angelica 1

The Pig


This little pig was a pet, owned by a small girl whose family has gone to live in the city.  Probably because it’s a pure bred kuni kuni , the pig is fully grown
(2 years) but still a manageable size. Unlike the notorious Polly and Peggy, who both blossomed into pigs the size of a state house each? Peggy and Polly now live close by on a couple of hundred of acres of hill country, and they take up most of that space between them.

Now, here’s the thing – he comes already named. Mysteriously, he is called Angelica. As named by his previous owner, the small girl in question. This is pretty baffling.

He does not seem to come with any gender confusion. (In some cultures we would be referring to a “girly – boy pig.”) It is possible, though, that the former owner liked to dress him in small frocks – we have witnessed this strange phenomenon with pet lambs and small caretakers.

It may be, however, he has dark Johnny Cash - type piggy thoughts…  

Well , I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My trotter got hard and my wits got keen
I’d roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I’d search the honky tonks and bars
and kill that man who gave me that awful name.

No. No. We are certain that Angelica has only kind thoughts about former owners.

A very well adjusted pig, who has taken up residence with the goats, from whom he stays rather aloof. Perhaps because they’ve never cross-dressed.


23 March 2011 -- Angelica has become something of a breakout artist. See our blog post entitled Delinquent Pig.

21 Sept 2016 -- His deliquency continues.  See our blog post entitled Pigging Out.

pig poots

The Pig

Imogen Poots

We are the proud custodian of a comely saddleback sow, Imogen Poots. Who was up the duff on arrival, and has now promptly produced ten piglets.

In case you think "when pigs could fly" is merely an expression, watch if one of the ten get between Imogen and her food. She puts her nose under the piglet and gives the little one a squealing toss in the air. Pigs indeed can fly.


The Sheep

South Suffolk Sheep

May 13th may not seem like a red letter day to many but it was for the Rams of Redbank, Mel and Jimmy.  This day was the beginning of another season on the sheep farming calendar, mating day, the day the rams went out.

This important event had been delayed this year because Richard insisted that harvesting grapes had to take priority, and when we consider the present state of sheep farming we couldn't argue. But with all the grapes picked, and delivered to the winery our attention turned to the sheep. Mike, Nathan and Brian mustered the blackface beauties, the Suffolk ewes, trucked them to Alex Paddocks vineyard and released them into the lush feed growing between the rows.

Richard loves to see the ewes at work for him, grazing in the vineyards after the grapes are picked. They mow the grass and leave behind those trails of organic manure. No more tractor mowing or steaming with their carbon footprints, no more weed-eating with its sweated labour. Richard dreams of the day when he can have sheep grazing the vineyards all year round, sell the tractor and mower and steamer and weed-eaters. His orders are, breed some sheep that don't eat grape leaves or bunches. We think it would be simpler if he was to breed vines whose leaves and grapes were unpalatable to sheep.

So then our two handsome Suffolk rams were brought from Lindsay's paddock where they had been sires to his ewes too, and nature was left to take its course. We can now look forward to bonny, bouncing, black lambs in early October when the Central Otago spring will be in full swing.  

The final task for the season was to deliver the wool clip to the local woolbuyer. We have to sympathise with all sheep farmers when we realised our total proceeds barely covered the cost of freighting it there, let alone the cost of shearing. But we don't think Richard would let us have cows grazing in the vineyards, so we just have to concede that wine is king.

Editor's note:

This breed has been long favoured by the Proprietor's family. Indeed his father, Major Dermot Neill, was a South Suffolk breeder of note. At least at our place.
The Major once entered his best ram at the Mosgiel Agricultural and Pastoral Show. In the event , there were no other contenders in his class. Strangely the Ram came second. To himself.

A minor embarrassment, and perhaps we shouldn’t have brought it up here.


3 May 2007 -- Our own flock  have not been without their ups and downs. See our blog post about a mongrel sheep incursion

24 June 2008 -- Read about Jimmy Baahns possibly painful penis incident.

29 March 2011 -- Always a newsworthy group, we've posted another accounting of their adventures in the Delinquent Sheep blog post.


The Ducks

Indian Runners

Running from what?

Our menagerie of the familiar, but slightly off beat, creatures increased last week when we took home four young Indian Runner Ducks.

Slightly hilarious, but very charming...

Indian runner ducks are in fact Indonesian in origin, not Indian at all. And they don't fly, but run around instead, like speedy penguins.

Here they are acclimatizing for a week or two in the chook run, before they will be allowed to join the free range anarchy, which we relish here at TPHQ.


The Scarey Sheep


Sweater isn’t really scary, he just looks sort of different, and we embrace diversity here on the vineyards. In fact we have no idea what kind of strange breed sheep he is. He is a mystery. Jacqui finds him 'creepy,' but then she has sheep issues. It happens.

Sweater was brought up with Gong Li, so it’s possible he thinks he is a cow. He certainly shows no interest in our sheep, and remains inseparable from his childhood friend.


The Miniature Belted Galloway Cattle

Gong Li and Gordy

Mike Wing, viticulturist and organics enthusiast, is a big believer in cow manure as enormously efficacious in the vineyard (along with our comprehensive composting programme, and so on).

So, for some time, the Proprietor was under the pump to
purchase some cattle, something he was reluctant to indulge, not having any particular affinity with cows. None at all.

Until the day Mike found these miniature Belted Galloway cattle from the Nelson area. At this point the Prop gave up the struggle and fell in love.

They arrived mid winter 2011, and walked in as if they owned the place. Their relaxed demeanor may have something to do with their companions Sweater the Scary Sheep, who grew up with Gong Li -- the two are inseparable -- and the milking cow, Lady Shakira Caine, who mistakenly sees the two as calves, and has adopted them. Well, an easy mistake, they are only about 3 ft tall (one metre) -- sort of hobbit cattle.

Those who are familiar with the bestiary know that we only name animals after people we admire, so Gong Li is named after the wonderful and beautiful Chinese movie star Gong Li. When someone said they thought a Chinese woman might not be too flattered to have a cow named for her we were a little anxious. But, too late ... Gong Li she is, and we can only hope the film star Gong Li takes it well ... let it be said we LOVE the great Gong Li here at H.Q.

Gordy is ... well just Gordy. He looks like a cross between a cow and a panda bear