A quiet week 
Three lambs. Stephen took White Face and Scruffy, and then returned with another two. One was very ill, and died after a day, but the other one is doing well. We've lost 9 lambs so far, but we've had so many twins and triplets that overall we've gor a bumper crop this year.

It's not easy feeding three hungry lambs. Bronwyn worked out this technique of holding one bottle in each hand and one between her legs. Not easy.

Celia and Nana arrive tomorrow. Bronwyn's got the room ready. Meanwhile, she did a day working at one of her old childcare centres. It seems that now all the children have done the winter diseases, it's now the staff's turn! She's likely to get called up next week as well. Will be interesting...

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Lambs everywhere... 
Weiming is off on her travels, and plans to head south for the summer. We've got a week or so free, and then her friend Celia arrives with her friend Nana. Weiming has been looking after us while we've all been sick. I wish we'd been able to do more for her while she was here, but she has done plenty for us!

I'm learning basic Chinese characters and grammar. It'll take a while to catch up with the average 3 year old. They have a system of strokes and a set order and direction to draw each of them. Weiming showed me how to look up characters in a chinese dictionary. However, you have to know how to write them first because the dictionary is organised by strokes!

We're up to 4 lambs at the house. Pip Bennett is growing fast, and little Angelica is learning to feed. Bronwyn's brother Stephen brought in two lambs which we've codenamed White Face and Scruffy. Alas, poor Apple Juice didn't last one night. More lambs on the way. It's a two person job doing the feeding now. Meanwhile, Goldy and Chickaboo are growing their feathers and seem to be doing fine in the shed.

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Volcanos, chicks, streptococcus, staphylococcus etc... 
Rachael's been barking like a dog this week, and had two days off sick. I've also been really ill, and had to take three days off. However, I actually bothered to read the bottle of pills, and it says Take TWO twice daily. Obviously one wasn't enough! So I've raised the dose, and gradually getting stronger. Bronwyn's been suffering from asthma with the pollen from the pine trees - the car was coated in yellow dust this morning.

No volcanic dust however. We've had three volcanos erupt this week. White Island has always been running hot, but Tongariro made an impressive belch last week, the first in over 100 years. And an underwater volcano created a raft of pumice along the faultline to the north east. Occupational hazard.

The chicks arrived on Friday, and have been feeding well. Meanwhile Pip Bennett, aka PB or Piddlebum, has been feeding very well, and has learnt how to jump any fence we can put up against him. At least he can't open doors. That would be scary...

Weiming is enjoying the peace and quiet, and has spent long hours exploring parts of the bush I've never been in. She's got just over a week left with us, but will be around the country for a long time yet. She's certainly been looking after us!

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Four lambs and a funeral 
Weiming was washing up one day last week. I opened the dishwasher, and rearranged a few dishes. She commented that she never seemed to put thing in correctly in there. I said that quite a few people had difficulty working out how to use a dishwasher. "Oh. Is that a dishwasher?" she replied. Once I'd managed to breathe properly again, I explained how it worked...

Two new lambs this week. One didn't feed well, and was getting abandoned by his mother. So we brought it home and we've been patiently bottle feeding him. Rachael named him Little Pipsqueak. Erica wanted to name him Bennett. So he's Pip Bennett. Bronwyn fenced off a space for him out the back door, and he's feeding well now, and quite lively. Sarah gets two chicks from school to look after on Friday. So Bronwyn's also made a box with chicken mesh on top. We've got a concrete pad out in the garden where the kennels used to be, so Bronwyn's planning to turn that into a chicken shed. Meanwhile, Alberton House (where Bronwyn's great great grandfather lived) has been trying to find a home for a rooster that arrived mysteriously one day. Looks like we'll have quite a farm our in the garden shortly.

One of my ex-colleagues died rather tragically this week, so I headed out to the funeral today. Bronwyn came with me, and quite a few others from the company. Some were quite upset. It felt odd putting a flower on his coffin. I think we ought to take his ashes down the pub and have a farewell drink. I think that was more his style.

Weiming has had a quiet week on the farm, and she wants to start looking for jobs this week to raise some cash for her year in New Zealand. She's then planning a few months in Myanmar or India, followed by another year in Africa. She's spent a while in Thailand too. I asked her where she wanted to go after Africa, but she hasn't got that far yet! Two more girls after her (Taiwanese, I recall) and another after that. We're booked up to mid October. Must sort out some sort of reservations system...

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Erica didn't want to leave. She did really well at the airport, but told me not to say too much, in case it made her cry. She was so overwhelmed. Apparently, her parents think we're angels, and they want us to come and visit them in China!

I took a couple of days holiday to make the most of a couple of days of good weather, and one of the sheep produced a couple of lambs just in time. (More lambs to follow.) We've done quite a bit last week, and we're all tired. The rain has returned, and looks like it wants to stay for a week or two. Meanwhile, two more Chinese girls want to stay from late August and Weiming arrived today for three weeks. Erica agreed that we ought to start a hotel for Chinese girls...

Rachael's doing well at swimming lessons, and has managed a length with a flutter board. They're training her to be at home in the water, which is the main obstacle since she's terrified of getting water in her ears. Bronwyn has been working hard on Sarah, and getting her to read a book every day. She's finally picking things up, and can just about pick out her favourite programmes on the Sky TV guide. Bronwyn's been sufferring with asthma, made worse by the cold weather. She's managing it better now, but still finds it hard to sleep at night sometimes.

Brass band AGM yesterday. Managed to survive as treasurer. Not that there's anybody else willing to do it instead. Hopefully now I've has a full year's experience I'll be able to do it properly this time! Meanwhile, two funding applications send off for the youth work, including letters of apology because I'm still awaiting the audited accounts. Another couple of applications coming up next month. Hopefully someone will give us some money this time.

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