After rain in the night, the stream was up and running fast and without obstruction downstream from our bridge. For a long time it looked like this.
I climbed the hill Over the Road to check on the cows and found nearly all of them sitting or standing chewing their cud, in the sheltered area half-way up the north-facing slope.
I think Ellie 119 is looking pretty good, obviously getting sufficient food to keep her in nice condition. Last year she was still in the pregnant heifer mob, while she was gestating her second calf. Sometimes I'll keep a thin cow with the heifers for another year but generally they're well-enough grown and there's enough feed for the cow mob for them to join that older group for the winter of their third pregnancies.
Flat 1 has been in reserve for the weeks since I sowed seed across the top quarter and since there are only two of them, I decided Zella and Imagen could be the first grazers of the new grass.
After I sowed it Stephan mowed this far down the paddock, further than I'd sowed, so I could compare the seeded area against the existing grass under the same conditions. This green grass in the foreground is what grew after mowing; the newly-sown area starts just to the left of the Cabbage Tree in the drain on the other side of the paddock, where you might be able to see a couple of white, electric fence standards.
There isn't a very obvious difference between the two areas at this stage. Hopefully as the new grass plants mature, they'll produce more leaf matter than the older grasses here.
Flat 2 has had three days short of eight weeks since I sowed it and has been looking lovely and lush, so I put the youngsters in for the first graze.
I noticed this odd lump under Imagen 155's tail yesterday, when she was outside the kitchen window. This must be a reaction to the 7in1 vaccine, since vet technicians and vets now generally inject subcutaneous treatments into that area beside the tail. The instruction has always been to inject into the skin of the neck, as far toward the head as possible (because of the risk of scarring and abscesses in response to injections and wanting to keep those away from prime meat-producing areas of the body) but animals usually wave their heads up, down and around when their heads are approached and so for personal safety reasons, non-farming administrators of these injections opt for a safer approach.
It looks like this regrowing Puriri has reached a point of critical mass and now it's really taking off in growth. I've been watching it with interest since we felled the last third of the tree back in 2011. If you follow the ...Later... links from that page, you will see how it has regrown.
I think I have discovered the source of the wood used to make the cake board for Simon and Anna's wedding.
From there, at the very bottom of the Big Back South, I turned off the electric fence with our fancy new remote-control gadget, which sends a signal through the fence back to the energizer, and hopped through the fence into the Bush Flat Reserve. I usually climb through the fences by holding some of the wires down with my notebook but, having just received a jolt off the steel gate into the paddock, I decided to avoid any chance of another shock.
I was looking specifically for a fern like the one I discovered in the PW reserve three weeks ago. I found lots of interesting ferns, including this, Asplenium oblongifolium. But nowhere could I find another example of the fern I'd previously found. I then received a message from Gary Bramley, suggesting it to be Asplenium polyodon, an epiphyte growing on the ground. I've been caught by that before, in that same reserve. (I still have a birthday book voucher which is obviously now going to buy me a book with which to more accurately identify ferns).
This log wasn't here before the last flood, which indicates the sort of volumes of water which can flow along these small stream courses when there's heavy rain.
I turned around and here was another young Ti Ngahere, the forest Cabbage Tree. I found about a dozen of them in this area, including those I'd seen from the paddock on that same fern-finding day linked above.
Last night's weather was a bit unpleasant and I thought of the young cattle out here without any significant shelter at the top end of Flat 2.
This afternoon was colder and with forecast rain and wind, I decided to move them down to the bottom end of the paddock so they'd have the shelter of all the big trees.
Stephan walked out with me to shift them, since they had to cross all the lovely grass growing all the way down the paddock, before we restricted them to the bottom end with the electric tape.
They didn't really mind, since the grass is delicious wherever they are in the paddock.
I often look at this particular corner and think about a comment one of the Regional Council officers made in regard to some of the reserve fencing we did around the little swamp on our northern boundary. Where a bit of the land was steep and a fence ran along the top side of the swamp, he commented that the cattle would make this sort of mess and the soil would then be washed into the swamp with any rain. I maintained that as we were in the area of the smaller angle, the cattle would not all take the same path along the fenceline for any reason, that it is only when they go around the outsides of corners like this that they create such a mess.
It's nice to look down on the farm and see those patches of darker green, where the new grass is growing.
I walked down the open slope and over the edge to the fenceline along the road, to put some Iodine in the water trough, checking cows as I went.
There are a lot of trees growing on the steep bank between the road and the paddock and these Kohekohe flowers were at eye level.
I reckon this would make a nice hedge in a suburban garden. Maybe a bit big and unruly. It's so nice having a good fence along here now.
I had another optometry check today on my recovering eye, happily reassuring me that having painfully scraped across it with a hot flannel a couple of days ago, there was no sign of damage. My vision is becoming slowly clearer in the distance, I don't feel as though I will fall over when looking at things on the ground and I can't see anything very clearly close-up, although since both eyes now see much the same at near distance, it doesn't seem terribly worrying unless I'm trying to read something. Reading is now almost impossible and I've bought some more hobby glasses to have them in various places around the house.
This evening I heard the dull roar of a large plane overhead, which seemed a bit unusual, so consulted the flightradar24.com site which told me it was a NASA aircraft which had flown up from Christchurch and had turned to go back again. That seemed even odder, so I asked a question on the Lifestyle Block discussion forum, source of all manner of information and someone told me it was SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. Fascinating!
I was feeling a bit off-colour so asked Stephan to move the calves for me in Flat 2. I climbed out onto the roof and watched him in the still, warm morning sunshine. What a lovely clear day.