Free pine cones... 
On Wednesday, Rachael came home, and nobody was at home. This wouldn't have been so bad, if the cows hadn't finally broken down the fence, headed up the drive and mowed the garden. Somehow she managed to chase them out of the garden, shut the gate and then walked over the hill to Bronwyn's parents.

Then on Thursday, Smokey went up the tree by the garden gate. Bronwyn tried the ladder, but it wasn't very stable against the trunk. Smokey then decided to go further up the branch. Bronwyn phoned Dad, who brought round the big Ford with the digger attachment. I got a ride up in the digger bucket, but Smokey was clinging on far too tightly for me to wrench him off. So I pushed him back down the branch. He complied, then picked a different branch and went right to the top.

We left him there. Soon as it got dark, he was down again.

The boys are planning a motocross rally this weekend, and hired a 20 ton digger to do a bit of landscaping in the bottom paddock. They also removed the big old tree at the the bottom of our drive.

It's been there for about 40 years, and has never grown straight since one Christmas when Bronwyn's dad removed the top for a Christmas tree. Since then, most of the branches grew outwards. Last year the council lopped off a couple of branches after a truck clipped one of them as it hung over the road, heavy with pine cones. Since then, two more have fallen of their own accord, leaving just a couple left, which happened to be the only ones pointing upwards.

Rachael was upset; she has often played under that tree after getting off the school bus. Me; I gathered some large bags and started picking up pine cones. They do really well for starting fires. I gathered over a thousand, and there are probably a similar number scattered over the paddock and still attached to the branches.

As a result of this, and the earlier episode with the cows, we now have three paddocks and the driveway joined by open fences. As I type, one of Bronwyn's brothers is enjoying the extra space on his motorbike. Hope he doesn't hit a pine cone.

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