Wednesday 28 December 2011


Today we baled and stacked 300 bales of hay. It was a bit of a family affair, Mum always at the ready with a cuppa and a scone,  Dad,76 with one kidney and some dodgy pipe work happy to get on an ancient Fergy tractor and haul it around the paddock that has some tight corners. We started the job yesterday in 29 degrees - today was  aslightly cooler but sticky 27 degrees uncomfortable.
And then there is the Rock who has a passion for doing things the old way which means using old stuff. Some of it 30 - 50 years old. We had our moments - the Holland Baler busted its boiler a couple of times but the Rock , as he almost always does , fixed it. And the Hay conveyor chewed bales for a while till we worked out a bulging guiding rod was the culprit  it was fixed in a paddock moment with the most intricate of tools  - a sledgehammer. Two bangs and dang if it didn't slide the bales up like butter. 

Son Matthew joined us for the last round of the paddock so there were three generations of Campbells outstanding in their field. It also meant the oldest skited to the youngest by ripping round the paddock  only to be sworn at to slow down. Dad might want to do a lot of things at his age but apparently driving a  62 bedford truck scooping up hay sedately is not one of them. 

The bales were neatly stacked in our shed  - almost all of them - a mate took about 60 straight from the paddock for her stock. 

As I sit here typing this , Im still feeling the scratch of a lonely grass wand on my slightly less ample arse  but  no one stirs. 

Asleep they are  -  dreaming of big bales and noisy machines, dust and a very tidy stack, a cleansing shower  and the smell of Mums fresh scones and my strawberry preserves from the house and a cold beer.   

Thursday 22 December 2011


What a complete load of tosh. This is another example of  speculative journalism. Take a pinch of facts chuck in some fame seeking expert. Look at the worst case scenario and report it. 
Mind you if the birds glow in the dark they will be easier to catch.

However we are pretty confident that the titi's biggest threat is a hungry Rakiura Maori chap or chapess.

Sunday 18 December 2011


Today was a great day. We woke up early at Spring Creek  motorcamp and I shot down to the creek to feed the eels.  They fought with the ducks and trout  for a few crumbs of bread.

Then we decided on a trip up the Wairau Valley. Our first stop was a small pub at Wairau Valley township where we had a toasted sandwich and I had a half of Matsons lager..  It was a nice light drop.

Then we went to one of a myriad spots that motorvan owners (mo'vanners) like ma and pa know about. Todays visual treat was Lake Argyle which is a small canal lake that is diverted from the Branch  and Leatham  Rivers to create a bit of power.. It holds a few fish - so ma and I went for a stroll to the big rivers while dad had a couple of casts in Argyle. While he claims he got a few nibbles there were  no fish in his bag on our return.  

On the way back  to Picton and our final night in the South, we stopped to get some cherries for lambcut  and some good white wines . I wanted some nice aromatics to go with the crayfish dishes I have planned for Boxing Day. 

So I purchased a six pack of  Gewurztraminer, Toru and Pinot Gris from Te Whare Ra wines. 

I have a few recipes to try out and will blog about the matches after Xmas. 
I am no true believer in biodynamic practices but  I am a  believer in loving the land and nurturing it and whatever the Flowerdays are doing it is good for the grape. Their wines are probably some of the most complex and interesting aromatics in the country. 

And I cant wait to pair them up with a range of crayfish,  whitebait,  and smoked eel dishes. 

Today was a brilliant day.. some great sights, fantastic people and good food and wine.. It doesn't get much better.. 

Saturday 17 December 2011


Tonight we are in the Spring Creek motor camp. Its a lovely wee place and we are again in a cabin for $80.  So what did i get for $80?  A really nice bed  clean as , a bright and clean duvet a clean toilet and shower. 

Its old and built of concrete block but perfectly adequate.

Its light years away from this hell  hole in Kaikoura.

And this holiday park is set up for kids and has a delightful spring fed creek thats home to some huge trout and eels. 

Its the quintessential new zealand holiday park. 


We  are on the first stay of a three day trip from Christchurch to Wellington. So far it has been fabulous to spend some time with mum and dad in their faithful steel steed - their motorhome known as Bugsys Burrow.  We stopped at Waipara Springs  winery for a stellar coffee and bought a couple of bottles of wine  and then stopped in Cheviot and had a noisy in a fabulous antique shop. Then we looked into a lovely gallery and struck up a conversation to find in ten seconds  flat that we found an acquaintance we had in common. This seems to be a national sport for Kiwis. Work out with a stranger someone you both know in the shortest time possible. With well travelled parents and a chirpy and inquiring old man - its a daily occurrence.  Now we are not too precious about where we stay on out trips and it makes it easier if its a camping ground with a power site for ma and pa and a cabin for me - that way we can stay together.  Their motor home is cosy for 2 but cramped for 3. So our first night park  up is in a place called the A1 Motel in Kaikoura. Its a place probably built in the 70's and its bloody tired.  Now we dont really mind tired but we dont abide grubby and this one is grubby.  It was $30 for the power site for ma and pa and $70 for my room.
We have with us some precious cargo - a mate who owns a lobster exporting company gave us over a dozen cray tails for xmas.  so a fridge is good. I unpacked them and put them in the fridges freezer and as i closed the door it fell off. Landed on my toe..  it hurt. but i could not help laughing.  the sheets are clean but the toilet would be a great centrepiece in a horror movie of the genesis of some alien life form.
So we wont be back. But like all good holidays the bad experiences are all part of the trip.  This morning we are off to cruise around Blenheim. A mate has offered us a cuppa tea and some fresh xmas baking.  And then Sunday sees us in Picton for the big crossing on BlueBridge.

Monday 5 December 2011


A few weeks ago when the International Big Oil was in town a few media politeratti and cliteratti gathered for a bit of a catch up.

There was good wine to be had.  Lots of it - we were buying and sharing our favourites with  others . 

A well known media personality presented us with a new wine.  

It was cloudy and sorry boys - but it was the colour of a mucky period.. 
A diseased ruby color. 

We all sniffed inquisitively and as I cast my eyes around the table it was clear that this was not an ephiphanistic drop. 

We sipped but our palates were in obvious agreement - it was not a great wine. 

The purchaser of this bemusing wine was aghast - "Its bio dynamic! " he exclaimed 

Moments like these are always dangerous for us sheilas of advancing years and bladder valves worn by too many evenings on the hops as a young un. 

We were characteristically blunt. "Its crap." 

Others murmured in agreement . To be fair some thought it was okay  - drinkable at a pinch - " A quaffer " someone proffered.

Then the buyee of the bottle thundered  "Its $245.. "

About $10 bucks worth shot out the left side on my mouth. 

A mate lost control of her muscles and spilt a $20 bucks on the table as she jerked in reaction to the revelation. 

Then we proceeded to take the piss out of the plonk. It was universally declared ordinary. 

Bio dynamics is a wonderful marketing ploy by the organic lobby. Medieval mysticism gone moderne. 

Now I grow a few veges  and we have cows and sheep a horse and chooks and as everyone knows manure is good for you. I use it extensively  and the results are glorious. Use lots of manure and you get robust, lush fecund fauna. 

 However playing in shit filling up horns cos they are the seemingly magical   "fertile" bit of the bovine and burying them to mature the said crap  is just frikking daft. 

Doing it in time with the moon and sun indicates that the believers have been exposed to too many solar flares. 

Now in this video  up on the Seresin Wine Site (which I think has some of the finest wine in the world) is an example of  how this pseudo science is being peddled. 
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Some cute guy  playing with poo somehow seems romantic when the dreamy scenes are linked to lush vineyards. 

He looks like some agrarian Merlin piling the poop into horns for it to mature in the earth to wait a while for it to turn into plant superfood. 

The simple fact is - if you line up a biodynamic vineyard and one that uses natural fertilisers like manure broken down in the old fashioned way, the results would be the same. 

Its not the moon or the sun or the "fertile horn"  or even the steadfast belief of the cute guy that's creating good wine. Its a modern myth. 

Its simply that shit is the biz when it comes to making things grow. 

And its time that this weird wine wankery was unmasked for what it is  - bollocks. 

Some biodynamic wine will be good in spite of the all the jiggery pokery .  Because shit is good for the soil.  But all the biodynamic ritual adds no value

The shit is where its at. 

So to all you good wine makers out there - stop taking the piss - us good wine drinkers deserve more respect .

Their is truth in the vine - tell it.