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I haven't had a good old farm rant for a while.. - Tactical Ninja

Sep. 11th, 2013

08:57 am - I haven't had a good old farm rant for a while..

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So about that nor'wester you were concerned hadn't arrived yet, pombagira... I think you can stop worrying now.

I'm pretty sure they have this in other countries too, right, like in far northern areas they have the foehn? Because New Zealand is made almost entirely out of a single spine of mountains (apart from that volcano bit up north but we'll ignore that) and most of us live on the eastern side of them with our weather coming from the west, we get a lot of this sort of thing. The thing is, it only happens when particular weather patterns come through, and these are predominant in spring. So from the central North Island down to Otago-ish, in spring we get what's simply known as the nor'wester.

In the Wairarapa where I used to work on farms, it generally blows September to November, and drives everyone bloody potty. We're talking 60-80km/hr consistent winds that you have to be out in. It wears you out and makes you cranky and makes getting out of it a relief. Hanging on to whatever you're holding gets to be hard work, walking is an effort, your dogs get to pretend they can't hear you, and it just kind of sucks because it's so damn constant.

Last night we got a taste of that in Wellington. Normally we don't get a lot of it here because we're right in the middle of the hills rather than on the lee side and that baffles it a bit. But yeah, up in Brooklyn, inside the shed, trying to build a shelf for our compost bin and alternately being jabbed by flapping bits of chicken wire and rescuing piles of boxes that were getting blown around? I remembered how much I hate the nor'wester. This morning, I donned my snowboarding gear as the tail of this storm dragged in a bunch of rain, and slogged down to work feeling Hardcore. Yeah.

So, um, spring is here, apparently.


So there's this video doing the rounds, you might have seen it. It's of a sheep and a young cattlebeast (I suspect a steer). The sheep seems to be trying to teach the steer how to fight, and the steer is having none of it. The vid is being billed as "Sheep teaches young bull to headbutt." Here it is (2 mins):



I would like to suggest that based on what I saw there, it's actually the 'bull' that's teaching the sheep. Here's how sheep fight (1 min):



I know these are not local sheep (for Kiwis anyway) but that's how sheep fight the world over - just like in the first vid, they back up a bit, then charge at each other and butt heads at speed, attempting to knock the other backwards and make him run away. They have horns that come out of the tops of their heads, and even polled sheep have a thick bit of bone on top of their skull for this purpose. In late summer (tupping time), some rams will get an open sore on their heads from fighting if they don't have horns. You have to watch out for flystrike in it.

Here's how bulls fight (2 mins, action starts at 1 min):



Bulls fight by putting their heads together and shoving, using their bodyweight to try and push each other backwards, kind of like drunk rugby players really. Sometimes they get a spin on and that can be very destructive because they'll flatten anything that's in their way when they're doing it, but you'll never see bulls charge at each other and butt heads. Their horns (if they have them) come out the sides, and are for poking and prodding from close up with the strength of all that neck muscle behind them rather than to act as a shield for their (tiny) brain.

So if you then look back at that first video, you'll see that the sheep starts out fighting like a sheep, but by the end of the vid it's standing with its head up against the steer's, leaning in and pushing, and the steer's pushing back. Just like a bullfight. Therefore, in my opinion, the video should be retitled "Steer teaches young sheep to bullfight."

Just saying.


I also scored a table. I know I could have built one (thanks for the door suggestion vernacularity, I will tuck that away for future reference), but a) I'm sick of having to build things, and b) I needed a fairly specific size to fit the space, and buying materials is really no cheaper than you can get stuff on TradeMe. Bonus points for persuading the dude to deliver it. It arrives tonight, and then I can sort out the craft room in earnest and get things actually set up to work on Yorick.

Well, after I've shorn those sheep on Saturday, that is. ;-/

Also, Dr Wheel wins at sniping auctions. Yes, he is that annoying person who snatches something out from under you at the last minute. It's bloody awesome when he does it for us though. ;-)

Comments:

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From:pombagira
Date:September 10th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
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Hooray.. spring.. however i really really need to get my boots fixed cause now they leak.. and my toes are wet... not so yay..

do be do
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From:tatjna
Date:September 10th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
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I expect the shoe repair folks are doing a roaring trade right now. This winter's been so dry..
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From:anna_en_route
Date:September 10th, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
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I think the Nor'Wester featured heavily in Footrot flats?

I'm used to vicious southerlies being the problem, it feels weird to have high winds unaccompanied by biting chill
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From:tatjna
Date:September 10th, 2013 10:30 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, the Footrot Flats farm is set in the lee of the Ureweras, so they'd get the nor'wester there too. It's definitely A Thing in Tinui. Any other time of year, a good northwesterly blow would be followed up by a southerly, but in spring it just seems to keep blowing. Eep.

I quite like not freezing my arse off tbh. ;-)
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From:anna_en_route
Date:September 11th, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
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I remember it making Wal so disheartend that he forgot to wear pants =)
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From:tatjna
Date:September 11th, 2013 12:45 am (UTC)
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This is an accurate depiction. *nod*
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From:vernacularity
Date:September 10th, 2013 11:22 pm (UTC)
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yes just that you were complaining of trademe being disappointing.

I tend to find and store things to be used for building. there's a box section table frame in my junk metal pile... earmarked.

random desks from the dump are worthwhile too if it's just workshop purposes. of course it helps to have a van
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From:tatjna
Date:September 10th, 2013 11:25 pm (UTC)
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This is also true. There was one table there that was also perfect but the deciding factor was that the person I bought from was willing to deliver. My car tows and is now relatively handy, but by the time I've hired a trailer etc, the delivery option looks pretty good.

If I had more time and motivation, I'd definitely have made one.

I am also looking forward to having a shed that has things I have stashed already for future projects. It already contains a roll of chicken wire and sundry bits of cutoff wood. ;-)
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From:pundigrion
Date:September 18th, 2013 01:17 pm (UTC)
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Fighting bulls always remind me of wrestling, complete with grunting!
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