The Farm in Diggers Valley

The week beginning the 5th of May 2012
Saturday the 5th
weaner Angus heifers

Gorgeous animals: some of the weaner heifers I'm keeping.

These are Queenly 107, 703 and 713.

fill dumped in paddock

Up the road where the soil from the corner road realignment has been being dumped, things are looking quite different.  It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out in the end.

I reckon this would make a nice little block for a cottage with an orchard and a garden.  One day we'll find someone who wants to live here.


These are the fruit and seeds of Kohekohe.  The fruits usually split in three, but I saw several with four-way splits like the top ones in both of these pictures.


This is the first time in all these years that I've seen the seeds.

Sunday the 6th
hand-sowing seed

Proof that informing and educating are far more important to me than glamour.

When I sowed seed on the previous three occasions (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009), I carried the seed in a bucket in one hand and sowed with the other.  It was the pain that method caused, primarily from holding the bucket, which gave me the most anxiety about sowing again this year.  Stephan described how he used to sow seed as a farm cadet, wearing a modified sack over his body, with one side sewn up into a pocket.  Sackcloth is not quite my thing and so I found a sheet whose colour and fabric I would not choose to use as bedding and created this pinafore.  It needs some modification to stop the sideways slippage across my shoulders, but even with three buckets of seed tipped into the front, it was not overly heavy and I could sow with both hands, meaning I didn't have to walk as far up and down each paddock, since each sowing strip was wider than when sowing with only one hand.

I strapped the GPS unit to a belt around my middle to track where I'd been, and listened to a lot of radio and downloaded radio recordings.  In other years I'd walked in gumboots, but this year walked in my sandals, which was far more comfortable.

Monday the 7th
Digger working

The corner is now looking quite different.

The little Cabbage Trees are growing on the shelf from which we rescued the native orchids.  I also went back and dug out the top inch or so of soil from the whole shelf and brought it home in containers, because there were many tiny orchid plants visible and I suspect more will grow from the soil I saved, if it's put in the right sort of position.

cow rubbing in soil

Stephan asked Dickie, the truck driver on the corner job, to bring a couple of loads of the soil in so he can use it to level out some uneven areas near the house.

The cows think it's great!  They adore rubbing their heads into soil for some reason.

This is Zella, down in the driveway area after milking time.

cow with soil on face

Zella has begun to look a bit light in condition.  The grass is slowing down in its growth and it getting harder to find her good quantities of feed.

Tuesday the 8th
Angus cows sheltering from rain

Rain today and half of the cows gathered around the garden wall, so they'd have some shelter from the big Puriri tree.  The others gathered in the lee of the trees in the reserve on the northern boundary of the paddock.

Wednesday the 9th
twin Angus heifers

The twins.  Since they're Mirror Twins, it seems appropriate to call them Gem and Meg.

dead Cicada

Old Cicadas must just die as they sing, and then they are gradually consumed by fungus.  This is a rather pretty stage of decay.

year-old rushes

I was astonished to find these advanced rushes around the base of the big water tank, growing in the sand which was bare a year ago.  I had not realised that rushes grew so fast.

Thursday the 10th

More seed sowing today.  I've walked 24km so far as I've sowed (with the GPS unit on my belt, tracking my progress).

Friday the 11th

The 1.2 hectare Flat 3 paddock required a 6km sowing walk this afternoon, before I let the cows in from Flat 2 where they'd been chewing down that grass.  I must surely be getting quite fit.