Neighbour Gary came over to help Stephan move some of the big logs he'd had to fell along the Tank paddock's boundary fence-line. It is illegal to do anything usefully creative with this resource. I guess it will make a lot of very nice kindling for a few decades. It had to come out of the paddock so we don't all fall over it for the next several years.
Genie 150 is on the cull list, but not going with the current mob of six awaiting their trip to the works. She has always been bullied by white-faced 788 (which is one of the reasons 788 is going) and so I decided Genie could stay until I send her mother, Emergency, and white-faced 714, after weaning. Those two are far less likely to beat her up during the truck ride.
I like this little cow but I daren't ever breed her again because of some deformity in her cervix. I don't know if she was born with it or it happened as a result of giving birth to her own daughter.
It would seem I have done an upsetting thing again: this is 729, in the cull group, looking and calling after the rest of the weaned cow mob from which I'd just separated her and the twins, to combine them with the other three going to the works. I wondered if it might be her mother, 613, whose absence was now upsetting her?
The other cow is Meg 699, with no identifying ear tags.
Stephan had a surprise birthday dinner and party this evening, although he had managed to get wind of it during the day.
From left to right at rear they are Liam and Charmain, Mathew and Raewyn and at front from left are Elizabeth, Zandor, Stephan, Sean and Ryan.
The hedgehog cake was to acknowledge Stephan's favourite animal. Not. One of Raewyn's hilarious jokes.
It was chocolate, with almond slices as its prickles and was delicious.
A flower arrangement for the table, perhaps?
These are banana flowers I found lying on the ground at the base of the banana plants this morning.
Stephan went out with the big slasher on the back of the tractor for a couple of days and here's one of the areas he attacked: a previously swampy area in the Swamp East Left, where he knocked down a lot of the rushes.
It is drier there now that there is a drain bringing the water directly to the stream, rather than leaving it to spread out through the ground.
The water entering the stream will be clean because we'll fence the cattle out of the gully, the drain and the remaining bit of boggy ground. They're presently excluded from those areas by electric tape up to the new boundary fence.
I have decided I had better start taking more active notice of friendship pairings amongst the cattle. Some of them I notice easily but others I probably need to record more formally, to see if they are more than just coincidence.
Bearing in mind the strong friend relationships of both of her elder relatives, I will watch 813 for similar behaviour.
It was 613 who had a long and close relationship with 611, until I sold 611 and her daughter to a farmer looking for nice breeding cows. 613 then went into a terrible funk for about a year. I could never discern anything physically wrong with her and kept wondering what was wrong. Eventually I realised that she was probably grieving the loss of her friend.
Checking the cull mob this morning, I found five of them sitting together but 729 was away across the paddock, sitting alone under a tree. She looked very sad, so I went over and stroked her for a while.
We put the big mob Over the Road and then Stephan went to get some of the lime-rock to spread around this trough area, where it gets so muddy and soft in the winter.
We haven't nearly enough to do the whole area, but we can improve things a little for the coming months.
It was already a bit slippery here but Stephan manoeuvred the trailer into as close a position as he could, then shovelled a trailer-load of lime-rock around the trough.
A front-end-loader bucket-load went into the gateway over the culvert - not enough but a good start. A bit of metal can make a significant difference.
Beside the trough, a puffball, open and dispersing its spores.
Stephan had just been here before me and pulled this little cat out of one of the DOC200 traps inside this box.
The kitten would have had to work quite hard to get to the bait, through the small hole in the mesh at the bottom right of this end of the trap, then through the hole at the bottom left of the next piece of mesh inside, before getting to the trap on the way to the bait.
This is cat number four for the year to date.
I followed Stephan out to the Spring paddock and watched as he spread metal on the furthest culvert.
This is another culvert that had not worked very well, there being too much water coming down the obstructed waterway from the Spring for which the paddock is named. It's often hard to tell where the water is going to be in the wet season, when one puts a culvert in during the summer.
At left in the picture, Stephan had done some digging to create a drain under an ancient (probably Puriri) log, which was causing the swampy area to spread into the approach to the culvert. Hopefully it will work better this winter than it has done previously.
Here is one he prepared earlier.
There's not yet enough lime-rock here but it will hopefully improve things significantly in the mean time.
I brought the cull mob of six down the lane, on their way over to graze Jane's place. There was something very interesting on the track! I don't know what they were sniffing, not being particularly keen on trying to smell it for myself, since it might have been some kind of animal urine. Or maybe a passing cat dragged something dead across here.
The two animals in the foreground are the fattest of the bunch: young 823 and Meg 699.
Here are the workers, the mob of weaned cows, coming out of the Frog paddock, where I'd pushed them to do a bit of pasture maintenance. I can't push too hard for too long though, there being some young cows in here with the older, more robust matrons.
I'll divide them for the winter, so the still-growing youngsters get access to more feed than the mature cows.
A regular email newsletter from Beef + Lamb NZ arrived today, telling me that feed is short in Northland as we go in to winter, that farmers will need to make plans to adequately feed their stock throughout the coming months. I looked out the window and all I could see was green. We seem not to be in the same predicament as those referred to in the newsletter. That may be because of differences in rainfall around the district (of which there has been far less than usual) but also because we're currently quite lightly stocked. I like it that way. Trying to farm with too many, or nearly too many animals is stressful, for them and for me.