Loving Country Life
by Mike Isle
Pam Langdon moved from living in Christchurch city to a rural block in Tai Tapu in 2015 as part of an extended family move.
Pam says the 15-acre block has become her sanctuary and they now have sheep, chickens, pigs and four cats that also call the farmlet home. “At present, we have three newborn piglets, and our chickens give us up to seven eggs a day,” says Pam.
“We used to have Kunekune pigs but now have Saddleback and Wiltshires as they are good for bacon and we are enjoying having them. All the animals have their own personalities.
“I originally grew up in the country, but we had lived in Cashmere for many years. I am loving the lifestyle change and live in the garden rain hail for shine. I trim the hedge with hand clippers and maintain the grounds whilst my son-in-law does all the heavy work. We have fig trees and an orchard with apples, plums, quinces and walnut trees. We make hay and do all the farming things. We are in a world of our own out here, and it is not too far from the supermarket or cafes to meet friends for coffee and 20 minutes to the children’s school.”
Pam says she has learnt a lot about farming by researching on the internet and reading rural magazines. “We are quite self-sufficient and have generators as well. I am busy all day on the property gardening and tending to the animals. It is nice at my age to have a new interest and learning on the spot has been a big thing.”
The family employ a contractor to shear the sheep but they take do take care of their own drenching, crutching and foot care.
“Looking after the piglets is lovely, I sit with them and feed them and help the children make sure the pigs’ beds are fresh and clean. In the summertime, I make a picnic basket, and we have a picnic out with the animals.”
Pam also enjoys tending to her vegetable and rose garden and her seven-year-old grandson Kaci has his own patch that he is learning on.
“I love my roses, and I use pea straw and mulch to help keep the weeds down. We have our own well and an irrigation system which we use on a timer, but we are always very careful with our water supply especially at this time of the year.
“I work as organically as I can and seldom spray. I love using compost and have a compost heap, but we are still working on that. I take great care with the chicken mixture and make sure the lambs get the right food as well to ensure optimum health.
“Moving from the city has been great for us as a family. I couldn’t have done it without the children — it is working well for us blending our lives.
“My daughter’s father-in-law and sister-in-law also live here. We have a tennis court, and we enjoy being out there with the children and blending together as one big family.
“My granddaughter Bobbie loves netball, and we have the basketball hoop so they can practise and my other grandson Tyla loves doing his art and often uses the animals as his subjects. We share the jobs although I am not allowed on the ride mower because ‘boys have to have their own toys’ and Sunday is my day for putting on shoes to go visiting, but every other day I live in gumboots. There is nothing I don’t like about living rurally.”