The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning 9th of May.
Saturday the 9th
cattle on a muddy track

Rainy and cold today; horrible.

Our new butcher and a mate came out this afternoon to hunt the pigs which are routinely ripping up the grass around the back of the farm. They didn't catch any.

a stray heifer

About a week ago we went up the road to help our neighbour search for a missing yearling heifer. It looked fairly likely that she'd jumped over the back boundary fence and headed off following the scent of a bull and we could find no sign of her anywhere. I'd checked all of my cattle over the road the previous day, so was fairly confident she wasn't on our place.

Between then and now we've taken our young mob off the hill, left the paddock empty for a day or two and then returned the nine pregnant R3 heifers to continue grazing there. At no stage had there been any sign of a spare animal in the paddock and yet here she is, quietly grazing with our heifers as if she belongs back in my ownership!
William was delighted to hear she's been found in safe condition. Sometime soon we'll give her back to him.

Sunday the 10th
cows coming into Mushroom 2

Stephan went out scrub cutting and I went to sow seed in Mushroom 2, because the weather looked quite nice - a bit of sunshine and not too much breeze. Half-way through sowing this paddock I had to dash for the shelter of the Puriri tree in the middle and cover my bag of seed, as the rain came splashing down in great torrents. Then it stopped and the sun came out. Stupid weather. This was repeated a couple of times, but I managed to finish the paddock and let the cows come in to chew down the grass.

Monday the 11th
418's nose

418, whose nose is looking a little less swollen than it was.

418's nose

And a closer view, because I'm sure you've always wanted to look into a cow's nostril.

The pink stuff is coming out of a cut the vet made when preparing to insert the drain material. I'm pleased it's still open and draining.

wild pigs

The wild pigs are back again already, wreaking their characteristic form of destruction. The pig hunters obviously didn't chase them far enough the other day!

orange fungus growing out of a dead branch

It's fungus time again! These highly coloured specimens are usually quite small, but so pretty in the drabness of the beginning of the winter wetness.

Tuesday the 12th

The pig hunters came back again and caught a small pig. They said they killed another, larger one as well, but it was too far for them to carry it out. Personally I don't really care about waste pork: this is pest control from my perspective.

Wednesday the 13th
bread board

Stephan spent some time in his shed being creative, working on a pattern he'd found for a decorative bread board. This one is made from Tasmanian Blackwood, with a Northern Rata trim.

I took a bag of seed to the Pig Paddock and walked up and down and around for an hour or so. While I was doing so, I heard the sultry tones of friend and LSB Magazine Editor Nadene on the radio, in a spot called "the best song ever written". It's a request cum interview opportunity, during which she talked about her lifestyle block and animals, and her job editing the magazine.

looking down on the flats

This is a partial view of the new reserve on the hill over the road, looking down from above.

orchid plants

The exquisite Orchid I found last year is growing strongly again, despite the long hot summer which I feared would dry it to death.

Thursday the 14th
Piwakawaka and steaming cattle

I took this picture a few minutes after it had ceased raining. As soon as the sun came out, the cattle started steaming and half a dozen Fantails came flitting around and above them, hunting the insects which came out to play in the warm, humid air.

Friday the 15th

Stephan spent today helping reshape a coffin. A friend has died and the family wanted to do things simply in regard to his final farewell, which included the use of a coffin decorated by his grandchildren. The coffin was built a while ago, because the death was expected sometime soon, but in the event it was not of the correct dimensions to suit the crematorium to which it would be taken. Stephan and one of the grandsons spent several hours carefully dismantling the coffin and cutting it down to the required size. It was a privilege to be able to help in such a way.

542 feeding her calf

I went out to check the cows, calves and other young stock in the Back Barn paddock. 542 and her calf had met for a feed in a silly sort of situation. There must be better places to feed and be fed than half-way in and out of the river.

I found Irene 48 had a little blood on her tail and I'm fairly sure it was slippery, so partly vaginal mucous as well and its position would support that. I think her calf has died. Irene 48 is Irene 698's last live daughter, tested positive for Neospora infection and also recently tested as a carrier of Arthrogryposis Multiplex. I think she has just joined the cull list.