A great Season so far except of course for one little hiccup with the majority of our Moorpark apricots being stolen during the dead of the night back in January.

We let a few folk into the block the day before PYO, of this variety, commenced; the alarm bells rang when they came back with a good pick but mentioned there wasn’t a lot left!!!!

The Moorpark block had been well and truly picked over in the middle, leaving the perimeter intact. Our neighbours below the River block, heard nothing so it looks like it would have been an early morning raid.

As the ladders had been strategically placed throughout the block for PYO, and the gate opened, the thief and his off-sider must have had smiles a mile wide!

I have a fair idea who it is but as I have no proof at this stage, nothing can be done.


Moorparks are a sought after variety of apricot, especially now Annabel Langbein has spoken so highly of them on her TV programme.


Sadly this wasn’t our very first brush with theft; a few weeks after the death of Alex; our Haven Peaches were pinched during the dead of night.

Since then, each and every Season, we’ve had trees stripped but nothing as grand as this.


Our Orchard security cameras are used in another area for an entirely different reason so it looks like we will be forking out for a few more.

This is our third Season hosting Wwoofers and what a great bunch we’ve had once again. Fine young folk from all around the World.


The starling and magpies have been up to their old tricks once again.

Big Bertha (bird cannon/scarer) is our very effective bird control method. She works, without complaint, through the daylight hours.

She managed to fit in a wee holiday after the pears finished but is now back in action as the apple crop is being hammered.


Hercules Flat is a great area to live in, with many wonderful ex-city folk; a wonderful diverse bunch; taking up residence here.

They recognize the need for bird scarers, sprayers, frost-fighting pumps, tractors and any other machinery associated with the running of the Orchard or else there wouldn’t be an ounce of fruit on the property.


Further north there are lifestylers moaning to the media and their respective Councils demanding/lobbying changes be made to the District Plan rules in a hope they will drive the Orchardists out of business because they “are sick of the noise.” This happened to a friend of mine a few years ago. He couldn’t handle the stress and sold to a lifestyler as they just wore him down.


Thankfully these moaners are only a minority.

There are many fine folk who move to the country who embrace country living and are appalled by the shenanigans of a minority.


We ourselves had a shock a couple of months ago when a couple contacted the Police complaining we were using Big Bertha to harass them!!!


Obviously nothing came of it but what a cheek to make a false complaint!

They know fully well Bertha is used for bird control and furthermore is permitted under the Central Otago District Plan rules.

Our Orchard is only 17.5 acres and makes a ‘little toot’ sound compared with the larger Orchards.

I bet my bottom dollar they wouldn’t have taken them on!!!!!

The silly thing is, Bertha had been going for two months at that stage during daylight hours so somebody must have had a bad day and needed a bit of attention!!! Or a hug!

Now they have taken their nonsense into the public arena once again; they have inadvertently shown another one of their bullying tactics.

This is our livelihood; it’s not a hobby/lifestyle Orchard and it supports all of us so we won’t be driven out!

And as they had referred to Bertha as a shotgun many times in the past; it was such a relief to have them confirm her true identity to the Police so something positive came out it.

But Bertha is still very annoyed with them.

She’ll get used to them; we have.



Update: 1st May

Further to my post in the above blog where I describe how a false complaint was made to the Police about our ‘Bird Scarer’; well it now turns out the middle-aged couple forgot which story they were spinning and lodged a ‘Tractor Noise Complaint’ with the Council four days later, on 14 January!!

We only found out about the Complaint two days ago.

Even though the Complaint has been recorded on Council documents, thankfully we weren’t contacted as we were in the midst of a drought, our Moorparks had been stolen and we were busy picking, packing and selling our fruit varieties as they ripened!

Spare time is something we don’t have any of during the Fruit Season.

The bullies picked the best time of the year to try and disrupt us.

The ‘Award for Cleverness’ goes to them!!!

We now understand why they have been more creative in their harassment since then.

As there is never any need for us to go into this particular Council website, we would have been in the dark if it wasn’t for a certain gentleman, whom we had never met, perusing this site for information on a property along Teviot Road, when he put in our Rapid Number by mistake, as the numbers were similar, and low and behold, up popped our details.

He was going to click out but noticed the words “noise complaint” which aroused his interest.

He was shocked as it went on to say, “ Noise complaint regarding use of tractor to pump irrigation.”

He knows a bit about Orcharding so knew this was a malicious complaint as unbeknown to us, he knew of the ‘games’ the bullies had played with our livelihood both before and after Alex died.

Furthermore he knew of how they showed false concern after his death but couldn’t sustain this emotion for more than a few weeks before reversing back to their old sabotage ways, but this time they were caught by a third party.

They blamed us for their exposure and declared War!

They wouldn’t have tried this if Alex was alive!

Yesterday I told a group of supporters as to what happened back in January and was surprised to hear they all knew!

They were trying to protect us and had decided that we were to be told at the end of the Fruit Season.

They are wonderful kind folk as is our new-found friend.

We have the deepest respect for you all.


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