Thursday 21 August 2014

One Less Thing: Honey & The Orchard

One Less Thing is a new "life" segment I wanted to introduce to the blog. Basically it will follow Camille and I as we slowly make the move to self sufficiency, restore the orchard to it's former glory and eventually make the huge move to living in the Far North permanently.

[caption id="attachment_7464" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Camille talking to a random chicken in front of the old gumdigger shack Camille talking to a random chicken in front of the old gumdigger shack[/caption]

Camille and I along with our parents, bought an orchard in the Far North in December last year. Why would people who know absolutely nothing about fruit trees decide to buy an orchard?! I honestly don't know... but I'm sure glad we did!


The 65 acre orchard we bought was an old deceased estate that hadn't been looked after for a good 8 - 10 years. Primarily Cherimoya and Avocado trees, there are also Macadamia, Citrus, Feijoa, Pear, Apple, Plum, Olive, Guava, Loquat, Banana and possibly more trees that we haven't actually found yet. This place feels huge. We knew right from the beginning that we had a bit of a mission ahead. But with an image of the finished piece of paradise firmly planted in our minds, we just knew this was the right place for us.

[caption id="attachment_7456" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Clearing trees Clearing trees[/caption]

Even with all our good intentions, things haven't gone smoothly. As all the paperwork was being finalised, Dad was in hospital having an emergency bowel operation. I won't go into details, but the next 6 months were a struggle. After a second operation and a lot of time off, he's finally coming right - which means we've been pretty active on the orchard front! Clearing trees (remember this place had been neglected for years, to say it's a bit overgrown is an understatement), soil testing, gathering firewood and meeting with buyers, all while trying to get the tractor running (major fail, don't even go there) and counting the trees we actually do have.

[caption id="attachment_7460" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]A view of one of the empty paddocks A view of one of the empty paddocks[/caption]

Fast forward to last weekend and we found ourselves walking around the orchard with a local beekeeper. He had contacted us wanting to put hives on there, so we agreed to show him around and see if there were any prime locations to put them. I had never actually realised how much of a science beekeeping actually is. He actually breeds new queens and everything, it is so interesting!

[caption id="attachment_7461" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Yummy Yummy[/caption]

He ended up finding 2 sites on the orchard, and 1 on our other 5 acre section suitable for hives. As a thank you, he gave us 12 tubs of the most delicious honey I've ever tasted. Apparently that's the deal, we let him use our land and we get free honey for life. One less thing. LOVE IT.

How cute is this little guy?

The hives won't actually go up until the weather gets a little warmer, as then the bees are less likely to die. I have to admit, I am slightly worried that I'm going to get multiple bee stings. I've never been stung before, so have no idea whether I'm allergic or not (knowing me, I probably am!) but he reckons you'd pretty much have to go up and kick the hive over for the bees to start stinging. Note to self: Don't do that.

[caption id="attachment_7463" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Camille feeding one of the wild horses that wander onto the orchard Camille feeding one of the wild horses that wander onto the orchard[/caption]

We're hoping to be up there when he does set them up, he's got spare bee suits so we can watch what he's doing - don't worry I will definitely be updating the blog with numerous photos of me suited up if that is the case. Hahaha.

[caption id="attachment_7468" align="aligncenter" width="600"]We also have wild turkeys! We also have wild turkeys![/caption]

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into what we've been doing with the orchard. It's seriously so exciting and because it's such a huge adventure, I want you guys with us all the way - through all the tough times and the good!

Here's a few more photos:

[caption id="attachment_7465" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Dad, Camille, Eric and Neil all hard at work clearing trees Dad, Camille, Eric and Neil all hard at work clearing trees[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7457" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]The tractor we tried to save #fail The tractor we tried to save #fail[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7466" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Camille on a cherimoya-picking mission Camille on a cherimoya-picking mission[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_7470" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Someone's hiding Someone's hiding[/caption]

Let us know in the comments below where your piece of paradise is!

Thanks for viewing!


  1. Can you put a photo of me on too? Thats my paradise to.haha

  2. Actually yes, I can!! Hahaha :D

  3. There we go!

  4. LOVE This! I would love to have a piece of paradise like this where I could be self-sustainable! Somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of the big city but close enough to go to if you really needed/wanted to.

  5. Yay!! So glad you enjoyed it Amanda! ❤️
    It's honestly a bit crazy - but awesome! We're completely off the grid there - solar power (only for the electric fence, the little shack has nothing because we're not using it) and tank water.
    The closest town is Kaitaia up there, but honestly it has everything we need! oxo

  6. This is so cool! What an amazing investment for you and your family, something really special to cherish and hopefully benefit future generations ;) Where up north is it? I really can't wait to see more pics of the progress you are making xx

  7. Thanks Kate!! :)
    I hope so! Although I don't wanna get Mum & Dad too keen on the whole "grandkids" thing just yet. Hahaha ;)
    It's in Houhora, about 45 minutes south of Cape Reinga - so it's waaay up north! Have you ever been there??
    Yay! Thank you! Hoping to do monthly updates, picking season has started so I imagine the next few months are going to be pretty full on! oxo

  8. You guys are insane, but so inspiring. I'm amazed. AND so glad you're blogging about it!!

  9. Hehe, thank you Maddy!! :)
    Definitely got a bit of a mission ahead of us. Yay, so glad you're enjoying it! I'm pretty excited to do the next update to be honest - there is so much that needs to be done up there!! oxo

  10. Good luck, I'm really looking forward to reading about it. You are living my dream!

  11. Wow that looks like such a great adventure. Thanks for sharing with everyone, it's really awesome to see :)

  12. Thanks Kerri! I'm so looking forward to sharing more as the year goes on! oxo

  13. Thanks for reading Louisa, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! There will definitely be a lot more updates to come oxo

  14. Christel Hansen28 May 2015 at 02:09

    It's a peruvian fruit related to custard apples! They can get over 1kg in size, have creamy white flesh, big black seeds and taste kinda like tinned fruit salad - but better!
    They're slowly starting to become a "thing" in New Zealand now, and we've seen them at Harvest Wholefoods for sale! oxoxo

  15. This sounds fascinating! Bring me one down haha.

  16. Christel Hansen28 May 2015 at 02:26

    I SO WILL! Harvesting will be October-ish though, so it'll be a bit of a wait. Hahahaha :P