Sunday, September 21, 2014

Getting wet and muddy for the chicks

We get our day-old pheasant chicks in during October. Craig brings them from Rotorua and releases them into our improvised concrete water tank [kitted with heat lamps] and from there the birds are reared until they are of age to release.

One of the things about baby pheasants is that they are completely mental. Absolutely stark raving bonkers, and without mum nearby they are prone to stupidity. I've catalogued the myriad means of suicide that they employ; one of their favs is to stand around in a downpour and get soaked through; leading to fatal hypothermia.

We lost 50 birds last Xmas day when a sudden downpour hit and Craig was unable to herd the birds into shelter in time because of the configuration of the pen. So we'd decided to build a corridor around the outside, where the chicks could roam but be easily shepherded into cover. And we'd chosen the worst possible weather. A gale westerly blasted rain and hail into the building site; and given that we were working with sheets of iron it got pretty exciting at times.

Andy and I got started while Craig was feeding calves, and we started by trenching outside of the posts in order to bend the corrugated iron and bury it in the earth to stop predator encroachment.
Wind is invisible... it was howling

Mud. The day's theme.

 At one stage Andy and I huddled behind my car to avoid being blasted with thick hail stones - it was pretty cold out there. We made good time though, and soon the lads turned up with Craig, Mitch and Jethro adding muscle to the cause.

The lads swung into gear, finishing the trenching and cleaning out the sheds (water blasting) while Andy and I turned our hands to getting the iron cladding up.


By late afternoon the back of the job was broken, with cladding up, a new doorway created and the work remaining being to cover the new alley over with shade cloth to keep the hawks out.

Bloody good effort considering the weather. Rain rain rain.

Better than a drought, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to the vise

Over the 16 weeks of the game bird season I've not even glanced at the tying equipment. Spring is trying desperately to crash through, but we still have southerlies and rain bursts and the ground is soggy... no mowing lawns for me.

It was this type of weather that had me filling in my Sunday afternoon trying to crack a quick & cheap crab pattern. There are a stack of patterns around but I seemed to lack materials required for any single one, so I tried bits and bobs of a number of patterns. Finally cracked a model out that is repeatable and quick to tie. Will get to work again tonite and roll out a few more.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On the project pond

Last year we began to restore a pond at Matt's place in order to develop some breeding territory. While we got it fenced, planting didn't eventuate but despite having not laid eyes on the pond for a while I can imagine that grasses that would've taken off with cattle excluded.

Matt sent a great text today, to say that not only are there banded mallards in pairs getting around (from our released birds), but there's a clutch of ducklings on the project pond. Very cool.

Let's hope they survive to fledge and grow. With Matt's predator control, they stand a good chance.