The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning 23rd of May.
Saturday the 23rd

I spent much of the day "interrogating a database". The New Zealand Angus Association has said very little in the media about the genetic defects of current concern and my attempts to discover why they appear so unconcerned have elicited very casual responses from them. I have been attempting to discover the possible extent of the problem within the NZ herd. The NZ Angus database allows the searching of pedigrees in both directions, i.e. one can look at ancestors, and one can also see the recorded progeny of any animal in the system. I've spent far more time on this mission than I probably ought, but bees in bonnets must be dealt with.

Just-weaned Irene 48 had some rather smelly and suspicious mucous on her tail this afternoon. Eight days ago she had a bit of blood on her tail and I suspected she'd slipped her calf.

Sunday the 24th
bulls in the Bush Flat

I took the weed wiper out this afternoon and applied glyphosate (herbicide liquid) to rushes, rat-tail weed and sedge in a number of paddocks, including the Bush Flat where the three bulls were enjoying the sunshine.

the results of much scrub clearing

Stephan is still cutting and piling firewood around the reserve fencing area. When it's all tidied up, we'll be able to get lime and RPR fertilizer in here and help the grass to grow again.

Walking home together we saw this male Tomtit. They're usually in the bush - a pair have been flitting around Stephan while he's been working for the last few weeks. This one was flying down onto the ground to catch and eat things, then returning to the wire, and let me get quite close to take his picture.

Tomtit Tomtit
Monday the 25th
transporting the pig trap on the tractor bucket

There is increasing evidence of wild pigs coming down onto the pastures at the back of the farm, so Stephan took the Kiwi Foundation pig/dog trap out and set it. He's also ready to start thumping posts for the new fence, so took the thumper on the tractor as well.

cattle on the PW hillside

The young stock are in the PW. I liked the look of the cattle on the hillside, rode on but then returned to take the picture.

weaned calves passing their mothers

Six little heifers walking up the lane past their mothers in the Windmill Paddock.

Wednesday the 27th

Stephan and I went up the road this morning to fetch the nine pregnant heifers from the Road Flat paddock. I always like to get them along and off the road as quickly as possible, so generally walk ahead of them pretty quickly. This morning they decided we'd all run! To keep them from overtaking me I had to run the 300 metres from a little up the road from the gate, once they started moving, until we reached our gateway into the farm. They're resonably cooperative, not really meaning to overtake me, which they easily could if they wanted to, and would have if I hadn't done their bidding! I discovered how unfit I am for running, but it was great fun pelting along the road with my cattle, hoping we wouldn't all pile into something coming around the corner!

a Rata Vine in flower

The Rata vines are in flower, but rarely seen unless one specifically looks for them. They grow high up in other trees; I know where a couple of the vines are and try to remember to look for them at this time of the year.

Irene 48

Irene 48, looking a bit thin after weaning her little calf, is now in a mob with ten other cows and I will add the yearling bull #63 tomorrow after one of the other young cows stops being on heat, and the twelve of them will go off to the works whenever they are called for.

The rest of the cows are now a mob of 19 and will probably stay in that group for the winter.

Thursday the 28th
protective fencing around an old Puriri

This Puriri is one I've wanted to do something about for several years, watching as it was continually stressed by the teeth and hooves of my animals. I didn't realise that Stephan had advanced so far with this fence (around the swamp), and I'm delighted to see it so close to completion.

the new wetland reserve fence

Further around the fenceline, looking back toward the Puriri from the photo above.

These slack-looking wires were yet to be properly tensioned before being electrified.

young cattle in the new grass

I let the 31 young cattle into the Mushroom 1 paddock for the first time since I sowed the rye. Then while they were busy and not looking, I let the weaned calves in from the neighbouring paddock where they'd been with Isla, Imagen and Bella.

I now have a rather too-large mob of 37 youngsters plus Bella.

Friday the 29th

Another sunny day, some of which I used to hunt and kill weeds, and the rest trying to catch up with some writing.