The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning the 18th of July 2009.
Saturday the 18th
signs of pigs rooting up the soil on top of a hill

There are signs of the presence of wild pigs all over the farm. Even here, on top of the hill in the centre of the farm, they have been at work. It makes me very angry to find they've been causing such damage to the scant grass there is at this time of year! We suspect there are probably mobs of 30 or 40 pigs out here. I have wondered if there's a small mob living permanently in the PW and Pines paddocks, since they would have to go through some electric fencing to get here from outside, and pigs are not at all fond of electric fences.

Demelza's right eye

Demelza was sitting in the sunshine under some trees, so I sat down with her for a while. Cows have lovely eyes. I wanted to get a picture of the colour and the appearance of the pupil, which is long and horizontal, but I got more reflection than I had anticipated.

The white in any of these photos of my black cows is the light glinting off their hair. If I want to change that, I shall have to do something about finding filters for the camera. In the mean time, let us assume it means my cows are in lovely healthy and shiny condition.

That tear drop at the corner of her eye doesn't mean she's crying, either! She just isn't carrying a hanky to dab at her eye, not having a pocket to put it in.

Sunday the 19th

Stephan was clearing under fence-lines with the scrub bar, trying to stop so much electric-fence power leakage in the wet weather, and I wandered around watching the heifers, ring-barking weed-trees and generally having a nice afternoon in the sunshine.
The heifers were having a great time galloping around, following Stephan along as he cut things and threw bits over the fence to them.

yearling heifer 605 yearling heifer 613

These two are yearlings. Both are daughters of Virago Direction 43 AB, the only CA Future Direction son I've had cleared of both of the genetic defects that bull carried. On the left is 605, daughter of 371. She has two elder sisters in the herd. On the right is 613, daughter of 488.

Monday the 20th
a glazed ham

I took a photo of the glazed ham as it came out of the oven this evening because it looked exactly like the picture on the recipe!

It tasted absolutely wonderful! In its honour I even found the top of the dining table and we sat down to eat - we are rather informal most nights, sitting with dinner on our knees in front of the fire and TV. The table is generally covered in accounts, newspapers, mail, camera, woollen gloves, hat ... A tidy house is the sign of an empty mind.

Thank you, Mr Piggly (aka Porky), for a fabulous meal.

Tuesday the 21st

A migraine and a meeting for me today. I am fortunate that my migraines are rarely very painful these days, although this one was more so than usual. I am no longer confined to a dark room by the pain, but do feel extraordinarily tired for several days.

The days are quite suddenly noticeably longer in the evenings. It has been almost dark at around 5.30pm each evening until this week we're still able to see well enough at nearly six o'clock.

Wednesday the 22nd
pig sign

I went to set up the gates for the pregnant heifers to go out the back again today and found the Bush Flat paddock looking about as bad in places as it did in the middle of all the horribly wet pugging last year. But this time the damage has been caused by yet more pigs!

Thursday the 23rd

Our farm is about 0.7 hectares (1.75 acres) smaller than it ought to be! I have suspected as much for a couple of years - since I found our place on google earth and noticed that the fenceline at the eastern boundary doesn't look very much like the boundary line on the property diagrams. Stephan thought the boundary had been surveyed when the council cut the hill over the road off from the rest of the farm and issued it a separate title (just before I came here) but it now appears it was not.

A subdivision in favour of the children of the now-deceased owner of the neighbouring block, before the rest is sold, has necessitated a survey and we asked if the whole boundary could please be checked, so that when that very old fence is replaced, the new fence may be erected on the correct line.

the paddock over the road the paddock over the road

In the middle of the photo on the right is the strainer post from which the present fence runs up the hill. About 80 metres along the road is this (now pink) very old Puriri strainer, which I have long suspected is the correct corner of our boundary, and so it has proven to be.

Friday the 24th
pig track

Our northern boundary fence at the back of the farm in the Back Barn paddock, has two very obvious pig "runs" under it. Some of the larger pigs presumably have to squeeze to fit under the wire, or perhaps they come in by another route.

Under the nearby trees (below left), which the cattle use as a favourite shady shelter in the summer, most of the ground has been turned over by pig noses. I took the photo on the right from the top of the hill, looking down a slope which has obviously also been visited by a lot of pigs. I find it all very depressing.

pig sign pig sign
male Putangitangi

It looks like it's lone duck season again. Lone male Putangitangi (Paradise Ducks) sitting around in paddocks at this time of year probably mean their partners are sitting on nests somewhere in the vicinity. I suspect this one's partner is the duck which nests somewhere over on the river bank, probably up in one of the trees. They raise their chicks on this paddock, in the stream and over in the Camp paddock on the other side.