The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning the 5th of July 2008.
Saturday the 5th

I went over the road to check on the heifers and a very heavy rain shower overtook me - fortunately I'd had the presence of mind to bring the umbrella, but that wasn't going to do me much good amongst the trees, where the heifers had gone to shelter, so I went home again, to return later in the day.

bulls running to some hay

It was a chilly 7°C at 3pm today, which is remarkably cold for this part of the world. I took the bulls some hay to make them feel happier - and they ran across the paddock when they saw me coming!


Another fungus; this one is about five inches across the top. (Clive Shirley of, later informed me that this is Tylopilus formosus, common name Dark Velvet.) If I carry on like this I'm going to have to start learning about the vast range of fungi which grow around here.

By 5pm, when Stephan and I went for a walk over the road, the temperature had dropped to just 5½°C.

Sunday the 6th

Jackie came for a walk again this afternoon and we managed to see nearly all the cows while wandering around down on the flat areas. There was a cow up on the hill in the PW and Jackie said she was quite happy to clamber up the hill, so off we went - I'm never quite sure how far to drag people around the farm at this time of the year, because it really is very sloppy, slippery and sometimes potentially quite unpleasant, if you're not prepared to get a bit muddy.

Monday the 7th
478 in a difficult spot

478 looked like she'd been in this bit of fenced-off riverbank for around 24 hours, and had probably had a shock going in and a few if she tried to get out, so she wasn't overly keen to go back through the fence, even with my help - I created a gap between the wires with that piece of tree branch. Fortunately she eventually responded to my various methods of persuasion and dashed back through the wires and headed off to join the rest of the mob again. I would be interested to know how the cows get themselves into these areas we've fenced off. 473 did a similar thing last year and I have born in mind the possibility of such "trappings" since then.

Taraire foliage

Taraire, Beilschmiedia tarairi. This is a tree on the bank of the stream in the Back Barn paddock. After a heavy shower of rain, during which I sheltered under some trees, the sun appeared and everything looked fresh, bright and warm again.

I was hunting for two cows, one of which I found, but the other, 418, has been out of sight for nearly a week. She's probably just been in the trees any time I've been out walking, but I'd rather like to find her and know she's safe. I eventually found her, just before dark, on another walk around the PW at the end of the day.

Tuesday the 8th
Stephan on his way out to cut scrub

The weather is fine, so Stephan has decided to go out and cut scrub in the Pines paddock. He cut it over in 2001 and since then of course the seedlings have regrown and it looks almost the same as it did before he did that work, although the regrowth is rather smaller than the earlier cover. Last time he left a lot of the debris lying on the ground to rot down, which wasn't very satisfactory because it provided shelter for all the new seedlings and made walking across the hills somewhat treacherous. This time he plans to pile and burn, as he did with the PW, which has remained clear and growing grass.

Thursday the 10th

There was frost again this morning.

the young cattle having some molasses

I tried giving the young mob some flax this morning, chopped up into short lengths. The bulls have really enjoyed it, but the heifers weren't quite so keen.

Later on I gathered a lot of the Topmilk bins which are scattered around the place, washed them out and put a little Molasses in each one, hoping to teach the young cattle that good things come in blue bins.