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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Goodbye Tess

Rosie's mama, Tess went to the bridge yesterday.  She was 14, a good innings for a Lab.  A big, big thank you to lovely Alana and the caring vet nurses at Eastern Hills Vets.   They were so lovely and really helped mum and I say goodbye to Tess and send her off as peacefully and lovingly as possible.

Poor mum.  Both of these blithe and sweet spirits are gone now.

Tess, mum and Jock.
 I'm glad she still has Tess's grandson, Angus, to comfort her.  He'll miss his grandma too. They were great friends.

And I have Tess's daughter and granddaughter here too, and my sister Jen has her son, Kelly.

Tess had two litters.  She was a very kind mama, always looking after her babies so well.


Tess and mum had a lot of fun doing retrieving trials and training together.

Here they are with Tess's son, Rosie's brother, Inky, at training.  Inky became a retrieving trial champion but Tess never quite managed her two wins at all-age level to get her championship.  She had ten qualifying finishes though, so she got her All-Age Retrieving Dog title, no easy feat.

She and mum also got their CD and CDX in obedience.

In retrieving, she never quite had the drive she needed to push on if things got a little big hard. That was part of who she was.  She was the gentlest dog you can imagine.  She never had a beef with anyone, human or dog.  Sometimes I think she'd have liked to be an only dog, because she was a little retiring, and got pushed out by the other big doggy personalities in the family, and only really learned to ask for attention as she got older.
Tess is at the back with Freya and Tam.  Front is L to R: Rosie, Kelly, Jock, Buffy, and Kate.
But she did enjoy her big goofy grandson a lot.

She learned to be positively snuggly in her old age.  My two younger nieces got on with her really well and she loved them especially too.  They'll be sad that she's gone.

She liked a cuddle when she was over at our place being minded too. 

She was very much a part of our family and will continue to be so through the legacy of her pups and grandpups.

When a dog has been old for a long time, it can be hard to remember when they were young and bouncy.  She had her silly times too. 

And she was a very lively and alert dog for most of her life.

We'll all miss her sweet spirit very much, especially mum.

Run free, sweet Tessa Bessa.  xxx 


Friday, 24 November 2017

First Fire of the Season

Mine anyway. We've had a few minor call-outs but I've missed them for this or that reason.

It was a deliberately lit fire far out in the forest.   Might as well get this over early in the year:  If you feel like you need to light fires, go and get help.  Get help before you get caught, and before many trees and animals, and maybe humans too, have to die.  It's not cool or fun to light bushfires.  It's horrible.

Andy amongst the destruction.
By the time we were called in, the local parks guys had already knocked down the running fire, but some of them had to race off to another fire further south, so they called in local brigades to help black-out the area.

I was in the 1.4 with four of the guys, and we were a good team.   It felt great to have energy.  It's amazing what not being constantly anaemic will do for you!

We took turns using the two branches and dragging hose for each other.  We blacked out to 20 metres in from the fire edge.

Andy and Dave on the branches.
There are no hydrants out there, so we drafted water up from the little river that passes through the area.

Travelling to and from the water was a welcome rest in the muggy heat, and we were very happy to be able take off a bit of our gear to let ourselves cool off while we did.   I took my jacket off too.  What a relief!

Dave is back from a long break away from the brigade, and I'm glad, because he is a lovely guy, a good truckdriver and a very good team mate on the fireground.

We were out there about four hours, which is a fair length of time for a fire, though far from the longest shift you can do.  I still had energy left over, but last night my feet were cramping up pretty badly.  You really just can't get enough fluids in in those conditions.

We were pretty happy when we were stood down!

In other news, Spotty the broody chook is still sitting.  I'm checking that she is getting up once a day for food and water, and she likes it if I bring her some cool, juicy corn on the cob to peck at, but she still growls at me if I move too suddenly.

The paddock is alive with golden flatweed flowers and happy bees. I tried to get you a pic, but the dogs thought me being at ground level meant I wanted them to come and bother me.   

You're down here to photograph us, right?
Or to pat us!
Today we did scheds at the station, but now it is a rest day.  Except that I still need to get my word count for yesterday.  That'll teach me not to put something important off until the afternoon during fire season!  I'm at an exciting point in Satan's new story, on the downhill run for home, so it shouldn't be too hard.

Not sure what the rest of the weekend holds for us.   Guess we'll just have to wait and see!


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Burns and Dragons

I went to my first proper Hazard Reduction Burn (HRB) of the year yesterday.  No pics of me, but I did get some of Tom and Angus.

I like the mythical sense of the smoke and the Firey walking through in the background of that last one.   It was a well-run burn.  It was kept low temp as much as possible and we protected all the big trees by raking away the leaves before the fire got to them so they didn't catch fire and both they and their little inhabitants would be safe.   Away it goes.

I was in a Light Tanker with Angus, and was very happy to be back to work with the Lieutenant I love best.  Our job was to come along behind the fire and black it out, meaning that the burn had to be fully out for 20 metres in around all the edges, with no smouldering bits left to come back up later.

The wind was a bit changeable...

Same spot, pics taken about 30 secs apart.

I was a good girl and wore my mask a lot, unlike every other bugger.  All too manly I guess!   Yes I was the only woman.   Come on ladies, join up for goodness sake!  Don't leave the guys to have all the fun!

Here are Tom and Angus discussing if masks might have been a good idea.

Not really!  I think they were discussing hose technique! :D

This was a really cool old stump that we spent some time putting out.   It looked so much like a giant fossilised dragon's head. Sent me off on flights of fantasy there in the forest.  Author + sudden dragon head?  Oh yeah! 

I hope you can see it too.  Its nose is to the right with big flaring nostrils, and it has a large eye and  top-knot of spiky bits.  It was quite uncanny and thigh-high on me, so also quite impressive.

Another dragon around here right now is... me!  Ha ha, no not really, it's one of my chookies, Spotty, who has decided she is broody despite hybrids not being supposed to want to do that.

"Grrrr, you get away from my babies-to-be!
She is genuinely growling at me, something I haven't quite had one do before.  I found this video for you to watch if you've never heard it either.

I moved her to a better spot and made her a pen to keep the other chooks from bothering her, and since she showed no signs of giving up despite the disturbances, I was lucky enough to get her some fertile eggs from a lovely local lady who breeds show-standard Silver-laced Wyandottes.   I hope she can raise them! 

She took the change of eggs from infertile ones to fertile ones well.  I'll be really glad if she can give me some beautiful heritage chickens like this girl!

Fingers crossed! 

"Just bugger off and leave me to do my job!"
I have this pic on my desktop because it makes me smile. Not many things warm my heart as much as a mama hen with her babies.

This gorgeous image comes from this blog post on Community Chickens. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Birdie Num Num

Hmm don't know why I titled it that.  Feeling a bit, "Friday afternoon silly," I think. Certainly I have a few bird pics, starting with this one.  I had to wait the car in the driveway yesterday while this two got on with a bit of Bronzewing boinking.   Who am I to stand in the way of true love?

Hey, do it right in front of a blogger, get photographed! 

This year's baby Magpie is still doing well. I saw her the other day out in the next door paddock, sitting very quietly, with no adult nearby.  It's interesting that she knows to keep nice and quiet while her protector is not close.  When they are, she yells her head off.

She looked so tiny and vulnerable.

Speaking of tiny, this mama Maned Duck (Wood Duck) was out on her walk when we were out on ours this week too.  These guys nest in tall trees, and I suspect the babies do those suicidal-looking leaps down to land when they hatch.  Would love to see it one day!

In other news, it's been thundery this week. Don't love the sultriness, but do love the clouds!

We got to visit with some lovely Standard Poodles too!  (The humans were nice as well, but you know, POODLES!)

The pics are awful because it was pretty dark in there.  They came up for lots of pats and their ears are so soft.   As you can see from this pic of them 'foofing' them about at play.

Heh.  Such a sweet pair.

I've started planing some of the Karri (as Gav told me it is) ready to make a picnic table. 

The dogs quite like sitting around outside with me while I do it.  Has anyone else noticed that animals like it when you spend time with them outside?  They know outside is better for us, and them, than inside, though of course if you're in they'd rather be with you.

It's a pretty cool workspace.  The lucerne trees have been trimmed underneath for years, and also trimmed above because of our powerline, so they have kind of gone sideways into this lovely canopy. Wouldn't suit a taller person but it does me just fine!

Hey, that's a pretty cool angle of the magic cottage too!  How I love it!

Have a lovely weekend.   Do something weird.  Have an adventure.  Make something with your hands.   Read a good book.  Talk to a tree.   Habit is for nuns!