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Sunday, February 7, 2016

NZ “Fleurds” – Sheepish Or Not?

This flock of sheep blocked the road on our New Zealand road trip.
Is New Zealand sheepish?

While New Zealand does indeed claim more sheep than human residence (over 6 sheep for every one person) , with ~30 million of the former, 4.5 million the latter. Bovines also abound abundantly, with around 11 million (roughly 2/3 of those, dairy cows)*.

*According to Beef+Lamb New Zealand.


If you look closely, you'll note these sheep are being herded via ATV.
Nonetheless, it seemed we saw far more cows clambering New Zealand’s hills and dales than sheep.  Maybe it’s just because bovines are bigger and blend less into the hillsides than sheep.

Cows make more money, according to Kiwi self-proclaimed "fleurd” owner, Peter Kalb, whose day job is large animal – primarily livestock – veterinary service.  Peter and his lovely wife Ainslie graciously gave us a tour of their spread.  In fact, Beef + Lamb supports Petter's assertion.  They reveal per exported head of lamb ranchers earn ~$100/head, for cattle, ~$900.  

Part of Peter's "fleurd."  Peter's a New Zealand
livestock vet who also ranches.
Peter’s paddocks include a mix… deer, sheep, goats, with a spare steer or two in another paddock, and a few chook (chickens) and turkeys on the side.

“I don’t know why venison isn’t more popular,” (New Zealand ‘s livestock population includes ~1 million deer) pondered Peter.  “It’s much leaner.”  That night, however, Ainslie stuffed us with a delicious roasted lamb dinner.




There are several types of deer on Peter's ranch.
It’s getting folks past “eating Bambi,” I theorized, recalling the horror an Ozzie observed whilst I expressed that very analogy when I expressed my interest in trying – or in her words – “eating their national symbol” – a kangaroo*. 

*Found in South and Western Australia’s rural lands eating ‘roo “pests” was much more acceptable than in citified Melbourne.  Like London Broil, made correctly, ‘roo was lean and tender.  Cooked carelessly, it's rumored akin to shoe leather.

Peter's fond of this buck, whose antics will lead
to his role as a dinner guest in the not too distant future.
Once upon a time, New Zealand raised far more sheep, even as recently as 1982 there were 70 million sheep.  Surely with cheap synthetic alternatives to wool, and less interest in lamb steered ranchers toward moving more grasslands to cows.  Kiwis themselves eat nearly  three times as much beef as lamb.  








This loudly protesting cow seemed
none too pleased to be herded off the road.
Too bad.  In New Zealand I’ve learned to cook more lamb.  Click here (for a balsamic reduction lamb dish) and here (for a Mediterranean style lamb dish) my two favorite quick lamb recipes.

The other reason I can’t accept New Zealand’s “sheepish” status? (If you looked up "sheepish" in Merriam Webster's online dictionary, here's what you'd find.

Never have I seen as many “greatest” and “best” and “world famous” claims than here.  That includes New Zealand’s Bay of Islands as the “best cruising grounds in the world” (per Cruising World).  As good as New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is, I'd still challenge anyone who's sailed both there and the Pacific Northwest's Desolation Sound to definitively declare Bay of Islands the sure winner.

What do you think?


In the case of sheep though, I can certainly attest to some pretty tasty New Zealand lamb.  Best lamb claim, I would definitely buy.

After a month of road-tripping, we're back at our boat
in Whangarei New Zealand as of tonight!
Location Location
This blog post was written about our 28-day New Zealand North to South Island and back road trip.  New Zealand is roughly 1,500 miles long, and our road trip left from North Island's Northland, and went to Bluff, New Zealand's Southmost mainland point.  
We just returned to our boat in 
Whangarei Town Basin Marina, North Island, (S35.43.474 E174.19.599) today February 7th, 2016

Sailing by the Numbers
Last year, between December 2014 and November 2015 we sailed from Florida USA to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles (visiting USA, Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Galapagos [Ecuador], French Polynesia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand).  We will resume serious cruising when cyclone season ends in ~April 2016.  We have not yet decided whether to sail to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu then Australia (~4,000 miles), or just to Australia (~1,500 miles).