The funny farm 
Angus had indeed broken his leg. Ross felt it (with me holding still his other three limbs) and it was definitely moving where it shouldn't. It wasn't like that at first, so it's likely Angus broke it properly later. So Ross made a splint with some bark (makes a nice curved surface) and bandaged it up. He's now putting weight on it again, so it looks like it's healing up. We'll keep it on for a fortnight.

Of course, now that it doesn't hurt so much, he's up to his old tricks. It's quite impressive watching him leap around the garden with three legs. At sunset, lambs and calves go through the nutcase zone. They gang up together, then rush madly to a random spot on the paddock. Then they pick a different random spot and rush there instead. It can be unnerving when you're trying to chop firewood and there's a couple of lambs running round the garden at around 50km per hour. Fortunately it only lasts around ten or fifteen minutes, then they settle down again. I guess it serves to intimidate the lions before the evening hunt. Not that we have any here.

Talking of lions, last night the youth group put on an African family fun night. Rachael was a zebra and Sarah was a leopard. Bronwyn decided to dress up as a safari tourist complete with binoculars, camera and a safari jeep made out of cardboard. I decided I'd dress up as a masai. I had a bedsheet wrapped round my legs, a table cloth for a cloak, a couple of extra bits of cloth for a loincloth and apron, and an old spear that had been passed down through the family, originally from the Solomon Islands. I then made a couple of bead necklaces and a couple of big gold earrings. I gathered a bag of bones from around the farm and selected a few to make a bone necklace. OK, so that's not strictly masai, but then neither was the spear. It all went down a hoot. Very few others had dressed up, so we ended up getting the prize for best dressed adults.

Bronwyn picked up some chips on the way in. She parked in a dark spot because I was nervous about being seen with a loin cloth and huge gold earrings...

We seem to have lost the pins from the hay rake. Ross thought that some children had been playing with them in the hay barn. They're big iron bolt things, so Bronwyn hired a metal detector and went round looking for them. We learnt a few things about metal detectors. Firstly, the hay barn is made of corrugated iron. This meant that you couldn't find a thing within two feet of the wall. The metal detectors also detect electric fences, so we had a constant blip every second if we were within ten metres of a fence. Bronwyn didn't find anything. However Ross did - back in the tractor shed. So maybe the pins weren't in the rake in the first place!

I also had a go with the detector. A friend had lost a metal pendant down by the stream. I didn't find it, but I located four metal fence standards, another two that I didn't bother digging up, a length of rebar, a bolt thingummy that might have fallen off the tractor, and a nail buried in the soil. When I got back to the shop they asked me if I'd found any gold. No, but plenty of scrap iron!

The regional contest with the brass band went well today. Don't know the score, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. There weren't too many in the audience. There weren't too many in the band either until just before we were due to walk on stage. Motorway was quiet. Everybody was watching the rugby!

Ag day on Friday. Bronwyn has been working hard trying to get Sarah to work hard and finish her lamb and chicken diaries in order to hand them in for marking. She's also been trying to train Leia, but Leia isn't quite as docile as Tom was last year, and not so motivated by sheep food, so it's not been easy. The lambs have to walk up a plank, and last year it was about 80 cm off the ground. Mind you, we've found sheep poo on the trampoline, so they're not afraid of heights!

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Never a dull moment 
Angus is limping. Looks like he's sprained one front ankle. Bronwyn felt the leg carefully, and couldn't detect anything out of place, and the vet agrees with her diagnosis. So he's been rather subdued for a few days. For once. He probably did it trying to leap onto the picnic table. Or the fence. Or the lawnmower again. But now he's unable to leap the boards, climb the chain link fence, clamber through the strawberry net and crash through the hedge. All is peaceful, for now.

One poorly chicken too. Now normally, chickens poo everywhere. On the back yard, the deck, the doorstep, the kitchen, the lounge, you name it. But one chicken seemed to be doing it to extreme, and her feathers didn't look tidy either. So Bronwyn went to the vet and came back with some worming drops to put in their water. Seems to have worked. Back to normal poo now.

Sarah has just a week or two to train her lamb for Ag day. She's also got to get her chicken and lamb diaries up to date. But Leia seems quite amenable, like Tom was last year. Not sure how Cooper will do with Angus. He's spent most of the holidays on a skiing trip, and has hardly seen his lamb, let alone trained him. But their personalities match quite well. Hopefully Cooper will return in one piece just in time for Angus to learn to walk again!

Bronwyn has been at work four days most weeks. She's also been leading the team at both elderly homes. She organised three local churches to do music on a Sunday afternoon. She's spent hours printing music and putting it in folders. We've had a few people off sick or away, so she's been doing more than her share on the roster. I joined in last week on trombone. Great fun, especially with some of the Golden Oldies we played!

I'll be seeing a lot of that trombone. Church this morning, concert this afternoon and regional contest next week. Then we'll probably get out the Christmas music.

Getting warmer now. Trees are turning green. Well, the European ones, anyway. The Bottle Brush is turning bright red.

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My family and other animals 
I think we're raising a goat. Angus has been prevented from leaping over towards the kitchen, but we've now had to strengthen the fence round the other side. He still gets over sometimes. He's also made a hole in the old lawnmower - obviously he decided to jump on the plastic engine hood one day, and broke it. Fortunately that lawnmower is effectively scrap - we haven't bothered to get rid of it yet. Pretty sure it was him. Leia is much quieter and never tries to jump anything.

The two chicks are growing fast. As predicted, the light coloured one is getting dark feathers, and the dark one is getting light ones. They spend the night in a box in the old laundry, and the day time in the rabbit hutch. That's about the limits of their existence so far!

Two new calves to add to the existing three. We don't tend to name the ones raised in the paddock, so currently they're referred to as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Sam went out every day to check up on them. I understand they're a viral hit in Taiwan...

Sam's now off in Whitianga, just in time for the tsunami. She's fine. Her iPhone got a bit wet. I don't think it was tsunami related - she was just too busy collecting shellfish.

It's getting warm at last. Soon it'll be summer. Then we'll be back in the cold again for Christmas!

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Calves, lambs, and other children 
Sam (or Cao Sha, also known as Shazza or Kitten Girl) from Taiwan has been here for a week and a half. She's a big kid. She's actually been married for quite a while. Her husband worries that if they have two children, then he will have three to look after. She's been feeding the lambs and going over daily to check for any new calves. Three so far. Three more soon, but we've been warned that the mothers can be aggressive, so we've had to observe from the fence.

We've currently got two lambs in the back garden. Sarah's lamb Leia is in training for the agricultural day, but still isn't too keen on walking with a leash. Cousin Cooper wanted a lamb, but we only had one surviving orphan on the farm, so they got another from a different farm. Angus is crazy. He does this weird strangled bleat which we've all practised imitating. Unfortunately it was too much for Cooper's neighbours, who insisted that the lamb went. So Angus and Leia are now in our back garden. We've put up quite a barricade across, but he can still climb a three foot fence, so we'll probably have to make it higher. Or slipperier.

Sarah named her chicks along the Princess theme to go with Princess Leia. So we've got Jasmin and Sophia. Jasmin is the brown headed one, to go with the one in Aladdin. Unfortunately she's now growing all white feathers, so it will probably reverse later!

Bronwyn's been working four days a week for the last fortnight. Three days next week. Plus she was off to a Baptist Women's conference on Friday. She's also been working hard to put her teaching materials together for the registration, and a pile of song folders for the old folks home roster. Meanwhile, I haven't had a lot to do at work, so (apart from stressing about future income) I've been the one who hasn't had a lot to do. But I'm told that we have a semi major job about to start on Monday, so my unplanned holiday could be coming to an end.

Went to the hot pools last night. Got a family ticket. Two adults, three children. Sam got counted as a child. Technically she's not, but practically speaking she hasn't quite crossed 18 yet. I don't think the girl on the desk believed she was 30!

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Chicken Flu 
For those of you in the northern hemisphere, we'll be bringing you some things around Christmas time. Flu will be one of them. It's been quite bad this year; two people that I know have been in hospital. Bronwyn had bronchitis and all of us have had coughs and sore throats, including the Belgians and Singaporeans. But we've all pretty much recovered now.

Michael and Coralie left today. Coralie has a job in a Belgian cafe in the city. There can't be that many Belgian Cafes in New Zealand. On the other hand, there can't be many Belgians. Meanwhile, Kitten Girl will be here on Tuesday. Unfortunately for her, we've only got one lamb to bottle feed. It's been a good year; we've got another 90 in the paddock.

And two chicks. Sarah brought them home on Friday. One has a yellow head, and the other one has brown with a couple of stripes. They haven't got names yet, so I've just called them Brown and Yellow. They'll completely change their colour once the feathers come out. They're in the shed under a heat lamp at the moment. Should have eggs coming on line by Christmas.

I'll need to finish the second chicken shed. The plywood I bought was obviously designed for a dry indoors. It's already begun peeling at one corner. So we put it up in the loft for storage (and somewhere to put storage on!) and we'll get another sheet. Meanwhile I've done two shelves and a shoe cupboard. Michael has been very useful with carpentry, and Coralie has done the impossible. Sarah's room is tidy.

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