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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Wee chickens and wee guitars

So our babies are a few days old now and out of the nest with mama.

She is busily bokking away, showing them where to eat and drink.

Peck peck peck, bok bok bok, here babies, look!  Nom nom!
Heh heh, google surpassed itself again.  :D

They are still in their safe little pen in the chook dome but we have been fixing up the old baby chicken one ready to move them to give them more room.  We've safely raised a few sets in here, but the foxes have been so bad this year, taking out whole flocks of other people's chooks, so we are taking no chances with our babies.  We upturned the old cage and covered the floor with wire too, so now there is no way for a fox to burrow into it.  Good old Andyroo came to help me!

I quite enjoy this sort of job.  It always involves a lot of problem-solving and ingenuity and reminds me of the old colonials of this country and the way they made do with what they had on hand to resolve every requirement.   We used a set of old telescoping tent poles to reframe the base so the wire is more rigid without adding too much weight to it.

It's all set up now, and just waiting for me to decide when to move them.  It is forecast for some bad weather sunday and monday so was considering leaving them in the dome until then, but they really need a little more space.   Maybe tonight's the night!  If we move them by night, come morning they'll be more settled.

We've got shadecloth that we can put on or off depending on the heat of the day, and a tarp to throw over if it rains.  It's nice and close to the window so we can hear and see if any mischief is being got up to!

I don't hate foxes as some chook owners do. I appreciate that they do what they need to do for their own families, and I don't attribute malice to their actions.  However, even as a nature-loving druid, I draw the line at making it easy for them to make my pets part of their diet!

Me! Me! I'm your pet too!  Got anything to eat there?
We've also been keeping busy getting ready to move the closest shed back.  It's time to do some work on the west side of the cottage. I'm envisioning a verandah to replace the little blind, keep the rain off better, and make a fly screen door possible. Then, a shady tree, our vegie beds moved across, and maybe even a little lawn.  Yegods!   The luxury!

Why did we put it there?  Silly!
First, though, we had to level the area for the shed to move to, and to do that we needed to remove a long-dead peppermint tree, because we knew that, when it came down, whether on its own or with help,  it would come down right where the shed is going to go. 

Nice placement hun!
What seems like a simple project always ends up with so many steps to actually take before you can  get to the project itself.  :D

In other news, I got my Bday prezzie early!  Weee!

Want to learn a musical instrument and never have?  It's not too late.  Go get a ukulele, and hit the internet for all the cool tutorials, song chords and even local uke clubs you can find.  Before you  know it you'll be having a ball!  I only picked it up so I could get my youngest niece playing an instrument she could sing along to, and hey presto, another uke convert.  :D  Roo wanted his back so, hey, meet Cherry the Uke!  Maybe one day soon I'll record a song for you on it.

Art in all its forms inspires.  We had to go into Perth the other day and as I was walking along, I came across this sight out of the blue.

How cool is that block of flats?  Funky art and green balconies all the way, and only visible because some big building has been torn down and soon another one will be built and block this view again, maybe forever.

I'm feeling pretty chuffed today for another reason.  I finished the first draft of my latest book yesterday!  Yay!  73 715 words! 

It's my twelfth book, so I guess I am not as excited as I once would have been, but it is still an achievement, and it still feels pretty darned good!



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

They're Here!


Five so far that I know about, but today is day 21 so maybe a few more will show yet.

I'm not going to disturb Spotty mama too much at this point. Will just have to see how many she shows up with when she starts moving them in a day or two.

There's not a much happier creature in this world than a mama hen with her new babies. 

Way to go, Spotty!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Tea, Talderoy and Huntsmen

Weird title, I know.   Tea is easy.  That's because I've been to cafes four times this week.  Once for lunch with Andrew on a glorious bright summer day, with the Jacarandas flowering.

Twice with our Firey friends (it's a hard life) and once to write with a change of scene.  That was yesterday on another lovely day in a beautiful garden setting.

The amazing GF chocolate cake at Mojo cafe in Mundaring really fired up my fingers! (Don't worry I'm not getting paid so say that, it's just true.)

Actually writing is still going well.  I've done more than 4000 words on my novel this week, bringing my total up to a pinch under 70 000 words, though I suspect the title may have changed this week to "Satan Smith: Crap Demon-Hunter," since he's been getting his arse kicked! 

I'm also writing my fun "Christmas meets Freya" novelette.  That just flies off my fingers too.  Oh dear, it is going to be naughty!

Andrew did some work on the cottage today, on a piece of wood that had rotted.  The picture wall on that side is made up of all old windows and handy bits of wood that were kind of pieced together to make up a rectangle, and that bit was pine and had rotted.  The price you pay for living in what the English call a 'Bespoke" house!

Here's the window wall.  Can you see the little grey dot up high near the roof rafter?

That's a lovely large and hairy Aussie friend.  They're usually nocturnal so maybe Andrew's banging woke her up.

Reminds me of this pic I got some time back in the bathroom but forgot to post for you.

The juxtaposition between calm man on Scottish beach labyrinth and giant sinister Aussie spider with shining eyes amused me.  When I stopped screaming.  :D  Just kidding, I usually only scream if they jump at me or fall out of weird places! 

Here's a lovely smoochy kitty to soothe your nerves after that!

"You cannot avoid my powerful hypnotizing gaze. You will get up and feed me!"
Feel better?  No?  Ok, how about a rousing rendition of my own filked version of the song, Talderoy?  Talderoy went from pirate to Firey!  Beware, contains swearing!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.  Swear a little bit.  I've found it's quite
good for the soul!   

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The Pleasures of Life

A good life is made up of many aspects.  Love, passion, companionship, interests, community service, connection to spirit, and use of the body in ways that it enjoys all come to mind on this day.  If this is true then my weekend was a good one.

Firstly, many thanks to all those who were so kind about Tess's loss.  Mum feels it the most  of course,  but Angus is running a close second.  He is not happy.

Mum said something that last day of Tess's that I think we all need to keep in mind. She was sitting on the floor with Tess's head on her knee, and Tess was so happy, and  Mum said she wished she had taken the time to do this more during Tess's life.  It's true.  It's easy to take a good dog for granted, and if they aren't the sort of dog who pushes forward for attention, sometimes you realise whole days have gone by where you've walked and fed them and talked to them, but you've hardly touched them.

Training mine has kind of fallen off the radar lately with so much else to do and no goals in mind, and because they are both not big fans of snuggles, I tend to be more hands-off with them than some of my past dogs.  Since Thursday, I've been making sure I give both my girls more attention in the ways they do enjoy, and gone back to doing daily training, and they do seem happier for it.

Sporting their new bandannas
Here's a happy dog.  This is Medusa, who is being fostered why the wonderkind brothers, Gogs and Thor.   We popped up to visit them as they were working on their block last friday and they had Deuce, as they call her, with them.  She adores those lads.  I hope she finds her forever home soon, but I think she will be sad to say goodbye to them.

Google offered me this funny animation of Gogs trying to get Deuce to jump up on the log they were slabbing.

On Saturday we had an early call-out to a fire.  I got to drive the 1.4 lights and sirens for the first time officially, and we buzzed around the tracks for a while but never found the 'burning fence post' that had been called in.  Then when we'd only been back to the station for ten minutes, we got another call-out this time to another bigger fire out near where the last one was.  I didn't go, because by then there were some very keen people who had arrived for scheds who rarely get to turn out.  I'm kind of glad, though.  It was very hot and sticky, and they had some long waits while the inaccessible area had 'tracks' bulldozed in for them.  If you can call them tracks...

Yikes!!! Glad I'm not Equipment officer any more!  These pics by Dave.

They did have some fun, though.  That Andyroo, what a ham!  :D

The helitacs were out in full force.  Always a glad sight to a Firey's eyes.

The guys were out at the fire till 3pm and missed the brigade friends' BBQ that Dave and Mandy had organised, but Roo and Rowdy did make it for food at the end of the afternoon.  Did I get pics of the humans?  No, but I did get a pic of their adorable little sprite of a dog, Lily.  Her tufty ears just killed me.

So expressive!

They also have a lovely cool and shady pond full of big koi and goldfish.  Google offered me this modified pic.  I like how the fish and water glow.

Mama chook Spotty managed to survive the last two hot days, and I made sure she got nice cold, nutritious and juicy food to eat.

Although Rover felt that this was vastly unfair and was not averse to leaping up to try and get at my bowl.

Yesterday was IMT training. I was a fake sector commander, reporting back on the fire conditions in my area and asking for more resources as the fire turned my way and got bigger.  Here I am getting briefed at the start.  It's kind of fun and kind of stressful, but always interesting.  Tom took this pic. Thanks Tom!  Note the sunnies AND reading glasses on my head.  It's a look I am attempting to make fashionable since I seem to end up accidentally doing it a lot!  :D 

It's a lovely cool and rainy day here today after two stinkers, and I am having a 'no shoulds' day.  That means there are still lots of things to do, but they are all things that I haven't been able to fit into the past few weeks, so it will feel like a holiday!


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Goodbye Tess

Rosie's mama, Tess went to the bridge yesterday.  She was 14, a good innings for a Lab.  A big, big thank you to lovely Alana and the caring vet nurses at Eastern Hills Vets.   They were so lovely and really helped mum and I say goodbye to Tess and send her off as peacefully and lovingly as possible.

Poor mum.  Both of these blithe and sweet spirits are gone now.

Tess, mum and Jock.
 I'm glad she still has Tess's grandson, Angus, to comfort her.  He'll miss his grandma too. They were great friends.

And I have Tess's daughter and granddaughter here too, and my sister Jen has her son, Kelly.

Tess had two litters.  She was a very kind mama, always looking after her babies so well.


Tess and mum had a lot of fun doing retrieving trials and training together.

Here they are with Tess's son, Rosie's brother, Inky, at training.  Inky became a retrieving trial champion but Tess never quite managed her two wins at all-age level to get her championship.  She had ten qualifying finishes though, so she got her All-Age Retrieving Dog title, no easy feat.

She and mum also got their CD and CDX in obedience.

In retrieving, she never quite had the drive she needed to push on if things got a little big hard. That was part of who she was.  She was the gentlest dog you can imagine.  She never had a beef with anyone, human or dog.  Sometimes I think she'd have liked to be an only dog, because she was a little retiring, and got pushed out by the other big doggy personalities in the family, and only really learned to ask for attention as she got older.
Tess is at the back with Freya and Tam.  Front is L to R: Rosie, Kelly, Jock, Buffy, and Kate.
But she did enjoy her big goofy grandson a lot.

She learned to be positively snuggly in her old age.  My two younger nieces got on with her really well and she loved them especially too.  They'll be sad that she's gone.

She liked a cuddle when she was over at our place being minded too. 

She was very much a part of our family and will continue to be so through the legacy of her pups and grandpups.

When a dog has been old for a long time, it can be hard to remember when they were young and bouncy.  She had her silly times too. 

And she was a very lively and alert dog for most of her life.

We'll all miss her sweet spirit very much, especially mum.

Run free, sweet Tessa Bessa.  xxx