The weeks beginning 9th, 16th and 23rd July 2005.
Sunday the 10th
Lovely Dovely

This little ring-necked dove has been living with us for several weeks.  Somebody found her up north (yes, there is more "north" than here!) and took her in to our vets' practise and they sent her on to us.  She's rather nice.

Unfortunately this was almost the last I saw of her.  The pigeons didn't like her, so she's been living in a cat cage (to keep her safe from the cats) on top of the pottery wheel in the living room.  She spent some of most days outside, usually flying off into the big Puriri tree, then later appearing on the deck, or just coming inside if the door was open.  But this afternoon I went out and wasn't around to let her in when she would have normally appeared.

I heard her in the tree later, but then she just disappeared.  If you've found our little dove, please let us know, even if you'd like to keep her!  She might be happier living somewhere else, but we'd just like to know.

Paradise Ducks

The Paradise Ducks are back in residence.  I wonder how long this pair have been together?  It's nice to see them return, year after year.  They spend a lot of time outside the house, or over in the paddock in which they nest, presumably just hanging around until the weather feels right for breeding.

Ngaio hasn't returned.  I call out to passing ducks in the hope any of them might be her.

moving the thin cattle over the road

The pregnant cows (those which are adult and have calved previously) are in two mobs.  These are the "thin cows", fifteen in number, and they're holding their condition pretty well, looking better than most of the cows did at this time last year.  They're on their way over the road to clean up that paddock after the young stock grazed it. 

Thursday the 14th
356
356's wound

356 and the everlasting wound.  The remaining hole is getting smaller by the day, so after all the drama and eighteen months, we're almost there.  If you're new to this site, you will find the beginning of this story back in January 2004 and the gruesome progress of the resultant injury on 356's wound page - don't look at it if you're squeamish!

Would I do it all again?  Of course.  I don't think I would ever just shoot an animal for which there was hope and where that was not the only humane course to follow.  This is not a way to make money in farming, of course, but the experience has taught me a great deal.  I believe that 356 has not suffered unbearably (and that was where I needed the supervision of my vet, since I couldn't make that call on my own) and that he is quite content now.  When he's completely healed, he'll go the way of all beef animals, along with his current paddock-mate, Quadrille.  They are not pets.

Virago 25

This is one of the R2 heifers and Virago 25, son of Quanda 09 and Crispin 13.  He's for sale, by the way.

Friday the 15th
Tree planting

Several weeks ago I wiped some patches of grass with herbicide in preparation for tree planting.  My green-house hardening off area for trees due for planting, has become severely overcrowded, so I decided it was time to get some of them into the ground.

Now that the ground is waterlogged, getting the trees out to their new homes requires a little imagination, since we try not to take the tractor out, which churns up the tracks too much.

Tree planting

We planted six Puriri, a number of Karamu and a Pohutukawa.

If this line of trees survives, they'll provide some useful shade to the paddock to the left during the summers.  It looks a bit like we'd better do some fencing maintenance in the mean time too - I'd not be pleased if any of the cattle pushed their way through the old fence and ate the trees!

Monday the 18th
sold cows

After some negotiation, Robyn and I agreed upon a fair price for the five empty cows still on the farm, as well as for eight of the weaner heifers.  The truck was to pick them up at 11am, so just before 9am, when I thought most of the commuting rush-hour would be over (well, two cars could be a problem!) Jane from next door, Gisela, who's staying for a couple of days, and I went up the road to bring the cows back from William and Lisa's property and in to the yards.

sold heifers

The little heifers include all those I couldn't bear to part with earlier, but really did need to sell.  I've also decided to let a couple of the pedigree heifers go too, since I wanted to keep a couple of the commercial heifers more than the two of them.  Just because you have a pedigree for decades of breeding and a name as long as your tail, doesn't mean you're necessary any better than the next heifer in the line!

sold cattle getting onto the truck

The truck arrived and the cattle all got on with very little bother and away they went to their new home.  I was really pleased to see the cows going off to further living and breeding, rather than just to make hamburger patties.  All of them have been good herd members, but I've had to be quite strict this year about culling out those which weren't carrying calves for this season.  I don't expect that any of them have ongoing fertility problems, more that a couple of hard years have taken their toll.

Tuesday the 19th
cattle, lying down on the job

These guys need constant supervision - lying down on the job again!  Lovely contented animals, doing the important part of digestion: chewing their cud.  They bring up previously eaten grass and 'reprocess' it.  The addition of saliva and the repeated chewing gradually breaks the grasses down enough to pass on to the next part of the digestive process.

Gisela left again on Wednesday and Chantelle came out for the night on Friday.  In between times I wiped a lot of rushes with herbicide and spent blissful hours alone in this wonderful place, while Stephan was off on a jaunt to Auckland.

Wednesday the 27th
416's teeth

While I was wandering around checking the R3 heifers today, I did a bit of teeth inspection.  When they're standing chewing, it's sometimes possible to get quite a good look at the state of their teeth, in a completely non-invasive way.  One of the heifers already has four adult teeth "in wear", but the others I could see still only have two.  This is 416 and the remains of her milk teeth are still on either side of her two new front teeth.

dead sedge - and Isla

From the heifers' paddock I went over the hill, across the culvert at the bottom and up the other side, through the Middle Back paddock, where I could see some of the cows grazing.

I followed my dead sedge trail from a couple of weeks ago.  It's time I came out here and attacked some more of it!

Thursday and Friday

I was about to move the fat cows out to the very back of the farm when it occurred to me that if I want to get three copper injections into them before calving, then I needed to do one this week and it would obviously be sensible to do that before they disappeared into the huge back paddock!  I did the thin mob the next day, so now all the adult cows, apart from Ivy, who is with the young bulls and R2 heifers, have been done.