The feminine side of Fieldays

Self-confessed girly girl Jane Houghton is a converted Fieldays fan. At first she thought it was boring, but now she can’t get enough. Her plans for this year? “Oh I am absolutely going to the Fieldays! Oh I love it!” She’s even made it a permanent fixture in her calendar. “We go every year.”

CONVERT: Jane Houghton  has made Fieldays an annual fixture on her calendar.
CONVERT: Jane Houghton has made Fieldays an annual fixture on her calendar.

For the Houghtons, farming is a family affair. Jane and her husband Kent own and manage a third of a dairy farm in Gordonton. They have two young daughters named Bella and Ruby, and a fluffy little dog named Molly who has a pink, heart shaped charm on her collar. They also own a small farm dog named Sugar. Bella points out that Sugar is “not as fluffy as Molly”.

Life never stops when you’re a dairy farmer. Kent “works all the time”, especially during calving, and during the mating season, which is straight after calving. Somehow he also manages to go BMXing three times a week and play guitar at church.

Jane has worked as both a nurse and an air hostess, but her life has changed since buying the farm. “I keep busy, like I do calves and I do the farm accounts and lots of volunteer work. I do fundraising for the school … at the moment I’m doing a fashion show fundraiser. Kent and I do youth group, and I lead the women’s ministries as well.”

Spare time is a rare occurrence for Jane.  When it does happen she likes to go clothes shopping or whip up some cupcakes. “I love baking so much.” It appears that integrating her feminine nature into the farming lifestyle is a piece of cake.  Jane believes that women are naturals when it comes to calf rearing. “They’re like my babies. Women are better because they are more nurturing.  They do get annoying, you’ve got one on, and you’ve got other ones that’ll be bunting you from behind. You just tolerate them, it’s like an annoying kid. Like, you know, ‘Just wait your turn.’ I love it.”

Bella likes to ride BMX bikes, like her dad, and like her dad, she is pretty good at it. But her bike is pink, the same colour as the gumboots she wears when she goes for a walk to see dad at work. She has a play house which has a sparkly butterfly on it.

Eighteen month old Ruby is quite fond of her pretty flower dress.  She has pink play dough, green play dough and yellow play dough, and sometimes she likes to taste the things she has created. She also likes to join her big sister for a walk. “They do love going out on the farm.”

The whole family goes to Fieldays, and visiting the Fonterra tent is always a highlight. Last year they had a family photo taken in a giant fridge. The photo was printed on a magnet which Jane proudly displays in her kitchen.

“Kent’s mum, she will go straight for the craft tent,” she says. “We stock up on boots, overalls, and wet weather gear…and if there’s anything that’s going to make you look more stylish in your wet weather gear, I’m keen.”

She also keeps an eye out for stands that sell kids’ stuff. “There was one last year that had these really cute woolly beanies.”