It's that time of year... 
Rachael survived her maths resit! This was a team effort. She had to do this one in order to get a derived grade, because she missed a couple of papers last term. The teacher had managed to rearrange it, and gave plenty of encouragement. I sat with Rachael over the holidays and went over the workbook, revising algebra and the joys of quadratics, parabolas and circle geometry. Bronwyn sat in the car at the school ready for an explosive blob of emotion to blast from some window. But she sat through to the end. Sounds like she did reasonably well too. She also (after much persuasion) completed her history assignment, which I was quite impressed with - she'd done it really well. Plus a Japanese assignment. Now she's in a much better mood, at least until the main exams in a few weeks' time!

The brass band is into the silly season. We've got a concert in a week, and we've only seen some of the music last week. Then there's several parades to organise plus the carolling. And it's likely that there will be several more events sneaked in as well. Christmas eve is often a relief...

Warm and sunny. Everything green, including the bits I didn't want green. The three lambs have been transferred to the front paddock. Harley is coping nicely. Davidson and Peter are bleating every time they see me. They'll be fine. Harley did quite well at the agricultural day on Friday, but there was another boy who scooped up all the first places, so Harley just got a few seconds. Sarah was a bit disappointed, but still has a chance to go to the group day in a few weeks with other local schools. Sarah also brought an old Jelly Belly dispenser turned into a flower vase, and a terrarium with a copper skink that Bronwyn found in the out house. Plus a pile of vegetation for the other constructions she had to make. Parking was tricky - the soil was still soft after a few days of rain, so everyone had to park on the wrong side of the village and cross the main road. But everyone made it back in one piece, including the skink.

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Spring at last. New growth. Pools of vomit. 
Spring at last. The lambs are growing fast, and feeding time is chaos. Potatoes growing well. Sarah's pumpkin seeds have sprouted and have been planted out, although the birds seem to like eating them. The supermarket is giving away mini pots with seeds, so I now have a small vegetable garden in the office.

Bronwyn had her birthday last week, and we had a get-together with a lot of her old friends. It was very interesting meeting people from different periods of her past, who all knew us but didn't know each other! Everyone enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it seems that half of them went sick on Tuesday. Still not sure what caused it - Rachael had it, and she hardly ate anything. At 1am on Tuesday, Sarah decorated the linen cupboard, and then blocked up the washbasin. We were up for some time cleaning up and unblocking the U bend. She was up again at 5am. Rachael decorated the bathroom floor at 10am, and then the bath. Fortunately they got over it after a day or two.

The school holidays end today. Rachael has been working on her Japanese assignment. I finished going through the maths syllabus with her, although we probably need to revise it again. She's allergic to history. Haven't got far on that one...

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Lambs. Maths. And some potatoes. 
Down to three lambs. Alas, Kirby died on Thursday night. He'd looked a little bloated the day before, but seemed otherwise fine. It often seems to happen like that, and it's often the ones that had a difficult start. You have to get used to losing a few each year. Fortunately both girls have coped with it.

Which is just as well, because Rachael has been freaking out over Maths. She did a resit of her mock exam, but lasted about 5 minutes. She's got the real exams in 5 or 6 weeks. I've been taking her through the workbook a little each day, and learning some things I'd forgotten long ago! She was really resentful yesterday, but somehow I managed to show her how to understand parabolas. Today, circle geometry, and exponential functions. She found it a lot easier today. Hopefully, we'll get there. The other subjects seem to be no issue, including her favourite, Japanese!

The other three lambs are growing well. Sarah is feeding Harley separately, so she gets used to her, ready for Ag day in a few weeks. We've got a multi teat feeder for the others. Davidson is notorious for his sidestep. He'll suddenly lurch his back end to the left and back. This is OK, providing that no one else is in the way. He'll also crash through the others in search of a useable teat. Peter, aka Balls, doesn't aim well, and can lurch at the feeder violently until I grab his collar and direct him to the nearest source of milk. It can thus be chaos at feeding time, but once they've latched on, it's usually over in a minute or two.

Only two bands competing at the regionals, and we came second. The other band was stacked full of A grade players, so it wasn't unexpected! But we did play the test piece from the C Grade at the nationals. Now that we're C grade, our conductor wanted us to try some C grade music. We only had a few weeks to practice, and I thought we pulled it off quite well. And a number of other tunes, all based on folk songs, including Lily the Pink, and a rather beery number from the Oktoberfest, in which we all had to sway in time to the music. It's not easy reading the music and swaying simultaneously...

It's been wet. And warmer. And the grass is growing fast. I suspect that the lawnmower guy is busy, because we haven't seen him for a few weeks. At least the monsters have had plenty of grass to eat. The crabby old potatoes I threw in a month ago are growing very well. I suspect that area was used by generations of cats as the nearest patch of dirt from the back door. Hopefully we'll get some good potatoes underneath. If they have too much nitrogen, they might look nice and green on top, but there's nothing bigger than a cherry underneath!

Yesterday, I put in a couple of bags of seed potatoes. Today, we were all given yet another potato at church as a competition. Something about sowing seeds. We're going to harvest them and have a weigh-in in December...

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Balls. 
Four lambs. Harley and her friend Davidson are growing fast, and cause chaos at feeding time. Kirby was born with weak legs, and got injured when all four splayed out on the kitchen lino. But he's slowly getting stronger. Takes a while to feed though. Little Peter / Puck is not as little now, and looks like he'll take after Davidson in terms of being a complete nutcase. Rachael named him Balls. This is because Bronwyn kept referring to him as a female, at which point Rachael would pick him up and say "See, balls!"

Just had a very busy 48 hours at the church. We've had a visiting team (plus numerous hangers-on) teaching about healing and prophecy. Quite a few people got pounced on and prophesied over. Bronwyn has been furiously writing everything down. It'll take her a while to write it out neatly and hand it back to them. She was also furiously baking last week. We weren't allowed to touch anything. But now that it's over, and there's plenty left, we've got quite a few cookies to finish off.

The brass band has about two weeks left before the regional contest. Some people have only just shown their faces again after the nationals. Doubt we'll win, but hopefully we'll sound like we've had more than three weeks practice! I met up with one particular family on Friday. While in Napier, we got a phone call. Their son had left his phone and ipod on the beach. They were now half way across New Zealand heading home, and could we take a look to see if we could find them? We went to the spot. I took one look and realised the sea was 100 metres away, and we had a huge area to search. So I went back to the car and negotiated for Sarah to come and help. At this point, Bronwyn waves something at me. She had found the phone and ipod by a big log within about a minute!

It's finally warm at last. We've had a dryish week after several weeks of rain, and we haven't bothered lighting the fire for a few days now. Might even get to dig the garden this week. I've thrown in a few old potatoes, but nothing else so far.

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Lambing season 
We had a tiny lamb last week, who we named Thumbelina. Unfortunately she only lasted 24 hours. But the next day, we took in another rather small lamb who was one of triplets. Generally when a sheep has triplets, they reject one. Rachael suggested various names, and Harley Quinn was the least inappropriate. Harley has been accompanying us in the lounge and on various trips. She's now about 10 days old, and apart from a slight limp and a bit of infection in the umbilical cord, she's doing fine.

Meanwhile there's another ewe out there that had a prolapsed uterus. Round here, they stuff it back in the hole and sew it up. The ewe is pregnant with twins, and looked close to birth, so they've taken the stitches out and we've been watching her closely. There's also a very old ewe that escaped being sent to market because she looked so bad she would have lowered the price for the group. However, she's now pregnant, so that's another one we're keeping an eye on.

It's been wet. Very wet. I've given up trying to dig potatoes. It's my turn to mow the lawn round the back of the brass band hall. Don't think I'll get a chance at this rate! But next week it's looking a little drier. And cold. The road that we went on to Napier is now closed from snow. There's not many roads through that range. If you draw a line from the East Cape road you cross only 6 roads before you hit the Wellington suburbs. It's quite easy to get cut off, but for some people it's good to be out of the reach of Auckland!

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