Monday, 22 June 2015

weeds can be good guys

Since I attended yet another 'edible weed walk' recently, this one led by Adam Grubb, I'm on the lookout for these helpful intruders (weeds, that is).

And when Penny and I headed home from the local railway station, after our regular Monday walk to see Human Number Two off on the train, we paused to glance into this piece of  waste land. (You can just see the tips of Penny's hair at the bottom of the photo.)


Weeds are so good at helping Mother Nature to fix the injuries we humans do to her skin. I've been reading a pdf of a book written in 1950 about the discovery that weeds are our friends, not our enemies. The writer, Joseph A. Cocannouer, must have been brave to pioneer an appreciation of weeds in an age when most farmers and gardeners had declared war on them. The book is called Weeds; Guardians of the Soil, and I recommend it to every gardener and farmer. (It's a free download.)

I guess it was a Very Good Day for Penny today, because she went on two walks. In the afternoon we came across a lovely example of a wild brassica, but I didn't know which one it was, so I brought it home to wash it thoroughly and taste it. Delicious. We also found lots of pine needles, which I'm going to spread across the pot of blueberries as a mulch.


Here's the brassica.



Monday, 15 June 2015

a beautiful tribute to a dog

A beautiful film about the life together of Ben Moon and his dog, Denali.

Denali from FELT SOUL MEDIA on Vimeo.

I think Denali will be across The Rainbow Bridge with a circle of dogs sitting around him to listen to tales of his adventures with Ben.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

rescuing a ringtail possum

This towel smells interesting.


Hmm...This calls for some really close sniffing.


And here's why. The towel had been part of a 'ringtail possum rescue'.


It all began when I noticed the ringtail walking across our backyard. A call to Wildlife Rescue evinced the information that the possum was most likely ill, or it wouldn't have been down at ground level in the daytime. Could I catch it? Well, I said I could, but it was rather traumatic for the poor creature by the time I'd clambered around water tanks and trees to get it. (Yep, it had retreated from ground level, but by this time we were determined to get it checked over at the local vet clinic, as per instructions from Wildlife Rescue.)




The vet thought the blood in the corner of the box came from a bitten tongue or lip, not from anything problematic, so they rang us to come and fetch the possum and return it into our own trees. They said it had become 'feisty' in the clinic, lol.

So, more clambering by me to get up high.



And off it went!


We've been out this evening for Penny's usual visit to inspect the local wildlife and she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, so here's hoping the possum is fine and that it stays up high where it belongs. You know - up high where our fruit grows...


Monday, 8 June 2015

dogs as omnivores

Penny is quite an adventurous eater, and willing to try new things.

Lately we've had lots of feijoas, courtesy of a friend with a huge crop on her tree, and Penny likes them.

I think perhaps she's willing to try many new foods because of having been offered a wide variety throughout her life. But she doesn't like celery!

In the back lane today, while I was contemplating the prolific crop of lilly pillies on a neighbour's tree, and wondering what I could cook with them, seeing they were just falling to the ground and rotting, Penny had wandered off towards our house. When I reached her, she had a big hamburger bun stuffed into her mouth. I got a bit suspicious that she wouldn't look up at me, and crouched down to look, and there it was. Such a trophy.

After a long battle of wills, in which I held onto the bun and repeated the command, 'Give!', she finally gave it to me. What a hard decision that must have been for her. I rewarded her with some yummy peanut butter treats from Ivory Coat. We got them from Deb at Bow Rei Me, when Penny had her Bowen therapy last week.

Another interesting treat Penny had this afternoon was a -hopefully very small - mouthful of fertiliser pellets, aka chicken poo. She was investigating a pot of wild rocket seedlings and, once again, wouldn't look up at me, always a tell-tale sign that she's pinched something she shouldn't. The dirt around her muzzle was another strong clue!

Now the plant is up high on a table.

I had a look in a book to see what I could cook with the lilly pillies, but it all seemed a bit too hard, so we're freezing them for the time being, and human number two might try them out as fabric dyes if we don't cook with them.


(The lilly pillies are in the plate at top right. There are some olives at top left. I'm experimenting with preserving them.)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

don't use Roundup if you have dogs

The World Health Organisation said in March that Roundup  'probably' causes cancer in humans.

If it is dangerous to humans, how much more so must it be to dogs, who walk 'bare-footed' on ground that has been sprayed!

I have previously posted about this pernicious substance. It's a dreadful product.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

dogs and vegemite

Penny could have told Jimmie Fallon how to eat vegemite on toast, without seeing Hugh Jackman do so.



She, like any true-blue Aussie dog, loves her toast with vegemite. (Or peanut butter, for that matter.)



Even if her humans are miserly with the bread. (Bread isn't really good for her.) That's her teensy piece on the edge of the plate.



But she's willing to go through her routine of tricks to see which one will be randomly rewarded on this occasion. She usually does a couple of spins, one direction after another, to see whether that earns a response, then backs away, tries a short 'speak', takes a bow, or gets up on her hind legs (wonderful to see she can do this now, after her cruciate surgery five years ago).

Today, it was the hind legs raise that got the tiny reward.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

dogs understand how to be sneaky

While I was working on the compost pile yesterday, I scraped off the top layers of shredded paper and garden greens, revealing an underneath layer of well-rotted kitchen scraps.



When I looked toward the pile from the other side of the garden, Penny was nearby, licking her lips, and I reckon there was a ring of black around her mouth, though I couldn't be sure from that distance. If she'd been a human, she'd have been whistling unconcernedly and glancing aside innocently. As it was, she stood her ground, her tail at mid height, enduring my suspicious stare.

We faced each other for minutes rather than seconds, she the picture of nonchalance, until she decided I wasn't going to move. She headed inside the house and didn't come out again.

I've put a barrier in front of the compost, even though the 'tastiest' bits are now safely reburied under boring mulched branches and leaves and such like.

She wouldn't have been near the compost today, anyway, because she was with me at Yarra Glen, having a wonderfully relaxing and health-enhancing Bowen therapy from Deb.