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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Winter Colds and Spring Flowers,

We're still snotty here and still minding mum's two snuggly Yellow Labs, so there's been a lot more of this:


And some of this too.  Angus loves to snuggle on the bed but he is totally crap at it.  It's elbows to the nose and feet to the kidneys all the way.   


Which reminds me of this meme, which always amuses me because it's true, for some dogs at least.


We've been staggering outside for little walks and up to the block too, just a bit later when the air is warmer.  We had a bit of a rainy one up at the block the other day.  Man, drying off four Labs by toweling them off is better than a gym workout!


We know that spring is just around the corner because the Wattles, Hakeas and Lucerne trees are all flowering.  I just love the cascading habit of the Lucerne trees.





The bees love them too.  It's good to know we can help them get through the winter by having so much early-flowering goodness available for them. 

I managed to write my novel words all last week so am very proud of myself for keeping that going, snot and all.  Music playing had to be curtailed to pure music as any attempts to sing caused coughing, but I did play every day, still, lyre and guitar most days.  Am currently practicing my version of Jabberwocky so that I can be ready to video it for you, and have started work on a composition of my own about Odin and his horse, Sleipnir.  I have the chorus and one musical bridge worked out nicely but the verses, both lyrics and music, need more work.       

I did manage to keep up with my baking.  Rosie likes to sit right next to where I do my mixing in case anything yummy falls off the counter, but she ended up in the exactly the wrong place the other day when I got a bit wild with the flour.

 

Sorry baby!  And it doesn't even taste nice!
      
We had to miss Fireys this weekend due to the attack of the snot-monster but I did manage to get Sawyers Valley Volunteer Bushfire Brigade's website news done for the month. If you'd like to see what we've been up to, go here.   




Thursday, 25 August 2016

Extra Labradors

We have mum's two Labbies (Rosie's mum, Tess, and Rosie's son and Tuppy's bro, Angus) staying with us this week, and we have a cold too, so there has been an awful lot of Angus being photogenic and not much else being done.


 

 He is very snuggly.

Tess likes a snuggle too.







The only person who is not enthused at the extra patronage of our laps is Mr Superkitty!   :D

Humph!









Sunday, 21 August 2016

An Interesting Weekend

We started with the local Folk and Blues Club on Friday night. I think my personal favorites were Dingo's Breakfast.  A great mix of singalongs and originals, and lovely harmonies. There was a lassie from down Fremantle way who stood in for a band who nearly all had the flu. I missed her name but she had some really good original songs and could play a mean guitar.  Funny too.  It's good to see such a depth of talent in our little city.


There was a lady with them this time. I think they change their members round a bit. 
Suzy got a lovely photo of sister Jen, and I.  Amazing how light it seems, as it was quite dark in the venue!


Awwww, I love my Jen!

 
Saturday morning was schedules at the Sawyers Valley VBFB station, but also minding my nieces because sis and bro-in-law were at a radio course for Fireys.  After we got home from their basketball and my Fireys duties, we watched one of my all time fave B-Grade movies; Beastmaster!

 
Yay!  I love all the animals in it, and it has nothing to do with all the underdressing.  Really.  :D
"I must remember to crouch down to show off leg muscles at all opportunities."

After that we played a hot game of Forbidden Island and got off the Island with only two tiles of land left to sink. Phew!

Then we got out my Anglo-Saxon lyre and the kids got me to play a couple of songs, then had a go themselves. It was really fun to have them singing along to Son of the Trees with me and really good to see them pick up playing my lyre so fast.



After that we had to get on the computer to listen to the original Son of the Trees song and sing along with that, and some of the other great stuff that Pilgrim does too.  This one, Feast, had us jumping around, it is so catchy.


I like showing the kids how, once you can play an instrument, you get to join in and have fun with other people making music.  They both play the violin, and it can be hard to be practicing all the time, but it is good to have goals to work towards with your music, and one of them should be fun with other people like these guys get to have!


The dogs and kitty all got some extra loving too.
  


Sunday morning I went along to keep Jen company as she took her big Irish Draft Sporthorse baby, Fionn, to riding club to have a look around. He was a very good boy.



He was desperate to meet this lovely chunker of an Appy.



Then he got to have a practice at standing tied at the float with his hay, with his little friend Jerry nearby and us keeping an eye on him.  We needn't have worried. He was so good!  He loves his food!


Yesterday arvo, I started to get a sore throat and it is still here today. Oh oh!  That is how the current local flu starts!  More silver!  After being sick for so many years, I resent a single day laid low now.  Bugger off germs!

             


 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Drumming and Other Thunder.

It's been a bit of a stormy time weather-wise here lately. We've had some wet and chilly dog walks.


The dogs don't care though!


That's our neighbour's house up at the block. It went up for sale this week.  Newish 4 x 2 house on five unloved acres.  $850 000!  Real estate here is nuts despite the recent down-turn in the great mineral grab.

Stormy weather and dog walks = lots of rainbows!



This was taken above the local pub the other morning. Rain just past, more rain on the way, and in between, this glowing sky. No, sadly, we weren't in our way home from an all-nighter, we were up early and out dog walking as usual! 


In between storms on Wednesday, we went round the firebreak here and there to keep our brains fresh.  The neighbour's three horses came to see if we'd give them some fresh grass over the fence, and of course we obliged.



This grey Appy is my fave. Such a pretty girl and I love her white-tipped ears.  He's had both Appies from weanlings (in those days one was chestnut and one dark grey!) and they must be in their teens now, and the chestnut QH mare is in her twenties.  Lucky, much loved horses!
More please!
Ok, here it comes!
Writing on Land of Giants is positively cranking along this week. It's pretty easy to keep the words coming when your characters are fighting a Smilodon or two!  Word count as of my final session for the week was 88 154 words.

I've been doing well with my music too.  Tin whistle, guitar and lyre sessions have all been had, mostly lyre plus one of the others each day. Current song that is almost worked out is Jabberwocky!  I'll try to get a video this week. 

We actually got some photos of drumming last week.






With all of us having some experience, we really got into some changing patterns and breaks.  Was great fun!  If you are facebooky, you can see two videos of us here:

https://www.facebook.com/HillsDrumming/videos/pcb.1031608263626187/1031601140293566/?type=3&theater

And here:

https://www.facebook.com/HillsDrumming/videos/pcb.1031608263626187/1031606463626367/?type=3&theater

Particularly enjoyed the second one.  We had three patterns going at once, and were taking turns keeping going while the others stopped their pattern and added in the break over the top, and it sounded great to be part of it.

A bit more wood chopping got done this week for a brigade member. We finished his big pile of logs!  Yay us!



Pierre was there too but he's camera shy.  (And he shouldn't be!)

At the sensible age of 11, Cyrano stays in when the weather is bad.  Preferably with someone nearby to smooch him, or someone to sit on!
  
 


Our sweet boy. He went to the vet last week for a teeth clean but came out of his anaesthetic well.


I'm going to take a picture of him all week, one a day.  I think by the end of the week they'll all look like they were taken within minutes of each other.  :D



  
  

Monday, 15 August 2016

Horses I've Loved: Isabeau

In 1996, my sister Jen and I went down south with a horsefloat (something you should never do!) to look at a Clydie cross who'd been advertised in the paper.  We came home with this beauty.


She'd been called Toffee when we bought her, but by the time we got home from our long drive, she was Isabeau (apart from a short period in the middle of the drive when we'd got silly and decided the perfect old-fashioned name for her should be Fanny!)

She was certainly an old-fashioned sort of beauty.

She was six, but hadn't done a lot.  Her feet were overgrown and the size of dinner-plates.  She was very green to ride and also, it turned out, she had a ticklish girth area when saddled, something we hadn't seen because she'd been already saddled to show her to someone else when we arrived to see her.  Oops! 

Ah well, we worked through that after the first time I saddled her at home and she tried to jump into my lap when she realised the girth had been done up. All our time together after that, we had a routine where I would do the girth up a little, say, "Have a little walk," and she would take a step or two backwards and forwards, have a treat, and we'd do the next hole.  She was always a good girl who tried very hard to please.

We had a lot of fun together.  


Never having had a draft cross before I overfed her heating foods at first, treating her like a normal horse,  and she got overly fit and lively.  I'd ride her miles and miles and she'd be still be going like a train with all her veins out like a Thoroughbred!  It stood us in good stead later.  At first she was quite prone to shying and terrified of kangaroos, but once we'd done all those miles, she became pretty much bombproof, no matter what silly things we did with her.


  
Andrew joined the family, and Keech left us, then Tam and Buffy came into the family too. Through it all Isabeau was a part of my life.


She roamed the property most days, mowing for us and being sensible around the gardens and fences.


For a while she had a friend, Numbat, my niece's naughty pony, but mostly she was happy on her own.  She found living with other horses and their pecking order shenanigans stressful.



We started going to adult riding club, and in those days I didn't have my own float so I would ride there, we'd do our two lessons and ride home again in the twilight.  I must have had a lot of energy in those days!

We were just a tad wider load than most of the riding horses at our club.  :)


That was a LOT of horse to wash!

 
She learned to jump and enjoyed it too. She was aces at gridwork and always got her piece of carrot, that I generally kept in my helmet to give her after a jumping round! 



We did clicker training.  This is her doing 'touch' but she could do many things.

      
  She taught my oldest niece, Tee, to ride. (But not like this!)
 

I had her for six years, then sold her. I regretted it many times afterwards.  That horse and I had done so much together and had such a bond. She would cross a huge paddock at gallop to me if I called her.  If I stood up on something she would come over to me form anywhere and let me get on, no saddle, no bridle. She may have looked like a Clumper, and I never asked her to go collected in a way that did not suit her build, but she would move sideways, forwards, backwards, spin, at the lightest touch of leg or hand. 

Why did I sell her? I had Lyme Disease by then but didn't yet know it. Everything felt so hard and joyless.  My coping skills for stress were gone due to what Lyme was doing to my brain and body.  Our darling Sally had been killed and we no longer wanted to live where she had died, but to move meant moving closer to town and that meant we had to move to a smaller, cheaper block.  I don't know.  Lyme does in your decision-making abilities too. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  Maybe it was. 

I did my best to sell her to the right home but despite that she was moved on a year or so later.  It's a sad fact of horses that once they leave you, you have no control over where they go.  She did fall on her feet and end up with an experienced person who loved her and loved all the clever things she could do.  I met this lady only a few years ago for the first time and she told me Isabeau had only died a year tor two before of colic, something that had always plagued her.  Intellectually I knew that she was likely dead, because she'd have been quite old, but I cried and cried all the same.  When you don't know, you can imagine them still alive and happy.


Isabeau is the horse I have been closest to after Mono and perhaps Sherry and Uggy (yet to be written of here).  Unlike Sherry and Possum, she hasn't shown up in the beautiful pasture in my inner landscape where the horses graze.  I hope that is because she went on to be even closer to her new owner.  I hope so.  She deserved it.