The week beginning 10th September 2005.
Saturday the 10th

We had a bit of a party!  It wasn't as large a gathering as was originally envisaged, but we've been a bit distracted of late, so it became a collection of some of my very favourite people, or at least those who could get here.

Stephan catered, as usual, providing soup and pizza, followed by a selection of his ice-creams and a fantastic cheese-cake!  Sometime during the evening he found time to light a fire under a drum full of water and I ended the evening in the bath again - after everyone else had gone home or to bed.  Our house was full of slumbering friends.

Sunday the 11th
Abigail, on her fourth birthday
Isla, on the fourth anniversary of her first calf's birth

Today is Abigail's birthday, so here are the official portraits.  Abigail at left and Isla above.

I spotted the little heifers this evening, staring into the bush area adjacent to their paddock, so I picked up the binoculars to see what they were watching.  Rooting around just on the other side of the electric fence were four enormous wild pigs!  Stephan rang a guy who lives just down the road and he came up with his dogs and took Stephan walking with him on a nearly-dark pig-hunt!  They didn't catch any, but had an interesting walk around in the bush in the dark!  Those pigs are getting increasingly cheeky!

Monday the 12th
Stephan and Spice

We went out to the Middle-Back paddock this morning to start moving the young heifers forward again.  There has been a bit of grass growth, but not enough to leave them in there for very long.  As soon as we'd found all the heifers, we lost Spice!  Stephan saw her dash into some bushes to hide from the heifers as they headed in her direction to see who she was, and then apart from one little meow, we couldn't see or hear anything of her.  I think we'll have to dye her orange or pink so we can find her in the shadows!  She eventually reappeared, of course.

By the time we walked back to the house, Jill and Bruce had arrived and Jill had already gone off to climb our highest hill to meet us as previously arranged.  Not finding us there, she thought she was in the wrong place and headed down again, so she had to climb it twice!  Not bad for an old thing, celebrating forty years of motherhood.

The wine waiter approaches Jill & Ruth

The waiter presented us with the obligatory bottle of Riccadonna Asti, our usual celebratory tipple, grapes and soft cheese, and we sat and enjoyed the wonderful view over our farm, those of the neighbours, and the Herekino Range and forest.

Tuesday the 13th
Stephan mustering the sheep

The sheep, having spent a couple of weeks on the flats, were invited by our new neighbours to go and graze their two little paddocks, so Stephan went and moved them.  As you can see, it's really hard work mustering our sheep!

Thursday the 15th
Stephan going off scrubcutting

There's some big gorse on the other side of the road, most of which Stephan sprayed last year and is now quite dead.  He decided to go and cut it down, as well as the live gorse and any small Totara and Manuka where they've started growing out in the grass areas of the paddock.

The scrub (gorse and native seedlings) constantly grows out from the bush margins, or simply out in the middle of the paddocks in more recently cleared areas, so keeping it clear is an ongoing task, or the whole farm would slowly disappear under trees again.  There are large areas which were clear 20 years ago, but which were neglected for various reasons and now grow beautiful fire-wood-quality Manuka, which provides good warm cover for the stock, but allows no grass to grow beneath it.  It is those areas we would like to clear again and in the mean time we need to keep the clear areas clear!