Thunderstorms and frantic dogs

My cup (water tank) runeth over.

I paid my $5 to the ladies group for the Biggest Morning Tea this coming Saturday. I have not received an Agenda yet and if there is not a lot of business it may well be that things could be laid over until the August Meeting. If that’s the case I win because I have already paid my fee  :o)  On the other hand, I would like to be able to go out to Hackham West and  visit Alan. He sounds well enough on the telephone so it will be interesting to see how he actually is. The problem is that I need to know fairly quickly in order to book the hotel. I mean I have already had a few unkind words from the management because I forgot to cancel the booking for the last meeting – the one that I didn’t attend.  It used to be that we set the meetings at the AGM in February and  you could be certain that they would go ahead, now this is no longer the case and  that last performance was an example of the problem associated with  booking ahead in this current climate.

In the early hours of this morning we had a thunderstorm. This was not predicted so Chienna was not given any medication. As a result she went slightly gaga. Somehow or other she managed to get behind the ironing board and just about brought that down on top of the little man. That’s when I  got there – just in time to arrest its fall. Normally the little man doesn’t bother, but Chienna was so stressed that it started to worry him. I decided that the only course of action was to bring them both into my room. I put him on the bed (it’s too high for him to jump up) and Chienna decided that being under the bed was a good place to hide, so that’s where she finally went.

At times it seemed as if the thunder was directly overhead – it was loud and the house shook a bit and we seem to have lost the servers. You will read this, but as I write it I do so on MS Word because we have no WiFi and no servers. It’s a real shocker of a day.    We had two more thunderstorms and decided not to wash the dog beds after all. I took the covers off them and decided that they really were grotty with no chance of cleaning the inside stuffing, so we decided to keep the outside covers – which we can possibly use – and buy new beds. During a break in the  rain we went down to the store and bought three new beds. I have put the small bed (which The Man  has claimed already) in the laundry and when this rain stops I’ll get out and tidy up and put the new beds into their houses. – The covers of the old beds will fit so I’ll keep them and dump the stuffing. Thus far – according to the local news – we have had 36mm of rain. That was on Tuesday – on Wednesday we had a further 20mm of rain. This is getting beyond a joke. We are not used to this weather – cold yes, rain, yes ( in small doses) but not this. My water tanks are full so you can turn it off now!!!   My gravel has weeds I never knew we had. Meanwhile certain (Unnamed ) parts of the world swelter in 43c.

Adelaide and back again – part 1

I didn’t know what to call this so I sort of borrowed  something from Tolkein  “There and back again” otherwise known as “The Hobbit”  I don’t think I have violated any copyright..

Not quite fully packed – but close. I will set off at 7am tomorrow and should, allowing for breaks, be in Adelaide by noon. The first session will start tomorrow night around 6:30. Sounds odd, I know, but that allows everyone to get there, get settled and for the general business of roll call and agenda to be gotten out of the way, a get together for light refreshments  and that concludes the Ist Session. From the 2nd Session onwards it will be full on for the next two days.  The Dinner is on the Tuesday night, but I will not be attending that. I will, instead, stay in my hotel working on things that I need to get brought up to days – like my  diary. I’ll probably go out and bring something in and have  food here in my hotel room.

Monday am

Ah yes, they were built to last in these days. This was at the service station when I pulled in.

Our visitor dog (Yogi) is still with us and he should be going back home today. It is only 6:20 and I don’t leave until about 7am. I do not like travelling on the road out of here in the dark so I generally wait until the sun is up. In summer time this means leaving about 6am. As far as I am aware, Jim is doing fine after his operation and should be home tomorrow, however, I think his wife is coming to collect Yogi sometime this afternoon after she has been at the hospital.  He’s been no bother and my two are still ignoring him, although I have to say that they let him use their bed yesterday  :o)  Regrettably, my two, whilst loveable , are not really very sociable when it comes to other dogs. But then, they have always been with me, Chienna six weeks after she was born and  Mannie  since he was adopted ten years ago. They are very much family dogs and they like people – just not other dogs.

The drive down here to Adelaide was very quiet until just about ten miles out of town. There was a smash on the inbound highway and two of the lanes were closed off and traffic was backed up for miles. Took me longer to travel these miles than it took me to travel down from Port Wakefield – 100 kilometres away.   In the early stages of the drive I was thankful for my  instance of not travelling at night because there was quite a few Kangaroos dead at the side of the road, plus a couple of foxes. Ok for a big truck not not in my  Ford.


After the introduction last night the first real session starts today. Good sleep, but it’s cold down here. I think it’s colder here than it is at home. Glad I brought a really heavy pullover with me :o) Although I have to say that the conference centre was well heated, so that was not a problem. Calling home during a break I found out that Yogi went home on Monday afternoon. And on the subject of going home, we believe that the business of the conference  will be concluded by noon on Wednesday and since the emergency meeting has been cancelled, I may get home on Wednesday afternoon. Depends what I have to do here.


Easter, rain and digging dogs

The covered in pergola
The covered in pergola

The rain stopped for a while last night and as it was not fully dark yet, I decided to take the dogs  for a walk.  It was so funny, Chienna – being the lady she is – delicately  jumps over the puddles whereas, Mannie, on the other hand, just walks right through them – no variation of the path he wants to go, just directly ahead, puddles and all.

Because of the rain and my feeling not quite the best, I have not been to the Arid Lands Garden, but I really must try and get over this week. I said before it is  150klm round trip but  it’s a good morning out and the prices in the Nursery are very reasonable. I am not in a great rush because I have not quite finished the area I want to put the new plants into, but if it stays dry tomorrow (Monday) I will see if I feel up to continuing with the cleaning and preparation. It should not take all that long.  Tomorrow is a public holiday so we can’t go anywhere anyway All-in-all, it has not been the best Easter we have had for a while.. I also have some concreting to do. Some dogs  (Two) on the far side of the property have started to dig under the fence. They are big dogs and they can’t possibly get through, but they have dug a hole big enough for my little ones to get through. It is only an area  9 feet long by about 14 inches wide so it should be fairly easy to do. I have just  closed one of the gates to keep the dogs out of that area for the moment. I could complain to the neighbours about their dogs but that could led to complications.  The House next to me is a State Government owned house and it is a police house – we never see them, which is probably a good thing.. Better I  just attend to the area and leave well alone.  I hope to be able to do this in the next day or so.

The “Dreaded Lurghi”  is starting to loose its grip and whilst it still hurts a bit when I cough, it’s not nearly as bad as it was. Still, I have to be thankful in that I have heard of some people being confined to bed and being really sick and it’s only just the start of the “Flu Season”.   I will just have to keep an eye of things and make sure that I don’t overdo things and allow myself to get run down.  I have to take Alan to the hospital again this morning and  see how the Warfarin  is behaving.

I don’t think I am going to be able to get over to the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens until after I take Alan back to Adelaide. Given some of the things that has been happening I think it’s safer ( for  my peace of mind!) that I delay the trip for the moment. Anyway, colds and flu notwithstanding, I have enough to be going on with at the moment. I have to say that we are only a week or so into Autumn (Fall) and since it has been a hot and windy summer there are no further leaves to come down from the tree, so once I have cleaned up this present lot, that should be it for a while and I can retire the vac-blower for a bit.  I might even be able to sling mu hammock without getting it covered leaves.

Thunderstorms, dogs and sleep!!

I think a lot of the problems we have here is that we lack imagination. Let me qualify that! When we leave Europe and come to the  far flung fringes of the Southern Hemisphere, we tend to bring our ideas of gardening with us. So, we plant the flowers we are used to, we plant good old European Lawns – in essence we seem to make every attempt to recreate the kind of garden we left behind – the kind that our parents lovingly tended and we, their children,  spent our youth in. So we plant our garden ,  watch things die and come to the conclusion that the problem is not enough water, so we water the plants and lawns with copious amounts of water  morning and afternoon. However, with the drought of recent years and water restrictions  the cost of continuing with this has become prohibitive. I have gotten rid of  lawns and replaced it with weed matting and treated coloured pine bark (red)  I have tried roses without much success and out of the dozens that I bought three are hanging on for dear life. I have planted  other pants and watch them burn up and die in the sun – despite watering mulching and soil treatment that didn’t work. So, native plants it is. I have started with two Sturt’s Desert Roses and two Sturt’s Desert Peas.  I have also planted four  silver leaf Eremophila – two out front and two  at the back. I will wait to see how these all survive before I do anything else. A neat European style garden and 40c heat just don’t go together.Not up in this little corner of the Commonwealth. And it’s only taken me 20 years to figure that out!

Chienna on her Futon.
Chienna on her Futon

Oh what a joy! We had a major thunderstorm last night. It started about 1:30 am and I was up and trying to comfort a dog who believed that the sky was falling. The vet had given me medication (ACP  10 mil.) to calm her down so I gave one  tablet to her. I also brought both dogs into my room so that herself would not be wakened. The little man curled up on my bed and went back to sleep. Chienna kept pacing up and down and stressing out. I really feel sorry for her and the combination of noise and pressure  really gets to her. The way she stresses out and the constant panting, I am surprised she doesn’t have a heart attack. But she doesn’t want to be comforted or reassured because when we try to hold her  she breaks free and continues her pacing and panting until the noise and the pressure stops- which it did around 4am but by then she had started to clam down.  She settled down at the foot of my bed and we all went to sleep until my alarm went off at 6:30. I gave them their sticks, let them out and went back to bed for an hour.

Adelaide, concerts and home to dogs

Scruffy - because she really was.  :o)The drive down to Adelaide was quiet and uneventful. It was a five hour drive – four and a half or less if you want to go  a fair bit over the speed limit – but I find that 110kph is fine and takes me where I want to go in the time I want to get there. Really excellent day – warm and sunny and being mid-week, little traffic on the road until the outskirts of the City. I drove into the city and met up with my son. We had lunch together. He is down at the corporate office for a while learning a different aspect to the organisation than what he is used to. I think they are going to change him from the mining section for a while.

I spent some time in the city before heading off  for a shower, change of clothes and off to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre for the Celtic Thunder Concert.  I have to say it was a great concert and it was all over far too soon.  I cannot remember when three hours passed so quickly. I really enjoyed the concert and it was a very good Christmas Present from my sons.  The only drawback is that they have to put up with the music – Hey!! It’s MY car  :o)  The drive back home was also uneventful and I did not get to the Garden Centre because I left early. On a warm to hot day it’s best to  do the driving in the morning before the sun starts to bite.  I didn’t have any dogs with me this time down and – barring incidents – I will not be back inAdelaide until late May.

My dogs are odd when it comes to cars. The little man curls up and goes to sleep – sometimes he comes over and sleeps on my lap. The other one, Chienna – she whines non stop. This is something we just don’t understand. We have had her since she was seven weeks old and she has grown up with us. She has never had a bad experience in the car but she does have ultra sensitive hearing and noises really stress her out, so perhaps that has something to do with it. We had her at the Vet. last week and changed the medication that she gets in the event of a thunder storm. We can also use these to calm her down if we ever have to take her for long dont Askdistances in the car. One of my very first dogs had cancer and the vet (at that time) wanted to put her down. I refused on the grounds that this was a pretty rough way to repay all her devotion over the years. I said I would be willing to nurse her, knowing that it would not end well. He gave her medication to  take away the pain and we nursed her, carrying her outside when necessary and just making sure she was comfortable. We only had her for a few months more but we all made certain that she was in no doubt that she was loved and cared for and one day I sat on the floor beside her, she put her head on my lap and she died. I was heartbroken – we all were because she went everywhere with us – making sure that anyplace we went to was “dog friendly’. Not as easy to find as you might think – although starting to become a lot easier today.

Round 2 begins

This morning dawned fresh and clear and until about an hour ago it was still so.  About then I started to see that the sky was dulling down and dark clouds were slowly moving in and sure enough, here we are in the middle of another thunderstorm. This is passing strange – we don’t generally have three in a row like this. Two in one day was bad enough but three in two days is trying the patience just a tad.  There are about 5000 homes without power – 100year old trees were picked up thrown over, along the main streets power-lines are down due to falling trees all of which I said yesterday, but this new storm, if it develops like the last one, could cause more damage. However, having said that, I don’t think it will. It doesn’t have the  same’ feel’ as the ones did yesterday. According to the statistics there were 120,000 lightening strikes across the State.  Anyway, Chienna is in the laundry on her bed and the little man is curled up on my bed. The reason for this is that he must have sneaked in and no one saw him. He was too quiet and it was only a few minutes ago that I went into my room and saw him. I didn’t have the heart to move him so he’s still there.   Yesterday was the first time I have ever seen him concerned during  thunder. Normally he’s not too fussed but yesterday it was very loud and the lightening was very bright.

The “flooding” was a lot of water on the roads, in gardens and elsewhere – it was NOT gushing through people’s houses, it did not threaten lives, it was at best ankle deep and apart from a few smallish puddles, it cleared away very quickly as the storm water drains caught up. The damage we did experience was caused by very high winds that threw down trees and brought down power lines. No one was hurt or injured, but it is interesting that this is the third year in a row that we have had a thunderstorm of this nature right at the very start of summer.

Weeds and yet more weeds.

It had been forecast to rain all this week. Monday I was out at a meeting and we had a serious storm. The lightening was so intense that at times it was  daylight. My wife brought the dogs inside to the laundry and set  the bed  up for them. The Maltese just went back to sleep but poor Chienna  was going gaga. With her sensitive hearing the thunder really frightened her.  She was so terrified that she attacked the ironing board – we have no idea why she did this since she has never done anything like that before. Annabell gave her half a tablet to try and calm her down. I think I will have to go back and see the Vet because we have had these tablets – from him – for a while now and she still gets seriously stressed out. The rain, by the way, was fairly heavy at times and I believe we received some 35mm overnight. It had been calm today – dull and overcast but no rain, although rain was part of the forecast.

I think the thing that is annoying me most at the moment is the aftermath of the rain – weeds – lots of weeds!! They seem to just appear out of nowhere and they are everywhere, growing almost overnight.  There’s no point in using weed killer because it needs  few dry days to do its work and at the moment we are not getting that. It looked clear so I went out for a rid on the bike. Was only halfway through the circuit when it started to rain. No point in turning back – just as quick to finish, so I did, and came home all nice and  dripping wet and I swear even the dogs looked at me as if I was an idiot.

A Rose by any other name…

The Wet Driveway and front gardenSince I am not working today and since it is dry for a change there are two things that I need to do. I need to get the unit cemented in place so that I can start work on the Washing line area as soon as it is practical to do so.  The crazy paving is just crazy and would take too much to fix it. I  would like to have it concreted over and if time permits tomorrow I might just see about that and how much it would cost. It may well be that the cost of cementing it would be less than the cost of what I wanted to do. We had a lot of visitors  yesterday and there were a number of little people. The dogs were not used to little people and were a bit wary at first but then they enjoyed the attention that they were getting. Chienna even allowed a little one to give her food – it’s food, why ever not?? Just as I was starting to relax and working out plans for the day – the telephone rang and I ended up working for the whole day. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day. And I was working that day too, and the day after that. I bought a  few roses and I have been planting them. I am planting them in bulk wherever I can on the  concept that some of them have to survive – I can’t kill them all off. I’m good but I’m not that good.  I still have not got the Standard Roses for the front and I was told by the garden  centre that it will be at least three weeks before them get them in – somewhere around the 20th June. There is also another place but same there nothing for a few weeks yet. The New Season Rose Bushes and Climbing Roses are in but not the standards.  Patience…..

Today is the first day of winter and to celebrate it rained for most of the morning. I think it’s going to be a long, cold and wet winter..

All about dogs – past and present.

This is my Main Man – the MalteseTerrorist!

I have had both of my dogs for over ten years now. Chienna we bought when she was seven weeks old, Mannie we rescued from the Pound and, according to the Vet. at the time, he was about 18 months to two years. Over the years they have been great associates and I  miss them when I have to go away – even just for a couple of days. Thankfully that does not happen too often these days and the last two meetings have been cancelled.  When I come home after being away for a couple of days I get out the car and into the house and the dogs are going nuts and even my wife tells me “Go out and see your associates before they go crazy” so I do. Once I have settled the dogs down again I can then talk about the trip and the meetings to my wife . Generally, when I am not working, I take the dogs out twice a day – first thing in the morning , sometimes when it’s still dark, and later in the evening after we have all been fed, wife, me and dogs. The little one – the Maltese – is, I think, starting to show his age. Either that or he is a very good little conman because I have to carry him for a little while until he gets his second wind. He starts off well, but halfway through the walk, he starts to slow down and I have to carry him for a little while. It’s ok – he’s not heavy –  Ohhh a song title I believe.. If I am working, it’s only once –  in the evening. In the summer when it’s hot I carry a pack with me which contains two bottles of water and a dish – one bottle for me. In the last 34 years I have had five dogs including the present two. The previous dogs were Misty, a West Highland Terrier  Cross that we rescued, Buster an Australian Cattle Dog that attacked my son, and Scruffy, a bitsa that was given to me. She was a doll and everyone adored her. Unfortunately  I do not have any photographs of Scruffy on line. I must attend to that sometime. I am also Secretary of the local branch of the Royal Flying Doctors Service, fundraising group but , hopefully, that’s about to end soon. I have decided not to stand for re-election but knowing how this group is with no one willing to take a position, I expect I will be secretary again, although I would like to think not.

Do you have to point that thing at me?

Slowing down – me and the weather!

I have been working  part of the week and never really managed to get much done. However, I did trim the trees at the  side of the washing area – or what will be the washing line area – and as soon as I get some good and dry weather I’ll set about cementing the new unit into position. I gave a fleeting thought to murder – dogicide – when I discovered that my delightful Chienna had dug up two of my plants. Well, I guess that’s what dogs do – so get over it! Actually, she’s not really guilty of digging things in the garden so this was unusual. I can forgive her!

A lovely lady, whose posts I follow has cancer and recently had a bone marrow transplant. She was ok for a very little while but the cancer has come back more aggressive than before and the outlook is not as good as  we would like it to be. She is also a  Christian lady and has asked us to pray for her – which we will.

I am a bit unsettled at the moment and I have changed my page three times already. I am trying to find something that I can relate to and that I think would be easy on the eyes for other people, so I am still experimenting.

Yesterday was quite nice but I left the concreting and decided to plant the roses I bought recently. I have not planted any out front because I am still waiting for the standard roses to come in and I want at least two of them – probably not many more at $45  each. I think this is a bit much but even in Adelaide Standard Roses are at least $39.00. I have no idea why they are so expensive, but there you are. I might look at a Nursery in NSW just out of Curiosity and compare prices.

On the coming Friday I will be going down to Adelaide at the invitation of my son and his Girlfriend. They will pick me up in the morning and take me into town. Trish has training and Andrew is going to his Adelaide office, but I will be with Andrew for most of the day. They are staying overnight and I am coming home on the coach. I will get my extensions for the gate and Andrew can bring it back with him on Saturday.

The Maltese Terrorist