Nutbush Chainsaw Massacre

18 June, 2007.

Hi everyone,

I love this photo of us playing statues on the newly driven piles for the extension, because it sums up the personalities of the members of our family so well: Edwin the clown, Kay seeking balance, Merinda the femme fatale poseur, and Jonathan the thrill seeker.

Today I am out in the mild winter sun, digging the grass out of the vegetable patch in preparation for bedding it down for the winter. This will involve digging in some compost and horse manure (I should really compost this first, but I'm hoping the worms will take care of that for me over winter), then covering the whole vege bed with a thick layer of newspaper and straw, to keep the weeds down.

As I work, I hear the "cows' chorus" commence from the dairy farm across the gully. This does not signify milking time, as you might imagine. From the additional sound of the farmer's tractor, I can tell without looking what is happening, as I watched it from the kitchen window yesterday. Because the feed is limited in winter, the farmer is break-fencing his pasture; that is, he separates the pasture into strips with temporary electric fences, and waits until the cows have eaten the pasture right down, before he moves them onto the next strip. This saves waste and also helps eliminate weeds as hungry cows will eat almost everything - thistles being one of the exceptions, and who can blame them? Before moving the cows, the farmer uses the tractor to put out some silage (good green hay, with a high sugar content) around the next strip. He spreads it around, so all the cows get a chance to have some. This is what all the mooing is about, as the cows can smell the hay and want to get to it. Yesterday I smiled to watch all the cows run into the new strip, especially when one eager girl stopped at the first hay she came to and nearly got bowled over by the cows running behind. The old hands (or should that be hooves?) know to head to the back of the strip where there is less competition. The chorus of moos is quite musical, there being a large variation of lows and highs in individual cow's voices. There is at least one who sounds remarkably like Chewbacca.

One of the joys of owning a lifestyle block is gardening with a chainsaw. When we first moved here last winter, there were 3 large shrubs (rumoured to be hazelnuts, though we've never seen any) whose crowns were threatening to block the delightful view of Mt Pirongia visible from the kitchen window. We gave them a minor haircut as they were already beginning to leaf by the time we got around to pruning them, and I vowed that this year when they were dormant I would give them a severe haircut and turn them back into 6' high bushes. So I did - with the electric chainsaw. I also took out 2 privet trees which I found out there as well. The difference to the view is astounding. I think I have found a new hobby... brmmm, brmmm....

I loved getting a fix of my US friends a few weeks ago, and I miss you all.
Love,
Kay

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