Thursday, 29 October 2015

Trials of Being Owned by Cats

Keepin' busy. Lots has been happening but I've little to say. So, what's been happening? Hmmm. Well, first on the agenda - my Magnolia. A few of you may remember last Christmas Mum and Dad bought me a Magnolia tree - my childhood dream. Well, it's flowered for the first time under my care, and I'm stoked. It's gorgeous! I can't wait until it gets bigger, reaching it's 6 metre height and covers itself with that lovely colour. Mum's plan is to eventually buy more of them to put on that small new section of land when we eventually get it - it'll be great to see so many of the different colours we could get.

Our vege garden is now well underway. The glass house is filled with miniature pots with all the seedlings growing, the seed potatoes and beetroot seeds are in their bed, the strawberries are spread in among straw and marigolds are around the perimeter of each individual garden. The garden is separated out into three sections - four if you include the strawberry patch - to make it a bit more easier and distinct where everything should be. And I'm not too much of a fan of Marigolds, but heck the bees like them and that's the important thing, right? Mum's growing all sorts of other flowers as well, so the potted colour around the place should look pretty neat too :)
It's quite nice to see everything growing, flowering, fruiting. It definitely is that feeling of spring/summer when you start getting fruit on the trees. The Loquat is delicious, the grapes have taken off in growth and we have minuscule grapes growing on them for the first time, and more importantly the Peach tree is fruiting.
This Peach tree, it's a pretty special tree. See, when we first moved here there were two heritage peach trees in the backyard - they were absolutely delicious! But, we thought they were so good and well, so did our Husky, Chy-Anne. She would stand on her back feet, reach up and pluck fruit from the trees, leaving the stones everywhere, so we had to pull them out and move them to a new location so she wouldn't destroy them. However, they didn't survive the move and died - gutting. We moved north, Chy-Anne died a few years later, then we came back here one day to find a Peach tree growing in between the fence and pigsty - Chy-Anne's legacy. We transplanted it, crossed all our fingers it would be OK. It has since grown massive and is now fruiting for the first time, absolutely stoked about this, where would we be without that dog? Man she was awesome.

Labour Day traffic was mental, there was one non-fatal accident on one of the local busy roads around here, meaning poor old SH1 was exploding with traffic at every entrance to it, due to the diversion. Meaning I had to take a slight back route to work, not the most ideal road, part of it is like a one lane driveway so coming across others like me who are skipping the main road was a little interesting - especially when some of them appeared to not know how to drive a gravel road! (Aucklanders, why you come north?! Where did you even go?!) Monday was a good work day, I got to take back control of one of my favourite sheds, where I haven't been able to work at much this season due to my other commitments at other farms. I have hopeful thinking that they appreciated having me back for a change, and Tuesday night I got to go there too - where, on this occasion I somewhat said it straight to the farmer. You. Need. To. Take. Some. Time. Off! He's a stubborn person, we're all a bit like that though, I guess, and came up with every excuse in the book as to why he couldn't have just one sleep in for a change (he hasn't taken any time off this season yet, and it's showing). This is the one farm I work on that I'm covering for the staff and not the boss. Ridiculous

Frodo has made her mark recently, quite literally. Rewind the clock to Wednesday: Pippa is sitting in the scullery, staring in the corner where we keep things such as bags of potatoes, onions and kumera. She has quite a perplexed look on her face, keeps looking at me saying, "Mum, there's something in there." Me, well, I'm not the biggest fan of rodents so I just tried to ignore her looks. My mum, however carefully lifted the bags out of the way and then yelled, "There's a mouse!" Me, freaking out, laughing, hiding in the kitchen so I wouldn't have to try catch it. Darling Pippa is also like, omgosh, it moved, I'm outta here! The guys were outside working, so we couldn't have gotten their help, Mum eventually caught it and we let it go outside, while trying to convince Pippa that she was a cat and needed to kill it. I think she was just amazed that her new toy moved all on it's own. Frodo, not all that concerned either to be quite honest. 

Last Thursday was my day off, Mum and Dad were out working and Nick had just gotten home. I crawled out of bed, discovered a pile of feathers at the bottom of the stairs (thanks Frodo, I'll clean them up soon) and found Pippa sprawled out on the floor, staring underneath the couch. I'll have you know, I avoided the couch for a while, Nick had gone back to his house. Eventually I got the courage to pull the couch apart, and here is a mouse with the spotlight on it, sort of thinking, 'oh crap, uh, hi?' Now I'm seriously freaking out, grabbed my cellphone, messaged mum "there's a mouse!" Help! (what on earth was she going to do? Other than yell via messenger to not let it escape?!)

Pippa is absolutely starstruck, staring at this mouse. It runs, I yell. You can probably imagine it about now. It took probably half an hour, until I managed to trap it. How? Stuff a plastic bag down one end of the metal vacuum cleaner pipe and force the mouse in the other end, spin pipe around and mouse is in the base. Release mouse outside just as Frodo arrives, where she looks pitifully down at the poor creature who's had quite an eventful morning and appears to ask if it's quite OK? Later on I see the mouse flying through the air as Frodo plays with it, she's so sweet would never hurt a fly, that cat! ;)

By now you're probably thinking, gosh, they have mice in their house? Wouldn't want to go there! No, quite honestly, we don't. I'll explain.
Saturday night, I'm 'asleep' in bed, it's about 10pm and I've got an early start. Mum and Dad start yelling, why? Because Frodo has just arrived through the cat door, battle cry and all, and released yet another mouse in our house. She's quite pleased with herself! I'm in hysterics, laying in bed above the lounge, where below me Mum and Dad are going ballistic at the cat, because said mouse has run here, there and everywhere in a mad panic. Hehe. Our house is pretty open plan, there's no doors downstairs except into the bathrooms, so you can imagine having a mouse on the loose, who knows where it could go? Eventually, it was discovered in the bathroom, Mum biffed the cat in there shut the door, told Dad it was his issue (his cat) and went to bed. lol. The mouse was caught, released and gone. One wonders whether each time it was the same mouse? What a happy thought.

Now, I get to the main part. I got up for work at 5am, nothing seems amiss apart from the couch still being in pieces from the night before. Off I go to work. A few hours later I come home again, to hear that after I left for work Mum and Dad came downstairs to discover a. RABBIT at the bottom of the stairs. Quite dead, but in quite a state, potentially looking like a murder had occurred there (thank goodness I was working) and to think that our carpet is a very light, tanned sort of colour. Hmm, we're still trying to figure out what will get the stain out, it's pretty awful. Flippen cat, left her mark alright.
And to think, I'm pretty sure it's the Chinese Year of the Rabbit....thank goodness it's not the year of the blimmen Horse. o.O

But anyway. Sunday I get to see Sam and Chantelle again - first time since August, you wouldn't believe the trials of trying to sort one date where we can catch up, if only for a few hours for dinner somewhere. Going to Chantelles for a while on Sunday night, having dinner and watching a movie. Should be nice :)
Today is Mum and Dad's 21st wedding anniversary and we've got our YF meeting on tonight (how exciting, to be honest the only part I enjoy about going to these meetings nowadays is being able to eat the lemongrass crumbed chicken....mmmm).

We have had 10mm of rain so far in October, over last weekend. Now it's drizzling out there again - a fantastic sight as the ground is all cracked up.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Hide and Seek

I have a few interesting discussions with the people I milk with, and tonight we somewhat touched on depression. So I thought, I would write about what I think it is and what I think about it as a whole.

To me, it's one of those things that is completely misunderstood. Nobody really gets it, everyone experiences it differently and commonly I see it being perceived as a form of weakness. It's like when someone has something such as, say, Autism. You'll get the people who can mold their thoughts and plans around it, accept it. Then there are the others who look on, a slight frown on their face as they see the person. They don't completely understand it, therefore intentionally or unintentionally, you get a bit of judgement happening.
And that's OK, everyone is different in the way they think, everyone is entitled to their own opinion - so long as you're careful with it though, I guess.

I see it as a disease. One as prominent in todays society almost as much as cancer is. But the thing is, people struggle to accept and believe something they can't see. We know that it's being shared around all the social medias, perhaps in the attempt to encourage people to talk about it, to encourage those affected by it personally to share their stories, to share to the non-believers I guess you could call them, that it is, in fact, "real" and something that people shouldn't be ashamed or scared of.

However, at the same time I do think that it is being taken out of proportion in some aspects. Commonly on a daily basis I see friends in my social networks claiming they must be "depressed'' and this and that. I sort of want to shake them and say, 'you've had ONE bad day, it's not the end of the world - take it easy.'
Sure, people are entitled to their bad days, to feel a little low every so often. In my opinion they're more than welcome to throw their hands in the air and say how much they hate their life, so long as after that they rip the page from the book, walk away and start afresh. That's life. That's what is allowed to happen in this big, scary world we all call home.

But in most cases, it's the people who are quiet that you have to look at more closely. Those are the people who are truly affected. Every so often the person may accidentally drop a hint or two, but nobody sees it. Because this person has been so good at hiding it for such a long time, that eventually to the outside world it appears to become what and who they are. Everyone just looks past it, because to them it has become the new normal.
I've mentioned it a few times, but one of our youth groups trips to HM Rage spoke a lot about hide and seek, about the masks that people put on. Some people put on so many masks all on top of eachother. It gets so bad that it just becomes them and no-one knows any differently.

To me, the important thing is to share it around, to talk about it. Not make it out to be some form of dangerous "no-go zone" topic. But also not converse about it in such a way so that the people who are actually suffering get forgotten about in the wake of the rest of the population talking about "issues" they have which must be linked to depression, (when really they've just run out of money so they can't go and buy that thing they always wanted, so spout off about it online. #depression. #peacesign.) You know?
I understand that there are different stages, different levels, and nothing is concrete when we're talking about the inner mind and emotions. There are many different reasons behind the cause, it's different for everyone. I guess the best part is to just stop, listen. Try your best to understand - even though we all know that that is the hardest part.
Because, let's face it (and I'm going to take one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books here) "you don't really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view....until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" - To Kill A Mockingbird.

Monday, 19 October 2015

A Poem

So I don't listen to Life FM, but I have liked them on Facebook. They've been having lots of discussions about mental illness lately. And today I got a bit bored and came up with this...I'm no poet, and it's not about me. But it just, happened? Mechanically?

Farming is life, as we know it,
It keeps the world spinning around.
Everything is lively, happy, great,
Then things start looking down.

No-one is happy - everyone's stressed,
It passes to family and friend.
It is contagious, difficult to stop,
And for some, life comes to an end.

It is pushing and shoving, forcing its weight,
Opens its mouth and releases the germs.
It doesn't show on our skin or bones,
It is the depths of our soul it burns.

We fight and we struggle as it tears at the seams,
We often lose and give up.
The battle is long, fierce and tough,
For many it can be too much.

A torrent of storms in your heart,
As everyone else looks on.
Too preoccupied with their own lives,
Nobody hears your song.

A life of depression, mental anxiety,
Or something else wrong within.
No-one can see it, they will not know,
Until they can walk in your skin.

Many an angel, passed away,
Spent their life crying out.
No-one could hear, they could not listen,
No-one could hear their shout.

It is important to know it is not the fault,
Of the dead or the living.
This is something we should learn from,
Just like a funeral is for the living.

We are people, we are a community,
We have the world in our hands.
We need to find justice against this curse,
And help others to understand.

And that is the end. I guess my mental pen ran out. No idea where this came from though, just slipped out!!!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

A Play On Words

The days are passing by, quickly and surely. I while away my days doing next to nothing in some cases. Remember when I was frustrated from having too much work to do? Now I've got work, just not that much of it. I know it sounds petty, but it can get annoying when the other relief milkers get more work than me. It is amusing though, to a point, when they try to tell me how to run a cowshed that I've been milking in for more than a year now. It's like, I smile and nod OK, but underneath my blood is boiling because this is my cowshed, and it has been stolen off of me. But life moves on.

Although I don't have too much work in the way of milking, I'm enjoying the time spent elsewhere. I've been helping fence off a few gardens and get all of today, and tomorrow, off work. Which is nice, I spend time at home, sleeping in while I've got the chance and spending some time with my Pippa. I'm sure she appreciates me not going anywhere for a change, well I hope she appreciates it - because she sure doesn't appreciate me going out anywhere, even if it is to make money to pay for her food. She's a lovely cat though, I don't know what I'd do without her. I say, as she's snuggled up asleep next to me, with her (toy) mouse. Haha

Nonetheless, it's quite nice to stay at home, spending hours at my laptop replying to an email today. It takes forever, there's lots to say! While I also marvel at the fact that although my study needs doing, I have no pressure to study for exams this year - believe me, I drive past the school often and remember those times of needing to drive myself there (that is torture in itself, rather than being dropped off), get out of the car and walk that long walk over to the auditorium. Stressful occasion it was, never to be repeated.
It somewhat makes me wonder, that. If I ever had kids (I'm thinking like long distance future thoughts lol) whether I'd send them to school so it'd be normality to them. Or would I homeschool them, and skip exams. Or make them do exams, and suffer those death stares as they walk into a new territory, armed with a plastic bag, a couple pens, and an admission slip? Interesting dilemma, although if I were to rewind the past, I wouldn't have a clue which option I'd prefer in a perfect world!!
Sheesh, these days off are making me slightly poetic and philosophical feeling. I often feel the urge to go into the spare room and start up my keyboard, play a few jigs. Or maybe pull out my craft gear, and get back into the cross stitch that I started a couple years ago - or maybe even start scrapbooking again? What would I scrapbook though? Pippa? There's an idea, although to do the scrapbooking justice, you need pictures. And to get pictures will mean going to town and printing some off - that's where procrastination steps in and takes over! Procrastination could seriously rule the world if it wanted to, wouldn't you think?

I'm back into reading again - quite nice, since I haven't read a book since about 6 months or so ago. It feels nice to lose myself, until one sits outside on her beanbag in the sun for hours on end - and burns her knees. I always considered myself a clever soul! The author is great - Diane Chamberlain. She's one of my favourite authors on my Kobo, except in the odd occasion where her books leave nothing to the imagination...but in general, they're good books. Flicking between the two main characters, often going back in time. Mum says she'd hate a book like that, I enjoy it, it keeps me on my toes and helps to plan for the events that will come. I find myself predicting some "shocking" revelation, which in many cases would annoy me - having a book that was too predictable. But it's nice to just read and forget about the world around me.

This post is so unusual for me.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Hard To Believe

It's hard to believe quite a few things lately. I can't believe that it was only a week ago that we finished up our calf feeding job. Hard to believe we're already in October (!). I can't believe that an old homeschooling friend turned 21 this weekend - it feels like not too long ago when we all met at just 7 and 8 - while it's also difficult to believe that hardly anyone recognised me! lol, time has flown!

And I thought that since I haven't actually given you guys any proof that we did, in fact, raise calves again this year, I took some photos and such:

This is our oldest group

It was super weird finishing them.. Then that week Mum and I went off for what we hoped would be a nice lunch out at a local cafe/chocolate shop. Although, sadly, because we had such high expectations from our previous visit a couple years ago - it wasn't all that nice. But it was still nice to go out! 
For hot drinks, you just get given hot milk, and a chocolate stirrer. Make it as strong as you want!

On Wednesday I had the joy of being charged by a somewhat friendly cow. A few circumstances lead to her being in a pen on her own, making her panic a bit and she got a bit stressed out. I don't think it helped that she'd recently calved - so her personality perhaps wasn't the same as normal! Anyway, that was certainly interesting - although I don't recommend it. It takes a while for realisation to kick in that you're being charged, and even after that occurs it takes a fair bit to get moving out of the way!
I think she might've been a little hungry, because it seemed as if she definitely wanted to eat me.

Stupidly though, it's kind of an awkward situation to be in. Because you see a cow madly running towards you, well I don't know about you guys but for me personally, I don't really want to be running away screaming until I know that it is a seriously dangerous situation? How do I explain this?
In my job, nobody would want you around if they get a slight inkling that you're scared of the animals you're working with. I'm not scared of cows, although I'm cautious around them in certain situations. So when this cow ran at me I just calmly stepped aside and somewhat scolded her for being so out of control. I tried to turn her around, and that's when she full out went for me. I had no choice, I yelled and jumped for the fence! I'd rather now look stupid rather than look dead haha. Sometimes you think a cow is running at you, but generally she just runs around or runs past you. It's not often that you get charged - it's only happened to me twice now. But if I was jumping for the fence every time a cow ran at me - I'd probably be the most unwanted person on the local farms!!
But, as it seems, after I was balancing on the top two rails, out of harms way, she started charging the guy I was working with - so perhaps my reason for jumping was, in fact, legitimate.

After that happened, and the farm worker and I laughed and said, gee that was exciting! I just kept on shaking my head, thinking, that was really out there. Did that just happen? I was sorta somewhat laughing, but also like, flippen heck, that was kinda freaky too...

Thursday came around, I was thankfully still alive after my friendly cow encounter (!), it was my first full day off since mid July, and Mum and I went north. Shopping. Just wondered around shops, had some lunch, wondered around some more shops, then did the groceries. It was quite nice to get out of town for a bit.

Friday I was back into work, Dad and Nick killed the pig and my sister came up to help butcher it that afternoon. Usually Dad just makes big chops and roasts out of it, with a little bit of mince from the scraps. But Alesha got in and showed Dad some new tricks (fancy butchery much!), cutting it all up into pork belly, steaks, schnitzel, a few rolled roasts, mince. I was pleasantly surprised that her and Dad seemed to get on really well, teaching and learning. The young dog teaching the old dog new tricks, is what the guy I was milking with said! hehe.
This time round, my assistance with the pig was hardly necessary. Except for weighing it - she was 65kg's on the hook - a good weight! Nick and Dad had the joys of bear hugging the pig, holding it up, while I hooked up the scales. In the end, I had to get my hands dirty, when push comes to shove I do what I need to do. Even if that includes sticking my fingers into the slits in the back legs, forcing the gamble through, grossing myself out - it's super weird working around ligaments and all that, but hey.

Saturday I carried on working, then went to the 21st party that night for a few hours. Caught up with heaps of people I haven't seen in so many years.  But I didn't stick around for too long, I got home at 10 then had to be back up at 4am for milking. I started at 5, needed some time to get there and actually wake up - not in that order!
We had our stock judging event during the day on Sunday. I went along between milkings, learned a fair bit in the beef module, didn't learn anything in the dairy section really - not because I already knew it, more so because the guy doing it wasn't very good with teaching. Sheep, umm, sorry Andrew but I tried to like them. They stunk, they looked really bad. Admittedly, the guy running it is an really old guy in his 80's, a well known across the country, Romney breeder. And he went to the sales and bought them randomly, just for the day and brought one of his own as a comparison.
Didn't learn much there either, apart from what it should look like in configuration and such. 

And today, I struggled out of bed just after 4am again, I've got to do the same thing tomorrow. The more often it is happening, the more tired I get!!

 Finally, some more photos to entertain you. This is another cowshed, the cows weren't quite there on time, so I took some pictures while I waited.