Thursday, 29 December 2016

Country Christmas Chaos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Hello Summer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Alone We Can Do Only Little - But Together We Can Do So Much

On Sunday night I went down to my friend, Chantelle's church for what I was told was a "ladies' night". I arrived there and wow, her church (a school gym) was dressed up rather fancy for this ladies night. I soon found what it was about: a fundraiser for a charity called A21. I'd never heard of it before, however I didn't think much of it seeing as I'm not overly involved in the church so it could be any charity really.

The A21 Campaign is a charity involved in combating human trafficking and Petra Bagust was there as a guest speaker as she is highly involved in this line of work. She's well known, been on many TV programs and is the face for the likes of World Vision. I guess you could say she's one of the people who goes out into parts of the world, and comes back to spread the word - so to speak - of what is actually going on. Which is why she's so involved in the fight against human trafficking, a subject in all honesty, I knew hardly a thing about.

In countries such as Cambodia (for example) it is the responsibility of the eldest daughter to go out and get work to provide for the rest of her family, and in many places finding work is difficult. Families, especially those living in the more rural areas are exceptionally vulnerable and desperate. They say that human traffickers will, in more simple terms, keep their eyes peeled for families such as these and target them. They will arrive and offer the eldest girl a job in the city, and because they are so desperate they take the offer.
The girl, often as young as 12 is then taken and quickly realises the lie she was told. They take her passport and tell her she has to work to 'buy it back'. And more often than not, she is forced into prostitution and can have up to 40 clients per day. By now I was staring at Petra in horror, listening to her tell many of her different stories.

On average 457 women and girls are trafficked every hour, boys can also be taken. 99% of these people never escape and the 1% who do are rescued from organisations such as A21 and similar. The organisations have a vast number of people volunteering with their specific skill set - Lawyers, accountants, counselors and psychologists as well as many other people. It takes meticulous planning to rescue these people. You can't just walk into a brothel and take off with any girls without any paperwork.You can't get them out of the country without their passport, or back into their home country either (as they are often taken to another country to do the work). It can take months to plan the raid after a tip off and then once the girls are rescued it can take weeks for them to come to trust you. They don't know what's going on - for all they know, they're being moved to a new location to continue with the slavery. Many of them have had to turn to alcohol and drugs so that they become so "out of it" that they don't often realise what they are having to do.

It was awful and so eye opening, listening to Petra. She says that she herself, can't actually do anything. She just goes there and sees what's going on, interviews some of the girls who were rescued and brings back the stories for fundraising nights like the church had. She said she came back once and did two large fundraising dinners straight away - raising $507,000 over the two nights.
Petra explained how nowadays, humans are cheap - very cheap. Way back when slavery was normal, the people buying the slaves would pay top dollar and they would look after their slaves because when the slaves got married and had children - they too would become their slaves. However there are so many people in the world now, so if the slave happens to get sick and die, it's no big deal because there are plenty more people out there to take their place. Isn't it sick?

The slogan for the night: Alone we can do only little - but together we can do so much, is exceptionally true. Nice, unwanted clothing had been donated and was also being sold for $5 a piece on the night. So they got a large amount of money from the sale of all the tickets and clothing - I wish I knew how much had been raised. But there were more than 50 people there and tickets were $20 each. They at least raised $1000, which is something for sure.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Kayaking in Puhoi

Hello, and welcome to November; the second to last month of the year that only seems to last a few days in honest reality and yet again, Christmas will soon be upon us. It's a scary thought and I say it every year - although this time it'll prove to be a little more chaotic due to the fact that we're expecting a fair few people during the Christmas/New Year week. A joy to behold, I assure you.

I'm not writing too much at present which makes me feel a little on the guilty side. I always thought to myself that I wouldn't become one of those people who suddenly became too 'busy' to write and update my blog. However, at the same time I don't particularly want to update too often due to potentially saying the same things, over and over. For example, my life is busy - very busy. But for the most of it, I do the same things most weeks. Milk, fence, eat, sleep, see Taylor, you know?

Taylor and I finally had a joint day off on Labour Day, so we actually went out for it. We went out for a brunch sort of meal at a really cute local restaurant, where they have some very interesting food options; a twist of French and Kiwi cuisine. For example, when you order hot drinks they arrive with funny little cake-like things. I've not a clue what they are, and it's exceptionally difficult to describe the taste. They're a little oily, somewhat hard on the outside and sort of doughy on the inside. They're not hot or cold, sweet or savoury. They're rather strange, but so yum.
I guess they may be deep-fried, I just can't imagine how they'd create that sort of shape either. I guess that's why they're chefs, and uh, I'm not...!

A few weeks earlier we'd been discussing some ideas of things to do, and discovered that we both wanted to go kayaking at a particular place. So we planned to go on Monday afternoon. There's a small village called Puhoi, a little off the main drag when you're heading south, in that ghastly direction of Auckland. There's a river that snakes its way back up towards State Highway 1, and eventually seems to flow somewhat parallel to the road. For years we've been driving that road on our way south and we've noticed the kayakers, however we've just never been and done it. It's a tourist trap, but something that us more local people try out too. Anyhow, we drove down there and hired a kayak each, taking off at a leisurely pace down the river. It was about an 8 kilometre stretch, that would take about two hours. They say you end up at this place called Wenderholm Regional Park, where they meet us with a van and trailer to drive us back to Puhoi.

It was a rather new experience for both of us, as we'd never been kayaking before. After 10 minutes of paddling around a short section of the river - to be sure we were all good to go before leaving Puhoi and the hire centre, I quickly realised how difficult it actually was. I had a new appreciation for rowers, kayakers and the like who sit at Olympian level, as it took a fair amount of time learning how to steer the silly thing! You've also got to be careful not to put the paddle too deep into the water, as we were told - when you lift it up and put the other side down, you will more than likely scoop up and pour water into your lap. I learned that pretty quickly! We were also warned how easy it was to flip a kayak. I assume that the person who had used my kayak previously had either flipped it, or poured heaps of water into it as my little seat thing was soaked. It made for a rather uncomfortable journey! haha

We eventually made it to Wenderholm in just under two hours, were rather sore by the end of it and a little wet. The bonus was that neither of us fell out! Some people were riding horses in the river at one section, and we were almost taken out by a speed-boat at another. The latter annoyed us a fair bit, as by the sound of it the guy operating that is causing a bit of trouble around kayakers - he's not particularly careful, and the thing I find when you're on water is that sounds mean nothing. We thought we heard something but then guessed it may have been a truck on the road. However, suddenly a boat was racing up behind and swerved around us, leaving massive waves in its wake. Honestly, not cool. Otherwise the trip was uneventful.

When we're sent off, we sort of leave in groups, I guess the hire place send you out at specific times so then everyone can be picked up and dropped off at each end at the correct times too. A few Asians left just before us and they came across a "decoy" duck trapped among the branches of a fallen tree in the river. They were pointing excitedly at it, as if they haven't seen anything like it before! What is the bet that they picked it up and took it home as a souvenir? Anyhow, we passed them and later came across some real Paradise ducks on the edge of the water, the Asian women quickly made their way to them, pulling out their cameras. It really made me laugh, I can imagine what they were thinking, - Kiwi's shoot all their ducks so that all there is left are plastic ones...

This Saturday was Guy Fawkes night, so a few of us went out to one of the local, rural displays. I go to it every few years but this year was the best by far. It was odd though, as usually if I went with Mum and Dad, we'd head down there in time for the fireworks and then we'd leave again with the masses of people exiting the paddock.

A fair few hundred people go to it, so it's rather packed. This time we took some dinner down and ate it an hour or so earlier - nice, apart from all the bugs who had also turned up for the event. I finally got to see Chantelle again, it's been a month or so since I last saw her. We're trying to plan on catching up more often...and there's some ladies night at her church this weekend, so finally we might actually be getting somewhere!

I should also mention - from hanging out with Taylor, I've created myself the role of "stepmum". Thankfully I am no longer "evil stepmum", which I do believe I was at the beginning lol. This is the beautiful fleabag - Pawpaws. She's a rugrat, a crazy little critter and with a Dad like Taylor I'm not surprised, he stirs her up like nobody's business. Therefore I do believe she will be terrifying once she's bigger. When I first met her she would take a running leap and scale my legs to get up onto my shoulders, like no kidding, she's crazy. But she's so sweet too, her purr machine is permanently on 'max' volume!
He rescued her as a wild kitten off the farm his friend works at and she's ridiculously spoiled...I'm no help with that though, I've bought her some toys and treats to make her like me a bit more!

Tay has also been made guardian of Tilly, another foxy. She belonged the people who own the farm, however four years ago when we started rearing the calves there, Tilly decided that Mike, the new guy working there at the time, was a much better option to live with. And he spoiled her like crazy, he always told us how he cooked her eggs for breakfast - sunny side down...
Anyhow, Mike is a very good friend of Taylor's and has since moved onto a new career path with his fiancee, moving to a new town etc. His fiancee doesn't much like Tilly, so poor Tilly had to stay behind - much to Tay's dismay. I would guess that Mike is still providing all of her food and vet requirements, but the roof that she lives under is Taylor's house which is rather amusing to be quite honest! Until she walks herself inside with green feet, after being on the farm...

Oh yeah, and at some stage in October we finished feeding the calves there as they were getting weaned! This is me and number 5. The coolest calf on the farm - I do hope they keep her and don't sell her to China- although she's more of a cross than a full Friesian.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Wake Me Up When September Ends

That's a really old song, Green Day I believe. It was that song that was on the radio all the time when I was about...10? Yeah I'll repeat. That's a really old song. Although it is convenient as a title, so I'm not complaining!
So yet again we're at the end of the month and I duly apologise for my lack of communication during the past month - it's been crazy! But not in a bad way, except perhaps for this past week where I've been brutalised by some hideous form of stomach bug that is putting up a very good fight. It's been hanging around since Monday where it was just a really sharp pain in my side every so often, then on Tuesday the nausea and sinus headaches made their grand entrance and here I am on Friday still not 100%.
I spent most of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday asleep on the couch, keeping myself dosed up on the Nurofen. This, perhaps wasn't the most smartest moves I've ever made as I haven't eaten much at all since Tuesday morning - and that pain relief possibly shouldn't be taken on an empty stomach...hence why I'm still not 100% now. Oops. Although I'm kinda hungry, and I've got a headache because I'm hungry, but I've gotta be careful not to eat too much too fast. See, this is why I don't get sick very often, because I know full well that I simply can't put up with it. It's so frustrating! Not only that, but I haven't really worked since Monday - as you can imagine, I am driving myself insane! I'm milking this afternoon, so I think it's going to be hard to get the energy level back up to normal...

So yes, my apologies for the late update. I was planning on writing this earlier in the week! But don't stop reading, because I've got a bucketful of things to say.

First things first: The boyfriend. Lol. Please don't laugh at me, over the past four to six weeks I have not somehow morphed into an easily swayed, soft and squishy sort of person! I am still very much my normal seriously sarcastic, and somewhat cynical self. Believe you me.

Anyway for those of you who don't know too much information yet. His name's Taylor, is 20 and works and lives on one of the local farms - about a 10 minute drive from my place. It's the farm where Mum and I do the calf rearing so, conveniently, I see him almost every day. Honestly, he's lovely, seems to get on with my family really well and Dad approves of him too (yay!). He's cooked for me a few times at his place, he's been here a couple times and I met his Mum on Sunday night when we went to her place for tea. It's good fun, for sure. Oh yeah, and he's bought me flowers....twice :D

Now don't panic, because he was also one of the crazy homeschooled kids like us (was sort of part of my homeschooling group as a kid). He is quite normal, to say the least. If there is such a thing. And if you're into hunting or 4WDing then you guys will be good buddies if you were to meet at any stage.

A few weeks back Mum and I caught a plane and flew down to Rotorua (flying was so much easier than driving all that way) for my Nana's 65th birthday. We stayed there from the Friday morning and left again on Sunday morning. It's good having a Nana who is so young still, well in comparison to a lot of my friends' grandparents. We get to have so much time with her and she can do absolutely anything really, if she wanted to. But she definitely deserves her retirement years now, and is now spending more time doing her voluntary work running an op shop. Doing what she does best :)

Last Thursday I did something that was rather impulsive...I bought myself a puppy. A Foxy I might add. I hope she's a full foxy, as her nose is a little shorter than you'd expect, however the lady I got her off (who had rescued the pups off the mother who wasn't feeding them) seemed to think that both parents were foxy's. It was a case of one neighbours' dog went wandering over to the other neighbour, definitely not a planned thing, that's for sure. And so this lady took them on and reared them. She's a nippy little thing, about 7 weeks old and absolute trouble. She gets on amazingly with Tessa and Jackson though, thank goodness. To the point where Tessa seems to think it's her own puppy - she runs to her every beckon and call!

I've called her Maggie, which I instantly changed to Maggles and Dad refers to her as Magpie. So. She's a little diva and is so small that she can squeeze through the extension on the baby gate that is meant to keep them confined in the kitchen area. No particularly helpful, that.

However, the other day Mum and Dad bought home another Shih Tzu puppy, a little girl this time. As Mum wants to have a pair for breeding, they've finally found a cute little girl. Do you know how much chaos it is, having two less than a year old dogs and two barely weaned puppies running around in our kitchen? Yeah, I need not say more. It is mental! Although Rose (Rosie) is kinda cute, and it's funny having a big Foxy and a baby Foxy and a big Shih Tzu and a baby Shih Tzu - especially when they look so similar! The good thing is that Maggie and Rosie can grow up and be little friends together, and we only go through the "puppy stage" once, this time round. They all seem to get along, although Jack and Tess are a little confused about Rose...I might also add, Mum didn't intentionally set out to have puppies called Jack (Jackson) and Rose, like on the Titanic. I had to mention it to her afterwards, hehe

Our calves are almost finished now. There are only three left to calve, I'm sure in the next week or so they (the farmers) might think about weaning some and then will send Mum and I on our way. Some pictures from a few weeks ago...

Monday, 29 August 2016

A New Chapter

We're at the time of the month where you look up at the calendar and still think the month has just started - only to find out it's almost ready to end. We're entering into Spring in a few days and it's exhausting trying to think about where time seems to be disappearing to.

I've had a busy few weeks, with a little bit of excitement and a little bit of, well, sadness if you can call it that.

I'll start off by saying that I had to take my good old Ali (my beloved BMW) north today, to the car doctors. She's been having issues for the past month or so that are just getting worse as the days go by - and a tad more on the dangerous side too, as there is an issue causing her to surge forward while I'm driving. As you can imagine, surging forward while I'm stopped for whatever reason is pretty freaky, especially if it was near a pedestrian crossing or there were cars quite close in front of me. Thankfully it has only happened in this form while I waited for some cows to cross the road, and I was a decent way back anyhow. But it's nerve-wracking. She's also stalled a couple times and the last time it happened was at an intersection on the edge of SH1 and she wouldn't restart. She's an automatic, so it's a little more tricky when things go haywire. Eventually I got her back on the road (after Mum and Dad had arrived to tow me) and got home safely. So yeah, I'm without my car until tomorrow night, and upon picking her up I'm expecting a hefty payment needing to be made. Somebody is going to need to work a few hours to make it up again!

I caught up with my friends, Sam and Chantelle on Thursday. We were (as usual) overdue on a catch up, so went out for dinner at one of the local pubs and had a good few hours of talking. It was nice. This was to be our last get together with Sam before she headed off on her big OE to California, to some sort of Bible College there. Little did Sam know that her family had planned her a surprise combined leaving and 21st birthday party and we were going to see her again on Saturday night! She will turn 21 in February, but as she will be gone for the next 10 months or so, she won't get to celebrate it with everyone back home.
It was hard really, as she asked what we were going to be doing on the weekend and Chantelle and I obviously couldn't say too much. So we just muttered a couple things, caught each others eye and smiled secretly. I felt quite mischievous about the whole thing. There was something else I was planning on doing on the weekend, but I decided not to steal Sam's thunder - as she told us of a similar thing happening for her, so I kept it quiet for a bit longer - even though I was burning to tell somebody! Hold on, don't read ahead, it's coming!

We stood out in the carpark just prior to leaving, Chantelle and I looking awkwardly at Sam, pretending to be sad because it was meant to be the last time we would see her in a long, long time. There was a cat out on the road edge attempting to cross the road - SH1 if I may add. We stared at it in horror as it ran out in front of a car, the noise was the worst thing I've heard in a long time and seeing the aftermath was hideous. Why it chose to run at that moment, I've no clue. Why we continued to watch even though we knew what was about to happen, I've also no clue. I sort of wanted to run down there and scare it away, or call it back - but I didn't want to do that in case it forced it across the road in front of a vehicle. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, don't you think? One of the next drivers stopped and moved the poor thing off to the grassy edge of the road, otherwise the three of us would've gone down and done it ourselves.
I hate thinking about it because two out of the four cats we've lost to our road over the years have been mine, although we found out quite quickly. I can imagine a little kid wandering their backyard, calling and calling for their little friend that always used to come eventually, knowing the kitty was never coming home. Hopefully somebody found it the next morning, as it's sad seeing an animal left and never claimed after becoming a victim to the road.

The card I made Sam - I thought it looks quite cute
if I do say so myself!
Ok moving on from that sad story, I'm fast forwarding to Saturday night; Sam's party. I never got there in time to see her arrive as I had to milk and got there about half an hour later - I hear she was stoked once she realised what was going on (her younger brother had hauled her off the the Auckland University open day, so she could do the tour with him that day).

I was happy to be there celebrating her birthday with her and the rest of her friends and family, but it was also sad knowing that this was going to be the last time I'd see her in a while. She was accepted into the course in February, and got her Visa in May - we thought D-day would be ages from then but it came so much sooner. This time saying goodbye for real was so, odd. I've never done that before, you try to be happy and excited for her, but at the same time it's sad. Chantelle and I were like, wow this is actually it. It's just us now. She will fly out on Sunday and isn't due to return until May or June next year - if she comes back at all, she may stay over there for longer yet...

Now, moving onto the cool thing that happened on Saturday - I went out for lunch with somebody. Or I should say more specifically that I was taken out for lunch, which was really nice and then we drove out to one of the many local beaches and wandered along that for a while. We're going out again but I'll tell you guys after the fact. Now I'm not saying anything in particular, but I'm sure you guys are clever enough to figure this one out for yourselves. :P I'm not naming any names either to prevent any ambitious Facebook profile stalking!
So yeah, there's a fair bit of changes happening in a very short space of time. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens anyway :)

I'm going to attempt to write a Haiku. It's an old type of Japanese poem that consists of three lines and is made up of a certain number of syllables. Just five syllables in lines 1 and 3, and seven syllables in line 2. It doesn't rhyme and is preferred to not have similes in it either - Yep, I googled it to find out what I was doing! I remember them using Haiku's a fair bit in Hunt For the Wilderpeople, but until recently I hadn't tried to do any. So here goes. Believe me, it is taking a decent amount of thinking!

Hungry calves, mooing
Sloppy, cold milk in tow
Contentment is joy.

Ok, so I'm not very good at it - it's harder than I thought. I guess that's why most of
them talk about nature rather than anything else. But that one basically says, it is music to my soul when those calves stop bellowing once they've been fed. Quiet calves are content :) Maybe for each of my future blogs I shall attempt to write a new one - see how I go anyway.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Wet Weather and Goat Issues...

Lots is going on here - what's new? I tried the other day to do a bit of a photo update, posting up some of the pictures I've taken lately, however blogspot wasn't being too friendly with that and wouldn't save any post that contained pictures. Frustrating, that. Anyhow, move on we shall.

As of today I've done more than 40 hours again for this week - after tomorrow I'll almost get to 50 -, I'm starting to get used to it. It's been almost a month since my last day off but again, I've gotten used to it.
I was doing a fill in job a few days a week feeding calves at one farm, that was for only two weeks and finished on Thursday but they've booked me in to carry on for the next two weeks. It was funny, I took the phone call and stared blankly at the white board while she rattled off the days she wanted me for. I said yes to them, hung up the phone and then had to actually think about what the date was. THEN I realised that I had just taken a booking for my booked afternoon off - that's been booked off for the last month. I was not impressed in the slightest, but it should work out. I'll just have to feed the calves a few hours early so that I can get where I'm headed in time. Should work okay,

Everything is going well in general though, apart from being dropped back down to just the family of four team again (no point in going into too much detail here). It means the workload has increased significantly with everyone trying to cover the bookings that were taken with the intention of five people working full time, but it's coming along OK.
The calves Mum and I are rearing are going great, with three groups of heifers outside now it's made our job somewhat easier. We don't have many newborn calves coming in anymore, so there aren't many to train anymore - thank goodness for that, my hands are covered in enough bruises for this season thank you very much! I'll still be training newbies at my fill in job, just not too many of them now that calving is slowing down again. However I'm bucketing more milk into the mobile feeder these days - which just means a good work out for me every morning so I'm not complaining about that!

Has anybody ever eaten goat? I've heard it's just like any other game meat and I'm keen to try it. Especially because of the recent experiences I've had with a particular goat called Darcy. He's on a piece of land that we're doing a lot of fencing on and is a complete menace. He's about the size of a miniature horse and has an attitude to boot. This afternoon I was carrying a heap of tools and wire up to the Ute, which meant attempting to pass by the goat - he was laying in front of the gate. I tried the "Darcy, Darcy, will you let me pass your stainless gate?" He didn't say, "Only if you are wearing...." He just said, "sure, go for it if you dare." He then proceeded to stand up, rear up on his hind legs and threatened me. As you might try to imagine a goat of his size standing on his back hooves is taller than me by a bit.
He sort of tips his head on the side, turns his shoulder and then lunges forward towards me (and Mum), trying to land against me, so it's pretty freaky. When you are backed up against the fence with your hands full it's not the best situation to be in! Today I kept hopping through a fence we're working on, and he would run back through a gateway back to the other side that I had just climbed through to. In the end I yelled out that he would end up on my dinner plate and he ran at me. So I kinda just ran for it and waited for Dad to walk me out, as the goat isn't quite as brave around him.

Wednesday was crazy with the weather, all of the rivers in the area flooded their banks with the intense rain storm we had. There is one main district, if you could call it that, which is like one massive basin with a river running through it - it all flooded over. There are three or four dairy farms which are mostly based on flat land that were covered in water - I don't honestly know how they cope in that sort of situation. Nick and I almost didn't make it out after our morning work, due to the road either side of a one lane bridge flooding too, but we got out in time and by about midday the worst of the weather had subsided - except the lower parts of town suffered the brunt of it with the river flow. It kinda feels like winter is coming to an end though, we've now gone through a blip of icy cold weather, a tankful of rain and now the days are getting longer which is great. It's nice to be able to sit outside after work and watch the dogs run around, it's after 5pm and it's still light. It's great. Bring on summer, I say!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Is Swiping Right All That Is Left?

In my short, twenty years of life so many things have changed. I feel like every day I wake up to an "out with the old, in with the new" scenario happening. Whether it is technology, social medias, general day to day things. It's all evolving. I don't like it.
Call me nostalgic but I'd love to go back in time to my parent's generation - or even my grandparent's generation - simply for the experience, because these days we are losing so much. It's sad.

When I was 14 Mum and Dad bought me my first cellphone; a small Samsung flip-phone. Back in the days where the camera wasn't too great and if I accidentally clicked onto the internet or started to video call somebody, I would panic for the sake of the phone bill my parents were paying! However after a year or so I eventually joined the smart-phone ownership society. I was determined that I would use the phone as just that, a phone, but within a week I was connected to the WiFi system, the Facebook app was downloaded and I had worked my way around checking and writing emails on the small screen too. I'm sure my poor desktop computer must've felt abandoned and useless by this stage.

When I was younger my days were filled with writing, real writing - pencil to paper. Because Mum enjoyed writing, she taught us. Writing stories, writing letters to family, everything we did we wrote it down. Soon I would have four or five different penpals around the country, a reply letter on the go at any stage in time. It was how I got to know people and learned about their different lives. It got to the point where I was looking forward to the mail being delivered in the hope that somebody would have replied. Eventually some of them would change and start writing emails or texting instead, however I no longer have any letters to write as we're all friends on Facebook now - why would we need to?
The only writing I manage these days is if I keep up with my own personal diary, sitting by my second story window and watching the world outside while I consider what to write down. I can't do it for very long before my hand aches, because holding a pen isn't a common thing to do these days. Kids of this new generation are going to lose the ability and art of writing with schools now requiring them to bring their own devices to do their schooling on. In another 20 years time, will they still make pens and paper? It's a terrifying thought!

So while we've become so "connected" to everyone in our lives through the social medias, we have become exceptionally disconnected. Almost every day someone says to me that I "really must join Tinder..." because apparently this is the new normal. We don't know how to go out into the world and meet people anymore, so instead we sit with our nose glued to the smart phone, scrolling through the local singles and deciding if they're suitable. We may as well be meaninglessly wandering the isles of a supermarket and choosing which brand to put in the trolley, because swiping right is just the same sort of snap-bang decision making.
If I ever have kids I don't want them to ask me how I met future husband and have to reply somewhere along the lines of, "Oh you know, I swiped right when I saw him on Tinder and we 'matched up'...there were a whole heap of other guys who I also matched up with, but I found him the least annoying...!" I mean, honestly. Sure I know it works for other people, but I'm determined that this time around I will successfully stay clear of this new "normal" ritual in the life of my generation.

It seems ridiculous but I really want to go back to my parent's or grandparent's time where things were so much different. I want to learn how to drive in a car with only front seat belts and bench seats, taking pictures in black and white, writing letters with nice fountain pens and actually being a part of the world. Rather than sitting here behind my computer screen, typing on a computer that I hardly ever use because my phone does everything for me and worrying that something I do or say might get me in trouble for being too politically incorrect for my day and age.
I don't want to be buzzing around in a flying drone car that operates itself by reading my mind by the time I'm retired. Who's to say that advancing technology isn't going to take us there?

We've become so antisocial and even though we keep talking about it being an issue, this is where the majority push us to stay. They're even thinking of creating an app to pay for your petrol at fuel stations - so that you no longer need to go inside the building to the counter to pay for it, simply because it is inconvenient and takes time. Imagine spending a minute or two of your life, paying for fuel and talking to someone behind the counter being labelled as inconvenient. This is where life is going, they say I have to get used to it but I don't know how I can.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A Juggling Act

When I was younger, I was part of a local community "circus" group. Basically an after school group that taught kids how to perform circus acts such as juggling and riding unicycles - that sort of stuff. I did that for a few years and to my complete astonishment, became quite good at it! For someone who grew up as the butter fingered youngster of the family, my learning how to juggle was a serious achievement.
I never completely got past the juggling balls, although I could do it in a variety of ways - forwards, backwards and then pairing with another person - where you continue to juggle normally but at the same time you are throwing a ball out to your partner and catching the one they throw to you. It's like artwork, in a way, that takes serious concentration and coordination with your partner, however once you get into the rhythm of it, it's quite easy.
I say I never got past juggling balls because there are a vast amount of different things you can juggle - such as pins (imagine pins like in ten pin bowling). With those you can't just juggle them, you also spin each one 360 degrees while you're juggling - so it is much harder, and I seemed to have a bad habit of hitting myself in the head. I could juggle two - just. But no more than that. I guess if I had tried a little harder I might've gotten there eventually, but I taught myself how to handle spinning plates, which was much more fun.

I guess that's how I'm relating to life right now - a juggling act. And life starting on Monday will be like my attempting to juggle those pins - except they're fire pins, so have flames at one end. You don't want to catch the wrong end, however you're standing on a bed of hay, so dropping one would be a serious offense too. The only way to pass the test is to juggle perfectly, confidently and not think about it.

Yesterday I had my final sleep in, without even realising it. Monday was my last full day off - without my realising it. I kinda don't like how it happened,  because if I had known it was happening, I mighta put in a bit more effort into that day off and the sleep in yesterday. But oh well, such is life. We've got another farm on the booking list now, which means a heck of a lot more work to be done, and more work was booked in last weekend - so we're going to be some busy beavers and tired cookies once this is over!

This week I'm milking twice each day, with some fencing in between milkings - a residential job in town, made up of square posts concreted in, with rails and pailings - it should look a treat once it is finished, but it takes a decent amount of time as you would expect. Yesterday most of the posts were concreted in, and today the rails are being started. I'll post some pictures once it is done, if I remember!
However we start our annual calf rearing job on Monday, and that will carry on until the end of September - hence the reason for no more sleep ins or days off in the near future for me. Unless I get sick and I'm basically dying, then I might get a bit of time off! For the next three weeks at least, I'll be milking every morning, catching up with Mum and feeding the calves on another farm, and then heading back to milk in the afternoon.
Although there are a few days where I'm filling in at another farm to feed their calves - which happens to be the farm where, two years ago, I reared all of their calves on my own for 9 weeks. The fact that they've called me back is absolutely brilliant. I was quite literally burning with pride for my good work, that they trust me to come back again. Rearing calves isn't something anybody takes lightly, and not something you hand over the reins to just anybody. So yes, I'm stoked. I said, "I get to feed my grand-calfies!" Because the calves I reared two years ago, are calving for the first time this year.

So the schedule is looking hectic, thankfully the milking jobs I'll be covering aren't that long, however the bulk of them are 5am starts, and I finish just after 7. We've come up with a more suitable plan for our calf rearing though, for this year. After three years of doing it on this particular farm, I don't know why we've never thought of it before! Starting later in the morning. We used to start at 6:30-7, so we were completely finished by the time the farmer needed his four wheeler back, which meant feeding calves in the dark, rushing, all that sort of drama that isn't necessary.

Why have we never thought of this earlier?!

There are sale days though, where the calves need feeding super early so they can be sent to the sales in time, but other than that - it's going to be easy. I'm sure of it. Once the calves are fed I can come home, have some lunch and then head back out in time for afternoon milkings.

So I don't believe it will be as much of a juggling act as I thought - it might be that scenario where you juggle in pairs, so you can't look away for a second. But I don't believe, at the moment anyway, that it will be as scary as juggling the pins!
Although I still think I will go hypothetically hysterical at one stage or another - but hey, my hours are going to be good, if that is a good point to mention. I can't wait to meet my grand-calfies on Tuesday! Oh, and my other grand-calfies and great grand-calfies on Monday lol. Can you keep up?!

Monday, 11 July 2016

Need Title Ideas lol

We're almost two weeks through July and I still haven't eaten any chocolate! I haven't cured my sweet tooth, but I have successfully sorted a part of it out!

It is so cold here, according to the weather app on my phone it is about 11 degrees in town, but it feels like 7 degrees. It's overcast and breezy, you wouldn't think it is cold but it really isn't the warmest. I'm sitting here on the couch with the hood on my sweatshirt pulled up (commonly called a "hoodie" but I've never been part of that lingo...), wrapped in my blankie and my living ''hot water bottle" snuggled in beside me...A.K.A., Tessa.

Yesterday was even colder, the heatpump was going all day but it made little difference. Having an open plan type house is frustrating, because you can't shut rooms up to keep them warm. For instance, our kitchen and lounge/living room thing are both quite small, but they're basically open to eachother due to the big breakfast bar window thing we put in, which actually just currently serves as a window, not a breakfast bar, but the point is there.
The kitchen is open to the laundry because for some silly reason we didn't put any form of door in between them, a cavity slider would've been perfect but...
Then the lounge leads straight upstairs in one direction, and underneath the staircase is the opening of the hallway to the rest of the house.  Obviously you can't really put a doorway over the staircase, we can shut the bathroom doors (thank goodness for that!) as well as the office and spare bedroom downstairs. But the hallway leads to some small french doors which open into the conservatory - which is basically an ice box at the moment, and the french doors don't completely restrict airflow. I reckon investing in some floor to ceiling curtains for them would be ideal - but it's just one of those "things" that we think about, but never actually getting around to sorting.

So yeah, the heatpump in the lounge warms the house a little bit, but in all honesty with it having access to three doorways that lead outside, it's no wonder that it never gets as warm as it could. So sit here and freeze, I do! It's actually not too bad, to be completely honest. Just bad design of the house...

And I'm a wuss, but we won't get into that!

Last weekend was worse though, with two frosts on Saturday and Sunday. That meant getting up a little earlier and warming my car while I melted the ice on the windscreen...and the rest of the car. You know it is pretty cold when the doors freeze shut, a good yank on the handle is quite necessary to break the ice. Poor Ali wasn't too impressed about the weather - although neither would I be if I was a car, lol

Last week was filled with a little bit of fencing and only a couple of milkings for me. I got to help out with a few different things, and then got into the battening with Dad on one job. It was kinda good actually as I got to test out my fencing skills with a few things, like doing a crimp. Usually if Nick is there I wouldn't be able to do too much, but as it was just Mum, Dad and I, I was able to do it myself. Oh yeah, if you don't know what a crimp is, I've added a photo of my one. It's just for joining wire together, you can either use a crimp or make a figure 8 knot... it probably seems pretty random but I did a tidy job of it, considering I'd only ever done it once - perhaps the left side isn't too great but hey it works, no?. It had to be okay, especially with it being right on a driveway where everyone would see it....No pressure, right?

Then on Friday we finished up a short post and rail fenceline in one of the gated communities that we work in quite often. With all the rain we've had, the rails were absolutely soaked through. There were 48 of them at 4.8 metres long and Nick and I were in charge of laying them out in the gaps while we waited for Dad to arrive with all of the gear. Nick was insistent on carrying three rails at a time, up the hill to their spots. We did about seven sections like that, one of us at each end of the rails, until I said - no way, this is not gonna carry on.
My poor arms were killing me, so we carried two from then on and then eventually towards the end we swapped to carrying one each, or one between the both of us. Believe me, those single rails seemed just as heavy as the three together! It's a pain because I get RSI in my arms in general, just from milking. But all I've done this time is pull all the muscles in my arms and hands - which seems ridiculous, but in all honesty I'm so worried about dropping things at the moment because my hands just aren't gripping things very well. Which isn't particularly handy, truth be told.
These days my arms are just throbbing - it isn't pleasant, so fingers crossed they get over themselves.

On Saturday night I actually went out. Two friends, Chantelle, Shannon and I went to the movies and saw Me Before You. It is a lovely movie, I'd definitely recommend it.

This week is going to semi-busy but quiet. Mum and Dad made a very snap decision last week to take a week long holiday, the idea would be so Dad could have some time off work and they could have a general break before the calves start next week sometime (or possibly this week, it depends when the farmer rings us...). So they're out in the Tauranga area at the moment, I'm not too sure where abouts - I've never been there myself. But they've been there since Friday night and don't come back until Friday this week.
They haven't completely gone "work free", as they are using the quiet time to do a tonne of paperwork and manuals, health and safety plans and website stuff. Which in regards to the latter, isn't completely stress free either. But I'm hoping they're enjoying their break away from home for a bit.

The house is definitely quiet here, and I believe the dogs are slightly confused on Mum and Dad's whereabouts - however they're not too's weird for me though. See, if Nick or I go on holiday, nothing changes here. Life goes on, work carries on and you're not really noticed as missing in action. But Mum and Dad going away has completely changed the atmosphere here.
I'm having to stay up later than I usually would because if I try to put the dogs to bed at 7:30 they would go nuts, but it's so boring sitting up. I usually wouldn't stay up watching the TV...I could read, but I'm not really in the mood to. But there's nobody to talk to, so you know, it's not horrible but not great either? It's odd!

Nikolai has all the work this week, I was originally going to be only working the weekends - simply because B2 needs the hours and it's better for me to sit around than for him to sit around and be paid to do it. Mum and Dad reckon I could just have a nice quiet break myself, chill out at home with the dogs and this could be one week of my holiday pay or something like that - I'm not too sure. Little do they know that sitting around home on my own drives me absolutely mental. I'm not an extroverted person, I don't need to be surrounded by people to get through my day but I sort of do at the same time? But I just sit here, staring into oblivion while I while away the hours, not doing really anything. Seems crazy but sitting around is exceptionally tiring, so all I want to do is sleep during the day.

However, after last night's milking I was booked in to continue there until Thursday. Cameron asked me to cover for Hamish as he and his family had to close shop and race down to Napier for an urgent family matter. Which worked out fine for me, giving me four hours of work a day, worked out for Cam as now he has me to help him. Although in Hamish's case, I think he'd rather be at home working than having to deal with what is happening in Napier.

So at least I'll have some form of requirements for the next few days to get me moving. Thursday Nick is going to his girlfriend's for the night, (that seems to be getting pretty serious...) so I reckon it'll be party central here that night. It'll be just like it's out of a movie, big party at my parents' house the night before my parents arrive home. What could go wrong? Friday morning they arrive to find a trashed house, empty alcohol bottles everywhere, food on the ceilings, a noise control fine and me probably in jail for doing something mental. That is putting some seriously amusing images in my mind! Mum and Dad should be jolly thankful about how decent a daughter I am, knowing full well I would never do anything like that.

Finally, a joke that was mentioned at the end of the News last night was funny:

What did the 0 say to the 8?
"Nice belt"

Nick didn't get it, I had to explain it to him which was exceptionally satisfying.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Junk Free June 2016

I know I haven't mentioned it, but I've been doing Junk Free June again this year - you know, just because I can. Same as I did last year, not trying to get fundraising for it (I don't even know what the money goes towards...) but it's a good thing to do and test to see how well I do. So, basically I successfully avoided typical things I consider junk food; chocolate, lollies and the like. It's actually really easy. I started towards the end of May, so "technically" I've been going well over a month now and haven't had any failures to count, except for one.

We went to the Mystery Creek fieldays in early June, just Mum, Dad and I went for a bit of a day out of town. At one stage I went into the Waikato University tent and tried a random computer quiz on a whole heap of random rubbish, and the guy there told me to feel free to have a chocolate fish, one of those small marshmellow ones - so I did, out of some sort of polite obligation and by the time I'd realised what I had done it was too late!
So that was my only fail, and it wasn't a very nice fail either - apparently my going without that sort of thing for a few weeks had changed my taste bud opinion on it, which is a good thing!

I also went to the young farmers tent and they had a "hang a gate" in the fastest time challenge. It was more aimed toward the younger teenagers, however as one of the young farmers running the stand had had the only go, they told me to give it a shot. It was easy, just pick up a steel gate, carry it over and pop it on the hinges on the post. Put it this way the young farmer guy took about 16 seconds, I had never put a gate on hinges myself and I took 14 seconds. Which is, umm, a little too long - but you know how you're trying to balance the gate over both hinges and you're in a hurry. But I loved that I beat a guy at it - total score. Anyway they gave me a small bag of blue jelly beans, those ones that are a bubblegum flavour and I looked at them and sighed. Popped them in my handbag and left.

Later on in another area, for some unknown reason a girl was handing out little sample packs of lollies that somehow represented their stand, so in my handbag they went with the other lot and that is where they've stayed for about two weeks! I cart them around everywhere I go, during those horrid early morning starts where sometimes you just want a sugar boost and I didn't even touch them. How good am I?

Sometimes I've just had a really rubbish day where I sit on the couch and scowl as somebody eats a square of chocolate. Mum keeps saying, just have a piece, it won't kill you! I'm telling you, she can really be the devil on the shoulder type some days! But I'm like no, I can't and sort of stomped off in another direction. Knowing full well I'm doing so well at looking at something and saying no, end of story, so I give myself a mental pat on the back!

The wedding I went to earlier in the month was nice, the reception was a somewhat winter theme of blue and silver colours everywhere so it looked quite pretty. It was kinda cute because each person had three little Hershey's Kisses in the place settings. This girl I know through the young farmers was sitting beside me, quite literally staring down all the little chocolates that I wasn't eating. In the end she said, "Are you allergic to dairy?"
"No," I replied.
"Do you not like chocolate?" she asked.
That's when I realised she was sitting beside me, almost drooling while she stared at the chocolates that I was ignoring! Oh, right! Ok, yeah sure just go ahead and eat them, I told her. Gosh it was funny, she was stoked. Then she carried on in the same manner with the rest of the people at our table.

Life here is carrying on as per normal. We found out that young Nick had/has, Glandular Fever. The clever little people working in white lab coats somehow discovered that, now three weeks ago, he had had the Flu, which probably meant that Mum and I also had the Flu. We thought it was just a nasty common cold, but apparently we were wrong. But Nick got worse, had a slight case of pneumonia and blood tests eventually proved he had this Glandular fever. When Mum heard that she was like, oh no, he's going to be out for weeks. (I remember Xj having this a few years back and being sick from it forever - actually, come to think of it, didn't your doctor at the time tell you to eat chocolate, Xj?) But somehow Nick has bounced back from it quite well - we're surprised, and seems Ok these days.

However, life for some of our farming clients and friends isn't the most happiest place at the moment. One older guy - I say older and basically mean he looks to be in his 70's but is coming on 100 with all of the stress he's facing with staffing issues. We feel really stink for him and we're trying to do what we can to help him out, but at the same time he can't afford to pay us so doesn't know what to do. Dad's just giving him advice for now, but we're worried about him. His wife says he's so strung out that he can't sleep - which is not a good thing, I don't blame him though. It's a massive 600 cow farm that he owns and he just can't run it himself but can't find the staff to do it either.

While my friend has quit his job this week on the farm where he's just started his third year on(I think). At like 5:15 the next morning he's texting me, asking me what his boss was going to be like that day?  As if I would know! And saying how he'd never, ever quit a job before. Luckily for his sake I was also working that morning, so while I was in a hurry trying to get ready for work and getting myself out the door, I'm also trying to talk some sense into him and hoping like heck that I wouldn't get home in a couple hours to find that he had decided not to go to work at all. He's my next door neighbour, you see.
From what I've since heard, his boss was being extra friendly yesterday so all I can think is that my friend must've lost the plot completely and now his boss is trying to be good about it. I was a little dumbstruck when he told me he had quit, but I think he was even more shocked at what he had done. So it's going to be just brilliant doing relief milking on that farm come October when my friend finally leaves, because then I'll be working with another useless worker (no offense to farm workers, but you do get used to the people you get to work with, and these days all of the good farm candidates are all taken...)

Last night was fun, seeing as Andrew was sitting at good old Auckland airport waiting for his plane to leave for Israel, he was actually in cellphone reception. So I spent a few hours chatting to him and found out that he didn't actually like Finding Nemo, so therefore wasn't too keen on Finding Dory. And he'd never heard of The BFG - I seriously had to consider our friendship after that!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Shortest Day

Winter has "technically" arrived, as yesterday was the shortest day of the year, bringing with it a heap of rain that, believe it or not, is quite pleasant. It's not cold, well not icy cold like it has been and there hasn't been any frosts lately. A good thing, that.

Although this rain that has been booked in for the last week has meant that a whole heap of work has been in a rush. We've had this one fencing job where the posts needed to all be in before the rain hit last night, as the tractor was working on a large lawn area that had a couple of nasty hills. We wouldn't have gotten the tractor out again once the lawn was slick from the rain, thankfully Dad and Nikolai (our newest employee) got all the posts in yesterday afternoon, making life today a little less stressful for Dad.

Monday was, for Nick, Nikolai and I, spent dismantling a couple fences. One made up of old concrete posts and wires that is being completely replaced. It actually wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, pulling the wires off the posts. However the Kikuya was as high as the fence at some points, so pulling rusty barbed wire through that was rather joyful. But it's all pulled out now thank goodness! Then Nikolai and I went on to the next job and rolled up all the wires on another fence which was much easier, so then yesterday they could pull all the posts up and sort the new fenceline. Perfect timing for this rain. But it was so, so nice to get out of the house for almost 6 hours on Monday doing all that work - it made a nice change rather than sticking around home doing next to nothing. I wouldn't say getting scratched to shreds from gorse, blackberry and rusty barb wire is high on the "most exciting job ever" list, but it was something different for once.
I'm doing the odd milking here and there but life isn't too busy these days. I can't believe June is almost over, as in a few weeks time we'll be flat stick!

We all somehow got jinxed over the last couple weeks and somehow caught colds (already!) however Nick has since progressed into the Flu which is verging on pneumonia - doctors' verdict from this morning anyway. We've gotta haul him back to the doc's tonight if all the drugs haven't made a difference by then. So fingers crossed he gets better, it's not something that you want to have around...

Everyone is staying mostly out of trouble these days. I keep putting off going to the dentist - I know I need to go but you know how it is...avoidance and procrastination won't keep my teeth looking amazing but yeah I've been avoiding them for over a year now....he he he ooops.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Everything Has Changed

Hello and welcome to June, and alas, winter. Hello winter...The first day of winter here was freezing! 5 degrees! For the winterless north, it was cold. I don't usually mind my earlier milking starts because the earlier it is the warmer it usually is. Typically around 6am it starts to get quite chilly and the good old fingers start going numb, which isn't the most handiest thing (see what I did there?) when you're using those fingers for work related reasons. But oh well, life goes on. Anyway, this first day of winter didn't follow instructions, it was freezing when I left for work at 4:40am, and when I got there at 5 it hadn't warmed up in the slightest. Not fun at all.
I realised with great sadness that morning that I'd need to start wearing woolly hats soon, which is a pain because I wear my hear up in a clip and you just can't get a hat over it. So that will mean I need to start plaiting my hair, which takes up more time. Thus I'd have to get up five minutes earlier in the mornings and my hair doesn't behave very much when I put it up like that. First world problems, I know! It's just frustrating. But then I thought, it's only my ears that are cold, so all I need to invest in is some fluffy earmuffs! Hehe in the winterless north, I might just get a bit of stick for doing that.

Today is OK though, you can sit in the sun and be warm but the wind has a bite to it. Made me glad for my sleep in this morning. It seems with the current work schedule, for the next couple weeks I should be able to squeeze in every Thursday morning off work, which makes a nice change from those early starts. Until the calf rearing starts up again in about six weeks time that is.

Life here at the moment is going well, as of yesterday we've been living in good old Northland for 14 years and we left Waipu and came back home three years ago. So we've been here doing what we're doing now for three years, it's such a relief to still be going so well!

I still haven't gotten back into studying, think I'll just flag the idea and come back to it next year, if I still want to do it, great. If not, oh well. I'm not really fussed, all I know is that I'm full out enjoying not having deadlines to meet with assignments and not needing to study up on things that may or may not be helpful in the future. Who knows, I may discover something else worth studying in the next six months, so it gives me time to plan if that was the case.
I quit being part of the young farmers' regional committee last week and it feels great to be well, set free, if that is the best way to describe it. I think I'm walking away from the club itself as well now, as are a couple other members - which surprised me. Yes, it means the club will die a cruel and lonely death, but hey, not my problem anymore. Maybe in a couple years I might go back, but right at the moment I'm not very keen.

However I'm not going to sit around at home doing nothing in between work hours. I'm taking up scrapbooking again. One of my favourite hobbies that I sort of lost interest in for the last few years. I just need to go and get a whole heap of photos printed and set myself to work. It'll be nice spending my money on things that I enjoy for a change, which is essentially what life is about, right? I dunno, at the moment it feels like everything is changing. For the good, for the better, just because it has to, I'm not sure. But I heard Taylor Swift's song "Everything Has Changed" on the radio one morning on my way to work this week and I guess a lightbulb flicked on in my head and I sorta just - realised. It's hard to describe, but it's good.
I'm ditching a whole heap of things and taking up some better things instead. What a better time to do it than with the change of season?

The puppies are up to absolutely no good these days. Actually, sorry, I meant Tessa the Terrier is up to absolutely no good these days. See, the other week I caught her on the lounge coffee table sniffing at a packet of wrapped up Gingernut biscuits. She got a yelling at from me for being on the table (what the heck?!) and I carried on with my day. Anyway later on I came back inside to hear Jackson barking pitifully about something. Ok, I thought, that doesn't sound right. I discovered Tessa on the beanbag and Jackson looking really sad - watching Tessa eating a Gingernut biscuit because she wasn't sharing with him! I honestly couldn't believe it, threw away the next couple biscuits in the packet that may have been contaminated by doggy breath and put said packet on the bench instead.

Fast forward a couple days, I discover the dogs - on two different occasions - have gotten into the bathroom and helped themselves to some absolutely delicious and extremely appetising toilet paper. Of course they were told off by me again. Later in the week, half of a Moro bar was left on the coffee table again, nobody thought much of it.
Mum found Miss Tessa chewing on something - part of the wrapper it seemed. Moro is missing in action but my detective skills showed some caramel on her jersey so the culprit seems obvious. What I want to know though, is what the heck is the dog doing helping herself to chocolate, and if we as people find Moro's chewy and difficult to eat - how did she do it so well!? Don't worry, the dog is okay, the chocolate didn't seem to harm her thank goodness.
Later on Mum and Dad went to work, and (for some unknown reason) Mum took a half bag of winegum lollies out of one of the vehicles and left them inside, out of dog reach, on the wall unit. That was fine, except that I came back into the room about ten minutes later to see Tessa chewing on something hard out whilst trying to act innocent. And poor Jackson was chewing on a pen that Tessa must have thrown at him to shut him up while she climbed up there. The bag was ripped open and a few winegums were laying around, so. That was thrown in the bin - no way were we having any more of those!

But alas, it doesn't stop there! That very same day before Mum left, she had gotten some sweet, short crust pastry out of the freezer to defrost. The intention was that I would cook it during the day and she would make custard for the pie later. Tessa got there first. She must have climbed onto the back of the couch - which is just below the bench, and helped herself to at least a quarter of the raw pastry. It was only because I went to cook it, that I realised a fair chunk was missing...I think she felt kinda sick later on that day. Possibly. The issue is that you really, really want to yell and scream at her. But you can't stop laughing that she wouldn't take it seriously anyway.
Today Mum saw Tessa go into the bathroom, grab a hold of the toilet paper - and ran with it, a long length flying around in the air behind her as it unrolled at high speed. She is so darn comical, but so darn naughty. We can't leave the room without her doing something troublesome.

Sunday, 22 May 2016


It's been a funny week, one filled with so many feijoa's that it's difficult to get my head around them. I made five, yes five feijoa cakes in two days. The first day I made one, simply for something to do in between my milkings. A bit of an experiment, if that's the best description for it. Just to see what would happen, and yeah, with the intention of killing off a couple of those green fruit! Ok, so maybe just three feijoa's were needed in the making of that cake, but it was so yum!
I went to work telling Cam that I'd spent a part of my day making this cake and he replied, jokingly - "did you leave it in your car?" AKA, he kinda wanted some, now that I'd mentioned it. Honestly, lol.

I'd done a whole seven day stretch on this farm for a change, and finished up on Thursday. So that afternoon I took along a feijoa cake for Cam and Hamish to enjoy before I came back today, Saturday. I had spent quite a decent part of my day making four of these cakes, freezing two of them for winter (we've been freezing quite a few sponge cakes as well, just to use up the eggs we're getting), leaving one for us and taking one to work. But I sliced them in half and filled them with cream and sliced feijoa this time round - apparently it was really good, so that's some good feedback. Actually, they ate the whole thing in one day, so. lol

*Edit, fast forward to Sunday :)

Yesterday I made a good effort and did some feijoa preserving, only seven bottles as we didn't have enough seals. Today I got in another 12 bottles. however now I look at those evil little green things (or not so little, in some cases) and squirm. Almost 20 bottles later and I'm sick of the idea of them! There's still a fair few on the tree and on the ground, but I reckon they can just stay there and go back into the cycle of nature, or something!

I'll tell you what though, I'm sick of this cold weather, and it isn't even winter yet! We're getting the southerly winds now so it's pretty icy. One minute the sun is out - take Friday for instance, we were scorching in the heat building some stock yards for a client. Now, the wind and rain comes with random bursts of enthusiasm, and the likelihood that it will suddenly start raining when you decide to pop outside (when previously it was quite sunny), is very high. It's annoying. Autumn has been quite chilly this year, but I'm still in the summer clothing - save for wearing a jersey every now and again. I'm kinda thinking that pulling out the old trackies for future use might just be the way to go in the next couple days!
Tessa the Terrier is always feeling the cold, constantly in her little doggy jumper or snuggled up on our lap, trying to soak in some extra heat. I'm telling you, these dogs of ours are fire and ice, one can't handle cold weather (my gosh, if she lived in the south island!) and one can't handle the heat. They freaked out with their first thunderstorm on Friday night, so winter/spring with the little rascals is definitely going to be interesting.

Last Monday was fun, I took the afternoon off work and went to Rainbow's End with Chantelle, Sam and Bee. A real girls day out for Chantelle's 21st birthday. It was fun! The last time I went there, I was only a little kid, probably in the region of about 3 or 4 years old. I can hardly remember it, but this time was really cool.
Chantelle, Bee and I all went on the "Fear Fall", which isn't actually that high, but in saying that I won't be going on it again. That moment of - holey moley we're falling, was a little too, yeah. See if I jumped off something - say skydiving or bungee jumping, at least I would know when I would start trying to defy gravity. But just sitting there, up in the air, looking around and omgosh we're falling! For about a second. Then you're back on the ground again. It wasn't exciting, wasn't terrifying, was just one of those things I probably wouldn't bother with again!

But it was super fun over all, I had two favourite rides, Invader and the Stratosfear. The latter of which is like a pendulum, that swings 360 degrees, so you're hanging upside down for a little while which is pretty awesome. I just couldn't stop laughing on that one, you expect people to be screaming - a few did, but I'm hanging upside down in hysterics because it's so blimmen stupidly weird. It was funny.
The Bumper Boats were cool, apart from getting soaked. They sure are a ride for the more warmer months. We went out for dinner afterwards to Nando's then trekked our ways home again, leaving poor Bee in Auckland (I really couldn't live there!) and Sam drove Chantelle and I home back to a more northern part of the country. Sam got her Visa to go to California that morning, so it won't be long until she leaves us in September for her big study trip to the USA. It's gonna be sad to see her go.

But alas it is almost milking time again. I get to go out for an hour and a half and annoy Hamish with my sarcastic comments and jokes. I'm getting really fast in my aging youth, that I quite often spit out a funny remark without even really thinking about it. It's pretty funny. Then I've got days off again on Monday and Tuesday - a trip to town is in order on Tuesday with Mum, to get some things done and get my car repairs done at the same time.
Thinking forward, I've got Kurtis' 21st birthday party to go to in two weeks, then the wedding I'm going to a week after that on the 11th. As I'm sitting here with a shivering puppy on my knee, I'm getting more and more conscious of the fact that winter weddings aren't too clever. It's okay for guys, they'll all be wearing their suits or nice jeans and jackets. Girls with our nice dresses and shoes are going to freeze our toes off - I will hazard a guess that I'll come home with blimmen frostbitten toes. Ok, hehe, maybe not that bad, but it's gonna be cold!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Winning Again

The young farmers did our somewhat annual inter-club battle of Ten Pin bowling and Laser Tag last night, our third round in the last two years or so. Sadly there were only eight of us there but it was still a good occasion where only three of us went from my club.
Thinking about all the stats though, my club basically dominated the entire night. Nick, Kurtis and I were all in the same ten pin team with J from the other club joining us. J took over in the ten pin, with Kurtis and I coming in 3rd and 4th across the two teams. I won overall in the laser tag (again, third time in a row, will anyone ever beat me????), and Kurtis won for his team. So thinking about it, I reckon that basically means that (whoop whoop) we're at the top of the leader board in the competition in general. Not that it's really a competition, it's just a good time once a year, but the fact that nobody has beaten me yet in laser tag - I dunno, that's pretty outstanding.
The intention is to go down to Auckland for the next round and play a bigger, better game of Laser Force - which, according to Kurtis, is bigger, better and will really bring out the best in us in regards our ability to kill each other...haha.

The last week or so has been constantly busy. I haven't had many nights at home, so when I do get to stay home all day it's pretty awesome. Tuesday last week I went out for dinner with Sam and Chantelle. Just at one of the local pubs, nothing too fancy but it was a chance to catch up on everything that's been happening - we don't often get to meet up together. It's getting more important to hang out these days as Sam is soon to move over to California in September. She'll be over there until this time next year, so the more time we get to spend with her, the better!
As it stands we've got a plan to head off to Rainbow's End in a couple weeks. Sam already had appointments in Auckland that day, and it ties in with Chantelle's day off and also her 21st birthday. So I'll wag work that day too and we're going down for a day of it - fingers crossed some other friends are able to go too - Bee, what are your chances!?

Wednesday I went to the movies with someone, ironically also by the name of Sam and he's my next door neighbour (lol). That was pretty fun, we grabbed some dinner then watched Hunt For the Wilderpeople. My gosh that movie was so, so funny. Our New Zealand made movies are pretty out there. Like, all the typical American ones have heaps of green screen scenes, all the stunt doubles and computer generated things. Of course, that's exactly what The Hobbit will have too, but the Wilderpeople movie, just straight kiwi humour. If you haven't seen it, you definitely should.

Thursday was our young farmer meeting and Friday I also had to pop out for a couple hours for something else. Fast forward to this week, Tuesday our new post banger arrived - we'd traded the old one in and have bought a new one - that was a pretty big deal of a day. Wednesday was my first day off milking and Dad's birthday. So we got to spend the day with him out fencing all day, which wasn't too bad come to think of it. We got to have pizza from town for dinner (real pizza...mmmm) and then I went all out and put candles on his cake. Except some of them may have been those magic, relighting candles. Actually no, sorry. Half of them were relighting candles and I had put 24 candles on the cake. He he he
It was awesome, Mum, Nick and I were all rolling around on the floor in hysterics while Dad is desperately trying to blow out the insistent candles that just kept on relighting. In then end the whole room was smokey and Dad just took the cake into the kitchen and put the candles under water. hehehe. At the same time, it was like those candles were laced with something because we all felt pretty wired after being in all the smoke. Someone would say the most basic thing, but for some reason it was hilarious and Nick and I couldn't stop laughing. Gosh it was weird.

Finally, yesterday Mum and I had a trip to town for my car service which lead to a slightly more, uh, expensive day than I initially intended. I took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping while poor Ali went under the knife. I've literally nothing to wear for a wedding I'm going to in June - after having never been to a wedding other than my sister's. Suddenly, I'm some sort of expert shopper and managed to go in on a day where there were so many specials. I was a stinge last year and never bought a nice leather jacket because I gulped at the price of it at the time. We went back into the same shop and saw another nice one yesterday, thankfully it wasn't in the same price range as the last one and Mum pretty much gave me a grilling - just buy it, it'll last forever. So now I'm the proud owner of a small, black leather jacket that will be perfect for every occasion where you need to "dress well". AKA weddings, black tie dinners, etc.
The next shop we went into, I found two nice dresses. It's awesome when you don't expect to be able to wear anything in some shops, and then you try something and they fit perfectly. For someone who usually shops at the Warehouse, it was a very successful day, I couldn't choose between the two dresses and they were so cheap, so I just bought them both. I'll wear them, there's no doubt about it. The issue is choosing between them both!

Poor Ali though, she's running amazing now after the oil and filters having been changed. But she needs to go back in the next couple weeks as the radiator hose is swollen - which apparently means it's teetering on the edge of bursting, which basically means I'll lose all the coolant in the engine and I could fry the engine if it happens. I'll know if it does, they say the temp gauge will sky rocket and then eventually not read at all as the coolant will have run out. I have been given firm instructions, do NOT drive if this happens. STOP. So, I'll be keeping an eye on that until I can get my car back into town with a few more coins to pay for it, because it sounds kinda pricey. :( Car ownership, I guess. That's what my savings are for.

Monday, 25 April 2016

ANZAC Day: 101 Years - Lest We Forget

Today marks a couple things, 22 years since one of my Great Grandfathers died - on Anzac day, sad as he was a veteran. 23 years since Mum and Dad got engaged - yep, on Anzac day. And 100 years since Anzac day began, while I also can't believe it's been a whole year since the Anzac memorial thing at Te Papa was unveiled.
Only five days left of April 2016 - this year has gone incredibly fast and it's concerning!

They're saying it's getting more and more important for our younger generation to remember our ancestors who were part of the war/s, to know their stories and pass them on. But I only ever met one out of my three Great Grandfathers as the other two had already passed before I was born. I hear the odd story now and again but I can never remember the finer details or who they belong to, which is sad.
The only story I know, although I'm not too sure who it belongs to on Mum's side of the family, is the bath theft. I'm not sure whether it was normal back then, or just in this battalion, but the lower ranked soldiers weren't allowed to bath - only the head honcho's, so to speak, were entitled to have one. I'm not sure how often or why. Could you imagine lugging a bath around in battle? Probably cast iron, and not even being able to use it?
So, they stole it. My Great Grandad among them, took it, hid it and they all got a bath. lol if it was my Grandad's Dad, then I can actually imagine it, as my Grandad was a bit of a comedian himself!

It's been a busy month filled with milkings and fencing and the like. I've just had another cool weekend milking with Hamish and I left on Sunday night with my car boot filled with some amazing produce from their garden. I've given them some feijoa's because we've got so many, and sent a bit of baking their way to the cowshed as well. He said at the end of milking just before he ran off to do more jobs that he'd left a few pumpkins in the back of my car, but I didn't expect to open it to find five pumpkins - a couple I've never seen before or even tasted, as well as a massive basket overflowing with kumera (they're blimmen huge too) and potatoes. It really warms the heart, being surrounded by so many good people.

Our day today has been filled with so many things around home, we're trying to tidy up a few things as well as make some areas a little more dog proof - currently the little munchkins have a few exit points out into the paddocks next door and into the vege garden, therefore the compost bin. Yum, not. So while Dad was playing tractors spreading dirt around and flattening some areas after all his time playing with dirt prior to Christmas (there were just massive mounds of soil...) Mum, Nick and I fixed up the garden gate - changing the hinge system around a bit, adding more rails so Tessa can't just hop through the gaps, and raised the entrance area with dirt and terracotta chips so they can't go under the gate either.
Kills ten birds with one stone really, stops the dogs from getting in, means we can now open the gate in or out, preventing another common mud area into the garden by spreading the terracotta chips, and well spreading the terracotta chips was a job that's been waiting for like, four years lol.

And Dad, playing tractors (haha) spread all the dirt and Nick rode around on the four wheeler towing an old pallet (makeshift harrows) so it's now finally ready to have new grass seed spread. Tidied up all the fencing stock - posts, rails, etc., and pulled up a few old tree stumps along the boundary so we can carry on with the last section of iron fence. Thus stopping the darling munchkins from escaping through another point. Only issue now, Tessa can squeeze her little body between the wires on our post and batten fence - it's like, ten wires, I don't know how she does it. While we did fix up something so they couldn't get into the front yard, darling Tessa is proving her Terrier jumping ability is in perfect condition, so she just leaps over anything in her way.
It's a serious hassle, but they're never outside on their own anyway so it's not too big a deal thus far.

I'm preparing myself for a busy week, although I don't have any work on again until Friday, my social life is suddenly busy! Dinner with Chantelle and Sam tomorrow night, which will be great to catch up with them again. I'm off to the movies with someone else on Wednesday night. Thursday night is our young farmer meeting - although I'm not sure whether I'll go or not yet. While Friday night Mum and I are going to a girls night thing, should be fun. I probably sound like a social butterfly haha, but I haven't been out "socialising" all month!

Oh yeah and bonus, I saved up a massive amount of money to get my car fixed up - ya know, that airbag issue? I was told the part would be anywhere between $400 and $600, plus all the extra costs involved. Anywho, I got a nice surprise from the auto electrician who I don't like seeing all that often but I like him more and more the cheaper the costs are, when he said it was just a bit of faulty wiring - about $150 in total. Completely stoked. Phew!