Guns and Thistles 
It's been rather busy at work; it seems like everything has gone full speed ahead. So I've been working six days a week trying to make progress. But today is Sunday...

Ross has let Sarah have a go at a .22 rifle. Turns out she's a pretty good shot. We put some cardboard at about 23 metres, and she was consistently within a couple of inches. She shot so many in one spot that the holes have joined up into one big one. This Sunday, Ross presented her with a tea towel. It has three pukekos on it.

For the uninitiated, a pukeko is a purple swamp hen. Take a coot, make it twice as big and add long legs. Plus a liking for pulling up plants and pecking lambs and other baby birds. It's quite popular with the tourists, but not the farmers.

So Sarah spent some time firing at a tea towel. I'm pretty sure she got all three. Meanwhile, I've been practising on Rachael's compound bow, which hasn't seen an arrow for several years. The first time taught me that I'd have issues shooting a moose at 23 metres if it stood sideways. But I'm getting better. Not as accurate as Sarah, but mostly within a couple of feet. One arrow went straight through Sarah's big hole on the cardboard!

I'm slowly working my way around the farm. I'm learning the different species of thistle. Scotch thistles are huge, but easy to spot and don't usually grow back. It's the little ones that keep popping up. I'm keeping note of their locations so I can pass that way when I'm nearby. I've also learnt all the locations of gorse and blackberry within half a kilometre. It's getting a bit warm to be hacking weeds, so I'm doing it in the late evening, armed with spade and shears, plus a pruning saw strapped from my belt...

It's out Light Party at the end of the month; our Halloween alternative. Bronwyn has been trying to get the church organised. I've been given the task of doing Splat The Rat. Last year, I had a drainpipe and a ball. This year, I decided to make a mouse hole in some MDF, with a frame behind it. The party theme is spots and stripes, so if I get a moment, I'll add some skirting board, striped wallpaper and a little "Home Sweet Home" sign above the hole.

Bronwyn's birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and last week we took up the offer of another weekend at a friend's holiday house up near Leigh. It was a bit cold for getting wet, but we had fish and chips by the beach, and a very relaxing weekend. Sarah got up at lunchtime, and was bouncing off the ceiling when we were heading to bed.

Took a peculiar route home. The GPS told me to go north, presumably since we were already some way along that road for lunch. Except that it was a rather long and winding road on gravel through the hills. But we made it, and only reached home four minutes later than Bronwyn, who took the motorway!

Sarah is back at school tomorrow after the holidays. She's been working on a couple of speeches, one for school and one for St Johns Youth. She's been researching the history of the St Johns organisation. I didn't realise it goes back to the dark ages!

Rach is at uni, but catching up on Maths and leaving Physics for next year. Instead, she's doing Linguistics and Japanese Culture. It's been easier lately - she's hardly asked me anything at all this term. Not that I'd be able to help with Japanese Culture...

Haven't played trombone for a few weeks. Last weekend was my spot to play at church, but I was away. Our conductor Mark has also recently retired, and we haven't yet met the new one. Had a great farewell barbecue for Mark, and our last regional contest with him went well. We didn't win, but it sounded great on the video. I knew I wouldn't have much time to breathe during my solo, so I took several deep breaths before. Unfortunately that left me rather light headed. I remember floating away while my arm swung the slide. Fortunately I had it memorised, and it was meant to be jazz, so it apparently turned out rather well!

The weather is warm. The grass is long. The lambs have been shut out in the paddock. Although they have been a lot easier to deal with than last year - they've kept the weeds down nicely and haven't learnt how to break into the front garden. Yet.

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