Hi, I’m Emily Kirk, age 11. I’m home schooled but my little sister Tara is still at school. I live at Ra Puke with my parents Andi and Adrian and my two younger sisters Tara who’s 6 and Briar who has just turned 4.
Ra Puke is the name of our property so don’t bother looking it up on Google Maps because you just won’t find it! Ra Puke means Sunny Hill in Maori. It is just about the greatest place on earth. It could do with a few more horses, but it’s perfect until then. Ra Puke is out in the country, so it has lots of space to explore, one of my favourite things to do in my spare time. I have only lived at Ra Puke for about three years, as I was born and raised in Christchurch.
Where we used to live in Christchurch we had half an acre of land and now we have fifteen and a half acres. We have some lovely places to escape to. I remember running down to the creek one day to calm down after an argument with dad and he didn’t even notice that I had gone! We have pine trees just down the road and they are a great place to play in. The neighbours also have many hills to walk up and explore.
Water is an important aspect of life for everyone. But it is even more important when you have cattle, sheep, and more animals that depend on you for water. We are lucky enough to have plenty of water. We use rainwater collection and so we have a tank full of water most of the time. We also have a spring that supplies the water for the animals. This means that we don’t have to rely on the rain water to keep the animals hydrated. There are two small, but awesome creeks at Ra Puke. These are a lot of fun to play in, especially in summer as it can get very hot at Ra Puke. We create water slides, dams and much, much more exciting stuff.
Next on my tour are the gardens. The gardens are very important to us and they produce a lot of food. They are full of vegetables and this saves us money, which is good. We grow potatoes, strawberries, raspberries, beans, tomatoes, beetroot, garlic and much more in these gardens. The vegetable garden in the picture is when we arrived, it now has many more things in it, we couldn’t just live on the silver beet and weeds that in in it in the photo!
The native birds and animals are the next stop on my tour of Ra Puke. We have many native animals and birds here, so I’ll start with the birds. We are lucky to have many species of native birds living at Ra Puke. We have a very cool story about a shining cuckoo who flew into our window on Boxing Day and we managed to keep it alive. We have also had wood pigeons eating our plum trees. We have seen harriers, tuis, moreporks, herons, fantails, and many more birds. And the animals, we have seen two different species of gecko, frogs fighting the cats, freshwater crayfish, and a few more animals, each of these were amazing finds for us.
Next I will talk about the animals that I love. We have many animals, ranging from budgies and pigeons, to Ginge the horse and Mona and Poppy our house cows.
I’ll tell you about the birds we have first. We have two budgies who belong to Tara called Toby and Tinkerbelle, four Birmingham Roller pigeons that belong to dad, lots of chickens and chicks, and Muscovy ducks and ducklings.
Going slightly bigger now, I will tell you about my rabbits: Cream, Luna, Split-Pea, and Buddie. These rabbits are called Tri-Dutch as they are three colours; black, brown and white. We have four cats called Poppy, Sparkle, Freaky and Violet. Violet is only a baby and belongs to Tara, and Sparkle is mine. Sparkle’s actual name is Sparkle Diamond Love-Heart, I was only five when I got her!
Next, the dogs. We have three dogs, named Tess, Sauvi and Possum. Tess is a heading dog and therefore is black, brown and white and Sauvi is a huntaway, and so she is black and tan. Possum is everyone’s favourite. She is a mum’s dog and is small and pale fawn. She is super cute and loves attention.
We have lots of sheep, so I won’t bother naming them all. I will tell you about Tara’s pet lamb Sunshine though. Sunshine is a champion lamb because she won about 11 ribbons last year! The goats are next. We have six goats, and they are called: Cyril, Dandelion, Teddy Bear, Nightshade, Nettle and Ted. Briar has also got two alpacas called Butterfly and Moth.
Now, the calves and yearlings. We have got two calves and three yearlings. Collin is a Brahman/Dexter steer. The yearlings are important too. There is Bambi, Brandy and Burger. Bambi was my calf in 2014 and is black with little white dots all over her. Before we got Ginge and Xena, Bambi acted as my horse!
Now I’ll move onto the second to last set of animals on my list:
the cows. We have two milking cows, their names are Poppy and Mona, (yes, we do have a cat called Poppy too, but Poppy the cow’s name is actually Popsicle). Mona is a Jersey/Hereford, and so she is orangey-red with black stripes and Poppy is a Jersey/Dexter, she is a small black cow with big horns.
And lastly there is Ginge and Xena. They are the horses that we are borrowing at the moment. Ginge is a chestnut mare who is about 16 hands, (162 centimetres), with no white markings. Xena is a dark bay14 hand (142 centimetres) pony with a star and three white socks. Ginge is 30 and Xena is only 15, Xena has also got arthritis in her knees and is very lazy.
So there is my description of all our animals. You should now get the idea of just how many animals we have got here at Ra Puke.
And lastly… my hobbies and the sports that I play.
As I said near the start I love exploring. So living where we live is perfect for me. Tara and I love to play tag and hide and go seek with friends or by ourselves in the trees and around the house. There are so many good hiding spots around here.
I love riding horses too. I think that it was possibly the day before we started the long journey to Ra Puke that I started wanting one. I had gone to a friend’s house for her birthday and she had a cute grey pony called Connie. That was the first time that I ever rode without someone leading me. Coming up here to Ra Puke where we had lots of land I begged for a pony. But it was only recently that we started leasing Ginge and then Xena. Mum rides Ginge bareback and I ride Xena. I have just started trotting on her which is quite bouncy, but still lots of fun.
Hockey is the sport that I play. Last year I was in the winning team for the Kiwisticks (the grade that I was in,) and it was hard, but fun winning the grade. I played netball in Christchurch but switched to hockey when we got here.
Cooking is another thing that I like to do. I like cooking sweet stuff more than savoury stuff and I like making cordials. I have got some great and easy biscuit recipes.
Reading is another thing that I enjoy, and I read a lot of books a month. I love the Harry Potter series because they are really interesting and funny. I have got a bookshelf full of books. I also like the Ruby Redfort books by Lauren Child too, they are really interesting and dramatic. I collect model horses and they live on my bookshelf too. I like reading fantasy books too because I like how they are different to the realistic books.
I love writing stories and at the moment I am writing a story about a girl called Kat Simbler who got accepted into a prestigious high school in London. I have also written a story called A Trip To Winter Forest. This will be published soon.
Art and craft is the last thing on my list of things that I enjoy. I love to draw horses, landscapes, birds, animals etc. These three pictures are pictures that I have drawn and coloured in. I like to paint the pictures that I draw and I like making things that are usually not very useful!
So now I have finished telling you about me, Ra Puke and our animals I hope that you get the idea of just how busy it is around here.