Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So Sunday was the Melbourne Royal's day for Australian Shepherds.

Hope, whom I'd planned to enter since before she was born, wasn't shown this year. I'd missed the entries closing by a day. I was pretty upset but realized after it was probably for the best. Maybe next year if in the 18-24 months age period she matures. (Can someone tell the Australian Post to look for the package containing her chest? It obviously was shipped to Timbucktoo mistakenly!)

I was still feeling a bit reflective about it being different than I'd built up the picture in my mind but also looking forward to enjoying a show just as a spectator - just enjoying the day, the company and lovely dogs as as well without having to do any of the work! ;-p It was the most gorgeous, sunny, warm day you could ask for too... perfect blue skies!

The bonus is that Nic has been off, so I could go without any worry of Laurent getting bored 5 minutes in and wanting to go run in the ring or beseige the nearest dog-owner with requests to feed their dog cookies till it burst!

At any rate, the dogs all looked gorgeous! Wendy from NSW was down and her dogs looked fabulous and fluffy and showed themselves off nicely. Nice seeing dogs I'd heard of but not seen before! I got there after Aussie's had started due to a ticket line hold up but in time to watch the tail end of the boys and all of the girls, puppy sweeps, best of breed etc. I was so busy watching I didn't even notice I was standing right next to Amanda's mum at first! LOL (She had a camera in front of her face in my defense!) The amount of people there was nuts - especially compared to the first day! I spent the rest of the day socializing, gabbing, relaxing, being stuffed by Amanda's mum! I actually didn't even really take photos... okay, well, I took 3 but those were snaps of poses I wanted to sketch so it doesn't really count! ;-p I had a wander back into the chook shed after the dogs were all finished up. Wasn't buying anything but curious I suppose. The Silkie rooster I liked was up for sale for $180. O_O Motivation for me to breed nice ones I guess!!!

All in all a lovely day and I was greeted at home by a happy bubba, DH, clean house, new veggie garden beds, four dogs who REALLY wanted to play tennis ball (penance for being gone without them!) and dinner! Here's my ace new raised veggie beds - finished filling in the dirt and planting the first one today! Several sorts of lettuce, two kinds of capsicum, tomatos (black russian, roma, grape, cherry, rouge de marmalade) and basil! Yum!
Yesterday was Nic's call-back, so that went well and he got it! Yay! He'll now be working much closer - in Clayton vs in the CBD! Plus better pay, more flexible hours, paid vacation etc. He got back around noon and Miss Verity got a busier than normal walk in town (usually pick him up 7pm so it's fairly quiet!) and we spent the rest of the day gardening. In the late evening, we made a run to Gembrook and stopped at the park. La loves the playground and while climbing through a tunnel he started panting and keeping his tongue out. He was pretending to be a dog in a tunnel doing agility! ~_~' Oh dear... one more sign he's going to end up with a severe species complex!

He finished by taking Cade for a walk as he's VERY insistant now about being able to walk a dog by himself thanksverymuch! He's sprouted lately - he looks so tall!

Today was PG which was nice, despite getting there a bit late. Lots of brainstorming so hopefully the amalgamation of MAP with BABs turns out to be a very positive experience. The lady I sold the two chooks to was there as well and happy to report they're doing well and started laying! As it happens I mentioned I was planning to do a bachelors of agriculture (organic) in Feb and as it happens she's not only taken it but used to teach it! Small world!

Then I bopped into Boronia to the aquarium store and into the cross-stitching store for some threads I was out of. The lady there is so nice and thought my idea I'm working on now (about mid-way through the first pannel) was lovely! I also saw two I wanted - they had an Aussie pattern (!) but 'twas $22 and I know I could get in the US for way cheaper. They also had a sweet kit (fabric, thread, mat, frame) with a little boy that looked like La and a BCish looking dog for $20. But seeing as how we got our fencing quote back today and it will cost $14K to fence the front and sides I'll have to wait!

So came home and did more gardening. I spent a bunch of time weeding around where I planted a bunch of wood violets and was accompanied by my chookies who came to visit and glut themselves on the bugs and worms churned up when I weed. People don't realize what companionable little critters they can be!

Of course, I took a break toward evening and the dogs were running around. Then the lambs started running around in their pack and Hope paused to watch. *snap* Ohhhhh.... I love this photo of her! She looks so sweet!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bits-n-bobs and The Show!

My favorite cheeky little chubby toddler cheeks... omg it's going to be less than a month until he's TWO! I can't believe it! I finally got the pic I'm going to have the artist use to do a portrait of him for his b-day I think.

She won't use the background obviously, that will be just plain so the focus is on him. The other one I'm thinking I could use is the one of him on the merry-go-round today (scroll downward to see!). Let me know what you think of them - leave a comment! (Heck, leave a comment anyway if you're reading. It makes me feel like I'm not just some crazy person talking to myself!) It's going to be a head and shoulders style portrait and I'm going to ask her if she can put in a picture of Hope next to him. I could NOT get the two to hold still and both give nice expressions at the same time! They're BOTH far too hyper and wiggly!!!!!

Random funny moment: After very seriously pondering our aquarium for a few minutes, La suddenly pipes up, "Mummy, da fishies in the waddah get a BIG dwink!" (Yeah, about 80 liters of it kiddo...)

Another random funny moment: Laurent had been calling out what we initially thought was his attempt to say "Canine". It was the only thing I could think of that he might have heard me use and he was using it in definite context to the dogs. After he did it around Nic, we worked out he's actually saying, "Cade Ethan!" All my dogs have middle names, started out when I mockingly used it as a full name to "sternly speak" to them, addressing them in a mock serious voice - they know it's one of our little jokes and dance around wagging, wiggling in glee and all but laughing while I "admonish" them as several people have seen. At any rate, apparently La had heard Nic and I addressing Cade as Cade Ethan and has taken to using it... Cade-e'en! ;-p

Now for those who have known La for awhile, you KNOW how much we've struggled with his dairy allergy in the past two years! Some of you found out the hard way when he got into some even! Buuuuttt he's apparently grown out of it! Witness: his first pizza... declared yummy even though it's eatten in a rather non-traditional manner! WHOO HOOOOOOO!!!

And since this is the week for bad habits... okay, now up until the last few weeks Laurent hasn't watched television. At all. Partly because I don't want a baby watching tv, partly because there wasn't any programs I felt merited him watching and partly because we just busy doing other things. However I've decided that at almost-two he can watch occasionally and so I got him a Charlie and Lola dvd. As part of their extras they have a "find me!" feature where you see a black screen and the blinking eyes of the characters hiding in a dark room. You shine the "flashlight" on them to find the two characters and then the lights turn on and reveal the whole picture. So here is La, mister "I love buttons and technology!" working the remote for that game! LOL

Our little lambs also finally got their tails banded and the boys got their bits banded as well to neuter them. They are growing like weeds and strong!!! I'm hoping I can retain two but it depends on if I decide I want to take them in lieu of agistment payments or prefer the money if they won't sell me Boofhead as well as one of the gold tag ewes ewe lambs. I'd like to keep Boofhead for sentimental reasons - he was the first lamb born here and born on the anniversary of Nic's mum's death. They usually keep the boys for lambchops and there's only two so they're not keen to let him go. (All the others ewe lambs, go figure!) I'm also keen on adding Brown Chinese Geese, which avg about $60 a pair for day olds and would be more profitable long-term to invest in so if I can't get Boofhead, I'll probably just opt for the payment to buy the geese or save it for Euroa.

I also sold two of the Sussex chooks, a bit sad but nice to make my first "sale". I also got my agistment payment and I have to say I love bringing in some money again and the fact that I'm doing so from starting to turn this into a little working hobby farm!!! My Wyandotte hen is laying her first clutch with the rooster, so fingers crossed she lays a few more eggs and then goes broody!

Today we went to the Royal Melbourne Fair. It's the first one that Laurent has really been old enough to enjoy and go on some of the rides, so it was so neat to introduce him to his first fair! The county fair was the highlight of our summers as children and I absolutely loved it! Watching him have his first-fair moments and discover all the fun was so gorgeous and nostaligic all at once! He got to ride on the miniature train, which he loved! I had to have a discussion with him about how he couldn't DRIVE it and sure enough, as soon as it stopped for us to get off, he started making the mad dash for the engine! He was heartbroken when I took him out the gate, fell down crying and then ran along the fencing trying to catch up with it when it took off again! Poor bubba! LOL

He also got to go on the merry-go-round and loved that!

Then we went to the petting farm... oh dear, I think we annoyed the staff. He kept trying to round the cows and sheep up... and I know he was doing this rather than chasing because he nabbed a piece of straw for a crook, holding it up to direct them the way I move the sheep and when they didn't cooperate hollered, "Oy! OYYYYYYY!!!! BACK 'ERE!" at the (considerable) top of his toddler lungs! Hn... no idea where he got that! ~_~'
Then the little bossy two-shoes was *insisting* the gate-keeper close the gate instead of holding it open for ages. He knows darn well we're fanatic about closed gates around here and that they're not supposed to be left open like that.

I also went to watch the chook judging and coloured sheep. I'd been told that many chooks would be for sale and so had hoped to see lots of nice ones to buy some but I think mine are actually better than what I saw of their class. I have to say while I had a great time, I was a bit disappointed. I expected that for the Royals people would turn up in droves and bring some really outstanding quality birds because it's such a public spectical and everyone make's a big deal about the quality of the ones who win at the Royals. (Not to mention a lot of folks use the "Royals Winner!" thing to boost prices on what they sell!)

There was only a single pair of partridge std wyandotte, not that I expected heaps of them but I've seen at least a handful at other shows. They were very small, almost half what they ought to have been. My pullet - who is not only a hen but immature - was bigger than the rooster! X_x

The silkies had a modest but more sizable entry but mostly for whites. Only five coloured - three blacks and two partridge - no blues, golds, greys etc. The only super nice ones I saw were a few of the white's, which incidentally the judges agreed with me on that so it's not just my opinion but none of them had good middle toe feathering. A few had a stub or two but that was it! I know it's the middle of breeding season but it was really disappointing not to see them better represented in numbers or quality. :-( Geese were disappointing as well, only four of them all up and all Brown Chinese. Okay, so that's my favorite kind but there are a LOT more kinds out there and you'd think they'd be represented at the ROYAL of all places and in larger numbers.

This is the rooster I liked... he was just a gorgeous guy! Dark pigment, dark eyes, dark legs and skin, good comb, nice crest, feathering filled out in all the right places, good tail, build etc.

And the hen I liked. Pretty little girl, even if this shot isn't her standing at her best. You can still see she looks like a walking tribble! ;-)

I was going to go Friday to buy but don't think I will at this point. I will be going again on Sunday to see Aussie's even though (*sniffles*) I'm not entered. (*sobs*) On the up-side, I think Nic will be home to watch Laurent, so I may actually be able to go and watch without being constantly interrupted with a hyper, bored toddler wiggling to run away and chattering, "Mum? Bibi? Mum, a train! Mum lights!!! Mum I see a tree! MUM! GREEN!!! Mum, a dog! 'Nother dog! Mum? Mum? Mum? BIBI? Mum (put me) down? Mum, a dog!" ;-p

Of course, there ARE times he's quiet and sweet... LOL

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Bocca della Verità is a giant marble disk in Rome, featuring a face of a river god with his mouth open. Although it's origins are not certain, it has been housed in Cosmedin in Rome since the 1600's. Legend had it to prove your honesty you could place your hand in his mouth and speak - should you be telling the truth, no harm would befall you. Should you lie however, it's mouth would shut over your hand... leaving you trapped to face the truth.

Verity as a name is derived from the same root word and means "truth". I wonder if it's not the most apt name she could have gotten. Truth and immedicacy are the gifts dogs give us in exchange for having them in our lives. They are unerring, unfailingly, absolutely and at times uncomfortably and unflatteringly honest... whatever they think, whatever they feel... is in there eyes and able to be read in their every muscle, hair and movement at the very moment it first exists within them. They are incapable of deceit, unable to fathom time or events beyond the moment. Think about how different a thought process that is! It's really rather boggling to think of such an alien mind set. So the dog is then perhaps one of the most accurate mirrors of
ourselves. Whatever we may like to think of ourselves, however we might like to flatter ourselves - even if only in the most private corners of our minds... what we actually are
is reflected back in our dogs eyes at all times.

In doing so they illustrate openly, plainly and without appology our skills in listening, observing, understanding as well as our ability to check our own ego, our degree of respect for our fellow creatures, for mind-sets different than our own, our trust and our belief in the strength of our relationship. A dog is the ultimate "mouth of truth" for our training skills, for our observation skills, for our understanding and compassion - for our ability to have an understanding with another which is honest and as in the moment as the dog herself.

After a few weeks with Verity being home, I felt we were making good progress and that I had a pretty accurate bead on her. She is not a particularly difficult dog, compared to many I've know. She communicates clearly, telegraphing her thoughts and feelings in meter high neon signs and inhibits her reactions well. She is a dog who requires a good deal of consistency and finds it distressing when it's not there. For her, the unpredictable is her personal boogeyman.

I see her here with me, face soft and happy, tail gently fanning the air, dancing near my feet with the wind rippling through her coat before sitting beside me and leaning into my touch. Her eyes are sparkling and looking into them I see refelected back a great sense of joy and mirth, a playful and almost puckish twinkle of laughter that flows honestly and easily from her, before she whirls off to rejoin the on-going game of tag. I see a dog who is exactly where she wants to be in life - near people she loves and who love her, radiating contentment and a deep sense of joy. This is how it should always be.

The thing is, watching her come out of her shell or any dog really... moments like this with all of my dogs, every time I do something which causes her to reflect back the view that life is fundamentally good - every time has a ripple effect and causes me to feel the moment with them. Coming to understand them always seems to be such a close thing to coming to understand yourself better really.

Of course, as I said, dog's live in the moment. And at the moment Verity has her nose in my ear to remind me it's DINNER TIME! ;-p

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Well, after putting my name down on ToH's list for a good quality silkie cockrel, he finally got one he felt was what I'd be looking for! So I went to pick the little guy up today. He and his family also have a nursery and a garden featuring model trains landscaped throughout it. It's the ultimate little-and-not-so-little-boys playscape! They have gorgeous daffodils they breed along with other rare plants and bulbs and of course the chooks and geese so going there is always enjoyable! Nic and La LOVED the train display, same model trains Nic has collected since he was a kid. (LGB Trains) La didn't want to leave and wailed, "Noooooo bye-bye train!!!!!!!!!" like a soap opera star all the way to the car! I ended up getting two new helebore pictote, a bag og lily of the valley (my favorite scent) and a tree paeonie "Etienne de France", to plant in honor of La's birthday!

At any rate, here's the new little guy! His name is "Basil", going with my garden theme for chook names. He is SO tiny right now! Six weeks old, he fits comfortably in the palm of my hand! Awww...

He's got a good amount of lemon colouring in his crest, which I needed to balance out Blossom's darkness and is a nice lighter ginger colouring.

Feet - the all important silkie thing! He's got a good amount of feathering down his legs and stubs on his middle toe. Ideally those stubs will turn into feathering all the way down the middle toe but his is still better than Blossoms who just has stubs and not the amount of feathering down the side he does. In case anyone is wondering, silkies have five toes on each foot, hence the "extra" hind toe visible.

Just another nice (aka lucky!) shot... you can see he's got a little bit of a beard starting here.

Now I was *just* going to get the one silkie... but I saw this lovely little partridge girl and ended up getting her too! She is a bit older, hence more filled out but just so lovely! I'm very glad he was willing to part with her!

Doing a swan impression in the wind! She has a lovely fluffy crest, some lemon colour in there, a decently dark eye for a partridge, deep turquoise, nice barring in the wings and neck annnnnddd...

Lots o' lovely of toe feathering! Down the side and down the middle! So fingers crossed she should pass this down to her chicks!

Another lucky shot, showing her head.

And a better one of my std partridge wyandotte cockrel, so I can delete the not-so-good one!

I have my buff sussex and light sussex pullets sold now, I'll miss them but I'll only have so much space for birds in my pens and can't really warrant keeping ones I'm not breeding or doing anything with. I'm also on the waiting list for a pair of lavender runners (have been since winter) and black runners and a pair of brown chinese geese but I'll get those as day-old's so they bond to me and are friendly!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Saturday was Miss Hope's birthday... one year old! Doesn't seem that long since I was checking my computer every few seconds for news of the litter's birth and crossing my fingers for a little black tri girl. For that matter, it doesn't seem that long since I was about to burst waiting for her to be brought out at the ASCV show to come home!

It's been such a busy year and I can't imagine life without her - she's my babydoll, La's bestest friend and sister and Nic's sookie-sookie-nutbag. She is one of the sweetest and most joyous dogs I've known. She was such a dear little soul and that's been something that's followed through into her adulthood... above all else, she's a love, sweet as the sky is wide. We were entered in a show at Geelong but with the state of her coat (or utter lack of it, she looks more sable than tri at the moment) as well as general tiredness, needing to get things done around here and finally getting to pick up my cockrel on Sunday in Benalla (a solid three hours each way) I was way too buggered to get up that early! Poor Hopie, might have been nice if we'd won on her birthday! There was a big genetics testing thing too which would have been two birds with one stone but water under the bridge I suppose. Hopefully it just means that by the time her second birthday rolls around, she's filled in, her chest has arrived and she can strut out and do well!

Sunday we FINALLY, FINALLY after how many months got the cockrel! The fellow I bought him from is probably the best breeder of them in the country, he was showing me all his awards and at the Centenary show he took literally every ribbon and prize in the show for hen, pullet, roo, cockrel, pair, colour, breed and show. He's been breeding and showing for fifty years which is pretty amazing in and of itself to say nothing of having hands in creating a number of clubs, books etc. He and his wife were just so gorgeous, you couldn't want to meet nicer people! He took me around and showed me all his birds, showed me more of what to look for in pairing them and selecting which chicks to keep etc. My hen and pullet trace back to him apparently as well so he reckons they should work real well together with this boy. His wife was also the sweetest, warmest person... she's very crafty, does cake decorating, cross stitch, crochet, organic gardening, beautiful flowers in their garden and loves gardening etc. They'd started out in Doncaster and moved out to the country, slowly fixing up their old house. They loved period homes and didn't care for modern ones. It was so funny to find there was so many similarities! I told Nic on the way home it was so gorgeous seeing how much they loved and supported each other. They had nine grandchildren over the previous day, it just sounded so lovely having that big family get together and I told him I hoped it would be like us in the future.

As for the cockrel himself, I'm prejudiced of course and think he's absolutely gorgeous to watch strutting around and showing off! Hopefully now I'll get some chicks... my hen has just come back to lay in the past two days so I've told her to get busy! LOL My friend who bought bantams of the same colour and breed on the day I got my girls already has her first babies out of them!

Front shot - you can't see it very well but the black on his chest gleams an irridescent green

A better example of his colouring, very gorgeous boy!

After picking mister chook up, we went to Euroa and geeked around, stopped at the cafe, the local nursery where we got some more plants (this is a thing we've been doing, bringing back plants from all our weekend get aways and vacations as living momentos) La was really chuffed to be sitting in a regular chair at the cafe and thought it was just WAY too cool!
We also found this pretty little pull-off with a walking path that we went on. Nic snapped htis one of me watching Laurent pick flowers... probably the only photo I have of just myself, without a dog or baby or both in it!

He also snapped these two of La sharing his flowers he'd picked with me, telling me, "pretty purple trees mum!" (Well... close La! Not quite but close!)

It was near to a cemetary, which had the old ornate celtic style crosses. It was very pretty but rather sad as up against the fenceline was a bunch of graves from 1900-1920's belonging to small babies, 10 weeks old, 4.5 months old etc. One where the mum died in birth and the baby at 5 weeks old. It made me think of how lucky I am, I never had to routinely worry about my babies probability of seeing his first birthday you know or how many children I'd loose before they reached five. My biggest worry is if I'm parenting him in a way such as to nurture him to become the fullest expression of himself and self actuate. Such worlds of difference. It must have been so hard for mums back then!

Feeling a bit sad and very lucky, we went to the park and had a bit of a walk there near the river. Such a lovely little park and a nice place to reflect and talk.

The rest of this week, we've just been pruning trees. Yes, I know I've BEEN doing this for weeks now but look at what I'm up against!!!

These trees are taller than the house by a bit and not pruned in gawds knows how long! The only thing that gets left out of this mess are the actual trunks. The rest of those are SUCKERS and dead-wood that need removing!

To give an idea of difference, this is what a rhodenderon looks like AFTER it's cleaned up of endless suckers and deadwood! (Actually the one thin limb starting in the left and crossing over to the upper right still needed removing in this one.)

Heh. Here's another "before" shot! There is so much dead crud in here, stuff that needs thinning etc that the trees aren't actually blooming and they're killing themselves.

And another, this tree is also bigger than the house and longer than the car. It is one massive thicket of suckers! Our ladder reaches about halfway up what is shown in the picture. (Not including canopy which is out of the frame.)

Ditto for this one!

Each of these trees that we've done has been like these ones and each has taken a good 2-3 days of first pruning out the suckers, removing all the debris, the dead/useless branches, trimming out the medium sized branches that are under the canopy and not going to do anything but suck energy from the tree, remove large dead limbs etc. including climbing (in harness!) where the ladder is too short!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Last little lambs have arrived...

Well we're at a end for baby lambs... the mumma who needed help yesterday not only birthed the little ewe but went on to have a little ram after I left. Cheeky girl! So we're now at ten lambs, four sets of twins and two singles - bringing us up to sixteen sheep for the moment.

The little girl we helped yesterday seemed to be a bit off colour this morning, so I brought her up to keep an eye on, between taking her back and insisting mumma nurse her instead of kicking her. She didn't appreciate this a bit and if she continues I'll have to put them in a small pen where the lamb can nurse without mum kicking her away. She doesn't seem to realize she birthed two lambs and not just the one. The little lamb, for her part, seems to have imprinted a bit on La... so she spent much of the day up in the front garden and toddling around after him on wobbly matchstick legs.

She was feeling a bit flopped initially, I was worried she'd been injured or something as she didn't seem able to stand well.

After La toddled off she spent time snoozing with Hope nearby for awhile. Poor Hope was really confused by this, tried kissing her a few times and cleaning her ears out!

After awhile the lamb did find her feet though and went on merry chases after La, who thought it was all great fun!

She's on our front deck with him in this one... this is the deck that is being replaced btw.

And following him around as he "gardens" with empty seedling trays.

No point to the post beyond the general cuteness factor. Busy day today though somewhat less exciting than yesterday thankfully! The Herditary Diseases and Disorders meeting went nicely and I even made it more or less on time - yay me! ;-p We've also got the ball rolling on the paddock fencing (need a chute/holding pen/shed pen etc. for the sheep) which we got another fencing guy who does rural stuff (as opposed to the picket fence stuff for the front) and a builder fellow who is going to be doing skirting on the house, decking, renovate the laundry room, bathroom, study and toilet area. Still need to get into contact with the stumper fellow to shore up the area under the bathroom which has sunk a bit as they settled. No sense spending the money and time to retile and renovate the bathroom so that it can be cracked to bits when the stumps have to eventually be jacked up right?

Hope is entered in the Geelong show this weekend, poor girl is nearly neckid with her coat blowing everywhere, all you see is this patchy grey undercoat! LOL Should be interesting!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The "Quiet Country Life"

Yes, these are horses. Yes, they're in my paddock. No, they're not mine. I promise I'll explain at the end!

The morning started out with the gas cylinders which supply our oven and hot water being empty when I went to turn it on. Apparently Nic forgot to switch it over to the other cylinder before it fully ran out and while he did flip it after he forgot to start the pilot light again. So that was annoying but when I went to start the pilot light again... bupkiss. Tried again. Bupkiss. Tried resetting it. Bupkiss. So no hot water and both La and I needed a shower - me for my hair which was dirty and La for the fact he'd had breakfast and had jam, yogurt and banana smeared liberally through his hair. That ended up being done by heating some water and using a deep bowl to wash our hair...

At this point we were already late for playgroup and I notice one of the ewes is looking distinctly unhappy and having big old contractions and needed help. One leg was poking out and one nose, when they're ought to be two legs poking out. There was a long rubber glove, KY jelly and a lot of shoving involved, along with one VERY unappreciative mumma sheep. 'Nuff said!

After all this I'm figuring the day has already had it's share of excitement. We eventually get to PG at Box Hill, have our fun, PG's over, so I decide to stop at the aquarium shop in Boronia on the way back to pick up a few more fish and drive back cutting through Emerald which is always a pretty drive.

As I get out and let the dogs out, La is sound asleep so I start putting stuff away. I notice a whole bunch of cars stopping in front of my house. I notice two horses running in front of my house. I am more than occasionally forgetful and all too often my memory blips out at the most inconvienient times but I am *fairly* sure I do not remember buying two horses anytime recently. Or, you know, actually EVER.

There are nevertheless two large horses running around in front of my house and looking rather panicked - tossing their heads, whale eyes, dancing about. So I swing open my gates and call them in, sending up silent prayers to whichever deity is around to tell Murphy to piss off for awhile and pllllleeeeeaaaasssseeeee let these horses be friendly and not prone to biting, kicking or other such delights. Thankfully they are happy just to get off the road and upon seeing the gate swing open they trot at a fast clip into the paddocks - straight over to the hay. Figures.

So I lock the gate behind them, lock the paddock gate and then notice my sheep and Clancy the idiot alpaca who thinks he's going to play guard-alpaca with these horses who outweigh him ten times over. He's got guts. I'll give him that. Brains, no... but guts a plenty! With visions of maimed sheep and difficult explanations in my head, I jump the gate and run like hell for the sheep and alpaca, chuck them in the OTHER paddock in case these horses are ones that think biting sheep and alpacas is a good sport.... which the wooly buggers don't appreciate! Run back as fast as I can seeing as how La is still asleep in the car to check on him and the lovely lady who has stopped to help me shoo the horses into my paddock ask me if they are mine. Um. Nope. I just figured horses on the road where Mack trucks frequent at high speeds is a baaaaad idea!


Now I've got two horses in my paddock. And they're eatting MY hay. But they're not mine.

Huh... what the hell do I do with this?!?!?!? Who do you even call? I imagine calling the police to tell them I've found two stray horses. "Yes officer, I found two horses. I've no idea where they came from. Why no, I haven't been drinking today..." What would the police even do with them... lock them up in a squad car? LOL Hm. Don't think they'd fit! I'm not sure we've even got an animal control let alone what their number is. And with this whole horse flu thing I do not need to be stuck with horses for a month! I don't know my neighbors number but I walk over to knock on the theory that if they're hers she'll be glad to have them back and if they're not she might know whose they are. At the very least she knows about horses so she'd know who to call.

Problem. She has three unfamiliar horses in her driveway loose behind her gate. This is not where they're supposed to be and I don't recognize them anyhow but they nixed my idea of going in to knock on her door as they pinned their ears at me and weren't looking very friendly. So at this point I remember we've got the same real estate agent and HE might have her number. Ring him, explain what's going on, get her number from him and at that point someone comes running up the driveway.

I know it's probably redundant but I had to ask... "Um. Are you missing two horses?" They were. Whew. One of them had been hers since she was a child and she'd been in an absolute panic about them. Apparently had broken through the fence and got spooked on the road, which made them run. The two had made it at least a good two kilometers from their paddocks before I'd gotten them penned! Holy crud... how do two big horses (these guys were 16 hands if they were an inch!) run down the road for two kilometers without SOMEONE noticing and calling the authorities?!?!? O_o

So I asked where they lived, knowing they must live nearby. Apparently they are my neighbors... not my next door neighbors but the neighbors' neighbor. So far every neighbor I've met has been when one of their animals strayed onto my property - Talbot's and their cows, the other neighbors and THEIR cows, and now these guys and their horses.

I have GOT to quit meeting my neighbors this way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Especially as the other neighbor I haven't met keeps ostrich!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

First a random Cute La Picture. This is mister with his tiny teacup as he's obsessessed about us having tea and wanting his own. His is just plain water though! ;-)

We went to watch the herding at KCC today and I bought Verity and Hope with me to watch. Was good to watch without having to do as I find sometimes when actually doing it you can't see the things you can just by watching as you're too busy doing to look objectively!

I'd been entered in the Bairnsdale & District show but since I found out yesterday I'd be the only Aussie Shepherd there today, I decided not to go. I could have gone and got the 6 points I suppose but it just doesn't seem like a very nice way to go about it... I suppose I'd feel differently if I showed up and was the only one, then it'd feel like poor sportsmanship to walk away but to go knowing for sure I'd be the only one felt like a canned hunt. Turned out very nice, I had a good day watching the herding and we won a small bag of dog food the dogs reckon are great training treats in the raffle, so I'm happy.

At the ASCV meeting last month they'd mentioned they needed people to scribe and such, which was mentioned as a great way to learn more since you get to hear the judges thoughts as you help them and why they rank or demerit something the way they did. Unfortunately they didn't need so much in the way of help today, despite a good turnout. So instead we watched the dogs and handlers trying to learn as much as possible that way, I clucked over baby C who is crawling and pulling himself up amid giggling at everything (he makes me want another baby every time I see him! LOL) and talked to Glen to see about getting some dog broke sheep to start Verity on as opposed to the mums here who offer to stomp and head-butt! ;-p We actually had a new ewe lamb born to the last purple tag girl today, she's so small, especially compared to Boofhead the first lamb.

Check this out! Boofhead the big lug who is a week and a bit old now and the new little ewe! (Now you know why Boofhead has stuck as a name!)

And while I took her up to check her out, La wanted a cuddle. She has to be the most docile of our lambs... she just say there while he patted and cuddled her.

After pulling her up for a cuddle, he pats her on the head like the dogs! PMSL!

And just a random shot of the sheepies out grazing with lambs and Clancy the alpaca on the far left.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

In a spree of consumerism, I went SHOPPING... and boy did I go *shopping*! First I picked up a gorgeous new set of dinnerware. I'd spotted them while in Camberwell a few days back after playgroup and fell in love. Since our plates are ancient and mismatched and worn, this was something I'd wanted for quite awhile and I really liked these so much I dragged Nic back to see them and bought them!
With a jonquil design! And some of the plates (not including the bigger bowls)

Then I picked up three persian rugs... I think they're so gorgeous, hand-made (guaranteed child slave labor free) and gorgeous vegetable dyed colours so they're just beautiful and feel soooo nice under your feet. These are for the livingroom the hallway and our bedroom.

Here is the livingroom, with a half neckid baby who is running around and laughing hysterically as he stomp-stomps his feet on the new rugs because it feels neat! (He was SUPPOSED to be with Nic getting ready for a bath, cheeky little man!)

The hallway, with aforementioned silly baby and the pile of pictures I have to hang up properly.

And my pretty, pretty bedroom rug (well the corner of it) that I just loved the blue colour on!

I still have to get a rug for La's room and the guest room but I spent more than I'd planned on the livingroom one so will have to wait awhile.

Then I went to my second favorite aquarium shop (favorite for fish, second fav for plants) and picked up some Flourish Excell for the CO2 and some CaCO3 stuff to up the hardness a bit, along with the first two living inhabitants for the aquarium - a pair of corydoras melanistius.
(will post photos at a later date when the waters aren't so tanin stained from the driftwood)
Finally I got a neat brass "lamp" candleholder for tealights.
Today I was supposed to have the South Gippsland shows. It was supposed to be an morning and afternoon show today and then another morning only show tomorrow, so we figured we'd do this and then do the fathers day gig and tourist around Bairnsdale/Sale/Rosedale/Traralgon etc. for Nic. Hit a winery for lunch that allows you to bring the dogs, do some antique hunting and visit the sights. It's such gorgeous scenery! Anyhow we missed the morning one, partly on account of after all our shopping we got in at midnight and got to sleep at about 1:30 and would've had to leave by 5 am, which would mean getting up at 3:30-4:00. Partly on account of when I woke up I discovered Hope - whom I'd put into the laundry room instead of crating because her coat was still damp - had TORN UP MY FLOORING!!!! (Yes, I will post a photo as well, when I process the next batch!) Little turkey found a corner that wasn't quite as firmly down as the rest from when the washer broke and leaked on it, which she ripped a big section of it up and tore it up and then to pieces. Granted we were planning to tile the whole thing instead of lino anyway but now I've got a big black patch where the lino is missing! The little stinker also ripped the cuffs off two coats that were hanging on the coathooks, tipped over a laundry basket (off the top of the dryer) and pulled down a bunch of scarves. She is lucky she is such a cute and lovable dog.... ;-0 So on that start, we only did the afternoon show. Jeni Sach's was there with two of hers as well as her IG and we ended up getting reserve, so nothing exciting as far as showing goes. Bit discouraged with all this, feeling better about my grooming of late but she is light on coat at the moment, her undercoat is muddy, her front is still not nice as I'd like and she occasionally has cases of happybouncynutbagitis due to (bad mummy) me not getting in enough training time courtesy of Sir Demanding Toddler the Teething Tantrum King.

Since we got a bit of extra money with this paycheck I finally also splashed out and got Hope a new soft crate and one of the big plastic picnic mat things that go under the set-ups and Miss Verity got a swish new collar - pretty pink, rose and sage-green pattern that looks pretty ace on her. (And she KNOWS it! LOL) We are slowly trying to get a proper set up, so next on my target list is a grooming table of some sort. I'd like one of those trollys that have them on top but they're usually quite exxy and I want my agility equipment before I get that.

Tomorrow is another show in the same place but there's also the ASCV's first herding trial on so everyone is going to be there. I am such a freaking spaz case lately, I honestly don't know where my head is. I'd said I'd scribe or such for that and since no one is going to the show tomorrow I'm going to stractch it and just go to the herding day. I'd forgotten I'd entered these shows and then heard about the ASCV's and planned to take Hope to get her HIC, was reminded again when it was mentioned at the last meeting and promptly forgot to write it down upon getting home so I ended up forgetting that was tomorrow until after I'd recieved my numbers for the show. Meh. If anyone sees my brain around, tell it to please return home!!!

Meanwhile, Hope is sacked out with La at the moment, Cade is holding down the couch, Si is sprawled on the dogbed and Verity aka my own personal blue velcro shadow, is alternating between being Miss Kissy and sticking her nose in my ear and snuffling, so all in all it's pretty good.