That's Don with his Kiwi Cross calves. He's our neighbor in Maungaturoto and runs his cows and sheep through our property. The calves are a few days to a few weeks old. They are taken away from their moms because they collect the milk for the dairy. They still get fed the cow's milk, but the calf is not nursing directly. These calves will suck on your hand, jacket, tools, whatever! I almost lost one of my rings to an eager calf, because of course I leaned over to pet them all.
A few of his cows managed to get the gate to our orchard open and damage a few of the trees (the avacado! boo hoo), so he gave us a freshly butchered lamb. Darin and I spent a few hours cutting it up, because it was just in quarters. We cooked one of the legs in our slow cooker, and it was terrific. This weekend, I'm making either lamb tangine or lamb rogan josh with the stew cuts we made.
The day after that, I had to usher for the NZ Film Fest (published previously), and afterward I met my sister Barb at a spa in downtown Auckland. She treated me to a massage and pedicure (she had one too). It was so relaxing! I wish I could do that once a week. I deserve it, really.
Sadly, Darin got really sick the week after my birthday, and I suspect he had the swine flu. The NZ public health stopped testing for it though, realising there's no point since it's gotten out of control. Amazingly, I managed to stay well! The fact that I was away from home a lot either working or ushering or watching movies probably had something to do with it. He got a secondary bacterial infection and had to go back to the doctor, who gave him antibiotics to clear it up. I am so glad he's well. He was sure I'd have to learn to live without him.
The other fun thing I did (post-birthday) was go to the Auckland Food Show. I went to this event last year, and it was much the same this year: lots of free food and wine samples and pretty good special prices on products. I had a generally good time, but have a few complaints. First, it is expensive, $22 to get in. Second, there's no In-Out privelage, so you can't go buy a bunch of bottles of wine and food and take it to your car, then go back in for more. Third, it's insanely crowded. I got trapped at the Nosh grocery stall by one of those big baby strollers parked behind me. NZ has a great food culture and amazing food products, but this venue is just too big and crowded for anything to stand out. Finally, there was a huge waste of plastic utensils, taste cups, and dishes. I don't know what the solution to this is, but it made my stomach turn (or maybe it was that snywurst? yuk).