Meet Noel Jones
Noel has been a big part of Barker’s for some 10 years. His role? “Everything but the lawn” he chuckles.In a nutshell that includes garden maintenance of up to 500 plants and trees around the farm, clearing and levelling, and being the ‘go to’ general handyman. He’s a real character here on the farm and is regularly seen puttering around on his trusty red Mule.
From maintaining the well-established trees such as Macrocarpa, Gum, Oak and Willow, to the hundreds of flowering shrubs and bushes that grace the massive front lawn that looks out to the Four Peaks Mountain range, Noel is kept busy.
For Noel, Barker’s 50 acres of family farm becomes his work-day playground which boasts ever-changing views from this office window (aka the driver side of his Mule) as the seasons roll by. Autumn is particularly pretty as the giant Oaks lose their leaves but also keeps him busy to ensure they stay out of the factory!
The landscape has changed noticeably in the ten years he’s worked at Barker’s of Geraldine. He’s seen the offices, warehouse, car parks and more recently the energy centre grow with the business, and he’s been very much a part of that change.
There was once a piggery on the farm, at a time when Anthony & Gillian Barker still lived in the old homestead, now converted to offices. Noel and Maurice (whom Noel fondly remembers as his “partner in garden crime” before he passed away) helped level the old piggery to make way for the truck loading bay.
A dairy farmer for 43 years, milking cows in various parts of Westland and Canterbury, Noel, now 72, can lend his hand to virtually anything on the farm. He prefers gardening, just quietly! From working on irrigation to whipping up a number 8 wire fence, he is very hands-on and delights in keeping things ticking over at the farm without a glitch. And, after a busy day at the farm, he returns to his wife Jocelyn and 30 acres of his own!
At the back of the Barkers farm is a whole new world. Fresh spring water is drawn from a well on site. There are waste water processing ponds which treat and filter so that clean water is sprinkled back over the paddocks creating a pretty wetland. It’s the greenest paddock in South Canterbury in summer! Not many people are allowed in this restricted area but Noel knows it like the back of his hand.
Now you’ve been introduced to Noel – if you see him, do give him a friendly wave.