The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning the 28th of June 2008.
Saturday the 28th

We went out to visit some very nice friends who keep bees and sell honey and now we have honey to eat on our toast again. Yummy.

Mary the Paradise Duck is now staying on our roof overnight, instead of flying off to other fields.

Sunday the 29th
bad bull behaviour

This is not the intended purpose of this tree-surround! It needs some maintenance and extra rails to prevent the animals getting in. The tree is now tall enough that it won't suffer too much from being eaten, but it wouldn't survive long in the paddock if it was used as a scratching pole by large animals.

Jackie came for a walk this afternoon and we managed half the distance, i.e. all the way out to the Bush Flat paddock, before it rained and we had to take shelter under one of the trees for a while. The ground is ridiculously wet, so with the rain as well, conditions are not entirely pleasant for a Sunday afternoon stroll. But it's always nice to have the company and Jackie got some fresh air and exercise, which was her intent.

Our lovely peacock has died. He was looking a bit slow and sick yesterday and this afternoon he was dead. He was a fun bird to have around - he arrived as far as I can remember, in 1998 while I was away for a week or two, and stayed. We never really knew where he'd come from, although some people told us they'd had some peafowl at their place on a road somewhere up behind our farm for a while and those birds had all disappeared at about that time. I don't know how long peafowl normally live, but I would guess that eleven or so is getting on a bit for such a bird. Stephan pulled a few of his beautiful feathers and said he'd recycle him for trap bait - but in the end he couldn't do it and buried him near one of his favourite roosting trees.

Monday the 30th

A fine day! What a relief it is to see sunshine again. A couple of the resident Paradise Duck pairs have started challenging Mary, so there's rather a lot of noise around here.

Tuesday the 1st of July

There have been wild pigs rooting in the Mushroom 1 paddock, one of my oversown rye paddocks, which is very irritating. I have seen them there in other years, but rarely when I'm with someone carrying a weapon to deal with the problem!

Heifers out the back

The pregnant yearling heifers at the top of the Middle Back paddock. They were all looking at me as if they'd never seem my like before, as I climbed up the hill toward them. All fifteen of them were there together and I saw three of the four R3 heifers, with only Delilah avoiding me, probably hiding somewhere in the trees.

I also saw all the cows as I walked around, which is always nice, since sometimes some of them will disappear for days at a time.

large dog pawprint

No wonder we have no Kiwi. This will be the print (I presume) of a pig-hunter's dog. They don't tell us they're hunting on our place and they don't ask permission and we can't stop them. We wouldn't necessarily refuse permission, but it would be nice to be asked!

Wednesday the 2nd
Duck fight!

I had no idea Paradise Ducks could be so vicious! Mary keeps grabbing the neck of the drake and they flap and bash each other around. I haven't seen her fight the female of the pair in the same way.

I sat for a couple of hours and furiously knitted a hat. Katrinka, whom I once met in Wellington and who lives somewhere in the deep south of that other island, asked if I'd knit her one and it has taken me a few weeks to do it, even though they don't actually take very long to make. I thought I'd just get on with it and finish it, so I could take it to town and post it to her, before she has to suffer too much more of the winter with a cold head!

Thursday the 3rd

Stephan's been shoring up the boundaries again, finishing off some of the work on the hill over the road, so that the shaky bit of fence at the end of our property where he recently installed the new strainer post will no longer potentially admit determined wandering stock and won't let any of ours out either.

Stephan, fencing

He has also run a hotwire up the very old boundary fence with our neighbour's property, to keep things in order until it can be replaced - a job we've wanted to get done for some time, but for various reasons keeps being put off.

This is the Pig Paddock and he's putting hot wires along the fence below the road. I like to keep the bulls in here sometimes and it is probably sensible to make it more secure from unwanted visitors from the roadside. A wire half-way up the fence will also stop the bulls from rubbing on the fence and pushing it over, and should stop those few bad cows who persist in pushing their heads through the fence to eat the grass on the other side.

Irene's slipper has come off. It seems to have done the trick though, since she is walking quite comfortably, even in stony areas.

Friday the 4th
Spur-winged Plovers

Spur-winged Plovers. They look like a group of self-important little men waiting for a meeting.

yellow fungi red fungi

I often see these yellow fungi under the trees at this time of the year and then found the orange ones as well. I think they may be Clavaria, but would be interested to hear from anyone who can tell me more or differently.

heifers on the move

It was on a hunt for the young heifers that I discovered the fungi, on my way up one of the shady slopes.

The heifers were eventually convinced to wander down the hill so I could lead them away from the back of the farm and send them on their way to the yards. Their destination, later today, is the hill over the road, visible at the top of the picture, where they've not been for a couple of weeks.

Before they went across the road, I gave them all another copper injection.

Kohekohe flowers

Kohekohe inflorescences. Dysoxylum spectabile is a tree it is sometimes hard to distinguish from young Puriri, its leaves being very similar in size. Somebody told me some years ago, that the leaves are very good for cattle when they're not well. There's a conveniently-growing tree at the edge of the yards and any animal receiving any sort of illness-related treatment gets a handful.

fencing the Road Flat boundary

Later in the day another fence receiving the hot-wire treatment. This is the Road Flat paddock and the fence is reasonably new and solid along the roadside, but we felt it would be a good idea to discourage any steeple-chase jumping cattle which might decide they'd like to join our cattle in there.

While I was wandering around on and across the road, Mary had flown or walked out from home and was waiting for me ... on the road! My very sincere thanks to the guy in the white ute which skidded to a halt when he saw her and thus didn't run her over. It being five years and a day since our lovely former Paradise companion was killed, I have been rather conscious of Mary's presence anywhere around moving vehicles, but had not thought about this particular possibility. We shall have to put her back in the cage when we need to go over or up the road for any reason.