Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Space Invaders From Mars

This afternoon we were out doing some pruning and looking at the pretty flowers as the rhododendrons are in full display and quite lovely to behold whole trees carpeted in a riot of pink flowers.
Suddenly all four dogs began raising the alarm usually reserved for when someone unwelcome has snuck onto our property and I went out fully expecting to see the neighbors terrier had come through the bulls paddock. They know that dog is distinctly unwelcome - he has a history of harrassing poultry and sheep. I hollered for everyone to hush and instead of the usual response (silence) they only paused long enough to look at me like I was totally daft. Bark, bark, bark... "MUM CAN'T YOU SEE!?! THIS IS NO ORDINARY STRANGER - IT'S A DANGEROUS SPACE INVADER FROM MARS!!!!!"

So I go over to explore what the source of all this ruckus is and see nothing. No neighbors terrier. No one fence hopping. No, wait... a tiny bit of movement. A very tiny bit.

Meet our dangerous freaky space invader... Obviously a terrible threat to safety and wellbeing... not!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All is well

Got in to the doctors and asked him for a ticket for hCG levels (won't come back till tomorrow night) and the sonographers to check if everything was where it should be.

He felt it was MC, didn't want to give the ultrasound for several days. So I rang the place and they agreed it wasn't necessary to wait but were booked for a week. Then she called back - a spot opened up tomorrow. Ten mins later called back and told me to get there in half an hour. Got there and apparently this is a perfectly healthy baby who just wants to add to my grey hairs! Perfect size, measures to the day, heartbeat normal, every measurement normal, moving about, even smacking it's lips and hiccuping. La (between pleading to be allowed to press the MANY buttons everywhere) looked at the screen and chirped, "Hi sistah!" in a moment of cuteness.

Crown of head on left, spine on bottom, nose, eyes, lips etc visible. Right side is tummy.

Almost whole body view, crown of head where the right + is, rump where the left + is, spine on bottom, nose/eyes/face upwards, part of legs and arms visible.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This morning we were taking advantage of the weekend and laying in bed chatting before getting up, with Laurent having already got up and dashed off to grab a toy plane. He came rushing back in the room, clambered up to where Nic had his hand on my stomach 'talking to the baby' and ended up straight in the middle.

Nic: "Excuse me La, I was trying to talk to your brother or sister."
La: "SIS-TAH!"
Nic: "Oh? You want a sister?"
La: "Yep. A sister."
Nic: "You sure you wouldn't like a brother?"
La: "No, thanks!"

A few moments later we asked again and he was still insistant on wanting a sister.
Me: "What about the puppy babies La?"
La: "Oh yes! Puppy babies and a sister!"

Meanwhile I'm supposed to be taking it easy till Monday as I've had a second bout of bleeding. X_X Take it easy they say... what a joke! A million things to do and a not-quite-3-year old!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The garden is slowly starting to get under way as I reemerge with the warmer weather. I know winter is prep time but I detest the cold! At any rate I'd got a whole bunch of heritage varity seeds from Eden seeds to go with seeds from varities we'd saved from last year that had done very well for us. I put a few I'd started earlier in the bed when a few days back we got gusting winds up to 100kph and two nice bouts of hail - which ruined them and upset several trays of small seedlings on the back deck. Luckily we escaped the more major damage others around us recieved except that the day before the winds ripped the door off the chooks shed and for a THIRD TIME lift the large shed door (3m wide steel frame/colourbond door!) clear off it's hinges.

I figured since Lucy mentioned she tried to strike some cuttings once outside her mums hospital, I'd mention what learned/did with mine. (I'm sure you'll agree though Lucy, far better that your mum got well and you didn't need the cuttings.) Take cuttings in the morning during the cooler months, keep out of the sun and prepare as quick as possible. Use the twigs no thicker than a writing pencil but not the soft green tip bits either and look for a bit about 5-6" long with a node at the top and a node at the bottom, the top one preferably having a few leaves. On the 'bottom' snip 3/4 cm below the node and on the top node 3/4cm above it at 45degree angles. Remove any leaf growth except for 2-3 at the top and if big, cut them in half to reduce water loss. I used a styrofoam box also about 5-6" high with holes in the bottom and a premixed striking mix or mix your own but you can use any container that allows free drainage really. Once snipped, paint a thin layer of purple rooting hormone gel all over the twigs bottom upwards to about 2" making sure to get the 'wound' and eye. With the end of the paintbrush poke a hole for the cutting and put it in about 2" deep, firming the soil to get rid of airpockets... there seems to be a lot of variation in how deep people think you should stick it - some say no more than 1", some say half the cutting length! I went with 2" on the basis it was deep enough for the top to remain stable if knocked and gave it a good area to develop roots from instead of just the very bottom. When they're all in, pop the whole lot into one of the little 'greenhouse' from Bunnings, cost is $20.00? Mist everything well and put it in an area with indirect but bright light. Keep humidity high and the soil moist but not soggy until they put out growth, at which point they're ready to be potted in smallish pots. From this point I'm supposed to gradually get them used to more full sun and then plant in the garden and keep them watered and well tended for the first year which is when they're most vunerable to stresses.

On a cheerier note the girls are their usual silly selves, I got to cuddle with an adorable litter of 5 week old Aussies last Sunday and Laurent and I went to the opening day of the Melbourne Royal shows the other day to attend the poultry and dog shows. Smaller entries both for numbers in birds and Aussies but a good day out catching up with everyone despite La being grumpy as I had to wake him up at the crack of dawn for the 2 hour train ride. (Turns out Aussies weren't on until much later though... doh!) He had fun on a few rides, visiting the animal nursery which chiefly involved him latching onto the chook pen and even capturing them for other children who were a bit more timid... because you know it's not like he can see chickens any day of the week at home! At the entry he'd spotted the discovery trail fellow with a chook stamp and asked for one. The guy stamps his paper and gives it to La, "Here you go, a chicken!" La looks at it, looks at him and the little smartie pants goes, "No, 's a ROOSTER!" LOL

Rather sad to get back to hear two bits of distressing news though - first that an exhibitor in Australian Shepherds who also has Golden Retrievers had come down to Vic for the show, was staying with another local breeder who lives just down the road from me and someone stole her 6 year old girl, a grand/new zealand/australian champion and obviously much loved. Federal police are investigating but I can't imagine either the mindset of someone who'd do such a despicable thing or how horrifying it'd be to find your furbaby missing and hope to gods she is able to be returned safe and secure. On the tail of that, a poultry breeder who has brought so much to everyone he's met has decided to sell everything because he is sick of being harrassed for 5 years by a council on a power trip inventing excuses to come 'inspect' him constantly. BB has been at every sale and show I've been to pretty much and always is interested in helping newcomers, very involved in various clubs and a major supporter and promoter of waterfowl, guineas and turkeys. Anyone visiting the Royal Melbourne can see many of his birds, most of whom placed quite well, this week. Anyone who has seen him with them can see his whole life is about them. I honestly can't imagine it without him to chat with. :-(

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In mid-July I was gifted with a lovely bunch of cuttings and plantlings from a very generous BYP member. I was very nervous being as this was the first time I'd ever tried to strike cuttings of roses. Add a touch of worry as my books all talk about maintaining temperatures and under-tray soil warmer to ensure good root growth etc. Meanwhile we still get cold nights, occasional frosts and have no under-tray warmer! (Nor the spare hundred dollars for one.)

In the end I used styrofoam containers from the local restraunt as they've got good insulation qualities and drain well, mixed striking mix, cut all the branches into appropriate sized bits, dipped them, tucked them in, watered them regularly and held my breath.

I have to say, 5-6" lengths of rose twig do not look very promising at first, I was so nervous I'd done it wrong somehow! Lo and behold, a few weeks more and the whole bunch were leafy little things!

So after a few weeks more growth today was the big day for potting up as they needed more space for their roots to keep developing. So I took them out carefully and ohhh... ROOTS! Not bad for a first effort from a rank novice! Now let's hope they all survive this phase, until they're ready to pot up in big pots and then into the garden! ;-p

Monday, September 08, 2008

After the computer started stuffing up I had to figure out why. Those of you who know me, take a moment to pick yourselves back up off the ground and stop laughing hysterically at the idea of me having to try and fix anything even remotely technologically related. From what I can tell I've got a lovely group of trojans the various programs can't seem to keep dead and deal with stupid Firefox having a leaky memory wanting to cause low virtual memory warnings. I'm sure there's other joys but those are the ugly ones atm anyhow.

To boot, pregnancy actually seems to be starting to feel like pregnancy with morning sickness giving a good nip this week. With Laurent it was awful and the only things I could stomach half the time were chinese sweet corn and chicken soup, mandarins and nectarines. This little one however apparently wants strawberries, yum cha (and not the cheap ones, this one wants the places where it takes weeks to get reservations thankyouverymuch...) and ice cream. Other than that just the usual amounts of tired, aching stuff typical of this stage.

Then, it was Miss Hopies birthday on the 8th. After thinking madam had just blown her coat because of the warmer weather since she wasn't giving any other signs she decided to go and make a liar out of me and come into season very conviently on her birthday!Happy (belated) birthday to her siblings Ditto, Harri, Rhythm, Luke, Gospel and Frank :) Hope I've got all those names right! LOL

This last one is from last years but since she looks like a neckid ragamuffin I'll wait till she's got some coat to take a big girl picture of her. She spent most of her b-day with me visiting shops in town, getting attention from people, especially one lady who wanted to sit and chat about dogs and training for over two hours with her little girl.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Appologies for the sunglare - a certain short person whose name I'll leave to your imaginations rather mashed up my sun hood, the flash on my camera is pathetic and I'm the only idiot on the planet who can't photoshop it out. *g* The shots are far from perfect even aside from the sunglare but I like them anyhow. Sometimes it's the imperfect bits that make you smile. Besides, it's SUN! That's just been in such short supply I couldn't not celebrate it!
Youse my HERO... Cami is such a crack up with Veri
(Poor Veri, there were sheep, the geese/ducks on the dam and the neighbors cattle in the adjoining paddock. She kept trying to "casually" move toward them only to be recalled. LOL)
"Ohhh... so THAT'S what sheep are for!"
Note if you will that the blip of dog dashing after the sheep is a certain Rough Tough Little Powderpuff who previously thought cattle were all she was interested in. Two days ago she reassessed her opinion and has decided they are rather interesting after all...
"I'm a good girl mum... can you release me from this stay now?"
Miss Hopie... believe it or not she's neckid. Poor thing has moulted out all her coat, except that ruff!Unintended (Very) Close-up
"How I get in da cam-wah?" while peering into the lense
"Hello? Dorothy Dinosaur? You come to tea? Oh yes! Yummy tea. And Wags? Oh. *pause* And Captain Sorda-feather (pmsl!) and Jeff will he wake up please? Ahhhhhh oh-tay! See you then! Byeeeeee..."
Finally... one of those shots I take to remind myself sometimes life with children can be peaceful!

Monday, September 01, 2008

I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!

Friday afternoon I packed up Laurent and Hope and headed out to KCC for the agility nationals. We're not entered but being nationals people are coming from all around the country and among the number of people I've 'met' online but not in person that included Sam and the fantabulous Jahzara who also happens to be Verity's litter sister and Hope's half sister through their mum Tilley. After having chatted online and found a number of aspects of Jahz to sound very similar to both Hope and Veri, I was very excited to both meet them and get to watch not only Sam and Jahz run (!) in person but also a number of other people who are very talented at this whole agility thing. La behaved himself mostly aside from a few tantrums (including a rather spectacular one that had people peering around their cars to see if I wasn't torturing him with hot pokers at the start) although as is typical - having La along means I did more La watching than agility watching. ;-) He did give good amusement with his variety of dog behaviours though - including one that popped up a month or so back which involves scratching his hair with his leg like a dog. ~_~' Strange, strange child!

Saturday was all mine though - Nic was home, La stayed with Nic, Veri and Hope came with me for a day out. It's so funny how so often I'd be looking at Jahz and go, "Now THAT is Veri!" or "That's Hopie all over..." They are also different of course but you could see the relation in them for sure! Kellie who was there with Fyre but who also owns Hope's half brother (same sire, Courage) and found a number of Hope's traits very much like her little man Kruze. I was also pretty pleased with how Veri handled the busy environment, she was pretty good all day albeit occasionally a bit worried and had an unfortunate incident where a man walking backwards stepped on her poor tail. She was supremely convinced Sam was just the coolest though - Sam has VERY good bikkies and was willing to give sharesies! LOL Typical Veri, firmly governed by her stomach! I'm still in awe of watching all the lovely dogs and fantastic efforts on the part of both the dogs and their handlers tbh... both inspired and left with a deep pity for my poor dogs to be stuck with ME as a trainer/handler!

Then Sunday was straight off to Euroa. Another chook auction, supposed to be some large partridge wyandottes. One was nice, one decent and not as nice but one was constantly head-flicking and the other slightly fluffed. So I put in my bid but pulled when it hit the bid hit $140. So instead I came home with a lovely bunch of daffodils courtesy of Tim (whose family owns a gorgeous daffodil and bulb farm) and spent the day chatting with everyone inbetween cuddling Cami to keep warm when it started raining and getting into discussions with everyone in their brother about how I was really, truely, honest to godly sure she WAS an Australian Shepherd and NOT a Koolie and no the breed was not made up or a 'designer' mutt. ;-p Can I also say I really, really, really wish we could change the name to AMERICAN Shepherd... honestly, I think there are a number of people convinced the Yank is trying to have one over on them! ^_^;

After we got home I pretty much collapsed on the couch, combination of being up early and down late for three days while trying to ignore my stomach being queasy, eatting junk (fries, though Veri helped!) and my body trying to turn me into a narcoleptic. I was soon joined by La and dogs. After a few moments of adjusting the blanket to his liking La patted my face to get my attention and said, "Aw, mum... so cute and sweet!" Rather flattered I said thank you La, that's very sweet of you to say to me. He looked at me, pointed at Sierra curled up at the back of my knees and said in a very plain tone said, "No mum! SISI is cute and sweet." Hn. Silly me, of course you were talking about the dog!