Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hope gets ducks... I get chooks.

Hope has officially turned from a cute puppy into obnoxious adolescence and is showing us this by getting into everything. She and La really are flip sides of the same coin these days!

For the past week, she's been really (really, really) wanting to get out and work stock. The problem being we don't HAVE stock yet. Our neighbors -do- but are unlikely to appreciate her rounding their cows up, especially if she's bringing them to me instead of them. I don't need to become known as a cattle rustler thank you kindly little dog! The second she's outside, her nose is under the fence and her little black bum will scoot under shortly after if I don't tell her no. In true Aussie style she can dive under fences and gates in a zip too. Mind you, she'll STOP if I tell her and she'll leave off and come back but three seconds later her little black nose is back under the fence. Our workshop seems to have turned the working switch in her firmly into the "on" position!

In keeping with that, our one entry to the house just has a screen door... it's a little mudroom where you take off your boots so the deadlocking solid door is on the other side of the mudroom. For days we couldn't figure out how the devil Hope kept escaping. The doors were closed, firmly latched and in several cases I was SURE I'd flipped the lock-tab! Well we figured it out - it seems tricky little missy has figured out how to flip the switch and jump up and swipe the handle so that it opens. It seems she's determined to make it down to those cattle!

We've also had several incidents of food on the counter and certain little black noses stretching a lot further than they ought to. All of which adds up to an adolescent idjit in need of a job. So. After a few days of waiting, we picked up our ducks today. We picked up chooks as well but those are most definitely not for Hope. The ducks are though and she KNOWS it. She's been pacing the pen, whinging and letting me know in no uncertain terms she'd REALLY like to work those ducks now please! When I take her inside, with her trotting rather begrudgingly at my side (she knows the only way I'll ever give permission is if she obeys - you must give up the prize to win it grasshopper) she peeks out the windows at them and keeps checking the (deadbolted... heh, open that little dog!) doors to see if they've magically opened in the past few minutes.

So, on to the ducks. Here they are. We've got pretty white Indian Runners (the tall ones with orangey-yellow bills) and a single Aylesbury duck (the shorter one with the pinkish coloured bill) which are a breed of duck considered critical by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia. The Indian Runners are for eggs and to work the dogs on as they're too flighty to make good pets. The Aylesbury I plan to tame down over the next few weeks as it's main job is going to be to be pretty and I'll have to think of a suitable name for her... because everything here gets named, it's just how things are here.

Now these are the new chooks. The red one and the white one are bantam Sussex, buff and white respectively. They're pretty young, still have a number of blood feathers yet so they're really just overgrown chicks which is why they look a bit scrawny instead of proper plump hens. The furball in the middle is a partridge colour Chinese Silky chicken. It looks rather like a demented fluffy emu to me but it's cute and sweet and it's job is to be cute and sweet and be a foster mummy if I ever get a rooster for the other two because they are apparently lousy mums. They are all sitting in a cardboard box in their temporary cage, waiting a few days to make sure they don't have any health issues before letting them go into the bigger pens.

I'm rather chuffed with this... my little farmlet is starting to look like a real farmlet! :-)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Had a beautiful day at the Gembrook Market Sunday after a day of unpacking on Saturday. Ironically I get more done without another (theoretically) able-bodied adult around (iow Nic) than I do with just myself and Laurent. When it's just L and me I get into my groove and just follow our pattern but I'm not sure what to do when I'm trying to do it with another person! We only did about 5 boxes! Today I did 11 boxes all by myself, moved a bookcase and kitchen table plus chairs and that with "toddler help" and dogs/cats underfoot!

Sunday we went to the market though and I love markets! I especially love markets on
days like this one... small towns that are still small towns, crisp autumn days, with unending bright blue skies, the breath of frost in the wind enough to let you dig out the soft warmth of a scarf to enjoy it but still plenty of the golden sort of sunshine that is unique to autumn dappling gloriously through the trees and warming your shoulders. It's like stepping into a "wish you were here" postcard.

We saw some familiar faces... I got more of my favorite soaps (Soap Box Hill... we love their patchoili/frankincense granules/cocoa and organic coffee granules one, their goatsmilk and chamomile one and their lavender/oatmeal/lavanderflowers and australian organic red clay one), favorite lemon butter (Robbins from Drouin South... yumlicious!) and grape jelly for Nic who loves grape jelly but can never find it anywhere and a little trudge basket for me that I'm going to get some terracotta pots, plant with red geraniums, tie a bow around it and tuck it on the porch with some moss between. We saw the people we got Noir from, who were happy to hear he is growing like the proverbial weed. I saw a bunch of stuff I wouldn't have minded having more disposable income to get... some *soft* yarns in gorgous colours - baby alpaca, angora goat, angora rabbit, silk etc. Stained glass lamps for our bedside. And birdfeeders made of reclaimed timber. I also really wanted to get some mums (the flowers) that were gorgeous and cheap ($3 ea, so I could get 5 for what I'd normally pay for 1!) but Nic lost the last of our money so I didn't get them. :-/

Still it's a beautiful day and best of all (in La's opinion) Puffing Billy the TRAIN comes by every so often! Plus there is a great kids playground and park next to it so he could run around and a petting zoo so he got to feed some sheep and goats.

I also heard from the Coloured Sheep folks, through whom I'll be locating all my sheep. I also heard back from a lady and have arranged to pick up five Indian Runner ducks tomorrow. As well, the guy we are getting the line of credit through is also quite knowledgeable about stock having used to raise english leisters for wool, cattle, chooks etc. so I've been getting some nice advice and good stories in that respect and he's putting me in touch with a good local shearer who deals
with small volume customers.

Also I have to wish Amanda's beautiful, gorgeous boy LEO a belated but sincere HAPPY THIRD BIRTHDAY!!!

Some recent pics...

La proving we really must get him a human sibling and soon... (I didn't train him to do this, honest! He's just mimicing Hope!)

La and Noir, looking disgruntled at having been disturbed from his puddle of sunshine snooze.

And the pen for the ducks. Yes the fence is leaning in the shot... there is an area dug out around it where there's wire being laid down under it so foxes can't dig into it, then it gets backfilled.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yuck! (And Yay!)

After dealing with Nic and La both having colds (snotty noses, coughing, fevers, general sooking) last week it looked like I'd caught what they had. Wednesday afternoon my throat HURT. Got some throat soothers that were useless. Next day I couldn't swallow and my voice was at a whisper, even more painful. So I got some pain tabs, which did nothing. Hoped to wait it out but this morning I had shooting pains in my ear from my throat. Hm. Not a cold. I go to the doctor, who asks why I'm there... "Probably strep." "Okay, let me have a look. Yep, it's strep." Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. And I've got a thousand things to do! Silly thing couldn't have come at a more convienient time!

Meanwhile, La is having a grand time learning the animals names and what they do. "Sheep... bah! Mum, cow mooooooo!" The horses still get called cows (er... close bubba) but now the one nearest us, a lovely bay named Bubbles gets called by his name. "Bubbal!" and offered "Gas!" (Grass... close bubba... close!)

I also am wrestling with chicken coop ideas. I was going to do a little inexpensive one and just use the tin-cobbled together lean to for the sheep but with the way we've set ourselves up today I can look into something a little bit better. I'd really like to do a small shed that has a pen for the regular sheep, a small one that can be used for birthing ewes/young lambs/ill ones recovering, a small place for a goat and a chook house attached with a run extending. It'd also have a round-pen on the outside for the sheep and a small run to push them through. That'll require a bit more research before I invest in it so it doesn't end up with a bunch of design flaws.

Now the investment set up I mentioned is this: instead of getting a standard $45K home-loan from the bank, we'd held off to look into running a line of credit instead. With interest rates being what they were, we figured we'd top up La's school investments, get ourselves some furniture and tend to the things that need fixing (bathroom, study, deck, some areas of fencing) and set myself up with a proper show outfit (blowdryer, grooming tools), schooling (for me, to turn this into a nice little home business and set up farm plan etc), buying the initial sheep (since they're quality bred sheep vs the cheapies in the local ag rags) and an agility set up.

However we met with a guy today that Nic knows who was able to set us up with a MUCH better deal via having a line of credit instead of a loan, which plays on the equity of the house (we have the title outright and no other debts) so that we'll actually be able to do a lot more and I'll be able to turn my little sheep hobby into a nice little business and it'll have a lot of tax benefits etc. Sitting down and looking at it, it'll save us a bundle and is such a much smarter way to do things, even with regards to day to day spendings, so I'm really chuffed with that! Hopefully down the road since we have a much larger line of credit (was actually less percentage to take a $350K line than a smaller one and what you don't use doesn't accure interest) we can actually look into bigger investments and hopefully reap a tidy profit there. So, so, SO chuffed! Cross fingers it goes through!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Photos from Beloka Kelpie stud

So here are some of the pics of Hope at Beloka Kelpie stud this weekend where we did a workshop to get her started.

I think she looks rather stylish working the sheep here. (Cuz that's the most important thing you know! Haha!) Here they are nearly at the gait, waiting for it to be swung open.

Going out to get around the sheep.

Sticky sheep on a fence corner...

Sheep: Nuh uh. I'm not moving. Yer a scrawny 8 month old pup and ya can't make me!
Hope: Wanna bet sheep? (Hm. Maybe Paul had a thing when he said I ought to bark to move the sheep instead of just beaming the message into their heads!)

Now this being a Kelpie stud, backing is obviously part and parcel. While Paul reckons Hope will probably be okay with backing as she didn't seem fussed when we started them on it, I reckon this is Aussie-style backing!

Someone thought the ducks looked like fun, even if they were the weirdest sheep she'd ever seen. (Who knew sheep came with wings?!?)

Her first go on the ducks, actually keeping a bit of distance and not too much pressure for parts of it, though at a part she razzed them a bit at the start thinking they were the wild ducks she buzzes off the dam at home. Once she figured out they were weird-sheep instead of balls-that-throw-themselves-into-the-air she did a nice bit of work though.

Hey look, they're not scattering!

And she can take turn commands, at least by gesture if not word and whistle.

First one way and then the other.

And back to sheep... we did cattle as well but no pics of that as Nic left my camera at Toora! (Yes, we got it back.)

Hot pursuit of the rouge sheep.

Okay this is a trio of photos. This one (1) shows the main bunch together and one of them deciding it's going to be going elsewhere. It's intending to come back past Hope.

#2 Hope sees it and moves to counter. "Uh uh sheep, wrong way!"

#3 And back with the group. This was the little test at the end of the day. We had a series of small yards we had to move the sheep from one end of the first to the gate, open the gate, get them through, across the second yard, open the gate, move them through, across the third yard, open the gate, get them through and back into the first yard through the front gate. It's a mini-taste of practical work or what you'd have to do at yard dog trials and was interesting and fun if a bit of a comedy considering how green both dog and handler were! LOL A couple of the other people with more experienced dogs did a real pretty job of it though!

Laurent and I having a look at one of the calves. La is saying, "Mum, cow! Mooooo-ddaaauugghhh!" (Last bit is him immitating a dinosaur. Apparently it's a dino-cow in his mind.)

Part of the land there. Nic took Laurent and climbed the hill with him. The black specks are cows. The white specks are sheep. Nic is the skinnier black spect just above the top of the treeline.

Hope, zooming about. Even after all that she's still full of energy!

But her most important job of all, taking her boy around on walkies!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Well, we're back from our weekend work-shop and BOY what a weekend! I think I had about the best time in recent memory, certainly the funnest and most relaxing!

I'd planned to mostly work Hope as she just has much more and much better natural instinct and talent for herding. We worked her a dozen times over each day and had a nice time doing so. She is turning into a very nice little dog and will definitely be my chore dog. She was balancing nicely, a bit of casting, taking directions to turn, keeping a moderate distance etc. It was a great little work shop with a lot of good humor going around, some good natured razzing, a good dinner at the local pub and I enjoyed the laid-back teaching style.

My goal for the weekend was to get some "homework", ie some basic skills I could take back home to work on to get her started on being able to move sheep for me so I don't have to chase them up and down our paddocks myself! So I was quite happy we achieved that and can't wait for my sheep arrive so we can continue. Need to build a round-pen and other things so we have somewhere to herd into instead of just back and forth between pastures.

Hope also got to go on the cows, a dozen poddy calves who hadn't been worked with dogs before and got her first exposure to them. We didn't want to push her too far and let her take a kick, so we stopped her after a short time but Paul reckons she ought to do nicely with cattle. Turns out this picture, taken when she was a fluff-puff at Toora and decided she could handle the little cow there was a bit on target! ;-) LOL That tickled me pink to hear, as while I'm not planning to run cattle here, I wasn't sure what to expect from her with cattle as she is a soft dog in terms of being sensitive to approval, it doesn't take much to correct her - a very mild 'ahhh' is all you want to use with her but she's also a tough little nut in her tasks, without being (as many Aussies tend to be) prone to being heavy-handed in their approach to sheep since they're often used as cattledogs historically. I'd worried she might not have enough "umph" for cattle work so to speak when things got gritty.

We also got to work her on Runner Ducks and she did a good job with them, keeping more moderate pressure on them, going on the outside, going a bit wider, not scattering etc too much. She had a moment of just buzzing them about, I reckon at first she figured they were the same as the wild ducks she buzzes off our dam but she settled in and gave a nice bit of work. I was real tickled to hear he reckons she'll work ducks nice.

All in all I had an absolutely great time and wish it could have been a week long! LOL So many people say Aussies aren't a working breed any more, so it's pleasing to see her do as nicely as she did and starting to 'get it' when I wanted her to turn or come off balance back toward me. One thing that it did point out to me was that I've neglected her obedience more than I should've as I know we can do better in that area than we did this weekend. Not that she was bad per se but it was bad for US as I know she has a wickedly fast response time when I train her and is quick and smarter than she showed. However, after a month in a kennel and me ignoring training since I was all focused on moving and finding a new place previous to that she didn't do horrible and was affiable about doing what I wanted despite it.

I naturally have reams of photos but it'd be photo-overload if I did them all at once so instead here is a few of the first week in our new house and I'll do our herding ones tomorrow.

Noir in the bird-cage.

Our new backyard.

La having fun charging about throwing leaves around! ;-)

And picking ones to bring to mummy.

Hope attempting to stare Nic down as he's holding a tennis ball. (Throwdaballthrowdaballthrowdaball!!!)

Sierra was laying on one side of the fence, Hope was on the other, so she slid under the barb wire and laid down for a rest.

Here's WHY they needed the rest... this is what they spend the majority of the first day, second day etc doing.

These pics were literally shot within a few seconds of each other on the first day, as soon as we let them out of the car. This is the rather low dam.

Chhharrrgggggee!!! (Could they look any doofier?)

Having gone up one way, time to go up the next.

Sierra tiring before Hope is going at non-warp speed.

Finally sitting still and looking sweet... Hope always has such kind eyes and expression about her.

Finally this is my tree... I knew I had to have one and this place has three big ones!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I live! Pt 2

We're still unpacking so I don't have photos up yet (have to find the cable to hook the camera to the computer) and we're already off again - this time to Welshpool for a herding workshop with Hope and Sierra for the weekend. So we'll be back Monday.

In the meantime I'll try to recap what's been going on since I posted last. The biggest bit would be that I've got all my babies back with me again! I picked up Hope and Sierra the first thing on the morning we were moving in. I got there and found out both of them hadn't had a bath, which the lady appologised for and warned me I might not want to hug them. I told her they could have been covered in pig muck and it wouldn't have mattered. After enough pats to make me smell as strongly of kennel as they did, away we went to the vets for a nice hydrobath... after a month in a kennel, they needed one! Then home for me to get a bath too! LOL Both my girlies are happy as clams if vibrating from pent up energy and a bit out of shape from not being able to hoon around all day but training... um... what training? They ever had training??? You'd never know it, the little monkeys!

After that we picked up Noir (who is a butterball of purring bliss) from my vets and took our VERY packed car and dog float home! I am also sporting a nice limp to go with this as when we took the float down from the top of the (steep!) driveway where we were staying, Nic lost his grip, the weight was too much for me alone and in an attempt to prevent it from becoming airborn (yes, seriously) I got a nice bit of skin scraped off the top of my foot and knee. :rolls eyes:

I can't say how much I looooooovvvve this place! It's such a pretty place and such a pretty property! I also can't say how much I love being in a place that's OURS instead of a hotel or temporary stop again. LOL We found out some history on the place... apparently it was bought in 1897 by Arthur Tinkham who lived in a bark hut until 1911 when he finished building our place. He was married to Elizabeth Chisholm and as she was Scottish she called the property "Inverness". As Elizabeth was Anglican and her husband Catholic, they weren't able to attend the same church so one of our "bedrooms" was built originally to hold their Sunday services in at home! The front gardens were designed and planted by Baron Bonmula, the gentleman who also designed the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. (Yes, it has my big white gum that I knew any place I was going to get HAD to have.) There is another tree here, a big pine, that was planted in 1911 when the house was built, next to our bedroom window that is in a picture of the property from way back then. (Photo is a gift from the previous owners.) Until 1950 the property, along with surrounding properties were apple orchards. The property remained in his family until 1946 when a family named Taylor bought it. The guy we bought from actually had kind of a neat story... he sort of approached me aside and asked if I was spiritual and believed in pyschics or not. I could hardly hear him as he was talking low, thinking that Nic's surname being Italian, Nic was probably very traditional catholic and not inclined to spiritual matters. However when I said I was he was talking about a white lady in the gardens and psychics coming here and that's what he meant when he said the place was tranquil, not just that the setting was tranquil (although it is) but that it exhudes a spiritual tranquility. I'm not quite sure, but I think what he was saying is that we've got a ghost of a white lady who liked our garden so much she never left!

The first thing Hope, Sierra, Cade and Laurent did was start running in big circles exploring every nook and cranny at top speeds! (Albeit top speeds for La are a bit slower than the others.) Running in big circles around the place has been a "thing" every day since. I think probably 99.95% of photos I've taken since we got here feature dogs at full tilt with bubby in hot pursuit! LOL The other ones were ones of La with a feather wand playing with Noir. While I still wouldn't leave them alone together, supervised they're disgustingly adorable together and La is remarkably gentle with Noir... most of the time. (There was one attempt to rough house with Hope and Noir which Noir was distinctly unimpressed with.) The only bit that's slowing them down is that Laurent has a nice full blown cold, complete with the grumpies and a snotty nose.

It's also been interesting to see Nic adjust to country life. Our neighbors on all sides have cows, specifically beef cows. Our one neighbor has a dozen cow and calf pairs and a big bull in the paddock next to us... Angus. The other neighbor has a bunch of young calfs being weaned from their mums next to us and their mums and some others across the road. They also have a trio of horses. The other neighbors have a mixed lot of cattle of various ages. At feed time, there gets to be a lot of mooing going on at any rate. And if you go out at night, someone sounds the alarm and you hear a cow bellow out the alert to the rest of the herd. We're in a bit of a valley and the first time it happened, it scared the living CRAP out of Nic who reckoned the were-cow was out to get him!

Our other "interesting" happening with the cows has been with Cade. I let him out our back door to potty and he dashed off after some ducks that were in our dam. (These are wild ones and flew off well before he arrived.) That game spoiled he took off like a rocket and cleared to pastures before I figure out what he'd locked in on: the neighbors BULL. The neighbors seriously big, muscle-bound, strapping heavyweight bull. That fool dog was bearing down on him and I could just hear him thinking, "It's bigger than a bunny or pheasant but by gawd I can TAKE 'EM!"

We're busy unpacking now... mostly going good with that. Most of it I packed myself and having moved as often as I have and owning as many breakables as I do, I pack things so that nothing is going to get broke short of a comet falling from the sky and mooshing it into pieces. The only thing I didn't pack is the paintings and frames as our moving company was SUPPOSEDLY antique/delicate experts and would only insure what they'd packed (iow could vouch was packed "correctly"). Well the only things that have been damaged have been the things THEY packed. La's cot has a nice dent in the wood on the backside. (Not visible but not the point.) Nic's TV stand has a big chip out of it. The key is missing from a wardrobe. And the Very Expensive Pictures we got of Laurent's first birthday that we had framed professionally have a big GOUGE IN THEM!!! So freaking steamed! They didn't even wrap them in paper or bubble wrap or anythign, just jammed them into boxes together where they could clang against each other! I am absolutely terrified to open our art collection and see what has become of our delicate old French paintings.
All in all though, this has been one of the best weeks in recent memory! I'm also stunned at how much older La seems all of the sudden. We've got so much more verbal communication going on and him understanding how to manipulate his environment (tools, guiding me to what he wants to see or have named, using stools and remotes to get specific responses, counting (even if it only one, two, un, deux) etc. etc. He really wants to help at whatever the task is... cleaning, sorting, unpacking, taking care of the animals - he's watching, making mental notes, reproducing behaviour he sees etc. We're also discovering more of our "boyness" as well and are obessessed with work trucks, tractors, cars and dinosaurs - particularly ones that roar LOUDLY, and pounding things (his hammering bench and anything he wants to use as one, drumming etc.) His vocabulary is stretching out and new words are popping up literally every day, quite often as soon as I tell him the name of the thing and he's half the time ASKING for the name of an item he doesn't know the name of, then repeating it in toddlerese. (Apricot = pwe-caw, grape = gay PUH, chicken = ticken)
At any rate, since I've got to be up EARLY it's time for me to go to bed!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

When I made my post earlier, I deliberately left out mentioning anything about mothers day.

Truth be told, I was indulging myself in a little bit of a snit fit and feeling rather sorry for myself as Nic didn't so much as acknowledge the day or say happy mothers day and I'd spent the entire evening before like a four year old on christmas eve imagining the wonderful, creative surprises he might have in store.

A giddy part of me whispered it might be he'd somehow concocted a way to spring the dogs a day early and I'd be woken up by two bounding wiggle-butts. Maybe a flower bulb, something to symbolize our new start at our new house tomorrow? I'm not big on cut flowers but something to plant at our new place would be cool. Maybe a music download card? I'm trying to save up for a iPod so it'd have been nice even if the actual iPod is too expensive. But most of all, he'd hinted La had some wonderful thing for me a few weeks earlier so I figured I'd get a card and hand-made artwork from La with a little help from daddy. I spent the whole day thinking maybe he was playing me, waiting until the perfect moment to spring it.

I was even more put out when Frank (yes, seriously Jayne...) even wished me a happy mothers day in front of Nic and it didn't warrant an echo from Nic.

Unfortunately Nic is just not the type for the grand sweeping romantic gestures and every time I think of this stuff (which is stuff I'd do in his place 'cuz I like grand sweeping romantic gestures and have done when I'm choosing something for him) it ends up with disappointment. It's just not how he thinks or expresses himself but I was sulking because quite frankly I wanted my card darn it - my 5 seconds of recognition in print and when it wasn't forthcoming I was rather put out! ;-p

So it's bedtime and nary a word and La has a bit of a cold at the moment so he's rather sookie. After several sessions of "I want up/down, feed/otherside/off/no I want to nurse" he finally fell asleep and I looked at his little goobery face. Beautiful little bubba sound asleep in my arms, warm, cuddly and blessedly STILL after motoring about on high speed all day lets out this little blissed out sigh. Huh. Whadya know about that.

Maybe that's all the recognition one needs.

Happy mothers day everyone!
The day I thought would never arrive has arrived - tomorrow I get to go pick up my girlies! It's the first thing I do, before we've done anything else is go get them!

I haven't said anything to La because I don't want him to start looking for them prematurely but he knows something is up because I'm so excited about it! We're packing up most of the stuff we brought with us tonight.

We'd also started to think about the animals we're going to have, most of which won't be right away as I need to improve pasture etc. Chooks will probably be first because they're easy to set up and I've kept them before... some for laying... Favorelles maybe or another French breed. A pair or trio of Alyesbery ducks perhaps and I'd wanted another cat so I'd gotten a paper intending to find a cat that needed a home in a few days.

As it happens we were at a food market (one I'll be returning to as there was some to DIE for cheeses - yummo!) we saw a very small, very rusty bird cage held together with wooden laundry clips. It's eyes were still bluey-green, so maybe 6-7 weeks? Tiny enough to sit in a teacup. Black, fluffy. Panting and flopped on it's side. And a sign that said free. The cage was barely bigger than the kitten and we had to take it apart to get it out.

Apparently their neighbor had taken the rest of them to the pound early on but somehow missed this one who'd been hidden for the past several weeks. They finally spotted him and managed to capture him, giving her the instructions to find him a home or take him to be put down because they weren't going to drive all the way out to the pound again.

Well anyone who reads here knows me enough to guess how this ends. I looked at Nic, Nic looked at me, La chirped "miaow, kitty kitty" and into the car goes the panting, stressed out, thirsty tiny kitten and a cell phone call to the vet later, we're heading down the road. He was dubbed on the spot as "Noir". He went straight to my vet - who good naturedly rolled her eyes, pointed out I have a neon "softie" sign on my forehead and chided me now she wasn't going to be able to get her staff to work since they'd be kitten watching - where he got weighed, wormed, examined, hydrated and fed. He's a tiny little waif but seems to have a determined attitude.

So. Thus begins and ends my search for another cat. Nic, La and I are charmed. Cade thinks he's a mother cat so he's happy as a lark with a kitten. Sierra and Hope will be horrified at the prospect of a bossy cat.

And did I mention I get my babies back TOMORROW?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

*happy happy joy joy dances*

Monday, May 07, 2007

Not a huge lot to report. Last week we moved out of the hotel because even with the extended stay costs it was just too expensive and I was going nuts without my animals. We ended up moving in with Jayne's ex-partner where at least I can have Cade again. (Who was a rotten little scoundrel the whole time from the sound of it.) Cade is being my little lap fungus.

I think Jayne will find that Frank regards taking care of Liam and Sienna MUCH easier now that he's lived the experience that is Laurent. *WEG* La is a tornado of a child, who often fervently makes me wish he had a pause button. He's into e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, afraid of nothing, persistant, insistant and he never ever ever stops. Ever. Those traits will serve him well as an adult but are a real pill at 19 months!

Poor Frank keeps looking just a bit overwhelmed and muttering, "Doesn't he STOP?"... "I'm sure Liam and Sienna never did that."... "Geeze, doesn't anything slow him down?"

Laurent is in the midst of major tanty territory. Teething (molar). Off balance from seeing the only home he's ever known torn apart, moved into the motel, then again to here. He's also missing Hope tons... I'm sure he missed Cade and misses Sierra too but while they all like him, they're my dogs. Hope is HIS dog though, or he's her kid or something like that. Either way there's a special bond and he misses her like crazy. Not a day goes by without him asking for her repeatedly. He's taken to cuddling my coffee mug with a black tri Aussie picture on it and the other day found the spray bottle I use to mist her coat down at shows and came RUNNING over to me, shoved it in my face and bounced chanting, "MUM!!!!! HOPIE!!! HOPIE!!!! MUM HOPIE!!!!" He was so excited and upset when she didn't magically reappear... must have thought he'd found where she'd been packed away too like everything else. It made me smile and broke my heart at the same time.

Hope and Sierra are by all reports fine. The kennel (and y'all can gasp with me) is shocked that for an in-tact bitch she's not aggressive at all and they've been able to let her stay with Sierra without fights. *rolls my eyes so far back into my head they get stuck*

One week to go.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Two bits of news today... I'll get the first out of the way. Moving date is in 14 days.

The other news is that this morning we had to make an emergency run to the vets for Ana, Nic's ferret. (We have two, Ana is Nic's and only likes him; Cino is mine and only likes me.) Nic went to get her out of the cage before goign to work and brought her to me crying and saying she was ill. One look at her and I told him that he needed to call the vet because she wasn't just not feeling well, she was obviously dying.

She was rising ten years old, which is fairly ancient for a ferret, when the average is between six and eight years with many of them dying younger from adrenal disease or the like. So he called his boss to let her know and we went in to the vets. The vet was a substitute (not the guy I didn't like at Dr. K's, this is the ferrets vet and a different clinic all together) and was actually a lot more up to date on ferrets than the normal vet. She confirmed what I'd guessed and figured that with the suddenness of the decline it was probably a brain tumor that had been there for awhile impinging on vital areas and causing the sudden problems. She said she looked healthy otherwise aside from the obvious and said that it showed she was confortable since she had no bedsores or pressure marks (they always had hammocks and thick layers of bedding) and recomended Nic send her to the Rainbow Bridge.

So we're wishing gods-speed to her. Ana was definitely not "my" pet... she was her daddys girl through and through. Nic could do anything with her and she was docile as you please but would nip me no matter how kind I was to her. (Cino is her opposite, a big dopey male I can do anything with but who figures Nic is tasty.) She was a character though, a shrimp and a scrapper and like most ferrets a tornado into everything. She was also a bit of the end of an era. As well as being his pet of nine years, she was also the last link to part of his life... his mum and grand-father having passed away, the dove last year and Charlotte (his mum and grandfathers red-heeler) a year after his mum. All in all a rather melancholy day.