Another day, another barbecue - except it ended up being an inside dinner cooked on the stove, since it rained. A moderately useful 12.5mm fell during the day. While much of the rest of the country is very dry, we're still alright here, no drier than a normal summer with its long hot stretches of fine weather.
After her parents went home last evening, Emma stayed the night with Ella. Ella's still young enough that the company of a much younger child is happily acceptable and they seem to like each other a lot.
Today I took them out with me with flower-collecting bags to cut the flowers off the Ox-eye daisies which are creeping their way forward from the back paddocks. It hasn't occurred to me before to do much about them, but having carefully removed a couple of plants last year from Flat 3, where they did not grow again this year, I can see that some physical control may be useful - especially if I can find slaves to do it for me! They weren't really very willing though and flaying them wasn't something I could get away with, so I did most of the work.
Because he'd been working on some other troughs and was going past here with the tractor, Stephan brought a bucket-load of lime rock (front-end-loader bucket, not a pail) and after I'd siphoned the water out of this trough so it could be moved, he levelled the ground beneath it and laid the gravel so the trough would sit properly.
Ella and I stood well back, waiting for Stephan to get wet when he attached the water pipe to the trough fitting. He's a bit too good at it though, as well as strong enough to whip the pipe on and push it up tight so it didn't spray much at all.
The white spot in the middle of this picture is Stephan, bending to secure the first wire on the final section of fencing on this side of the Taheke stream through the Back Barn Paddock.
What we're doing by fencing the stream is subdivide the paddock in two, so we're going to have to find a new name for one bit of it. This part, close to the boundary and the gum trees, must continue to be the Back Barn because this is where the Back Barn was. The wooden piles are still under some of the trees. What to call the other bit between here and the Middle Back?
Sometimes we see why we should have had children: they can be really helpful! On balance though, I suspect my life has been somewhat less stressful without them. Those non-existent offspring are also probably better off.
A friend of her mums (no, I didn't forget an apostrophe), Lois, came up this evening and will take Ella home tomorrow.
Ella, off to feed the hens this morning. We usually lock them up after a couple of hours free-ranging in the late afternoon, but must have forgotten last night.
The regular daughter-father holiday picture before Ella left for home.
Ella is now taller than I. She's coming up to her thirteenth birthday, so I suspect she has a way to grow yet.
A couple of Kukupa (Kereru or Wood Pigeons) sitting on a dead branch of one of the Northern Rata trees in the Bush Flat reserve.
They're always so well dressed!
Mike and Chantelle came out for a barbecue with their three sons. Mike, as a Science teacher at the College, has recently acquired a water-quality testing kit and brought it out with him this evening, so we could test our streams.
We took water from the little pond in the garden, representing the water coming from high up in the bush behind the farm, then walked to where the farm streams meet the Waikawa Stream which comes down the valley beside the road. The only difference between those two sources was an extra half degree in temperature in the Waikawa, which has sections of water which are in cleared farm land and it had been a hot, sunny day.
The long tube is used to test water clarity - the tester looks through the end while someone else moves a marker away from them until they can no longer see it through the water.
Stephan went off to do a day's trapping and I spent much of my day trying to sort out photographs on the computer. I have quite a few. Having been caught out in past years by not foreseeing the importance of keeping the best quality pictures I could take (opting instead for smaller files to save on storage space), there are gaps in our photographic history. These days I take the best photos I can - and there are better storage options now too. I need to buy another portable storage drive!
I spent a busy morning collating mating data so I could leave Stephan with reliable information about which cows in particular to keep an eye on over the next three days while I, unusually, desert my post!
Stephan's brother Edwin, Sue and three grandsons came to visit and I had to leave them to it, while I continued my going-away preparation. I think Stephan had forgotten I was going today when he said to them, come. I think the little boys spent most of the day in the pond, so they were happy.
After lunch I drove over to Kerikeri to attend the NZ Women's Studies Association Summer School. The event came about partly as a result of a trip around Northland last year by the women of the newly convened Auckland organising committee of the association. After they visited me they went on to Kerikeri and conceived a wonderful plan for a summer gathering this year, looking at first conversations between Māori and Pākehā women.
I would not normally go away from the farm during mating, but this was too good to miss!