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!