cows- stupid, evil, or both?

Yesterday about 2PM I went up the back hill to check if we still had all 7 of Steve’s cows. After poking around the bushes a bit I found 6 of them, then I spotted #7 two paddocks away on the neighbors property. By 5PM two more cows had gone across the join her. The neighbor (Richard) and I wrangled two of the three back through the fence, wich is completely falling apart down by the stream, and moved the six on our-side up into our gallop paddock. (Looks like we won’t be able to put animals onto the back hill until the boundry fence gets repaired or replaced.) The last one followed on her own about 20 minutes later, in a desperate bid to catch up with th herd. At least the cows can eat the plethora of grass in Gallop for the next week or two, and if I have not had time to get the the fence in the back repaired we can just send them back to Steve. Hopefully he will have some grass by then. Really he just needs to send the cows off to the works so that he can bring his stocking rate dwn to a more sane level.

The whole process of trying to move the cows from one paddock to another confirmed for me how little I like cows. Except maybe on the BBQ. Mmmmmmm, beef.

Implements of Destruction

Order becomes Chaos becomes Order. Whatever, it was hella fun to watch.

A couple “before” shots:

Stephen’s spent hours over the last month carefully taking down the exterior fencing, salvaging the windows, the roofing iron & timber, & the guttering. We sold off one of the cages on TradeMe , and Beverley’s tentatively put in an offer on the remaining four. They’re too big and awkward for just Stephen and I to move, but luckily Geoff and Michael (Hey ! Tell me how to spell your name !) helped us shift them before anime the other night. An even bigger accomplishment: shifting the tack shed over onto the concrete pad using a bunch of old round fenceposts as rollers. Woo !

Our neighbor John got to drive the digger (and he’s very good at it, too), but just standing around and watching was immensely satisfying. The whole process took about an hour.

Mmmm. Smooooth. John’ll be back later with his little digger and truck to haul away the rubble (which will cost a good bit more than the demolition. Bleah). But they’re gone ! The horrible Doggie Auschwitz is gone ! YAY !

Critters

I haven’t posted enough pictures lately. Here’s some of the ‘paca (and Jim):

We’re still waiting for the two girls from Auckland — there was a missed email resulting in a delay around the holidays. We should have them any week now, in theory.

Roadkill (we’re considering “Maya”) is getting along best with Slow Top, which is amusing considering Slow’s initial reaction to Azami (i.e., hide in the basement for a week). It could be because she’s wary enough of him not to pester him; it could be because he’s older now and just can’t be bothered to get upset anymore; or it could be because while Rasputin and Azami are both “cats”, RK seems to be more people-oriented, like Slow himself.

Bonus: she automatically soft-paws when she plays with you, so you don’t have to wear oven mitts to arm-wrestle with her (like you did when Azami was a kitten, the darling little savage).

Finally, sending summery thoughts to the blizzard-beset Northeast:

Hang in there, y’all !

Shakin' it up.

This last week we have had plenty of earthquakes. This morning we had a rather large one, measuring a 5.5. The earthquake hit just west of Upper Hutt at a depth of 30km . What is weird is that while in downtown Wellington people were getting under desks, here in the Takapu valley it was barely detectable. I was standing outside, working on demolishing the kennel, and there was a slight wobble. I was wondering if it was just a wind gust (of which we have lots today), or an earthquake. The radio let me know it was an earhtquake, as the National Radio staff all felt it quite strongly in the Wellington studio. I was 10km from the epicenter, while Tam down in the CBD was about 30km away. I wonder what twist of geology made the energy of the quake bypass the valley? Do earthquakes have convergence zones?

observation

There is a local Cheezy-Poof analog, made by the Blue Bird snack company (and note that the “Blue Bird” is, in fact, the little blue penguin), called “Twisties” (tagline: “It’s a straight world without Twisties!”). They are essentially Cheetos — the regular, not the crunchy kind — shaped like little orange Cs, and when I tore open the bag just now, it reminded me strongly of the scene in Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo cuts open the Tauntaun. Only, you know, bright orange and crunchy. I don’t want to think about what this says about my psyche, only I DO note that I’m currently at work.

In other news, Yvonne and Joanne apparently had a blast wrangling the cows onto the back hill from horseback. I’m sorry I missed that !

Roadkill (name still pending) has decided that Rasputin is her New Best Friend, and pursues him relentlessly trying to convince him to play with her. He’s not quite on board yet, and has taken to traversing any given room along the tops of the furniture.

Summer ! Whew !

First, the last test came back negative, so we do, in fact, get to keep little Roadkill. We’re taking suggestions for names.

She’s getting bolder — we started letting her out of the guest room to explore a bit earlier this week, and any weird noise or sudden movement sent her scurrying under the nearest piece of furniture. Er…. still does, actually, but the catalog of noises and movements that still count as “weird” is gradually shrinking. We’ve taken to shutting off the back half of the house during the day, and letting her have the run of it, to gain a little more confidence. It’s bizarre to think that we can now divide the house into two parts each larger than our entire old house. Which means Slow Top doesn’t have to run into the basement to get away from the new Interloper.

Yes, we have started to introduce her to the others. Slow’s first response was, “Agh! Hiss! Flee!” Rasputin hissed, growled, and left. Azami stole her food, hissed, growled, and eventually left. Today, though, while Stephen is off playing toy soldiers, we’re having some more Supervised Interaction, with the living room as the DMZ. Azami’s reaction could still be characterized, in the local slang, as “aggro”. Slow is somehwat less concerned, and will largely ignore her if she doesn’t get too close. Rasputin has, in my interpretation of feline body language, decided to make friends. Twice today, he’s deliberately gone to a room he knew or suspected she was in, sprawled himself down no more than a couple of meters away, and yawned. She hasn’t gotten brave enough yet to take him up on it (and I can’t blame her, with the way Azami carries on), but I suspect eventally she will.

Meanwhile, it’s SUMMER. It’s only 24 degrees (75F), and breezy, but in the sun it is HOT. We went to see the jousting today up in Isengard (I mean, Harcourt Park), and hung out and chatted with the blacksmith’s dad, who runs alpacas in British Columbia (the Canadian alpaca industry, while politics- and ego-riddled, is nowhere near as looney as the US industry). Picked up a bottle of lovely dry, slighty fizzy pohutakawa mead from one of the local dancers, whose husband it turns out is the guy who wrote the book on gardening in some of the crazy conditions we’ve got in NZ (40kph prevailing salt-laden wind on a steep hill ? No problem !). Got a cute black sarong with batik skulls on it, too, because, you know, Pirate Camp is coming up. :^D

And, of course, the Main Event of the weekend was Phil & Dayna’s wedding. The ceremony was at this adorable little historic church in the Hutt valley, and then the reception was at a Scout hall on the other side of Wellington. For some reason, I’m always surprised when a wedding turns out to be fun, as this one very definitely was. It was all done in medieval dress, and the reception was a feast. Dayna and Phil are mead junkies, and it seemed like there was at least a bottle and a half of the stuff for every person there. I got to try a bunch of different kinds, which was good, because there’s definitely some I like and some I don’t. There was belly dancing, and toasting and lots of people we knew, and lots we didn’t. All good.

Things I didn't know

Did you know that hedgehogs come in 92 different colors ?

http://hedgehogclub.com/colorguide.html

And that the “domestic” hedgehog is a hybrid of the White-Bellied and Algerian hedgehogs ? For that matter, did you know that there was a domestic hedgehog ?

I didn’t.

For some reason, I just figured pet hedgehogs were either hedgehogs that somebody picked up off the side of the road, or were decended from hedgehogs someone had picked up off the side of a road. But no, apparently someone set out to *create* a specifically domestic hedgehog.

Wooosh- *BOOM*

This week we have actually been getting some summer-like weather. The clear skies and warm sun is a nice thing- though it does make me a bit reluctant to work out in the baking sun. Yesterday we had a “bit” of wind, with a strong notherly blowing. I decided that doing a bit of chainsawing when Tam got home was a good plan so I started sharpening the blade. Mid way through the lights went out suddenly, and a fraction of a second later there was a mighty BOOM! as the transformer blew. I grabbed the keys and hopped in the car to find where then tree had come down across the lines, but I didn’t have to go beyond the bottom of our driveway. A big branch came off the elms, and clipped the 400V line on the way down.

So that evening I did get to chainsaw-up a fallen log. It just wasn’t the log I was planning on. Never a dull moment. We think that branch might have been damaged by the tree that came down in August. Hopefully that is the last falling tree or branch for some time!