Thursday, October 30, 2008

Three Musjeteers and a Monito

This afternoon I got a call from the SPCA in Waipukurau asking if we'd like to foster a 6 week old black lab pup. Of course I couldn't say no so now he is with us, infested with roundworms, and thinking he is in 7th heaven. We called him Mono and he thinks Spencer makes a fabulous chew toy and is purely in the house for his amusement. And Bella thinks the same of Mono. So our house in mayhem in the best form.
Spencer had her first introduction to Marley and Gizmo this morning. Marley is quite perturbed at now having to share her attention with 2 other woollies and gave me the cold shoulder for a while. She bunted Spencer out of the way a couple of times to keep her in her place but I'm sure once she joins the clan full time she will settle down.

She is such a cutie and even with in the last 2 days she has grown and livened up. Yesterday she could hardly walk but today she has been bounding all over the place and is less happy about sleeping in a box. She will probably eat her way out tonight.

Anyway, time to try and get little ones to sleep. Mono has just got his second wind and looks in no mood to sleep. Let the games begin...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The tiniest lamb ever

We have now acquired our third little lambie. She is completley white and miniscule. She is 2 days old and such a cutie. Every time I pick her up she tries to suckle on my chin, ears or nose and is constantly wagging her tail. Her name is Spencer. She's staying inside at the moment but will soon go and join the bigguns, Marley and Gizmo, in the paddock. She's being fed every 2 hours so there's a bit of work involved at the moment!

Our mushrooms are awesome and we ate the first of them last night. Beautiful, soft, flavoursome mushrooms as fresh as they come. It is so exciting that things are starting to produce and our shopping will come down in price.

Also, yesterday I ate the first cherry off one of our trees. It probably could have done with a few more days of ripening but it was great nonetheless.
The huhu bugs have arrived. 4 were crashing around on the deck last night. And of course they landed on me. They hone in on anyone within 100m and make a beeline for their head. Ugh. Not happy. They are so solid and creepy.
Renata, Brian and Stu are here at the moment. They went to watch the golf at Cape Kidnappers yesterday and had beautiful weather for it (Marty worked and got horribly sunburnt in a perfect singlet pattern so he is a true farmer now... just need the sock tan lines to complete the transformation). They are heading back to Wellington today and we are looking after Bella for the next 2 weeks while Renata and Brian go on a cruise in celebration of Brian's retirement.
Anyway, I better go but I will write more later.
K :)

Friday, October 24, 2008


Marty and I have spent a fun filled day up in Hastings at the A & P Show. It's been on since Wednesady but today was the only day we could make it. I love A & P shows so even if it means 4 consecutive days driving up to Napier (work on the other 3) it is worth it.

It was so hot when we got there and the temperature gradually increased as the hours passed. First we went to the rodeo arena to see some calf wrangling...

I'm still not sold on this 'sport' because I feel bad for the calf and the horse but it was interesting to watch. That was also our first introduction to the dust that billowed about under the animals' hooves. SOme of the horses were absolutely gorgeous! Big stocky cowboy horses.
And there was barrel racing which put Marty and I to shame (we did some barrel racing at Kiwi Valley when we were having our lessons). Most of them finished in 16 seconds...

Then we went over to the Oval where all the showjumping was happening. The junior class was good and the jumps enormous for the seemingly tiny horses but later on in the day the full-sized, top competition, ridiculously amazing class was on and the jumps were HUGE!

One of the members of the Olympic team was there riding Dunstan Hairy Maclary. Unfortunately we didn't stay to see who won but it was awesome to see. Not many people went clear in that round so it would have been interesting. There was one jump, a big castle, that was about 6ft tall...

In amongst the horsey madness we observed the wood choppers...

which was impressive. Those guys got though some gosh darn mighty logs in very little time. And the little old man next to me was also highly impressed by their hard work.

And then we went back tot he rodeo arena for another coating of dust and to watch the actual rodeo...

This guy face planted quite badly. A lot of the riders barely made it out of the gate and the rodeo clowns spent a lot more time trying to round the bronco up afterwards. Those horses can jump though! One horse went straight up in the air, all 4 legs off the ground, about 4 feet. Pig jumping and bucking all over the place. Brother would be good in a rodeo...

Anyway, even though our Labour Weekend fiesta is looking slightly emptier people-wise, we will still be having a few people over for some rabbit stew and good times. I think everyone is arriving tomorrow.

Ont he vege front, our mushrooms have sprouted which I am over joyed about! One bucket has a cluster of fast growing fungi in one corner and you can see the other bucket pushing a few things through as well. All 5 cherry trees now have tiny little cherries on them, the strawberries are in full flower, the basil is a thick forest of green and purple and one pumpkin has survived transplantation and is poking a leaf through the soil. Our second vege garden in the arena paddock is well under way and hopefully we will finish it off next week so we can plant more potatoes etc...

The goats have gone fee range in the shed paddock and so far (touch wood) haven't escaped. We had a bit of a drama the other day with Eidel getting her foot caught up in the tether really badly and cutting off a lot of circulation to her foot. So I picked her up, untangled her and decided that the tether idea was finished. In the process, while holding her, I felt her stomach moving around so I;m pretty sure she is pregnant. And possibly Fungus as well but I havn;t picked her up. Eidel was surprisingly calm when I was holding her though. They are much more comfortable with us around now - not enough to come anywhere near us but at least they don't take off anymore!

Ok, bed time for me... work in the morning.

K :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Well, now that the non-environmentally friendly floor is down here are some before and after photos. Notice the adjusted lighting just like on tv. Amazing!

From this...

To this....

And this...

To this...

It does look nice but I am having a tough time getting over it. Maybe it's just me. Anyway, I'll pretend it's pine.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Showers about the ranges

That is all the weather forecast ever says about this area, "Showers about the ranges". Great. Although in the past few weeks they have been wrong, much to my satisfaction. I actually managed to get sunburnt last weekend! Amazing!

With all this heat I am thinking that the more frost sensitive veges will be planted out next weekend. Namely the tomatoes, zucchini and possibly even the basil although it looks very happy in the greenhouse no matter how hot it gets. Really it looks like a soft bed of very thick grass - so much so that Marty announced he would like to lie in it (over my dead body!).

We started on our new vege patch the other day. It will be for things that the birds have no interest in like potatoes, pumpkins, spinach, lettuce, onions... basically anything that is not fruit. Here is the beginning...

While we were doing that we spent some quality time with our 'new' goats. Apparently the key in taming them is to just hang out with them without harrassing them in any way. No touching at all but just being around them so they get used to our presence. So they sussed us out from a fair distance...

Eidel is on the right, Fungus on the left. During the hour we spent with them, Fungus decided we weren't too threatening and came within a few metres of us to scratch her head on some dirt that had been piled up. Eidel was not so keen and loitered by a tree most of the time at the full extent of her tether. Hopefully they will help fertilise our new vege patch while it;s being constructed though. After that we will need to chicken wire the whole thing to stop any of the damn rabbits getting near our crops.

The equine therapist came out again on Monday to check all the saddles I had accumulated. Luckily one of them fitted Dino and I have now purchased it much to the despair of my credit card but Brother still needs a bit more work to calm him down. The new saddle will fit him as well but we want to get him back to his normal self first. He's been very twitchy around his back recently for some unknown reason. So we got the horses talcum powdered up...

The horses weren't impressed at being powdered with sweet smelling talc. As you can see by the look in Dino's eye! How humiliating! At least now he is comfy.

The lambs are getting funnier. They have recently adopted quite a dog-like habit about being scratched. Gizmo looks like she might pass out from scratching pleasure and Marley, if you scratch her and then stop, will paw at you until you keep going. All Marley wants is a cuddle and milk to be completely content with life. Soon she will be missing out on the latter though as we need to wean her off it in a couple of weeks. She won't be happy about it!

We have the floor layers here laying some highly unethical wood on the kitchen floor. I am actually quite upset about it but there is nothing we can do now. I don't want to go into it. They are doing an all nighter and will leave at about 1am. Crazy.

Next week is the Hawkes Bay A & P show in Hastings. I am very, very excited about it. I'm working Wednesday and Thursday up there so probabaly won't make it those days but Friday I will be there with bells on. One of the other interpreters in Hawkes Bay has a son competing in the equestrian events that day so it will be good to see all that. And then it is Labour Weekend and we are having our house warming party which is yet to be finalised. Must get onto that.

Anyway, time to go. Work tomorrow. And maybe a puppy :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dodging trees

Oops, where has the last week gone? We've gone through all seasons in the past 7 days. Monday and Tuesday was like autumn except it wasn't leaves blowing about in the wind, it was whole trees. 150km gusts (same as Welly) that took down 13 trees, cut our power, blew 2 panels out of the greenhouse and probably will have dislodged several lambs from their mums' sides. However, ours were safely tucked up inside that day. Wednesday and Thursday took me to Napier for work where it was perfect 22 degree weather (I hadn't dressed for it - polyprops and pants, humph) as through summer had come early, Friday and Saturday continued the good temperatures and today it is very chilly and feels like we may be thrown back into the depths of winter. And spring? Well, the grass is greener than ever and the horses are getting merry on it.

Dad, Niki, and Jordan came up on Monday afternoon for a couple of days. They got the worst of it and we spent all Tuesday inside sheltering from the tempest. We had no power for a lot of that day so resorted to cooking pumpkin soup on the pot belly fire and toasting bread by it too.

Jordan was entertained by learning to play the guitar and drums and took back a bird's nest and 6 dead puriri moths (he will have a dead collection yet!) as souvenirs.

The horses almost got hit by an enormous falling branch and were not happy about it. Brother was so unimpressed that he wouldn't let us catch him. Dino was surprisingly calm - maybe it was shock.

The huge gum tree on the front lawn lost it's top... 1om of it and there is another branch dangling perilously that we will have to get down soon, a HUGE gum tree branch came down in the front paddock, 6 other whole trees along various fencelines, a big totara in the garden, a branch of the 150 year old holm oak, a couple of trees on the path to the bottom paddock and a fair amount of debris has been strewn about the property.

And the big gum tree on the front lawn plunged a branch a couple of feet into the ground it came down so hard. I'm very glad I wasn't under it! I did see it fall though.

I picked up Graeme from Napier on Wednesday night. He decided to come down here for a bit before he flies out to Australia on Tuesday. He was a great help chainsawing fallen trees and chopping wood. He left very early this morning to get back up to Napier by 7.50am and Marty took that as an opportunity to go surfing.

Thursday saw the return of our AWOL goats. They weren't happy to be collared and spent quite some time trying to hang themselves by running full bore away from the fence they were tied to and almpst breaking their necks when the rope became taut instantly. It was quite distressing. They have calmed down somewhat now although we are still needing to detangle them fairly regularly. They are cute goats though. Very small. Their names are Eidel and Fungus. Both nannies but oh well. I'm hoping they will become a bit tamer because I don't want to have them tethered all the time. But they can escape through just about anything!

And I have just found out about a kunekune piglet for sale. I would love a pig but I think we need to slow down for a second and think about how all this id going to work. We really need to sort out the arena paddock so it's suitable for animals. At the moment it's a mess. I will have to talk to Marty.

Ok, I need to find out a bit about taming goats.


Sunday, October 5, 2008


It's been a while since I've updated this. Sorry. I will try and be more organised in future!

Last week was pretty eventful. We had an equine therapist up last Tuesday to have a look at the horses and give us some advice about what we should do re their bad behaviour of late. She told us that we need new saddles for both of them (which I knew already) and that they are both quite tense - Dino in his back and Brother all over the place but mostly in his neck and hindquarters. So she showed me some massages to do with them to try and loosen them up. We've been doing that every second day and she is visiting again next Monday. It was going to be today but I have only managed to source 2 saddles so far and have been very busy since we saw her so it probably wouldn't be worth it. I'm hoping we find some saddles that fit. One of the ones I am trialing I think would be good for Dino and we have another but I am yet to try it on Brother. I've just been too busy.

The weather has been on and off. It's still quite cold at night so the vegetable growth rate has slowed. We managed to save the tomatoes and rocket that I tried to suffocate in the greenhouse which was lucky. Dino and Brother have both been quite relaxed. So much so that we have caught them both lying down on a couple of occasions. A true sign of comfort and relaxation.

On Wednesday we had 1000 anorexic worms arrive. Mum had ordered them from a woman in New Plymouth who had explained that they had just moved and Mum, in jest, said she hoped they wouldn't be traumatised. The woman relied that yes, they would be. They would be quite underweight. So, Don, our rural post man and his poodle-like dog, Guiness, turned up and dropped them off. Don chatted for a while and Guiness occupied himself chasing the chickens around the garden. You will all be pleased to know that they worms are starting to fatten up now and we're hoping they will eat 250g of food scraps a day. The rest of the scraps are for the chickens and general compost. We're going to need more scraps. Particularly if we get pigs!

The rest of the week seemed to be occupied by work. I made it into the Manawatu Evening Standard from a job (well, the back of my head did) and got a mention, even though they got my name wrong. It was corrected the next day. I was in Palmy all day on Friday and was incredibly busy trying to fit in 400 chores around my already busy work day. I picked up a saddle and carried it through the square, replaced a hammer for the kick drum for Marty, organised some payment stuff and did all the shopping on the way home. I was exhausted by the time I got back.

Saturday saw the arrival of Mum, Richard, Renata, Brian, Irena and Michael for an early birthday celebration for Brian and Marty. It was lovely to see everyone. That night we had a beautiful meal and present giving and thought about a game of trivia but it just got too late. Sunday morning we had breakfast at 11am and immediately afterwards we pulled all the carpet and lino up from the kitchen floor and began picking away at the tough underneath plaster-like stuff of the lino with various implements inculding a garden trowl, 2 spades and a fish slice. To aid our attempts Mum tried to call Mitre 10 for some advice. I folowed her outside and the conversation went like this:

Mum: Sorry I can't hear you. I'll put you on to my daughter.

Me: Who is it?

Mum: I'm not sure. Mitre 10 I think.

Me (to person on phone): Hello, is this Mitre 10?

Phone person: No, this is 111 emergency. Would you like police, ambulance or fire service?

Me: Hahaa, sorry! No, I don't need any. I'm really sorry!

We were all in fits of laughter (except, of course, the woman on the phone)and I'm surprised the emergency woman didn't send the police out anyway because it sounded like we were all wasted hammering and chiseling away the house. I have no idea how my mother manages to do these things. And now our kitchen floor loks like this...

The aim is to try and have it looking spectacular by Xmas (preferably Labour Weekend which is two weeks away!). It will all be wood. I'll keep you posted.

Dinky, one of our chickens, has become broody and is refusing to get off the nest which all the chickens lay in (none of them like the other 3 nests). So our daily egg count is down to on average 1 a day. I researched how to stop her from doing it seeing as she will never have chicks due to the fact that we have no rooster and one idea I came across was to put ice cubes underneath her! I think I will just lock her out of the coop and hope she gets the idea. Ice cubes! Mean! But because she is broody and protective of her nest, she has become very tame. We can go in and pick her up and carry her off without too much of a protest. In fact, she will just sit on your fingers quite happily.

Oscar and Bella came up on the weekend as well adn gave the chickens a run for their money. Poor Dinky got chased into the wood shed and stuck under and massive pile of wood and nails. We eventually found and extracted her and put her back on her nest. She's a very funny chicken though.

Lambies are fit and healthy and sleeping outside in their pen every night now. Gizmo has bulked up a bit from her frail, fragile lambiness when we got her. Marley is enormous and heavy and still follows us everywhere (with the odd detour towards the tulips/roses/rhodos/deadly nightshade). She loves attention whereas Gizmo is much more independent.

There are little cherries all over one of the cherry trees in the aviary (I may be repeating a lot of this information, sorry) and Renata and Brian brought up 2 buckets of compost and peat with mushroom spores included so they will be producing over the next couple of months and we will have homegrown mushrooms! Thanks Renata and Brian! Every time I go shopping I clean the supermarket out of mushrooms. Dannevirke and Waipuk were not prepared for my arrival into the area in the way of mushrooms. Hopefully we won't need to buy any for a while and eventually have mushrooms growing year round. That is my plan anyway.

Ok, Niki, Jordan and Dad will be arriving soon so I better get going.