The week beginning the 23rd of September 2017.
Saturday the 23rd

The Pukeko family are getting a bit cheeky, this one early this morning, coming up the deck steps.  They pick weedy plants out of the lawn and scavenge around the aviary out the back.  If they start getting into the actual garden beds, there'll be trouble.

polling place

We decided, in the course of the most interesting election cycle for years, to leave voting until the official day.  Huge numbers of people have cast early votes this time around, as we have at least once in recent years.

We took ourselves along to Takahue Hall and joined the huge throngs queueing (yeah, right, see them?) for the opportunity to exercise their franchise.

The quietness of this polling place is not indicative of anything, really, it's just in a lightly-populated area.  It's nice to come here, around the quiet roads, visiting Roz and Alan on the way home for a cuppa.


I found 16 of the thin/pregnant heifer mob grazing the grassy north-facing slopes of the Spring paddock and had to go hunting for 723.  I follow my instinct when looking for lone cows, not thinking too much about where I'm going, just acting on any inclination I feel and it often works.

Initially I spotted her right down in the crevice of this gully, browsing on the ferns and bits of fallen epiphyte and then as I walked away, she came up the slope, perhaps heading back to join the others.

Sunday the 24th

At 2am the clocks went forward for Daylight Saving.  Well, everyone else's clocks went forward; we forgot and were surprised when someone on the radio said it was 9.30 when we got up!

Here in the garden, a greenfinch, I think.  I don't think there are many of them around.

man and heifer

We went for a wander up the hill Over the Road to check on the 13 young cattle.

This is 807, who I think will become a fairly quiet cow.  At the moment she'll sniff your hand then snort and toss her head and sometimes bounce around in a slightly alarming manner.


I think Gertrude 162 looks just a tiny bit better than she did.  It's just over five weeks since I drenched them and it takes about six weeks for a change to manifest in the body condition of an animal.

Monday the 25th
two cows

As I moved the fat-cow mob along a lane this afternoon, I drafted these two back, before taking them along to the Camp paddock, where I gave them both a dose of Magnesium Oxide.

749 is not showing significant udder development but she caught me out once before, calving before I expected.  606, on the right, is also a bit hard to gauge, but is due from about the 2nd.

Tuesday the 26th

I've been spending a lot of time writing, having two magazine deadlines to meet at the end of this week.  Somehow I appear to have attained some modicum of control over my tendency to procrastinate.  I wonder if that will last?


When I dished out the molasses this evening, I noticed Zella's alien lump in her belly again and managed to capture its movement in a short bit of video.

That's rather a lot of distinct activity.  I hope all's well in there.

Stephan went to town in the evening to attend a public talk by Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the environment.
I stayed home and wrote, interrupted for a while by some extremely heavy rain, accompanied by lightning and thunder.  The storm was, fortunately, some distance away, a lot closer to Kaitaia than here, as witnessed by Stephan as he drove home.

Wednesday the 27th

Eva is still quite thin but perhaps the effect of last month's drench is beginning to show.

Internal parasites primarily deplete the reserves of the animal because of the energy expended on the immune response to their presence and that required to repair parasite damage to gut linings, rather than that the worms are directly consuming some of what the cow has ingested.  Many animals develop good resistance/resilience to the parasites in their environments; but sometimes there will be concurrent challenges which overwhelm them, and the parasites get a better hold than they would in ordinary circumstances.

A resistant animal affects the parasite's lifespan and ability to reproduce; a resilient animal is healthy despite the presence of parasites.


Gina, in the same mob all winter and in excellent condition, suggests that the challenges have not been the same for all of them.


While I dealt with the pregnant cattle, Stephan went to check and move the youngsters Over the Road.  He is in the middle of the picture, just below a single white trunk and a black animal.


This corner used to be so boggy it was almost impassable during winter.  What a difference some lime rock makes!


I found the 17 animals of the thin/pregnant heifer mob standing in the mud by the gate at the front end of the PW.  I wanted to draft Fancy 126 and 723 out but as soon as I stepped into the mud to try and do that, I realised it would be impossible to get them out through the gate without falling over or losing control of the whole lot of them.

I gave up on that idea, let them all out, drafted the two out and then sent the others back up the lane and in through the Route 356 gate again, and they followed me out to the Middle Back.

I put Fancy and 723 into the Windmill with 606 and 749.

Thursday the 28th

No comment.

grazing cows

A partly fine day.  What a relief.


Before he moved the young mob to the other bit Over the Road, Stephan rang the neighbour on the boundary to check that there weren't going to be cattle on the other side.  She has a small block on which she told us she was going to be planting trees, so we had removed the electric tape we'd had on our side of the fence.  Then the dairy neighbour put his cows there (with her agreement, of course) and so now we check that they aren't going to be there again at the same time as our animals on this side.  Yesterday she didn't think there would be.

This morning she rang back and said that now there were about to be.  So we went over and moved ours away.  Fortunately they were all sitting around under the trees on the slope and came down to the gate easily and then across the road.

Friday the 29th

Stephan, preparing to ice a chocolate cake.

We have visitors coming but I also like a nice bit of something to eat during calving, when I'm in and out all the time and expending more energy than I consume with ordinary meals.

The Eva's Calving Date Competition has now closed.

Please see here for the entries - and the news when the time comes.

And again, let us have a twins guessing competition too.  This year they are in calf to different bulls: Gem 698 was inseminated on 11 January and Meg 699 was with the bull on 12 January.

identical twins

The Twins competition will close at midnight on Sunday 15th October 2017.