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The week beginning 1st of November, 2003.
Saturday the 1st
Out at the back of the farm, all was quiet, with calves and cows lying around in the sunshine.
The rest of the 25 in the paddock were scattered about the hillsides in this lovely basin, some of the cows were lying with them, while others grazed around nearby. I found three calves on their own down in the bush near the gateway to the other paddock, peering out at me from behind some trees - I almost didn't see them, but as often happens, I had a feeling I ought to go back in that direction, from the path I had already chosen to take.
Sunday the 2nd
This looked like a hopeful sign...
... Flower turned and licked her calf a couple of times while he was feeding, but soon returned to bashing him with her head, instead.
This evening I caught Demelza for her second tying-up session with the halter and lead.
She's doing very well so far. She spent a bit of time pulling against the halter, but settled down quite soon. The purpose of this stage of the training, is to teach Demelza that when she's in the halter, she can't just go where she wants to and she can't get away, hence the use of a sturdy post. I left her to struggle for a while on the first day, but this evening, I spent most of her tie-up time stroking and grooming her, so she begins to associate both my presence, and being tied up, with pleasurable sensations.
Wednesday the 5th
My mother Jill, and her Bruce, came to visit for the afternoon (they come here often, but we don't often take pictures of them) and we went for our usual walk, this time getting the calf to feed as we passed him.
This, while it looks very much the same as the other pictures, is an advancement, in that Flower will stand and feed the calf in a different place than she's been accustomed to previously. I can hardly believe that after an entire week, we're still having to do this for every feed! I've been going out to do this three times a day, both to make sure the calf gets a good start, and in the hope of cementing a pattern which Flower will then allow the calf to follow. I remain hopeful.
The two mothers meet! The chicken and the duck haven't really met up with their babies before today. I can't tell the difference, so I hope they can! The hen's ducklings have responded better than any I've ever previously observed, to her "come here and eat this" and "snuggle underneath me now" calls. Chicks understand their mothers from the start, but ducklings often take a couple of days to work out chicken-talk. The duck has had her two babies all over the place - down by the bridge for a couple of days and latterly out across the paddock and up the lane. She doesn't seem entirely devoted to her mothering duties, flying off and having a dip in the river, or appearing for a feed near the house while her bright yellow children stand peeping in the field, in serious danger if a hawk happens to be in the vicinity.
Thursday the 6th
Back home again with the babies...
I've been stretching out the times the cows have been in some of the paddocks, since the grass still isn't really growing much, but there comes a time when they just have to be moved. This paddock is one of the wettest on the farm, which is why the rushes are so prevalent. Stephan wiped herbicide over them a few months back, which has killed a lot of them off, but they obviously still need work to eradicate them! The calves seemed to be suddenly just appearing through the 'mist' of the rushes, as they ran to my call to the gate.
Friday the 7th
Early on some mornings, when there's a heavy dew, it's possible to see how the cattle graze. Abigail has slept somewhere in the right-hand bottom corner of the picture, then grazed her way up the paddock, leaving her path visible behind her.
In the local paper, which I got around to reading during today (it is published on Tuesdays and Thursdays and has a very unreliable website at www.northnz.co.nz) I found an article about the Kaitaia Intermediate School children's project to grow and sell tomato plants, to raise funds for their school. I rang and ordered some and asked Stephan to pick them up before he came home.
Now we had a box full of plants which needed to go in the ground, he set about creating a garden in which to plant them. The ducks, for the last few months, have been spending their nights penned up in what was the vegetable garden last summer, so Stephan created a new pen for them next door and moved them into there, so he could use that now-well-fertilized area for the tomatoes and whatever else we grow this year.
The ducks looked much better suited with a little more room and some nice fresh grass upon which to settle for the night!
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