I went for a meander through the bush by the road today, looking for orchids. I found a few of the tiny pixie orchid flowers but most of the plants are only just growing their flower stems. Now that it has been wet for a while, there were a lot of fungi.
I ended up with 19 pictures, so here they are in a pile. The first is an orchid (Anzybas rotundifolius), the second a Kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile) seedling, which were everywhere in the leaf litter. The rest are all sorts of fungal growths.
Afterwards I crossed the road, climbed through the fence into our Over the Road reserve, walked up through there for a while before going into the paddock to look for the heifers.
I found them all on the slope up from the home end gateway, called them down the hill and shifted them to the other part of the hill paddock.
Stephan checks the sheep regularly when he's up at the shed. They all look fine from here, today.
There was a weather watch issued for this morning but as usual most of the heavy rain and wind happened further south. "Northland" often isn't us in the weather forecasts, since we're not far enough into the island for the weather to have developed properly when it reaches us.
We had about half an hour of horizontal rain with very strong winds mid-morning and then it all settled down again.
Naturally I didn't go out until the weather was fine.
The cows were standing at the gate out of the Swamp East Right and happily came down across the stream and then into the Pines.
This place is so pretty.
This afternoon we got the cows and heifers in for a copper injection. The three waiting to go to the works weren't having copper but two of them needed replacement NAIT tags inserted in their ears. 714 pictured here, long-ago lost her original and must have one to leave the farm.
Attentive readers may note that the tag is quite near the outside of her ear, which is not the correct placement for a NAIT tag under ordinary circumstances, but is sufficient for a few days' wear, and on her way to her final appointment. Her original NAIT tag was much further in, closer to her head, inserted when she was a calf.
I reassigned those old tag numbers after discovering that the NAIT system allowed me to do so and saved having to especially order duplicate tags for these two cows.
I forgot to put our painted initials on their backs when they were in the race, so walked quietly up to them afterwards and did it out here.
As I was putting the cows and heifers away in their new paddocks, Stephan walked out to fetch the bulls. They came surprisingly easily out of Flat 5b's gateway (I thought they might be a bit stirred up by all the cow movement), trotted along the lane to the junction with the rest of the lane system ... and then one turned and a furious battle began.
They shoved each other back and forth and sideways and one got shoved through the spring gate across the lane, destroying it, then returned to the fight. One was then shoved into the three-wire electric fence between the lane and the Windmill paddock. The shocks encouraged him to get back into the lane but then he or the other was shoved even further into the fence and ended up disentangling himself on the other side of the fence, in the paddock.
176 trotted down the lane with Stephan following him and I followed to sort out the tapes and gates to get 178 out of the Windmill, where he was taking no notice of Zella and the others, who were also ignoring all this nonsense. All the bull wanted to do was get back to the fight.
178 eventually noticed I'd cleared the way for him to leave the paddock - I was very hesitant about venturing into the paddock to go around him to encourage him out, so fired up was he at that stage. (I have discovered that I freeze under threat and thus I'd be killed before I could even attempt escape, should an animal turn on me with violent intent.)
Down by the house Stephan shut 176 out by the bridge and we decided that we couldn't risk giving them copper when they were so excited. 178 spent the night in the milking shed's little paddock, with electric tapes anywhere there wasn't electric fence, so the two bulls couldn't fight each other through wooden rails or the steel gate.
Jane's mailbox, which she allows us to share, got knocked off its post sometime today, along with our RAPID numbers. We suspect this truck was the culprit; perhaps if it needed to pull over to the left as it passed our gateway. The slightly sticking-out tailgate would have been at about the right height to knock the box off without taking the strainer post with it.
We received no mail (not that we noticed) and Stephan found Jane walking along the road looking for the mailbox and numbers the following morning.
We decided not to risk putting the bulls back together this morning so propelled 176 up to the race, shot the copper in quick smart and sent him on his way out to Flat 1.
Then Stephan got 178 to come out and we did him the same way, both bulls barely stopping on their way through the race as I injected their big necks.
Then I went out on the bike to open the gate to Flat 2 while Stephan walked behind 178.
He immediately ran across to the fenceline, to continue his verbal argument with 176.
Bulls are idiots. I'm glad neither appears to have injured the other. They can remain separated for a few days, until the copper has safely redistributed itself from injection site to liver stores and isn't circulating at potentially risky levels in their bloodstreams.
Stephan bought some new garden mix to replenish the raised gardens, along with some seedlings to grow winter greens.
My strawberry plants have been moved to another bed, in the interests of crop rotation.
There is now a slightly wider plank along this side of this bed, to allow sitting...
... except for this nasty surprise for someone!
Within the hour Stephan had applied some sanding machinery to the edges of the plank, to remove the splinters and spikes that might otherwise have caught people's skin or clothing.
I found a gap in the weekly pages and thus have published The week beginning the 31st of December 2016. There are still a few other missing pages.
I went to see our doctor. The lack of surgical follow-up after a major operation has been unsatisfactory and I required some reassurance that my extended recovery is somewhere on the spectrum of "normal". There is nothing wrong. The pain is probably partly of psychological origin, my experiences in the hospital having been at times very upsetting.
I am also now suffering from an increasing sleep deficit, as my body has increased its response to a presumed reduction in oestrogen: I have always been a cold person, rarely breaking into a sweat except when strongly exerting myself. Now I experience approximately hourly hot flushes of infernal intensity, lately including hot, sticky, sweatiness and while I found it intriguing for a couple of weeks, now I'm hating it. When it happens in the night, it wakes me, so I'm becoming increasingly tired.
After discussing the relative risks of an oestrogen supplement and not being able to sleep, the doctor agreed to prescribe some tiny stick-on patches for me to try. Unless there's something I haven't understood, there's still medical profession resistance to prescribing oestrogen to women because it carries cancer risks. But having had an excess of the stuff for many years, I can't quite see why it's suddenly more risky now than it was a couple of months ago when I was making my own and was sleeping very nicely, thank you.
The Quail were back on the lawn this morning but I could only ever count five of them, instead of the six there should be.
Stephan spent the day at his eldest brother, Richard's, house, beginning work to renovate his toilet and shower areas, for easier access, as he is now unwell.
I need to redraft the young and cow mobs, so that the three R4 cows (rising four years, approaching their third calvings, still growing) come out of the cow mob and into the young mob, whose feed levels I will prioritise. From the young mob I will shift the three R3 heifers, who are approaching their first calving and who will get too fat if fed too much, into the cow mob.
In the picture, those three heifers are out in the lane, while the other 18 make their way into Mushroom 2.
Spot has a healing graze on the back of her front left leg. She must have scraped herself when clambering over a fallen branch or something.
812's wart has reduced somewhat since I bathed it in Iodine several times. As warts are one of those afflictions that will sometimes resolve in 30 days with treatment or a month without, I don't know if I had anything to do with this improvement.
A Pipit on a post along the lane.
They usually flit away faster than I can get my camera out.
I always find it an odd experience to come across a cow whose face I know really well, when she's just lost her numbered ear tag.
Here is now-tagless 745. She looks exactly the same but the something missing makes her seem strangely different. I suspect if the numbers suddenly vanished from the tags but the yellow tags remained, I could comfortably identify every one.
I brought the cow mob down out of the Big Back South, letting 18 of them go ahead of me, while keeping the three young cows at the back of the group, so I could draft them out. They went to spend a night in Mushroom 1, next door to the 18 members of the young mob now in Mushroom 2.
The 18 older cows went along to 5b, where they shared a fenceline for the night with the three heifers I'd sent along the lanes earlier, in preparation for their new grouping tomorrow.
Below is the big swamp. I think there is far too much grass in it but there are also patches of rushes starting to spread too. Just a little above and to the right of the centre of the photo is a darker green patch, which is an area of swamp rushes that was not as large in earlier times.