Our home – Lavender & Ewe – is the result of a most amazing piece of luck.

With the arrival of November on the farm, it always takes me back to 2008, when my daughter Rachael and I were looking for a new home for ourselves and our pets: at that time three dachshunds, three working dogs, two ponies, fifteen sheep and several chickens.

Initially, we looked at bare land to develop.

However, after a dozen visits with land agents to sections of undeveloped land in cold or windy parts of the district, we decided it was a daft idea.

So instead we began going to open homes and signed up with every land agent. After months of hunting, we knew the district but still had no home.

Then on the first Friday in November an agent (who just happened to be a retired farmer) rang to say he had just booked in a property for an open home for the Saturday. He felt the property was just what we were looking for but if it went to an open home and then auction we may miss out. In addition, the couple selling the property were reluctant sellers but in a hurry to sell.

Discovering the lavender

By the end of that Friday, we had signed to buy the property.

As soon as I saw the property from the road I knew it was perfect. Surrounded by trees the somewhat tatty house and five acres of grass and even more trees looked so welcoming.

Unbelievable as it may seem it was not until we moved into our new home a few weeks later that we discovered the lavender plot. Our two ponies had been living in a friend’s paddock a short ride away from our new home. On take-over day the removal truck got delayed so we decided to move the ponies and dogs first.

With all the dogs in friend’s car leading the way Rachael and I rode the two ponies the short distance around the back roads of Tua Marina.

The property was knee-deep in the grass with very good boundary fences but nowhere to keep two ponies with a tendency to overeat.  This meant our first job on arrival was to make a small area up in which to keep the ponies.

Having left the ponies happily tied up under one of the many trees we went in search of a perfect place armed with a fence reel and standards.

It was then we found it. Five rows of lavender almost lost in the long grass.

What a surprise…