I thought the young stock would have run out of grass in the Road Flat, so took Stephan with me to move them across the road before he went back to working on the fence. There was still grass there but we moved them anyway, to save interrupting Stephan again tomorrow: he needs to finish the fence.
Up the hill and away they ran, all the way around to the other end, as they often do. Then they gradually dispersed back up the hill.
Later from out on the flats I saw this, the reason for our internal double boundary fencing!
On the other side of the fence along the top of the ridge, now lives another herd. That block used to be occasionally grazed as part of a larger holding but now has a smaller herd permanently there, either on this part of the boundary, or further down alongside the smaller section of our hillside.
The 12 last-weaned cows now being settled, I brought them from 5c into half of 5a, then brought the 14 from the other cow mob down the lane into the other half of the paddock, to give them all some re-familiarisation time.
Gina 142 was the last along the lane, her appearance a little altered by a rub on the lime-rock pile on her way here. She also has no visible ear tags, despite wearing one in each ear: the NAIT tag in her right ear is rightly close to her head; the numbered tag in her left ear has become lodged in the curve of her ear so it's not visible either. She wouldn't let me fix the problem, so if she hasn't shaken it free by the next time she's in the yards, I'll get it out for her then.
Towards evening I let them all into the top third of Flat 1. They seemed to mix very quietly.
As the second group came from behind the tape, I drafted out Eva and Fancy 166, the other first-time-calver last season. I think Eva may become Zella's companion next season and bringing 166 into the little housecow mob solves two problems: one is that Glia is lonely and the other, that I can't put 166 in with the larger young mob because her little daughter is one of the heifers calves we kept. Keeping 166 and Glia with Zella and Eva for the winter, saves creating an extra mob of young cattle.
I did an extraordinary thing this morning: I dressed in my Sunday best and went off to a church service! Some have a calling to ministry, I seem to be repeatedly called to support those called to ministry, even though the church and I parted formal company decades ago. On this occasion, a lovely woman in our Te Reo class had asked me to support her at a service she was to lead in her ongoing training for ministry in the Māori Anglican Church.
After my father died, I used to support Jill in some of the ways he was no longer there to do. I sat in the back pews of many services, listening to her sermons.
Today there were barely a handful of us present and the air was terribly cold, but I'm glad I went.
I know all the words. As an early reader and living in a small community with no Sunday School for the children of regular parishioners, I learnt the words of the Order for Holy Communion but was never guided in their meaning and thus formed my own quite literal (and presumably inadequate) understanding. The most troublesome passage was this:
"We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table..." As a small child I gathered from this that I was entirely unworthy and beneath the value of God's dog. That I regularly disliked my neighbour sealed my fate as a sinner beyond redemption. My later analysis of the place of women in the Bible and Religion generally, confirmed that even my misunderstandings weren't that far from the intention, for women at least.
But at any oldie's funeral, where they still say the proper words to the Lord's Prayer, I'll recite it along with the rest, in much the same way my mother still recites the poetry lodged in her dying brain.
On my way home I called in to drop some keys off to Liam and as a result of my conversation with him and Mathew, the two of them later appeared to help Stephan for the afternoon, for which he was very grateful.
And then Christina, daughters Rebecca (up from Methven) and Emma and a couple of grandchildren arrived, primarily for Christina to harvest some harakeke (flax) for her next weaving class.
Emma came with me for a walk to move the cows, helping by winding in the electric wire while I collected the standards.
We wanted to get on the road as early as we could this morning, after we'd done a few necessary jobs.
Stephan went over to the boundary fence to complete the wiring, so that it will at least be stock-proof while we're away from home.
I had to move some cattle and clear out my usual bedroom for Liam's use when he comes to stay for a couple of nights.
I feel quite sure I've photographed this little Puka seedling before but I cannot find reference to it. So for the next "next" picture, here it is. It grows on one of the Kahikatea trees at the bottom of Flat 2.
Before letting the cows come down to the last break in Flat 1, I had to walk over and close a gate and check the water in the trough at the bottom of Flat 2, to ensure the cows will be provided for when Liam moves them in there on Tuesday.
But the trough was so murky I decided I had to go and get the siphon hose and clean it out!
And I was very glad I did.
When the hose blocked the first time, I reached in to pull the blockage away from the hose and felt something horribly slimy and pulled out most of a Pukeko leg. I was thus prepared for the next one when it similarly blocked the end. There were a few more large chunks...
... and a lot of very sludgy, slimy smaller bits I didn't have to touch.
I kept my heel on the bottom end of the hose so it would keep running as long as possible. The trough really needed a good scrubbing but at least the water won't be Pukeko soup now.
It didn't have a strong smell, but I bet it wouldn't have tasted good.
We drove out the gate about an hour later than I'd hoped, at 11 o'clock.
We had to slow considerably as we approached the Urupā (cemetery) just beyond the Mangamuka Marae.
I believe the name of the Urupā is Mamere. I will ask Whaea Kiri, one of our fellow students, who belongs here.
We had a smooth trip down, without anyone obviously trying to kill us.
Here's Warkworth Satellite Station, a place with some special childhood-related meaning for me. I think I was always fascinated to think of people's voices travelling via that great dish, to the ears of people on the other side of the world. (In the 70s there was only the single dish, as far as I recall, then a second of similar size a little later.)
The motorway was running smoothly enough that we were not delayed by long queues.
We took particular note of the skyline this time (the photo was partly for Stephan, since he was driving) because the second-highest structure, with the crane on top, is what is known in the family as "Simon's tower", because he's been involved in the design and engineering of the building and the train tunnels beneath.
After dropping our gear and saying hello to everyone at Jude's, Stephan and I went to dine with my friend Liz, and her family, and to deliver the socks I've been knitting for Liz for about the last eighteen months. She was delighted with them and gave me some more wool she says she'll never use, some from sheep she once personally knew.
Today marks thirty years since my father, Brian Renner, died. I thought it would be a nice idea to spend the day with Rachel and Jude and so our trip was planned for this time.
We went to see Jill and at around eleven, there was a Communion service (church twice in one week???) presided over by Caroline Leys, who trained with Jill and Miryam at St John's Theological College in the mid 80s and who remembers Father well. She spoke especially of him during the short service, acknowledging our presence there with Jill on this occasion.
Afterwards the three of us (with Stephan and Stella) met Caroline over lunch, to discuss our various ideas for Jill's funeral, whenever that time comes. We have been giving it some thought of late, knowing the time must be approaching. I had wondered if, as Clergy, there might be particular arrangements for Jill and so it would appear there may be.
In the evening we all dined together at Jude's place, with Issa and his girlfriend joining us too.
In the packing up of Jill's life, we've collected her Religious books, which have been boxed since then, waiting for ... something. When Miryam came to stay with us earlier in the year, she and I went through them and Miryam catalogued them all, taking the list to St John's College where she was to begin a residency for a couple of months. Several people there expressed interest in many of the books and so I decided to take them down in their three boxes, rather than trying to arrange to courier them.
This morning we delivered them to the College office and met one of the lecturers and one of the students who'd asked for books. It was important to me to have contact with at least some of the books' recipients, this distribution marking the end of a part of Jill's life I was quite actively involved in and impacted by.
In the late afternoon we drove out to Te Atatū to see Simon and Anna and the two children in the house we've heard a lot about but never before visited. We ate dinner with them during a really lovely evening together, then returned to Jude's for the night.
Roger and Stephan spent the morning under and round the side of the house, pulling out things Roger needed to get rid of that will be extremely useful for Stephan. As a film and Television Greensperson, he collects all sorts of equipment it is impractical to store for long periods between jobs and Stephan is always a delighted recipient of such "recycled" material.
When I got in the ute to begin driving us home, all I could see in the internal rear-vision mirror was a large lump under a tarpaulin. Driving with side mirrors only is slightly trickier, especially on the motorway, but there were no alarming incidents.
We got home a bit after four, with enough time to unload the ute, see that the cattle were where I expected them to be and then go back out to a meeting with some of our te reo class. It is currently mid-term break so there are no formal classes, but we had some planning to complete for our next assessment exercise.
It rained during the morning, so I waited to go out to do my checks - beyond some binocular-aided inspection of the animals I could see on the flats, who all looked fine.
After lunch I went to move the cows, who looked entirely unenthusiastic about life in general, standing in the middle of Flat 2 even as I called them to the gate. Eventually they came out and I sent them on their way up the lane, meaning to come back in a while and shut them into the Swamp East.
Stephan came for the walk up the hill Over the Road, where we soon found all the heifers, sitting contentedly in the sheltered basin at the top of the first slope.
When I went back to the cows, they'd barely moved and I had to push them all the way out to the crossing up to the paddock.
Endberly got very excited in this area last time she came through here too, dancing around on top of that mound and then rubbing her head and neck furiously on the soil.
Ellie 119 was the last cow up the track and she took her own time too, at the clay mound.
The cows snort and push and bounce around when they're doing this. I love watching them and like to allow sufficient time for them to enjoy themselves if I don't need to hurry them on.
The pregnant cattle are all getting Iodine in their troughs now, every day I see them.