A cold and showery day again but it cleared a bit in the afternoon and the two of us wandered over the road to check the young cattle.
This slip is one I've been watching for a while. We fenced its most-slipped bit at the bottom into the gully reserve, to stop the cattle possibly making it go faster.
More of the little orchids preparing to flower.
Madam Goose is looking very sleek and healthy at present. She's probably getting ready for nesting again, it now being sort of spring.
Oh but what a spring. Awful.
Today: rain, squalls, windy cold ...
Stephan said he'd like to mow some of the area at the bottom of the garden and so he did and threw the grass over the fence for the thin/pregnant heifer mob. We had to carry bits over to where they were sitting to get them to understand what was on offer, before they eventually realised what we were up to and came to help themselves.
When they'd finished I moved them out of the paddock, alarming the sheep and goose, who all moved off in the other direction at speed.
This afternoon being the beginning of my birthday, I decided I could do anything I fancied. Over the last few weeks we've been sorting through boxes of stuff I've not seen for years and amongst them I found my collection of childhood dolls and their friends, in a rather unfortunate state. Having sat in their box in a damp place for a very long time, some of the plastics had been colonised by some sort of mould, making poor old Elizabeth look like she had a terrible skin disease. She must be pushing 50, so deserves far better than this! I took to her with a toothbrush, soap and flannel and managed to clean most of it off. I didn't quite finish the job, having other things I needed to do as well. There are some others who will need similar care.
For dinner we went out, with Elizabeth (Stephan's sister, not my poor old doll) and William, Gaye and Brian, to a restaurant we used to frequent but gave up on when we could no longer tolerate the discomfort of their extremely straight-backed chairs. The other evening at Gaye and Brian's place for dinner, they mentioned that the Orana Restaurant's chairs had recently been replaced and suggested we all go there for my birthday. So we did. The food was as good as ever and the whole evening very enjoyable.
Elizabeth gave me a beautiful bunch of freesias, my favourite bloom. People have always brought me freesias for my birthday and I adore them.
Back to work and on the phone for half of the day, talking with vets and someone from the Ministry for Primary Industries, making sure I had all my information correct for a magazine column I'm writing. Good fun but tiring. I like writing.
At last, a gate in that gateway up the road. Stephan decided that the really bent Flat 2 gate was too ugly and grabbed one from the yards, where the bent one won't matter.
This will have a permanent hot-wire along the top to stop animals thinking they can go over and it'll also discourage casual human access.
Sandy and Gary out the front had Roger Gale round to fell a big tree in their garden and then prune a big Puriri as well. Stephan went to assist for a while and brought back a lot of the Puriri for the heifers, who got stuck into it with great enthusiasm - well, except for a couple who stood off and watched.
The weather looked quite promising today, sunny, warm and breezy to start with, although there were some heavy, dark clouds later.
I took the three bulls to the yards for a copper injection and weighed the yearling, putting some pour-on along his back as well. Copper is supposed to be given without any other treatment but sometimes I ignore that, since I know most other farmers always do. I didn't want to have to get them in twice.
It is because the copper is quite toxic and stress or excitement, as I understand it, can lead to too much copper being picked up from the injection site and be circulating in the blood at once, on its way to storage in the liver. I'm not sure whether the one treatment instruction is because of the presumed stress to most animals of extra handling, or because of any physiological stress as a result of the action of another treatment. I have asked the manufacturers and await their reply.
Then it was the thin/pregnant heifer mob's turn. Even though they'd eaten all the grass, they didn't take much notice of my call to the gate, until slow, quiet 787 ran up from the other end of the paddock and started coming my way and then the others noticed her and all started moving. It's funny how she's so slow in some circumstances but will lead and be really helpful in others. She's so pretty I forgive her inconvenient moments.
Late in the afternoon it rained. Of course.
Like some other parts of the country, our total rainfall to date is equal to the average annual total, about 300mm more than we'd usually have had by now. This year there was a lot more rain in April than usual, so we went into winter already wet. July was 30% wetter than usual and August about 25% wetter than average.
The difference in on-the-ground experience is in when and how it rains. When it comes down in huge amounts we get floods but the ground is no wetter than it is if we have no flood; if it rains regularly in moderate amounts, it all just sits in and on the soil and while the rainfall totals might be the same or less, the ground is much, much wetter. This year we've had both: big, surprising floods taking the rainfall totals up earlier in the year, and continual moderate amounts keeping the ground saturated during the winter. Our wetter-than-usual July and August included no big flood events, just rain, rain and more rain.
And again, let us have a twins guessing competition too. This year they are in calf to different bulls: Gem 698 was inseminated on 11 January and Meg 699 was with the bull on 12 January.