The War on Warts

Everyone is so worried these days about the War on Waste. It is a serious problem. Indeed the other day I spotted a lady sitting at a table inside a cafe consuming her coffee in a takeaway cup. The takeaway cup was manufactured using plastic lined cardboard with a plastic lid. Fortunately for the war effort, her child was drinking from a similar container but was thoughtfully using a cardboard straw. Bam! Take that waste!

Yes, the War on Waste is a worthy adventure. But have you ever heard of the War on Warts? It is a long story. I give you exhibit A:

Exhibit A: Ollie the Australian cuddle dog sports a wart on the middle of his forehead

Ollie the Australian cuddle dog (who everyone knows is actually an Australian cattle dog) has grown a large, pink wart on the middle of his forehead.

Warts on dogs are a part of the fluffy canine existence. There is a reason for that, and it involves Toothy the long haired Dachshund. Toothy is a vector for the canine Papillomavirus which is the virus that produces warts. All dogs have their kryptonite, and being a vector for disease is Toothy’s. I don’t hold that against him because he is a dog after all, and dogs do, what dogs do.

The wart story begins with the former boss dog, Old Fluffy. Now Old Fluffy was the best dog that I have yet encountered. We were best mates, and she used to follow me around all day long. I loved Old Fluffy, who incidentally was a Pomeranian.

Old Fluffy the Pomeranian with Toothy and the now deceased Sir Poopy

Old Fluffy knew she was the best dog ever, because she was the best dog ever. She ruled the canine household with an iron paw and trucked no nonsense from any other dog regardless of size or temperament. They all deferred to her and in her time she had encountered some tough dogs. Old Fluffy was gentle with all humans and she particularly loved kids, who could have roughly pulled her tail and ears, and she would have loved them all the more. But with unknown dogs, she used to go first for the throat and then for the eyes. When she was angered by another dog, it was a thing to behold. She kept the young Toothy under her wing.

Old Fluffy keeps the young Toothy on a short leash

Old Fluffy knew exactly how to control the irascible Toothy. She used to incessantly clean his face, and he loved it. It was a bit dirty, really.

Old Fluffy controlled Toothy by incessantly cleaning his face

Toothy felt the need to reciprocate the favour and he licked the wart on Old Fluffy’s back. He eventually licked the wart so much, that it became an open wound on her back. It was an unsightly sore and even after the wound opened, Toothy continued to lick the sore so much that it just got bigger. I suspect that Toothy was using Old Fluffy like a fast food outlet.

One day in a fit of despair, we took Old Fluffy to the veterinarian to see what could be done about her wart that had become an open wound. The vet suggested surgery and we handed over Old Fluffy and well over a thousand dollars.

Soon Old Fluffy was back home again.

Old Fluffy back home again after the surgery

She died a few weeks later because not only was she an old dog, but it was probably a bad call on our part to get her operated on and put under a general anaesthetic. Old Fluffy and I shared a final day together, she was not in a good way:

Old Fluffy and I share a few final hours together

Anyway, whatever the case may be, Toothy now has a taste for licking warts. Due to Toothy’s probing search for warts, Ollie now has warts. We on the other hand have the War on Warts. But given our past experiences with Old Fluffy, we don’t want to take Ollie down the veterinary to have the wart removed by surgery. What to do? Well, recently we have begun trialling home remedies for removing warts. It seems like a less invasive option than very expensive and risky surgery.

We’re now regularly dabbing castor oil on the wart on Ollie’s forehead and to my astonishment after only a week of application, the wart has receded to a mere minor bump. We will continue to apply the castor oil until the wart is completely gone, but at this rate I’d be surprised if there is anything left of it in another week. Castor oil I believe has Vitamin E in it among other compounds, which is effective on canine warts. And it is an amazingly cheap treatment. Risk of death through surgery is also low!

Excavations continued this week on the extension of the strawberry terrace.

Excavations continued this week on the extension of the strawberry terrace

We unearthed a huge quantity of rocks. Some of the rocks were originally much larger, however we then broke into smaller rocks with the electric jackhammer.

The author looks excited by the prospect of so many rocks which were unearthed recently

There is also a 4,000 litre (1,050 gallon) water tank on the same level as the rock pile. We lowered the height of the water tank by around 20cm (8 inches) because it is necessary to accommodate a future project.

The water tank on the terrace with the rock pile was lowered about a bit less than a foot

The area next to the water tank was then excavated so that we could add another similar sized water tank over the next few weeks.

The area next to the lowered water tank was excavated flat so that we could add another similar sized water tank

Observant readers will notice a green hose going into that water tank in the photo above. After about six hours of pumping water from the house tanks, the water tank is now full to the brim!

Then we removed all of the rocks in the rock pile! Rocks are precious and every single rock has a use here.

All of the rocks in the rock pile were moved by hand and wheelbarrow

Some of the rocks were used to create a rock wall on that terrace where the rocks were previously piled up.

A rock wall was created on the blackberry terrace that did have the large pile of rocks

The largest rocks were used to begin creating a rock wall on the recently established path to the chicken enclosure.

Larger rocks were used to create a rock wall on the path to the chicken enclosure

And all of the remaining smaller rocks were placed into one of the two steel rock gabion cages which retain the steep soil on the potato terrace behind the wood shed.

One of the two rock gabions behind the wood shed is rapidly filling up

Regular readers will recall that a few weeks ago a large olive tree had been pulled over by the local wallabies. It was an impressive effort by the marsupials, and it is unreasonable of us to expect that the tree would right itself, but one can only but wish! Anyway, we removed the huge olive tree and relocated it.

An olive tree that was vandalised by the wallabies was removed and relocated

The olive tree was huge and it was quite the effort to extract it from the ground. It is worth mentioning that it was the largest fruit tree that I have ever relocated, but I have no worries at all about the tree surviving the ordeal. It was soon happily in its new location adjacent to the poopyquat. Long term readers will know that the poopyquat is a kumquat citrus tree which was planted over the grave of Sir Poopy the Swedish Lapphund.

The olive tree was relocated to a garden bed next to the poopyquat

Another round raised garden bed was converted into a permanent asparagus bed (which now makes three beds of asparagus). The local plant nursery was selling two year old potted up asparagus plants for a reasonable price – and who can argue with that?

Another round raised garden bed was converted into a permanent asparagus bed this week

Onto the winter flowers:

The beautiful smelling Daphne is just about to flower
Silver wattle is a bright splash of yellow in the surrounding evergreen forest
How cool is this Hellebore flower?
Did I mention that Hellebore’s self seed prolifically?
Rosemary is an ever reliable herb
These Leucondendrons are not technically flowers yet, but I reckon they look great

The temperature outside now at about 8.00am is 3’C (37’F). So far this year there has been 575.8mm (22.7 inches) which is higher than last week’s total of 544.4mm (21.4 inches).