Sunday, June 30, 2013

A little bit of cows, oysters, sightseeing and great people

I had the pleasure to travel to the Southland for the New Zealand Holstein Friesian Conference in Invercargill from June 24-27th.  The week included farm visits, tours to local attractions, meeting breeders, eating raw oysters and much more.

Monday through Wednesday included mainly farm visits with various evening banquets.  We visited a number of dairy farms including: Karatane Dairies (the Ormsbys), Ros Mhor (Johnny Adamson), Riverdell Farm (Owen & Cathy Copinga), Oakura Holsteins (the Taylors), Middlevale (the Dodds), and Fairleigh Farms (the Eades).

The sale was on Wednesday night in the town of Gore with a high selling lot of NZ$28,500.

Thursday had an alternative tour while the annual general meeting was in session.  This included stops at the Southland museum, the southern town of Bluff and some other places.

I was pleased to see this part of the country and meet lots of new people.  The conference ran really smoothly and it was evident that a lot of planning and preparation was put into it.  I'm glad I was able to attend and look forward to more involvement with the New Zealand Holstein Friesian Association.

Below are some pictures from the week:

View of Canterbury and the Southern Alps

Snow covered Southern Alps on my way to Invercargill

First farm visit to Karatane

'Damion' daughters on display at Karatane

Cows in a wintering barn at the Ros Mhor stud

At Riverdell Farm

Farleigh Farm's new wintering barn

Feeling at home seeing some Ayrshires in this free stall barn

Bruce Eade shares about Fairleigh Farm

Monday tour to the Bill Richardson Truck Museum
Tuesday visit to the Velodrome where cyclist race
The Southland museum in Invercargill display a unique New Zealand Reptile, the Tuatara

The Southland museum was the first to have a captive Tuatara breeding program

I discovered I love Oysters, both raw and fried!
Bluff is the southern most town in New Zealand and is know for it's oysters.  It is the famous site for their annual Bluff Oyster Festival.
Bluff is also a predictor for the typical weather.  If you can see the hill, it means it is going to rain.  If you can't see the hill, it is raining.

Viewof Bluff  from our cafe lunch spot

At Bluff, far away from home

Most photographed spot at Bluff

Stewart Island in the distance
New Zealand is more than just two islands!  Stewart Island is New Zealand's third largest island and is 30 km south of the South Island.
View from the top of Bluff Hill
For my Northern Hemisphere friends it is important to note that it is currently winter in New Zealand.  Most of the cows are dry.  They are housed in wintering barns or graze on different brassica crops such as swedes or kale.

Common wintering for cows in New Zealand

Perks of a bus ride = views of the Southland terrain
My flight from Invercargill to Christchurch got cancelled so I ended up having to take a bus from Invercargill to Dunedin which was over a two hour long ride.  It happened to be a nice day out so I had the added benefit of taking in more Southland scenery.  This was complemented by the group of maori women on the bus that sang the entire time.  From Dunedin I got a flight back to Christchurch to conclude my exciting week at the New Zealand Holstein Friesian Conference.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Field Days

The transition to working full time has begun!
Last week I had the privilege to travel with my company to the Mystery Creek Field Days in Hamilton, New Zealand which was June 12-15.
The field days is the largest agricultural event in the Southern hemisphere.  This year there were over 125,000 visitors!
I enjoyed getting to know my new fellow co-workers and feeling more a part of the team over the three days.  It was a pleasure working at the company booth and interacting with the farmers customers.
View of Mt. Taranaki on flight to field days

Mystery Creek Field Days

Gorgeous day for an Ag event!
In the coming weeks I will continue learning more with my new job.  
Stay posted for more updates!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Quarryville to Quakesville

Greetings everyone!
I admit I have not been keeping up with this blog but that is about to change.  This blog has been rejuvenated.
My life has been a whirlwind lately.  In the past month I have graduated from college and moved to the other side on the world for a job that I am very excited about.  I hope to show you a glimpse of my adventures working in the dairy genetic industry in New Zealand.
It was very difficult to leave all my family and friends and not know when I might see them next.
I successfully packed my life into two suitcases (they were rather large) and two carry on items.  I left the town of Qarryville and the family dairy farm in beautiful Lancaster, Co. PA.  After over 24 hours of traveling by plane I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand.  An area that has been devastated by earthquakes in the past.
A new chapter in my life has begun.
One of the first challenges I had to tackle was learning how to drive a manual on the left side of the road.  I have been driving an automatic on the right side of the road in America for the past seven years.  Before coming to New Zealand for this job I was not very good at driving manual, even my younger twin brothers with their permits can do it better.  It can freak you out just thinking about it.  All the traffic is going in the opposite direction, I'm sitting in the opposite seat, shifting with my left hand and doing the turn signal with my right hand and lets not forget about intersections, traffic circles and parking lots.  Driving was the biggest thing I was worried about.  Last Wednesday I could barely drive through the residential area of Lincoln, NZ.  I almost gave my coworker a heart attack on that first day of driving. 
My New Zealand work truck
Now I am proud to say that I can drive by myself through red lights and intersections and am getting better every day.  It was nerve wracking but I had to push myself to tackle this challenge.
Stay tuned for more of my adventures in New Zealand!