It rained almost all day yesterday. Lovely gentle warm rain. I came in from the evening chores soaked to the first layer and happy as a lark.

The trees are blooming. Here are two of my favourites: Magnolia ‘Butterflies’  This is the most wonderful little tree. She  just bloomed yesterday, will not bloom for long, and her bright yellow petals are a joy to behold on the gray rainy day.  I have planted this tree right beside the front path so I can see it from the verandah and through the kitchen doors. It is young yet, and has great promise.
magnolia in the rain

This pink magnolia I planted when my friend Donna died. It grows in the center of a garden I named for my other old friend, in New Zealand. We were three very good friends for many, many years and Donna’s tree in Neville’s garden with Celi tending them both feels deeply Right to me.


Donna’s tree has also just begun to unfurl its dramatic flowers.  Unlike Butterflies the pink magnolia will bloom for weeks. Last summer it was opening flowers like beckoning hands almost the whole summer.


Boo decided to spend the afternoon in his pod on the verandah. These cut down plastic drums are the best dog beds ever. A cushion in the bottom and they curl into them like snails. One day Ton got up out of his and there, right under him deep in the pod was a small cat. The squashed cat yawned and stretched. I do not know whether Ton was using it as a hot water bottle or simply did not notice he was sleeping on top of a cat. Though, Egoli our biggest barn cat sleeps in the chickens laying boxes in the barn, ON the eggs. As though he is hatching them. These two do not have the Princess and the Pea Syndrome that I have.

dog in the rain

Ton spent the whole afternoon in the barn, waiting for the shower to pass. It didn’t. It was a steady rain. He did not mind.



Good morning. I have been watching these cows and their calves and have come to the conclusion that the calves do most of their drinking early in the morning, early in the evening and through the night- when it is cooler.   When it is a hot afternoon (and it is not even that hot yet) everyone lies down and rests for hours.  Cows (being prey animals) tend to be more watchful at night – in the daytime they sleep. And Naomi does not do well in the heat, her mother has her out in the field and the poor wee girl is panting hard. She is very hot. Mouth open, saliva dripping. I have carried her in to the barn more than once to cool her off.

So, as it is time to start the next stage of share milking,  from now on I will shut Naomi into the cool barn with water and hay for the afternoon. This will be Naomi’s training time with me. Then I will milk her mother in the evenings when it is cooling off. Then let Baby out with her mother again. Slowly we will lengthen their time apart, this is easier to do in the daytime too, and we will train her mother to milk like a Lady again.   I think she is testing me, but I have an endless amount of patience, this is one of my skills, (it is good to know what you are good at)  so I think that after a few weeks we will come to an agreement. As long as I keep thinking like a cow.

Also (and most importantly)  in the evenings John is home and he can help me with the management of the reluctant milker.  Last night, with Johns help, I was able to milk Lady Astor very well. She does not like the time change but I do not like the kicking. I need help. So,  every time she kicked he raised her tail straight up.  Very soon she was standing quietly for good lengths of time. Then feeling confident I brought Elsie in and using the same process I milked her by hand – I found a tiny nick on one of her teats, on the side that was engorged and I wonder whether this was one of her problems – so I  milked that side to relieve the pressure then opened the gate and let her go back to her baby.

I am going to do this every night until she goes to her new home. Hopefully her udder won’t be so lopsided then.

When John left the barn he said “Well, I am back out to my garden, at least my vegetables don’t try kick me!”

Ah well. It is all training. Sometimes husbands need a little training too! It still makes me laugh that I am the big vegetable eater and I handle the large animals and he is the big meat eater and grows the vegetables.  Ah well. Life is good! I am going to make cheese today!

I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farm,






62 Comments on “Rain

  1. At least when milking goats they are not apt to kick you, they are more apt to wait until the very last minute and then very daintily put their foot into the bucket!

  2. What a lovely post – in so many ways. The trees are very pretty and how fitting to use the garden as area of memorial to departed friends. I’m enjoying reading about the progress of the cows too. Here on Skye we’re enjoying a period of (for us) settled weather – several days of sun now. I spent yesterday gardening and enjoying the birdsong. All the best.

  3. Morning Ms Celi, love that picture of Boo!! And hearing about Ton sleeping on top of the kitty!!! With all the rain I’d be much happier if I had my garden planted. Have had to wait to get it plowed and tilled. Wonder why Naomi gets so hot? Maybe she needs to hang around with Sheila!! The trees budding out are always so pretty in the spring!! Have a great day!!

    • She has such a small body mass that she cannot quite regulate her temperature yet, but she is growing and soon will seek shade by herself.. looks like it will be cool for a while now though which will help. c

  4. Egoli could have breakfast in bed if he’s around when the chicks start hatching …. or this could be another farmy saga competing with Boo and his kittens. Egoli sitting on a barn beam with all his chicks next to him 🙂 Laura

  5. The old countryman who taught me to milk many years ago used to hobble his house cow. She’d walk into her stall quite readily, and start munching on a net of hay. He’d slip a pair of hobbles around her back legs, and if she was ever tempted to kick, she’d just give herself a jerk which made her stand like a rock for the rest of the session. They were like leather cuffs, lined with sheeps-wool padded felt, and a plaited thong between the two buckled cuffs. He said “she were a fidgety wench wi’out ’em”, and they had the added advantage of preventing her putting her foot i the bucket, too!

    • I keow a guy who did that and the cow pogo sticked up and down .. kind of funny, but not very..i also knew a guy who threw his work jacket over the back of the cow and she immediately settled down. In the end it is all about training and knowing who is head cow.

      • And there you have it in a nutshell. It’s the same as training a child or a dog. If you whimper, they will bite you. You must be Alpha. Smart woman you are. 🙂

  6. What a lovely post – your joy comes through loud and clear and makes me smile. And it’s raining here, too. 😃

  7. Hello Cecilia, I am so interested to see a vibrant yellow magnolia. I didn’t know there was such a thing! I thought they were all a variation on pink or white. Well, you learn something new every day! I love that you have plants and gardens for special people and I can understand how Right that feels.

  8. you and John are like the people in the nursery rythm jack Spratt could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean. So betwixt them both , you see, they licked the platter clean.. One for the meat, and one for the veg, a good combination….
    Thinking like a cow must e very hard, ut you seem to be doing it quite well……Poor Naomi..Lady Astor is not a very good mom , leaving her baby in the heat ..it’s a good thing you are there to keep a watchful eye on her…..have a great day ! xxxx

  9. That’s funny. I love growing tomatoes but don’t love eating them. My husband does. He loves growing fruit trees, that I I love eating. There’s a balance there. Doing work and kindness for your love.

  10. Raising a cow’s tail keeps it from kicking? What a curious bit of information. And now I am wondering how the First Farmer came to learn this helpful trivia…

  11. It’s a very rainy day here today too – albeit, so far there is nothing gentle about this rain – yet your photos, as always, are ever so transportive, C!

  12. We now will get to have a large gulf of water who knew 8 foot of snow could leave our area so dry.

  13. Maybe Naomi gets hot easily because she is black. Of course, I know you know this. But maybe Lady Astor doesn’t.
    (Love Boo in his barrel. Printed TonTon in the water trough a few years back.)
    When John lifts the ladies’ tails,I hope they have good manners and don’t do what they could do.

  14. Rainy in Sydney too. I laughed at thought of Ton, who if I remember is not over fond of kitties, unknowingly snuggling up with one. He does seem very right there in front of his barn. The cut down tubs look very useful, for dogs and other bits and pieces. Lovely flowers and gardens to remember friends. We call our garden Ollie & Vin’s garden after the original owners of the house, who planted it. We are simply caretakers.

  15. It rained here all day too though it was a cold blustery rain! I was forced inside with no excuse to not clean the house – bah. Thanks to you I too have a yellow magnolia but it’s a different one than yours as we are further north. I have it planted where I can see it from my kitchen and the front porch. It has buds on it but that’s all so far, that’s all the farther the trees are here too and this next week is to be cold with a couple of night’s lows in the upper 20’s! Funny thing, my John lived on a dairy farm til his teen years but I’m the animal handler here. He says he got his love of operating machinery from his childhood, at 12 he was the wagon backer upper and the threshing machine driver as the old farmers were more adept at driving horses than tractors.

  16. It’s pouring cats and dogs here and there is a potential in a few hours for a hugely long and fat line of thunderstorms coming south with 135 kph winds!! Well, it would hit Ella in Sydney first but she would be working in a far more safe surrounds than I live!! Past 120 kph my roof would be gone!!!!! Love magnolias, do not have a lemony one but your petal shape looks like my white ‘stelllata’ . . . .

    • Eha, I hope you weather the extreme conditions well, and safely. They are coming from further north in the Hunter – Dad says it’s atriocious up there. I am in my eyrie and cannot see the world for cloud – I get damp and windblown enroute but nothing worse.

      • Blowing a noisy but non-frightening 60-70 at the moment and the Bureau of Met radar shows the ruddy storms turning west . . . . normally East Coast lows don’t much bother us but the news [hopefully exaggerating] say Cat2 cyclone strength . . . . I live in a veritable forest of undependably acting tall gums and have a long roofline which loves to do the Mexican Wave 🙂 ! Pretty scary once it gets dark!!! Thanks Ella . . l

  17. You and John make the perfect pair, then. Glad you finding a solution to the kicking.

  18. We have had nonstop evening rains for weeks now. I love it, and it reminds me of ‘old Hawaii’ where tradewinds blow every day and bring these lovely rains and rainbows with the morning sunshine. Long time no comment, Ms. C. Trusting all is well in your world!

  19. That is the most beautiful magnolia I have ever seen. I did not know there was a yellow variety. I’m so happy tonight…I went out at twilight to watch the stars come out and see the sliver of moon rising..”God’s thumbnail” and to my utter delight…the bats were back! 🙂

  20. A happy post. The pink magnolia is the same as grow in Auckland, but I’ve never seen a yellow one. You and the cows, what a slow and gentle relationship you have with them. I guess milkmaids in the old days were like that; they really got to know their cows.

  21. I have been half baked with my comments over the past week (I had a bug). The first thing I noticed was how green and fresh your grass looked! Maybe Ton has decided to take a feather out of Boo’s hat and sleep with a kitten! I love the way you and John play to each others talents. May you do so for many a long year!

  22. I love your memory garden and the wonderful words you use. I could say more but I’m ready to turn in and my brain is done. I think what you said about your John growing the garden and you taking care of the meat is just too ironic. Have a wonderful tomorrow.

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