Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Welcoming Autumn

Monday last week I had my first netball trial, the second one is this Thursday night and after then I should have a better idea of what's going to be happening. We started off with a warm up, after which I almost could have died. I'm fit, but I'm not that fit! They had us doing all sorts of maneuvers across the length of the court; jogging, sprinting, fast walk, lunges, squats, running with knees high, running with feet high, and she was constantly changing the movement.
We'd just get used to jogging then suddenly we're sprinting, or fast walking or something! It was mental, I think we spent about ten minutes doing a warm up, I was surprised that they didn't get us to do the typical stretches and whatnot before the warm up (I've always thought you were meant to) but we did them afterwards. I'm glad I wasn't the slowest in the group, I thought if I could almost keep up with Chantelle, I'd be doing well - and I did, most of the time!
Unfortunately I'm one of those people who's face goes nice and red when I get hot from silly doesn't matter if I'm quite fit, which I usually am, when heat can't escape through my feet, it goes to my face instead, rather annoying if I'm honest!!

After the warm up we got into corners and moved onto another warm up/game thing where we were catching, throwing, running, catching then throwing the ball to different people from different corners as we ran through to the opposite corner. It was, straight out, confusing. It didn't help that the first time the ball was thrown to me it hit me square on the face, quite hard. Everyone seemed to get the idea rather quickly (most of the women there had been playing in the team for quite a few years...) but typically I didn't. It's rather awkward being the one who had to be guided through each pass, meaning it had to be slowed down a tad when I went through. I'm rather nervous about the trial on Thursday because they'll likely do it again and I really can't quite remember exactly how it goes...

Once that was finished they put people into places and teams, four of us including myself were stood out for the first game. At first I was thinking, aw man I must be bad! But I've actually never seen a game of netball played before - so I got to watch it and got a bit of an idea instead of being thrown into the deep end!
The second game I was called in for Wing attack (Wing Defense and Attack I had put myself down for), and once my opponent Wing Defense knew I didn't know how to play she was helping me out, as well as one of the umpires. They were telling me where I should be and what I could do which was helpful.
The third game I went into wing defense, which I found not as good as my previous attack role. The girl I was paired with was a really good player, who was flying around the court at high speeds. I had to be blocking her but I just couldn't keep up and kept losing sight of her. So if I get one of those places I really hope to get Attack, it's much easier!
It was good once Chantelle and I left, because one of the coaches came up to us and thanked us for coming and giving it a good go, and asked us to definitely come back for the next trial. We'll get places, for sure. They don't have enough players to turn people away. Last week they only had enough for two teams and two subs each. Where I've read online that in most netball games, players are only allowed on for no more than half the game, so surely that should mean they need 14 players to a team to account for that common rule? It was fun, nonetheless and I'm looking forward to trying it again tomorrow night - if only for a slight physical hiccup that I have at the moment! Will come to this soon...

I had the weekend off, which was great. Tay also had the weekend off so I got to spend it with him - even better. I went out there Friday night after work, then basically stayed til last night when I came home again. We didn't do too much Saturday, apart from stopping in at home for me to grab a few things and going into town for him to get his hair cut - it was weird being in a proper "barber" rather than the usual hairdressing salon that I'm used to being in!
He was going to get his beard trimmed down but didn't. He's said to me, "I'll keep it cut down over summer but I'll be growing it back for winter" - especially for the hunting trip he's going on in June to the South Island. However he hasn't particularly stuck to his word and hasn't really cut it since Christmas! Argh, now it's turning a bit red, obviously he's stoked and is determined to keep growing it to see what happens. Argh, males! lol
That afternoon Nate His Mate came over and we went out to one of the paddocks to test out Taylor's new rifle on some cans and clay birds. He had bought a new one on Friday for when he goes Tahr hunting in June and it needed the scope setting up - what better excuse to go do some shooting? Not really my cup of tea,  but I don't mind watching. I was going to have a go, we were lining up the sights for me (he has a bipod, so got to just lay on the ground and aim it). But when I realised the kickback it had I decided to flag the idea. Having a gun kick back into my bad shoulder would leave me somewhat crippled for a few days with that arm. Even Tay and Nate His Mate were saying it was quite sore - and they're quite used to it, it needs a rubber padding on the butt to fix it.

Nate stayed for dinner and then came back the next morning with another friend of his and our friend Luke, did I mention this weekend was Paradise Duck Shooting weekend?! Yeah, it was. I was going to tag along but I was super tired and managed to get out of it! That and I didn't have any dark, camo clothing which was apparently necessary for the job. So the four guys went out shooting that morning and I got to sleep in til - wait for it - 9am. Them arriving back woke me up, then they did the dishes and made breakfast while I just cruised, it made a nice change!
Taylor and I went out after that as we had an appointment - for a professional thai massage. Yeah, crazy right?! Tay's Dad is a trained massage therapist so he's always wanted to try a Thai massage to see what it's like.
Hmm. They were Thai women, it was difficult figuring what they were saying and the room was heavily perfumed with a very peaceful music playing. They cleaned our feet first (ever had someone else clean your feet!?!?) then got to work. Just as a heads up, if anyone reading this wants to try it. When you book in a full body massage, it is pretty much exactly that...I thought it'd be like, back, shoulders and feet lol
I've got a bad habit of laughing in situations where I probably shouldn't. I was giggling away about the whole thing before she started, laying face down on a table with my face sticking through the hole in the table, staring at a flower of some sorts in a bowl. I do believe it was fake, so it got me wondering if they could possibly have a camera in there watching the expression on my face. From times when her pushing muscles around on my back hurt quite a bit, to when my feet were feeling a bit ticklish! At some stage Tay started snoring! Really!?

Taylors' boss was happy to have Monday off work, so he paid me to stick around and milk for him Monday morning and help Taylor do things during the day, I was already booked in to work there Tuesday anyway so it wasn't a big deal hanging around for an extra day. Working with Tay is pretty cool, doing proper farm work and that makes a nice change in my routine. :)

Today though I got back to normal work, fencing for our neighbour, getting soaked when the rain suddenly arrived. Autumn has definitely arrived - I thought since our summer started late that it would last a fair bit longer but apparently not. It's still hot, don't get me wrong. But a couple weeks ago we had about 50+mm of rain and ever since then we get random bursts of rain whenever the weather man feels to deliver. It's incredible how things have greened up!

One thing that's on our minds at the moment is the new motorway that is being built - connecting Auckland to Northland. Our house isn't effected by the developments, however a big interchange is going to be about 200-250 metres up the road from us, and it means that we'll get all of the through-traffic going past us again. As we're right next to the road - it's not good. The motorway is set to be up and go by 2025, but all the years prior we're going to have to deal with the noise disturbance from the developing. And then the traffic noise from the road itself - I can't imagine long weekends! So what to do? Sound proof the property, planting thick trees to grow around the entire boundary. Installing double glazing etc. And just deal with it. Or set up the place to sell? It'll be worth a fair bit to the right buyer, being right next to the motorway. I dunno it's a scary thought to consider what will happen as this is home to us, what to do? At least we don't have the issue of the house needing to be removed because it sits on the developing land - like many a house around here. Then our decision would be made for us - but the council will only buy for a cheap price. We'll see, we have few years up our sleeves here.

Oh that's right - my slight physical quandary I on Monday my legs basically collapsed from underneath me. I ran to open a gate for Taylor so he could get through with the tractor before the herd blocked the gateway, I was walking up the hill ok and thought I'd better get up there quick smart so started running. Next thing I knew I was bent over in pain, all the muscles in the front of both thighs were on fire! They were hurting so much I could barely move. I did manage to get up there in the end but it was slow going, for the rest of the day I was somewhat stumbling along trying to get everywhere I needed to go. They haven't done it again thank goodness, but silly movements hurt, like today I went to run to grab some tools when it was raining and I still felt it. I think it was simply severe cramp, it just seemed odd that both legs did it but all we could think was that the massage must've pulled some muscles, which makes me a little dubious to go back again. It's never happened before, hopefully doesn't happen again and all I can think is I hope like heck they cope with netball tomorrow! It's going to be a tad difficult, but at least I know what to expect.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Valentine's Day

Yesterday I had my first ever "Valentine's Day", and in all honesty I've not a clue what all the hype is about. It was just another day really. I went out for dinner with Taylor at one of the local pub/restaurant places as they were holding a proper valentine's night. Which perhaps wasn't the best plan.
They had suggested to book ahead, so I had done that a week or so ago. And they showed us to this table out in a separate room set up for the whole valentine's theme, complete with fairy lights and an acoustic singer. It was so loud I could hardly think. However when we went back to the bar to order the food, we realised somebody else took our table while we were ordering! Although there was a much more comfortable seating arrangement in the bar and it was further from this guy who was singing, so at least it wasn't as loud. I think it was just because the speakers were echoing, so you couldn't think a word in your head, let alone string a sentence together to have a conversation in there. So that worked in our favour a bit. But it still wasn't great. Because they were so booked up, it took an hour before one starter came out for us - salt and pepper squid, it was really delicious. But that might've been because we were so hungry. Finally 10 minutes after that, the main meals showed up but the meat was overdone so again, just yeah.
They're a really good place to eat at, but I guess because they were so busy, things went a little slack in the kitchen. I'd imagine they were working hard out, food was constantly flowing out, it was just a shame it took an hour to batter some squid and then deep-fry it. I was so tired, I was just like, "wake me up when it arrives..."

Overall it was a rather mediocre night, it would've been more pleasant staying home and watching a movie. Valentine's is certainly more of an American holiday, isn't it? Very commercialised.

I took Annie in for her first service yesterday, she's done over 1500 k's now, so definitely well run in. I still like her and I'm still definitely getting used to her, it is taking a little while this time. Although she does need a repair already, just some plastic paneling on the back passenger door has come apart - we suspect in the heat, and it can't clip back in for some odd reason. But because the cars are so new, it'll take a bit to order the part. The frustrating thing is that she doesn't have an"over speed alarm", I can be cruising along at 105 and not even realise it, at least if a bell were to sound then I'd know sooner rather than later. It's not that I don't keep an eye on the speedo, I do, but she just likes speeding. It would be handy in those areas where I'm not sure on the speed limit too, but alas she doesn't have the alarm.  Which is rather odd for new cars these days.

Oh so I'm joining a community netball club! I saw it advertised on facebook and suggested it to Chantelle. Last Wednesday was just an info session and tonight are the trials. I'm not too sure what it exactly entails, but at 6 o'clock tonight I guess I'll find out. I've never played netball a day in my life, but I've often wanted to, so they suggested I sign up for a Wing Attack or Wing Defense roll and just go from there.
Trials are tonight and then every Wednesday onwards are training nights - two hour sessions, that should be in the school gym so at least the weather won't bother us. In May the actual games start, so every Friday night I'll be there, although that is outside in another local town so it'll be inconvenient if it's raining! The sport plays until around September-ish, so that'll keep me as a busy little beaver until then. I just figured that I'd rather not have the life where I simply eat, sleep and work and see Taylor. Chantelle and I have been struggling to organise a movie night with Bianca, because it seems every suggested night somebody is busy! So this way Chantelle and I will have compulsory catch ups at least once a week!
Another girl, Maddie, might also be coming. I know her through Taylor as she lives and works with his best friend Luke on one of the farms around here. She's 18 and seems really nice so it'll be good to get to know her a bit more. I just hope that we all get onto the same team after tonight's session.

Playing sport meant buying some decent shoes, so while we were in town yesterday I hunted through Rebel Sport to find a pair.
Did you know the average pair of sneakers start at a whopping $120?
Yes, ok so they're decent shoes from decent brands like New Balance. I bought a pair of them when I was 15 for about $100 and I still use them every day to drive to and from work. Sure, the framing is poking through the material now but they're still very usable, just perhaps not as sports shoes anymore! So at least they last the distance, but sheesh! I went through glancing at all the prices, proper "netball" shoes were sitting about about $240, so we strolled down to the specials/end of lines deals. I finally found a great pair, size 8.5 (perfect fit for me) for $60 - down from $120. So of course I walked out of there with them (in a bag though!) and I've been wearing them around the house to try and wear them in a tad before tonight.

I'm feeling somewhat nervous because I'm not too sure how tonight will go, I know I won't be "perfect" at the game and I've got a heck of a lot to learn, I just hope I'm not too obviously useless at it! Catch the ball Kayger, please don't have butter fingers!! hahaha Please don't run with the ball Kayger, this isn't rugby. Might I also suggest not bouncing the ball either? Yeah, that'd look bad.

Now, to organise myself to go do some stapling on a few new fences on the job we've started up the road, and to encourage myself that I'm being rather well behaved by still having NOT opened the chocolate Tay got me for valentine's day...Dunno how long that will last though...

The weather here is atrocious lately. We've been getting soaring temperatures of over 30 degrees almost daily, and at night the humidity is often unbearable, it's been sitting anywhere between 60-70%. I'm so tired at the moment because I just haven't been able to sleep! Then there's the rain, it'll rain when you least expect it to, and when it does rain it does so in an amount that is more annoying than anything. It just makes everything slippery and then the wind dries it up again. A week or so ago we got 15mm overnight, which was a great dumping. We're lucky though as we don't have any fires like other parts of the country and Aussie do...there was one a bit further up north on Waitangi Day, but that burnt through about 3-4 hectares of scrub, not 300-400 hectares like everywhere else...

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Introducing: Annie

So, as per my last blog most would know that I have a new car now, she's arrived and I brought her home last Tuesday afternoon.
It was a somewhat uneventful trip back, on my own in my new and unfamiliar car. It was odd, but okay. Actually quite terrifying because I didn't want to crash it or ding it or anything like that, as if it was somebody else's car instead of my own. However in saying that I'm slowly getting used to her.

I didn't have a name for a couple days, until Dad came with me into town and said I should call her Goldie (although Laura had already said that one) and then he said she should be Annie because of her colour. I never had anything to do with the Annie musical, all I know was that she had burning red hair and this is similar so Annie she is. (Quite close to Ali but I'm sure I'll get used to this one) and that is that. She has already been introduced to the gravel roads she will soon learn to take in her stride...and a bit of cow poo too sadly. She's gotten rather dusty driving to and from Tay's and to the beach the other night. But she'll get used to it - she can't stay spick and span her whole life can she?

So, a photo. I don't have any interior photos as I haven't taken any and it's raining outside and I really can't be bothered! But this will give you an idea of what she looks like.

She doesn't look that clean anymore, but oh well. I'm still not too sure on the reversing camera, trying to stick to my old ways of relying on mirrors only. Although it is handy when reversing out of parks because you can see a fair bit which is rather handy, but it still makes me nervous reversing her. She stinks like heck, especially the burning engine smell and the dealer told me to 'drive her like I stole her...but remember I'll be paying for the speeding ticket!'
She's a nice car and although one particular person wasn't too impressed with my buying her (not naming names lol) but everyone else thinks she's great. It'll mean I don't have many dollars to my name anymore but at least I won't be concerned about so many car bills.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing - to think about the money I could have saved had I not spent it all on Ali, but that's life and there's no point in thinking about all the past happenings.

Over last weekend I finally got to milk again - with Taylor as his boss was on holiday so I covered three milkings that the other relief milker couldn't do. It was rather odd spending basically four days there, stopping in at home every so often to touch base with Mum and Dad. Taylor is sick at the moment and in a lot of pain (he's just found out the abdominal pain is due to a hernia, which is bad enough the surgery is only a couple weeks after diagnosing it) - going in for an operation this week - so at least my being there meant I could help out a lot. Moving the cows in the afternoon, shifting the break fences in the turnips, opening and shutting gates and opening the baleage so he wasn't having to be on and off the tractor all the time. It was nice being on one farm and doing things other than just turning up and milking - and I got to see most of the farm too as well as seeing my calves and the yearlings too...not that they were all that interested in me. They just wanted food.

Oh yeah, so it's pretty dry up here. I honestly hadn't even noticed, which probably sounds crazy but you just get used to dry summers and droughts that it's just normal. It wasn't until the water shortages were all over the internet and newspapers etc. The council shut down the water supply for either 24 or 48 hours? So local trucking companies couldn't transport water to the locals on tank supply (that's not us, as we buy bore water for our tank - rather than the council chlorinated stuff).
This of course caused a massive outrage, some people will have had no water in their tanks for two weeks at the most, and water trucks are going for all hours of the day. Some people are even stealing water, I'm not even joking. Someone came home to find their tank which had about 7000L left in it, had be siphoned dry. And some scumbag (sorry, it's true) emptied one of the local St. John ambulance station's tank dry too, just the other night. Although the locals banded together to get that one refilled with donations, as well as working out money to pay for security cameras at the station too.

All over facebook on the town pages, everyone is talking about how they're conserving their water. There are the usual putting a brick or jar in the toilet cisterns, while others say they stand in a bucket during their shower and reuse the water for toilets or gardens, or putting a bucket in the sink to catch all the cold water while you're waiting for the hot to come through and then using that elsewhere. Although there are a couple of extreme ones where they reuse washing machine water at least three times. I'm not too sure I could do that - sure maybe reuse it once if the first load wasn't too dirty but otherwise. We always caught the water and used it on the garden, that worked fine.
Last night we welcomed 21mm of rain and the crops next door are greening up already, but the sun and wind over the next couple days will simply dry it out again, it's just a northland battle.

In general things are ticking along - we've got a massive post and rail fencing job that we're working on at present. It was started last Monday/Tuesday and it'll hopefully be finished by the end of this week - weather dependent. It's all very slow work, everything has to be immaculate. Dad's using the laser level to put in the posts, so they're all at the exact same height - no matter what the ground is like (it's mostly flat with a very slight rise in a couple places) there are four rails to do with one on top to cap it. I then have to go along the top rail with the router to round off one edge. It's slow, tedious work but we're getting there. Two sections are complete apart from the gates and they look awesome. It's nice to stand back and see how well you're doing.

We're using screws with all of our post and rails now, rather than nails. That way the rails won't pop off or twist when they get wet and then dry out, like you'd often see. This line in particular goes down the driveway and right to the road, perfectly straight! And it is in a very upmarket town - Matakana. Think rich horsey people, wineries etc., and you'll understand why it has to look the part.

Here is the little lagoon off the beach that I like to swim in. It's all shells in here and the tide was right out, but during high tide the water is quite deep and comes right up to the edge of the white shells. it's nice and calm in here, people jump off from the left hand side of the top photo, about where my shadow is in the bottom one. And usually the bulk of the rocks in the bottom photo are covered and you'd only see the darker tips of them. I've never seen the water so clear here before.
Also in the bottom picture is where the diving/spear fishing happens. Everyone swims out from the lagoon, way out past the rocks. Although I won't be taking part in it, as there are Bronze Whalers that hang around. Taylor's friend lost the spear he was borrowing, he had left it on the ocean floor with fish on it so he could collect some mussels, suddenly the float was a long distance away and when he followed it it was quickly pulled away. A shark took the fish as a free feed, including the spear, rope and buoy - about $350 worth of gear. Oops.

My Dad's sister and her family have been up this way from the Manawatu, and stayed here during their travels for a few days, so we took them out to a couple of our beaches including this one.

Maggie is doing well, however Pippa - not so much. She's possibly got a lung infection and is on antibiotics after her $90 vet visit last Wednesday. She is wheezing a lot, especially when she purrs and her lungs are quite crackly which isn't good. Fingers crossed the medication kicks in soon otherwise it might just get a bit pricey. Maggie is going in to be spayed soon too, these animals all seem to cost a fair bit all at the same time!!

She's quite big now, this picture is about a month old - her ears are still too big for her though!
This is the other day, Pippa wasn't feeling well :) Maggie was cold!

Taylor still hasn't named his kitten, currently called No-Name but he's adorable nonetheless!

Some more pictures of the fencing we're doing...

Pens for the horsey stables....

our awesome post banger can work well under trees :)

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

New Horizons...and Dashboards

Yet again, not much is going on. I haven't had any work for over a week now so it means I'm not doing all that much. It leads to some serious boredom and frustrations one could only imagine. However I'm slowly getting used to it; the quiet life does not suit me.

Yesterday however, was a very big day with a rather big step forward and I guess financially wise - a horrendously big step back. Well not quite, but it's in the process. I sold Ali yesterday. Yup, my beautiful red BMW is gone and I'll never see her again. It's actually quite an emotionally taxing thing for me - selling my car. Same thing happened when I sold my first car and bought Ali, the guilt was ridiculous and that car didn't even have a name!
So trading old Ali in, I wasn't really processing that it was actually happening and it was only when we were driving home after cleaning out all of my things that I felt rather bleh. Poor Ali.
I guess I'd better explain.

We all four of us went north yesterday. One ute needed a service, the other needed a warrant - both at Holden (seeing as we don't trust our local mechanics...) so I took Ali up there as well to see what trade in value I'd get. I was sort of hoping somewhere along the lines of a friendly two thousand dollars. Hmm. Because they just flick cars like her straight to Turners Auctions I was never going to get much for her, however I didn't expect them to say only half of what I intended. One thousand. We were shocked. This was simply because the clear coat is peeling in places on the paint work, thus making the overall appearance, uh, shabby. Even though the dealer agreed she was a great car in brilliant condition for her age, due to it going to Turners they couldn't do more for us.

Interestingly enough, they said the only reason the clear coat was peeling like it was, was because she'd already had a repaint done. I guess it just wasn't done to the usual factory standards which was why it got so bad, so quickly.

I was going to take her home and try sell her privately but we risked the potential of her having more issues, letting randoms test drive her, and the possible comeback the buyer would have if she did break down not long after they bought her. It's a big risk to take, one that we weren't quite sure on. However, eventually Mum (my brilliant Mum) twisted the main guys arm. He offered $1250 for Ali but she convinced him to up it to $1500. Finally he caved! They took her then and there and we no longer had that burden. I know, it's not much. Similar cars are selling on trade me for at least four thousand but they're probably running OK. I guess it's just the risk you take and we chose the easy way out. I felt pretty stink emptying out all of my guff - not that there was much in there as I'm a nice, tidy driver. Then I gave them the key and that was that...sorry Ali.
The night before Nick gave her a good clean off and I polished her, not actually intending on selling her the next afternoon! The great thing was that her rego and warrant were both due within a month and I didn't have to pay for them! So I did a bit of an internal dance at that :D

So now to explain the other thing...I bought a car, well sort of, not quite. I haven't signed on the dotted line but the finance has been approved, I've paid a small amount to them alongside the money from Ali. And the car is due to arrive from an Auckland dealership in the next few days. So it should be ready for me after they do all of the grooming and pre-sale checks etc, I should see it sometime mid next week. And uh - it's brand new. *cough* *splutter* *what the heck am I doing??*

If I'm completely honest I didn't want a new car, I was never planning on getting a new car for quite a long time. I just wanted a nice, second hand car from a dealership that I could trust, and pay not too much for it - maybe get a small loan that I could pay off in a short term. But Mum and Dad had a bit to say about that, as the only cars I could find within my price range weren't overly ideal. They all had high km's on the clock for their age. Most were imports without any NZ owners and just weren't ideal.
For instance there was a bigger hatchback sitting on the Holden forecourt for 20K. It had about 60,000km, covered in scratches and it was two years old. I sat in it, it was nice for sure, but why pay 20K for a car in that condition when a few extra thousand would buy me something brand new with an odometer displaying those beautiful 000,000's?

So my hands were tied and my arm was pulled. I am happy with the outcome, but I'm not looking forward to listening to the opinions of everyone. Not many people were happy with Ali, and I got sick of being labeled the "rich relief milker" simply because I drove a BMW and a fair few people couldn't cope with the jealousy? Is that what it was? I don't know. Honestly, if they were that jealous they could've had her. She wasn't that amazing and I'm certainly not a rich relief milker - that comment really eats at me and it takes a fair bit to not snap the person's head off!

The new car is a Holdon Barina LT, five doors. Bluetooth, reversing camera, heated front seats, leather steering wheel, daytime running lights (because for some reason those are exciting - heaven knows why?), cruise control. It's got all the mod-com's, ability to play CD's (Ali couldn't), radio and off Apple and Samsung phones. I believe it's got a gps ability in there too somewhere as well as being able to play DVD's however only when stationary...such a drawback...I mean.

Quite seriously, the thing that sold it for me was the ability to raise the seat as well as shift it back and forth. I've driven a couple cars and not being able to raise the seat upwards to see over the bonnet was a massive drawback. Ali had that amazing feature and I couldn't have driven her without it (I honestly wouldn't have reached the pedals!!) I took it for a test drive and the dealer, James, who has sold Mum and Dad vehicles previously, actually took me out on a great route so I could experience it properly. In town/city driving through roundabouts, lights, and lane changes. As well as more rural driving, getting up to 100km. It was a great drive, I tested a Ford Focus a while back and this is way, way better. It handles brilliantly on the road, it feels like a big SUV type car, has few blind spots and is rated one of the safest cars on the road. It felt like I'd been driving it for years and when I pulled back into the yard Mum, Dad and Nick said I suited it well.

Oh, so the reason it's coming from Auckland is because the demo car that I was driving, (and hoping to buy simply because a demo car would be a few thousand less) hadn't outdone it's demo car specifications just yet. It had to be a demo car for at least 3 months or for 2000km's. The great thing was that it was already registered, so the ORC's wouldn't apply. But sadly I couldn't have it so they've plucked one from Auckland in the colour I want. What colour is that, do you ask? Well, I guess you'll just have to wait and see! haha!

For the meantime, I am carless. I have had no car in my name for 24 hours and I'm seriously struggling with that fact. My independence has gone for the next week, which is actually quite difficult. Not only do I have no work, I have no car to go anywhere. But I shall survive. It's a tad stressful trying to figure how I'm meant to pay for the car, not only the finance cost but the insurance as well, but it should all come together I'm sure :) 

I've got no idea on a name for this new car. I'm torn - do I name it and risk giving it a personality or what? My car does everything with me, it's hard not to get quite close to it, in a way that it's sort of a friend. Ok, better stop talking before they put me in a straight

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Year

Hello and welcome to 2017! I'm glad you made it here :)

Unfortunately just prior to the new year, my boss' Mum passed away. I'd only met her once, but she was so nice. It's kinda scary really, back in late November/early December during either docking or crutching, she felt a little off colour. After visiting the doctors they said she had pancreatic cancer, and from what I've heard, it had spread through her entire body giving her only weeks to live. How is that, like I don't know all the details - I've only heard snippets here and there, but how can you go from seemingly healthy, to looking at living only a few more weeks?
Sadly, she went downhill very quickly after the diagnosis and spent Christmas time in hospitals having emergency surgeries and the like and passed away on the 30th December. This was why I milked Christmas Day morning, because Cam couldn't be there.
She wasn't old either, the sad thing is that Cam's wife Jo had to go through losing both of her parents to cancer over many long years. Out of either option I don't know what I'd prefer - something short and quick like Cam's Mum, or false hope drawn out over quite a few years like Jo's parents.
It's awful, around here in my neighbourhood so many people (especially farmers) seem to get to a certain age and suddenly find they're filled with cancer and die shortly thereafter. It sort of makes you curious as to what happened around here once that have caused all the people in that generation to all have the same sentencing?
The funeral is today, it'll be huge. I considered going but at the same time I wasn't too sure, so I didn't go.

On New Years Day Mum, Dad and I drove down to Hamilton rather early in the morning. We've bought a shed off some friends down there, and finally made time to start taking it down. It's an American Barn style shed, not massive but big enough for what we need it for. It's green, white and red - so needs a decent paint job done when we put it back up, but it's in good condition which is the main thing.
So Dad and I got started on the two sides, thankfully the iron has small screws/bolts instead of nails, so I was running along having a blast with the drill, pulling them all out. Once the two sides were off, we jumped up onto the roof. Bad move. We have a mental note to put all of the walls up before re-installing the roof because it was swaying from side to side, rather violently. Not particularly pleasant, that. Shoulda pulled the roof off first...
Anyhow, amidst the swaying shed we managed to chug along slowly and carefully with the roof iron, managing to pull off about a quarter of the roof area - as it took ages. We're writing on the back of each sheet in numerical order, which way is up and where about it came from - which takes a little while. So at least when we eventually come to rebuild the shed here, we should get the sheets in the right places!
Unfortunately it got pretty windy and drizzly after a while, so it was too dangerous to be up there, I know I certainly didn't feel like falling off a shed roof to celebrate my new year! So we packed up and left - apparently the sun came back and the wind died down about half an hour after we left...seriously?
Mum, Dad and Nick are heading back down sometime this weekend to finish it off, they've still to the roof to pull down, the entire back wall (which will be pretty easy, really), what's left of the front wall. The three roller doors - somehow, and hopefully all of the steel framing. The steel is quite light, and with Nick there they should be able to chew through it rather quickly. I've done my dash with it, that's for sure. We'll probably rebuild it next summer, these things take time lol

I spent a couple days with Taylor earlier in the week as he has been on holidays, his friend Mike was also staying at his house so we basically just hung out together for most of the time. Monday was scorching, so that night we went to the beach so they could swim. I'm currently without anything suitable to swim in, so I got to just sorta stand there and watch, about knee deep in the water.
There's a nice little part off the beach where we were, between some massive rocks where the water comes in like a little lake, oddly it's filled with shells there - not sand like the rest of the beach. But it's a lot calmer and nice to have a little swim around in. Quite a lot of people jump off the rocks into it during high tide, although I wouldn't be that keen considering there are rocks in the water in some places. You can fish off the rocks there too, but from Nick's experience you only ever catch rock cod, or you lose your line!
My mission on Monday is to go to Kmart or somewhere and find myself some togs, so at least I can swim with them, rather than standing there looking silly on a scorching hot day. Tay and his friends are all getting into spear fishing, with the actual guns. Although I wouldn't do that exactly, I want to try out snorkeling with them at least. Considering how close I live to so many beaches, the amount of times I actually go to the beach is ridiculous - I need to get out more.

We stopped in to see another friend of Tay's - Luke, before we went to the beach. He works on another local farm and there are wild cats there. They were chatting when I saw an adorable grey tabby kitten with a white bib, watching us. I tried getting close to it, but he ran away. Not five minutes later he was sitting on the wheel of the side-by-side. If you know me, obviously I was like "omgosh! Look!!" They tried to catch it, but it went into the bike. Eventually it came out and ran into one of the cowshed drains, after lifting up a steel lid Taylor managed to catch it. Yes, we took it home - me driving his car, while he held it (he loves his cats, I've never seen anything like it!) and it just sat there purring!
I guess the kitten must be at the right sort of age, not too wild but slightly trusting, he was still a little dubious at Taylors house, but he's getting more and more friendly. So, so cute. Pawpaws, the other cat was livid about the new arrival, hopefully she'll get over herself in time.
I'll do a post in a little while with some pictures - once I've transferred them from my phone. I've got no work at the moment so at least I've got time.

Oh, still on the car hunt, but I've found some really nice ones and I'm looking at a few make/style options. I really like Mazda Axela's, but I've seen some Toyota Corolla's as well, some are signature class with really low k's and they get some great warranties with the purchase, only a couple years old, slightly above my price range but I would say it would be worth the slightly higher price. I'll keep you posted :) 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Country Christmas Chaos

2016 is almost over and summer hasn't really begun at all. It's so cold! I can assure you that for the past month we might've had five or six hot, sunny days. Boxing day was one of them, I thought today would be another but it's turned pretty miserable again. Makes it hard to celebrate the festivities when the weather won't cooperate, but never mind.

So, time to catch up. Christmas and my birthday have gone and passed for another year, I've reached the jolly age of 21, however nothing has really changed. Except that I'm now most certainly an "adult". Better start acting my age now, huh?! hehe
It's been a long week. My Nana arrived from Rotorua on the 22nd and my Uncle, Aunty and three cousins came up from Wellington on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve morning I milked with Cam and Hamish, and I helped them dry off half of the herd - about 170 cows, it was a long morning; starting at 5:45 and finishing finally at 9:45. Although Cam and Hamish just spent the entire morning chatting and joking around so I didn't actually think it had taken that long to get through it. I guess I can now add "Capable at administering Dry Cow Therapy" to my CV, it was the first time I'd actually done it myself, and it's rather easier than I thought.
I then milked with Hamish for Christmas Day morning, but it was only five rows so I was out and gone within an hour and a half, arriving home in time to join everyone else for breakfast. The roads are very quiet on Christmas Day morning, it was rather lonely out there.

The usual dynamics of our typical family Christmas had somewhat changed for this year, what with having extended family up as well as the two Taylors being involved. Nick abandoned us Christmas Eve to spend it with she Taylor and he came home the next morning. My Taylor came here for lunch and then that afternoon we both went to his Mum's for dinner - it was kinda odd going out and about on Christmas, it'll have to be something I'm going to get used to I guess.
Then on Boxing Day Tay and I went north to get me a birthday present, so I could choose something. (Got a huge purple metal butterfly. Something you'd put out in your garden or on an outside wall. But it'll go up in my room somewhere). I got to drive his car for some of the way, so fingers crossed I didn't get him a speeding ticket or anything! haha, it's pretty easy to drive now that I'm used to it.

My birthday came around, I got some pretty neat presents. Lots of nice jewellery (over christmas and birthday) among other things. It took a while but I finally got to open the gift from Mum and Dad, it's never happened before but I couldn't help it. I opened it and started crying - it was my personalised plates for my car!! And it has a green border. I've been wanting them for such a long time, and keep checking to see if they were still available. I never even guessed they'd get me them, and my nickname has always been super special to me. I didn't realise until Dad mentioned it in his speech that night, the name came from joining my name with my childhood cat Tiger. He explained how we were so inseparable so they joined our names together. So now every time I look at the plates I get this massive grin on my face. Man I was stoked!

The party itself was OK, there were only 26 people there but most were family, quite a few people just didn't bother showing up even though they said they'd come, which was rather disappointing. While my boss Cam and Jo couldn't make it for other reasons. But it was OK, I kinda wish the weather had been better. Everyone there were all dressed in jeans and sweatshirts, trying to stay warm. It was freezing! The wind was so icy and it kept threatening to rain. Later that night we even brought out some blankets, simply because we couldn't fit everyone in the house.
17 people stayed the night, so we had 19 to feed breakfast to the next morning as my Great Uncle and Aunty came back from their hotel to join us. It was busy. Within a few hours everyone except for he Taylor had gone on their merry ways back home and the house was so quiet! It was crazy how suddenly there were plenty of places to sit, you could talk and be heard, it was rather incredible really how so many extra people make the difference.
Once Taylor left we just sat there, exhausted, thinking - now what do we do? The great thing about being the host is having all of the leftover food, but I've never been given so much chocolate in my life. Between christmas and my birthday, wow, so much chocolate. It's sitting in my room but I've no desire to touch it at all.

My plans for the new year? Well I won't be milking again until March now, as both of my farms have dried off either half or the whole herd, so I won't be needed again until autumn calving starts up again. I'm a little concerned about it, not having the work. Dad's going to get me out fencing but I'm not sure how much I'll get. Hopefully enough hours to cover what I need.
I'm also going to be car hunting in my spare time, Ali is giving me no end of grief. A week or so before christmas she died on me, when I was leaving for work in the morning I couldn't get it to start. We got her up to the BMW mechanics I go to, they agree there's an issue but they've no idea what it is. As there aren't any faults. Which is basically a needle in a hay stack the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
So I'm going to dump her at a dealer of sorts and they can have the lemon for themselves. In my case, the quote when life gives you lemons, make lemonade doesn't apply to me. It's more like, when life gives you lemons, they're rotten so you can't do much with them at all. It really sucks.
I know trading her in will hardly get me a penny, but I don't want the guilt of selling her to an unsuspecting buyer like I was two  years ago. I'll get a small loan and find a newer, second hand car from a dealer and then at least I'll have the warranty and all that guff. Fingers crossed I'll get enough work for the monthly payments...
It's a right pain, I can't really drive her now, she's registered to the new plates but Dad's having trouble getting them on due to the screw holes being different - he doesn't want to damage my new plates. And whenever I do drive her, I take the risk she might not start. I just have to turn the engine on, then sit for a minute or two on the accelerator. Chuck it in drive and then don't stop. It's ok once she's warm but I just don't trust it anymore. Lucky I don't need to drive anywhere I guess, but it's just means my independence is now out the window.

Bring on 2017 and here's hoping for a better year.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Hello Summer!

The first day of summer and the sun has definitely shown her face, it has been scorching like you wouldn't believe! A few weeks back, possibly around the time of the Kaikoura earthquakes, I was going to write and ask where the idea of summer was? Because we were, quite honestly, getting that much rain it was incredible. I'm talking - causing the water tank to overflow, sort of rain. It was mental. In general terms, every weekend (aside from this one just gone) we have gotten a nice decent downpour and then the rest of the week is quite fine. It suits me, if I'm honest. It's nice to get some rain every now and again, although now the heat has set in the ground is all dry and cracked, so summer has definitely arrived.

Because of the weather all of the cropping has been put behind by a vast amount - Dad is still doing pre emergent spraying (you have a set window of 4-7 days where you can spray the crops for any weed regrowth before the crops germinate) as well as post emergent spraying (same principle, just once the crops have germinated). I believe he will probably be doing more post emergent spraying in the next few weeks too. However, due to another contractor becoming rather sick and ending up in hospital, Dad's had to jump in and take over a massive sprayout job of 50ha which they're doing today. It's crazy, usually by this time of year he would be only really spraying gorse. Weather can cause so many dramas if it really tries hard enough!

Along with that spraying, gorse and buttercup spraying and all the usual milkings, we're also run off of our feet with fencing. We've got three to four months of work ahead of us and people seem to like "deciding" that they want their fencing done, preferably before Christmas. We just laugh at them. That's all we can do. Funny how when all the nice weather comes out, and people start looking at their properties properly, they get a funny idea of what they think could be changed and they seem to expect all of us fencers (because there are a heck of a lot of us around here) to be sitting around waiting for them to call. Because surely we can't be that busy, you mightn't believe me if I said that it is preferable for clients to book fencing at least 6 months to a year in advance - it just makes life so much more easier!

But apart from actual work, life is busy. I'm due to have two days off on Monday and Tuesday - more than two weeks since my last day of no milkings, however I think there is a sick family member at one of the farms I work on, so I may be needed to cover for them there. It'll mean I'll lose half a day off each day, but I'm not too worried - it's just what I do.
Meanwhile the lead up to Christmas is chaotic, as you would expect! Whenever Mum and I have days at home we're trying to sort certain areas of the house. I've been cleaning a fair few windows and almost all the curtains to go with them and generally we're trying to spring clean the house and section - as well as try and run our garden and not go insane! We're overburdened with strawberries at the moment like you wouldn't believe!

I get to go and spend some more money on Ali on Monday when she goes up for a service and I get to start my Christmas shopping that day too...I'm so excited. Christmas (and my 21st birthday) are less than four weeks away. Where has the year gone?!

On another note, going to the movies with TayTay tomorrow night, seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Lets hope it's a good movie!