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Friday, 30 October 2015

It's been a good week!

Firstly, today I went to watch and take photos as my sister got to ride her Irish Draft Sporthorse boy, Fionn, for the first time.  He was 18 months old when she bought him and next week it's his fourth birthday, so she's been patiently raising him all this time, and now he is an almost-grown-up boy and ready for some gentle riding.

They did fantastically, and seeing the huge the smile on Jen's face was worth my coming on the the trip!  (That and getting to have a lovely chat on the way there and back with my darling sis!)

I also got to have a snuggle with Jerry, who came along to keep Fionn company on the way home.  He lived here with me for a while as a companion to my horses, and he remembers me. At 26, he's still the cutest little guy ever!

He's been a really good pony for the kids, but he needs to retire now.  He still thinks he's Bucephalus, but his years are catching up on him at last.  Anyway it's lovely that he knows me and was happy to hang with me for a while. I'm certainly still very fond of him!   

Other good stuff this week?  I've got back onto another course for beginner volunteer fireys that will be held in November, so hopefully I'll make it there this time and be qualified. How much I'll manage to do will remain to be seen, but at least that way I can be part of the team and pitch in if needed.   

I've also started doing Latin line dancing for fun.  This is us:

Well, not even close, actually :) but it really is a lot of fun even if you aren't that good! 

I've also had one visit to a local drumming circle. That was fun too and I'll be going back.  Both are things I have wanted to do for years, always thinking, "One day when I'm better I'll try that."  Well, that day is now!

One thing I'll say for long illness, once it passes at least:  It opens up your life and gives you space to try new things.  New things are good!


Monday, 26 October 2015

Dogs of My high Pack: Sam

Sam was a rescue. The vet thought she was maybe two when she came into the shelter where I was working.  I don't know why, of all the dogs there, this plain medium-sized black dog caught my affection, but she did.  Maybe it was because she cleaved to me as much as I did to her.

She was heavily pregnant when she came into the shelter, and she was too stressed to have her puppies, so I took her home to have them.  I tried taking her back to the shelter after that, but she was my dog by then, so home she came again.

These are the very first pictures I have of her. 

I'm not sure of her breeding, but she seemed mostly Lab, with maybe a touch of Border Collie. At any rate, the shape of her face and tail made me think she maybe had a bit of Border Collie in there. Of course we know these days that a lot of random crossbreeds turn out to have a large mix of breeds in them, but that was my guess in those days.

Keech was about two as well when Sam came into our family.  She was very different to Keech the extrovert but they were good friends.

Keech loved everyone, Sam loved only me and a couple of very privileged other people.  Her nickname was The Phantom Blackdog, because if I was there, she was there, generally quietly behind or beside me.

She didn't love small children and would snarl at them silently.  I don't know what her past was, but she really didn't like them, though she got to like my nieces.  I always smile to remember one time when I'd warned a child away from her, then later heard the child say, "Look she does like me, she's smiling at me!"  Eeek, quick removal of child!  That was no smile!

She wasn't much of a fan of puppies either, but she did tolerate the family ones.

She lived to be seventeen!  Sometimes it's hard to remember that she was once lively and even naughty.

Her favorite thing when young was to have sillies, where she ran in a figure of eight with me in the middle, and would jump up and bite my bum on her way by.

She was also rather keen on hunting kangaroos and would occasionally chase one while we were out riding in the bush, coming back later exhausted and sheepish.  She liked to dig too!

She was sleek and beautiful.

She really loved who she loved.

And she really, really loved me.  She comes to me now to Guide me on inner journeys.  Still quiet, still right there beside me. It's nearly as good as having her here.  Nearly.  One day we'll be together again.


Thursday, 22 October 2015


It's time to cut my hair again.  These days I have it cut once a year, washing it first, then wandering next door and having my mum cut it straight across at the back.  All my life, I have felt like some of my power lay in my hair, and as a child, hated having it cut.
In consequence, when I had a choice, I just didn't.  It got this long and stayed this way for many years.

That horse is my dear Isabeau, by the way. I'll do a post about her one of these days.  We took this pic one day when we were having fun taking photos in our SCA gear. I love this 'hair out' one of my sis, Jen, and I too.

Mostly, though, it stayed in one or two very long braids, because it was just too damned long to bother with.

Anyway, at some point I got into martial arts and, while I loved my braid down my back as I did patterns and such, I kind of felt like I needed a cooler change.  I started cutting it.  This is about the shortest it got.


Weirdly, this very short hair coincides with the beginning of my descent into ill health with lyme. Go figure. Maybe my personal superstition had something to it after all.  :)

I missed my hair and couldn't be bothered with constant trimming, so I stopped cutting it again.  Nowadays, as long as it sits somewhere around the region of my shoulder-blades, I'm happy, and I feel I have my power back.  

Maybe Sampson had something?    


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Fireys, fireground and a fiery horse

Yesterday I went to watch my sister, Jen and her boy, Eddie, do a jumping lesson.  I'm really proud of Jen and how she has worked with this horse.  He's a lovely trustworthy guy but he's a bit of a hothead when it comes to jumping.  He used to refuse at times too, lacking confidence.  Nowadays he jumps much higher and I don't think he ever refuses any more.  This trick now is just keeping him from rushing and getting unbalanced.   

Jen had a really good round at a higher level, but I videoed that for her and don't think she'd like it put on my blog.  :)  She was happy with it, anyway, and knocked off for the day to reward Eddie for a job well done.

I haven't been up to the club to watch for ages. It was my club too. I felt ok. I used to get washes of grief when I went there, but I think I'm over that now.  I didn't really want to be out there riding at all.  Life changes.

I did get the vegie garden planted up at last this week, when we had a few cooler days, so the seedlings could get a head start.

I didn't go for many tomatoes this year, just two cherry tomatoes.  We don't eat much tomato any more and I was just wasting them.  On the right there is my garlic. I do love homegrown garlic!

It's weird. For years now we've had a plague of slaters (also known as woodlice) that ate the seedlings voraciously. Since I won't use sprays, I had to resort to putting potato peels in the garden because they liked those better, and placing damp newspaper out for them to hide under so I could collect them all up and give them to the chooks.  This year, suddenly, hardly any.  I guess something that eats them has multiplied to match?

Hmm, see these paint cans?

They've been waiting over a year there for us to build a shed on the site of the crappy old we one we pulled down.  Acreage is lovely but there is always a lot of work.  Hope none of their bottoms have rusted out when I try to lift them!

This is the work we do a lot of at this time of year. Sticks, branches, and more sticks.

Amazing what we can get in the old single horse float if we jump up and down on the pile as we go.  Then we take the full load off to the tip to be composted, and start piling the sticks up all over again.  It's not good to have too much dead fuel on the ground or in the trees with fire season fast approaching.

Speaking of which, am very proud of Andrew, who finished fire school yesterday. He is now a fully-fledged active volunteer firefighter. Yay Andrew!

The dogs and I had an early morning walk down in bush by the bridle path the other day.  It was burned off this time last year, and I personally think it was done a little too hotly.  The fire went right up the trees in some places, but as you can see, the ground that was nothing but black ash is now recovering.

It was a nice walk for the dogs.  They love it out there.  

These pretty bell shaped flowers seem to have really enjoyed the burnt ground, along with the iconic blue Leschenaultia, which was coming up everywhere.

My weekend was vastly improved by the purchase of this:

Seven years back in the cottage, and all that time we have been restricted in our outside time by the large number of Mozzies that are here day and night now that we have a sewerage treatment plant in the bush across the road.  (State of the art, supposedly, ha!)

It was quite funny.  I was out there in the screened area, but it took me a while to stop twitching my legs, because I'm so used to moving all the time trying to keep the mozzies off!  They especially like it if you play a musical instrument, because you are concentrating and keeping so still.  They'll eve get you on the back of your chord hand as you play.  Too bad mozzies!  No more of my blood for you!

I did quite a bit of this on the weekend too.  Treating Jarrah trees for Dieback on the verge across the road.  The phosphite goes down the trees into the roots and kills the fungus where it attacks them.  The Dieback is really bad over there at the school.  Too many trees there are now stark skeletons. They don't call it "Nature's Bulldozer" for nothing.  Hopefully I can save some of these guys though!    


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cat Art

I've done a lot of doggy posts lately, so to balance things up a bit, here's a catty one, featuring some of the cats I've painted over the years.

 Taco and Rassy Roo. 

 Sue the Catwitch.

 Nermal the Kitchen Cat.

 Tippy cat and Molly.

 Lea in Ink.

 Lea with Watercolour added.
Billie the Spiral Cat.
Buffy and Cyrano (whoops, slipped a dog in there!)
 Nermal the couch Cat. 

 Nermal in His Blue Period.

 Nermal Watercolour

Nermal and Massey the First. (Yes there's a Massey the Second.) 

Nermal in Sunlight

Keech and Massey.  (Heh heh, another sneaky dog there!)
Cats are nice to paint.  Must do some more of Cyrano!

In writing news, the Heroic Plans first draft went over the 50 000 word mark this morning.  Weeeee!