Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Changing Tyres

This past year has been a heck of a mental ride. If I could describe it, I'd say it's a bit like driving a car. You're going steadily along at 100km/h, the road is generally quite straight with the occasional bend, however it's manageable. Suddenly, up ahead the tarseal is ripped up; holes and small craters placed all over the show, just like you'd expect it to look after some extreme storm had rampaged through.
Of course I'm going too fast and the car is manual. In my panic to change down I instead crunch the gears into reverse, creating a sickening roar of confusion from the engine just as the front wheels crash into the first of the holes.
Finally, I find fourth gear but the tyre is severely damaged. I try to bring the vehicle to an easy halt - but it stalls viciously.

I have not been taught how to change a tyre.

Changing a tyre seems easy in reality. You jack the car up, loosen the nuts and replace it with the spare. Some cars only have a spacesaver, so once you're back up and running you have to stick to a particular speed limit and you really should drive straight to the nearest tyre centre to get the repairs sorted in the first instance.
While other vehicles have a perfectly road legal spare and the need to fix the other one isn't as important. Just fix it once you have the time and the money available, and hope that you don't run into any more trouble in the meantime.

However, changing a tyre is not simple. You might have passengers or passers by who try to help you, giving you directions on how to use the jack and where it should be placed to safely raise the vehicle. Or you might be on your own, completely out of cell phone service, at night in the pouring rain. The tyre needs changing because you need to continue on your journey. However there is nobody around to hold a torch or umbrella to keep some of the rain at bay, so instead you get pummeled as it comes down like sheets of ice while you fumble around in the dark.

Even if there are people around you, they can only give you advice. Even if they've had experience in changing tyres in the past, it doesn't mean they can push you aside and do it for you. You need to do it on your own, with or without their verbal assistance. 

It took me more than six months to figure out how to change that tyre. Although my next issue wasn't with getting the tyre fixed, rather it was with starting the engine of the car again. I'm not very good at driving manuals and I kept stalling it until eventually the engine flooded. Which left me sitting here, waiting a while for the engine to simply cool off until I could try turning the ignition again.

In the last couple months I got that car started and I've been cruising along slowly in first gear up until now. Although I think I can probably step it up a notch now. I spent some time and got the damaged tyre fixed as soon as I could. I sure wasn't risking it happening again and then finding myself stranded somewhere, for even longer than before. I'm also looking into swapping my manual car for an automatic, then at least if I do come across a similar, hideous section of tar seal further down the track I'll have more control...

Monday, 11 September 2017


Hello! Welcome to spring 2017!

Thinking back on those long, almost never ending months of winter, we didn't actually do too badly - if I'm honest.
Sure, there was plenty of rainy days to be had, it got cold enough to wear my woolen hats Nana so kindly knitted for me. However I don't recall any negative temperature days at all, we got down to the very low 0 or 1 degree, with perhaps five "official" frosts in total? But yeah, it wasn't too bad a winter when you think about it. We got rain but hey, there's always rain in winter. And everyone is always talking and suggesting it is possibly, "the wettest winter in quite a few years" but you never quite know - unless you keep a strict record of rainfall!
A fair few farmers try and pull that one, stating they've had so many mm of rain compared to last winter or the winter before, and "it definitely wasn't this wet last year, we're doing it pretty hard". But honestly? I can't even remember much of the weather from the autumn just been, let alone the last few winters. They're cold and wet, typically. That's all there is to it. How about we just not get too over dramatic, OK?

However, we've been thrown into spring in quite a brutal fashion. Currently, the rain only stops for a few brief periods in a day. We've had lightening, thunder and hail, winds that have been more icy than the coldest frost. You think you're in for a good day because the sky has cleared and the sun has come out, but not thirty minutes later everything has gone dark and you get under cover just in time for it to bucket down. It's not particularly fun, and the rest of this week is forecast to carry on like so, so the family and work morale is heading downhill quite substantially. I guess you just look forward to summer, right? Back into a drought when everyone complains about the lack of rain.

As per normal, life is ticking along. Where we feed calves, there is around 10 left to calve so we're on the home stretch now. It hasn't been very easy this year as Mum injured her back in the first week we started there. Upon initial doctor visits they thought it was a pinched nerve in her lower back/pelvis area - something like Sciatica perhaps. It's frustrating for us but even more frustrating for her, as it is a daily issue that she's having to deal with, she's determined to keep working and not being able to drives her crazy. But it drives us more crazy when she helps with something we've told her not to do, and then she hurts her back again.
She goes to physio sometimes, has tried acupuncture there and now they're saying she needs an x-ray on her hips/pelvis in case it is more of a bone injury rather than nerve damage. So I think that's happening this week.

So because I milk most days, and because I finish around 8:30 most mornings, Dad and Nick have taken over with the calves. If they're fencing during the day, they'll just get in there early so it doesn't affect their day too much. I'd love to do it more often, but they can't wait around for me to finish milking. It's frustrating because I really want to be there, and the days that I am there I notice that the calves aren't quite the same. Nothing against Dad and Nick of course, but they're just not getting as much human interaction that Mum and I would give them. You'd expect each mob to have two or three that are ultra friendly, but there aren't any. It's no major issue, but it is a little bit disappointing for me.

The fencing is going well but it's been quite wet so not as much has been done as we would like. Although Dad has taken up a new specialty line of work - house piles. A fair few builders and engineers have realised it is much cheaper to get us in there to bang the house piles in with our post rammer, than doing it any other way - however they'd normally do it, I don't know? But it's cheaper and faster so we're being recommended around the local building community. It's crazy, as most of the piles are 4.2 metres long, and they get pushed in almost all the way down, and often the floor is still concreted anyway. Confusing for me, as I've not a clue when it comes to house foundations, but it does seem rather extreme. The engineers measure the heights of the piles to the millimetre, so it takes a few days to get say, 30 piles in.
Once that side of it is all sorted, the house goes up in next to no time. All of these new buildings with all of the framing pre-built off site means everything just gets joined together and it's done. It's quite incredibly fast really, but of course it needs to be.

My sister will have her baby soon, she's actually due in early October however the baby is breeched and it isn't safe to turn her. So she's having a scan on Wednesday and she will hopefully know after that what day they'll book her in for a cesarean, it'll be pretty soon we think. She finishes up at work tomorrow, so it's not long to go! Can't wait to meet my niece!
A breech and a c-section is a little bit dramatic for a first born, but hey you get that I guess. Fingers crossed it all goes well.

A few weeks ago I decided to buy Hacksaw Ridge, a movie everyone has been telling me to see. So I ordered it online through The Warehouse. They took a little while to source the film, so they sent me an email telling me this. Eventually they found one, sent me an email with the order number and the tracking number and said that it was being sent out.
Around two hours later I got another email, again stating that they'd found what I was after and they were sending it out. This new email had the same order number, but a different tracking number. This time the order quantity was 2. So, in my confusion I replied to the email, telling them what had happened and that I'd only ordered the one DVD - was I going to get perhaps two or maybe three of the same movie sent out to me? Their reply - there was a glitch in the system and not to worry, I'd only get the one movie delivered.

Alas, a few days later I got the movie in the mail. The next day, the very same movie arrived the mail. However the amusing thing is that the second one that was sent out had a sticker on it saying "buy two, get the third free". So do I ring up and ask where the third one is?! It's a rather good system, you pay for one and you get two. I definitely recommend buying online!

If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend that too! I've seen it twice now, the first in short blips (as the movie is quite long, over two hours) and the second time I watched it in one stretch. If you watch it once, I'd say to watch it again as you can miss quite a few things the first time round. It's funny, sad and absolutely amazing at the same time.
I absolutely despise boring war or action movies, but this being based on a true story and being screened so well is particularly mesmerising. Often, many similar fiction movies will see the main characters walking through walls of fire and coming out completely unscathed. But this film shows no mercy on any major or minor character, everybody gets brutally injured, most get killed. It's awful and heartbreaking when you think that they're showing exactly what that part of the war was like. I've quite simply, never seen anything like it. So definitely watch it, if you can. Watch it twice.

The sun has finally come back out for a little while, little doggies have been evicted back outside to play while it's not raining. You wouldn't think dogs got too dirty until you own a small breed, a small breed that comes inside. Especially a small breed that is quite white like a foxy, but also a small breed that has a long-ish coat, that enjoys getting all muddy, who has very short legs, like a shih-tzu! It gets a bit tiring having to rub their legs and belly's down every time they come inside. And giving them a bath during the day so they have plenty of time to dry, but they've still gotta go back outside after that so winter is an endless battle with small dogs. We really can't wait until summer!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Fifth and Final Season

As of yesterday Mum and I are back into the calf rearing. On Tuesday night after work on my way to Taylor's I stopped in at the calf shed to see how many pens of calves they had, knowing the next morning we'd be feeding them.
Five. Five pens, fifty calves, and Taylor and his boss are already over it! Once I got up to his house I was just like, are you serious? You guys can't cope with feeding five pens of calves?! I was joking of course, but it was still amusing!
We're starting a tad earlier than normal - usually we'd start once there was a group of 40 heifers in the outside barn, but they're bringing in about 10 calves a day now, so tomorrow or Saturday those older heifers will need to move on out to make some room. This year is going to be a lot easier on us, as they're calving only 350 - 100 less than normal. Also all of the calves are either keeper heifers or friesian bulls that go to the sale every Tuesday, there's already 20 bulls that will be ready for Tuesday but calves born tomorrow and Saturday will be going too. I daresay there will be at least 30 for the sales next week!
Oh how I love Wednesday mornings! The problem is that we're feeding them four litres per calf straight off the mark, so most of our time is currently spent waiting for them to drink. Once we've got a group outside we'll be able to spread our time better, filling the mobile calf feeder and feeding the big group while we leave a couple of pens to drink on their own. In a couple days our system will be down pat again, thankfully with our starting a few days early we're able to wean ourselves back into the job! Thinking ahead for the next 10 or 12 weeks of calf feeding, I told Tay that at least I'll get to see him every day again lol.

This is the fifth year Mum and I have reared the calves on this farm, it's also likely to be the final season we do it, if anything it's the last winter/spring we rear calves as the guy is changing to Autumn calving next year.

Last weekend I took my last "real" weekend off, where Mum and I ran away from home on Friday morning in the direction of my sister's place in Te Aroha. Saturday was her baby shower, so we took our time cruising down there. It was my first time driving all that way, apart from the rain it was a good trip. However I've decided I won't be staying there in winter again, as it was cold. Bitterly cold that first night especially, I might've been born in the Waikato but I'm not a Waikato-ian at heart!
The party went well, my blood sugar level must've skyrocketed over the weekend, with all of the sweet food that was on hand and the fact that everyone was munching on the leftovers Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was actually good to get home to have some decent meals again.

The baby will be pretty in pink for the first few months of her life outside the womb as almost everybody gave clothing as gifts - but they're all in that same sort of age bracket. So baby might only get to wear each item a few times before she's outgrown them, which is unfortunate but they're all good quality clothing items so any future daughters will be able to wear them too or she could give them to an opshop or similar if necessary.

Work is going OK at the moment, there's only another week or two until the bulls come out of the herd at the big farm I'm on. To think they went in mid June and my boss said they'd be pulled out around the 10th of August, I thought at the time that it was so far away! But time is ticking along and I think the bulls are so used to their routine now that they aren't too much of a problem with them being in the herd anymore. That, and I'd say most of the cows are in calf now so the bulls aren't too overly excited these days. I've only got five and a half months of milking to go until I'm finished - time is flying by now.
The weather isn't our friend at the moment, somedays I'd much rather it was bitterly cold with frosts. Instead it's just always very wet and windy, our lawn is a mess and whenever I'm outside hauling myself through the mud that used to be our lawn, I can hear all the water rushing through from the paddock above us. We really do need some better form of drainage to stop the water coming through from the neighbours, but there's not much to be done.

Nick and Dad are home a heck of a lot lately too, it's simply too wet for them to work which is terrible for the finances. Thankfully they've had a couple of residential fencing jobs that don't require the tractor that they could carry on with, and the last two days has been calm enough for them to spray on a farm, but it's still seriously wet and when it gets to this stage the water simply doesn't go anywhere.
So as you can imagine we're super excited about the weather bomb that's coming in tonight - not!

I've got a new laptop now - hence these posts being updated more frequently. It's rather amusing how my old laptop gets into a little bit of trouble a couple months prior to the end of the warranty - four rather important keys suddenly stopped working. They were all in the same area of the keyboard, so I would say that there was suddenly a fault through the system somehow (no, I didn't spill anything on it).
The repairers took it back and agreed there was an issue that they weren't prepared to bother fixing, so I either got a credit of around $1100, or I could take a direct swap of a new laptop with the same specs. Once the technology department special ended, their direct swap model was worth about $1400 so I agreed to that one. However our Harvey Norman didn't have that model in stock, so found me a similar, but even better laptop instead. It's an HP with two harddrives, really good graphics card and a disk drive (which is quite important to me as the last laptop didn't have one). It's pretty massive with the 17 inch screen, but hey it's a free laptop with Windows 10 which I'll have to get used to, and all the newly designed programs - like the ability to connect the laptop with my phone for ease of access when I don't have the laptop with me or vice versa. Pretty interesting, that.
So just like when I got my last laptop, we got a Product Care warranty with it for $200, so that gives three years of warranty and we've discovered that laptops only tend to last three years. So I wonder what will happen if this one randomly fails towards the end of the warranty - will I get the same deal again and get another new one?! Somehow I'd say it's unlikely, but it's a cool thought.

I thought I'd quickly mention a little bit of Tay's trip on here. The guys eventually left to go hunting on the Tuesday? Getting to the DOC hut that afternoon sometime. Taylor, his brother Jordan, and their friends Nate and Luke, went with Luke's two other friends Max and Kamble. From what I remember they split into two groups and went in opposite directions on Wednesday. Taylor and Nate went with Luke but they only made it half way and had to give up and go back Wednesday afternoon because the fog was too thick and they couldn't see much. On Thursday Tay and Nate swapped and went with Max leading them another way. They got to around 2200 feet, but it was all rock which eventually got seriously dangerous with the ice, Nate pulled out first and not long after that Taylor said he wasn't prepared to go any higher so they headed back.
Meanwhile Luke, Jordan and Kamble had gone somewhere else, getting to only 1700 feet where they came across big groups of Tahr - they shot four I think.
I got a text Thursday night to say they were heading out of the mountain - so much for their seven days up there! The weather up there and the conditions weren't the best, with a lot of snow and ice. I'm glad they decided to quit and leave early rather than stay up there and run into trouble.

A day or so later Tay, Luke, Max and Kamble decided to head to Queenstown for a few days where they went snowboarding and tiki-touring around a bit. I think it got to the stage where Taylor was over his holiday and just wanted to come home again, but had to wait it out a few days until their set day to fly home. Nate was the opposite though as he sorta found himself a girlfriend down there and probably wasn't wanting to come back! It was really good when they finally came back, I was like "you are never doing that again! No more holidays without me" which he's agreed with quite happily haha
Apparently we're going to Queenstown next winter so I can see the snow and so he can ski - snowboarding is deemed quite difficult. Apparently I have to learn how to ski too, but that might take a little bit of coercing for me to try!

Some pictures of Mt. Cook I stole from Tay, and this one I found on his facebook page. Twisty nose, sometimes you have calves born like this but you don't often notice until they're a lot older. I guess you can say she won't always want to follow her nose, as she'll just go in circles! But look at that tongue!!!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

If I Were A Politician

With our General Election coming up again, it's making me think about what is actually becoming of our country. This will be my second voting election (my gosh that makes me feel old!) and this time instead of just choosing National as the lesser evil - because at the time I thought John Key seemed pretty human compared to the rest - I'm going to quite seriously consider my options.

Knowing full well any votes towards those smaller Parties like the Greens, United Future or Act are quite simply wasted votes, it really only leaves National, Labour or NZ First. The latter of which I seem to think will get quite a following this year.
Although I'm not the biggest fan of old Winston Peters, he does seem to have a few good points to consider, and like every other Party - a few not so great points. So how do you weigh the options?

Making an end to the anti-smacking law? Tick. Making an end to the Treaty of Waitangi? Hmm, I'd really need to do a heck of a lot of research to think about where my opinion is on that one. Although I'm not full Maori, I think the Treaty is a good thing for NZ, it's a special piece of history that shouldn't just be given the flick because one guy thinks it's a good idea...

I haven't any clue yet as to what National and Labour are offering, but even so it's just so confusing! How does one justify choosing one Party over the other? They've all got good ideas and bad ideas and you must take the good with the bad - there's no other option...or is there?

Cue: If I were a politician.

Now yet again I claim no responsibility for anyone getting exasperated at my ridiculous ideas and I am fully aware that my knowledge on politics or anything to do with the Government is limited. But why don't we just push that aside and just consider a few things? Just consider them, let it sink in for a while and then you can go back to your daily business. I don't want to hear any comments like - "oh that'll never work because...". Let's just pretend this is a free world and we're all entitled to our silly ideas and opinions just for a couple minutes a day.

If I were a politician I'd say to everyone - why the heck are we wasting our time? The Government is wasting a lot of time and taxpayers money running around putting billboards up all over the countryside with pictures of an MP claiming "I WILL DO...For you". (Not to mention the waste of materials making these billboards - they're likely to just be thrown in the dump at the end of the election..)
Every Party is fighting to come up with what they think is the best idea for the country and all we as citizens can do is vote for one Party, taking all of the good ideas (not that there are many) with all of the bad ideas. Yes, okay everybody thinks differently and a good idea to me may be a bad idea to somebody else, but my point is still the same.

What I want to know is why are we still voting for a specific Party? (And MP's but I'm ignoring them for the time being). Why can't we vote for ideas? Imagine a world we could choose five options to vote for? Where I could vote for the anti-smacking law to be canned by NZ First, but I could still choose a couple of different ideas from someone else and I'll be happy knowing I voted for what I believe is right, rather than voting for the lesser evil; even if the majority of votes aren't what I voted for...It sounds confusing, I know.

I'm fully aware that when you vote for a Party you're typically voting for who's going to be the next PM, and then they'll choose who will join them in Parliament which then runs the country. But my argument is, for example if I suggested NZ First won the election and good old Winnie is our new Prime Minister - nothing is going to change. Nope. You'd think ok sweet, Winnie is in so everything will start to change tomorrow. But truth be told, it seems in Parliament they must talk and type ridiculously slow because it takes a couple of years for anything to come into play. Winston Peters may be the top dog, but they'll forecast that the smacking law will be amended and reconsidered sometime in 2019. What is the point? A year later he'll probably be kicked out again! It just seems like a complete and utter waste of time, and this is what we pay them for.

If I were a politician I'd say, why don't we come up with some realistic ideas for a change? Instead of the Greens coming up with some ridiculous idea to fix the country's carbon footprint (by adding yet more taxes to things such as fuel), why aren't they being like an overseas European country (I forget who it was), and say that the import and sale of brand new petrol cars will no longer be allowed. If we want a new car, is must be electric - because that's not a bad idea!

And while they're at it, how about suggesting that cars made in certain years will soon no longer be registered and will become unwarrantable - therefore nonviable to NZ? A harsh idea yes, and I understand the importance of those old fashioned vintage cars because they're cared for and are looked after. But cars made in the 80's that are still used for day to day driving, that are being held together by duct tape and cost the earth to run, what is the point of them? Why can't the Government offer the owner a deal for them to be taken and recycled properly, rather than those cars breaking down and becoming irreparable. Thus being dumped to rust for the next 10 or 20 years in a messy car junk yard. Hey, it's a thought.

If I were a politician I'd ban plastic bags from the get-go. Rather than a couple of supermarket chains saying they'll be plastic bag free "by 2020". While others continue to give them away. Supermarkets are the largest provider of plastic bags to the community, why are we continuing to either produce the plastic bags, or why are we buying them in from other countries? Who does make them anyway?

Why are the supermarkets simply no longer replacing the bags? They supply trolley's, why can't the consumers refill the trolley just like it was before the items were scanned, then just take the trolley to their car? That's how it is done at Pak'n'Save, it has been that way for years and we've survived - it's doable so why isn't it being done?

I've recently been getting more into recycling our items at home, and I've discovered that plastic bags that you can buy the likes of icing sugar in, are actually recyclable. Why are these bags recyclable but those bags you put your groceries in, aren't? What is the difference? And if there is such a difference, why aren't we fixing it this way instead? Make those bags reusable! We're in the 21st century, we're high up there in technology, things such as making items more recyclable shouldn't be that hard anymore. The problem is established, so sort it out. And don't say, "oh yeah, well in two or three years time, we'll get back to you".

If I were a politician I'd want to do a lot of things, that to me, seem more important than random ideas Parties are coming up with nowadays. Take cigarettes - changing the labels on the boxes to make users think about what they're doing. Yep, sure what good has that done? When you're an addict, no label on a box will change your way of thinking.

A sugar tax is a good idea, but an even better idea is providing more healthy food at a cheaper price and making it more readily available. Stop the production of goods such as Zero Sugar Coke that is filled with hideous chemicals such as Aspertame, and stop allowing those Coca-Cola ads to go on tv, making it look like Coke is the best thing since sliced bread - when it obviously isn't. But it's cheaper than water and it's more appealing - why wouldn't we buy it?

Stop the sale of our beautiful water to the rest of the world! Or if you can't do that, why aren't we getting more money for it? And the water bottles that are littering the country, becoming such a big issue. Why can't we take our water bottles back to a collection facility and get credited for it? Wouldn't that encourage better recycling, a cleaner, greener NZ and more consumption of water rather than sugary drinks?

Finally why can people continue to sit on the dole? Why can they continue to be paid to sit around, while those of us who work hard every day supply them the cash almost personally? Shouldn't there be a limit on how long you can stay on the dole for? Especially the younger generation who can easily get a job doing anything, so long as it makes them some money to live.
More importantly, why is the Government transferring money straight into the recipients bank account, to be spent on anything? Why don't they pay your bills for you, i.e., your power bill or your rent, and give you vouchers to spend in certain places, such as orchards so that buying fruit and vegetables provides you with proper healthy food, rather than buying lots of cheap junk food, cigarettes, alcohol and even drugs. Surely I'm not the only one to realise that this could be the better way for the system to work? Why can't it be trialed?

If I were a politician...I'd probably get fired.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Big Southern Escape

Hello! Long time, no posts - sorry!

A fair few things are happening here lately, so hold on tight - there's lots to mention!

Firstly, life is going good, a tad on the tiring side but it's ticking along as it should be. Nick is no longer leaving us, he's sticking around due to the accommodation on the farm he was moving to was pretty slack and not safe or healthy in the slightest. So that's great! It has eliminated so much stress now that he is staying. Dad will no longer have to do the bulk of the fencing work on his own with Nick still here. Another awesome thing is that we've got a person doing ground work fencing for us too. His name is Bob, and he'll work for us full time. The great thing is that he's done a couple weeks of work with us in May and Mum and Dad were really impressed with him. So he's coming on full time now, starting in July - awesome!

Speaking of my parents', they're away at present. They've been in Queenstown for a Rural Contractor's conference. It's a five day conference that started on Monday, however as they've never really been to the South Island before they decided to make a road trip out of it and they've taken a two week holiday. They left Tuesday 13th, driving the 10 or 11 hours straight from here to Wellington in time to catch the ferry at around midnight. They then got to Picton at around 6am and headed to Hokitika where they stayed for a day. They got to see the Glow Worms there and they did the Treetop Walk too (much to my surprise as Mum hates heights!)
From there they worried the crap out of me and went to Haast. A place in the country that has absolutely no cell phone reception so I of course had absolutely no clue where they were - they may as well have dropped off the face of the earth. It's amazing how much we've come to rely on technology!
Thankfully they left early the next morning and finally came into coverage so they could let me know that they were still alive, lol. From Haast they made their way to Queenstown on Friday morning, in time to get to the airport to pick up my Aunty and Uncle Karen and Wayne (Dad's sister and BIL), as they were staying with them for the weekend.
I wouldn't even know what they did all weekend apart from seeing the sights such as Coronet Peak, going to the casino and buying me some real lollies from a lolly shop in Arrowtown (yay!).
Their conference started on Monday, an event where lots of rural contractors get together for all sorts of different things, with going out to dinner every night included in it. A while back Mum and Dad managed to get free tickets to the conference ($800 worth) so they were pretty stoked.
One night there was some form of charity auction, where they won a kids ride-on toy tractor - unfortunately it's a Claas so not the best make! Oh well, a good toy for the grandkids Mum said. On Thursday night there must've been some awards dinner, where Dad won a silver plate for his imput into the conference. Dad likes asking heaps of questions at those sorts of things, so it seems to have put him in good steed to win something!

Friday morning they started their way back up the country, where they made it to Hanmer Springs last night. From there, up to the top of the South Island in time to catch their ferry across the Cook Straight on Sunday morning. After that they're driving to Palmerston North to stay the night and Karen and Wayne's place, then they'll be arriving home sometime Monday afternoon. It'll be great to have them home!

It's so odd being here without them for so long, their dogs, especially Jackson, were rather pitiful for the first five or six days. They're still not happy to be left home with me, even though I'm trying to give them as much love and attention as I can - it's kinda difficult when I'm working every day, and I'm tired so get easily frustrated with their antics.
I bought them three new toys for when Mum and Dad were away, sanctioned to be inside only toys, however they were all dragged outside within a day. They've destroyed the squeaky toy, that was some form of bear or something. They ripped off it's nose and started pulling out the stuffing. Last night I decided to perform surgery on the poor toy, and removed the rope arms and legs as new chew toys for the younger two puppies - but those ropes are currently being mutilated and won't last the end of the day I'd imagine.
I also got a little vibrating mouse with the pull cord that eventually stopped pulling back in, and a plastic ball with bells in it that everyone but Rose is scared of. Honestly.

My time here mostly on my own has been spent working (milking) and keeping the house running smoothly as possible. Keeping myself fed, (without takeaways I might add) and sometimes Nick and Taylor too. I've started back using the weight machine that we keep in our spare room, as calving will start in about four weeks and I'd like to be a little bit stronger than I am now - to somewhat prepare myself for all the bucket lifting again.

Speaking of Taylor, he kept me company most nights this last week, hanging around here as I don't much like staying here on my own, and there have been a couple nights that Nick has been away too, so it's good to have somebody else around. But he's gone now, he's on a two week holiday and he is spending the entire time in the south island too...He left on Thursday morning and will be back on the 5th July. Two weeks is the longest I've ever been away from him (no, I'm not clingy!) but we usually live in each others' pockets, whether it's working together on his farm or seeing the other every couple days, so it's a little bit odd.
He stopped in Thursday morning on his way to pick up his friend Nate, you sorta don't always realise how important someone is until they're going away for a little while and you have to say cya...can't wait til he's back haha

At the moment he is in Ashburton with Nate his mate, staying with his brother Jordan and gf Leah. They've got Taylor's nephew Dylan who's recently turned one, from the video's Tay is sending me he's absolutely besotted with him - it's pretty sweet. But they're down there to go hunting Tahr, deer and wallabies on Mt. Cook. Tay and Nate's other friend Luke (who used to live up here but moved home to Nelson a month ago) and a couple of his mates are joining them, I think they're going up on Monday once this supposed weather bomb has cleared away. They'll be up there about a week, and staying in one of the DOC huts up there. That's going to the be the hard part, there is no cell phone service up there so having no contact for a week, while I know they're out with guns is going to be difficult. Tay's been talking about this trip for months, he couldn't wipe the smile off his face when he left so hopefully they all have a good time. They're a sensible bunch of hunters at least.
The part I'm most looking forward to is Taylor coming back and fulfilling his promise of the beard removal! He's been growing it for "extra warmth" while on Mt. Cook...so when he comes back he won't need it....lol

Oh, Sam is back! She's been back from America for about a month or so now and Chantelle and I caught up with her for dinner a couple weeks ago, it was so good to see her again after nine or 10 months. Lucky for her but unfortunately for us, she's leaving again for a second year and will leave in September, so we won't have much time to see her but hopefully we get some in before she leaves again. It's a busy time of year...

Work is going ok, same old, nothing to write home about. Truth is, I'm sick of it. Really fully over milking cows and I really can't wait until the end of the year when my farms dry off and don't need me anymore, I won't be milking again after that. I'm not too sure on the logistics of it, I'm on a really good wage at the moment and if I want to be able to pay my bills - car, board, insurance, general life costs then I need a good paying job. But I'm over farming, and I'm over the smell. You know, I get home and put my dirty, cow poo covered overalls in the wash and Mum will cough and splutter at the smell - she hates it now. I'll get a hug from Tay and he'll cringe because my hair is infused with the delicious perfume of cow poo - even though I washed it the day before. It's made even worse because my two farms are high input feeding, so palm kernal and all of those feeds make everything smell a lot worse than just a grass diet. So yeah. That, and the early mornings are getting a bit boring too. I'm not sure about what I'll do yet, still trying to figure that one out.
Mum said I could just fence full time with Dad but I don't like the idea of that as a full time job, it's not what I want to do. I don't mind doing it a couple days a week maybe, not every day. So even if I found myself a job working in a cafe in one of the close towns (as later down the track I want to have my own cafe sorta business, so previous knowledge of working in a cafe might be helpful), depending on how many days a week I get I could fill in fencing on the other days and maybe if I'm desperate for work I'll still milk with Cam and Hamish every weekend, because milking there isn't too bad, compared to the other farm that I'm on...but yeah, it's a few months away and I've got a little bit of time to come up with a plan that doesn't involve cows. Sorry moo's, I love you really. Just not as much anymore.

OH That's what I keep forgetting to mention! How, I don't know?! My sister and brother in law Chris are expecting a baby girl in early October, something that I've known about since about February and just never got around to mentioning it on here. Mum and I get to go to her place on my next weekend off in July to do her baby shower, so that should be interesting :) I'm going to be an aunty to a very spoiled niece. She will be the first grandchild of mum and dad's, and first Great grandchild of my Nana as well as the obvious first child for my sister and BIL. So she's a first for everything and is going to be a spoiled little brat of a girl I'm sure but that's ok because I'll be able to spoil her and then return her to her parents!! haha Mum and Alesha look very similar (apparently, however I'm not too good and seeing it) so I said to Mum it'll be cool if the baby took similar traits to them too...

Also one of my best friends' Jess is engaged, so that'll be a wedding to look forward to, and another friend is expecting a baby in early January! So many things are happening this year, and so many things have turned out differently from what I would've expected. This time a few years back I was only just visiting Massey university, thinking that that was the direction my life was headed. But here I am, still living at home with my amazing family, cat, puppy and of course Taylor who I've been with almost 10 months now - I'm really glad to have him :)

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Some Form of Permanently Exhausted Pigeon!

I saw a meme on Facebook the other day, it was funny - as most are. Anyhow this one said, "I'm not an early bird or a night owl - I'm some form of permanently exhausted pigeon!" I can seriously relate this week!

I'll make 50 hours this week - I've milked every day and helped with fencing for five. Why? Because apparently people don't like working for us - especially when the week prior to them randomly not coming back, we give them a pay rise. Maybe he got sick of us giving him eggs and veges from our garden that were surplus to our requirements. Who knows? It's even more degrading when they throw your tools into a swamp area of the paddock before leaving early on the afternoon when they're needed to work on their own for a while. It's just, I dunno. You really do have to wonder some days. All I know is that I'm sick of my family being walked all over and treated like door mats when we do absolutely nothing wrong, it's ridiculous.

Nonetheless, I've been working all week and I'm so tired - hence the title. I start my day to my alarm going off at 4:20am, work starts at 5am. I open the door to the chilly blast of cold, winter air; most mornings as of late it has averaged 5 degrees. It's not warm - thank goodness for heated seats in my car! And when I get to milking I almost freeze to death, okay so that is a figure of speech but it's close to legitimate. Just over four hours later I get home, scoff something down for breakfast and then Mum and I leave to go fencing, we're only there for a few hours before needing to get home again in time for my afternoon milking, but we still get some things done. For me, dragging out wires down quite a steep hill, and stapling on my way back up - it takes a little while.

Milking starts again at 2:30 so I'm driving out the gate at 2:10pm. It's almost 6pm when I get home. It's been a long week, even longer when you add in the cold mornings and some cows that just aren't all that interested in being milked. Seriously, if they were my cows, two of them would have a one way ticket off the farm by now. They're driving me insane with their behaviour, where consoling them or yelling at them does nothing. Honestly, if we could just get them fully milked out then they might not be so uncomfortable for the next milking. But we can't keep the cups on, they're never fully milked out, you almost lose the plot at them and the cycle continues; twice a day. I get tomorrow off, I can't wait.

Our netball games have now started for the season, we're playing right up until September sometime. The first game was Friday just gone, it was an eye opener. Warmup started at 5:30pm, thankfully I finished milking early that night and managed to arrive at the courts just on 5:30. I then hand to hunt down my team to get my uniform, as I hadn't made it to training last week to get said uniform, so even though I arrived there on time, I still missed the bulk of the warm up session. Not great.

Mum said I managed to somehow get the right team, with the dark green uniform colours. We've got a dress to play in, a t-shirt to wear overtop for warmups and then a jacket to wear too. There are also hoodies, but they haven't arrived yet. So guess who didn't take something warm to wear, because she thought she would get her hoodie? Hmm...

 The games are 20 minutes long, with two halves. My team had enough players with me as a sub, so I didn't play the first half. I was put in as WD in the second half, and I felt like I had been thrown to the wolves with no idea how to play! I was just like, hold on, what am I meant to do? Where am I meant to be?! Panic attack alert, lol. I got there though, figured it out rather fast, found my WA from the other team and did my best to stick to her for most of it, trying to stop her catching or passing on the ball. I got a whistle blow for one obstruction - I got too close. Which, as Mum said, is good because it means I'm doing my job.
The ten minutes pass rather quickly on court, we won the game 22:11. It's odd playing on the outside courts - it's smaller than where we've been training so it doesn't take much to get the ball from one end to the other. It's also concrete, so suddenly I was feeling my landings harder than normal, my ankles and knees are going to have to toughen up. The cold didn't help either - concrete is hard but cold concrete is worse.

But suddenly the game is over and we're finished. Shaking hands with the other team, saying "good game" and off we go. We're told not to leave, I'm not sure why. As it turns out, you don't just play one game of netball, you play two or three. I am seriously lacking in my netball information - why has nobody told me this yet?
There are three, maybe even four "rounds". We played in round 1. Then later on in round 3, once all of the score cards had been tallied and the teams were allocated the right sort of team to play against. There are also rankings, I'm not too sure on the specifics, other than knowing we are ranked a "B" team which is quite low. A "Prem" team is higher up, so we won't be playing against them for quite a while from what I've gathered.
In round 3, because our first game score was so high it meant we were playing against a team with a slightly higher ranking than us. I'm not surprised, they were good. I stood out again for the first half, then they thought it was best I didn't play at all - simply because that team were very good and we needed to get a good score in the game. Basically, my being in there probably wouldn't have been a very good idea, and watching from the sidelines I knew I wouldn't stand a chance in - so I wasn't too worried. I was just freezing, because when you don't play you get pretty cold in a light dress! It is a little awkward though, being the only sub.

The game was going well, there was lots of fighting for the ball at one end of the court, with almost all of the players at that end. The ball was getting thrown back and forth, when something happened. Ebony who I think was playing a goal shoot or goal defense (I can't really remember) jumped up and then fell, landing harshly on the concrete. It happened rather quickly, and she's curled up on the ground crying in pain and everyone is trying to help somehow. I thought it was her shoulder that she'd injured because that's what she had seemed to land on. As it turns out, it was her ankle. She jumped, fell, twisted badly on her ankle, carried on falling hitting her shoulder then her head on the ground.
A few of the volunteer firefighters were hanging around the courts, so they came over and carried her off. I had to jump back into WD and we quickly finished the game - there was all of about 15 seconds left to play once we all got back into position. We lost 5:8.

Poor Ebony was a mess and an ambulance was called, it was awful standing and watching everyone trying to help her. She's vomiting from pain or shock or maybe even concussion - I'm not sure, no one was allowed near her ankle though apart from keeping the ice pack on it. I hung around and waited because we're a team and you'd think that when something like that happens, the team sticks together. But I was surprised when three of them just said "cya" and left...It was a while before the ambulance turned up, and then a second one came after that. She was given some sort of thing to breath through while they took her shoes off and played around with her foot - I think it had some sort of liquid pain relief in it, but I've never seen it used before. Then eventually she was wheeled off on the gurney and we got to go home. Someone else must've gotten injured in another game that we hadn't noticed, because the first ambo went back with a stretcher to another girl down there.
Ebony didn't have a broken ankle, but she instead tore a ligament - and she's out for the rest of the season, it's something you can't come back from very easily. I know, because Mum tore two at the same time (there are only three), her ankle has never been the same. Poor Ebony! First game of the season and she's injured, she's a good player too so it's a big loss for us. Thankfully we found another player last week so we've still got one sub at least. Fingers crossed for no more injuries, I'm actually quite terrified of injuring myself - especially after seeing Eb in so much pain. That, and I can't afford to get injured and not be able to work. Netball is a dangerous game!

I worked out that I was there for three and a half hours and I only played for 10 minutes. It's painful when you think about it, especially as I came straight from work which is a physical enough job as it is. I got home about 9:15pm for dinner, then was back at work, zombie eyed at five the next morning. Phew. It's going to be a long season.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Saving A Dog - and other things

You read right, Taylor and I did a good deed last weekend; we saved a dog. More correctly put; rescued a dog. On SH1, in very busy holiday traffic, just out of some traffic lights with many cars leaving the smallish but very busy city we often visit. It was terrifying, but we caught him which was the main thing.
So what happened? Ok, it went a little bit like this. We both had our new glasses to pick up and figured we zoom up north in my little gold, Holden Barina called Annie. We'd take the hour trip north, grab the glasses, grab some lunch and take the hour trip back home in time for him to move his cows on his farm, and in time for me to go do my afternoon milking. Funnily enough, it wasn't as hectic a drive as I thought it was. Typically I wouldn't do the trip if I had to get back to work, but as quite often happens and you have to wonder why...some things just hold you up. You know how sometimes everything happens for a reason, whether you're held up so you miss something. Or you're held up so that you time something else perfectly - I do believe it was the latter on Saturday.

We got to Specsavers and, unbeknown to us, there was some sort of car show happening in that area of town. So finding somewhere to park took us two or three laps around a few blocks, trying to time it right for someone to leave so that we could snap up that car park. Sounds easy, but it was seriously time consuming and exceedingly frustrating! Anyhow we eventually found one, so we rushed in to grab our new fashion statements so that we could get back on the road again to accomplish our next mission. Lunch.
Good old KFC, why not?! Annie cruised her way through the drive through, then took us down to the Town Basin where I'd normally go with Mum and Dad, where you can sit and look out at all the boats in the big river thing. Where you can eat KFC while many people are out doing their well-managed, daily exercise, running along the board walk next to the water. It can sometimes make you feel the need to cover up the windows and eat your very unhealthy meal without feeling guilty. But then other times you can just smile, knowing that you're living your life. If that means eating some very oily chicken in carbohydrate packed burgers while people around you show off their running skills...so be it. Who's to say we don't exercise at home anyway? Such judgemental fitness bunnies!

I then had to stop in at Pet Essentials to grab some "duck" strips for the dogs. The treats we cut into little pieces so we can convince our little bundles of joy to do our bidding. Basically to convince them to hop into their kennels when we need them to; the duck is an essential part of this. Tay decided to have a wander around the store and discovered two gorgeous kittens in the back corner, where his eyes lit up at the adorable sight. Taylor loves his kittens, and I'm sure if he could've he would've stuffed the kittens under his shirt and walked out with them! They were pretty cute. So that took a little while. Finally, we were on the road again.

When you leave town you have to go through the last set of traffic lights, we're turning left so don't need to stop - rather just go left and then merge with the other traffic heading straight through. However when I came up to the intersection, instead of a car going through the lights - it was a dog. A dog who was running very fast with some cars hot on his heels!
Thankfully he had the brains to stick to his lane, and thankfully the car following him had the good sense of mind to slow right down and pop on his hazard lights. As did the second car. I was the fourth car so as I was merging I just drove in the middle of the two lanes with my hazard lights on to stop anymore cars getting through, as they wouldn't have known what was going on up ahead.
The three cars ahead of me were good, they slowed right down and managed to group around the dog - at one stage he veered right into the oncoming traffic (I nearly flipped out when he did that!), but for some crazy reason he darted back in front of us all again so the three cars could force him onto the shoulder.

I thought, sweet one of them will stop and grab him. But they all carried on driving!!! Like, what?! I made a very quick decision and quickly pulled in beside him, stuck my arm out my window and grabbed hold of him. He was your average looking work dog, medium size - maybe a huntaway/blue heeler sort of dog. Taylor jumped out and took him from me so I could get out. The poor thing was terrified, I'm glad he stayed next to Annie when I pulled in beside him - I never thought of what I'd do if he got a fright and ran into the traffic again.
Another car with two women pulled in behind us, they said they'd only stopped because they were curious if he was our dog. They were locals so said they'd take him to the SPCA for us, he was registered so it wouldn't take too long to find the owner at least.
The adrenaline rush from the event was ridiculous, the entire thing probably lasted a minute or so before we got hold of him, but it felt like a lifetime before he was off the road!

The next day I joined a few facebook group pages for the town so I could ask on there if anyone knew if he had made it home. Seconds later one of the women we spoke to replied to me. Saying they had posted all over the net trying to find his owner and it didn't take long for them to see the posts, he was home again within a few hours. Just like I had wondered, he had jumped from the back of a UTE - he mustn't have been tied on or somehow untied himself from it. And from where he had jumped off, to where we caught him - he'd run a long way. He was one very lucky pooch with one heck of a story to tell.
You kinda hope he'll always remember the faces of the people who helped him that day. I reached out and he sniffed my hand and stayed by my side of the car. It's such a good feeling that 1. he knew I was trustworthy, 2. he didn't get a scare and bite me! (that thought did flash through my mind as I reached out...) and 3. that he got home.
Facebook is a brilliant means of getting so many furbabies home again, I see posts up every day of a lost pet that somebody finds, or a found pet that somebody recognises and gets hold of the owner. It makes your heart swell just a tad, knowing for one occasion I was part of it :)