Rain at last 
We've had a bit more rain this week, but it's still rather brown out there. A lot cooler though. More like an English summer!

The three calves are growing fast, although Michael has an infection in the knee, and is on antibiotics. They're beginning to nibble at the grass, so their days in the garden are numbered. Bronwyn took Angel into work on Friday, and the children loved it! Angel obviously loved the attention too, and performed really well.

Spent much of Saturday chopping up bits of foam and cutting fabric, in a desperate effort to finish the cushions on our "new" window seat. All I need now is a sewing machine.

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Stormy and Gabriel 
Took the cat back again. His cat flu was really getting quite bad, and he was also terrified of going outside. We had asked for an outdoors cat to catch mice. The vet told Bronwyn to "make a bit of a scene" and claim back all the vet bills, which she did, but we're yet to hear back from them (the SPCA). The manager will be in work tomorrow.

We've got three calves now, and yes, the third one was named Gabriel. Hopefully there won't be another. There are two dead cows out in the top paddock, and two dead calves, and we're not wanting any more. Angel is doing really well, and has developed quite a cheeky temper. Michael and Gabriel both need a bit of help feeding, and they are also on antibiotics. We have to stop Angel shoving the other two out of the way; she has a clever tactic of shifting sideways at the feeding trough and stopping the other two getting in.

It rained this morning, but I don't think it sank in far. The ground is still dry and dusty, but not quite as much as yesterday. There is a cold front due tomorrow; it could be our last chance of rain for another week!


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The mouse trap 
Still no rain. We have four blobs of high pressure around New Zealand, and they're guarding their patch very well!

We have a new cat. His name is Stormy, and he's a really nice black and grey mottled tabby. He was supposedly a stray, but I suspect he was abandoned, because he hates being put outside. Which is a bit of a problem because we needed a better mouse trap! He also has cat flu, so has been to the vets (at the SPCA's expense) for a checkup and a jab. Hopefully we can train him to be semi wild, but perhaps not as wild as Scruffy. We don't need the entire farm clear of mice.

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Dust and coffee 
We have a different calf. Angel is back with a foster cow. Our current one is named Michael. If we have another bull calf we might call it Gabriel.

It's hot and dry. Further south the grass is completely yellow; it was like driving through Botswana. Fortunately we had a lot of rain when we were camping, but if we don't get more soon it could be just as dire here.

My car overheated on the way to Parachute, but after refilling the radiator it appears to be back to normal. I suspect it was simply overloaded in the heat. I drove all the way home with the windows open, the heating on and the fan at full blast. It did the trick, but now the fan doesn't work at the top setting!

Parachute was dusty. We spent a lot of time wiping the dust off the cafe, and I developed the habit of tapping the paper plates on the counter before putting cake on them. But otherwise everything went smoothly. I was staying with friends again, and due to the houseful they already had, we had to implement a bed swapping rota. I slept in the day, someone else at night.

As predicted, the last night was busy up until about 5am, and there were plenty of people around after that. The hot dog stall opened at 6am and started playing music, which resulted in an impromptu disco in the street. Don't think he sold any more hot dogs though.

I'm still recovering from the night shift, and it was hard work, but the sheer atmosphere makes it all worth while. The police said there were so few incidents that they spent most of the time wandering around recruiting for the police force. There was a strict no alcohol or drugs policy, and it makes all the difference. Plus a sizeable majority of Christians, of course.

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Changes 
Angel the calf stayed with us for a week, and then we managed to attach her to a cow that had had a stillborn. However, there have been two more calves with useless mothers, so we might end up with two in the garden. It's all the fault of our bull, who got in with the young cows last year. Young cows tend to have more complications.

Had my 40th birthday last week. I actually feel younger than last year, but then I was pretty ill last November. No grey hairs yet, at least not in a publicly viewable spot. We had the party on Saturday, and had quite a few from the church and family, plus some neighbours and other friends. As seems usual, we ended up with more food than we started with, despite everyone eating their fill. I spent most of Saturday tidying the house, so I was pretty tired by Saturday night.

It's the Parachute music festival next weekend, and I'm doing the night shift again. Haven't sorted out where I'm sleeping the day yet, but I have a few options.

The poor tree by the road has lost another branch. There are now only three major branches left, although these all point upwards, so are probably safer. Years ago, the main shoot was taken for a Christmas tree, hence all the major branches have grown outwards from the base. I think it's lost 5 so far. But we have a huge supply of pine cones. These serve two purposes. They are good for starting fires, and roll down the hill at great speed with the dog chasing close behind.

Princess needs shearing. She's got enough hair to make a full jumper, and it's warm in January!



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