Thursday, 30 March 2017

Netball in full swing

Finding the time to write here (or anywhere if I'm honest) is so difficult lately! If I'm not working, I'm running around doing something, somewhere.

Netball was cancelled last night due to the rain which was rather unfortunate as I was really looking forward to going again. We're into proper "training" sessions now, not everyone makes it there each week so you're never really doing the same things, as we have to work with the number of people who show up. Take last week for example - we had nine players come and a young girl who was hanging around put us up to 10. We spent the bulk of our session going over different warm ups and exercises that have been taken from the NZ netball website - exercises that are specifically good for netball. It was really good but my gosh, the muscles that I apparently have, that I have never met before in my life showed up the next day and they hurt! It was rather painful to say the least.

Some were seemingly simple when the woman running it demonstrated them, but when you have to do a form of "plank" for 30 seconds, the idea in your head seems OK...until you're about 10 seconds through and the targeted muscles in your sides start to burn like wildfire. We had to do that three times. Then we did sideways planks for 15 seconds on each side. We're all looking at eachother, wondering who's going to give in and drop first! Everything else was good, all focusing on landings mostly which is rather important as I'm finding that catching the ball in midair is quite common so landing properly is essential.
We then spent about half an hour playing a game with five players on each side, I managed to get the role of Centre which was great! I always thought centre would be quite difficult because you've got to be on the ball the whole time, but at the same time you don't really have a many boundaries - you're allowed on the entire court except for in the goal circles. The only issue is having to be everywhere at once, especially if there are only five players on your team; two of which have to stay in a circle at each end, the other two are limited to their areas so I have to fill the void, it's not easy but I did it. While there was only a small number of us it meant they had time to give me pointers too, everyone would stop and say - "Ok, so in this situation you should do this or go here" etc., etc.
So of course I was really keen to get back into it last night but as we are currently limited to an outdoor court, the weather is playing an important role in the situation.

Sadly Chantelle isn't able to join now, there are a few reasons behind it but I get why it would be better for her to sit it out this year. It just means our set, no excuses, weekly catch up has gone out the window - but oh well.

Work is going OK at the moment, I'd be lying if I said I am loving it, but it'll get better. Just with the autumn calving, we're having to deal with a fair few not too pleasant members of the herd which doesn't make life particularly enjoyable at present. Working with Cam and Hamish again is great, I'm really happy being back there again, back in the saddle working in my favourite place. There are a few difficult cows there, but in general it's fine. I'm also helping get the new cows and calves in at the moment, and feeding the calves there too, so I'm a little bit more involved than just being the typical relief milker. They're breeding to some interesting bulls this year - not only Simmental's and Angus but Belgium Blue's too - they're beautiful calves.

My other farm though, as I say it'll get better in time, they've calved about 350 cows out of 520 odd, so there's still a few to get through but thankfully the first time calving heifers are almost finished. Those young ones are a little too spontaneous with their kicking and I can never quite trust them, they also all look the same too so it's hard looking out for those few who are a little too feisty for me to try cupping on. They're coming along nicely though, given a few weeks of milking and they should feel more at home in the herd.
They all need to find their spot in the pecking order too, so when you add a mob of heifers to a herd of cows who have worked together a couple of years, they're gonna fight a tad. Although in saying that, some of the older cows are driving me insane! Believe you me, if you have to cup on a cow for the seventh or eighth time in one milking - you're gonna get rather annoyed. They don't even have an excuse really, they just stomp their feet and knock the cups off, it's really exhausting milking two or three cows, then having to go back to that specific cow and re-cup her again as she's knocked them off.
It sometimes gets to the point where I just say to whoever I'm milking with, "I'm done trying" and then they can give her a go.

Yesterday afternoon was utterly brilliant (note the sarcasm!!) Where the herd was running late when I arrived, and they're meant to go on the feedpad before milking. As they were running late they'd get their feed after milking instead. Have you ever seen somebody - perhaps a toddler - who normally has their afternoon snack, get told that they have to wait an hour or so longer before they get it? It's not cool aye? I would imagine said toddler would have a bit of a tantrum over that, which is basically what the cows did!
So I waited out on the race and brought up a large group of the herd and pushed them into the shed so I could start milking. I encouraged them into the bails, walked out and pressed the button to start the machines and when I came back the cows were gone. They'd all turned around and run out, back to the feedpad where somebody must've been pushed into the single wire tape and snapped it, allowing them in there. So of course, cows will be cows and they all ran in there, stuffing their faces full of the powdery goodness of palm kernel and whatever else they're being fed.
Funnily enough you know when cows have broken into something, and cows also know they shouldn't be in there which is why they make a big deal out of it. They moo, a LOT and rather loud too. Basically a bit of an "omgosh! Look where I am, I'm eating something I shouldn't be!" and the rest of them moo too, so they all know to run to the place and suddenly half of the herd is on the feed pad eating out of the bins and I just stand there watching in disbelief, all of my hard work is out the window and now I have to work even harder to get them out of there. Thanks cows! They're the best...
Milking them after that was joyful, we were all running rather late so we were annoyed, the cows were angry - even more so having lost their food for a while and the milking was seriously messy. With the lush grass from all the rain we've had, you've gotta keep your eyes peeled for cows that are gonna crap everywhere - because at the moment it goes for miles and comes very suddenly, you've gotta dive outta the way otherwise get a free, green shower. Not fun.

Taylor is finally going in for his surgery to fix his hernia tomorrow, his Mum's dropping him in in the morning and then I have to get over there a few hours later to pick him up before I go back to work. It'll be good once it's fixed and sorted, it's been a long time coming!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Welcoming Autumn

Monday last week I had my first netball trial, the second one is this Thursday night and after then I should have a better idea of what's going to be happening. We started off with a warm up, after which I almost could have died. I'm fit, but I'm not that fit! They had us doing all sorts of maneuvers across the length of the court; jogging, sprinting, fast walk, lunges, squats, running with knees high, running with feet high, and she was constantly changing the movement.
We'd just get used to jogging then suddenly we're sprinting, or fast walking or something! It was mental, I think we spent about ten minutes doing a warm up, I was surprised that they didn't get us to do the typical stretches and whatnot before the warm up (I've always thought you were meant to) but we did them afterwards. I'm glad I wasn't the slowest in the group, I thought if I could almost keep up with Chantelle, I'd be doing well - and I did, most of the time!
Unfortunately I'm one of those people who's face goes nice and red when I get hot from silly doesn't matter if I'm quite fit, which I usually am, when heat can't escape through my feet, it goes to my face instead, rather annoying if I'm honest!!

After the warm up we got into corners and moved onto another warm up/game thing where we were catching, throwing, running, catching then throwing the ball to different people from different corners as we ran through to the opposite corner. It was, straight out, confusing. It didn't help that the first time the ball was thrown to me it hit me square on the face, quite hard. Everyone seemed to get the idea rather quickly (most of the women there had been playing in the team for quite a few years...) but typically I didn't. It's rather awkward being the one who had to be guided through each pass, meaning it had to be slowed down a tad when I went through. I'm rather nervous about the trial on Thursday because they'll likely do it again and I really can't quite remember exactly how it goes...

Once that was finished they put people into places and teams, four of us including myself were stood out for the first game. At first I was thinking, aw man I must be bad! But I've actually never seen a game of netball played before - so I got to watch it and got a bit of an idea instead of being thrown into the deep end!
The second game I was called in for Wing attack (Wing Defense and Attack I had put myself down for), and once my opponent Wing Defense knew I didn't know how to play she was helping me out, as well as one of the umpires. They were telling me where I should be and what I could do which was helpful.
The third game I went into wing defense, which I found not as good as my previous attack role. The girl I was paired with was a really good player, who was flying around the court at high speeds. I had to be blocking her but I just couldn't keep up and kept losing sight of her. So if I get one of those places I really hope to get Attack, it's much easier!
It was good once Chantelle and I left, because one of the coaches came up to us and thanked us for coming and giving it a good go, and asked us to definitely come back for the next trial. We'll get places, for sure. They don't have enough players to turn people away. Last week they only had enough for two teams and two subs each. Where I've read online that in most netball games, players are only allowed on for no more than half the game, so surely that should mean they need 14 players to a team to account for that common rule? It was fun, nonetheless and I'm looking forward to trying it again tomorrow night - if only for a slight physical hiccup that I have at the moment! Will come to this soon...

I had the weekend off, which was great. Tay also had the weekend off so I got to spend it with him - even better. I went out there Friday night after work, then basically stayed til last night when I came home again. We didn't do too much Saturday, apart from stopping in at home for me to grab a few things and going into town for him to get his hair cut - it was weird being in a proper "barber" rather than the usual hairdressing salon that I'm used to being in!
He was going to get his beard trimmed down but didn't. He's said to me, "I'll keep it cut down over summer but I'll be growing it back for winter" - especially for the hunting trip he's going on in June to the South Island. However he hasn't particularly stuck to his word and hasn't really cut it since Christmas! Argh, now it's turning a bit red, obviously he's stoked and is determined to keep growing it to see what happens. Argh, males! lol
That afternoon Nate His Mate came over and we went out to one of the paddocks to test out Taylor's new rifle on some cans and clay birds. He had bought a new one on Friday for when he goes Tahr hunting in June and it needed the scope setting up - what better excuse to go do some shooting? Not really my cup of tea,  but I don't mind watching. I was going to have a go, we were lining up the sights for me (he has a bipod, so got to just lay on the ground and aim it). But when I realised the kickback it had I decided to flag the idea. Having a gun kick back into my bad shoulder would leave me somewhat crippled for a few days with that arm. Even Tay and Nate His Mate were saying it was quite sore - and they're quite used to it, it needs a rubber padding on the butt to fix it.

Nate stayed for dinner and then came back the next morning with another friend of his and our friend Luke, did I mention this weekend was Paradise Duck Shooting weekend?! Yeah, it was. I was going to tag along but I was super tired and managed to get out of it! That and I didn't have any dark, camo clothing which was apparently necessary for the job. So the four guys went out shooting that morning and I got to sleep in til - wait for it - 9am. Them arriving back woke me up, then they did the dishes and made breakfast while I just cruised, it made a nice change!
Taylor and I went out after that as we had an appointment - for a professional thai massage. Yeah, crazy right?! Tay's Dad is a trained massage therapist so he's always wanted to try a Thai massage to see what it's like.
Hmm. They were Thai women, it was difficult figuring what they were saying and the room was heavily perfumed with a very peaceful music playing. They cleaned our feet first (ever had someone else clean your feet!?!?) then got to work. Just as a heads up, if anyone reading this wants to try it. When you book in a full body massage, it is pretty much exactly that...I thought it'd be like, back, shoulders and feet lol
I've got a bad habit of laughing in situations where I probably shouldn't. I was giggling away about the whole thing before she started, laying face down on a table with my face sticking through the hole in the table, staring at a flower of some sorts in a bowl. I do believe it was fake, so it got me wondering if they could possibly have a camera in there watching the expression on my face. From times when her pushing muscles around on my back hurt quite a bit, to when my feet were feeling a bit ticklish! At some stage Tay started snoring! Really!?

Taylors' boss was happy to have Monday off work, so he paid me to stick around and milk for him Monday morning and help Taylor do things during the day, I was already booked in to work there Tuesday anyway so it wasn't a big deal hanging around for an extra day. Working with Tay is pretty cool, doing proper farm work and that makes a nice change in my routine. :)

Today though I got back to normal work, fencing for our neighbour, getting soaked when the rain suddenly arrived. Autumn has definitely arrived - I thought since our summer started late that it would last a fair bit longer but apparently not. It's still hot, don't get me wrong. But a couple weeks ago we had about 50+mm of rain and ever since then we get random bursts of rain whenever the weather man feels to deliver. It's incredible how things have greened up!

One thing that's on our minds at the moment is the new motorway that is being built - connecting Auckland to Northland. Our house isn't effected by the developments, however a big interchange is going to be about 200-250 metres up the road from us, and it means that we'll get all of the through-traffic going past us again. As we're right next to the road - it's not good. The motorway is set to be up and go by 2025, but all the years prior we're going to have to deal with the noise disturbance from the developing. And then the traffic noise from the road itself - I can't imagine long weekends! So what to do? Sound proof the property, planting thick trees to grow around the entire boundary. Installing double glazing etc. And just deal with it. Or set up the place to sell? It'll be worth a fair bit to the right buyer, being right next to the motorway. I dunno it's a scary thought to consider what will happen as this is home to us, what to do? At least we don't have the issue of the house needing to be removed because it sits on the developing land - like many a house around here. Then our decision would be made for us - but the council will only buy for a cheap price. We'll see, we have few years up our sleeves here.

Oh that's right - my slight physical quandary I on Monday my legs basically collapsed from underneath me. I ran to open a gate for Taylor so he could get through with the tractor before the herd blocked the gateway, I was walking up the hill ok and thought I'd better get up there quick smart so started running. Next thing I knew I was bent over in pain, all the muscles in the front of both thighs were on fire! They were hurting so much I could barely move. I did manage to get up there in the end but it was slow going, for the rest of the day I was somewhat stumbling along trying to get everywhere I needed to go. They haven't done it again thank goodness, but silly movements hurt, like today I went to run to grab some tools when it was raining and I still felt it. I think it was simply severe cramp, it just seemed odd that both legs did it but all we could think was that the massage must've pulled some muscles, which makes me a little dubious to go back again. It's never happened before, hopefully doesn't happen again and all I can think is I hope like heck they cope with netball tomorrow! It's going to be a tad difficult, but at least I know what to expect.