The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning 4th of April.
Sunday the 5th of April
Louie having his face painted

The Richmond Road Primary School had an Easter Fair today. Jude and Roger were over at the school helping set up before it began, with Jude preparing to make and sell coffee from a machine which had been provided by a local café, to help raise funds for the school.

When the event officially began there was face-painting for the children, which Louie was keen to have done.

lots of colouring in

Next to the face painting was a table for colouring in.

Outside there were all manner of stalls selling books, art, and food and drinks. Down on the grass playing field were a couple of inflated bouncy castles for the children and, later in the day, an Easter egg hunt. I'd gone over the road to have a quiet moment by the time the madness of hundreds of children looking for chocolate occurred, so missed that spectacle.

Richmond Road School

Stella was not in this photo when I was preparing to catch the image, but just as I pressed the shutter button, she jumped. Her timing made me laugh, so I have left her in.

Matariki and Stella

This is Stella with her best friend, Matariki. As soon as Matariki appeared, the two were inseparable.

children on the stage, singing

There was a makeshift stage upon which various groups of children performed. This is Te Whanau Whariki, the Māori bilingual unit, including Jude with her guitar and beside her, Jasper on the front corner of the stage.

The Richmond Road School website has all sorts of interesting content - I found the Bilingual Education blog of particular interest.

Monday the 6th

First thing this morning Roger dropped me off in the middle of the city to catch a bus to Whangarei, to spend a night with Jill. This bus trip was not as pleasant an experience as the last, due mainly to the presence behind me of a young woman without any social awareness at all. She played her MP3 so loudly that I predict serious hearing loss or tinnitus by the time she's my age. She also had an alarming habit of suddenly bursting out in tuneless accompaniment to whatever awful racket she was listening to! Her behaviour was quite startling.

Tuesday the 7th

Stephan drove down from home this morning with a load of firewood for Jill, and to collect me from Whangarei.

We arranged to come home in time to go along to see the steers I sold this time last year, before they are sent to Kaikohe to the sale tomorrow.
This is 578, and I think he looks pretty nice. It is his mother, 486, who is my one surprise empty cow this season. I think I'll be keeping her. She calved first as a two-year-old, her first calf has calved as a two-year-old and is now back in calf for the second time, so whatever happened to 486's pregnancy this year was likely nothing she did wrong. I've given worse cows a second chance.

Wednesday the 8th
moving the young cattle

Moving the thirteen young cattle, this morning. I'm hoping to get the biggest of them away to the works sometime in the next few weeks, before the grass stops growing.

finding Damian's Pohutukawa

Both of us have been passing Damian's little tree and thinking we ought to stop and clear the Kikuyu from around it before we can't find it any more and it dies from strangulation! It was quite hard to find, under that explosion of grass growth.

book shelves

This is the sort of thing Stephan does when he's resting. We've never properly finished everything in our house and these are some shelves which will go very nicely in an alcove opposite the door to my office. There are currently no bookshelves in our living area, which is a very odd situation for both of us, having grown up in families of books where reading is such a great pleasure.

Thursday the 9th

I moved the cows and calves this afternoon, in a direction I hadn't intended, because Delilah (why, why, why?) had got herself through the fence from the Swamp/Frog paddock into the Camp and the best way to sort that out was to put the others with her.

I set up the gates down the lane, then followed the cows and calves out of the paddock to ensure they all went together.

Coming along the lane, I watched the first cows going left and into the paddock, all looking quite normal. By the time I next looked, I noticed one of them lying down, something they don't normally do when introduced to fresh feed. Then I realised that the cow was lying in the electric fence, slavering horribly. As I rushed to the switch to turn off the electricity to the fence, I realised it was Isla, having another of her strange fits. I was still cautious about approaching her in that state, but I could get very close quite safely since we effectively had a fence between us, even though she was sitting on most of the wires. I stroked and talked to her and in a minute or so she got to her feet and wavered around in a circle, as she did last time I saw this happen.

Because the Camp paddock is full of nasty little holes formed by underground water flows, some boggy bits and a fairly treacherous river bank area (which none of the cows has ever fallen over under normal circumstances), I decided it would be sensible to get her out of the paddock. But that wasn't going to be particularly easy. Isla again seemed unaware of her surroundings as she was stumbling about, yet quite determined to move forward. I managed to head her off at the gate back into the Windmill paddock. Fortunately her calf was still nearby, so I could easily draft him into the paddock with her. I think she'll have to become Imagen's paddock mate for the winter, because if this fitting is something she's going to keep doing, she could easily end up in trouble somewhere and I wouldn't necessarily find her very quickly.

Friday the 10th
Good Friday
hot cross buns

Stephan spent about three hours (on and off) making Hot Cross Buns this morning and they were very nice, with fantastic texture. I think he ended up using Allspice instead of Mixed Spice, but they still tasted pretty good.

Here they sit doing something called proving, I understand, in the warmth, during which they doubled in size.