I haven’t been able to visit the Huon Show for several years and this year I really wanted to go. I was considering catching the bus to Ranelagh where the show is held when Ally called me and said that she and Matt wanted to go too. Could they come and stay with me on Friday night? Of course, I said yes. Saturday morning came and the weather was bright. We set off early to be sure of getting a park close to the Showgrounds. Ranelagh is just outside of Huonville so we were there in less than half an hour.
We all wanted to see the animals more than anything else and we spotted the Alpaca enclosure as soon as we came through the gate. There are several breeders in the area and some others had come from other parts of the state to show off their animals.
I also particularly wanted to see the cows this year. The reason for that is that I have been reading about the issue of de-horning cows in “Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss” this week. The Swiss are having a vote on whether this practice should be continued. I do see the odd cow near my house but I wanted to see if the practice was widespread in Tasmania. Well, I saw several breeds of cows, Jerseys, Herefords, Friesian etc and nary a horn between the lot of them I’m afraid. I decided to look it up and found in the RSPCA knowledge base a document that says that it is legal to de-horn cattle in every state and territory in Australia.
There are some guidelines about what age and how this should be done and apparently it is recommended that a procedure called disbudding be used instead. Disbudding is the removal of horns before they attach to the skull but I wish it wasn’t done at all. At least the Swiss cows get a referendum to support their cause.
We went to see the dog judging. It’s a small dog show compared to a city show but it’s always fun to see the dogs. I find dog show people are a breed of their own too.
On the main arena, the Tasmanian Light Horse Society was giving a demonstration of riding and training exercises that the troops would have done. Of course, we stopped to watch this for a while and to look at the Draught Horses in their pens nearby. There was some show jumping too but I had not brought my long lens so I could not photograph that well.
We saw goats and poultry but missed the sheep who were penned in an area of deep shade. Good for the sheep as it was warm but not very interesting to photograph.
There was wood chopping, which I forgot to photograph and wood carving with a chainsaw. There were carnival rides, sideshows, and Showbags. There were vintage machinery and farm equipment, handicrafts and afternoon teas.
To finish off here are a few more photos. WordPress is not letting me do galleries today or it could be this computer because I can usually do them on the laptop. The computer is seven years old so I forgive it.
This was taken in the poultry hall at the Huon Show. I assume that this man is a judge and is examining the bird but when I saw him holding it I just had seconds to take the picture so I didn’t inquire.
There will be more pictures from the Huon Show in another post very soon.
I was busy taking photos for Cee’s challenges and wanted to include one of Cindy’s water bowl. She decided that she would come and sit on her bed while I was doing it so I took a picture. I decided it wasn’t suitable for the challenge but it was too nice to waste.
Here I was trying to take a photo of Cindy with her tongue showing for Cee’s Black & White Challenge but every time she did I was too slow. She looks quite mean in this one but she was in a perfectly happy mood.
I was quite pleased to see that today’s prompt was about birds as I already had a draft on the subject. So here, as they say, is one I prepared earlier.
I’ve often mentioned how much I enjoy the birds that visit my garden. I think that I’m quite lucky that as I live in the country we get a wide variety of birds although not all of them visit me. Some prefer the tall gum trees of adjacent properties and some I spot just flying past. I am always trying to photograph them but rarely succeed. Here are a few of my attempts.
Of the garden visitors of course the most common are the sparrows, starlings, swallows and honeyeaters. I have a soft spot for sparrows although some consider them vermin.
Less common visitors are the blue wrens and robins who only seem to be around in winter time. I have seen Zebra Finches too but I haven’t managed to photograph any of these small birds successfully. I have also had occasional visits from a pair of Green Rosella’s and once a flock of ducks but they had escaped from a neighbour’s garden so I can’t really count them I suppose.
The plover family dynasty has adopted the plot of land adjoining my driveway and I often see them looking for food there or flying around shrieking. They are quite vocal birds.
Out for a stroll with mum or dad.
Plover (Masked Lapwing)
Masked Lapwing, commonly knows as a plover. These are common in my area.
In the neighbourhood category the crows are the ones I hear most often. Their distinctive “Caw, caw” call is easy to pick. Surprisingly I don’t see or hear magpies nearby but we do have kookaburras. They prefer the taller gum trees or perhaps a power pole to perch on. I also hear seagulls as it is not far to Port Huon where there are plenty of fish and sometimes flocks of noisy Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. Sometimes I’ll even see an eagle flying overhead. They are too far away for me to say what kind they are.
On Friday my garden guys came to prune the apple tree and after they left I went out to take some photos of it as I do every year. The sun was quite bright and concentrating on the tree I entirely failed to notice that Cindy had more pressing business on her mind. Oh well at least it gave me a bad photo Monday shot.
When I wrote my cat post last week I said that I often felt that dogs were like four-legged people. Since the first dogs became human companions we’ve bred them for a variety of purposes. We’ve bred dogs to hunt game large and small, dogs to herd and protect sheep, dogs that won’t shed hair and dogs in every shape, size and colour just because we can. I have read that over time we have encouraged the puppy like traits in our dogs and I guess that is why our dogs often seem like exuberant, hairy toddlers rather than animals.
My dog Cindy is twelve years old now and although she has slowed down a bit she is still very puppy like at times. When David and I arrived home from somewhere the first thing we’d usually see was Cindy capering in excitement at the back door. We used to say to each other. “There’s the dancing dog.” These days I mostly enter the house at the front door and as soon as she hears my key in the lock she’s there at the door wriggling and jumping before racing down the passage to the back door to be let out.
A dog doesn’t have complicated needs. mostly they want food, a warm place to sleep and to be with you. Dogs are always glad to see you when you get home, always ready to go for a walk or play a game but if you feel like lounging on the couch that’s fine too. They often mistake your bed or your favourite chair for theirs or perhaps they were just keeping it warm for you. In my family we have always let our dogs be in the house with us despite the wear and tear on furniture and the permanent covering of dog hair over pretty much everything. We’ve had neighbours who left their dogs outside all the time and of course the poor things are lonely if the family doesn’t spend time with them so they bark and howl. That seems mean to me. If a pristine house is so important get outside and spend time with your dog, or don’t have one.
Dogs are smart. You can teach them to do all sorts of thing from a simple “fetch” game to performing all kinds of services, farmers still use dogs for herding sheep and cattle, police and the military use them for a variety of tasks. The quarantine service uses them. Here in Tasmania certain foodstuffs are not allowed in from mainland Australia and at the airport or ferry terminal you may be greeted by a beagle who will sniff out any fruit you may have forgotten about in your luggage.
Vision impaired people rely on their guide dogs, they are usually Labradors and sometimes I’ve seen the Vision Australia volunteer puppy walkers taking the trainee guide dogs about town to get them socialised. People have service dogs for other reasons though. My friend Gillian who has a hearing impairment has a service dog who can alert her to sounds around the house like the phone, the microwave and washing machine if she is in another room. Service dogs are allowed the same privileges of travelling on public transport and going into buildings where pet dogs are not allowed as guide dogs are. They wear a distinctive coat but as yet they are still unfamiliar to many people. These dogs are not a specific breed as they are usually sourced from shelters as young dogs and trained before being matched with a new owner. The Lions Club of Australia who fundraise for the Hearing Dogs put out a calendar every year. It shows a variety of dogs, Labradors of course but a lot of mixed breed dogs from a German Shepherd X Kelpie to a Spaniel X, Jack Russell X and even a Maltese X Shi Tzu. Gillian has a mixed breed terrier and sometimes speaks at clubs and schools to raise awareness of the need for Hearing Dogs. Dusty, her dog, goes too of course and he thoroughly enjoys the attention. Of course you should not pat a service dog when he is working but once the coat is off they like it as much as any other dog.
Most dogs love to play and to meet other dogs if they have been socialised as puppies although some like it more than others. Cindy used to play with other dogs when David took her to the leash free park but she was always more focussed on her tennis ball. Three of our four dogs have had the tennis ball obsession. There was Nicki who, if you couldn’t find a ball for her to chase, would bring you a rock when we were at our local beach. She would chase them for as long as you wanted to throw and if you threw it in to the sea to end the game she’d plunge in after it and return with a rock, not necessarily the same one but she figured it would do. Nicki tended to bring back rocks the size of half a brick even if you had only thrown a pebble.
Tessie, who we had for twelve years was also a tennis ball fanatic. We lived next door to a reserve where there were tennis courts and if we walked that way she’d want to stop and watch, sometimes she’d find a stray tennis ball in the grass and pick it up. One of the coaches from the tennis club took a liking to Tessie and would sometimes give her an old ball so we had some very good quality tennis balls. Tessie was a friendly dog and she was cute, a Corgi X Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. At the beach she would take her ball up to anyone who happened to be there drop it in front of them and give a bark inviting them to join her game. Most people did, some I had to explain what she wanted, like the group of Japanese tourists we met one day. Tessie did not discriminate, all were welcome to play. Sometimes she used to drop her ball by a baby or small child and she was just as happy with their baby sized throws as the ones that sent the ball down the beach. Tessie’s bark was her way of speaking to us; whether she wanted a ball thrown or to go for a walk she let us know.
And now I’ve written over eleven hundred words and I still haven’t said all I want to say about dogs. They are our best friends. We couldn’t get by without them.