Summer fun 
Still no rain. Might get a sustained drizzle tomorrow. Allan has his sprinklers on a timer switch, but the pump keeps cutting out and needs resetting. So we have to remember to check the pump every evening. Which kind of defeats the object of having a timer switch.

Last weekend we went to Tree Adventures in Woodhill forest, where there's a lot of high altitude ropeways all the way through the trees. Sarah managed bravely through course number 1, then got a refund. Rachael and me continues to course number 4, and then decided to call it a day. It's suprisingly tiring when you're clinging to a rope all the time. The course continues to Number 10, which finishes with a horizontal 150 metre long rope ladder and a very long zip line. It made me dizzy just looking up at it.

Our second English couple arrived a week early, stayed just four days and then left quietly at 7am without giving any reason. Well, I didn't ask them, anyway. It was 7am, after all. Bronwyn phoned them. Apparently they weren't happy about the condition of the horses. They're very long in the hoof, and in need of a serious haircut. And they said that we hadn't really given them much work to do. I had quite a few things lined up, but they were out most of the day until 8pm, and disappeared before the weekend.

I think I prefer the Chinese...

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Very quiet 
Apparently I have swimmer's ear. It's a yeast infection (Sarah told me I had bread in my ear) and I've got some really viscous drops to put in. Which makes it very difficult to hear anything. Hopefully it'll clear up soon, but it's hard to tell...

Got quite a bit done. Put together several hundred photos into one big montage to commemorate the year. Took several days because we've had about two thousand photos this year. But the end result is up on the wall at last. I've also done an arrangement of Te Harinui for the band. It's just about the only traditional New Zealand carol, and there don't seem to be many arrangements of it, and those are designed for guitar or piano. With some rather odd chords. So I did a more sane arrangement instead.

We've had an English couple to stay for the weekend. They're off to another place for a couple of days and then back home. There's another two shortly after that, and then we're off camping. Well, mostly. I've got the Parachute festival again, so I'll be doing one day of camping before and afterwards. At least I'll have a day to recover before driving the rest of the way! February is still free if there are any more from China out there...?

It's been mostly hot and dry. Allan's still in the south island but his sweetcorn is doing well. My onions are taking a while. But at least we now have fresh lettuce coming online.

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Christmas came early 
The cyclone was due today, but it looks like it did the same as our English friends did last month - it decided Paihia was a much nicer place to hang out, and stayed there. But there's a sizeable trough coming from Australia, which looks like it'll tell the cyclone to toughen up and head south. We'll see.

Carols. More carols. Even more carols. There have been seven sessions outside Countdown this week, and two more tomorrow. I've been collecting all the foriegn coins for the Musical Director's Overseas Holiday Fund. So far he's got enough for a couple of beers in Australia and a coke in Fiji and Kenya. Transport not included.

Bronwyn's parent's church home group had their Christmas party at their house, and last night we had the family dinner at our house. Bronwyn worked VERY hard keeping the place clean and tidy, and decorating the front porch. (So far, the Christmas Grotto on the front deck hasn't been blown away by the wind.) We're planning a rather quieter do on Christmas day.

Still not much rain. Allan has been playing with his sprinklers, and produced a timer switch to turn on the water for an hour each night. He left it off since we were supposed to have the cyclone over for tea tonight. Looks like I'll have to switch it on manually!

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Another week... 
Carol service tonight, then carolling outside the supermarket just about every day until Christmas. Then it's time to put Jingle Bells and Rudolph back in the box for another year.

Allan's sweetcorn is growing reasonably well, and he's planted another bagful. He's bought some irrigation pipes and sprinklers which we've been playing with each evening. It's been really hot and dry this week, so we've been careful to keep eveything watered. Allan bought another sprinkler yesterday. It's absolutely manic - it goes at ten times the speed of the others! Great fun to watch, so long as you're out of range.

Sowed some leeks, and I've been reading up about silverbeet because I'm not sure I've ever seen it before. We're already picking spinach and lettuce, and the rest of the garden isn't far behind. We're also getting eggs. Goldie and Chickaboo appear to have reached puberty earlier than Bronwyn predicted, and are already producing one small egg each per day. I've been date stamping all of them.

Bronwyn's been getting the house ready for the family dinner on Saturday. We need to clear a lot of space in the lounge and kitchen and we'll be expecting about 18 for a full dinner. She's also been cutting the grass and putting the finishing touches to the Christmas Grotto on the front deck.

Hopefully the wind won't blow it all away again this year! The cyclone that trashed Samoa is currently heading for Fiji, and this morning's forecast had it heading straight for Auckland, just before Christmas...

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Fun on the farm 
Sarah's been really ill this week. Leaking at both ends. We're hoping to send her to school tomorrow - she missed three days last week. She threw up one night. Bronwyn had carefully arranged some towels on the bed to catch anything that she might care to expel. Sarah moved the towels, and then managed to trash both of them, plus the duvet cover, duvet, bottom sheet, two pillowcases, pyjamas, a rug on the floor, several items of clothing nearby and one of her toys. Fortunately we still had a bedwetting sheet underneath. Sarah trashed that too. Did a lot of washing this week!

You might have heard of the tornado; it wasn't too far away from us. The storm went between our house and my office. Nothing damaged on the farm, but we had lots of rain. However, it's been hot and dry for two days now. Allan has been tending his sweetcorn seedlings and arranging
a couple of irrigation sprinklers. Had a fun time watering the cows. Then one of the calves managed to get tangled in the temporary electric ribbon fence that Ross had put up next to the sweetcorn. Looks like the fence wasn't electric. Not sure yet if it's a problem in the electric wire somewhere, or the generator dying.

Bronwyn's been decorating the lounge and the front deck for Christmas. She arrived today with a Christmas tree. Then she spotted her father attempting to round up sheep on the paddock. I was out planting trees. The first I saw was Bronwyn driving across the paddock with a fair sized Christmas tree on top. Not something you see every day. We had to shave the tree down a little in order to fit the stand, but it's now lashed up out on the front deck with lights on it.

Poor tree.

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