, Barbara and Warwick, zoomed all our possessions out of the house in the blink of an eye and wouldn't hear of me offering to lift anything.
Off the truck at the other end, everything gently placed in a good spot with good humour, hugs all round and promises of visits, and they were gone.
What lovely people and what a relief. All the hard stuff was moved and there were only 102 cows and 34 calves to go.
Loading the last lot of cows went well, but one truck got far ahead of the others. My plan was to race the trucks up there and organise the yards and paddock for unloading when I got there – ETA: 4pm.
However, as I waited for the last truck to leave, I realised our arrival was more likely to be well after 6pm. So I worried all the way up there about how I was going to manage the strange yards and new farm layout in the dark.
The yards were full of animals when I arrived, as that first truck had unloaded and was well gone. I could hear the rumble of the other trucks arriving as I raced around in the dark trying desperately to figure it all out.
Then a person emerged out of the shadows and introduced himself as my new neighbour. Len is 74 and he knew what was going on. He stood on the track and opened and closed gates as we dispatched the various classes of stock to the appropriate paddocks.
All seemed well, until we heard a bit of swearing from the loading race. There was a soft spot and the truck was stuck.
"A hundred bucks worth of effing metal and this wouldn't have happened."
The truckies were unimpressed, but being good Kiwi blokes soon sorted themselves out with chains and bit of tugging. Unfortunately, my saviour, Len, had parked his vehicle in the way of the truckies, so he had to scuttle off under pressure and get it out of the way.
He must have been a bit flustered because he drove his vehicle into a culvert. It had turned into a comedy of errors, but at the end of the long and tiring day, all the cows got unloaded safe and sound, no gear was damaged and no-one got hurt.
I dragged Len out of the culvert with the motorbike and a tow-rope. We all lived to work another day.
- © Fairfax NZ News