Dame Plum was the smaller of the two 12 week old pups. Ruby was larger, and spicier, something of a cheeky character. She’d never make good boss dog material. Plum on the other hand had a certain reserve about her character, you could see it, even at that young age. Ollie the mighty Bull Arab, loved both pups and took them under his wing.
It’s rare for two sisters from the same litter to be able to grow up together, and they enjoy each others company. At first I was a bit apprehensive as to whether Ollie would be a bit rough with the pups, but I needn’t have worried. The opposite was true, the pups were rough as bags with Ollie, and from time to time they’d hang off his ears or jowls. As a big dog, he’s already got a lot of jowls, and the antics of the two girls simply extended those bits of flesh. The trio would play and play, all day long, then crash out, sleeping the sleep of exhaustion. Ollie would watch over the two girls even in dreamland.
I’ve long suspected that Ollie likes Ruby ever so slightly more than he likes Plum. All the same, most nights Plum and Ollie sleep snuggled up. They’ve done that ever since the earliest days.
Three and a half years on, and Plum is now Dame Plum. She earned the title. Killed every rat that she could get her paws and teeth on. Long term readers will recall the pogrom on rats, and the months of effort spent in excluding the rodents from the chicken enclosure, without resorting to poisons and bait. I took out two rats, but Dame Plum, well, I stopped counting after the dog exceeded my best efforts by a factor of ten. That’s what being outclassed looks like!
Dame Plum is the boss dog. Even today, she’ll ferret out any rats foolish enough to consider coming within range of her canine abilities. Rabbits are equally fearful. There’s a cost to the dog though, she keeps getting intestinal worms from regular contact with these wild animals. It’s a problem.
You can tell when a dog has worms, because they drag their itchy rear end on the rugs. Not so nice for us humans, nor for the other dogs. Dogs can also do that trick for other reasons, but you know it’s worms with Plum because she starts to get grumpy. And she expresses her unhappiness with the world. Irritable dogs aren’t a lot of fun.
Initially we’d dose her up on vermicide (worm killer) which you can buy at the local feedstore (they sell animal related products as well as feed). The dosage rate is pretty consistent between the various brands, which is around once every three months, depending. However, Plums regular interactions with rodents and rabbits means that she is coming into contact far more often than most dogs ever would. A bit of reading suggests that there is a loss of efficacy with the vermicide if you dose a dog too often.
Both Sandra and I, were scratching our heads and wondering what to do. We couldn’t do nothing, and we couldn’t up the dosage rate for the worming treatment either. At such times, we often look back over time to see what people used to do before you could buy treatments at the local feedstore. Turns out you can add crushed up pepitas (a green pumpkin seed) to the dogs feed. Apparently the chemicals inherent in the seeds, plus roughage, helps treat worms. The plants will even grow here. So, for a week each month, Dame Plum now gets five teaspoons of crushed up pepitas added to her breakfast. She enjoys them, and will eat all of it. And it’s working too. Plum’s a happy girl now, and she tells me: The war on rats is going well Brother Chris!
I guess plenty of people would want to try a more complicated and expensive solution, that’s progress for you. But who can forget the time Old Fluffy was operated on to remove a wart? We could have just tried applying Castor Oil to the wart. I’m pretty sure that would have had a good chance of fixing it. It certainly worked on a young Ollie who had a wart on his forehead. Old Fluffy sure didn’t like the surgery though, because she died not long afterwards.
As a civilisation, we’re oddly fixated on moving forward. You can’t stand in the way of progress, I’ve been told. However, if progress involves layers and layers of additional complexity, eventually solving simple problems becomes way too costly. Maybe that’s when you need to stop, look backwards and see what used to work. And all I know is that that whilst worms may be plentiful, green pumpkin seeds are cost effective.
It’s been a truly amazing week of weather. We haven’t run the wood heater for the week. The sun has shone, the UV is moderate, the wind has been mild, and it has just been so pleasant. The plants are growing too, there are blossoms all over the early fruit trees. I’m hard pressed to recall a nicer spring week. We tried to spend as much time outdoors as we were able to.
Alas, despite the nice spring weather, Peak Rocks is real. We now have to create large rocks for the various projects by breaking apart huge rocks. A day was spent breaking apart just such a rock.
This was perhaps our most ambitious rock yet, and we’re honing our technique with these monster chunks of granite. Part of what we are learning from this work, is how to read a rock. And we destroyed this rock! It was awesome when the rock split right down the middle.
The rock broke apart into five huge slabs. On the day, three of those slabs were then broken apart into many smaller, yet still large and heavy rocks.
The broken apart chunks of rock were hauled away. But before we finished work for the day with the huge rock, we separated out the remaining two slabs and will break them apart in a week or two.
All of the smaller rocks were hauled away back up the hill and installed on the new low gradient path project. The project involves a number of rock walls, but this particular rock wall is nearing completion. I suspect when we get around to breaking apart the two remaining slabs, that will provide enough chunks to complete the rock wall.
We’ve continued to get the garden beds ready for the growing season. The sapling fenced enclosure is now ready to go for the season.
The dozen posts for the new 600m2 (or 6,500ft2) citrus and vegetable enclosure were cemented into the post holes which were dug last week. We’re leaving the cement to cure properly for a week before we begin adding any fencing.
The weather was so nice this week that on Tuesday we started about half of the seasons seeds. The seeds enjoy good growing conditions in the greenhouse. And plenty of them have already germinated, radishes (Pink Lady Slipper variety) being the fastest of the lot.
The warm week has spurred on the growth of the Asparagus, and we’ve been eating plenty of the spears. The beds they grow in were all given a very good feed of compost + coffee grounds + agricultural lime + gypsum + blood and bone meal. They’re happy plants, and we’ll add some rock salt later this week just prior to the forecast rain.
The garden terraces have grown very strongly since we fed them with a similar mixture about two weeks ago.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10am is 20’C (68’F). So far this year there has been 647.8mm (25.5 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 647.6mm (25.5 inches)