The week beginning the 16th of July 2016.
Saturday the 16th
bath time

While Stephan made some cheese, I lit the fire and he put a couple of big pans of water on top to heat, so there'd be ample hot water for his first bath trial.  Having a very sore lower back, this was just the treatment required.  I went off out to move some cattle and came back more than an hour later to find him still lying there.  The tap water comes from the wet-back in the fire and is otherwise not well used.  One day we might have a real bathroom down this end of the house but in the mean time, this satisfies a long-felt want.

trapped possum

This is a cat trap, which has never caught a cat here (this is where Spice came from and we know there are still cats in the area), but catches many possums.  The possum climbs up the wooden ramp, reaches for the tasty bait (usually peanut butter and cat biscuits) and bumps the trigger mechanism which allows the very strong springs to snap the trap across its neck and possum and trap fall to hang, which hastens its death.

Angus cows

The cows had been waiting for a move and were not long satisfied with this small area between Flats 1 and 2, but I wanted them to tidy it up a bit.

grazed paddock

They'd come from Flat 2, taped into the bottom section primarily to get them across from Flat 3.  I ought not to have pushed them so hard on this area where there is newly-sown grass, but it will be interesting to see how well it recovers.

We ran out of water this evening, for the first time since we installed our big tank.  I turned it off on the 21st of May when there was heavy rain and there was a lot of silt in the stream and hadn't thought to turn it back on since.  When the cold water pressure was down in the aviary's sink earlier in the day it struck me as a bit odd, then this evening at the kitchen sink, I realised what must have happened.

I took Ella with me for a walk in the dark, to go and turn on the tap to refill the tank.  Ella said she was scared of the dark, so I gave her the torch but then suggested she turn it off while we walked, so she could see how much light there was, even at night.  The sky was overcast but somewhere was the moon casting a glow above the clouds.  Walking in the dark is a lovely experience when you know it really is quite safe and can put aside thoughts of dreadful things lurking in the shadows.

Sunday the 17th
daughter and father

Ella and Stephan went out for a longish walk to check and re-bait some traps.

Monday the 18th
Angus heifers

Yesterday, as the cows went from the Pines into the PW, I left Erin 132 behind, grazing the grass in the wide lane area at the bottom of the Pines and near the pregnant heifers in the Frog paddock.  This morning I brought the ten heifers out and sent them along the lane with Erin, on their way to the yards to have a copper injection.

Erin, here on the right, has lost a bit of condition while a member of the cow mob.  She was with them because she was on my cull list (because I don't know what caused her ailment last December and fear it could be a sign of worse to come) and if the stock agent hadn't said, hang on to them for a while if you have grass, she and Dinky 94, along with another couple of cows would already be gone.  But the winter has been mild and so I thought I could carry them all through with enough to eat.  But Erin needs to be with the heifers, being only a R4 second calver.  She's done pretty well in the other mob for a youngster but I'll have to make sure she regains some condition now before calving.

I won't send any of them to the works this late in the season and as calves are worth good money at present, it seems sensible to keep my planned cull cows for another year.  Dinky 94 is not in calf and she will go sometime soon but in the mean time just carries on living her life ...

Father and daughter

Ella's taller than me now, which is hardly surprising, considering the stature of both her parents.  Everyone else says she looks like Stephan but I can rarely see similarities in faces I know well.

Tuesday the 19th

Stephan and Ella went up to the airport before dawn for Ella to catch the 6.20 flight on her way back home to Whakatane.  For the first time ever, she didn't forget any of her belongings!

A little later we went in to town to pick up Jude's car from the mechanic.  The main purpose of my trip, apart from driving the ute back home, was to visit the Switzer budgies, so as we were leaving, it occurred to me to take Floss too.  She was a great hit!  She sat on someone who was confined to her bed, for several minutes without disgracing herself in any way.  She did bite one of the carers but if you put your hand out to a parrot with a large bill, what do you expect?  I warned everyone that I couldn't predict how she'd behave if they extended a hand of friendship to her.

Floss was funny, almost shy, tucking her head in close to my neck as I walked around with her and she only spoke at troubling moments, like at the instant I passed a serious-looking man in the corridor and Floss said "hello", in her funny little voice and the man looked back at me in surprise.

Puriri trunk

After adding some Iodine to the pregnant heifers' trough in the Tank paddock, I came back through the reserve area to see what was growing around the big Puriri trees.  The tallest tree had all these wonderful roots growing down the trunk, which I am fairly sure belong to the Puka, Griselinia lucida.

Puriri trunk

The Puriri is a big tree and the Puka plant in its top has grown to a reasonable size with the nutrients available there, hence the large number of roots it is now able to send down the trunk.

Eventually some will grow into the huge, grooved roots characteristic of that plant.

Puriri flowers

These are very pale Puriri flowers, on a tree which originally came from the garden near the house Stephan built and used to live in with his parents, out by the road near the yards.  Usually the flowers are a deep pink.

This is the tree we planted at the top end of the Flat 5 paddocks.

Wednesday the 20th

Here are the yearling heifers.  I like taking face photos for later reference.  If they stay in the herd, I get to know their faces well over time and it's fun looking back at these earlier images.

heifer heifer heifer heifer heifer heifer heifer heifer heifer
Pukeko mating

Pukeko mating involves a lot of flapping and balancing and it's going on all over the place at the moment.

Thursday the 21st
native Fuchsia

After spending hours recoding webpages for mobile "friendliness" (most of the 2005 and 2006 pages now work properly), I went out for a wander around a bit of the riparian reserve at the bottom end of the Frog paddock.

This is yet another Fuchsia plant, growing by the edge of the stream.  It seems that most seeds are carried into our place by stream flood waters.  I love the way light reflects off their leaves.

native trees

The cattle have been excluded from this area since the completion of the riparian fencing last season.  Along to the right runs the track along the edge of Mushroom 1, where I often photograph the cattle along the lane.

The big tree on the left is probably a twin or triplet Puriri - the fruit has three seeds and sometimes all three will germinate where they fall.  From the just-visible fissures in the base of this tree and its unusual girth, I concluded it is an example of that happening.  Single trees are not usually so wide at the base, even at a great age.


Frost-bitten Kikuyu grass in Flat 1, with Rye grass growing around it.  Because there was still feed we were using in this paddock at the end of autumn, this area wasn't mowed, so quite a lot of longer Kikuyu remained where it was unpalatable to the stock (usually because of underlying cow pats).  It is those longer bits which were most prone to frost damage.


It makes a messy-looking paddock.

The cows were in here four days ago but were obviously quite picky about what they'd eat.  It'll come right again over time.  Like getting kids to eat vegetables: mix a bit of what they don't like in with what they do and hope they won't notice ...

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