They say you don’t find dogs, dogs find you. I didn’t think I could have another dog after Taja, but Farmer Pete, who works with Farmer John next door, has a fine bunch of huntaways which I’ve often admired. One of these huntaways, a beardy bitch named Ki, has been close to retiring. Not long after Taja left our life, Pete called in with all his dogs on the back of the ute and asked if I’d like to have Ki. She’d been showing signs of slowing down – she’s 11 years old – and when the cattle know a dog’s too slow to keep up with the rest, they go for her, and Farmer Pete was worried Ki would get hurt.
I said I’d think about it. CCQC said yes, take her. So now Ki has come to live with us, but she’s not exactly thrilled about it. She doesn’t want to retire from farm work. On work days, she can hear her mates out on the hills, mustering sheep and cattle, and she wants to be out with them. Whenever my back is turned, she skulks off in the direction of Farmer John’s woolshed. Last Friday when I was loading the pigs into the trailer to take them to Parkvale Home Kill for a holiday, Ki took advantage of the commotion and bolted for Farmer John’s woolshed, so I had to collect her on the way and take her with me. Every night after I’ve fed her she howls in the direction of Farmer John’s woolshed. The rest of the time she’s okay, follows me around the vineyard, happy to be by my side, looking to me for directions. We’ll see how this works out.
Meanwhile, last week I went for a walk which once again reminded me how steeped in history is this place called Wairarapa. We went out to the South Wairarapa Coast to a friend’s sheep station – Washpool. After a cup of tea, we walked inland, up the Washpool stream, and after walking about 45 minutes we came to the site of an ancient Maori pa, where the rock walls were still intact, and the food pits. Also there were the cleft burial sites, where they placed the bodies then covered them with stones. Further on up the hill a little way was the site of the tohunga’s house, and the tohunga’s food pit. Sally (the owner of the property) said they always treat the area with respect, but once when they were up there with friends one of the guys was joshing around about this superstitious nonsense and when they got back to the whare his car had two flat tyres. I’m always respectful of these sort of places, if nothing else just for the fact that this is our history and we are privileged to be able to get so close to it. I took these photos, but they don’t show much, except you can see the little rock wall, and in the second photo, in the distance the cleft burial site which I was not going to get close to under any circumstances.
This last shot is looking back from the valley towards Palliser Bay. It’s a beautiful spot, and you can rent Sally’s cottage there – go to the website, www.washpool.co.nz.