Family farm self-sufficient

Barb Peel runs a fleece dyeing and carding business on the family farm near Raes Junction. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
Barb Peel runs a fleece dyeing and carding business on the family farm near Raes Junction. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
If Armageddon happened Barb Peel said she and husband Stuart would be ''alright'' on their Raes Junction farm.

They run 250 composite sheep and about 100 cattle on their 160ha property, and although Mr Peel works off-farm for five days a week, they both spend the other two days doing what is necessary.

In addition to five house cows, there are two pigs, the heritage apple orchard, chestnut, walnut, hazelnut and pinenut trees, three horses, about 40 replacement calves, 20 miniature ponies, 20 chickens, a flock of Magpie, Pekin, Appleyard and other varieties of ducks.

Retired heading dog Bud's job is to round up the cows and the ducks.

In charge of pest control are three cats called Cat, Horse and Duck.

Barb and Stuart Peel's retired heading dog Bud rounds up their flock of ducks on their Raes...
Barb and Stuart Peel's retired heading dog Bud rounds up their flock of ducks on their Raes Junction sheep and beef farm.
Mrs Peel also has a dyeing and carding business, which processes about three tonnes of fibre annually, including fleeces from their 150 coloured Romney and 100 Swedish Gotland sheep.

''I buy the coloured wool off my husband and he gets five times the price a woolbuyer would give him,'' she said.

She employs four part-time staff and they card merino fleeces, which she buys in.

The carded fleece wool is sold to clients in New Zealand, Denmark, Japan, Russia and Australia, who would buy as much as she could supply.

''There is a huge demand out there but there is only so much we can do in a day.''

They also process fibre from clients.

The fibre is washed with dishwashing liquid and soda crystals, then processed into roving (long sausages of fleece that is wound into balls.

In addition, they make wool batts for felting and it has even been used for coffin linings for Exit Caskets and Cremations in Dunedin.

She recently completed carding Samoyed dog fur for a client, and has carded poodle, husky and

bison, which someone imported from the USA, as well as rabbit angora, goat mohair, alpaca and llama fleeces and possum fur.

The fibre is blended with merino to make it easier to spin, knit or felt.

Mrs Peel sells the waste wool to a business in Napier, which uses it for for roofing insulation.

Her father-in-law Don Peel, originally started the carding business, but now runs Tally Ho, a wool and craft shop in Roxburgh.

She said her apprenticeship to Don to learn the business has lasted about 18 years so far.

''If there was an Armageddon to come we would be all right,'' she said.

''We have meat, vegetables, fruit and milk.

''This is a lifestyle and we work hard so we get a life.''

Add a Comment