Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A devil of a time.

Having a devil of a time would aptly describe my life at the moment so I thought this chap could help me sum it up.
The Tassie Devil beloved of cartoonists is under threat in the wild. A very nasty viral tumour which is spread by their feeding behaviour (biting, snatching, snarling...sounds like my house lol) attacks their faces causing  a painful death. If you are  sensitive don't Google images of the Devil as the pictures are really gross.
A few organizations are trying to isolate healthy populations and do captive breeding in the hopes that a cure will be found and healthy devils can be released back into the environment. I did this etegami using an image from this site.
http://www.tasmaniandevilpark.com/ I hope they do not mind as perhaps they will benefit from donations to the cause.

(Source; Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park)
Oh, and me? I am going this afternoon to have a tumour cut out of my back...not a result I might add of scratching, snarling or biting but rather sun exposure. Not happy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Canis lupus 'dingo'

Arguments continue about the status of the wild dog of Australia, is it a native? (it has been here as an immigrant from Asia for at least 5,000 years. Can it be domesticated? ( Aboriginal people have managed to do so).  Is it sneaky and untrustworthy? (it has that reputation and to be called a 'Dingo" is an insult implying just that). That it has formidable jaws, cunning, and a penchant for eating sheep is undisputed and this last more than anything has led to our ambivalent feelings towards this animal. In some states of Australia it is declared a pest and anyone trying to keep a dingo or even failing to kill one given the opportunity will be fined. In other states it is listed as a vulnerable species.
So desperate were farmers to keep sheep safe from the Dingo or 'Warrigul' that an enormous series of fences was erected across the country to keep them confined to non grazing areas, alas to little effect. An interesting fact is that purebred dingoes (and there are fewer than ever given that they hybridize with domestic dogs) have such low genetic variability that they may have descended from as few as two immigrants.

I have used this etegami to pose the question  about whether these animals are truly 'wild' or can  be tamed as companions for people.
On another subject, I have spent the morning tidying up my fishpond  and enjoying the winter sun, a highlight of the garden is this potted cyclamen, blooming on  a diet of worm poo, it is the best one I have ever had.

Thursday night saw a major medical drama here, the 18 year old Silkie dog  managed to almost choke on a piece of chicken cartiledge, he panicked and could not breathe, luckily we are two minutes from the vet and so we rushed him there, by which time he seemed to have cleared his airway. It was extremely frightening and trying to do the Heimlich manoeuver on a panicked dog only resulted in dislodging something less savoury from the other end!  Cut to the scene, me, carrying said dog, covered in a malodorous mess hurrying into the vet . As I later remarked to them, "This is not  my usual perfume!"
I asked the vet to give him a sedative and then it was home for a VERY hot shower and out to a dinner engagement leaving him with the sitter...yes you read that correctly he has to be babysat!  Luckily I have a very obliging animal loving neighbour and friend, Betty, who is happy to sit and knit and provide company for my insecure dog who would otherwise bark incessantly the whole time we are out.  My fellow diners were transfixed by the tale, at least they stopped eating! LOL.
You will be pleased to know that TJ is back to his usual annoying demanding self. (I think my next dog may be a Di...noooooooo!)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ta Daaaa!

Well this little guy deserves a drumroll at least as he is arguably the most famous Australian export of all.
I speak of course of the 'Budgie' or more properly the budgerigar. This pint sized cutie has captured the hearts of old ladies everywhere and it cheers you up to hear one say "Who's a pretty boy then?" I have heard it use more colourful language but then that reflects on the owner not the budgie.

While I can argue that a caged bird is a depressing sight, budgies have brought joy and companionship to so many people and I can't begrudge them that. In the wild, I have seen flocks of many hundreds whirring across the sky, usually this green colour with some blues. Domestication and breeding have produced a bird at least twice as large as the wild type and in many shades of the original colours.
There is a story that when asked the Aboriginal name of the bird the tribesmen replied 'Budgerigar' and this supposedly meant "good to eat". This may be apocryphal but I don't know.  The writing is from the song 'Don't fence me in' by Cole Porter and really expresses how I feel about the idea of keeping caged birds (wait a sec until I get my soapbox).
The budgie has lent it's name to a diminutive pop singer from Australia Kylie Minogue who has been dubbed "The Singing Budgie" and to a particular brand of very skimpy mens swimming trunks known as "Budgie smugglers" I leave that one to your imagination!

Looks like an Angel....

I post this with 'no comment' I just refer you to the previous post!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Beautiful isn't it? I hadn't meant to get up to see this lovely sight but see it I did.

I have blogged before about the 18 year old dog I have who is so very demanding and quite unable to do anything for himself as he is both blind and deaf, well this morning he was almost dead too.
 Oh, he's still healthy enough but I was sorely tempted to strangle him! Usually the early morning shenanigans are left for the Prof to deal with but himself has gone off on a work related trip and come 5 am the dog started to miss him. His sense of smell is very keen (the dog's not the husband's) and he knows when his best mate is not around to do his bidding. Sometimes I am not considered a worthy substitute. Well it has been four hours of barking and scruffling around in the bed, being taken out for a wee, eating his breakfast, taking his medications etc, etc,....sorry, I'm going back to bed! Enjoy the sunrise!