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The week beginning the 29th of November 2008.


Saturday the 29th

I moved the 19 cows and 18 calves from the Small Hill Paddock to Flat 1 this evening, just before 7pm.  I'd let them stay in the Small Hill a little too long, so they were eager and ran down the lane.

cows and calves going down the lane

Below is the calf of 446, born a monster and with front legs which appear slightly deformed.  We treated him for navel ill because it seemed likely he had an infection, but the appearance of his leg joints has remained unusual.

446's calf
446's calf

He appears to be quite comfortable and well, and moves about freely, so I shall watch him and see what happens.


Sunday the 30th

flax flowers
flax flowers

The flax bushes are all in full flower and looking spectacular.  The Tui have begun to visit the flowers, so I spend some time each day trying to photograph them.  So far I haven't managed to get close enough before they fly away.

We went to move the cows from up the road this afternoon.  Stephan complained that he wasn't feeling very well so I left him at our gateway and walked up the road alone.  It was a quiet afternoon without much traffic around on the road, so we figured I could get the cows out of the paddock and walk them along the road with Stephan warning anyone who happened to come up the road.  Legally we have to have two people on the road for such a job, so we were covered, even if one was just leaning on the mailbox.

The cows always give this clay bank a hard time when they go past - they obviously take no notice of the sensible rule of walking on the outside of a corner, so as not to get run over!

cows on the road

Monday the 1st of December

My camera, an Olympus C725UZ, which I've had for about three years, has given me a few warnings over the last months that it is going to die.  Today it needed serious resuscitation to get it to take some pictures for an article I've written and which I needed in a bit of a hurry.  The hunt is now seriously on for the new camera!


Tuesday and Wednesday the 3rd

The last two days of exams.  Just as I thought it was all a nice relaxed downhill ride, I realised there was something horribly wrong, which turned Tuesday night and Wednesday morning into panic and then a time of fast action to rectify a mistake I hadn't noticed earlier.

Overall the whole job went very well and I shall be pleased to return to farming and wrest back control of my herd from my deputy.

Stephan feeding the calf

Stephan has been doing a pretty good job of harvesting and providing feed for the youngest member of the farm family.


Thursday the 4th

I had to go to a Vet Club Board meeting in town on my first day free of exams.

This afternoon I moved the cows and calves - these the mob of 20 cows as they cross the stream on their way out to the Back Barn Paddock.

cows crossing the stream
faded duck

Mary is in serious need of some new clothes.  Her feathers are faded and frayed and her behaviour has changed a little over the last few days: she's eating more and is agitated, as if she may be preparing to leave for the annual moult, although I think the time does not come until later in the month.


Friday the 5th

At last, a day at home with no pressing tasks to concern me.  Then Stephan came into the house holding his hand in a rag.  He'd been cutting a piece of wood on the bandsaw, ready to turn a bowl for a wedding present and had somehow continued on through his left index finger.  We looked at it as he ran some cold water over it and it didn't look too bad, but realising it could be worse than we thought because a bandsaw cuts quickly, we set off to town to seek medical assistance.

A nurse cleaned him up, made him lie down and wait for our usual very nice doctor to come and do some sewing.  A few jabs of local anaesthetic and five stitches fixed him up again.  We were both surprised by the length of the cut, because we hadn't seen that it was quite so extensive.  Stephan is very fortunate that he didn't even cut through the extensor tendon on top of his finger, because the flesh wound certainly extends over that area.  I'm just glad he didn't have to fish the whole thing out of the sawdust, because we didn't have any ice to pack it in and having to mess around with trips to far-away hospitals for complicated reattachment attempts would have been a pain in the proverbial right now!

Careless bugger.  I want to lock the shed and confiscate the key!

A lesson in being grateful for everything one has: all the fingers with which one was born!  It really doesn't look like he's done much at all from this angle.

A couple of days ago I went serious camera-shopping by internet and my purchases had arrived in town in time for us to pick them up when we went to see the doctor this morning.  My Growing Today (now Lifestyle Block Magazine) photographic earnings from the last year of writing articles and submitting photos for publication meant that I had a significant camera budget to play with.  I looked at and decided against buying a DSLR because they're such large and heavy cameras and realistically I'd have found it far less easy to carry one around all the time as I work, than a compact camera.  I looked at the Canon G9 a few months ago, but the reviews were mixed and there was talk of the G10 coming out in a while, which it has and I now own one.  It's a lot of fun so far and I've given up reading the manual until I learn some of the more basic functions and then start exploring into unknown territory, for which I will return to the instructions.

five fingers

Stephan has often returned from his bush walks with tales of interesting trees and plants, birds and insect life, which, if he'd had a camera, he'd have photographed to bring home.  So he has an early Christmas present in the form of a point-and-shoot camera, small enough to carry around in his trapping pack without any inconvenience at all.

Finan and Spice

The sort of feline madness we have to deal with regularly in our house: Finan and Spice.
I don't know why we keep cats.  This lot aren't much good as companion animals, although Finan may turn out alright.  You just never know when you'll get a good cat.  My old Whitesocks was lovely, found when I was about six and lasting until just after I'd left home at 17.  Cattin was a firmly loyal and affectionate delight and I miss him still.  Foxton does whatever she wants and has some unpleasant old-age habits developing; Spice doesn't interact except by occasionally sitting on a knee of an evening.  Finan acts as if he experienced some very nasty treatment from small children and/or men before he ended up at our place, because he appears to hate both - except he now likes Stephan.  He's quite affectionate with me, although still too much of a kitten to be settled for long.  When visitors come, we don't see him and if they stay with us overnight, he only sneaks in for a feed very late at night.


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