Nick and Ros’s property – ‘Auburn’
McClure St, Pirongia
Saturday 24th November 10 am
10 am – Cuppa and get-together. Tea/coffee will be provided by the committee.
10.30 am – Nick’s programme!
12 pm – Pot-Luck-Lunch. Please bring a plate of food to share, along with the eating utensils you may require (plate, mug, cutlery etc) and a chair if you need one. Following lunch, the programme will continue…
There is a plentiful grass verge for parking in Collinson Street at the back of our property, less congested for making an exit when crowded
Nick has written an introduction to their property:
A young mother I once knew wanted only babies, not children, and most of the time she had one. Poor kids. She lost interest in babies who became children.
Tongue in cheek, I empathise with her view as it applies to tree cropping. The dreaming, the scheming, the thrill of nurturing a young specimen to its first crop… Then, inconvenience. Unruly teenage behaviour begins and in rapid succession, dratted maturity and your detailed effort to maintain a healthy specimen and a continued crop. From this reality comes a glimmer of comprehension about what motivates orchardists to rip out trees they have nurtured for years, to replace them with the latest and most fashionable in the market.
We have re-arranged some of our deckchairs at Auburn with the aid of a tree spade, but there is currently not much enthusiastic investment in a brave new future. What we set out twenty-odd years ago to do at Auburn is not the same as what we are doing now, but there is a legacy here and an armacy there.
Since Auburn’s land downsized to 3/8ths with the sale of the back of the farm (including the chestnut orchard) our grazing animals are primarily low-cost lawn mowers. Farm forestry has dropped off the radar and Tree Cropping potters along.
We reap a harvest from our prior input but we also reap issues around maintaining productivity in ageing trees. Uncomfortably this parallels our lives as the Grim Retirer looms on our near horizon: Although Ros is employed, the nub is that there is nothing for her unwaged husband to retire from.
Ros and I would therefore welcome the fresh observations of you who do not view these surroundings through twenty-odd years of “same-old,” to make constructive suggestions/criticisms concerning potential you may see on site for gainful employment.
The excuse for the field day in November is to view the Waikato Walnut Trial for which Nick and Ros supplied the land and upkeep and you members supplied funding and the energy to see it through. But what you will actually come for is to catch up with some other people, enjoy a good lunch together, and do a bit of networking while you are supposedly listening to what the owner is telling the mob.
The mark of you unruly tree-croppers is to “just do it.” Anecdotal evidence results, in an incomparable fashion. (Don’t snigger.) Your committee wanted members involved in the Walnut Trial to have a hands-on go at doing enough planning to generate reliable information to compare “apple-for-apple” (not apple-for-orange) with other trials around the regions.
The trial has an ongoing legacy of reliable evidence for a walnut variety that does well locally in the presence of blight. But the real aim of the exercise was to have a science version of a grafting or pruning day, where you take home skills and attitudes.
Did that work, you guys?