Life is mud and a masseuse

With a mild but very wet winter there’s been a lot of mud and massage for Suzie Corboy in the Catlins.

In Home Block5 Minutes

With a mild but very wet winter there’s been a lot of mud and massage for Suzie Corboy in the Catlins.

AUGUST 26, MY DAD’S BIRTHDAY, was the first day in two months I drove on the mud, not in it in the grazed swede paddocks. It was the day that the ”he who knows it all” husband admitted twice in 24 hours that he was wrong. All significant days this winter.

It has been a very wet winter here in Owaka, or at least a winter with lots of rainy days. More than one Owaka native has told us it is the muddiest winter they can remember.

Thankfully we started winter with very good swede crops so we have had 2000 ewes and 450 cattle on swedes so we did not pug up grass paddocks. The paddocks ex swedes are possibly going to need a bit more cultivation than normal to get them to a good, fine seedbed for sowing grass.

It was very pleasant to see a few days of sunshine in the first week of September to dry up the mud, get the lawns mowed before the normal rush of spring, calving and lambing etc, and to play with my new petrol pole pruner in the garden.

As readers of my last column might remember, we had a dry autumn so ewe body condition was not as good as we hoped at mating. This resulted in a drop of 10% from last year in our ewe scanning, and a large drop in hogget scanning rate, so this year is not going to be the year we are going to achieve our long-term target of 100% weaning from our hoggets.

This winter we have only managed to do minimal farm maintenance. A combination of break fencing on the swedes on the hill seemed to take forever, and us being rather slow getting out and about in the morning, and having longer lunches than we used to. We don’t seem to have the energy or drive of our younger days, and the bank manager no longer keeps us on our toes like he used to.

As of early September we still have 125 in-calf heifers grazing swedes, their last week, and we are nearly finished transitioning the 325 yearlings and finishing cattle from swedes onto fodder beet. That paddock should feed these younger cattle into October.

I have been buying a few Speckle Park calves for the past three years, mainly just because I like to look at them, and have six due to calve this year. I will be eagerly waiting to see what their calves look like, and whether the Speckle markings are dominant, so we get some more heifers to mate in two years’ time.

With the daily job of feeding sheep and cattle, and Covid lockdown getting in the way, we have hardly left the farm all winter. Paul had a busy few days booked for the week that lockdown suddenly arrived. He was supposed to be out for dinner every night that week, but we all know why he only managed a couple of dinners.

I decided with all the stresses of winter, and a new lady who does massage moving to be very local to us, that I would have my first ever massage. I thought this would be relaxing, lying down, enjoying the pleasure of my problems being massaged away. Holy cow, I obviously didn’t read the small print.

Massage hurts. She did say my muscles were very tight, especially my left shoulder blade, but it was painful getting those tensions released and the next day wasn’t much better. I spent all day feeling the effects of that massage, but I will go back, maybe even before you read this.