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.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

dogs show us how to relax

Being a tense person, I need to learn from Penny how to relax:

When I went outside to try to sort all our little bits and pieces - nails, assorted drill bits, variously-sized screws, strange bit of metal that defy classification - Penny came along to continue the relaxation class.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

RoundUp is dangerous

We've been cleaning up our back shed over the last couple of weeks. Yep, it's a lo-o-ng process!

Today I was moving stuff around and noticed a container of RoundUp, and said to myself, in an organic garden there is no room for such a poison. But then I thought, what if a really, really hard-to-get-rid-of weed needs just a teensy touch of poison, applied carefully with a small paintbrush? And so I put the container back on the shelf.

What was I thinking of? It's a poison!

And, in a satisfyingly timely happening, Grace Elliot, a veterinarian, sent in a comment today responding to my post about the dangers of glyphosate (RoundUp). She mentioned the abstract of an article in the Journal of the British Veterinary Association. So I checked up the reference, and this is part of it:
According to the Centre National d’Informations Toxicologiques Vétérinaires (CNITV) (Burgat and others 1998Berny and others 2010), the Italian Veterinary Toxicologic Assistance Service (SATV) (Giuliano Albo and Nebbia 2004) and the human Poison Control Centre of Milan (Centro Antiveleni di Milano, CAV) (Caloni and others 2012), glyphosate is the herbicide most commonly involved in animal poisonings. Since its launch, the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) in London has received 1323 enquiries about dogs (n=992) and cats (n=331) exposed to glyphosate-based products (Bates and Edwards 2013).

Glyphosate is the herbicide most commonly involved in animal poisonings.

I remember my brother telling me about the time his neighbour sprayed the lawn with RoundUp and found dead rabbits lying there the following day. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

look both ways before you cross the road

Yesterday Penny's humans were jokingly discussing how nice it would be if she learned to look both ways before crossing the road. Given that she is always on lead around traffic, I guess she hasn't had a chance to learn 'road sense'.

So I was amused to see this clip of a chimp checking for traffic before crossing a busy highway. (The more I see of the animal world, the more I realise we are only one many intelligent species that share this planet.)

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mother Earth bandages her wounds with weeds

At a recent talk by John, at Edible Forest Gardens in Wonga Park, he spoke about the damage we do to the soil when we dig or disturb it in any way. From what I understood, he said that Mother Earth has to bandage the wound when soil is uncovered or disturbed, and what we call 'weeds' are the first line of defence.

Yesterday we walked with Penny in Darebin Parklands, and part of the area we passed had been cleared, presumably for revegetation with indigenous plants. I was interested to see the baby wattles growing there, because I remembered John saying one of the first 'fixes' for naked, broken soil is plants that can add nitrogen to the ground, eg wattles.

I wondered what these seedlings would turn out to be:

Further along, beside the creek, there was another array of weeds, this time not native plants. (I couldn't help noticing many of them are edible.) It's fascinating to see them  trying to fix the nakedness of the soil. I guess they will eventually be removed, because the aim is to cover the ground with indigenous plants.

I guess they'll help build soil nutrients. The issue would be whether this is the type of nutrition the indigenous plants need.