We can't complain about life being dull this month. The weather alone has been exciting, with about six seasons alternately belting us throughout the day - one moment it's sunny and over 20C, the next moment hailstones are bouncing all over the deck.

Next up, NZ Transport Authority announced it wanted to widen the highway to four lanes past our place.

Initially I thought this wouldn't be too big a deal, with three lanes already running along our front. I thought it would just mean further widening (with the normal inconvenience of road workers clogging the driveway up with vehicles or loads of metal or cutting the kerb so you must clear a two-foot wall to get out).

Farm dog Jess is sick of the mud and happy to see the sun.
Farm dog Jess is sick of the mud and happy to see the sun.

But no, although I missed the initial information pamphlet, tucked in a bundle of supermarket flyers, I made it to a public meeting where a large aerial map showed one four-lane highway option shooting away from the main road, veering across our paddocks, skimming past the cowshed and one house and unexpectedly charging up the hill past our house.


Well, that was rather an unpleasant surprise. We've voiced our consternation, now we wait to see what the authorities decide, and live with the result. Three of the four proposed options run through our land, so we expect a letter in the mail at some point.

Calving continued unabated, and at the height, as Bruce rushed around, he leapt into his ute and set off, only to feel a horrible thump accompanied by squealing. He'd run right over his dog, Bex.

Pip, the other farm dog, who diced with death on the highway last month, looked sheepish. In her excitement at the start of a run, she has a bad habit of lunging at Bex. It looks like she took it too far this time and shoved poor Bex in front of the ute.

Bruce shut a guilty-faced Pip in her kennel and took Bex to the vet for a check-up. She was a little bruised and sore but fortunately no major damage. We think because the ute tray was loaded up with calf meal it took weight off the front of the vehicle and that saved her.

Not long after that, a strange dog started showing up in the driveway. I arrived home at 11pm one night to find him lurking outside the girls' kennels - it didn't take much to guess what he was up to. After a few visits he brazenly trotted right up to the house - he was very friendly, so I tied him up. Luckily he was also registered so we could track down his owner, but in the meantime Milo was delighted to have a new friend to play with.

Pip would also have liked to play with him but we kept them separated, so all the thwarted lovers could do was moon at each other from a distance.

The broken fuel pipeline has also added extra spark to our lives - it's not on our property, we only have a gas pipeline to avoid running into. But from our front windows, we can see all the diggers hard at work, and the piles of soil lining the paddocks as they clear around 80,000 litres of jet fuel out of boggy peat.

We've fielded a few calls from the media but as the scene of the crime is about 2km away from us we can't tell them much, though I do think it's kind of funny how some guy digging around in a paddock for a log has brought the country to its knees. It's certainly put Ruakaka on the map - and I think it has renewed interest in the gas pipeline that runs through our farm.


Just this morning as I hung out the washing a helicopter hovered low over our house - I don't know who they were and it was slightly unnerving, but I'm hoping they were inspecting the pipeline and not monitoring my clothes-hanging technique.¦