After a few days in Auckland, we found a farm to work on for two weeks on nearby Waiheke Island. We set out to do a few small errands before catching the noon ferry. IRD tax number applied for, we biked to the Devonport ferry terminal and jumped on a ferry. After an hour of really delightful public transportation across the clear blue Tamaki Straight, we arrived at Oneroa and set about biking to Uma Rapiti Farm.
Less than a minute after getting on my bike, I took a nasty spill. I was pretty shaken and far from confident about biking the rest of the way to the farm. My bike doesn’t do well on the sandy/gravel-covered roads. We took a moment and gave it another shot. I made it there, definitely grateful the island is small and Cable Bay is near to Oneroa.
The property we found ourselves on belongs to a middle aged couple who live on it during the weekends. Their house is on the northern half of the property and it is pretty indistinguishable from their neighbors, modern with lots of glass and right angles. The lawn is immaculate, having recently been professionally mowed.
The southern half of the property is a different story. This is Uma Rapiti farm. Here, we scramble to organize the ceaseless atrophy that is farming. With Nick and Ellie, the managing farmers, we’ve spent a great deal of time building compost piles (the clay soil here is in dire need), collecting grass clippings and horse pooh and seaweed for various mulching projects, and preparing and planting the vegetable garden (chard, celery, tomatoes, eggplant, mesclun greens, dill). We’ve spent some hours targeting gorse, a thorny invasive species, and building up flower boxes. Lots of work out in the sun and the wind, mostly in view of the beautiful Pacific Ocean with the skyline of Auckland and the cone of Rangitoto across the water.
It hasn’t been all work and no play for us kiddos. Our workday ends at 12:30. We’ve been using our spare time to fight the effects of farming and gravity, keeping limber with afternoon yoga and many a walk along the coast. There are a lot of well maintained trails for tramping and we’ve enjoyed the one by the house which followed the coast for a few kilometers. We’ve also joined Nick and Ellie a couple times for a ride to Onetangi Beach. Recently, Pat has been biting his nails and tapping his feet as he follows the World Series games from the corner of the woolshed where there is a scrap of internet.
It’s been a welcome and delightful stop on our trip, but already we’re getting itchy feet, ready to move on and explore other parts of NZ. We’re here for another week in which we want to cram in a sea kayak trip, fishing, biking around the island, and more tramping.