The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning 16th of May.
Saturday the 16th

I'm still sowing grass seed, with the cows following me around paddock by paddock.

This evening we went to the Beachcomber Restaurant for dinner with some friends, then on to the Little Theatre to see The Mamaku Project, a quirky group of five very talented musicians. Their music and presentation were fabulous (and far more accessible and enjoyable than I found their dark and mysterious website). I'm so glad we went: live performances are magic.

On returning home, I heard some noise outside and eventually discovered that Isla had been down and fitting again. By the time I found her in the dark she was standing, but dribbling and she had wet muck on one side from where she'd fallen over. That's two and a half weeks since her last known seizure.

Monday the 18th
a top dressing plane in the distance

Jill is here for a couple of nights before she goes to England to visit her sister for a few weeks (burglars please note: there will be a house-sitter in residence).

We went for a walk with Stephan as he did the trapline around our boundary and, looking back, we kept seeing a top-dressing plane against the hills in the distance. It was flying from an air-strip to the right of the cloud of fertilizer in the picture, and the plane is a faint white mark to the left of that cloud.

Tuesday the 19th
Stephan mustering the sheep

The traitorous slaughterer. Stephan brought the sheep in this afternoon and killed a couple for eating. The twenty-month-old sheep are mostly in excellent shape for killing and some of the lambs are looking very good too. I'm keen to reduced their numbers as we approach winter.

Wednesday the 20th
yearling cattle next door

We brought the ten heifers on the hill over the road down and out onto the road this afternoon. We did a quick bit of drafting and hurried our nine into the Road Flat Paddock, then coaxed William's heifer up the road to his driveway and in through the gate and back to her mob. She's been away for more than a couple of weeks, so there was a bit of fighting when she reappeared.

Those cattle are now nineteen months old.

Thursday the 21st

I put the young cattle through the yards today to weigh the calves and yearlings, before then separating the last six calves from their mothers.

I also brought the three bulls in to weigh them, so I could discover if #63 is big enough to go to the works with the cull cows. He's now 512kg, as is #60. #49, the R2 bull is a bit over 670kg, although he was difficult to get to stand in the right place on the scales. The arrangement of the scales in the race means that large or long cattle won't step right up onto the platform very easily, because their noses end up too close to the gate in front of them. Generally that doesn't cause too much of a problem, so we've never done anything to make it better. One day we'll build new yards and fix all the little things which aren't quite as we'd like them to be.

When I had drafted the weaned calves away from their mothers, I let the cows go off with the rest of the young mob, thinking I would get to the top of the lane before they'd gone very far and draft the six of them into the Windmill Paddock. But they just carried on, without a second thought for their daughters! I put the six calves into the House Paddock with Isla and over the next few hours four of the cows came back, but the other two didn't reappear before it got dark.

Bella is now the only unweaned calf and she can remain with Imagen for as long as we're still milking her, just in case we want the flexibility of leaving Bella to take over milking duties occasionally.