The week beginning the 28th of July 2018.
Saturday the 28th

Calling the cows to follow me out the bottom of the Blackberry and across the stream to the Swamp East.  They were keen to move, having spent the night in the half paddock I'd allowed them.


New Tutu shoots are delicious-looking things.  Best not to eat them though, terribly poisonous.


Here it is again on the left, with the mature foliage of another plant at right.  Tutu is appearing all along the stream banks where the cattle no longer graze.

I watched 775 eat some one day, where some branches were hanging over the fence in one of the stream crossings.  She seems alright but I'd rather not risk that too many times.  We will probably have to add Tutu pruning to our regular tasks, so the cattle can't reach it.


Simon, Anna and Evelyn arrived for a visit and we all went to walk up the hill Over the Road.  On the way we spotted Big Soft Rabbit, on the edge of the Pig paddock.  It's right ear is curled over at the top, presumably from some injury; or maybe it's mould, from being out in the wet.

people and cattle

Anna and Simon were entertained when I told them this was Gertrude, whose birth they watched when Anna was pregnant with Evelyn.  Their growth-rates are obviously quite different.

Sunday the 29th

We went to town for the second day-long wānanga of our te reo Māori course.  There were over 50 students present, which was lots of fun, lots of consolidation of things we'd learnt.  A couple of our class-mates had nominated me, before we arrived, as a speaker, which they were glad to avoid but it's always a great opportunity to stand and get over the nervousness I always feel.  'Get over' isn't exactly correct, but the more you do it, the less awful it feels when you do it again.

I well remember the horror of speaking to class groups as a child and then the need to get over the nervousness in a variety of situations as a young adult, so that I could get eventually get up and speak in front of any number of people, as long as I knew what I wanted to say.

Doing it all in a language with which I am barely familiar, is like starting all over again.  At least the feeling is familiar and I know it will get better over time.

Monday the 30th

After we'd brought the young cattle back across the stream and put them into Flat 3 (on the right), Stephan went and fetched Zella and Demelza, to come and graze the little corner of Flat 4, which I'd saved for them.

Look at that lovely sunshine.


This is a "before" picture.  We plan to put the new yards somewhere out there and the first job will be to remove the fence between the Windmill and Camp paddocks, along with the trough.  We'd like to incorporate the tree on the fenceline in one of the yards, for shade and shelter.

Tuesday the 31st

723, looking somewhat odd at this angle.  I'm pleased to see a bit of flesh on her bones.  She has been a perennially thin cow, thus she always spends the winter in the "thin cow" mob, despite now being nearly six and therefore mature.  She has started allowing me to scratch her rump this year.  I like her.


Here's the "slightly later" picture of the planned yards area.  Now an almost-blank canvas.


Watching cattle eat hay is a lovely pastime.  It doesn't work quite as well in a still photograph, but you'll get the idea.  They often stand as if in a trance, happily munching.

Angus cows

What?  Meg 699 is supposed to be well-pregnant, the first cow in calf to Mr 87!  This is entirely unexpected and I can only hope she has experienced a weird hormonal anomaly, although I fear that is quite unlikely: she has been in standing heat, hence the thick mud on both sides, from repeated mountings by other, muddy-legged animals.  Genie 150 was similarly dirty, so the two of them would have been entertaining each other in the last 24 hours.  If she really has been on heat, she isn't pregnant any more.  I'll have to see what happens in another three weeks.  I am very disappointed.


Stephan took some posts and a long culvert pipe to fix up the entrance to the Small Hill paddock.

There being so much pig-sign in the Mushroom paddock, I went out at dusk with my .223 rifle and there they were, four of them.  I snuck over to fire from behind the central Puriri in Mushroom 2, missed and they all ran away.  Sometimes I'm a really good shot and hit things.  Not lately.

My mother, Jill, turned 82 today, for all the good it does her.  I talked to her via Jude's phone during the day.  She still doesn't know what's going on, although there has definitely been a little improvement since last week.

Wednesday the 1st of August (Hereturikōkā*)

*There are several names that approximate the month of August in Te Reo; this is the one I have been committing to memory.


At noon I met with the vet in town, for our annual Restricted Veterinary Medicine consultation, after which I will be allowed to purchase those medicines we've discussed, should I need them during the next twelve months.

I came home with enough 7in1 vaccine to give everyone on the farm a shot.

First were the mob from Over the Road, since I want to vaccinate them today, give them copper tomorrow, then send them back across the road again.

woman and cow

Children, do not try this at home.

When we went out to get the two bulls and the steer, I took the vaccine with me.  Last time Zella and Demelza came in for copper, I ended up giving Demelza hers in the open yard, since she wouldn't move to go up the race.  It would take us an hour to walk the two of them in, vaccinate them and bring them back out again, so we decided this was worth a try.

Demelza is so slow to move, I wasn't too worried about doing her, although she did move to get away from me quite quickly as she felt the needle, but by then the job was done.

woman and cow

Zella was a bit more risky.  If I failed we'd just have walked her in with the bulls and done her in the race, but I managed to vaccinate her before she realised what I was doing and the picture shows the moment she leapt away from me in disgust.

A bit dangerous, but well done!

Spur-winged Plover chick

We walked the bulls and steer in and out, passing the Spur-winged Plover family with their three chicks, one of which dashed into the drain on our way back.  There's so little to them.

Thursday the 2nd

When I checked my email this morning, there was a message from a photo editor at the New York Times (I thought it was just another scam as I began reading it) asking for permission to use a photo I'd posted on the Lifestyle Block website discussion forum.  (Photos I put up there are the only ones google can index - I stopped the search engines grabbing everything straight from this website years ago when my photos kept appearing in other places without context or attribution.)  I replied that I would be delighted to assist and suggested some other pictures from my files for which "we would of course credit your work and could even pay a small fee".  How exciting!


A beautifully fine and still day.

First thing (11am is first thing if it's the first thing you do after coffee and international negotiations) we got the 14 from the Pig paddock, gave them all a copper shot and then I had second thoughts about sending them up the hill Over the Road.  What if any of them had a bad reaction to the copper on top of the vaccine?  Sometimes the vaccine can make them feel a bit off for a day or two and the copper can cause reactions if given under stress...  So I sent them to Flat 1 instead, so I can watch them over the next 24 hours.

Then in came the 13 youngsters for their 7in1.  823 growled threateningly at them as they passed.


I took the young mob out to their new paddock, then opened the Pines for the cows to make their way out to graze the small areas adjacent to the lane, while I went home for lunch.

When I returned, they were all present and 746 was lunching as far as she could reach under the electric wire.  I wonder how often she gets shocks?

Spur-winged Plover chick

When I went out to set up the gates ahead of the cows, after they'd had their 7in1, I very nearly ran over this tiny chick, as it ran across the track in front of the bike.  I stopped to comfort it and assure it I hadn't run it down.  Really I did all that for myself, having got quite a fright.

Spur-winged Plover chick

So tiny and soft and perfect.


What bright gorgeousness.  Daffodils are such cheerful flowers.

Friday the 3rd

Now that I've watched all the thin cow mob not fall over, it was time to shift them back Over the Road.

Then I went off out to Mangonui again, did a bit more godmother visiting and on my way home, picked up the bacon, ham and pork from the butcher.

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