Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The taxpayer

Last night I watched the evening News as eight year old Georgia played quietly on the floor in front of the TV.  The news item was about the cost to each Kiwi taxpayer of the Christchurch earthquake. 

"What's a taxpayer?" she asked.  I tried to explain in terms she would understand and many questions later she seemed to have grasped the concept. 

She finally glanced at the TV new presenters and said, "I hope they are going to pay something, too." 

I told her, "Yes, they will have to pay, too.  They are taxpayers."

"But they just sit there and read the news.  That's not a job."

She was genuinely surprised when I replied that it is a job and a job that pays good money, too.

"Really?  Hmmm, I'll have to think about that."

I wonder how long it will be before she tires of playing Master Chef and moves on to playing Newsreaders?

Monday, 29 August 2011


I made a bit more progress on my walk yesterday afternoon.  Got distracted a couple of times but that's to be expected, after all I haven't taken many photos in the past month or so., I have a bit of catching up to do.  I think all people who have photography as a hobby must have a love affair with their camera.  My affair had gone off the boil for a bit but is happily bubbling away again now.  

First distraction was the older calves enjoying the afternoon sunshine. 

I thought they were going to stay there and let me get close but true to form they were having none of that.  They raced to the other side of the paddock and pretended they didn't know I was there.

I seem to have a bit of a thing about the straggly old trees around the farm right now, the ones I've always tried to keep out of my photos because they are so ugly.

This afternoon I had Georgia for company and just had to stop to take a photo of a friendly cow, that walked up to the fence to look at us.  Honestly, that is one ugly cow.  When I said that to Georgia she gave a little giggle and said she looks like a wild pig.  (Think that's a bit of an insult to the pig actually.)  She added she is calf number 17's mothers.  How does an eight year old remember these things?   
Then I remembered I'd taken a photo of calf no 17 over the weekend.  Whereas I thought it looked startled, it's in fact just bug eyed like it's mother.  They always look cuter when they're babies, don't they?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Black and white walk

Yesterday afternoon when I headed out for a walk my son drew my attention to the cows bums facing us along the feed bins.  I am so easily distracted from serious exercise.  In the time it would have taken me to walk at a half decent pace around the farm loop, I took photos.  I will try to do better this afternoon but no promises.

Busy cows, heads down:

bums up:

Then I got too close and had to beat a hasty retreat before I disturbed them.

Walk totally forgotten, I went to have a look at the calves.  My daughter-in-law does a fantastic job of rearing the calves each year.  They looked at me with interest but not a lot of enthusiasm - they know I'm not the one who feeds them.

Except this one who seems startled by the sight of me.

While I was in the area - and there were no cows being milked - I decided to go for a couple of shots of inside the milking shed.

And now I'm off for that walk.  No, seriously, I am.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Semi sorted

For one reason or another I haven't been posting much lately.  I'm one of those people who goes quiet while I'm processing things and I've had a couple of things on my mind lately, hence the silence.  
I've overcome the first so now I can talk about it.  For quite a while I've had a sort of fuzziness of the mind.  I was struggling to cope at work and had almost reached the conclusion that I was past my use-by date in the working world, it was time to pack it in.  I've had a few stressful jobs in my working life and my current job wouldn't really rate but I was feeling stressed to the max, constantly worried that I wouldn't get things done on time when most of the time the only person to worry about that would be me.  
Then I hurt my back and my regular massage lady, Lisa, was out of the country.  I went to a doctor, my back got better, no problem.  But I made an appointment with Lisa for a massage when she returned from her holiday.  In the meantime, I started thinking that Lisa, also does Body Talk.  When I first asked her about it, she invited me to a seminar to learn more and I thought it was interesting but wasn't about to trust some alternative, way out treatment to fix my back when I'm in pain.  But I always thought I'd try it one day.   So, instead of having a massage when I went for my appointment, I asked for a Body Talk treatment.
Don't ask me to explain how it works, check out the link if you are interested, but I can verify it does work.  I can't say how long it took, it just dawned on me a week or so later that I was feeling less stressed and on top of things.  And within a few weeks the stress had disappeared and I felt on top of the world again.  Rather than feeling like I was sinking in a puddle of mud at work, feeling panicky that I'd forgotten something, by the time my next appointment came (last week) I actually felt that my workload had lessened (it hasn't).
And that horrible fuzziness is gone.  I don't know how else to describe it, or if other people ever get it.  My thoughts were constantly muddled, jumping from one thing to another in a mild panic, with a total lack of concentration.  All gone!   I still have something on my mind (a family matter) but am coping and have re-discovered the joy of life.  I'm so thankful to Lisa and Body Talk for sorting me out.
Yesterday evening when I went to the kitchen to prepare my dinner, my attention was caught by the strange light outside.  A scraggly old pine tree in the paddock at the back of the house was bathed in soft, beautiful light.   I see this tree countless times a day; I love trees but this is not a fine specimen and I have never once had a kind thought towards it.  Yesterday it had its moment of beauty.
Now is what farmers call spring.  Not according to the calendar but it's calving time, the time of birth.  When the real spring arrives the weather will be terrible but for now it's perfect.  Well, this week has been perfect.  A couple of weeks ago we had five frosts in a row (a rarity) and twice there has been snow up in the mountain -  an event so rare, it made the papers.   There will probably be another cold snap but who cares, I'll happily take what we are being given right now.
My son's cows that are due to calve are in a paddock near the house.  Yesterday I was amused as I watched a young cow as she was in labour.  Cows often keep looking at their rear end leading up to birth, as if trying to see what is causing the pain.  This one didn't just look, she kept chasing it, round and round in circles.  And when she wasn't doing that she was backing herself up, as if trying to back over it.  I was worried she would never actually give birth if she kept getting up to chase her tail.  But in the end instinct took over and all was well.  
This morning's birthing did not go so well.  The birth was taking too long and the cow was "down", unable to get back up again with just the calf's legs in this world.  Farmer Dan and the girls to the rescue.  I won't go into detail because I realize not everyone is familiar with some of the less sensitive methods used on a farm.  Let's just say with the help of ropes and a quad bike, the calf was delivered, thankfully still alive.  The calf was dragged and placed beside the cow's head and she rallied enough to do what cow mothers do to their newborn.  That was less than an hour ago and now both cow and calf are on their feet and the calf has found the end that gives it milk.  
The girls were helping, then keeping an eye on progress.  The little blob in front of the cow's face is the calf.  Notice Georgia is staying out of harms way, she's not as confident around calving cows as the older girls.
And when she does venture closer she makes sure she is armed.  I love the older girls' arms akimbo in true farmer fashion:
The rest of the herd had been slightly unsettled by the activity in their paddock and had a bit of sorting out to do when they left.  Now, which calf is mine?  Is it this one?
Or maybe this one?
No, I think it was the other one back there.
They sorted themselves out in the end.  All sorted on both sides of the fence.

Friday, 26 August 2011

FSO - High 'n' Low

High 'n' Low - that's the topic for this week's FSO. 

For some unknown reason, my internet connection is precarious today so I'm choosing just two shots on the theme of decay High and Low, and hoping the post will publish before it times out.

To see what the rest of the Friday Shoot Out team has come up with this week, just pop over here.

Friday, 19 August 2011

FSO - Match it.

I didn't read this week's challenge properly, so have deleted my original post.  The subject was Match it!! Match a photo from your town with one of your favorite quotes. A photo....not several. 

So I've chosen my favourite Maori proverb....

Turn your face to the sun and your shadow will fall behind you.

As I head away for the weekend I am taking that message with me....look to the future, leave the past behind you.

I imagine this week there will be some wonderful photos and quotes here.

Friday, 12 August 2011

FSO - Rust, rusty, rustic, Take 2

If I were really annoyed with myself for posting this week's FSO on Monday, I wouldn't have another go at it.   But I've got used to being annoyed with myself for stuffing things up and don't let it bother me too much these days.  However, I did have to dig into my archives on my old computer to find a few more shots, and none of them are taken around here.  They are all in the north and not that far away though.

This one amused me because the For Hire sign looks to be in much better condition than the machine.  Maybe it's only rusty on the outside but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it?

Take your pick of go-carts:

Add a few rusty old things to achieve a really rustic look:

Finally, because I love looking at rusty old sheds, I just had to add one. 

Want to have a look at some great photos of rust, rusty and rustic?  Just pop over here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

How did that happen?

I had no idea I had published next Friday's post until comments landed in my email.  I've been priding myself on being quite clear headed lately, out of the fuzzy fog that had been starting to worry me.  Hah!  Pride cometh and all that!

I was actually quite pleased with myself for making a start on that post.  Had chosen a few photos, put in a few words and thought I'd finish it later in the week when, hopefully, I will have my computer home from hospital.  

It was still all over the place like a dog's dinner.  What a silly expression.  Just looked it up and it seems the expression is 'done up like a dog's dinner'.  Well, no, it's certainly not that.  It's more all over the a baby's dinner.

Ah well, what's done is done. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Rust, rusty, rustic

For this week’s topic of rust, rusty, rustic we have been encouraged to think out of the box.  Well, to me, rust is rust.


Those who think out of the box find creative use for rusty old things:

cylinder gate wheel1

I pick up old bits and pieces I find around the farm and just throw them in the garden:

tractor bit


I’d love to cart this home but it is too big for my garden, so it sits in a paddock:

old machinery Others release their sense of humour to create something rustic:tapora

I’m spoilt with the number of rustic old sheds I see around the countryside.  The first one is here on the farm.

old hay feeder This one I pass daily.  I think the trees have enveloped more of it since I last posted it.

shedinbush This one I pass every time I go to see my daughters:wellsford

And this one sits on prime land at Mangawhai.  I wonder how long it will be before progress overtakes it:

mgwi shed


of, relating to, or suitable for the country : rural <rustic rolling farmland>


a : made of the rough limbs of trees <rustic furniture> b : finished by rusticating <a rustic joint in masonry>

: appropriate to the country (as in plainness or sturdiness) <heavy rustic boots>

—Middle English rustik, from Latin rusticus, from rus open land

First Known Use: 15th century



of, relating to, associated with, or typical of open areas with few buildings or people <a rustic area that has a refreshing lack of billboards and shopping malls>

Synonyms bucolic, country, pastoral, rustic (also rustical)

Related Words backwoods, backwoodsy, countrified (also countryfied), provincial; agrarian, agricultural; nonurban, semirural

Friday, 5 August 2011

FSO – Shooters Choice

This Friday, our challenge is Shooters Choice!! Anything goes as long as it showcases your town.  I’m interpreting that as showing you where I live.  I’m not a town person and anyway, town is quite some distance from where I live.  As this is a farming community, constant topics of conversation are the weather and our road.  As the weather impacts on the state of the road, I’ve chosen to concentrate on the road home.
Sometimes it’s wet and slushy:road3
Sometimes the potholes are a challenge.  To avoid them you have to hug the railings of the bridge.    Not a place for nervous drivers.  
potholesSometimes the road is flooded but I don’t have any photos of floodwater over the road.  I have other things on my mind when faced with that.   The next shot is taken from the road but the water has not yet covered it. floodwater1
At this spot, further up the road past my house, water is often trickling over the road:

 up the road in spring
and makes a pretty little waterfall as it tumbles off down to the creek.
 georgia on road
When the road is dry, vehicles kick up a cloud of dust making it easier to see if there is vehicle up ahead.  When you come up behind a truck like this it’s a matter of letting the driver see you are behind them.  Most of them are very considerate and will wave you on when they can see far enough ahead to know it is safe for you to get past.
MarshallThere are a few one lane bridges – this is the big one.  Yeah, go on, have a laugh!  It’s a big one for around here!

big bridgeAnd this is the little one, closest to home.
 our bridgeAt this time of year there is often fog.  Here is the same little bridge, from the other direction.  Can’t see it?    It’s there, the sign says so.  
bridge in fog
In summer, one neighbour grows a vegetable garden at the bottom of the bank to the right of the bridge. 
vegie patchAnother often grazes the Long Acre.
 the long acre
I’m looking forward to seeing what the other FSO folk show us this week.  They will all be here.