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.


  1. Romney breeder widely known across the country? Who's that? I really only know the ones from Wairere, as that's where we get all our rams from, but do know of a few others...
    So did his own sheep stand out as being massively different?

    And also, love the pictures! Hehe, kinda looks like a whats-it-called... I forget the word, but just this endless chain of repeating equipment... Looks kinda cool, actually... So if you wanted to and had that many cows, I'm guessing that could just repeat indefinitely? Like, I know that a 10km long dairy shed is absolutely ridiculous, but in theory, it would be possible?

    1. Would you believe I didn't catch his name? Apparently he was on some Romney breeders high council, the top guy running it, or something. A bigwig in the Romney breeding by the sound of it, and he's had a lot to do with breeding sheep that don't require drenching for worms. He seemed to know his stuff though...
      Yep, it did. The other sheep he bought in from the sale he thought had the beginning of black fibre, also they had a fair bit of that canary yellow at the base of the fleece which he reckoned wasn't good.
      He reckoned the breeder had been breeding for three specific things, and didn't think about breeding for good udders for lambs to feed easily, and the necks seemed to resemble a neck of a cow, more than a sheep. And the back legs seemed quite tucked in at the knees, which he said was bad configuration. So yeah his sheep looked pretty nice, in comparison. I wouldn't really know much else...There was only 6 sheep there? So.

      A sort of conveyer-belt? lol. Well this one is the auto cup remover shed, the cups hang by strings, which pull them up when the machines are turned on. It's a 40 aside. There are quite a few 100 aside herringbones in the country. I don't particularly see the point in a herringbone that's bigger than 40-50 max. the bigger it is, the more people you need. Generally the consensus is 1 person per 20 cows.
      This shed works really well, by the time we've put all 40 sets on, the first 15 or so are finished, good with the ACR's as the cows aren't overmilked. Then by the time the row is out, and the next is in, you're all set to go again. But yeah, in a cowshed that holds 100 cows, kinda ridiculous. You may as well have a rotary, because you would need about 4-5 people milking, would literally be going continuously. And, the bigger it is, the bigger machines you need to run it, higher power bill, more area to hose down which means the effluent pond filling more than necessary. It's just higher cost all round. Every shed, generally, should change the cup liners once a season. Imagine having 100 sets of cups, times four, to replace. Not worth it. In America or China, maybe, but not in little old NZ!

      Also, to add, usually there is the odd cow in every row who is big and old, takes a bit more to milk and she has more milk. Hehe, imagine having a 100 aside, (well, even I can't imagine a 100 aside, but lol) and all 99 cows are finished, bar one. In a rotary you'd just chain her up and she'd keep going around until she was finished. in a smaller herringbone in extreme measures you draft her around and chuck her back in the yard again, or put her first in the row. lol. It would be a good experience though. But yeah, haha inconvenient!

    2. Hmmm... I'm just going to take a random guess anyway, and ask if it was Gordon Levitt, or if that rings any bell at all? No worries if it doesn't, but it probably was. Grief, if you call that breeding for three specific things, that sounds terrible! Hehe, I'd love to know what those three were. Bad mothers, bad posture, doesn't sound like much. One of the ol meat and wool breeders, I'm guessing.

      Yeah, I realise once they get too big it just starts being silly, but it just looked so repetitious, from a graphics and design perspective, it "looks as if it wants to go on forever." Not like a shed really thinks for itself, but... :P
      Yeah, I guess running costs would go up exponentially with size too, hadn't thought of that. Makes the 12 a side sound much more appealing! Hehe, would actually be kinda, "cute", really... :P
      Lol, yeah, the good ol' cows are the best aye, that's why the got kept that long! One guy round here who does dairying in Opotiki had a 23 year old friesian/jersey cross, which was still his best milker!

    3. Hmm, yeah I wouldn't know. I could ask, but, it's that can't be bothered syndrome kicking in again ;)
      Three things, I think it was eczema resistance, worm resistance and some other resistance of some sort. I can't remember now...Yeah I think that's what he reckoned, although the wool looked more like hair...

      Yeah, yes and no. 12 asides are ok, pretty cute for sure. You walk a few paces and you're at the other end! It all just depends on the size of the herd and all that as well. You wouldn't want a 12 aside with more than 150-200 cows!

      23 years old?! Wow, these days you wouldn't buy a cow over 12 if you could - but they're awesome when they get that old :)

    4. No worries.
      The wool looked like hair? That could be more to do with the breed than anything. Texel's have pretty coarse coats. How long was it? They weren't freshly shorn or something? (By "freshly", could be a couple of months. Just short wool is always more hair-ish-like...)

      Lol, 24 at a time, even a mob of 100 would take over 5 runs... 200, that would take quite awhile wouldn't it? I guess that's where the maths of it comes in. Too short, too long to finish milking them all, too long, too many workers needed...

      Yeah, it's not common, but this one was just producing so much... Think of the genetics in a cow like that, you'd want all the calves you could!!! :P

    5. The sheep guy said it looked like hair so I'm just going on what he said. They weren't recently shorn.

      Yeah that and the smaller sheds are designed for less cows. Smaller yard, smaller vat etc.

      Hmm true that, but litres aren't always great if the fat and protein are low. So the genetics would be more based on that than litres :) there are also some physical factors that would downgrade her in comparison to others.

  2. Slightly random but Opotiki is a really nice spot.

    1. Opotiki? Excuse my shocking geographic skills, but where exactly is that again? I find, if I've never been there then I generally don't know where they are. Although, I'm thinking it's in the north island? Around Hawkes Bay?

    2. Not far past Whakatane, Bay of Plenty. Got the urge to go on a road trip :)

    3. You'll come through it. It's the other side of the Gorge, you have Opo, the 5 mile straight, then the Gorge. Lovely little seaside town, home of a great surf beach, end of the Motu Cycle trail, start of the Pakahe Loop Cycle trail, end of the Motu Challenge, and also home to the only compulsory stop on SH2. Start of SH35, the road round the East Coast. Has a few dairy farms, just to keep you happy... :P Actually, it's now mostly dairy.

    4. hmm, Anon, thanks for letting me know where Whakatane was too!...awkward, I've never been there either. hehe. When I imagine BoP I think Rotorua/Tokoroa/Taupo. I like this blog post, I'm learning quite a bit from my followers for a change!! :D

      Hmm, Andrew yeah I'm not too clued up on the all the cycle trails, you could say it to my cousin and she would know as she's a competitive cycler, but me, not so much. Oh, dairy farms? Cool, so when I get bored of sheep and beef at your place I'll just pop on up to Opotiki, to a semi happy place for me. lol :P

    5. Road trips in the BoP Anon? I should pet you in touch with a friend of mine in Tauranga, he's mad on road trips. What are you like with Rav4s? :P

      Hmmm, Taupo. I think that's Central North, not BoP... I dunno, though, I just don't think of it going that far. Opotiki is the last town in the BoP, although we still get their weather occasionally...
      Haha, you're still a good 2 hours from here in Opo, so you're going to be doing a good bit of driving... :P
      The rail trails, I know, but in that one paragraph, I listed everything worth knowing about Opo... I think. I know of nothing else, anyway... :P

    6. Ah ok. Yeah not too fab on geographic regions really..! Oh right. Two hours is a fair trip I agree lol

    7. Problem with Rav4's is the lack of room to swing a cat.

    8. Lol, yeah, you're not wrong on that. I'm not even a huge fan of Toyota's tbh, the Hilux is good, especially after what Top Gear did to one, but other than, that, I can take or leave them. The only thing smaller is a Suzuki... :P

  3. I miss calves... Actually, I probably miss the opportunity they provide to ride the quad bike, but either way. :P

    1. Lol, you enjoyed riding the four wheeler?! Haha, so many people I know reckon they love it, I just, don't get much of a buzz from it :D

    2. Just wait till you try an 8 wheeler! XP

    3. ha ha yeeeahhh. Tries to look excited. Fails.
      lol, but I guess it would be interesting driving it like, a metre. But then. yeah.

    4. hahahahahaha, I knew that one would work... :P Funny, some people are petrol heads, some aren't aye. I'd like the Argo a lot more if it didn't just sound like a large lawnmower... But some people love it, I'm just like, get over it, it's a machine. A tool, not a blimmen toy you ******! :P

    5. Well that's embarrassing, sounding like a lawnmower hehe that's as bad as someone saying "I'll go get the tractor" and come out of their garden shed with a ride on lawnmower :P

    6. Hehe, the trouble is that it's just got a B&S engine, which is the same as a lawnmower and Microlite, just in varying sizes. So the Argo's engine is quite literally a large lawnmower engine. But it's be a bit too powerful for trimming the grass, methinks... :P
      Hehe, some lawnmowers are like that, now, people refer to those Hustler ones as tractors, I'm like, come on you townies, that is *not* a tractor. Seriously. :P