Number 100. Jingle Bells, isn't it? 
Isabel leaves tomorrow! She's planning to head for Rotorua after a short stop in Auckland. She's done the bush tour, the farm tour, the sheep shed, the quick trombone lesson, two Christmas parades and a couple of trips into town. Tonight... fudge. It's been at least, um, two months since the last batch.

Yesterday we water blasted the back yard and the old laundry, which had been converted into a lamb pen and was in desperate need of a deep clean. We're hoping to have a big family Christmas do later in the month. Bronwyn has plans to convert the front deck into a Christmas grotto again...

Henderson parade - really good. Farmers parade - twice as many floats but took about four times longer, and apart from some random angels and another band playing carols, I didn't spot anything remotely Christmassy! Henderson carol concert - started rather late so we had to cut out the break and several carols, but otherwise it went well. Kumeu parade this Friday. We're not officially in it, but since our last rehearsal is just round the corner, we decided to turn up and play more carols. I'm not quite at the stage of being allergic to Jingle Bells, but it won't take long...

Sarah's been referred for new glasses again. It's only four months since the last lot, so Bronwyn's been trying to get her an appointment at the hospital. With any luck, we won't have to pay for another set of glasses!

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The silly season 
It has begun. Well, not quite. We were supposed to play carols at a Christmas parade, but we only found out when we got there that it had been cancelled due to the lack of roads. Building sites everwhere. So it'll be next week for the first parade instead.

Two guides turned up to the tree planting. I got them potting up the smaller trees and then planting out a token ten in the paddock. Not sure where the rest of the troop got to! Meanwhile, my seed beds are mostly growing. Hard to tell for some of them. We have a weed here that looks almost exactly like carrots, and it grows everywhere.

Back in Chinese mode next week. Isabel arrives on Tuesday. Must find more chopsticks.

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Trees. And another houseful 
The Girl Guides (and probably the Scouts) are coming round next week to plant some trees. I've spenty half the seekend going through them and potting them up. Run out of compost, and running low on pots as well. But I've got enough to plant next week.

The whole master plan was to designate the area as native wetland, and covenant it to the council in order to get another title, in order to subdivide the farm and allow more of Bronwyn's brothers and sisters to share the land. However, after Mr Snooty from the council came to visit, it seems that only the margins with rushes and sedges actually count as wetland, and the rest doesn't apply. Well, not for a long time, when we can then count it as native forest! And we need to demolish the dam, because it's dividing the watercourse and preventing the free flow of fish. Which would make farming a little tricky!

We're under siege. We've had at least ten requests from people who want to stay with us, in just the last two days. Two English, one spanish, one italian, two "positive" swedes (we missed out on the "fearless" finns some weeks ago) and dozens of Hong Kong and Chinese. But instead, this weekend we had Rachael's friend and her family to stay. Plus the dog. We're all pretty tired; Bronwyn is currently trying to herd the girls into bed...

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Just another week on the farm 
We were planning to have Rachael's friend and her family over for the night, but they couldn't make it. We were supposed to have three more come to stay today, but apparently Paihia is just too nice and they're going to stay a bit longer. So looks like we've got another quiet week.

Had a big dinner over at Bronwyn's parents', followed by some fireworks. Bronwyn brought sparklers, Stephen brought fireworks, and Allan produced two boxes of them. They set off a wirlygig on the barbecue, but it fell off. So they grabbed the metal dog dish, and tried them in there. They didn't stay in that either. So now the grass is a little scorched and the dog dish is well smoked. And you know those fireworks that "Fire flaming balls and reports"? I don't think you're supposed to hold them while they go off, even if you are trying to hit the possums...

Allan got hold of some sweetcorn seed. He's ploughed up part of the paddock near us, and the tennis court at Mum and Dad's is now well and truly ploughed. That's one advantage of living on a farm. "Dad, can I borrow the tractor...?" Meanwhile, Bronwyn bought some netting for my vegetable plot. She was worried she'd bought too much but it looks like we'll need twice as much. I've dug a bit more because Bronwyn's mum threatened me with some surplus seedlings...

They were rounding up the calves today in order to ship a couple off to market. One calf jumped the fence. So Bronwyn's dad went into the next paddock and opened the gate to get it back in. But it then jumped into another paddock. Apparently it managed to clear 5 fences and gates before they finally got it back.

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Summer! 
A long week in the sun. It's gone half nine and I'm still in shorts. Summer at last! Well, for this week, anyway.

Sowed carrots, onions, broccoli, spring onions, lettuce, kale, silverbeet, spinach, a few beans left over from last year, and watermelons. Nothing growing as yet. It's part of a plan brought on by the long illness which I've now thankfully recovered from. There's a guy in the office who's vegan, and keeps harping on about it, and so we've got this plan to go on a fruit and vegetable fast for a month. If it works, it might change my life. If it doesn't, I can finally say I tried it, watched the video, bought the T shirt, didn't work...

Rachael has been going through her first set of exams. Seems to have survived well so far. She's been going round the neighbour's for some maths lessons. Just had a last minute panic because she didn't have a protractor for the exam tomorrow. Bronwyn dug out my old one from school. I think I must have been not far past Rachael's age when I last used it.

Getting towards the silly season. Fireworks, halloween (the church is doing a non-halloween party instead), then umpteen different Santa parades, Christmas lunches and carolling gigs. Fun fun fun...






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