The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning the 19th of July 2008.
Saturday the 19th

I took some electric tape and standards out to the Camp Paddock today to block off the hole the young stock escaped through last week. I won't put that mob back in here, but the cows could spend a couple of days in here eating the grass the young mob ignored on their way through and out.

the young stock having a bit of hay

We were given a big bale of hay the other day and so I'm able to feed some out to the heifers on the coldest days. Some of them are beginning to look a bit on the thin side, but they're no worse than they were last year, I hope.

Stephan taking Mike for a ride

Stephan took Mike with him on his trapping walk in the Herekino Forest behind the farm today. It's quite tiring for those who aren't used to it.

The picture was a set-up, of course - Stephan had just lifted the wheelbarrow over the fence, since I'd ended up with it in the wrong part of the lane, with the cattle in the way of my return path, eating hay. They would have moved out of the way had I needed them to, but there was no point in disturbing them.

Sunday the 20th
Male Putangitangi - Paradise Duck

Mary has a suitor! He appeared early this morning, a lone male on our lawn, next to Mary's cage.


It was a bit hard to get a good photo of this carry-on. It seems an odd way of courting, looking rather more like a full-on fight!

Mary and her boyfriend

I went out the back to bring the cows forward to the Camp paddock and Mary, with her new friend, flew around and around and eventually landed and the two of them walked all the way home with us.

Mary crossing the stream

They occasionally flew a little way to catch up with us, but mostly they continued on foot, including across the fast-flowing, slightly swollen stream.

The clearance in the Pines paddock

Stephan's scrub-cutting work in the Pines Paddock was quite obvious in the sunshine as we came past.

the pregnant heifers on their way out to the back

We walked 17 of the 19 pregnant heifers along the road from their paddock on the hill - it's easier to bring them out of that gate when they're down the other end, than to make them go up the hill, along and down the other side again to cross opposite the yards. I expected the missing two, Delilah 36 and Irene 35 to hear the movement and come down the hill to join us, but they didn't and we had to go up the hill and find them.

bracket fungus

I went looking for the large patch of fungi we'd seen in the Bush Flat paddock's bush area a couple of weeks ago, but everything has changed. I found lots of these beautiful bracket fungi instead.


Out on the roadside, as we went to get the heifers earlier today, I noticed this rather impressive new leaf spike in the centre of a young Nikau palm. I don't know how long it will take to emerge into a fully-formed frond. If I remember, I shall go and have a look in a few days' time.

Monday the 21st
Paradise duck convention

We seem to have become a convention centre for Paradise Ducks. Our house is off to the right of the photo and every morning there are more ducks standing around in the paddock. There is no peace!

When I brought the 28 cows in to the yards to give them their Leptospirosis vaccination, I noticed a bit of bloody mucous on 449's tail and eventually got close enough to grab a bit of it. It had the slightly off smell of dead blood, which is a fairly sure sign her calf is dead or she's lost it - I don't know if it's still inside her or not. That's disappointing, but it happens sometimes. Oddly enough, 449's mother 363 was a double-abortion cow. 449 will not be getting a second chance.

I put the cows over the road, since the hill could do with a tidy-up, and the cows a change of scenery.

bulls running for a feed of hay

The bulls get very excited by the prospect of a bit of hay and come galloping across their wet paddock, leaving deep muddy prints behind them. It looks green in the picture, but underfoot it's extremely boggy and muddy and quite difficult to walk across.

Tuesday the 22nd

I had a vet club Board meeting to attend in town which meant we'd be away for a number of hours while more rain was forecast, so we shifted the sheep to the House paddock for the day. I don't really want them in here, needing to save some grass for lambing, but better they're not all washed away before then.

Thursday the 24th
shelter tree

I took this picture because it had just stopped raining quite heavily and it was this tree which kept me dry. It is a reasonably young Totara and somehow, belied by the amount of light one can see up through their foliage, they're extremely good at keeping whatever is under them dry. The cows use them at night, evidenced by piles of faecal matter where they've being lying beneath the trees and whenever it rains, I try and get under one too. The direction of the wind meant that I could stand beside the fence and have complete shelter from the tree. Very convenient, since I had neglected to carry my umbrella.

We moved a lot of cattle to safe paddocks and fed out some hay to the bulls, which I'm managing to keep in one paddock for the time being and then set off to Whangarei for a night with Jill and Bruce.

Friday the 25th

Stephan spent the morning having wood-turning tuition and Jill and I went to town to look for some things I can't buy up here. It turned out I couldn't buy them there either, since both stores I was intending to visit had shut down. Still no new camera.

We arrived home after dark, so I went out with the torch to check that the sheep were all alright - as we get closer to lambing, they're at more risk of getting cast (stuck on their backs, unable to right themselves), or getting sleepy sickness (pregnancy toxaemia). All were quietly lying around, chewing their cud.