The last week or so, as a change of scene and escape from the mud, I have been taking my walks along the road rather than back into the farm. The farms to the south are very picturesque, and I inevitably see many peacocks. Usually there is very little traffic- I might see two vehicles in an hour.
Today I was overtaken by a farming couple on a quad bike who stopped to chat with me. I explained where I live and she asked if I was a 'book binder' because someone had given her a couple of books to pass onto me. They gave me a ride on their quad up the road to their farmhouse to collect the books. When I heard their name (Atchison) I said I had come across their family in my local history research and this prompted Jim to loan me a local memoir called From Forest to Farm and offer to take me on a tour round the district when I return it to him.
He has been farming on Riponui Road for over 50 years, and his family was among the original settlers. He told me that the farm that I live on was once the most dense stand of kauri in Northland: "there were so many stumps that we had 37 fires in one day to try and clear them".