I’m not quite sure what happened to the week of January and then I remembered it was a month and it is over. I do believe it is time for you southerners to share some of that lovely rain you’ve been keeping all to yourselves, we’ve sent you quite a few sunny days, so sharing! The drought has a good grip and in places it looks like we have crazy paving due to the deep cracks off-set by the lovely swath of green grass. Kikuyu has a bad reputation, but it will survive anything but frost and although slow growing without much moisture, it still is.  

After such a lush summer last year many are finding things a bit tough. Some of the only neighbouring property run as a working farm’s cattle came for a visit. We really can’t complain, the inadequate fence is half ours after all. Joe and I discovered them trimming my newly planted (and fiercely guarded) lawn. Herding this selection of heifers and cows was a lovely Hereford bull. As far as I was concerned this attractive young fellow was going to earn his food. Abandoning Joe, part way through the tenth rendition for the day of ‘The Little Yellow Digger’, I scamper down to the bridge and up to collect Ruby, who thinking she’s getting a cuddle or an extra feed starts mooing manically. By the time I get back down to the bridge the big red fellow, having heard and probably smelt Ruby-Moo, was heading down to meet us at the bridge.

Ruby, necessarily still attached to her ten metre chain and clearly feeling amorous, rushed over the bridge to meet him. I’m standing the wrong side of the bridge, holding the end of the chain (we don’t want Ruby following her paramour to disappear forever into the bush- well until dinner time), while the very happy bull nudged the trepidatious Ruby back on to the bridge. Recalling my earlier bull wrangling ‘bravery of the insane’, I had no choice but to push Ruby back and follow her over to Mr Bull. Now I could slink to the side, chain her to a handy totara tree and scramble over a reasonable fence and back up to the house where I chased the herd off my lawn and back into the bush.

After an hour of perving (feeling like I should be wearing a raincoat), I deliver the couple a bucket of water. He spent five hours with her before having afternoon tea (on my plum tree-lings), so my stock stick and I encouraged him back down to her. He was still there when Tony got home from work and the happy couple enjoyed a dinner of rolled oats together. By eight o’clock he was wandering again and too close to my (regenerating after Ruby got too close), flowerbeds, so Tony chased him into the bush to the dodgy fence line. We haven’t seen him again and I hope that is a good sign that we’ll be having a baby Hereford.

On the topic of babies, Tony’s hen has hatched two chicks and they’re growing well, and he’s as proud as if he’d hatched them himself. Ethyl, our first pig, has gone to the big dog food freezer down the road. At approx 180 kg she was well past being an eating pig and having gone off her tucker a couple of weeks ago, never to really bounce back and it turns out she had a dodgy kidney. She was Sausage’s mum and Olga is moving in with Sausage, for company and so we can better feed up the piglets.

Joe’s delight with animals continues and he and Jack are almost inseparable. Jack is amazingly patient and gentle and Joe is affectionate and dictatorial but generous. Jack enjoys morsels of smoked salmon (while Joe’s parents get to lick the wrapper)! Playcentre starts back ‘proper’ this week, well except Anniversary and Waitangi Mondays but as I’ve taken on the Monday session co-ordinator role, I don’t mind the stat days.  

We’re winding down the improvement jobs (well for now), and focussing on the ‘that’ has to be done/disguised/disappeared for the wedding. I’d like to pretend the half day that we took off on Anniversary Monday was due to efficiency, but it was more exhaustion.

Isn’t March the mad month?     

5 weeks!                                              


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