Ollie, wake up! Wake up dude! The early morning alarm makes a quiet sound in another room. Dame Plum, Kelpie boss dog hearing that, musters the other two fluffies for another day of activities.
Dame Plum looks over at Ollie before commanding: You know the drill. Snuffle Sandra’s hand. Wet it good and proper. Ollie has a rather large mouth. The dogs sleep on the couch in Chris’s study. And somehow every morning, just as the door handle is being used, Ollie’s wet and spiky mouth manages to connect with Sandra’s hand. The accuracy is uncanny, and on the days I’ve let the dogs out in the morning, he got me too. Do we really require this special treatment?
Rain, hail, snow or sunshine, the dogs head outside to do their ablutions before rapidly returning back inside the house for breakfast. The parrots lurk around waiting for a free feed, because after all, the dogs are well fed.
Ollie is usually first back inside. He then ignores Dame Plum as she makes her way back into the house. Instead he waits for Ruby. Ruby is the naughty dog. Ollie as dog number one, chastises the mischievous Ruby, but is he actually playing up because he is smitten by her and her slinky legs, tail and stuff? We’ll never know, but we can speculate.
A cup of coffee assists with bringing the dogs early morning antics into focus. Before that, it’s all sound, movement, colour and life, with the occasional gnashing of teeth. The dogs breakfast is put together and consumed on the floor of the kitchen in neat separate bowls. Years ago I knew a dachshund corgi cross dog who enjoyed nothing better than starving her best mate. After that experience, we’ve fed the dogs in separate bowls, and monitored them.
Dame Plum is kitchen bitch. She does all the hard yards with cleaning up any left overs. The other two dogs are useless at sorting out the finer details. Trust me on this, I’ve sat those two down and admonished them. Even pulled out the big gun: “Sir Scruffy would never have put up with this shit!”. But do they listen? No! So Dame Plum ends up doing all the heavy lifting with kitchen clean up duties.
After my own breakfast is consumed, the regular chores need doing. Ollie assists me with watering the plants in the greenhouse. His nose is like a magnet for fertilisers of any description, and he’ll happily aerate the soil whilst snuffling for juicy chunks of yummy in the raised garden beds. Yes, very helpful. Around the property we’ll walk doing a boundary patrol check looking for naughty marsupials, rabbits, foxes and/or deer. It’s amazing what life is out there.
Next chore on the list is the daily cleaning out of the chicken enclosure. Dame Plum is the nominated chicken dog, and will happily monitor the chicken situation. As soiled bedstraw gets turfed out of the chicken enclosure, she rifles through it looking for… Boss, a Triffid might be hidden in there! Let me check it out first! She certainly diligently sifts through the detritus which gets chucked into the orchard.
The work day then begins. The dogs hang around one at a time, keeping alert for anything unusual, like say, Triffids. There’s a lot of life out there, so you never know. They enjoy a bit of freedom combined with a whole bunch of responsibility. They know what is required of them. And there is work for them to be done here, like digging out rabbit burrows and destroying rat nests if those are near to where we’re working.
Sometimes during a work day the dogs will exercise their own initiative and decide to improve their usually neutral aroma by rolling in a choice chunk of stuff that is unmentionable in polite company. Fortunately nobody reading the blog fits that description, so the dogs roll in poo. Aroma de stinky! It’s not nice, and earns them a wash down with the hose. They don’t like that, but that’s consequences for you. It astounds me sometimes to contemplate the reasons as to why they think they’ll get away with such a resounding stench. A true mystery.
The end of the work day is marked by a rest with a coffee and an Anzac biscuit. The dogs also enjoy a specially baked Anzac biscuit (minus chocolate and sultanas). Ollie being a larger dog gets to enjoy two biscuits. In between the first and the second biscuit, there is candidly a lot of drool from the big dog.
After the drool gets cleaned up, the dogs may enjoy a walk. Dame Plum is super excited about walks, but tends to believe that her boss dog status exempts her from the lead. That ain’t so, and a lead gets chucked around her neck. Her will has to bend to the realities of other people.
The evenings are the time where you’ll experience the nose nudge. The two Kelpies are experts at this. If they want something, they’ll wait until you are distracted, then bump their nose into your leg. What’s just happened? Before you know it, they’re out of reach sitting there making eye contact. If you ignore them, they’ll wait for the next opportunity. It’s distracting. You know what we wants! Usually a rawhide chew is what the dogs want.
Sometimes the nose nudge means that they want to sit on your lap and enjoy a pat.
All good days come to an end. Almost before the dogs know it, they’re back on the couch asleep again.
A blast of cold and damp Antarctic air has hung over the farm for most of the week. It sure got cold, and wet.
When the rain cleared, we used the tree stump grinder to clean up the leftovers from the century or so of logging.
One of the ride on mowers requires regular basic maintenance with a grease gun. Because the machine is so low to the ground, maintaining the mower is not easy to do. Rather than installing a hoist, or ramps, to get under the machine, we decided to make an access pit using steel rock gabion cages. The idea is to get the machine onto the top of the solid cages, then I can safely work underneath. This week, we made the three cages necessary for that arrangement.
As part of the ongoing upgrades with the solar power system, I installed some high quality circuit breakers to replace the cheaper items. After having seen a cheaper item fail to trip only to then destroy itself, I’m very dubious as to whether the cheap ones would work when necessary. The facts suggest that they won’t. And that possibility is not good and could be catastrophic.
In addition to the above, a couple of very large DC voltage rated fuses were added. I call them, the ‘last resort’ fuses and they will hopefully cut the power when everything else fails. Not a situation to muck around with.
We had a good raspberry harvest this year and most of those delectable berries were turned into raspberry jam. We’ve been on a mission to avoid adding pectin to jams as it gives them a jelly-like consistency, plus changes the colour and taste of the final product. Best avoided, and that’s where the science of jam making comes in. That science works!
And the proof of the science, can be seen in the outcome. No added pectin.
It’s been an excellent blackberry harvest too. One of the more intriguing fruits here is the Babaco (which is a cold tolerant pawpaw) grown in the greenhouse.
The chilli’s in the greenhouse are producing really well, and most of those will be dehydrated and used later in the year.
There are a few green unripe cherry tomatoes growing about the farm. But nothing comes even close to the tomatoes grown in the greenhouse. They’re not ripe, but should get there soon.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10am is 12’C (53’F). So far this year there has been 62.4mm (2.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 38.0mm (1.5 inches)