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!