Dairying can be a tough life for many farmers but it's especially difficult if you're a woman on your own with a family to raise.
However, Northland farmer Lyn Webster, who spoke to the Dairy Women's Network in Gore last week, has turned a need to make best use of her resources into a publishing and online enterprise, sharing her money-saving practices with anyone who cares to listen.
She's sold out the first edition of the story of her frugal lifestyle Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce and a new edition with a new title Save, Make, Do will be published by Random House next year.
Ms Webster was born and bred in Otago and went to Taieri College followed by university after a period of working.
A trip to Australia led to her marrying a Taranaki dairy farmer she met there. She developed a love of dairying and continued dairy farming after her marriage ended.
She carried on by herself and entered the Sharemilker of the Year competition, which she won. She continued dairying with a few different arrangements before eventually finishing up in Northland with her current herd. She says being careful with her money has been critical to allowing her to carry on.
''There was always cash flow in the business, but it was always flowing out,'' she said.
Ms Webster attributes her ability to continue farming to her ability to manage the family budget using all the self-reliance techniques she discovered.
''If I hadn't learned said.
She uses the web and Facebook (where she has 9000 followers) to connect with people and arrange speaking engagements and presentations around the country.
While she has received some online comments suggesting she is ''just a rich dairy farmer'', she says the reality is somewhat different.
''I am lucky though because I have cows and chickens which provides me with milk and eggs as well as what I can grow in the garden,'' she said.
''As long as I've got some flour I'm good to go.''
Her move to finding ways to maintain a cheap, sustainable lifestyle had a somewhat inauspicious beginning.
''One day I got so far behind with my bills from dairy farming that I thought 'where can I get some cash from?'''
She came upon some basic recipes and started using them to reduce her spending at the supermarket.
Once she honed her money-saving techniques, she began to write about them in the local Taranaki newspaper and her publishing activities grew from there.
Living in Northland had been a boon in many ways in that Ms Webster said people there were very generous.
''I'm given things all the time - lettuces, fish and the [like] - and I never turn away anything, as well as always trying to find a good use for it,'' she said.
''People are giving you their surplus and they don't want to see it go to waste.''
There are other benefits as well.
''There are positive environmental aspects as well as less wastage and chemicals used by the family.''
Ms Webster said she was committed to continuing with dairying.
''Seventeen years I've been banging away at it so there's not much point giving up on it now.''
Southern Rural Life