As of yesterday Mum and I are back into the calf rearing. On Tuesday night after work on my way to Taylor's I stopped in at the calf shed to see how many pens of calves they had, knowing the next morning we'd be feeding them.
Five. Five pens, fifty calves, and Taylor and his boss are already over it! Once I got up to his house I was just like, are you serious? You guys can't cope with feeding five pens of calves?! I was joking of course, but it was still amusing!
We're starting a tad earlier than normal - usually we'd start once there was a group of 40 heifers in the outside barn, but they're bringing in about 10 calves a day now, so tomorrow or Saturday those older heifers will need to move on out to make some room. This year is going to be a lot easier on us, as they're calving only 350 - 100 less than normal. Also all of the calves are either keeper heifers or friesian bulls that go to the sale every Tuesday, there's already 20 bulls that will be ready for Tuesday but calves born tomorrow and Saturday will be going too. I daresay there will be at least 30 for the sales next week!
Oh how I love Wednesday mornings! The problem is that we're feeding them four litres per calf straight off the mark, so most of our time is currently spent waiting for them to drink. Once we've got a group outside we'll be able to spread our time better, filling the mobile calf feeder and feeding the big group while we leave a couple of pens to drink on their own. In a couple days our system will be down pat again, thankfully with our starting a few days early we're able to wean ourselves back into the job! Thinking ahead for the next 10 or 12 weeks of calf feeding, I told Tay that at least I'll get to see him every day again lol.
This is the fifth year Mum and I have reared the calves on this farm, it's also likely to be the final season we do it, if anything it's the last winter/spring we rear calves as the guy is changing to Autumn calving next year.
Last weekend I took my last "real" weekend off, where Mum and I ran away from home on Friday morning in the direction of my sister's place in Te Aroha. Saturday was her baby shower, so we took our time cruising down there. It was my first time driving all that way, apart from the rain it was a good trip. However I've decided I won't be staying there in winter again, as it was cold. Bitterly cold that first night especially, I might've been born in the Waikato but I'm not a Waikato-ian at heart!
The party went well, my blood sugar level must've skyrocketed over the weekend, with all of the sweet food that was on hand and the fact that everyone was munching on the leftovers Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was actually good to get home to have some decent meals again.
The baby will be pretty in pink for the first few months of her life outside the womb as almost everybody gave clothing as gifts - but they're all in that same sort of age bracket. So baby might only get to wear each item a few times before she's outgrown them, which is unfortunate but they're all good quality clothing items so any future daughters will be able to wear them too or she could give them to an opshop or similar if necessary.
Work is going OK at the moment, there's only another week or two until the bulls come out of the herd at the big farm I'm on. To think they went in mid June and my boss said they'd be pulled out around the 10th of August, I thought at the time that it was so far away! But time is ticking along and I think the bulls are so used to their routine now that they aren't too much of a problem with them being in the herd anymore. That, and I'd say most of the cows are in calf now so the bulls aren't too overly excited these days. I've only got five and a half months of milking to go until I'm finished - time is flying by now.
The weather isn't our friend at the moment, somedays I'd much rather it was bitterly cold with frosts. Instead it's just always very wet and windy, our lawn is a mess and whenever I'm outside hauling myself through the mud that used to be our lawn, I can hear all the water rushing through from the paddock above us. We really do need some better form of drainage to stop the water coming through from the neighbours, but there's not much to be done.
Nick and Dad are home a heck of a lot lately too, it's simply too wet for them to work which is terrible for the finances. Thankfully they've had a couple of residential fencing jobs that don't require the tractor that they could carry on with, and the last two days has been calm enough for them to spray on a farm, but it's still seriously wet and when it gets to this stage the water simply doesn't go anywhere.
So as you can imagine we're super excited about the weather bomb that's coming in tonight - not!
I've got a new laptop now - hence these posts being updated more frequently. It's rather amusing how my old laptop gets into a little bit of trouble a couple months prior to the end of the warranty - four rather important keys suddenly stopped working. They were all in the same area of the keyboard, so I would say that there was suddenly a fault through the system somehow (no, I didn't spill anything on it).
The repairers took it back and agreed there was an issue that they weren't prepared to bother fixing, so I either got a credit of around $1100, or I could take a direct swap of a new laptop with the same specs. Once the technology department special ended, their direct swap model was worth about $1400 so I agreed to that one. However our Harvey Norman didn't have that model in stock, so found me a similar, but even better laptop instead. It's an HP with two harddrives, really good graphics card and a disk drive (which is quite important to me as the last laptop didn't have one). It's pretty massive with the 17 inch screen, but hey it's a free laptop with Windows 10 which I'll have to get used to, and all the newly designed programs - like the ability to connect the laptop with my phone for ease of access when I don't have the laptop with me or vice versa. Pretty interesting, that.
So just like when I got my last laptop, we got a Product Care warranty with it for $200, so that gives three years of warranty and we've discovered that laptops only tend to last three years. So I wonder what will happen if this one randomly fails towards the end of the warranty - will I get the same deal again and get another new one?! Somehow I'd say it's unlikely, but it's a cool thought.
I thought I'd quickly mention a little bit of Tay's trip on here. The guys eventually left to go hunting on the Tuesday? Getting to the DOC hut that afternoon sometime. Taylor, his brother Jordan, and their friends Nate and Luke, went with Luke's two other friends Max and Kamble. From what I remember they split into two groups and went in opposite directions on Wednesday. Taylor and Nate went with Luke but they only made it half way and had to give up and go back Wednesday afternoon because the fog was too thick and they couldn't see much. On Thursday Tay and Nate swapped and went with Max leading them another way. They got to around 2200 feet, but it was all rock which eventually got seriously dangerous with the ice, Nate pulled out first and not long after that Taylor said he wasn't prepared to go any higher so they headed back.
Meanwhile Luke, Jordan and Kamble had gone somewhere else, getting to only 1700 feet where they came across big groups of Tahr - they shot four I think.
I got a text Thursday night to say they were heading out of the mountain - so much for their seven days up there! The weather up there and the conditions weren't the best, with a lot of snow and ice. I'm glad they decided to quit and leave early rather than stay up there and run into trouble.
A day or so later Tay, Luke, Max and Kamble decided to head to Queenstown for a few days where they went snowboarding and tiki-touring around a bit. I think it got to the stage where Taylor was over his holiday and just wanted to come home again, but had to wait it out a few days until their set day to fly home. Nate was the opposite though as he sorta found himself a girlfriend down there and probably wasn't wanting to come back! It was really good when they finally came back, I was like "you are never doing that again! No more holidays without me" which he's agreed with quite happily haha
Apparently we're going to Queenstown next winter so I can see the snow and so he can ski - snowboarding is deemed quite difficult. Apparently I have to learn how to ski too, but that might take a little bit of coercing for me to try!
Some pictures of Mt. Cook I stole from Tay, and this one I found on his facebook page. Twisty nose, sometimes you have calves born like this but you don't often notice until they're a lot older. I guess you can say she won't always want to follow her nose, as she'll just go in circles! But look at that tongue!!!