Q: In your last column, you suggest an older couple who downsized from Auckland to a smaller town could consider getting a cow for milk and cheese.

You're a financial expert, not an agricultural one. A third of an acre is not enough to support a cow, and owning one entails ongoing expenses — artificial insemination, hay, fencing, shelter, yards and possible vet fees, plus the animal is a daily tie to the property during milking season.

The couple are better to spend the $1000-plus cow money on their weekly bottle of milk and block of cheese. Their $350,000 plus $80,000 plus NZ Superannuation is sufficient to last them to the end of their days.

Selling excess vegetables at a farmers' market and ensuring an ongoing supply is a lot of hard work. I know: I sold vegetable and herb seedlings and a large range of perennials at weekend markets in the Bay of Plenty for 25 years.

The biggest problem, aside from the weather and very long hours, is competing with other sellers who don't declare their income to the IRD and undercut your prices to an unrealistic level.

A: You're pouring cold water all over my bucolic painting, and it's running everywhere. But you're absolutely right — my expertise doesn't lie in cows! Still, I also suggested chooks, which you haven't counted

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