Can we call it summer now? 
I normally leave my weather comments to the end, but this year it's been headline news for quite a while. After the record rains at the end of January, we had a cyclone come to say Hi. The rain wasn't half as much, and we only lost one old tree that didn't appear to have any roots. But it was unusually cold. Reminded me of a wet and windy day on Dartmoor. The river rose again and washed out the railway that they'd been trying to rebuild, and we had a power cut across a large chunk of the North Island. We were out for two days, and some isolated communities have only just got power.

One of our friends has had to move out; her house is fine, but the hillside opposite is still unstable and might go at any moment. There's a police cordon around their village (Muriwai); some parts are off limits and the beach (one of the most popular in Auckland) is only accessible for locals. The cyclone hit the east coast very badly, and the river rose so high in one valley that it's now several feet deep in silt. Nine people died there, plus two firefighters in Muriwai who were checking a house when it was crushed by a mudslide. Several others are still unaccounted for; it's difficult to know who was living where in some places.

We lost over thirty lambs and a few sheep. Most of the lambs were the small ones that were born to last year's lambs and didn't have the reserves to survive. We checked over all the sheep in the days after the cyclone and gave them all several medications. We didn't have power, so we weren't able to shear them where the flies had been attacking them. So Bronwyn made up a solution of the insecticide and gave them a bottom shampoo instead. We had one sheep in the back garden for three weeks, unable to walk. The back legs had become paralysed for some reason. We tried propping it up on a cradle and a hay bale as we had done for the hogget last year, but it didn't work this time, and with the sheep not being able to eat properly, it wasn't able to survive. We're hoping that's the last of them.

But it's been mostly dry and sunny since then. This is because Bronwyn's dad has now got a second water tank installed to collect water from the other side of the house. Now that we have the new tank installed, the rain has stopped. We've been doing our best to get the lawn mowed. It hasn't stopped growing since Winter and it's been too wet to mow until now. The cows are enjoying the grass clippings.

Kumeu show today. They were due for the 100 year anniversary last year, but it got cancelled again due to covid. This time they've been lucky. Lots of other events were cancelled this year because of the rain. Bronwyn and Rach are at the St Johns stall. and I'll be going off shortly to play in the brass band. Now that it's summer for once, I must remember to bring plenty of sunblock.

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