Tuesday, 29 March 2016


There are a few days, quite often where I just sit at home and get seriously bored out of my mind, to the point where I can stalk through the house, possibly zombie eyed, trying to find something to set my mind to. There are a few things I can do, sure, but they are the sort of things you can only do if you are seriously enthused to do it. So if you aren't enthused, one must go find some job to do that takes no concentration but it needs doing and nothing can be harmed by doing it wrong if your mind isn't set to the task.
That being said, there was one day last week where I was left home alone to watch the dogs and hang out by myself, so I weeded the garden. Quite honestly. I was that bored, I went out there and hacked away at all the deadly nightshade that had taken residence in the potato patch and biffed it all in the compost and also planted some kumara. Some of the sacks of kumara we've bought in the last month or so had started sprouting tubers, so Mum and I thought we'd give it a shot, and put the tubers in some water for a few weeks until I got around to planting them. They're in big pots in the glasshouse now, so at least the cooler weather shouldn't harm them. I'm pretty excited to grow my own kumara, it's like one of the best foods on the planet - just saying.

So now, instead of wandering around bug eyed, looking for something to do, I flick through my new recipe books Mum and Dad gave me at Christmas - 200 chocolate recipes and 200 baking recipes. Sometime last week I made these marbled cupcakes, you know, with real chocolate and a sweet, sweet butter icing. I honestly wasn't too keen on them, but everyone else really enjoyed them. Although I'll skip out on their butter icing recipe (white and chocolate coloured to match the cake) and just do a normal icing next time round. Or perhaps do less icing, something anyway because it was just too sweet./
While yesterday I made a beetroot chocolate cake. Yep, you heard right. I've heard of people doing it before, but scoffed at the idea - eww, beetroot in a chocolate cake, no way. Basically because I hate carrot cakes and that's all I can think of when I imagine vegetables in a cake! But everyone swears by this type of cake, it was in the recipe book, it doesn't need alcohol (why do yummy looking chocolate cakes need alcohol?!?!) so I gave it a shot. I'm impressed.

Apart from looking at the batter with the deep purple colour, and not being game enough to try the batter raw like I would with any other recipe, the cake is perfect. Let me just say that recently I'm not the best at making cakes, the intention is good but no matter how hard I try to get it done quickly without over beating, it always takes far too long to cook and turns out hard on the outside and not quite cooked in the centre. (Our old cake tin died, it makes a difference).
However, this blimmen cake filled with beetroot, so, so good. It is moist, not too sweet, cooked perfectly all the way through, almost 24 hours later it hasn't gone stale and you can't even taste the beets. There is this somewhat after taste in the back of your mouth where you know you've eaten beetroot, but it's not a bad taste. Coming from someone who thinks beetroot is OK but nothing to sing home about, that's a pretty decent result!
So long as we have access to beetroot in the garden, I'll be making it again! And I think I'm going to make it for a few people so they can try it too. I mentioned it to Hamish on the weekend and my neighbour yesterday, but neither of them seemed too convinced. I will convert them! lol

Now you might've noticed above I mentioned the word "dogs". No, I didn't make a typo, we now have two dogs. Puppies, little animals. Whatever you want to call them. Last Wednesday Mum and Dad traveled north to get Dad a puppy, who we'd known about for less than a week. Yes, it might've been an impulse decision, but it certainly wasn't a bad one!
Tessa is a little 10 week old Jack Russell x Foxy, she's gorgeous. If you ever had a "Spot" dog teddy as a kid, she looks almost just like it, with an almost entirely white body with black ears and face, and two large black spots on her back. We all adore her, but she's definitely Dad's dog. The idea is that she will go to work with him to keep him company, such as sit in the spray ute beside him or go fencing with him and Nick. She's gonna need a little hi-viz jacket to look the part, but she's gonna love it. She already happily goes for rides in the vehicles with Dad places and travels really well.

Jackson is absolutely smitten, they have massive play fights where they're both chasing eachother around the house, inside and out. Although she does have that killer instinct already that we're going to need to keep in check. She grabs hold of poor Jackson's floppy ears and does the whole, death shake thing, or latches onto his legs until he yelps in pain. Of course they're just playing, but her jaws are already very strong. With that in mind she respects the cats so now I'm not worried about her harming them, she and Pippa play and chase each other as if they've been mates since birth. Quite seriously, Pippa, Tessa and Jackson all run around outside playing like the crazy animals they are, Pippa with her large psyched eyes filled with unmistakable joy.
Originally we thought that Jackson thought he must be a cat, now we're more inclined to think that Pippa thinks she's a dog, and it's great that after more than a year of her being here she has two best buddies when as a kitten she was constantly traumatised from the other cats beating her up.

I think perhaps the biggest joke is how soft we've gotten. Or, Dad's gotten. Two dogs, in the house, when years ago a dog couldn't step one paw in the house without getting a blasting. The dogs each have their own little pet bed to sleep in, and I got one for Pippa recently too from one of those clearance stores where everything is excessively cheap. Although we think that Tessa snuggles with Jackson at night to keep warm. So at about 9:30 every night, unless I'm already asleep, we all take our little friend to the porch and pop them into their little beds. Kiss them goodnight and they all snuggle down to sleep, it's so cute. The other night Pippa was being so cuddly, she gets like that when she's really tired and it is simply the sweetest thing.
When I was younger the cats were put out at night, no matter what the weather was like, and they were left to their own devices to find somewhere warm and dry to sleep. No matter how much I cried when I was little during those really stormy nights, knowing my poor cat was out there somewhere, Mum and Dad held their ground hard. But nowadays....ha ha! Tessa even sits on Dad's lap at night and watches the TV. Ridiculous.

You have to admit though, she's pretty darned cute.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Self Defense

Life is great when you have some cool people to spend it with :)

I've been busy, lots to do but also not a lot at the same time, and a fair bit to update on here. OK.

I've been doing women's self defense courses/sessions/things, whatever you wanna call it. It's where I basically drive over to the next town, catch up with Chantelle and we buddy up and get taught how to beat each other up - for our own protection. Lol, sounds a little off, right? Nah, there are some Kempo instructors who have decided to run a quick, one hour long session once a week for four weeks so that some women can learn a little bit of self defense if they were to need it any time in the future. It's cheap - $10 a week, and we get taught some helpful things.
Such as blocking a punch, getting out of bad situations like grabs from behind and the like you'd expect from not very nice people. Apparently I have a very good punch - I would expect nothing less after growing up with Nick! (I joke) and sometimes all I want to do is actually try it out.

See these little sessions are great, but for obvious reasons we can't have contact with the friend you're doing it with, so when you want to elbow someone under the jaw you put a lot of "oomph" into it so you know you're doing it correctly - but you certainly can't actually do it! Which is kind of frustrating. I wish there was some type of robotic thing that you could practice on that resembled those sorts of attacks from a person, and you could do it properly without fear of injuring somebody...Anyway, there was one occasion in our second week where Chantelle did actually get me in the face - it kinda hurt, but we were all laughing too much to really care.
The instructor reckons that if you put a palm heel into the attackers face, top lip/nose sort of area, if you hit it hard enough you could actually induce vomiting - which is how you know you've done a good job. It's a pressure point filled with nerves, and yeah that's where Chantelle hit me, thankfully not hard enough!
It's fun though, we've got just one more session to do this Wednesday night coming, and twice we've gone down to the pub for dinner afterwards for a debrief and catch up on how our week has been. It's nice to be spending more time with her, even if only for a few hours. When we were younger we'd do three or four day weekends hanging out, now we hardly get time, so it makes a nice change :)

I'm back working at my favourite cowshed again, you know that one I just won't shut up about? Automated system, so much fun, Cameron and Hamish, etc., etc., etc.? Yeah, that one. I'm on my second weekend there and today I'm helping feed calves too, which I'll help out with after milking for the next few weekends as they need the help - until the busy period of autumn calving is finished. They're calving 250 cows, and officially started a week or so ago - it's a short stint of calving, so they're pretty busy beavers at the moment. It's great to be back, I had a good catch up with Hamish last weekend, and now Cam. I think they're just glad to see a new face in the cowshed again - it must get kinda boring without me to chat to every so often, and I'm stoked to be back. Well I was, until I found out my favourite friendly heifer died over the summer when I was away, to think that I was so looking forward to seeing her again, but hey.
But last night Jo - Cam's wife - invited me to join them all for dinner. It was their family, Cam's parents, Hamish and his family and my neighbour, Sam - who's Jo's brother. I've known Jo and Sam's family for years - since I was about 7 or 8, so it wasn't too big a deal to join them. Jo said it was just a farm dinner thing, but it was nice to be invited and it was good to go to dinner without it being too dramasome.
It's funny actually, usually if we were invited to dinner there is a clear separation of "adults" and "kids" and I would always be sent off with the kids. Yeah I guess we aren't often going to family friend's for dinner and vice versa, it's been quite a few years! But last night it was the same, except I hung out with all the "adults", just chatting and listening - and watching the kids all going crazy outside as kids do.
So it was quite pleasant being able to just go, especially on my own without any of my family or whatnot being there too - it was like any big family and friend dinner should be - everyone talking with everyone. Much more preferable over young farmer meet ups, where you sit and if someone speaks to you you don't know where to be happy about it or not - depending on who the person is...

It's also good to be considered good enough company to be invited around for dinner, not just the "relief milker", although I won't say it wasn't a coincidence or  there wasn't an underlying reason why I was invited - I'm pretty sure there is something going on in the background that involves me. And I'm pretty positive I know exactly what it is, but unfortunately for you guys - I'm going to leave you hanging ;) for the meantime anyway, sorry! When there is updated, public information, I'll let you know. Don't try and guess!

Oh, and it looks like we have ourselves a new full timer starting in June! It's my friend Nikolai, I've known him through youth group for these last few years and, ironically, he used to work for Jo and Cam - but he moved to the Waikato for a farm job there and left me to pick up the slack with Cam and Hamish. Anyway, he's heading back this way, needs a job and we have one for him. He came around this morning for another catch up and confirmed he definitely wanted the job, which is great for me as now I can definitely RSVP to go to a wedding in June, oh and we can also start taking more bookings now too.
Fingers crossed it will all work out well.

In other news, the weather has certainly changed direction as most days now are quite cold and icy with the wind, work is continuous - although I have a few days off and get bored out of my mind sitting around at home. Jackson and Pippa are still BFF's. Oh, and Nick has a girlfriend - although he still hasn't updated his relationship status on FB yet - I'll keep you posted! hehehe

Monday, 7 March 2016

One Three Frow

We've got this, I dunno, concrete patio I guess you could call it. It's out the back of our house, probably 8 by 10 metres - or, something like that. But it's great, we've got a retaining wall and a nice lawn about a metre and a half above it. The lawn slopes down on one side of the concrete, as does the retaining with some 6 by 2 boards on top, therefore making a brilliant little spot for me to sit on!
I don't like sitting on the outside chairs, as they've got a bad habit of providing a bed and breakfast arrangement for spiders, so finding me sitting on one of them would be a seriously uncommon occurrence.
Anyway, this is where I'm sitting now, convenient having a laptop, I just go into the office, finally manage to hook up to the wifi, load this page and then come out here and type. I don't usually bring said laptop out here as I'm hardly using it these days. But this little posse is perfect when Jackson is running around outside, chasing or being chased by Pippa. Except for the problem is that Pippa will launch herself off the retaining and Jackson often nearly follows - this is fine, except if he were to jump he would just as quickly break his little legs. It's a bit of a game we all play now, he thinks it's jolly great, I on the other hand, do not.

It's funny, with the change over from February to March, the weather has suddenly done a 180. It's like, 7:45 ish, at the moment and by 8:30 it'll be pitch black, it's chilly too. I used to sit out here until about 10pm some nights, mostly just to get some time by myself but also to cool down a bit from the humidity. Summer this year was blimmen weird!
But now, I'm thinking my fingers better hurry up and get this written because I'm starting to get cold. Winter will be icy this year, me thinks :)

I've two more milkings tomorrow, then finally I'm getting three days off from Wednesday. I've been going straight for two weeks or so now, which is OK, but I'm getting bored of leaving the house prior to 5am, all I want is to sleep past 6! lol. That was my dream last Tuesday morning when I woke up, knowing I would have last Wednesday and Thursday to myself, thinking that all I wanted to do was get a slightly longer sleep. AND then, that night, the eve of my "weekend off", the phone rang. My neighbour is sick, so could I cover for him on the farm he works on? It's not a bad shed, it's quite pleasant milking there actually and I don't often get the pleasure of going there, so I was fine with it. The joke, 6am cups on, hallelujah I can sleep past 5!! Haha
They called again on Wednesday night so I covered for him Thursday morning too, bye-bye sleep in for another week, but he's my neighbour and the farmers are nice people, I don't mind helping them all out a bit.
Fingers crossed, there is no repeat though, I really, really am getting tired. And the issue is that my body clock will wake me nice and early on Wednesday morning. It's a shame, really...

Thursday was the start of the Northland Fieldays, held annually in Dargaville. It's a decent drive for us, but we try to go most years. I didn't even look around this year, I just walked my way through the "streets" and found the northern young farmers site and helped out there for two or three hours. The weather was pretty blimmen perfect, you couldn't have asked for a better day to be quite honest. And it had rained a few days prior, so there wasn't as much dust as usual - thankfully.
The young farmers, that was a fun time. One of our more engineer based members, built a dunk-tank, just for the occasion. I'll add some pictures once I get some internet soon. Basically, it's an old calf milk vat, with a seat for someone to sit on. People throw balls at the target on a massive board (it's really hard to hit it, believe me, I tried!), and when they do hit said target - to say it lightly, the seat tips forward and the victim (hehe) falls in and gets drenched.

Punters think it's awesome when one of our members fall in, and the crowds it was pulling in was phenomenal! Suddenly there were massive groups of people watching in awe as balls fly through the air, I dunno it was just a massive attraction that the fieldays has never seen before. When I was a kid, the most exciting thing I could do was run around with Nick getting freebies. There was nothing majorly exciting like that! And these days there are no freebies.
A couple of us would shout out "One Free Throw", but we were getting seriously tongue-tied and said one three frow most of the time, I don't think anyone noticed. Some people sorta stopped and stared, but they weren't keen on having a try, but as more and more punters go into it, these onlookers suddenly got the urge to try it too. Then they would want another go, and we would disappoint them and state that they had to now pay - $2 for one more throw or $5 for five more throws. On the first day, we made about $250 from the dunk tank.

However there were a couple mishaps, especially when there was a slight language barrier between an Asian guy and I. He was older, and a little excited. I said, "Throw it at the target". "Where?!?! At her?" (pointing at Meredith who was on the tank at the time) At the target! "huh?" The flying pig on the board! Suddenly he threw the ball, at Meredith. I was gobsmacked, she ducked thankfully and looked horrified, looking at me like, what the HECK just happened?!? He just did the typical "oh, oh, oh, no english" sort of stutter and off he went giggling away, he knew exactly what he had done. There were also a couple little kids who were out of control. We would let them stand about a metre away from the board to have a go - adults were about three metres away -, but one kid grabbed the ball off me and just let loose aye. I have not a clue what to do when that happens lol, he ran up to the board and forced the ball against the target and released poor Will who was up there at the time. He might've been about 4? 5? Little tyke had an evil grin on his face and his mother was mortified, as was Will but he just sorta laughed it off, as you do.
It worked out, over the entire three days of fieldays we pulled in about $1000 more or less and now YF Head Office have asked to hire the dunk tank for the National Fieldays this year. We could make so much money off it, totally make all the other regions jealous of our brilliant creation, make a whole heap of victim members freeze to death in the middle of winter, and provide a heck load of entertainment for the punters. If the want to see people get wet in summer, they'll definitely want people to get wet in winter. Humans are evil creatures, haha.

The funny thing was that good old Winston Peters was walking the streets with another politcal person, of sorts. We managed to pull him over, make him throw the ball and then got a picture of him with us too. I don't believe that he really was that interested, but I guess he realised he didn't have much of a choice since he is part of the Government and all that, he has to give people time from his day if they ask. So that was pretty funny. I never ended up asking him what flag he was going to vote for though, bit of a bummer, that.