Update from the Howes

This post is coming to you now via mobile/wireless internet instead of our old satellite connection.  The satellite is expensive and often slow despite supposedly being much faster than what we have now, but this new connection is nice and consistent and we can download to our hearts content for $3 per day.  It is still more expensive than city folks broadband, but we are pleased with it.  It took time and money to set up, requiring a modem, router and aerial to be mounted to one of the trees on the fence line, and Kim had to do lots of research to make sure they were all compatible, but we use the internet a lot and thought it was worth it.  The photo below was when we were trying to get a good signal on the aerial with Kim sitting down with the laptop on his knees while Sam tilted the aerial slightly this way and that.

Lydia’s tent chooks are still doing okay.  Nothing has managed to eat them yet!  They are a mixed bunch.
Lyd picked up some old harness gear when we were at a garage sale a few weeks back.  Much to her surprise it pretty much fits Zorro, a fact which does not amuse him.  It is farm work harness, rather than fancy carriage harness so now we just need to get him a plough!  Actually our research shows that our ground would be too hard for a single horse to work – most disappointing.  🙂
We have managed to sell a few of our bigger pigs recently.  One girl went to two families from the homeschool group.  They had her butchered and are having a ball doing lots of curing of bacon and ham.  Our backup boar “Horace” went to visit a couple of sows over in Meander and we talked the family into keeping him.  Now we just have one more sow to be butchered for ourselves, and then the only big pigs we will have are the breeding trio.
We also have two piglets that we are keeping from our last litter, their names are Runt and Grunt.  It’s not too hard to work out which is which.  Little Runt was so tiny when he was born, he looked like a toy piglet rather than the real thing.  These two are working over some land on the corner of our block that was recently cleared by our neighbour to prevent trees falling on the fence.  Hopefully having these guys there will mean we don’t have to worry about the trees etc regrowing.
Josiah has been working on an obstacle course around the house.  One of the things he wanted was a wall that he could crash through, so we cut up an old mattress which seems to do the job.  He had to try it out in the kitchen of course!
Last Saturday we attempted to bring our 3 sooky calves home from town.  They have spent a number of months grazing someones little paddock down, but ended up in disgrace by breaking through the fence into the vegetable patch.  I had an urgent phone call on Friday night, so they had to be moved rather suddenly.  We got Oliver home Saturday morning but then had problems with the kombi and could not bring the other two.
We decided it was time for a crash course reminding them of their earlier halter training, and they were pretty good too.  That was just as well because they are now of a size where they could drag us around if they wanted to.  We managed to lead them back up to the church paddock where they have been until today when we were able to transport them home again.  It will be nice to have them back home as we want to spend plenty of time with our young heifer in preparation for her house cow career.  She has a wonderfully quiet temperament and will happily let you stroke her all over and pretend to milk her.  However since we have to feed them hay here, I imagine that Oliver’s days are rather numbered now.  I kept thinking they are around 6 months old but on checking up I found that they are over 9 months old now.
We started a craft group at Church this month which has brought along a few ladies we have not met before which is nice.  Lydia has taken up knitting scarves as a consequence.  🙂

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