The week beginning the 22nd of November 2008
Saturday the 22nd

Sometime in the early hours there was a cow yell somewhere outside the house which woke us. When we got up in the morning, we discovered 530 in the House Paddock Lane. She must have jumped out of the yards, and then she's done a mighty steeple-chase leap from a standing start, over the gate into the lane, which is on an upward slope and therefore higher than a normal gate. Her calf was back in the yards, on her own, hungry, lonely. I warmed the rest of Imagen's frozen milk and took it to the calf in the bottle and she happily drank it down and then followed me back to the house.

We tried various ways of attempting to get 530 to accept her daughter, to no avail and with some bruising to bits of me. She has a very nasty kick and after one knock as I attempted to get near her udder, I threw something at her and told her she could go to the works. Some cattle are worth persistence and others make it obvious they'll only cause frustration and injury. 530 has been such a friendly and tame heifer, so I'm surprised and disappointed.

Every time the calf goes near her mother, she still chases and attacks her. We'll keep them in the same paddock but with an electric tape between the two groups, in case whatever's wrong in her head suddenly fixes itself. In the mean time, we will milk Imagen and feed the calf. Stephan, on behalf of his milk-guzzling pigs, is not happy about having to share.

the five empty cows

The empty, forgotten cows along the road are happy enough, although they'll need moving again before long. I ought to have made some decisions about them already, but have been distracted and unwilling.

Empty is a funny word for a cow body full of ... cow. In the US such cows would be said to be open. They're not in calf; they might also be called dry, since they're not in milk and feeding calves.

Cabbage Trees in flower

In the Road Flat paddock where the empty cows are grazing, there are huge Cabbage Trees in flower and I noticed that two neighbouring trees have differing flower forms.

These ones are upright ...

Cabbage Trees in flower

... and these droop.

I am not sure of the significance of this difference, because it appears to me that the trees themselves are exactly the same: Cordyline australis.

Sunday the 23rd
a covered calf

We're expecting rain, so I found the cover I bought for Ingrette last year and fitted it to the new calf, to keep her dry and warm.

Monday the 24th

It rained, alright! During the day there were several torrential downpours, with thunder and lightning and those of us who were walking the aisles in the exam rooms at school were worrying about rising rivers and whether or not we'd all get home. As soon as I could, I sent the three people for whom that might be a problem home and hoped that I'd get home myself later on!

Today was the biggest exam day, with around 450 students sitting papers, which meant I was quite late leaving the school and Stephan had sent me a text by mobile phone (there is one spot in our house, where if you stand on one leg and hold the phone in one hand and your ear with the other, messages can be sent) to say the river was about to go over our bridge. I finished doing all urgent tasks and left as soon as I could. At home the river was over the bridge and rising, the water too deep to drive through, so I parked the ute, took off my jeans and Stephan and I, with linked arms for safety, waded across with the water lapping around my thighs - and somewhere just above his long-legged knees. I would not have crossed if it had been any higher. The water flows so swiftly that the slightest slip underfoot could see one swept into the river before there was time to draw breath! It was very good to be home after such a long and busy day.

Tuesday the 25th
cattle in the House Paddock

542's daughter came for a visit from the other end of the paddock.

Wednesday the 26th
Stephan feeding the calf

We'll have to find this creature a name.

Friday the 28th
cattle in the House Paddock

Opportunistic feeding by the calf. We wonder if Imagen will actually adopt her?