Sunday, 22 June 2008

Odds and sods

This is really a pure "stream of consciousness" witter to record a few things.

It is June 22nd and we have just picked - off vines hanging in my shed and Frances potting shed - the last of our tomatoes. Frances bought some at the market on Friday, the first time we have done so since January.

Today was also the day that I went to participate in the annual Tidbinbilla Lyrebird Survey. This is the third time I have done, after the shock of the first event when it snowed heavily. I had a couple of folk with me and neither had previously got close to a lyrebird in full performance mode. That got remedied today as we were within 15m of one yelling its heart (and various other organs) out. It mimiced at least 5 other species as well as doing a major rattle of the tail feathers.

On the rodent (see previous post) front, matters have been variable. She is not sleeping well after about 4am so we are getting woken early. She has also taken to what used to be referred to by a Canadian friend as "parking a coil" in the house. We have changed her eating arrangements to try to overcome the latter and hope that perseverance will deal with the former. That situation no seems to be improving (thank ). We have decided that we have to trust her to be off the lead around the place a bit and she's handling that well. Of course there is a lot of rioting when 'roos, rabbits, hares and foxes appear, but I really am prepared to cut a lot of genetic slack for that. As she also seems to like sitting on the verandah, we feed her there early in the day and hopefully the coil situation is resolved in the afternoon.

She is also proving useful as a scale factor for our vegetables or the carrots emphasise how small she is).

On 24 June it was cool and foggy, with next to no wind. Ideal weather to drop a match into my pile of prunings of things that one doesn't want to spread to the rest of the property. Cystius, rose clippings, papyrus spring to mind . The first image could be titled "Are you sure there is always fire under a lot of smoke?"

This one is thus simply titled "Yes!" . A really good burn and the local bush fire mob didn't turn up (another advantage of doing it on a foggy day - the idly curious unemployables can't see what you're up to).

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Tammy-the-rat's Excellent Adventure

Apologies to Bill and Ted. Apologies also to Tammy who actually seems to have more intelligence (but less moolah) than those worthies.

About 10 years ago we had to put down our dog Boney due to kidney failure. As it was becoming increasingly hard to travel anywhere with a dog we decided we wouldn't have one, much as I love the animals. Some fair time after that Hilda, Francie's Mum, acquired Tammy, a small pooch which I quite enjoyed taking for walks etc when we visited Adelaide.

I think as a result of this it was announced that "If anything happens to me Martin will take the dog." One of those statements that cannot be answered in the negative. Now that Hilda has had to go into care that particular vulture has come home to roost.

In fact the dog's adventure started with wings as it was decided that Adelaide was too cold for the dog and it had to be transported to Canberra. No-one was driving over in the near future (and on our next trip we're coming back via Broken Hill and Brisbane). Thus the canine was put on Australian Air Express and sent over to us arriving at 8:30pm. When I tell you that AAE is a joint venture between QANTAS and Australia Post it will be no surprise that it was actually 9:20 when Tammy was passed over to us. Also, since this was at Canberra Airport no-one would be surprised that it was bloody difficult to find the air-freight place after dark because there is only one sign to it!

She is about 20cm long and probably weighs in at 1kg ringing wet so it was a surprise to find her travelling in a box that could accommodate a medium sized pig-dog (plus a small pig). However it did make getting her home easily. She was very pleased to get out of the box and even more pleased to go for a walk around our lawn: on a lead of course. I realised that our lawn is used by kangaroos, swamp wallabies, wombats, possums, rabbits and foxes - none of which are common in Brighton South Australia (except possibly the possums).

When we eventually went to bed she was put in the laundry with some of the stuff she had travelled over with to keep her company. She almost immediately starting yapping - we think it was "I'm excited but lonely." and decided to treat her like a child by ignoring her. To my pleasure it seemed to work: after about 15 minutes she quietened down and we all got a fair nights sleep.

She has continued to improve her behaviour well beyond that which she used to display. After 4 days she generally comes when called (although I suspect that wouldn't apply if she had some wildlife to chase) and is quite affectionate. In her later days at Brighton she was showing no sign of being house-trained but so far, touching wood, there have been no problems in that regard. She seemed to enjoy her day in the vege garden with us.

This update is being composed after the first 10 days. This has not been as unpleasant as we had expected: there is still a bit of yelping at night but we are administering a little direct negative reinforcement and hope we'll break that habit soon. She continues learning (despite being an old dog) although, as forecast above, she shows no sign of responding to commands such as "Come" if something really interesting such as a kangaroo is in the vicinity. On the positive side, she is always pleased to see us when we come home and when I let her out of the laundry in the morning.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Noumea photographs

In order we have 1) a carved image ; 2) a bay in Noumea 3) with a nice yellow flower; 4) roots on a trail at Mt Koghi; 5) detail and 6) and overview of the Tjibaou Centre; 7) guess which way the winds go at Baie des Citrons; 8) SPC Headquarters; and 9) the Cimitiere at 4 Km

Vanuatu photographs

These photographs show in the order I put them, and heaven knows what Blogger will do with them: 1) our welcome to a village where we watched 2) a 'custom dance'; 3 the entrace to the Waterfront Bar in Pt Vila; 4) Pt Vila Harbour: 5) Pt Vila Market; 6) a cermonial Cheifs house near the National Museum; 7) Local transport back to the village; 8) epiphytes on a fig tree.