Dieting for pets

New Year’s resolutions focusing on self-development, specifically body composition and physical fitness, emotional and mental wellness, are repeating themes at this time of the year. The continuum from illness to health is an interesting one and...... Read More

On the farm - How green is our grass?

Farming has been in the spotlight a great deal this year as our attention has increasingly been drawn to the climate change emergency. Pastoral farmers in particular are feeling beleaguered by issues ranging from their greenhouse gas emissions, freshwater...... Read More

Gardening - Investing in irrigation

It’s been a magnificent start to summer, with day after day of gloriously sunny weather. All indications point to continuing dry conditions and hill pastures around the district are already starting to brown off. It’s in a season like this...... Read More

Animals - Okay to belch

Leafy vegetation is full of cellulose that animals like us cannot digest. If we could digest grass clippings, imagine the dent that would make in the weekly grocery bill. But many herbivores have a clever trick of providing an expanded area of their intestinal...... Read More

Country Living - Maddening birds

The Christmas grinches arrived early at my house this year. Yes, unfortunately my festive season was partially marred by a pack of feathered gate-crashing freeloaders, hellbent on bombarding my life with their overactive ovaries and slobbish-like tendencies....... Read More

Animals - Treating ears

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons for pet owners to consult with their vet. The condition becomes apparent when your pet constantly scratches its ears. Head shaking, reddening, scaling and swelling of the externally visible part of...... Read More


Have you ever felt that intense explosion of happiness associated with opening a parcel that far exceeded your expectations? I experienced that rush the other day when I took myself off to the farm of Mike and Fiona Francis to write this story on their...... Read More

Gardening - Creating compost

Compost making is one of the most important jobs you can do in gardening. Compost provides organic matter that supports beneficial soil organisms, which in turn suppress or kill soil-borne diseases and make nutrients more available to plants. Plants grown...... Read More

Wine - Great for grapes

Wow, what a cracker of a weekend we had at the start of November! There were moments when it struck me just how long it had been since I’d stared at a cloudless sky. NIWA’s outlook from now through to January is positive, with temperatures...... Read More

Beekeeping - Catching swarms

From October through to mid-December, beekeepers need to perform queen cell inspections as the bees’ natural swarming trait is at its strongest. The only way to stop your hive from swarming is to remove the queen cells. If bees are not removed...... Read More