I am part geek, part nerd, part foodie, and part nature lover.

2015 is a year of change. Back at the Orchard Cottage, a large scale landscape improvement project was executed, flood water diversion berm with a Belgian Fence over it, pebbles that have a lower risk of being washed away in a flood event were spread, more trees went in to support the birds and the bees, and its ready for ducks. Apart from that, I finally took the step towards obtaining my Permaculture Design Certificate with Koanga Institute. In fact, I was ready to start a local Permaculture initiative in Banks Peninsula. Then I got the memo… They wanted to put a shepherd into the house, so I had to move out.

After not so much drama, going from 9m above sea level to 107m above sea level, further South, from rural country to rural town, I find myself in Rakaia, on my own quarter acre section, doing my own Permaculture thing.

From the Orchard Cottage,

Fate and destiny has had its course that I was sponsored to remain in Kaituna Orchards as the 2IC for my “second” season after my “first” season as working holiday visa holder. That is in essence a change of industry for me from a white-collared job with the IT industry giant, Hewlett-Packard to the doing almost everything guy with a family-owned summerfruit orchard in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone and TV reception.

I love this place. Love the peace. Love the day to day challenge. Challenge and peace coincide at the same place? Nothing is impossible.

Nothing will come as close to eternal peace as standing by the window, watching the grass dancing to the wind outside while having a mug of coffee in my hand. *the soft yet powerful melodies of fields of gold can be heard in the background…*

The idea of doing a wonderful job with limited horticultural experience to start off with is daunting, and that means I have to adapt and use all the skills and knowledge that I have accumulated throughout my journey in life to make up for the shortfall.

This blog will detail my journey as the 2IC Orchardist.

2013 Updates:

Through a twist of events, Kaituna Orchards is no longer a going concern. The trees have been pulled out and the land reintegrated to the sheep and beef farm. I on the other hand has joined the owner’s fresh produce and meat retail operation as Produce 2IC and Scan Coordinator. Still in the same industry, I am no longer the grower, but the retailer, dealing in a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables. The coming years will not only be exciting but an accelerated growth opportunity.

As I am no longer the 2IC Orchardist, I have renamed the blog to The Orchard Cottage, and registered the domain AlmostOrganic.co.nz. The Orchard Cottage has expanded and evolved from when I first settled in. A forest garden is being established with many ancient heritage cultivars. I have also taken this opportunity to conduct many crazy experiments that I will share on my weekly updates. Curiosity kills the cat, but in my situation, its the plants that is most likely to be killed rather than me. However, without the leap of faith, we will not be able to discover new grounds or new approaches.

Almost Organic is something I have grown to accept. It frees me from having to comply to any organic certification or society taboos. The only synthetic product I used at the Orchard Cottage is herbicide, which I used occasionally to clear land or pathways or keep the grass away from invading the wildflower meadow. Otherwise, everything out here is allowed to let rip and flourish.

2014 Updates:

This living out in the country experience has been very nourishing so far. I have unexpectedly wandered down the Permaculture path. The domain of this blog has been changed to TheOrchardCottage.net.nz, which I believe is of more relevance to this blog itself. The Orchard Cottage now has a forest garden that serves as a genetic bank for ancient varieties of fruit cultivars. I am also attempting to establish a sub-tropical guild on the Southern side of the house where the support species have been planted, and the rest will be planted in Spring after the last frost.

I hope you will enjoy reading and learning something of use from my journey.


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