December 1866

Saturday 1st    We continued digging in the clearing & got out a large Pouriri root.  The weather was very hot, we all had a bathe in the afternoon.

Sunday 2nd  It was very showery all day, the rain will do a great deal of good.  I did not go out all day.

Monday 3rd  We finished digging up the strip in the clearing and planted it with Maize, the ground works well after the rain.
Mr Wyatt & John finished falling the bush, we measured it off in the afternoon, it measured exactly 3 and one third acres.

Tuesday 4th  It rained during the night and was rather showery when we got up in the morning, but it cleared up.  We forked all the sorrel out of the Onion beds, sprinkled the ground with lime & then dug it in and planted Maize in rows 4 ft apart and about 1 ft apart in the rows with seed that Mr Wyatt gave me, it is Sydney Maize and was grown by Mr Porter last season.  We also planted Maize between every alternate row of Potatoes.  Mrs Monkhouse called & staid for dinner.

Wednesday 5th  We began to hoe up the Potatoes in the paddock, they are looking very well now and promise to be a better crop than I expected they would be, all five of us were working at them in the afternoon and we hoed up about half of them.

Thursday 6th  It rained very heavy all last night and was very showery all afternoon, so that we were not able to continue hoeing up the Potatoes.  I set them all to cut up Scotch Thistles.

Friday 7th   I set them all on to cut up Scotch Thistles.
Sid Anderson brought a young man over here in the morning to show him Neil Campbell’s land as the young man wanted to buy some land in this neighbourhood to settle on.   Sid Anderson not wishing to remain away too long went home and I took him to see John Kempt‘s land next to mine, during our walk I chanced to ask him what part of of the old country he came from and strange enough he came from Belton near Ridlington in the County of Rutland, & his name is Ward, I recollect hearing the name but I did not know him personally when I lived at Mr Wortley’s.   Of course we had a long chat about old times and of all the old friends that lived in that neighbourhood.  I gave him an invitation to stay with me for a few days and he accepted it.  He is a very nice young fellow and I hope he will become a settler among us, he has an Uncle in Auckland who will come up with him.  They came out from England in the “Ida Zeigler” which arrived in Auckland about 6 weeks ago.

Saturday 8th  The chaps continued hoeing up Scotch Thistles in the clearing all day.  I planted some leeks & beet roots in the morning.  I took Mr Ward to see Neil Campbell’s land & down to Mr Angus Matheson’s in the afternoon.  I took him over Mr John Kempt‘s land in the evening and down to the still,  he liked his land better than Neil Campbell’s.

Sunday 9th  Mr Wyatt kindly invited Mr Ward & me to dinner today, so we availed ourselves of his invitation, and had a very good dinner, we went a walk on the fern hill in the afternoon with Mr Wyatt‘s family & returned there for tea.  In the evening I took Mr Ward over to Mrs Kirkbride’s and Mrs Pickin favoured us with some music.  The more I see of Mr Ward the more I like him, he is a very respectable young fellow and very well read.
I enjoy his society very much.

Monday 10th  I set the men on to fall a piece of bush next to where Mr Wyatt cleared, we had a sharp shower of rain early in the morning, but it cleared up & we had a fine day.
I took Mr Ward to Mr Knagg’s in the morning and through Mr Tole’s land to the beach opposite the Goat Island, we retuned home for dinner,  as there is no vessel  in here going to Auckland, Mr Ward resolved to walk to Matakana to try & get a vessel there for Auckland so he started in the afternoon & I put him on his road to Great Omaha , & called at Mrs Kirkbrides on my way home.

Tuesday 11th  James Anderson began to reap his Wheat today, but I am sorry to say it is a very indifferent crop, as it is blighted, and I think  by the sea winds, it will be a great loss to them.  A hive of bees swarmed to day & we successfully hived them.  The heifer Clara took McKenzie’s Bull today.
We finished moulding  up Potatoes in the field.

Wednesday 12th  I let the men go Pig hunting to day and they were fortunate enough to catch two large boars, Joe came down for the horse to carry the pork home, we had to scald it after we got it home, it weighed 160 lbs.

Thursday 13th  We had several showers of rain during the day.  We forked out sorrel in the garden.

Friday 14th  It was very showery during the day. Between the showers we fell bush.

Saturday 15th  It was very showery.  We continued to fall bush; Samuel had a tree fall on him in the morning which disabled him for the rest of the day.  I picked some peas out of my garden for the first time in the afternoon.  I also went to Mrs Kirkbrides in the afternoon to get some butter and to settle up with her for what I have had.

Sunday 16th   We had several showers during the day, but otherwise it was a fine day.  I did not go out anywhere during the day.  Mr Anderson, Jim & Tom came over to see me in the afternoon.  I went over to Mrs Kirkbrides in the evening for service.  Willie Greenwood came here for tea & staid all night

Monday 17th  The men continued chopping bush.  Tommy & I were taken very ill with the diarrhoea with eating very heartily of brawn.

Tuesday 18th   The weather was very fine.  Samuel continued falling bush alone.  Tom Wyatt took a holiday as it was his 21st birthday.
Tommy & I continued very unwell, the diarrhoea has brought me down to a very weak state and my appetite has quite failed me.

Wednesday 19th  The men continued falling bush.  I was still very unwell and not able to do much.

Thursday 20th  I sent Tom Wyatt on the horse to Pakiri for the mail and also to Mr Wright’s for butter.  Samuel & Tommy finished falling the bush I think that I have about 5 acres chopped down and ready to burn off this autumn.  I went over to Mr Andersons in the afternoon & staid for tea,  their Wheat crop is quite a failure this year as it is blighted and hardly worth thrashing; about six weeks ago it looked splendid, the straw was so even and the ears so plump & bold, but it bears a very different appearance now, some of the ears are quite devoid of grain and others the wheat in them is shrivelled up and only fit for chicken corn.  What was the cause of this blight I have not been able to find out.  Last year James Anderson had a splendid crop of Wheat on ground adjoining and the same kind of Wheat.
Mr Kirkbrides Wheat is without desease.

Friday 21st  Murdock McLeod  who is caulking the vessel on the beach borrowed my horse this morning to go home to the Waipu to spend Christmas.  We went down in the clearing to day & hoed between the Maize & also earthed up my last planted potatoes.

Saturday 22nd  We re-commenced digging in the clearing to day, the thistles have grown very much since we were at work there last.

Sunday 23rd  We had several showers during the day.  I went over to Mr Andersons in the afternoon staid for tea and remained there for the meeting in the evening, Mr Kirkbride & Matthew came down to it.

Monday 24th  Willie Greenwood came to spend his Christmas here.
Samuel, Tommy & Willie Greenwood went to the Goat Island to try if they could get a goat, but they returned without one.
Tom & I went over to Speedwell to get some Cape Gooseberries and we brought home about two gallons.
Tom, Joe & I were busy in making preparations for Christmas.

Tuesday 25th   Christmas Day
Nothing particular to record except that we kept it as a holiday and regaled ourselves with Christmas cheer.  I called at Mrs Kirkbride’s and at Mrs Andersons in the afternoon, & I staid at the latter for tea.

Wednesday 26th  It was a beautiful day.  We reaped the Wheat in the morning, it was very fine Wheat in some places, but where it had been eaten off by the horse & cattle it was of very little use.
They continued digging up ground in the clearing in the afternoon.
Mrs Anderson called here in the afternoon and Mr Knaggs came for tea.

Thursday 27th  I discharged Thomas Smith to day.
Tom Wyatt and Samuel took a holiday. Samuel went to help Tom reap his Wheat at home.
Joe & I dug up some ground in the garden.  Willie Greenwood went home in the afternoon.

Friday 28th  We continued digging up ground in the clearing.
The “Ida Zeigler” sailed for Auckland in the afternoon, Mr Anderson went down by her, also Mrs McQuarrie.  Samuel & I went over to the Pah in the afternoon to bargain with Portugese Joe for his bullocks, I agreed to give him £24 for them if he would bring them over tomorrow yoked up.

Saturday 29th  We continued digging  in the clearing, the ground turns up rather stiff, but when it is well pulverised I think it will break up very well.
I let the Fowls & Ducks out of the Poultry Yard to day.
Portugese Joe brought the bullocks over in the evening.  I paid him  £7 on account for them.

Sunday 30th  It was a beautiful day.  I went up to Willie Greenwood’s in the morning to spend the day, I looked all round his place also Kirkbride’s & Kempt’s;  the grass up there looks very well, Willie’s grass seed will be ready to reap soon.
Joe Wyatt came home yesterday from Mr George’s place at Waitakarei; he came up in the “Glance” to Matakana & then walked on.

Monday 31st  The two Miss Dyer’s and their brothers called here in the morning on horseback on their way to Matakana to see the Regatta which is to take place tomorrow, they borrowed my horse for Charlie to ride on.
We continued digging up ground in the clearing.
I went over to my old place in the afternoon to get some Cape Gooseberries, Joe Wyatt returned with me & staid for tea.