Episode 18 - Out the Back
On the next episode, screening 16 July 2016 at 7pm on TV ONE:
Out the Back
People tried to put Erin Cassie off shifting to Erewhon Station when she was contemplating the move in 2011, but the things they warned her about are what she loves the most.
It is a bit of the back of beyond and we certainly work hard but its so rewarding. Im a practical person and theres a point and purpose to everything you do here and I love that.
Erewhon Station is in the South Island high country inland from Ashburton and Colin Drummond, Erins fiancée, has farmed there since 1998.
It ticked a lot of the boxes for being high country, being able to use the horses and camp out a bit, says Colin.
Its about 35,000 acres, but we only run 6,000 odd stock units so theres lots of shingle country and high mountainous sort of stuff which runs very few stock but thats one of the advantages of the placeits got the scope.
At Erewhon, dubbed home of the working horse, Clydesdales are used on a daily basis for stock work, ploughing and harvesting and to pull the wagons that transport gear around the farm and out the back for the annual autumn muster.
Colin and Erin also run a tourism business, offering wagon rides or saddle adventures and accommodation on the farm.
Three rivers cross the property and the Clydesdales are the surest way of navigating boulders and flowing water.
Theyve all grown up around the river and they learn the good places to cross and when its dangerous. Theyre not fazed by water, they just barrel on through, says Erin.
They really are characters, sometimes it feels like youre in a playcentre full of toddlers, theyll take the mickey, try different things on and theyre totally ruled by their bellies, theyll do anything for a feed.
The eighty or so horses on the farm much through around 800 bags of chaff a year. Colin and Erin grow all the oats themselves and cut it into chaff using a machine thats close to 100 years old.
The old timers knew how to build things, says Colin.
Erewhon is one of the last high country stations to run a traditional autumn muster, when the merinos that have been grazing higher altitude country on the farm are brought closer to home before the winter freeze.
Colin and Erin and a team of helpers pack enough food and gear for up to a week, stay in huts in the back country by night, and muster sheep during the day, on foot or horseback.
Colin says its of his favourite times of year. Its a chance to enjoy good company and appreciate life in the high country. Its also a time to think about the historyevery morning when you get out of bed and the old muscles are aching a bit you think about the people of the generations before you who that have done exactly what were doing on these musters.
As long as we can keep on doing it and enjoying it, thats what its all about.
Erin says one of the best things about farming Erewhon with Colin is the team work.
Its a real pleasure working with someone who has got your back. Were lucky enough to share a lot of our experiences; youre not leaving someone at home, we do pretty much everything together.
For more about Erewhon Station:
Camera & Aerial Photography
Editor & Colourist
Post Production Manager