Archive for the ‘Corgi’ Category

Still here!

November 6, 2019


It seems like it has been quite a while since I last emailed.  Life rolls on here in Tassie.  We have had a relatively dry winter, without the flooding of certain areas on the property that we like to see most years as it indicates good ground water levels.  Now the weather is alternating between cool and warm every couple of days.  It seems like it can’t make up it’s mind, but that is a fairly normal state of affairs here.  It is not unusual to have sunshine, wind and rain alternating numerous times over a single day.  If you don’t like the weather – just wait half and hour.
I have not had the greatest of health, and nor has Kim, which has meant we haven’t achieved as much as we would have liked over winter.  I actually had a great deal of muscle and joint pain which limited me a great deal, enough to make me actually go to the doctor!  The problem turned out to have been caused by very low Vitamin D levels.  I have been slowly improving over the last few weeks as I am now taking supplements.  That time was a definite wake up call as to how much I will be physically able to do as I get older!  We are trying to come up with plans for the property that give us options of reducing the work load when we need to.  Our current lifestyle is nicely low cost, but the flip side of that is that it requires a fairly high labour input.  As an example in order to heat our water we have a solar water setup, which is connected to the slow combustion stove.  If the sun does not warm the water enough then we need to light the kitchen fire to raise the water temperature.  Wood fires are great, and we have plenty of wood on the property, but to turn it into firewood is quite time intensive – cut down a tree, cut it into rounds, split it into pieces, stack and store it in the container to dry, move it to the house, start the fire and keep it going.  It all takes time and energy.  To give us an alternative Kim is now going to add a gas HWS booster into the system, which will mean that we can choose to use that if we would like to.  It will cost more to run in dollars, but less in daily effort and will just give us options.  Meanwhile, we continue to work on preparing firewood for next winter.
Josiah did a solid 2 months in his new job, before being made redundant when they decided to employ a full time cook and no longer needed a kitchen hand/counter sales trainee as a result.  He was quite disappointed and is back to job seeking now, with no success so far.  Caleb and Sam continue to have chronic health problems that severely limit their ability to work anything like regular hours, but we were thrilled when Sam got his drivers licence recently.  It shows how much better he is handling his anxiety problems at the moment.
Sam wtih Ps
Lydia continues to work hard at the flower farm.  Her work is getting busy at this time of year, and with the weather warming up she appreciates the times she does the packing in the cool room.  She is enjoying sleeping in her bus and recently fenced in an area outside so that her cat can enjoy the big wide outdoors.  She has also been adding a variety of pots and filling them with whatever seeds came up from the latest Woolworths promotion, so is developing a bit of a garden in there.
I have been unable to find any paid work this year, despite looking hard.  I became involved in a trial program that offers extra support to help resolve issues that limit people’s employability.  My issues are my age (not much I can do about that) and how long I have been out of the workforce.  As a result of advice from mentors in the program I enrolled in a TAFE computing course to update myself with the latest Windows and Office versions.  I quite enjoyed doing the course, especially as I could do most of it from home.  The co-ordinators have also been trying to get me a couple of weeks work experience with a local company, which I hope will happen later this month although we may have struck a hitch with insurance not being available unless they guarantee me a job – which is not going to happen.  I will probably offer to sign a waiver of liability or something as I think it would be a good experience for me and may well lead to some holiday and sick relief work.
We have run a new paddock for Lydia’s ponies up close to the house.  The area does not have much grass, which is actually what one pony needs to stop her getting laminitis.
We have also been making the ponies a hay feeder so that we don’t have to feed the hay by hand every day.  Lydia and I knocked up a wooden trial version last year from bits and pieces on the property, and liked it so much we have decided to make a larger more permanent version.  The feeder gets lifted over the top of a roll of hay and should mean less wastage as well as less labour.  I just had to finish adapting the bed ends to be a grid the ponies can feed through after this photo was taken, and then it was done.
I wouldn’t mind getting some sort of hay feeder for Twinkles the cow one day too, but it would have to be a bit different as the cattle are quite a bit rougher on things in their paddock than the ponies seem to be.  Twinkles is on her own again at the moment as her last boy is now in the freezer and her new calf is not due until January.  We used a different mobile butcher this time as our original man is wanting to cut back on what he does (he is getting older too!).  The new guy was probably not quite as good and cost more, but using him certainly meant we did a lot less of the work ourselves which made it worthwhile.  He also has a mobile cool room so that we could hang the carcass safely before the butchering was done, and the meat has all been delicious and tender.
I started some tomatoes from seed in the caravan this year as Kim was keeping it nice and warm for us and it seemed a shame not to make some extra use of the heat.  They are doing well and I hope to get them planted out soon, but first I have to do some renovation work on my gardens to ensure the chooks cannot get in.  We had been considering making a new garden area in a year or two as our current areas are getting a bit old, and we could think of a few improvements to make on the original plan, but we are now thinking about changing our plans to raised garden beds instead.  Again trying to think ahead to how much we will be able to do in 10 years or so.  We have also been working on plans for redoing our fences.  We put the fences in 10-12 years ago using bush poles and most of them are rotting away now.  We also need the fences to do different things now than we did back then.  So the current plan is to have a 3 or 4 wire electric fence around the edge and to make divisions with poly wire.  We will also move a couple of the fence lines to avoid areas that flood, and will have an electric mesh fence around the chook area to keep that safe from quolls.
The corgis have still not won any shows, possibly as much to do with our ability at presenting them as anything to do with them.  Our last show was a Welsh Corgi specialty show, which is quite a friendly show where we received some good advice on showing and grooming.  We also managed to buy a second hand show trolley locally, which has made going to shows much more manageable.
Show trolley
Sadly our two corgis do not always get along and we have had some fighting at times.  Most of the time they get along well, but then something will set the new girl Haru off, and she will attack Willow – and Willow might not start the fight, but she is more than willing to finish it!  We end up having to drag them apart or they just won’t stop.  We have had torn ears, bloody faces and sore paws so it is not just noise and motion.  We have been trying to identify what triggers Haru, and have had some success with avoiding those situations, but in the end we have decided that we are safer to only have one of them out at a time.  We never have any trouble with the German Shepherd, thankfully, so they can both still play with her.  We now have a dog pen set up in the verandah room,
as well as turning Josiah’s old cabin into a rather comfy dog house with a run.  They get a bit yappy at times and give us sad looks but it is the only safe way.
Kim has been keeping busy planning our driving trip around the UK in March.  It has taken an enormous amount of his time in researching it all and booking flights, cars and accomodation, and he is not finished yet!  I think he has organised the first two weeks, so there is just another two weeks to go.  I have also booked a super short trip to Perth in early January for my Dad’s 90th birthday (hoping the cow will not produce her calf until I return!)  Dad had a bit of an episode in hospital in September with fluid around his heart, but they managed to stabilise everything again and send him home, which we were all exceedingly pleased about.  🙂
We currently have a pair of little Tasmanian Thornbills nesting outside our lounge room window.  They are kept busy every day feeding the new arrivals and we have our fingers crossed that they will safely raise them.  The last time we had birds nesting there it was a pair of Grey Fantails and much to our horror the babies disappeared one morning.  We think a Black Currawong was the culprit, and so we are hoping that we don’t have a repeat of that this year, especially since Kim has quite a soft spot for Tassie Thornbills.
Tasmanian Thornbill (Acanthiza Ewingii)
And I think that is most of my news for now.  Best wishes.

Dog shows, cafes and cars

July 31, 2019
I have been asked a couple of times how the new pup, Haru, is going at the dogs shows.  Well, if you consider results to be the main focus she is not doing so well as she hasn’t managed to win yet.  In the two shows she has been to, the same pup from Hobart beat her both times.  That is the winning pup on the table in the photo below.
However if you are considering how well she behaves in the show ring she is being absolutely wonderful.  She is keeping very focussed on Lydia and she trots along really nicely. (You can tell how cold it was by how Lydia is dressed!)
She is not quite so good yet at standing properly on the table (they call it stacking), but is happy for the judge to look in her mouth and ears etc, so all in all she is making a good start.  Willow hasn’t been to the latest shows as she came on heat, but she will be going to the next show at the end of August.  We are also looking forward to the Welsh Corgi specialty show in Hobart, but that is not until October.
Our big excitement of the moment is that Josiah has landed a job!  He is in training working 10am – 2pm four days a week at a cafe/lunch bar in Railton which is 30 minutes from home.  He is helping to prepare meals and doing counter sales and cleaning etc.  So far it seems to be working out well, I guess time will tell if he can work fast enough and efficiently enough to get to stay there long term.  So it is back to lots of driving again for Kim and myself but it is good being not too far away, and Josiah is getting driving practice on the way home too.  He is still on his L1s at the moment so it will be a while before he gets his licence but this is good motivation for him to work hard at that.
I have been struck down with a rotten cold since Sunday, but am finally picking up.  It is now Kim’s turn to get it and he has started to cough and splutter today.  We are trying our best not to pass it on to the workers!  Lydia has had a few days off as work is not busy at the moment, and she has volunteered to take Jo to and from work so he is not breathing our contaminated air.  🙂
Kim took off to Sydney the other week to collect yet another car, a better Citroen Xantia, to replace his old one that is getting pretty worn out.  He timed it so he could go to a meeting of Apple II / Retro Computing enthusiasts while he was there, and also dropped in to visit a lovely pastor friend on the way down to catch the boat home.
He got to try out the Seetroen glasses again while sailing home and says that he never felt the slightest bit of motion sickness in spite of it being a fairly rocky trip.  It seems like they were well worth the money and effort to obtain, and will no doubt come in useful on our trip to the UK which is timed for next March.
Anyway, that is enough for now.  Best wishes to you all.

Queenstown etc.

July 9, 2019
Last weekend The Mole Creek photography group had a subsidised overnight excursion to Queenstown and Kim and I went along. It was a VERY winding 2.5 hour drive, but we got there in the end and stayed overnight Friday at an AirBnB. Saturday morning saw us wandering around the quiet little town with our fingers crossed that it wouldn’t rain too much during our tour.
The tour took us into what was a nearby, but once very isolated, tiny town for workers at Lake Margaret hydro power station. In between bouts of rain the mad photographers got to explore the area and take a bunch of photos of the derelict buildings, amongst other things. Apparently you can only access this area now on a tour. There was a bunch of historical information, and it was interesting to learn how the people lived back in the day.

Queenstown was a copper mining area for many years and the pollution pretty much annihilated all the vegetation on the nearby hills. They used to call it a moonscape. There have been challenges since the mine closed with trying to regenerate the land and reduce the spread of pollution, especially from the slag heaps, but there has been a great improvement since 1994 (I think it was) when we came over for a holiday in our kombi camper. I still remember the shock of seeing the barren ground of Queenstown after driving through the densely treed areas of Tassie’s south west. There is still a noticeable difference, but shrubs and trees are starting the get a foothold there now.

At the end of our tour we had a look through the old Paragon Theatre which has been reopened in a somewhat altered state and is being used for community events. It was an interesting old building and had a lovely atmosphere.

Kim and I decided to hang around for the return of the steam train before driving back home.

You can take a 4 hour trip on the train at the moment, with morning tea and lunch but it is pretty pricey. During the tourist season they have more trips, including the option of going in a separate carriage without the meals for a discounted price. 🙂

It rained pretty solidly on the trip home, which would not have been so bad if we had not run over a rock on the way that flattened a tyre and actually broke the wheel. They don’t call that part of Tasmania the Western Wilds for nothing! Thankfully I had my wonderful mechanic husband with me to change the wheel for us. 🙂

The short days lately, which are either wet or freezing, are meaning we are not getting a lot of progress done on the various projects we have on the go. However I did manage to put a splash back up in the kitchen on Saturday using some laminate that was left over from the bathroom renovation. Kim talked me into preparing for the job by putting fresh pine lining over the old lining, which had some gaps.

That meant the job took a heap more time but it definitely gave a better finish. It will be really nice to have the ability to keep the sink area much cleaner now.

I also put up a funky towel rail in the bathroom that I had been working on. It has the rail mounted on a nice knotty piece of Huon pine which is then mounted on the wall. I intend to varnish the pine with shellac in the long run, but the weather is too cold at the moment.

Poor Willow got an abscess on her face a few weeks ago. She looked pretty strange with her eye squashed shut. Thankfully it healed up with only one trip to the vets and a dose of antibiotics. About a week after that she came down with gastroenteritis – I think it was caused by her finding an abandoned chook nest in the bush and eating all the eggs. At least I didn’t need a trip to the vets for that problem, she just got to spend a day or two on a chicken broth diet until her tummy settled down.

We have another dog show to go to this coming Saturday which will be Haru’s first. We were going to take both corgis but Willow has finally come on heat, so we will probably leave her home. The corgis have a love/hate relationship. Often you will find them playing happily together and then the next minute, at some perceived insult, they will be snarling and snapping ferociously. I’m pleased to say that it seems to be mostly just noise and action as they haven’t really damaged each other yet, but it is pretty annoying. Hopefully they will establish their pecking order soon – there are varying opinions in the family as to who will end up as top dog. It is definitely different having three dogs, and somewhat harder to keep on top of the training. I do find it amusing though when I find them all waiting for me outside the caravan door.

As part of my job searching I have become involved in a project called Community Voices in Devonport. Being part of the project means that I have to sing in a choir – which is pretty funny as I keep losing my voice these days. The project is supposed to give more individualised support for people who have particular issues that make them less attractive to employers. One of my issues is the long period (12 years) since I last worked, so all my experience and references are quite dated. One of the suggestions was that I could do some things for the choir that will show that I still do have some admin skills. For example last week I did up a PowerPoint presentation of the song lyrics for choir practice, so I guess my hope is that the co-ordinators could be more recent referees for me. Since I have a bunch of sick folk at home and plenty of projects to work on, I really only want a couple of days of work per week or just a few hours a day which would bring in enough money to get by. I keep applying…. which is all I can do I guess.
Anyway, I think I best finish up for now. Best wishes to you all.