Stephan and Ella went out to help with some more wood milling today. I stayed home, writing, until they came home and Elizabeth, William, Sarah and the two boys came out to visit. Then Lois arrived, to stay the night before taking Ella home tomorrow morning.
I completely forgot to take the usual Dad-Daughter photo!
773's nose wart has been knocked off. This is a usual outcome for warts at this age; they either get knocked off or simply shrink away.
A couple of weeks ago I picked some Silverbeet leaves for the budgies and was washing them, when I discovered a chrysalis on the back of one, fortunately undamaged by my handling. I hung it up in the aviary to await its emergence, which happened this afternoon, as I watched.
Once it had finished expanding its beautiful wings, I put it outside on the Rosemary bush.
Here is that butterfly, still resting this morning before flying away.
The cows are now all weaned so this afternoon I mixed the groups together in the Windmill paddock, with the usual disagreements and chases.
Stephan, having spent the morning mowing, was now tidying up the remains of the Puriri in the Frog Paddock which we'd had felled last year. I have occasionally checked to see if any shoots are forming around the top of the cut trunk but had not noticed one growing from the base, which had been protected and hidden by a bit of dropped branch. I'm pleased it is showing signs of recovery.
The tidying is necessary in preparation for the reserve fence to protect both the new growth and the huge old Puriri beside it.
Late in the afternoon, here came Stephan with some mad scheme in mind.
We got the bulls in this morning and gave them all a copper shot. Dead 140 and his contemporaries have had, according to my records, only one copper injection during their lives to date. I have done poorly by them. The bulls are always an inconvenient little mob to get in and I have not prioritised their needs appropriately. I must change how I programme these treatments.
I went out to the Mushroom paddocks this morning to check on the calves and found that one had gone through a fence and into a bush reserve.
I sorted that out, went off to do the bulls and returned later to round them up ready to move and as I was doing so, heard a calf's call from across the stream on the Small Hill, again in a reserve area. Stephan came out and we loosened some wires and managed to coax him back over the fence and back with the others. Stephan tested the fence and found hardly any power in those wires at all; no wonder the animals are going wherever they fancy.
Then we moved them all, for the first time as one big mob.
Here they are in the lovely grass in Flat 2.
I spent some time photographing three of the heifers, which I would have kept myself but which were the sort of animals someone else wanted to buy for later breeding. I'm very pleased to sell heifers for breeding, that being what I primarily breed them for.
Stephan mowed all four sections of Flat 5 yesterday afternoon; I look forward to seeing how the new grass I sowed last year responds to the cut.
Having some spare vehicles around, we'd not noticed that our ute's six-month Warrant of Fitness had expired! So off we went to town in two vehicles and left the ute with the mechanic. Then we went and bought a new electric fence energiser, a big one, big enough to deliver adequate power to more land than we have, but considering the extra fencing around streams and other reserves, that's a sensible thing. We came home, had some lunch and Stephan went and bolted it to the wall in place of the old unit and got it all going. That'll stop the buggers!
I set up the trail camera down by the pond a few days ago, hoping to see the Banded Rail again and here it is. I only caught it this once but hopefully this means it is staying around.
Lesley, who buys little tiny pink budgie babies from me for hand-rearing, came out to drop a bird off - she wanted to swap it for the cockatiel I rehomed with her. There are a few nearly-tame birds which come and sit on my head or shoulders while I work in the aviary and it's always nice to have them around me and this one, Yash, will be even tamer. She has one full sibling in the aviary. I'm trying to organise my bird records so I can keep track of them all.
I took Lesley out for a drive to see a bit of the farm and to check on how Stephan was getting on with the fence planning.
We had a consultation, set out the tape where we thought the fence should go, then came back for some lunch.
Later I went out to look for the R2 heifers in the Big Back.
This is the Middle Back just over the fence, looking very luscious and look at all that dead gorse! Marvellous.
The heifers were just a little further along the top ridge and down the track into the trees, happily sitting around in the shade.
At four o'clock I took a 25kg sack of rye and clover seed, my seed-sowing apron, radio, GPS, four electric fence standards to use as markers and walked up and down Mushroom 1 for an hour, casting seed upon fertile ground. I must have been sowing it a bit heavily, covering only half a hectare with my seed. No matter. I walked 2.6km.
Then I went to get the cows, who ran in to the paddock when they realised where they were going. They'll hoof-n-tooth the seeded area (tread the seed in and remove the shading pasture) and then Stephan will mow it once they're finished, then we'll wait eight weeks while the new seed grows before we graze it for the first time.
Stephan was fence fault-finding and I walked across to say hello and open a gate for the calves to move from Flat 2 to Flat 1, with Floss on my shoulder. She seemed entirely happy until suddenly, as I opened the gate, she flew from my shoulder away down toward the riverbank. It's hard to anticipate how much lift she has as her clipped feathers regrow, until she does something like this. Fortunately she flew down onto the grass, rather than landing up in one of the big trees or somewhere on the other side of the stream, which would have made it very difficult to retrieve her.
Since she obviously wanted some independence, I let her walk some of the way home. Funny bird.