Worth the aggravation

So, these last two weeks have been a time of invading sheep. They were coming through a weak-point in the fence with Richard and Angela. I went in and repaired the fence (a few rusted staples had popped, lostening the wires), but sheep being sheep they kept coming. Once they “learn” they can get thorugh a fence at a certain point, they will keep coming- even if the fence gets repaired. They will just push and push until they squirt between the wires like some big, wooly sausage.

So for the last few weeks I have been chasing sheep back through the fence, as progressively bigger and bigger mobs appeared in the Triangle paddock.

Then the sheep leanred that none of our internal fences were sheep-proof, and started wandering the property at will. This is extra annoing, especially when 5 sheep suddenly appear in the back garden, right off the living room, at 9 PM! We corraled those 5 sheep into the dog-run, and left a message for R&A to pick them up.

Cut to last night. A big rain system had passed through in the late afternoon, accompanied by a cold southerly wind. I was heeading out into the side yard at sunset, as the rain had passed, and I needed to get something from my Ute. I glanced over into the Glen paddock to check on the ‘paca. We move them there if the weather goods bad so they can take shelter in the new shed (which they do, smart ‘paca!). I noticed that another 7 sheep had appeared, and were in the paddoack with the ‘paca… and the ‘paca were chasing them around the paddock with wild abandon!

Oh, but to have a video camera! Hyouki was the most enthusiastic chaser, pronking around the paddock after the fleeing sheep. It was Hi-larious. I had to run inside to get Tam to witness the spectacle. Now all we need is a bit of training (“Get in behind! Get out of it!”) and we can start herding sheep with our ‘paca! 🙂

Wildlife

Stephen points out that there’s not many places in the world where you might see a PENGUIN on your way to work, so I ought to put it on the blog. It was a little blue one, paddling around near where they park the Lady Elizabeth III (that’s the Police boat). There’s a stingray that’s been hanging around the lagoon, too, which I thought was cool.

Stephen came into work with me today, to give a talk to, I think, the Ministry of Science about how to attract more scientists to New Zealand. I think it boils down to “offer them jobs where they can do science instead of begging for money all the time.”

A selfish public service

Upon moving down here at the end of 2003, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at wargaming again. Wargames, whether they be bits of carboard on a hex map or little toy soldiers, have been a part of my life since I was but a wee little lad. Last year I started going to the Wellington Warlods, a local wargaming club, and was introdced to Full Thrust. This is a generic spaceship game where you fly your little model ships around the table and blow each other up. Fun! I was enoying the games a great deal, but I wanted more. I wanted strategic scope, and for that we would need a campaign. So I drew up a map and rules, and we had one. Twelve months later we have gone from 5 players to 10, we are on the 6th campaign. The maps have gotten bigger and better, and we have crafted a really nice set of strategic/campaign rules. On many weeks more people are playing Full Thrust than any of the other “traditional” miniatures games (Warhammer, Flames of War, DBM). Last weekend the Warlords had their AGM which I didn’t attend. Afterwards I got a call from Geoff who did. Apparently I was voted “Warlords of the Year” for my contributions to gaming at the club. That is a very nice bit of recognition (and a free yearly membership). All very cool, but you know, I was doing all this for my own enjoyment!

In other good news…

Yesterday the shed passed its final inspection! Woot! So today I can build (or start building) the hayloft, and next week I will drive over to the Wairarapa and get as much hay as my ute will carry. Very cool!

The lump on Slow’s back is cancer, as we suspected, but it is a basal cell cancer that is of little danger. Considering how little it has grown in the 12 months we have been monitoring it, that is no surprise. Slow is starting to show his age (13), but he is still doing well, and enjoying his farm life (which often involves just spending the day outside, lying in the sun and watching the birds).

As promised

Here are the photos from New Years day, with camelids on the beach!

Since then we have taken Jim and the cria out twice, to two different sides of Colonial Knob reserve (first time with Steve and Jennifer, second time with Kerey). Tramping through the forest was fun and exciting, and we were quite pleased to find such a good old forest remnant so close to home. Lovely 100+ year old Nikau Palms make for a fun forest.

A fun New Year

I hope you all had a great 2005/2006 celebration. We went over to Sibylle’s place for an evening of food and fun. Many of her son’s German-playgroup friends were there, so lots of little kiddies running around babbling in both English and German.

New Years day we slept in a bit, though not as much as we would have liked (early bright sky will do that). Then I had a crazy idea-let’s go to the beach with our ‘paca! We called around and found Melanie and Susan were psyched to go, and calling some friends up north in Paraparaumu pulled up another 5 people. We loaded up the ‘paca, and headed north.

The loading went well. There was some squabbling and argy-bargy, but nothing too bad. When they got to the beach they were all very well behaved- probaby due to wild over-stimulation. Some of the best bits came when we led them down into the surf. By leading Hyouki I got everyone else (on leads) to follow. The little cria were belly-deep in the water. Pointer was having a complete blast. He would leap backwards as the waves broke againsts him, them go charging back into the surf to chase the receding wave.

They all became so excited that they just started running down the beach- dragging any human on lead who could not run fast enough to keep up. Even fat, lazy Jim cantered along for a good 200 meters!

We discovered that walking into ankle-deep water triggers a “need to pee” reflex in alpaca. And thay apparently have limitless bladders.

We also re-discovered the cute-power of alpaca. After having them for a few years this effect has largely worn-off on us. Not so for many of our friends and passerbys. Kari kept threatening that she was just going to load little Hyouki into her car and take him home. One woman whose beach-house we passed in Peka Peka followed us to offer water for the ‘paca, and tea for us!

All in all a wonderful esxperience. One we will have to repeat. The one downside? We forgot to bring our camera! Photos will go up of the ‘paca frolicing in the surf when we can get copies from Melanie or Beverly who did rememebr their cameras.