The week beginning the 31st of May 2014.
Saturday the 31st
cast ewe

Her again.

It's hard to miss seeing a cast ewe.  Feet pointing at the sky are all wrong.

cast ewe

Stephan said he'd go out and turn her over (for the third time in as many days) and as he approached, she struggled her way up onto her feet.  Why couldn't she have done that on her own?


The pigs are quite quiet these days, the boar in particular enjoying a scratch from Stephan.  The sow remains a little shy.

fruiting moss

William and Elizabeth, with Miriam and Dylan, came to gather some firewood for one of the family who has just moved house - nobody would be silly enough to leave firewood collection until now on purpose!  While that was going on, Miriam and I went for a wander in the bush near the big felled Pine tree and the stream.

Fruiting moss in the sunshine is always so pretty.

native orchids

A mass of little native orchids growing on a log.  I found (I believe) another log just like this in the same area last year.  I could possibly be confused by the tremendous regrowth which occurs here each year since we felled the huge pine tree and it might be the same log, but I don't think so.

I'll go back again if I remember, to photograph them all in flower.

Angus heifers

One of the heifers had been calling and this would explain why: 730 is on heat again and she's always very noisy about it.  Jumping each other on the steep hillside looks pretty risky!

725 is pregnant, but pregnant heifers and cows still respond to the scent of another in oestrus.

Sunday the 1st of June

606, daughter of 475 (see below) and bull 54.  For many months after she was weaned I confused her with 604, until I returned to earlier records and discovered my error.

606's temperament is a little different from most of the other cows.  It took me a little longer to tame her enough so I could stroke her than it does with some but she's quiet enough now.

Angus bull

Her sire Virago Dateline 54 AB.  He only had four calves here before I sold him to someone else for breeding.  Two were with commercial cows and sold as steers and the other daughter was a carrier of one of the lethal genetic defects via her mother, so was culled.


475, who used to be a good indicator cow of the condition of the rest of the herd.  Lately though she's been a bit harder to keep in top shape.  I'm culling a couple of other cows for that problem, but I'm loathe to get rid of 475 yet, since her daughters are so nice.

fungi under Kanuka

While I was out looking at cows, I went to check on the eleven heifers in the Back Barn paddock.  It took me a while to find them and when I did, there were only ten.  I spent a tense hour walking around the paddock looking in all the danger spots, occasionally bumping into the other heifers, who managed to get around the paddock pretty quickly, but not finding Fancy 126.

Angus heifer

Eventually, back at the gate, here she was.  It occurred to me that if I hadn't looked, she wouldn't have been missing.

Monday the 2nd
Queen's Birthday
cow and bull

We have our (now annual) TB test tomorrow, so I moved the bulls around a bit.  I don't have to test animals which are about to go to the works, nor those under a year old, so bull 106 went in with the little bulls while 87 joined Zella and Imagen.  He and Zella took rather more interest in each other than I expected, but I don't think it means any more than a greeting of long-lost friends.

Tuesday the 3rd
Mandarin tree

The better of our two Mandarin trees had about four fruit last year, but is back to its abundant goodness this season.  The fruit are easy-peel, sweet and juicy with only one or two pips in each.

We've propped a couple of heavily-laden branches on the right, hoping to save them from splitting from the trunk.  I'm not sure if this tree will last very long, having some significant borer damage in the centre.

Angus heifers

The 2.30pm TB test allowed us time to bring the cattle to the yards in a leisurely fashion, including the 22 heifers from Over the Road.

Today is Stephan's first climb up a hill since he was injured.

The cattle all had the tiny injection beside their tails and then went back to their paddocks again.

Wednesday the 4th
Angus bull

At last Mr 96 is going to the works.

I insisted that he go from here on his own, rather than waiting to go with the cull cows and the younger bull.  While he's still easy-enough to move on his own, if there were another bull in the yards with him, he'd be pushing against rails and trying to fight him.  With a slower-than-normal Stephan still and my own nervousness around this animal, I wanted to make getting him out of here as safe and easy as possible.

Stephan loaded him and apparently backed him up the loading ramp onto the truck after the bull turned round.  I'm glad I wasn't there watching (I arrived after the truck doors were shut) because I'd assess that as an extremely risky way to do it!  If the bull had got a fright as his back feet went onto the truck's floor, he could have catapulted down the race again.  Stephan said he was ready to jump the rails if necessary.  I'm not convinced that would have been fast enough.

Thankfully all went very smoothly.

[The kill-sheet the following day when he was processed, showed his hook weight as 493.6kg, which is rather large.  He wasn't an overly large animal on the hoof, except in the muscular regions of his body: he was carrying a huge amount of beef on that frame!  Unfortunately because he was so heavy, we'll probably get far less for him per kilogram than we would have done had he been lighter, even though the extra weight is beef not bone.]

sheep and goose

After the frosts last week, which appear to have affected the Kikuyu rather more deeply than I anticipated, the sheep want to move to a new paddock.  They can't.  They're fat enough to cope and I want them to stay here for the time being.

If they go back up to their normal paddock, I worry that they may disrupt the pigs' enclosure and let the pigs escape.

Angus cows

I put the cows in to the PW, but when I checked on them today they all complained bitterly.  I don't like unhappy cows and there are still other options, so I moved them to clean up the Pines paddock instead.

Some came along the lane from the far gateway and others along the face of the hill.

Friday the 6th
tree roots

TB test reading day today, so I went out to get the cows and the three heifers on their own while Stephan went up the hill Over the Road.

In the Camp Paddock I found this interesting root formation, probably belonging to one of the big Kahikatea trees.

I couldn't see why they would have grown like this.

old cat

For the last couple of days Foxton has been refusing her food.  This morning I rang to check if we could have her euthanised at any time it became necessary and then later made a firm appointment for tomorrow morning at eleven.

I am not confident she will be alright until next week and I would rather do the deed a day or two early, than a day or two late.

She ate a tiny bit of minced beef during today, but that won't keep her going and if she won't eat the special Thyroid Diet food she needs, she won't last much longer anyway.  She's lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months and for the last few days has been sitting looking uncomfortable and staring off into space, as if looking into the next world.

So tonight, on her last evening with us, I sat with her on my knee whenever she wanted to be there and stroked and talked to her.

Poor, old, little cat.  It's odd, knowing this is to be her last night.