Sunday, 22 January 2017

Introducing: Annie

So, as per my last blog most would know that I have a new car now, she's arrived and I brought her home last Tuesday afternoon.
It was a somewhat uneventful trip back, on my own in my new and unfamiliar car. It was odd, but okay. Actually quite terrifying because I didn't want to crash it or ding it or anything like that, as if it was somebody else's car instead of my own. However in saying that I'm slowly getting used to her.

I didn't have a name for a couple days, until Dad came with me into town and said I should call her Goldie (although Laura had already said that one) and then he said she should be Annie because of her colour. I never had anything to do with the Annie musical, all I know was that she had burning red hair and this is similar so Annie she is. (Quite close to Ali but I'm sure I'll get used to this one) and that is that. She has already been introduced to the gravel roads she will soon learn to take in her stride...and a bit of cow poo too sadly. She's gotten rather dusty driving to and from Tay's and to the beach the other night. But she'll get used to it - she can't stay spick and span her whole life can she?

So, a photo. I don't have any interior photos as I haven't taken any and it's raining outside and I really can't be bothered! But this will give you an idea of what she looks like.

She doesn't look that clean anymore, but oh well. I'm still not too sure on the reversing camera, trying to stick to my old ways of relying on mirrors only. Although it is handy when reversing out of parks because you can see a fair bit which is rather handy, but it still makes me nervous reversing her. She stinks like heck, especially the burning engine smell and the dealer told me to 'drive her like I stole her...but remember I'll be paying for the speeding ticket!'
She's a nice car and although one particular person wasn't too impressed with my buying her (not naming names lol) but everyone else thinks she's great. It'll mean I don't have many dollars to my name anymore but at least I won't be concerned about so many car bills.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing - to think about the money I could have saved had I not spent it all on Ali, but that's life and there's no point in thinking about all the past happenings.

Over last weekend I finally got to milk again - with Taylor as his boss was on holiday so I covered three milkings that the other relief milker couldn't do. It was rather odd spending basically four days there, stopping in at home every so often to touch base with Mum and Dad. Taylor is sick at the moment and in a lot of pain (he's just found out the abdominal pain is due to a hernia, which is bad enough the surgery is only a couple weeks after diagnosing it) - going in for an operation this week - so at least my being there meant I could help out a lot. Moving the cows in the afternoon, shifting the break fences in the turnips, opening and shutting gates and opening the baleage so he wasn't having to be on and off the tractor all the time. It was nice being on one farm and doing things other than just turning up and milking - and I got to see most of the farm too as well as seeing my calves and the yearlings too...not that they were all that interested in me. They just wanted food.

Oh yeah, so it's pretty dry up here. I honestly hadn't even noticed, which probably sounds crazy but you just get used to dry summers and droughts that it's just normal. It wasn't until the water shortages were all over the internet and newspapers etc. The council shut down the water supply for either 24 or 48 hours? So local trucking companies couldn't transport water to the locals on tank supply (that's not us, as we buy bore water for our tank - rather than the council chlorinated stuff).
This of course caused a massive outrage, some people will have had no water in their tanks for two weeks at the most, and water trucks are going for all hours of the day. Some people are even stealing water, I'm not even joking. Someone came home to find their tank which had about 7000L left in it, had be siphoned dry. And some scumbag (sorry, it's true) emptied one of the local St. John ambulance station's tank dry too, just the other night. Although the locals banded together to get that one refilled with donations, as well as working out money to pay for security cameras at the station too.

All over facebook on the town pages, everyone is talking about how they're conserving their water. There are the usual putting a brick or jar in the toilet cisterns, while others say they stand in a bucket during their shower and reuse the water for toilets or gardens, or putting a bucket in the sink to catch all the cold water while you're waiting for the hot to come through and then using that elsewhere. Although there are a couple of extreme ones where they reuse washing machine water at least three times. I'm not too sure I could do that - sure maybe reuse it once if the first load wasn't too dirty but otherwise. We always caught the water and used it on the garden, that worked fine.
Last night we welcomed 21mm of rain and the crops next door are greening up already, but the sun and wind over the next couple days will simply dry it out again, it's just a northland battle.

In general things are ticking along - we've got a massive post and rail fencing job that we're working on at present. It was started last Monday/Tuesday and it'll hopefully be finished by the end of this week - weather dependent. It's all very slow work, everything has to be immaculate. Dad's using the laser level to put in the posts, so they're all at the exact same height - no matter what the ground is like (it's mostly flat with a very slight rise in a couple places) there are four rails to do with one on top to cap it. I then have to go along the top rail with the router to round off one edge. It's slow, tedious work but we're getting there. Two sections are complete apart from the gates and they look awesome. It's nice to stand back and see how well you're doing.

We're using screws with all of our post and rails now, rather than nails. That way the rails won't pop off or twist when they get wet and then dry out, like you'd often see. This line in particular goes down the driveway and right to the road, perfectly straight! And it is in a very upmarket town - Matakana. Think rich horsey people, wineries etc., and you'll understand why it has to look the part.

Here is the little lagoon off the beach that I like to swim in. It's all shells in here and the tide was right out, but during high tide the water is quite deep and comes right up to the edge of the white shells. it's nice and calm in here, people jump off from the left hand side of the top photo, about where my shadow is in the bottom one. And usually the bulk of the rocks in the bottom photo are covered and you'd only see the darker tips of them. I've never seen the water so clear here before.
Also in the bottom picture is where the diving/spear fishing happens. Everyone swims out from the lagoon, way out past the rocks. Although I won't be taking part in it, as there are Bronze Whalers that hang around. Taylor's friend lost the spear he was borrowing, he had left it on the ocean floor with fish on it so he could collect some mussels, suddenly the float was a long distance away and when he followed it it was quickly pulled away. A shark took the fish as a free feed, including the spear, rope and buoy - about $350 worth of gear. Oops.

My Dad's sister and her family have been up this way from the Manawatu, and stayed here during their travels for a few days, so we took them out to a couple of our beaches including this one.

Maggie is doing well, however Pippa - not so much. She's possibly got a lung infection and is on antibiotics after her $90 vet visit last Wednesday. She is wheezing a lot, especially when she purrs and her lungs are quite crackly which isn't good. Fingers crossed the medication kicks in soon otherwise it might just get a bit pricey. Maggie is going in to be spayed soon too, these animals all seem to cost a fair bit all at the same time!!

She's quite big now, this picture is about a month old - her ears are still too big for her though!
This is the other day, Pippa wasn't feeling well :) Maggie was cold!

Taylor still hasn't named his kitten, currently called No-Name but he's adorable nonetheless!

Some more pictures of the fencing we're doing...

Pens for the horsey stables....

our awesome post banger can work well under trees :)

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

New Horizons...and Dashboards

Yet again, not much is going on. I haven't had any work for over a week now so it means I'm not doing all that much. It leads to some serious boredom and frustrations one could only imagine. However I'm slowly getting used to it; the quiet life does not suit me.

Yesterday however, was a very big day with a rather big step forward and I guess financially wise - a horrendously big step back. Well not quite, but it's in the process. I sold Ali yesterday. Yup, my beautiful red BMW is gone and I'll never see her again. It's actually quite an emotionally taxing thing for me - selling my car. Same thing happened when I sold my first car and bought Ali, the guilt was ridiculous and that car didn't even have a name!
So trading old Ali in, I wasn't really processing that it was actually happening and it was only when we were driving home after cleaning out all of my things that I felt rather bleh. Poor Ali.
I guess I'd better explain.

We all four of us went north yesterday. One ute needed a service, the other needed a warrant - both at Holden (seeing as we don't trust our local mechanics...) so I took Ali up there as well to see what trade in value I'd get. I was sort of hoping somewhere along the lines of a friendly two thousand dollars. Hmm. Because they just flick cars like her straight to Turners Auctions I was never going to get much for her, however I didn't expect them to say only half of what I intended. One thousand. We were shocked. This was simply because the clear coat is peeling in places on the paint work, thus making the overall appearance, uh, shabby. Even though the dealer agreed she was a great car in brilliant condition for her age, due to it going to Turners they couldn't do more for us.

Interestingly enough, they said the only reason the clear coat was peeling like it was, was because she'd already had a repaint done. I guess it just wasn't done to the usual factory standards which was why it got so bad, so quickly.

I was going to take her home and try sell her privately but we risked the potential of her having more issues, letting randoms test drive her, and the possible comeback the buyer would have if she did break down not long after they bought her. It's a big risk to take, one that we weren't quite sure on. However, eventually Mum (my brilliant Mum) twisted the main guys arm. He offered $1250 for Ali but she convinced him to up it to $1500. Finally he caved! They took her then and there and we no longer had that burden. I know, it's not much. Similar cars are selling on trade me for at least four thousand but they're probably running OK. I guess it's just the risk you take and we chose the easy way out. I felt pretty stink emptying out all of my guff - not that there was much in there as I'm a nice, tidy driver. Then I gave them the key and that was that...sorry Ali.
The night before Nick gave her a good clean off and I polished her, not actually intending on selling her the next afternoon! The great thing was that her rego and warrant were both due within a month and I didn't have to pay for them! So I did a bit of an internal dance at that :D

So now to explain the other thing...I bought a car, well sort of, not quite. I haven't signed on the dotted line but the finance has been approved, I've paid a small amount to them alongside the money from Ali. And the car is due to arrive from an Auckland dealership in the next few days. So it should be ready for me after they do all of the grooming and pre-sale checks etc, I should see it sometime mid next week. And uh - it's brand new. *cough* *splutter* *what the heck am I doing??*

If I'm completely honest I didn't want a new car, I was never planning on getting a new car for quite a long time. I just wanted a nice, second hand car from a dealership that I could trust, and pay not too much for it - maybe get a small loan that I could pay off in a short term. But Mum and Dad had a bit to say about that, as the only cars I could find within my price range weren't overly ideal. They all had high km's on the clock for their age. Most were imports without any NZ owners and just weren't ideal.
For instance there was a bigger hatchback sitting on the Holden forecourt for 20K. It had about 60,000km, covered in scratches and it was two years old. I sat in it, it was nice for sure, but why pay 20K for a car in that condition when a few extra thousand would buy me something brand new with an odometer displaying those beautiful 000,000's?

So my hands were tied and my arm was pulled. I am happy with the outcome, but I'm not looking forward to listening to the opinions of everyone. Not many people were happy with Ali, and I got sick of being labeled the "rich relief milker" simply because I drove a BMW and a fair few people couldn't cope with the jealousy? Is that what it was? I don't know. Honestly, if they were that jealous they could've had her. She wasn't that amazing and I'm certainly not a rich relief milker - that comment really eats at me and it takes a fair bit to not snap the person's head off!

The new car is a Holdon Barina LT, five doors. Bluetooth, reversing camera, heated front seats, leather steering wheel, daytime running lights (because for some reason those are exciting - heaven knows why?), cruise control. It's got all the mod-com's, ability to play CD's (Ali couldn't), radio and off Apple and Samsung phones. I believe it's got a gps ability in there too somewhere as well as being able to play DVD's however only when stationary...such a drawback...I mean.

Quite seriously, the thing that sold it for me was the ability to raise the seat as well as shift it back and forth. I've driven a couple cars and not being able to raise the seat upwards to see over the bonnet was a massive drawback. Ali had that amazing feature and I couldn't have driven her without it (I honestly wouldn't have reached the pedals!!) I took it for a test drive and the dealer, James, who has sold Mum and Dad vehicles previously, actually took me out on a great route so I could experience it properly. In town/city driving through roundabouts, lights, and lane changes. As well as more rural driving, getting up to 100km. It was a great drive, I tested a Ford Focus a while back and this is way, way better. It handles brilliantly on the road, it feels like a big SUV type car, has few blind spots and is rated one of the safest cars on the road. It felt like I'd been driving it for years and when I pulled back into the yard Mum, Dad and Nick said I suited it well.

Oh, so the reason it's coming from Auckland is because the demo car that I was driving, (and hoping to buy simply because a demo car would be a few thousand less) hadn't outdone it's demo car specifications just yet. It had to be a demo car for at least 3 months or for 2000km's. The great thing was that it was already registered, so the ORC's wouldn't apply. But sadly I couldn't have it so they've plucked one from Auckland in the colour I want. What colour is that, do you ask? Well, I guess you'll just have to wait and see! haha!

For the meantime, I am carless. I have had no car in my name for 24 hours and I'm seriously struggling with that fact. My independence has gone for the next week, which is actually quite difficult. Not only do I have no work, I have no car to go anywhere. But I shall survive. It's a tad stressful trying to figure how I'm meant to pay for the car, not only the finance cost but the insurance as well, but it should all come together I'm sure :) 

I've got no idea on a name for this new car. I'm torn - do I name it and risk giving it a personality or what? My car does everything with me, it's hard not to get quite close to it, in a way that it's sort of a friend. Ok, better stop talking before they put me in a straight

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Year

Hello and welcome to 2017! I'm glad you made it here :)

Unfortunately just prior to the new year, my boss' Mum passed away. I'd only met her once, but she was so nice. It's kinda scary really, back in late November/early December during either docking or crutching, she felt a little off colour. After visiting the doctors they said she had pancreatic cancer, and from what I've heard, it had spread through her entire body giving her only weeks to live. How is that, like I don't know all the details - I've only heard snippets here and there, but how can you go from seemingly healthy, to looking at living only a few more weeks?
Sadly, she went downhill very quickly after the diagnosis and spent Christmas time in hospitals having emergency surgeries and the like and passed away on the 30th December. This was why I milked Christmas Day morning, because Cam couldn't be there.
She wasn't old either, the sad thing is that Cam's wife Jo had to go through losing both of her parents to cancer over many long years. Out of either option I don't know what I'd prefer - something short and quick like Cam's Mum, or false hope drawn out over quite a few years like Jo's parents.
It's awful, around here in my neighbourhood so many people (especially farmers) seem to get to a certain age and suddenly find they're filled with cancer and die shortly thereafter. It sort of makes you curious as to what happened around here once that have caused all the people in that generation to all have the same sentencing?
The funeral is today, it'll be huge. I considered going but at the same time I wasn't too sure, so I didn't go.

On New Years Day Mum, Dad and I drove down to Hamilton rather early in the morning. We've bought a shed off some friends down there, and finally made time to start taking it down. It's an American Barn style shed, not massive but big enough for what we need it for. It's green, white and red - so needs a decent paint job done when we put it back up, but it's in good condition which is the main thing.
So Dad and I got started on the two sides, thankfully the iron has small screws/bolts instead of nails, so I was running along having a blast with the drill, pulling them all out. Once the two sides were off, we jumped up onto the roof. Bad move. We have a mental note to put all of the walls up before re-installing the roof because it was swaying from side to side, rather violently. Not particularly pleasant, that. Shoulda pulled the roof off first...
Anyhow, amidst the swaying shed we managed to chug along slowly and carefully with the roof iron, managing to pull off about a quarter of the roof area - as it took ages. We're writing on the back of each sheet in numerical order, which way is up and where about it came from - which takes a little while. So at least when we eventually come to rebuild the shed here, we should get the sheets in the right places!
Unfortunately it got pretty windy and drizzly after a while, so it was too dangerous to be up there, I know I certainly didn't feel like falling off a shed roof to celebrate my new year! So we packed up and left - apparently the sun came back and the wind died down about half an hour after we left...seriously?
Mum, Dad and Nick are heading back down sometime this weekend to finish it off, they've still to the roof to pull down, the entire back wall (which will be pretty easy, really), what's left of the front wall. The three roller doors - somehow, and hopefully all of the steel framing. The steel is quite light, and with Nick there they should be able to chew through it rather quickly. I've done my dash with it, that's for sure. We'll probably rebuild it next summer, these things take time lol

I spent a couple days with Taylor earlier in the week as he has been on holidays, his friend Mike was also staying at his house so we basically just hung out together for most of the time. Monday was scorching, so that night we went to the beach so they could swim. I'm currently without anything suitable to swim in, so I got to just sorta stand there and watch, about knee deep in the water.
There's a nice little part off the beach where we were, between some massive rocks where the water comes in like a little lake, oddly it's filled with shells there - not sand like the rest of the beach. But it's a lot calmer and nice to have a little swim around in. Quite a lot of people jump off the rocks into it during high tide, although I wouldn't be that keen considering there are rocks in the water in some places. You can fish off the rocks there too, but from Nick's experience you only ever catch rock cod, or you lose your line!
My mission on Monday is to go to Kmart or somewhere and find myself some togs, so at least I can swim with them, rather than standing there looking silly on a scorching hot day. Tay and his friends are all getting into spear fishing, with the actual guns. Although I wouldn't do that exactly, I want to try out snorkeling with them at least. Considering how close I live to so many beaches, the amount of times I actually go to the beach is ridiculous - I need to get out more.

We stopped in to see another friend of Tay's - Luke, before we went to the beach. He works on another local farm and there are wild cats there. They were chatting when I saw an adorable grey tabby kitten with a white bib, watching us. I tried getting close to it, but he ran away. Not five minutes later he was sitting on the wheel of the side-by-side. If you know me, obviously I was like "omgosh! Look!!" They tried to catch it, but it went into the bike. Eventually it came out and ran into one of the cowshed drains, after lifting up a steel lid Taylor managed to catch it. Yes, we took it home - me driving his car, while he held it (he loves his cats, I've never seen anything like it!) and it just sat there purring!
I guess the kitten must be at the right sort of age, not too wild but slightly trusting, he was still a little dubious at Taylors house, but he's getting more and more friendly. So, so cute. Pawpaws, the other cat was livid about the new arrival, hopefully she'll get over herself in time.
I'll do a post in a little while with some pictures - once I've transferred them from my phone. I've got no work at the moment so at least I've got time.

Oh, still on the car hunt, but I've found some really nice ones and I'm looking at a few make/style options. I really like Mazda Axela's, but I've seen some Toyota Corolla's as well, some are signature class with really low k's and they get some great warranties with the purchase, only a couple years old, slightly above my price range but I would say it would be worth the slightly higher price. I'll keep you posted :)