Fernlea is a place like no other. In 2009 the Hobbit (Les) and I, his Missus (Jenni) stumbled on this 13.5 acres north of Auckland and immediately we fell in love, we could see its beauty hidden beneath the dense gorse and years of neglect.
Our journey started by building a very small cabin from recycled materials, with DIY off-grid power and a worm farm toilet, to live in while we ambitiously worked on becoming sustainable and developing the land.
Now, we have built the farmhouse, and guest cabins, and are well on our way to realising the goal of thriving harmoniously alongside nature.
Our Fernlea family is full of characters, from our two little terriers to our friendly ‘big boned’ (euphemism for fat) cows, lambs and menagerie of chickens and ducks.
They all have their own personalities and stories, Jemima (the Muscovy) an SPCA rescue believes she is a chicken, Holy Cow (the matriarch) keeps our little herd in order, Cindy and Mindy (the lambs) love cuddles, and Scooby and Basil (the terriers) have a full-time job guarding everyone.
Les a.k.a ‘The Hobbit’ (given the name by the neighbours) was born on a farm in the Rangitikei which is in the south of the North Island, New Zealand. As young as three he was helping his dad on the farm, he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t working with animals. He spent 22 years in the army seeing active duty before settling back into civilian life. Now, in the autumn of his life, Fernlea fulfils every moment of his days with contentment (and hard work).
Jenni a.k.a. ‘The Missus’ is a long way from her country of birth, Zimbabwe. She remembers learning about New Zealand in a geography class, it seemed so far away as a ten-year-old. Never in her wildest dreams could she imagine she would end up living in the country married to a kiwi bloke. A teacher, leadership coach, and business owner, she worked all over the world before finding Fernlea, her place to curl up by the fire.