The week beginning the 24th of August 2019.
Saturday the 24th

The two Phalaenopsis orchids I've managed to nurture through to yet another season of flowering.

I'm pleased these two are thriving, seeming to be rather sensitive plants in many people's care.  If you get it right they do well and if you don't they just die, which is very disappointing.  I have not had success with every plant in my care.

on the forest floor
A single-leafed orchid.
on the forest floor
Bird-nest fungi, the largest about 5mm across.
on the forest floor
Sphagnum moss; I find it in many places, now I've learnt to identify it.
on the forest floor
Several orchid plants.
on the forest floor
Corybas cheesemanii.
on the forest floor
They're quite hard to spot.
on the forest floor
Corybas oblongus, where I found them last year.
on the forest floor
A puff-ball fungus.
on the forest floor
An new fern frond.
on the forest floor
Orchid plants and moss.
on the forest floor
Corybas oblongus further along the hillside.
on the forest floor
Presumably Corybas oblongus again.
on the forest floor
And again?
on the forest floor
A tiny, but beautiful piece of lichen, growing on the ground.

Instead of coming directly home after moving the heifers out the back, I took a detour through the Bush Flat reserve and then up the hill through part of the Bush Hill.

I was looking for orchids again, not being sure what might be in flower during this weirdly late season.

There are 14 pictures in the pile, some of which are orchids.


Water.  Always water.  We know we're lucky to have it, despite the problems it creates because there's so much of it.  We could drink any water almost anywhere on this place and not worry about horrible health implications.

This lovely trickle was coming down through the Bush Block, possibly from where a slip occurred a couple of decades ago as that water undermined the hillside.  I didn't have the GPS unit with me, so couldn't be sure where I was.

When I headed down the hill, I found myself at the edge of Mushroom 1, a bit further along than I'd expected.


These gloves were great fun to knit and I'm rather pleased with them.  I've made a few adjustments to the unsized pattern I worked from, to make them fit well and I'll give them to Christina when she gets home.

Sunday the 25th
weather station

The new weather station didn't work reliably where the old one was, so Stephan put a post in the paddock to mount it on instead.

That the tractor could be driven into this paddock, at this time of year, is astonishing.  The ground is normally far too soft to do this.  I will have to collate our rainfall figures and find out just how far below normal the rainfall total has been.

Monday the 26th
Angus bulls

It looked like a fine day and as I had recently remembered the need to vaccinate the cattle and now had the vaccine in the fridge, I thought we'd get on with the job.

Last time we brought the bulls in they caused all sorts of bother, so this time we did them before anyone else was moved, to have them as calm as possible.  We brought them from Flat 1 singly, 176 ahead of us and 178 behind, with me dancing around in front of him to prevent him running ahead and catching up with his companion.

In the yards we put 178 through the race and out before bringing 176 up and doing him quickly too.

Then 176 went ahead with Stephan, before I let 178 out the gate and he galloped away to catch them up.  Both were returned to their paddock without incident.


I let the heifers come out of the Bush Flat and went ahead of them, meaning to walk back out and follow the last few down the House lane.  But just as I put my boots back on to do that, the group who'd already gone over the bridge all came running back in a startled mass and carried on past me along the lane.  Afterwards I noticed some newly-dumped gravel in the potholes in the road and suspect the noise and movement of that activity had frightened them.

Stephan got his boots on and was away across the paddock before me, and walked them back down the lane once he caught up with them.


As we were just about to begin work, it started to rain lightly, so we decided we'd get the cows in from Over the Road while we waited for it to stop.

But it didn't, getting rather a lot heavier, particularly when Stephan was up the top of the slope encouraging some of the stragglers down.  I scrambled up the roadside bank to take shelter under a thick Puriri tree and took this picture while I waited.

It didn't stop raining for long enough at any time during the rest of the afternoon.  Vaccinating cattle isn't done with all the nice cleanliness of human medicine, instead they all get done with the same needle on the vaccinator gun.  Doing that when their coats are wet adds far too much extra risk of injection site infections, so we'll wait for a drier day.

electric fence

As I walked the heifers back across the flats, I could hear the loud crack of an electric fence fault.  It was hard to tell where it was coming from, until I got quite close to the corner of Flats 3 & 4 and found this cracked insulator.

Stephan came across afterwards with his fencing tools and fixed the problem.

Tuesday the 27th
Angus heifer

Jet's daughter, 811.  I'm quite pleased with her appearance so far.  Hopefully all will go well for her at calving time and thereafter.  She's nearly three and this calf will be her first.

Angus heifer

Bringing the cow mob in this afternoon, I watched grey 812 (in the photo, at left) getting bashed by everyone else.  Cows appear to be funny about colour, always picking on the grey ones in the mob, unless they prove themselves of higher status.  812 appears to have figured out that if she gets out to the front of the mob, she can stay ahead of the bullies.

But as we walked in and then in the yards, I watched how often 812 was being pushed around and decided I'd pull her out of this mob, since she'll likely need to come out to better feed in the next few weeks anyway.

After vaccinating the cows, I sent most of them on their way and then caught up with and passed 812, so I could stop her from going with them to the Tank paddock.  We drafted her into the little triangle by the new cattle crush, where she happily began grazing, ignoring her disappearing former mob-mates.


Glia, on the other side of the lane the cows had just used, mooed quietly to her former friend.  I have been wondering for a while whether or not the two of them would resume their closeness if reunited.  This apparent recognition looked interesting.


The cows, now 20 in number, came across the stream to the Tank paddock, where they can spend the next three or four days.

Then we got the young mob in and vaccinated them, using up all but three and a half doses of the 7in1 vaccine, so there wasn't enough left for the four in the House cow mob to be done today.  Time was marching on anyway; they can be done when I've been back to the vet for another couple of doses.

Then I moved Zella, Eva, Glia and Fancy 166 out of the Windmill paddock and sent them along the lane to Flat 3, before letting 812 follow them.  She went in with them without any bother but also without any acknowledgement of or from Glia.  I'll watch them over the next little while, see if the friends get back together or not.

Wednesday the 28th

I went back to Whangarei Hospital today and sampled their characteristically unempathetic approach to patient interactions.  They'd failed to mention that I needed to drink a large quantity of water for an hour before I arrived, so delayed my scan until I'd done so in their waiting room.

There's something really off about the culture of that hospital!  While painfully inserting a line into my arm vein, a nurse asked me why I was anxious?  (Mostly because she was sticking me with something long and sharp, actually, and it hurt; that usually makes me quite nervous.)  I thought, what an odd question.  In an imaging department, many patients are there for one of the most worrying and potentially life-changing days of their lives, waiting to find out if something they've been experiencing is the result of a serious illness; of course they're anxious and shouldn't the staff be aware of that, treating them with empathetic sensitivity?

My scan took only a few minutes, I engaged in some entertaining conversation with some of the other patients waiting around the place, my lovely surgeon popped in to say hello and after another empathy-deficient nurse painfully removed the device from my arm (there was a significant bruise for several days, in case you suspect me of over-sensitivity), we escaped the horrible place.

Angora goats

We'd arranged another overnight stay with Kate and Geoff near Helena Bay.  Upon arrival Stephan donned his gear and went off into the Covenant area to chop down wilding pines and a little later Kate and I walked down to see how he was getting on.

Angora goats

I have short-haired cows and Kate has long, curly-haired goats.

What do they say about people looking like their animals?

Kate loves her goats and the feeling appears mutual.

Thursday the 29th
native shrub

On our way south through the Mangamuka Gorge road, I'd noticed a little patch of white flowers I didn't recognise, so I counted how many corners we then rounded before the next landmark - the road is all corners, so it isn't particularly easy to find places again.

On our way back up the hillside today, we stopped for a look.

I believe the plant to be Brachyglottis kirkii var. angustior.


At home the afternoon was lovely and after making sure everyone was accounted for, I spent some time standing quietly in the sunshine, pulling knots out of muddy tails for my warm, calm cows.


The night was cold, so I wonder why this female Puriri Moth emerged from her secret tree home now?

She arrived on the deck and was splaying eggs around as she moved.  The female moths don't seem to be attracted to lights in the way the males do and as there are probably no males around on this cold night, her life, emergence and egg-laying are probably all wasted.

She is, I think, only the fourth female of the species I've ever seen.

Friday the 30th

A shag on a Ponga frond on the island this morning.

It came to sit here the following day too.


Mid-morning people began to arrive for eldest brother Richard's memorial gathering and the interment of his ashes in the lovely area the family had previously made for William.

I travelled with Richard's friend, who couldn't walk so far, taking this picture as we came out along the driveway.

Afterwards we all went to Larmer Road, to Richard's (and mother Muriel's, formerly) house, for the rest of the day together.

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