Sunday, 29 September 2013

a giant pear tree

When Penny and I walked in Banksia Park yesterday, we admired the old cherry orchard and then headed off along the walking trail. I stopped to read this sign...

(Click on the photo and the sign will 'biggify' so you can read it.)

What old pear tree, I wondered. I looked around. No pear tree here. Only this giant tree I'm standing under...

I looked up. Oh, wow!

Omigod! Is that how big my little backyard pear tree will grow? We don't generally see big deciduous fruit trees in Melbourne, because European settlement only dates from about the 1840s in this area. This would have to be the oldest pear trees I have ever seen in Melbourne.

I had to convince myself it was indeed a pear tree. I still couldn't believe they get so big. So to Penny's mystification I climbed onto the nearby seat to examine the blossom. (She looked away from the horrible sight of me peering down at her.)

Yes! Pear blossom!

Penny and I will be back early next year to see if there's fruit for the picking.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cherries and a dog park

While most of the family were at the MCG watching Hawthorn Football Club become the AFL 2013 Premiers, Penny and I walked at Banksia Park.

For me it's the park of last resort, because to walk around it briskly takes only three minutes. Three minutes! I guess it's somewhere different to go, with new smells, and when you're not feeling very energetic you can stroll around a couple of times and at least know you've taken the dog for a walk.

However, when I looked up info about the park, just now, I realised it's a park aimed at older dog owners, or ones with a disability, so I can see that it's a good resource for the area, because it's well fenced and has open areas for dogs to chase balls - a handy place for humans who can't walk well.

Looking over the fence, I noticed an old orchard of cherry trees, so I had to go and investigate, seeing I'm keen on edible gardening. I read on this site that the orchard is called The Japanese Cherry Orchard, because it was planted when the Japanese Prime Minister visited. I'm keen to find out moreabout this visit and about the age of the cherry trees, but will have to research it off the Net, because I can't find any information online.

Because the place was deserted - everyone else watching the big footy finals, I suppose - I thought it would be okay to break the rules for once and investigate the orchard with Penny off-lead. (The grass was too long for me to cope with her on lead.)

While I admired the blossom...

Penny ate some delicious grass.

Monday, 23 September 2013

little children can confuse dogs

Our little visitor has become more relaxed with Penny around, and now likes Penny to be in the room with her.

Which is great. We believe it's good for children to be calm around dogs. But we're also aware that a two-year-old doesn't understand that even the most placid dog needs guidance at times as to how to behave.

If you look at this photo of Penny, I think you'll agree that she's looking a bit worried. Her tail is tucked under and her ears are flat.

In the second photo, she has moved to the other side of the little visitor, possibly getting away from the child's attention, and isn't sure whether it's okay to play with her toys. Her head is tilted and she's looking at me to check what's going on.

In the final photo she has relaxed. 

It's wonderful to have our delightful little visitor, and I'm glad she and Penny are getting along so well. But we won't be taking our eyes off Penny for even a moment while there's a toddler in the room with her.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

fun game for learning about animal health

Human Number Two is out walking with Penny and I'm lazing around at home playing a game on the computer, a game I saw on PetMD.

It's fun. The game is released by the American Veterinary Medical Association. You are training to be a vet and working in a vet hospital. I'm just at the beginner level, and already I'm not keeping up with the influx of clients. I'll have to stop blogging and get right back to it...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

dogs and toddlers

For some weeks now our staid old home has been energised by a visiting two-year-old on Wednesday evenings.

We've been very careful to separate Penny from the little one, because our visitor isn't used to dogs. Penny isn't too willing to be penned behind a doggy gate, but can usually be manoeuvred into the room with a treat. She can see the visitor through the gate.

Week by week, the little visitor has become more accustomed to Penny's presence, sometimes wanting to pat her; but in general quite wary.

Tonight, Penny waited behind the doggy gate for her visitor.

After a while, the little one wanted to come into Penny's room and meet her, and we let the visitor give a few 'sit' commands and drop treats for Penny. Eventually Penny was allowed out of the separate room and resumed her usual quiet evening doze in the family room with everyone else, even sitting on the couch next to our little visitor.

It was great to see the two of them comfortable together, but we didn't take our eyes off them for a moment, because it's so important there be no misunderstanding.

Finally Penny took herself off to another room to have a rest. But our visitor thought Penny needed some entertainment, so she rushed around fetching toys for her. (I love the way the camera gives an impression of her activity level!)

Penny was somewhat bemused by all the activity, but took it calmly.

What a lovely visit!