Love Bites

Hi everyone. I’m Plum the serious sheep dog, who just happens to be sister to Ruby the fun loving sheep dog. The two of us girlie sheep dogs came to Fernglade Farm when we were about 12 weeks old. Back then the farmers may have been of the prejudiced kind, because we were judged as the runts of the litter. Ruby and I however, well, we go way back, and we’re survivors baby. So when the opportunity to jump ship and take up residence at a new farm arose, we took it, and ain’t never looked back.

Here’s us three rapscallions back in those early days:

The sheep dogs Plum and Ruby, at 12 weeks old

In a world full of everyday boring specimens, my sis and I have always been above average looking dogs. We set the canine world on fire. And the competition pales into insignificance. I mean have you ever seen a French Bulldog? Freaky strange looking dogs those things. It’s almost as if one day they were looking up into the sky and something heavy fell onto their face and flattened them! Freaks. Not to blow my own trumpet, but my perfect ears and long legs proves that the farmer didn’t know nuffin anywhoo. Runts of the litter, what a fine joke that was – my sis and I, we were the best of the best.

Here’s a photo of me today:

Plum, the now adult sheep dog

My colouring is superb, I mean if a gal had to attend a masquerade ball or rob a bank, I am like yo’ dog. Some snooty party goers or bank robbers may hide behind a domino, mine’s built in. And the tongue, well, let’s just say that I know how to wield it to good effect. My chest is broad and powerful and overall if I had to rate my general countenance, it would be in the totally superb category. And that is me just being modest.

Friends, this farm is way sorted. Bouncy marsupials who need chasing off – tick. Deer herds which need chasing off – tick. Identifying poisonous snakes – tick. Walks – done. Cuddles – onto that gear for sure. There’s just one thing that bothers me. Ollie likes my sis Ruby better than I, and he says he only wants to be friends with me. Like what the f!@# is with that?

Plum, the third wheel

I don’t know what he sees in Ruby. Sure, she may be more fun than I am. So what if I’m more serious than Ruby? The farm boundary needs to be patrolled, and this is serious business, fun can occur after the work is done. If you were going to be in a knife fight, everyone who is anyone knows you’d take me, whilst Ruby would sit it out on the bench. Ruby is just a little less caring about such farm stuff things, but when the chips are down, a farmers gonna need a reliable dog, and that’s me: Plum sheep dog extraordinaire!

Yet Ollie just wants to be friends. It’s hard on me, Ollie must have feelings, and Ruby is my sister after all and we share a pack bond that goes way back. Maybe Ollie just hasn’t searched the depth of his feelings enough? He’ll come around eventually, after all I have perfect ears and a regal snout. It’s not polite to talk about Ruby’s floppy ears, but they are kind of floppy.

A few days ago, I asked Chris the hard question: “Why doesn’t Ollie like me the way he likes Ruby?” Glad I asked the question because it’s been eating me up of late, big time. And so Chris sat me down, gave me a consoling beef jerky, and said that: “You know what Plum. Sometimes dogs don’t always fall in love at the same time. You might just have to wait this one out.” My shattered nerves were soothed by his words, but then why did he have to add: “Plum, you’re a catch.” Oh no, everyone who is anyone knows that these words are the polite way of saying that I’m a total loser. Now I’m freaking out all over again!

What does Chris know anyway? Maybe I should do some short courses or training on how to become a more likeable canine? But I’m already perfect, aren’t I? Perhaps after all, Ollie has done me a favour and there is another dog waiting for me in the future, but it sure feels messy way deep down in the heart. And I’m hurtin’, as this unrequited love sucks.

Thanks for that update on your love life Plum, and we can only but wish you well.

Summer has hardly made an appearance this growing season. The other morning, it was sort of warm at this higher elevation, but frost could be seen way down in the valley below where the cool air pools.

Summer frost down in the valley below the farm

Over the past month or so, we have been slowly excavating a new shed site up above the house. At one end of the site which has not yet been excavated sat a massive rock. You could say that the rock was an inconvenient rock. The task we set ourselves for this week was breaking the massive chunk of granite into smaller and easier to move chunks of granite.

A large chunk of the much larger rock was removed

In order to break the rock we drilled many holes into the granite. Then I use a jackhammer to work open the holes and break apart the rock. The chunk which is removed can then be used elsewhere on the farm. You can see the eventual outcome in the next photo where another chunk of rock was broken off.

Another one (love) bites the dust

Breaking apart such dense and hard rock is no easy task. At one point the editor described my reactions as a ‘hell cat’ before then walking off and doing something else with her time. We usually work together very well, but breaking rocks like this one is really hard work. Concerned readers can rest easy knowing that apologies were made and ruffled feathers were soothed. Chocolate may have been involved as well.

After almost a days work the rock was broken into five large chunks.

Five large chunks of rock, an Ollie dog and a Hell Cat!

The power wheelbarrow was then used to move the rocks down hill where they were used in the new low gradient ramp and utility area project. These projects demand lots of large rocks in order to retain the soil on the slope. And being well past Peak Rocks, there just aren’t that many large easy rocks to be had on the farm.

The rock soil retaining wall on the utility area and low gradient ramp projects are coming along despite the awfulness of Peak Rocks

The editor scored three new roses which have now been planted out on the garden terraces. We’re coming around to the perspective that plants need far more growing space than they get in most of our gardens. When we planted out the original rose garden, we took measurements for plant spacing from a nearby botanical garden. The plants were originally spaced at 800mm (31 inches) centres, but having observed them growing over the past year, we believe that 1 metre (39 inches) centres would be better for the health of the plants. Over the next few months we’ll dig up all of the roses and replant them at the more distant centres, and in a different location.

Three new roses get planted out

Observant readers will note the healthy looking row of tomato plants on the left hand side of the above photo. Because of the cool and damp summer most of the fruit remains green, but there are signs that the fruit perhaps may ripen soon.

Some of the very few ripe tomatoes

A few months ago, a good friend spotted me attempting to grow peanuts in the greenhouse. His response was to laugh at my audacity whilst at the same time implying that I didn’t have a hope of producing any peanuts in this climate. Well, the plants grew in the greenhouse, but this week I faced up to reality and planted them all out in one of the garden rows. We’ll just have to wait and see – but the probability of them producing anything is candidly not good.

Peanuts grown in the greenhouse are now in the full sun

The state government has finally woken up from its year long coma, got off the couch and begun to attend to the nearby forests. A large forest burn took place and it covered quite a huge area. I only hope they know what they are doing.

A forest burn took place this week

The burn continued throughout the day and by the time evening fell, it looked kind of awesome against the back drop of the setting sun.

The nearby controlled forest burn

Onto the flowers:

The roses have enjoyed the brief warm summer sunshine
The dozens of roses fill the air with their perfume
A few of the roses climb through the garden beds
Pink and white Californian Poppies
Californian Poppies happily grow in the many garden beds
A delightful Ollie flower, and um, oh yeah and some Salvia flowers

The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 211.2mm (8.3 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 208.8mm (8.2 inches).