The week beginning the 17th of September 2016.
Saturday the 17th

Heavy rain (must have been fast-falling, because there was only just over 50mm in the gauge) brought the river up over the bridge today.  These greater-intensity rains are becoming more and more common.

When Jacob rang to ask if he could come over, I said yes without realising the stream was so high but had fortunately said I'd meet him out at the road anyway, after I moved the cattle Over the Road from one area to the other.

I waded carefully across, to avoid getting water in my boots and by the time we walked back together, the level had dropped a bit more.

We walked out to move and check bulls, cows and heifers and when I told Jacob the paddock was called the Spring, he wanted to know why and where was the spring?  Was it really big and bendy?  I think he was a bit unimpressed by the magical flow of water from its secret source.

Soft Mingimingi

As we walked we saw these flowering plants in the stream reserve, this is Soft Mingimingi (I didn't have my glasses, so had to hope I'd managed a clear photo, which you can see I only did in parts).


Hangehange is also about to flower.

Spring is lovely (another spring, no wonder ten-year-olds get confused), with flowers all around.

We had dinner with both of Stephan's cousins, Christina and Douglas, since Doug had come up to help finish Christina's kitchen, a job Stephan has also been involved in over the last few weeks.

Sunday the 18th

This huge leafy plant has been growing bigger by the day in one of the raised garden beds and we were wondering if it would turn into anything useful and here, seemingly very suddenly, is a huge Cauliflower.


Stephan is delighted, it being the best one he's yet grown.  We'll have cauliflower cheese, made with our own milk, cheese and some frozen tomatoes from the summer time to add a bit of colour.

Monday the 19th
Angus cows

I had to go to a 10am meeting with the International Women's Day group, so moved the cows early in the morning.  Dexie 121 often straggles along slowly, behind everyone else.  It's a strong familial trait in most of Abigail's descendants (Demelza et al.).

Then I went to the meeting but it wasn't on!  The women at the venue (we've been meeting in a room at the Department of Internal Affairs) said they were expecting it on Wednesday and when I later looked at the minutes, it gave the date as last Monday.  I'm beginning to lose faith in this group's ability to organise anything.  I get a bit cross about wasted trips to town, both for the cost of the trip as well as the time I could have used to do something else.  Grumble, grumble...  I went and watched Stephan working in Christina and Dan's kitchen for a while instead.  (Dan is currently very unwell, hence the gatherings of helpers to get the kitchen finished, the job having been started before he realised he was ill.)

Angus cattle

Late in the afternoon Stephan arrived home and we moved the unhappy, very muddy cattle, from across the road.  Several of them have been on heat and the area at the bottom of the hill where they gather is awfully boggy at the moment, so they end up with mud from each other's legs all over them.

In the evening I began to investigate the boxes we brought back from Jill's room.  There were letters I have only seen briefly before, when I packed them for her move from Whangarei.  There's some surprising family history amongst them, which we (my sisters and I) will have to explore some time.  Handwritten letters from dead grandmother, aunt and even a couple from Uncle Paul, before he went suddenly blind!  Granny wrote in a beautiful copperplate script (that's as Jill named it, although I think it's slightly different from copperplate), always in fountain pen, as did Joy.  Paul's writing was similar but not quite so beautifully formed.  Jill's is quite different.  There are a few hand-written letters from my Father, but most of his letters he wrote on the type-writer (often with carbon copies) because his writing was small and, he thought, unreadable.

To my great surprise, because I have not seen them before and wonder how long she's had them, there were several packets of photo negatives, mostly black and white, in surprisingly good condition.  I set up a frame to hold them still while I photographed them against a light and then "negative-ised" them in my photo processing programme, to see what was there.

The photographer was not always skilled in keeping his (I presume my great grandfather for the most part) hand still, but many of the pictures were delightful.

b/w photo

This is my great grandmother, always spoken of as Nanna Day, with great affection, by my mother, Jill.

My cousin Chris (Joy's second son) tells me her name was Ethel Wardall.  Somewhere I have a copy of the family tree to which Chris referred but wasn't terribly interested when Joy gave it to me years ago and have put it somewhere safe, which of course I can't find.

b/w photo

"Grandpa Day", William Herbert Day, who, according to my cousin Chris, was a carpenter at Trent Park in North London, born in 1889.

b/w photo

Joan Day, my mother's mother, presumably in about 1930 (born in 1915).

I can't believe we have these fabulous old pictures!  Jude had a reprint made of this picture to frame for Jill some years ago but I think she took it from an existing print in an old photo album which I haven't actually seen.

b/w photo

My Aunt Joy and Jill as a nearly-bald, blond toddler!

b/w photo

Joy and Jill with their grandmother in a caravan.  We'll find out more about the locations of some of these, I think.  Jill still remembered the names of some people in photos we found while we were with her and I have forwarded these to Uncle Peter to go through with Jill when he next visits her.  Together they'll probably be able to recall a whole lot of details I wouldn't be able to help with.

b/w photo

Joy, Jill and Uncle Paul with their parents.  Peter is the same age as Stephan so this must have been about three or four years before he was born.

Tuesday the 20th

On a rainy morning Floss seemed quite excited, so I put her out on the table on the deck for a shower.  She loves the rain!

But what a galah!  All fluffed and disheavelled.

b/w photo

I continued exploring photos.  It's almost impossible to work out who people are in negative, with black teeth and white hair when everything should be the other way around.  These would doubtless print in much better quality but I'm still thrilled to be able to see them in this much detail already.  (Again, this one's fuzziness is in the negative, not my inability to focus my own camera on it.)

I love this picture!  But I'm also delightedly surprised at the obvious physical ease these lovely people have with each other.  I had always imagined my English relatives as very formal types but these pictures show a different story.

These three are the great grandparents with daughter Joan, Jill's mother.

b/w photo

Joan in the middle and Eric, my grandfather, on the right.  Again, such relaxed ease.

I spoke with Peter after finding these and commented on my surprise and he said it was his mother who had "standards" which were the formality I experienced in her presence.  She obviously turned into a much less relaxed older adult than she had been as a young person...

b/w photo

... or than her own parents appear to have been.

b/w photo

From the timing of the photos of my mother and Joy, I presume this baby is Jill.

This grandmother of mine looks so similar to her own mother in her younger pictures.  I think they're utterly lovely.

Wednesday the 21st
Angus heifer

Someone on the Lifestyle Block forum asked if her pregnant heifers were too fat (they were) and so I went out to take pictures of mine, as an example I believe, of exactly the right amount of body condition for a pregnant two-year-old heifer.

This is Henrietta 141, daughter of Ellie 119 when she too was two.

Angus heifer

Jet 777 is the least well-covered of the young heifers but she's quite a big-framed animal.

Angus cows

The cows only came out of Flat 5a in this orderly line because I'd opened the gate into the top of Flat 1 to my left; otherwise they're rarely this cooperative.


I had to take a few photos of some young birds for the pet shop.  I was a little late in feeding them all so everyone tried to get in to the container of fresh seed as soon as I opened it.

The large flights need replenishing every two days over the winter but it seems things might speed up a bit as the weather warms.  The breeding boxes where parents are raising chicks need more frequent attention, particularly as the hungry chicks get bigger and the adult birds must have to eat extraordinary quantities to keep up with the very fast growth of their chicks.

Friday the 23rd
Angus heifer

Doesn't 743 have beautiful hair?

Clematis buds

The Clematis is about to bloom.  This vine is right by the gateway into the Back Barn, so I can easily keep an eye on its progress.


We were about to put the non-pregnant mob of 18 on Jane's place to continue tidying (half of them were there last week before I combined two mobs and put them over the road).  Both of us were independently thinking about the fencing around Jane's paddocks, which has always caused problems because it was inadequately built with crappy materials.  Stephan does upgrades from time to time to keep it working but the biggest problem lately has been the lack of sufficient electric shocking power from Jane's unit - and the impracticalities for us of having to get in and out of her now-locked shed to turn it on or off.

Because Jane had just gone out and we couldn't get in to the shed, we decided it was time her place was fed from our unit, since they're our cattle and after experiencing the increased shock from our new energizer, they'll probably ignore hers and disappear off into the bush, or even her garden, which would be a great deal worse.

This was obviously the best place to make the connection, directly across the stream from a switch by Jane's gate, where we can all access it easily and see whether it's on or off.  It took Stephan about half an hour to sort it all out.


Then over the stream the cattle went and we called them along the laneway between the two areas of grazing, to the far end.  I now feel much more confident the cattle will stay where I expect them to.

It's time for the annual Eva's Calving Date Competition.

Please ENTER HERE before 16 October.

For a bit of extra entertainment, we're having a twins guessing competition too.  This year they both got in calf on the same day, Saturday 2nd January, to Eva's son, bull 144.  Below are the guesses received.

identical twins
OctoberGem 698Meg 699
1 6.25am: heifer, Suzi
2 10.30am: bull, Suzi
6 9.45pm: heifer, Sue
7 11pm: heifer, Megan
8 5am: heifer, Megan
11am: heifer, Ruth
7:23pm: heifer, Joyce
11am: heifer, Ruth
9 4pm: bull, Melanie
10 10am: bull, Sandy 1am: heifer, Renée
2am: bull, Sue
10am: bull, Melanie
9:04pm: heifer, Joyce
10pm: bull, Bernie
10pm: heifer, Sandy
11 1:30am: heifer, Bernie
3.30pm: heifer Shelley
midnight: heifer, Renée
12 11.15pm: heifer, Shelley
13 heifer, Dominique
8.00am: bull, Jenny
heifer, Dominique
10.00pm: heifer, Jenny

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