Kirsty, I have your duck. 
Happy New Year!

Two ducks waddled across the farm up to our house. They can't fly, and must have walked a kilometre across the paddocks. I managed to capture one duck with the help of the owner, but the other one escaped. Several times. I had some thick netting in a circle, but the duck just climbed up it. So eventually I got some bird netting and baling twine and sewed it right across. Having trapped the duck, I threw several blankets over the trap and phoned the owner (Kirsty). Between us, we managed to catch it and tape it in a box to go back to the others. Kirsty hadn't given it a name, so I suggested Houdini. She thought that was rather good. Mavis the muscovy also got taken home. Haven't seen them since. I suspect Mavis might have led them over here, since she can fly and knows all the nice ponds for a large radius!

After fixing up the dishwasher from the mouse attack, it then almost immediately got shredded by a rat. So it was another water pipe and a whole new cable. The new water pipe has stainless steel armour, and I taped it up as well in case the electric cable gets eaten and sparks on the water pipe. I then rigged up some elastic to hold the cable and pipes off the floor, stuffed some loft insulation and old metal scouring pads around every gap, and put some rat bait underneath.

However, the dishwasher still isn't working. I suspect there's something else been chewed or come loose inside but I can't see it. It's 18 years old, so it might just be time to get a new one!

Apart from that, Christmas all went smoothly. We had a family lunch at Bronwyn's parents' house, and we're still working through the leftovers. It's been unbelievably quiet since then. Everybody who can, goes off camping. Everybody who can't, stays at home and does nothing. It's not a good time to need a plumber! Rachael and Sarah have drifted into Singapore time.

We have had some fun with a certain lamb however. It knows exactly how to jump through a fence. I watched it do a very impressive Fosbury Flop yesterday, with front legs going one way and back legs going the other. It keeps coming into the garden and then calling out for its friend to come over too. Then it heads for the sweet peas. I've barricaded all the flower beds, and wound baling twine around the fence wires. So far, it hasn't come back, but I suspect it's only a matter of time. We seem to have one or two lambs every year who possess what we refer to as the Houdini gene, and can escape from anywhere.

Our camping trip isn't for another two weeks. Bronwyn has arranged a driving roster to give Rachael plenty of practice. She's booked in for her restricted license test in March. Rach has decided to drop Physics and move into Earth Science, which she finds much more interesting, and particularly because New Zealand has a lot of active geology. She's also doing Marine Studies. New Zealand is not lacking in ocean. And Geography.

We have lived in interesting times. We've been spared the worst of the lockdowns and restrictions here, but the tourist industry is suffering, and anywhere that relies on foreign workers or students. And any industry that relies on overseas people having unrestricted leisure activities. Some of this has affected me personally, and our income has been half what it should be. But we have savings, and the farm is not short of food. I might have some changes to report shortly!

We've had quite a bit more rain than we did last year, and everything is still green. Not good for the hay fever but the sheep are happy! My potatoes are doing well, I've got cauliflower growing for the first time ever, and a few other things around the garden. The vegetable garden now has a rabbit proof fence. It was chicken proof before, but the baby rabbits could still get in. I still seem to have an issue with mynahs wanting a dust bath!

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