The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning the 3rd of May 2008.
Saturday - Monday

Stella went home with Jill and Bruce. There was quite a bit of rain around and my notebook tells me the rivers were too high at one point to go and search for some of the calves in the Camp paddock. Things just carried on as they normally do.

Tuesday the 6th

The tax end-of-period timings at this time of year are a bit different from usual - normally I sit down at the end of each month and submit a GST return for us or for the Dramatic Society, but that which would normally be due at the end of last month, doesn't have to be in until tomorrow. I spent most of today tidying up our accounts, doing much of the end-of-year organisation to enable any adjustments to be submitted with this return. It's not something I enjoy when I've not left enough time to do it, but I really am getting better at anticipating deadlines!

At 4 o'clock I set out to go and check and move cattle and as I was walking through the sheep, noticed a dark, damp patch on Dotty's rump. On parting her wool, I found a lot of rather fat, very lively maggots. I fetched the nastily-poisonous flystrike powder and applied it to her back. The maggots will now dry and she will be a lot more comfortable.

Wednesday the 7th
cows on a sunny day

The weather is fine and forecast to remain so for at least the next 24 hours! I have been awaiting just such an opportunity to get the annual pour-on liver-fluke drench onto the backs of the cattle.

I very fortunately thought to check how much drench I had on hand last evening, just before the vet clinic closed, so Stephan was able to buy some more while he was in town. It's like liquid gold at nearly $900 for five litres!

drenching cattle

The way I drench cattle is to put them in the crush pen which leads to the race, walk each animal up to stand on the scales and drench according to their individual weight. Generally they then come out the gate to this side of the race where there's ample room, grazing and water. Because the cattle are accustomed to working this way, it's not a complicated job - unless I get a group of ratbags in the pen which leads to the crush, who go around in circles and refuse to go up through the next gate.

At this time of the year yard work can mean pugging around in ankle-deep mud in some places, which is neither comfortable, nor particularly safe. Usually it all goes pretty smoothly and I work quite happily on my own.

Ronnie, who lives over the hills on the Fairburn road, came for lunch and as I was rushing to try and get most of the mobs finished before she arrived, I realised we'd really chosen the wrong day for sitting around with a glass of wine over a leisurely chat, since this sort of weather is much valued at this time of the year for these sorts of jobs. I left Ronnie and Stephan to the lunch preparations and I continued on and drenched the fourth mob I'd brought in before I stopped and joined them.

Thursday the 8th

The only cattle I didn't get done yesterday were the three cows and their bull calves, so they came in and had their treatment this morning. The rain looks like it will hold off for a few hours yet - the drench requires at least two hours before it is shower-proof and I'd rather it had more time than the minimum.

Friday the 9th

Today I went to a conference organised by Enterprise Northland, called Farming for the Future. There were a number of speakers, some well worth attending to hear, and various workshop sessions one could attend during the day. Enterprise Northland's website has links to some of the material which is now brought together in the Northland Agricultural Research Library which is also available from them on CD.