The week beginning the 6th of May 2006
Saturday the 6th
Sarah, Miriam, Liam and Ryan with some cows

A family visit this afternoon, from Sarah, Miriam and their nephews Liam and Ryan. We found some extra boots and they set off on a walk - a mini-expedition for Liam, since he was one of the adventurers back in January, and wanted to relive a bit of that experience. It's a bit harder to walk in so much mud than it was in the middle of summer, so the walk was probably rather shorter than he had in mind.

The boys are carrying the Toetoe flowers I had still here from Stella's visit. The cows are those already weaned from their now-sold calves.

Sunday the 7th

I went out reasonably early today and brought the cows and calves in to the yards, pushed groups of them up into the crush pen (a smallish pen with the race leading off it) and then two by two, restrained them in the race and injected 2mls of copper glycinate into their necks. The race is long enough for three animals to stand quite comfortably, but they're so used to going in one at a time and standing on the scales, that they tend to wander in there with great gaps between them and they're generally so quiet that I don't need to squeeze them together to keep them still. The injection is administered to the neck because the copper often causes some abscess formation and one doesn't want to cause that to happen in beef animals in major muscle (meat) areas.

After doing the 40 cows and calves, I went and fetched the cows with bull calves, a mob of 17, and did the same to them, then the two bulls and finally the 23 weaned cows. The whole day went very smoothly and I was just sending the cows out of the yards and up the lane back to their paddock when Mike and two of the boys arrived for a visit.

hand-knitted baby shawl

Sometime last year, when my sister Jude was first pregnant with her third child, I offered to make her a shawl for her baby. I've knitted this pattern before and really enjoyed it. This time though, it has taken me many more months than the first time around including the unfortunately incorrect knitting of one whole border when I somehow (repeatedly) miscounted the number of stitches with which I began!

But finally it is finished and beautiful and I will fold it and consign it to the postal service in town tomorrow for delivery to Jude and Louie.

Monday the 8th
two bulls in the sunshine

Out this morning to move the cows from their 'rest' paddock after yesterday's injection - Ranu was limping badly, so I didn't want to send them too far anyway, but she seems fine this morning; perhaps she just had a small stone caught in the cleft of her foot, which has now been dislodged.

I'm always a bit nervous after doing the copper injections: it's a fairly nasty treatment and severe reactions are sometimes seen. I've only ever had a couple of cows lie down and look a bit wobbly, but I always check them all the next day to ensure all are well and up on their feet as usual.

The bulls were obviously enjoying the sunshine!

cows walking up the lane

After going ahead to set up gates in the lanes, I called the cows and calves to follow me.

I took the photo through the trees at the end of the first lane. My photography is sometimes far better than it was with my old camera, but I'm still practising getting focal lengths and exposure right for the best pictures. I very much like this photo, with its clarity all the way back to the far-away hills (slightly clearer in the original file, than in this reduced version) and the composition pleases me.

Tuesday the 9th

It's the Pukeko, of course, now nearly twelve weeks old.

Ruth and Ingrid 17

"A little to the right!" Cattle have a spot on either side of where their tails attach, where they simply adore to be scratched! It's the place to scratch them when they're not quite tame and you want to make them so, because they seem unable to help enjoying it.

This is Ingrid, the elder of the twins, who has been quiet enough to stroke for the last year or so. She's a great chunk of beef now, hopefully pregnant this year, having missed out last year when she was still in very poor condition coming out of a hard winter. It's hard to believe she was a skinny wee thing at any point, looking at her now!

Thursday the 11th

Today we both attended an Approved Handler Certification course in Kaitaia. From 1 January 2007 we are required to be certified to buy and use most agrichemicals (herbicides, in our case). The course content was pretty good, but I've come home with a wrenched shoulder, after having to awkwardly pick up a back-pack spray tank half-full of water! When doing such a thing at home, I'd have ensured I had some place to rest the tank while I turned and fastened it to my back. I am no longer able to thoughtlessly throw myself into physical activity without risk of pain, but I was distracted in the circumstances today, and didn't take my usual care!

Friday the 12th

The stud cows with bull calves are out on the flats and today I watched with some disappointment as Quilla 14 was followed around the paddock by the little bulls. I had a close look at her and could see none of the usual tell-tale signs of heat and nor was she standing to be mounted by the bulls, so I'm hopeful she is actually pregnant.