More trees 
A local nursery had a special offer for November - $1.50 per tree. So I've got another 30. Planted 10 so far. These are going into a larger block which was set aside when Bronwyn's dad sold land to her sister Claire. It's a sort of Brownie Point system - normally you can't subdivide land, unless you can also covenant a block to be returned to native bush. Since it's in the covenant that he plants native trees on it, I was planning to ask him for money to buy them. However, he's off in Australia for ten days, so I'll have to wait until he gets back.

Finished the rest of Rachael's bunk bed. We've spent more on paint than on buying the frame, and we had to get a mattress as well. We'll need a second mattress now, but for this weekend, we've used the one off the spare bed. To celebrate, Rachael's had her friend Stephanie round to stay.

Had a rather damp fireworks party, but Claire's house has a big deck with a roof so there was plenty of room to watch them getting soaked as they lit the bonfire. We let off most of the fireworks near the house.

There seems to have been more coverage of the US elections here than the New Zealand ones. It was almost an anti climax when we went down to the school to vote yesterday. It seems everyone just assumed that National would get in, and that was the end of the debate. So now John Key is Prime Minister. He used to be our next door neighbour. Or at least he owned a house next door to us - he normally lives in the city. He just had the house in order to be able to stand in our electorate. But we've met him on a number of occasions, and he likes to show his face around, so it'll be like having a local boy running the country. Whether Key or Obama will influence us most remains to be seen.

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A quiet week 
Moved the bunk bed into Rachael's room, Rachael's old bed into Sarah's room, Sarah's old bed into the spare room. Still have the bottom bunk to paint, but the shop has run out of purple.

Transplanted about 34 tree seedlings, which are now growing on my windowsill along with some little seedlings that I grew from the seed pods. So I've got about 55 trees on my windowsill, but none are more than four centimetres tall.

Spent most of Saturday sorting out photos of the brass band. We have the 60th reunion in two weeks, and they wanted to display the old photos. Spent the rest of Saturday attempting to show Rachael how to build a contour model of the farm using cardboard. She doesn't quite have a grasp of '1:12500', but she loves cutting out the cardboard layers.

Bronwyn has been shipping stuff out of work. She hasn't handed her notice in yet, but discovered that she wasn't the only one thinking of leaving!

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The Big Meeting 
A few weeks ago, Bronwyn had been at work, and was putting the children to bed. But another woman was off on a break, and so Bronwyn had to collect and prepare the children as well. It's a little difficult to get children to settle - if one starts playing, the others do too. Our daughter Sarah didn't want to go to sleep, and started screaming and scratching at Bronwyn. So Bronwyn tapped her on the hand.

The leader happened to be in the room at the time (and apparently chatting about something else and not helping). She saw the tap on the hand. So she charged Bronwyn with gross misconduct, and gave her a formal letter.

That weekend, several people looked through the letter, and the procedures, and agreed it was completely over the top. They had quoted the wrong procedures, and the statements conflicted. One friend phoned her son, who happened to be a lawyer. He wasn't able to take the case, so he phoned a friend of his who could.

At this point the company got really defensive, and threatened to contact the teacher's council, which could have ended Bronwyn's career. So it was well worth hiring the lawyer, even though it cost us quite a bit.

The meeting started with the company presenting case, in a manner which suggested they'd already made up their mind. But the lawyer stated the case quite plainly, and Bronwyn managed to stay calm as she described the incident. After a short break, the company people came back, and said that in the circumstances (i.e with the ambiguities in the statements) they were going to make it just a First Warning. So Bronwyn went back to work on Thursday.

It seems the leader of the centre wasn't too pleased, and hasn't said a lot to Bronwyn since! Bronwyn is planning her escape. I've told her to keep her head down...

Spent most of yesterday sanding and painting the bunk beds for Rachael. Got through four cans of purple paint. Will probably need two more. Decided not to do any painting today, so I've been over to Bronwyn's mum's to transplant some tree seedlings that have grown in her garden. I now have 38 trees growing on the windowsill, plus the seeds that I sowed a few weeks ago.

Bronwyn and the girls are currently off looking at some kittens. We've had a long saga with cats this year. Perhaps it might go more smoothly if they start young rather than rescued as strays!

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Down by the riverside 
Just came back from the regional brass band contest - as usual, I don't know the results yet, but it went down really well. We finished with the Radetsky march. The announcer described the piece, and then dramatically introduced us. The conductor started, but nothing happened. He tried again, but nothing happened. Then we burst in at double speed. It went on like that until one section where the band played in a swing tempo, and two of us jump up playing a solo, simultaneously. I played Down By The Riverside at full volume, which fits The Radetsky March remarkably well. The conductor pretended to get more and more annoyed. We then switched to kazoos for the next section, and finally finished the piece with the conductor still conducting. Went down really well.

It's warm and sunny here, although the weather won't settle into summer until mid December. But we might be going to the beach to have dinner shortly.

The Big Meeting has been postponed until tomorrow morning. I'm just hoping this will be the end of it, and that Bronwyn can get on with her job whether she stays there or not.

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A busy day 
The world's financial markets are in meltdown, Iceland has gone "down the googler" (as they say here), and the real estate market is looking, um, a little unreal. But life goes on in the farm.

I spent yesterday morning up in the bush working hard. Some signposts had been provided, and several of us had volunteered to carry the posts through the woods, drill holes in the earth, and put up the signposts. Took about three hours. Then in the afternoon I dismantled the trampoline. One of the joints has torn in the wind. It's fixable, but I had to take it all to pieces to get at the part. The net is still in perfect order, but the pads around the edge are in a sorry state. However, I have a plan involving the rain cover (which wasn't very useful because it was continually full of water) and a pair of scissors. Might keep it useable for another year or two.

After that, I sanded down part of a bunk bed that we had bought during the week. It was second hand, and I had to drive the ute into the city and back to pick it up. It's bright red, and has quite a bit of flaking paint and rust so we're going to sand it down and paint it purple, on Rachael's request.

In the evening, we went to see a concert by the Auckland Youth Orchestra. They were really good, and it was well worth it (Bronwyn's sister had bought us the tickets) but it was half past eleven by the time we got home to relieve the tired babysitters.

So I'm a bit tired today. Had to get up early too; I was running the computer at church, and doing a couple of items on trombone. It's also the regional contest for the brass band next week, so we've had extra rehearsals. Our finale is the Radetsky March. It's an entertainment contest, so we've altered things a bit. The band ignores the conductor for the first half and plays either too fast or too slow. Then suddenly we go into a swing beat, and I lurch in with a loud solo of "Down By The Riverside". We then switch to kazoos for the next section, before playing the ending perfectly after the conductor has stormed off stage. If we can pull that off, it should go down well.

On top of all that, Bronwyn's had some major issues at work, and there's a Big Meeting on Tuesday. I'll explain more after the event, but we'd appreciate your prayers this week!

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