Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Life, rural, Joys of.. a continuing series

This follows on from
http://franmart.blogspot.com/2008/07/life-rural-joys-of.html,
and like that post concerns water. However on this occasion it is about having too little, rather than too much.

We had thought that in the second half of August Spring must be getting close. Perhaps not here yet, but we should be able to see it! However when I got up on the 19th the outdoor thermometer was reading -3.9C and everywhere was white and crunchy underfoot. The sprinklers were going on the front lawn giving some very nice icicles on the vegetation.


















This was a genuine joy. The antijoy came when I turned on the tap in the kitchen to get the coffee happening: zip! Obviously the frost had got to the system somewhere. After some scurrying around by Frances we had enough, from various bottles, to make a serve of java but that was it.

My next strategy was to pour hot water (if I could find any) on the area around the pump. Frances was a tad concerned about this and suggested ringing our plumber of choice - Dunnydore Plumbing - to get advice. The plumbers wife answered the phone and when I explained the problem, said that they had the same situation! Hubbie then came on and said to go and pour hot water around the pump!

The first lot of water was obtained by recycling Frances' hot water bottle. This wasn't enough so I went and scooped some out of a rain water butt over by our stable. After shattering the thick layer of ice. This was then boiled in saucepans and poured over the pump (and for good measure, shlepped up the hill and poured over the outlet from the big tank). This was followed almost immediately by a yell from the house that the pump was running.

Monday, 11 August 2008

A rodentic update

It is a fair while since I mentioned Tammy the rocket propelled rodent on these pages, in http://franmart.blogspot.com/2008/06/tammy-rats-excellent-adventure.htm, so here is an update on her activities.

The yelping at night became resolved (more or less) when we decided to let her out of the laundry at night and to sleep in the lounge. We think we were also getting on top (fortunately intellectually rather than physically) of the house training situation. Then she was in kennels while we went away for nearly three weeks and on our return everything more or less reverted to the start.

Two weeks after we returned and the night time noise has gone back to acceptable standards but there are still issues with what we find in the morning. But there are some positive signs on that front also. It is basically the only major problem (apart from having to make arragements for her if we go away etc).


Perhaps part of the improvement is due to us having introduced bones back into her diet as illustrated! It was most amusing to see her head off down the lawn with the remains of this bone in her mouth. Eventually she got to a garden bed covered with periwinkle and hid it in there (unfortunately before I could film this).

I could say the bone was her dealing with a visiting Rottweiler but in fact when Peter and Deborah visited with their two border collies there was a great deal of fun all round rather than a bloodbath. Hopefully the same will apply later this week when she gets introduced to our daughter's moggy Chloe.

We have become rather relaxed about her being on a lead around the garden, and indeed when going to nearby parts of the property (if there is a low marsupial probability). This got severely tested this afternoon when she got distracted by a low flying Crimson Rosella and took off down the drive with me in pursuit. Just as I thought I'd got her attention she spotted the mob of roos down by the creek and was off, travelling far faster than I could run (not that that is saying much these days). Despite her velocity, by the time she got to the creek everyone else had vanished into the scrub so by the time Puffing Billy hove into view she was nosing around, effectively saying "What, me chase 'roos? How could you think of such a thing?"

The next day had an interesting start, in that Tammie was very quiet. Walked with a saggy lead, barely showed any interest in 'roos and essentially stopped walking after 2km. We couldn't work out the problem. Then I found her posing with a foot raised and thought she had cut her foot. On trying to examine this appendage I found she had got her harness mis-positioned so it was compressing her chest. Judging by the way she snapped at me it was quite painful: also bloody tight as I had to cut it off her. Back to a bouncy dog. Also, the toilet training has greatly improved so I wonder about cause and effect here!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Long and Goldsworthy eat your hearts out

Of the many forms of art which I enjoy near the top of the list are the efforts of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy.

Mr Long tends to leave rocks at odd places along huge walks and then write a book about the route he took: I think conceptual is an appropriate word here.

Mr Goldsworthy builds things (or at least designs things and manages a bunch of lower orders building them). One of his best known things is a wall built at Storm King Gallery in upstate NY. Here is an image of that.


Since originally writing this post we have visited the UK equivalent of Storm King, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park  Although we missed their Andy Goldsworthy exhibition (by about 3 years) they still had several excellent examples of his work.  Herewith the relevant post.

We decided to try something along these lines by shlepping some rocks around on our morning walks. These are the first images after about 6 months. One of the issues is that the wildlife seem to enjoy knocking the rocks off the ant mounds: I am waiting for the ants to start embedding them in to the mound.

Spring (?) flowers

Although we have had temperatures below freezing most nights for the last three weeks a bunch of our bulbs are making a floral appearance in the garden. Here they are for your enjoyment.