Most of our Op Shop volunteers make a big fuss when customers bring babies into the shop. I guess I am not very maternal. I prefer dogs.
A few customers bring dogs and tie them up outside the shop while they browse. Sometimes we’re asked for a bowl of water for them which we are happy to supply. If it is not too warm, other customers leave their dogs in their cars with the windows open. I don’t really like this but those people don’t usually stay long. Very occasionally a customer might bring their dog inside and carry it around with them.
This week I met two dogs at the shop. One was a twelve-year-old German Shepherd whose owner had come in to find a couple of old blankets for her. Twelve is a good age for a German Shepherd so when she commented on how much her dog loved soft toys I found one for her to give it. The lady let her dog out of the car to stretch her legs and say hello to me, it was near the end of the day and I was taking things back inside the shop. She seemed to love the toy and carried it around in her mouth. I don’t know if this dog understood that the toy came from me but she came up and gave me a lick. I know a lot of people are frightened of German Shepherds but the ones I have met have all been lovely dogs.
My second dog moment left me feeling quite angry. Some people had come in and were browsing while their dog, which was tied up outside near the water container, was barking and crying. The people were in the shop for a long time and it sounded to me as if the dog was getting quite distressed. One of the owners went out to check on it once but when he came back inside the dog started crying again.
I guess I am sensitive to this because Cindy gets anxious when I am away from her. I went outside to have a look at the dog and discovered it was a puppy, not a tiny puppy but only a few months old. It was at that clumsy big-footed stage. I let it sniff my hand and talked to it for a bit before thinking I had better get back to work. The owners were still shopping, they did not seem to be in much of a hurry. I went out again, my feet were hurting and I needed a rest so I thought I’d sit on the bench outside and keep the pup company for a few minutes. He cried and tried to come to me but the leash was not long enough to allow that so I went and stood beside him and patted him and told him it would be OK.
I was still out there talking to the pup when the owners came back. I was really annoyed with them by now and I said that the pup was too young to understand them being gone for so long. They said “He’s got to learn.” and “It’s better to ignore him when he cries.” I thought “Yes, but not for that long.” they must have been gone at least half an hour. So I said “I bet you wouldn’t leave a baby crying for that long.” and the woman said that she probably would.
I went back inside because there was no point in saying anything else to them but I was angry about it for the rest of the day.
Recently I spotted a large bird on the piece of land between my house and the power sub-station next door. The first time I only caught a glimpse as he/she flew away but I was fairly sure that it was a heron of some type.
The bird has returned a couple of times but it was only today when I went outside to check the meter box that I spotted it again casually walking along the perimeter fence. This is the same area favoured by my noisy plover neighbours, it seems to be some kind of bird highway. Anyway, this time I thought I might have time to run and get the camera although I knew that I had to reinsert the memory card as well. By the time I had done that the heron was roughly opposite my kitchen window where I have taken bird photos before.
I took two or three photos. They are not great because the bird doesn’t stand out that well against the surroundings. I decided to take a chance and run for my long lens as my standard zoom lens is only 18-50mm. I thought that at worst the bird might be gone when I got back but luckily it wasn’t so I had time to take a couple more where you can see it a bit more clearly.
Naomi recently gave me a book about Tasmanian birds so once it had disappeared behind the garage I hurried to get it. There are two types of heron found in Tasmania. This one appears to be a White-Faced Heron. The book says that it is a common, small heron about 66-69cm with a white face and throat and yellow legs. I’m unsure if this is a male or female. They are found all around Australia and make their homes in wetlands, such as the margins of swamps, dams and lakes and in other estuarine areas. Although my house is not right by the water the Kermandie River is just across the street. It’s a narrow stream here, quite shallow and reedy. It flows into the Huon River at Port Huon, a couple of kilometres down the road from me so this bird is not far out of its habitat.
This little corridor between me and the substation seems to be quite popular with the larger birds. I’m not really sure what the attraction is but it’s nice to get a chance to observe them. I’ll be looking for more opportunities to photograph the heron in future.
I thought I’d share a couple of photos that I took of Cindy and Polly today. The last couple of weeks have been very strange to them and I’m very relieved that they have adapted well to our current situation.
I haven’t mentioned this in a post before because I have been deeply upset about it but a few months ago Cindy and Polly had a big fight. I don’t know what it was over as I didn’t see what happened. They get on so well that I could usually let them move freely around the house. I would separate them to eat because Cindy will eat the cat food of course. I don’t let Cindy have bones any more because she gets a very bad attitude about sharing and always thinks Polly will take it from her. Actually, I have seen Polly stealing Cindy’s dry food but she didn’t seem to worry about that.
Anyway this particular evening both had gone outside and I had left the back door open so they could come back. That’s when I heard an awful din coming from the passage. As I said I have no idea what happened. Did Polly steal some dog food? did she startle Cindy in the dark? I don’t know but she was seriously upset and had a little scratch on her face. She would not go near Cindy for several days after that.
Then one day after I’d been keeping them apart they met and appeared to be fine. All was good for a couple of weeks then, again when I was in the next room something happened. I did not hear a fight but Polly ran out upset again and this time she did not forgive Cindy. Since then if she even saw her through a glass door she would hiss and stalk away. I am sure Cindy had no idea why Polly was still mad at her.
I had to keep the two of them separate. Cindy had the run of the living rooms and kitchen as well as outside. Polly had the passage and bedrooms. At night I would have to shoo her into the laundry so I could shut Cindy in my room before bed. Polly missed me I think. Sometimes she’d miaow at the living room door for me to come and would just want to be petted. Cindy spent a lot of time lying under the pergola outside. I was miserable because I missed spending time with Polly, Cindy cried if I was away from her too long, and I missed watching them play together.
Naturally, I was worried sick about how I was going to manage them when we had to evacuate. My friends in Franklin have dogs so Cindy had to stay outside a lot or if I brought her to where I was sleeping I had to put Polly in her crate and put it in the toilet. It was far from ideal for either of them.
Then we came here to Matt and Ally’s place. The original plan was for Polly to be confined to the laundry but she soon worked out how to open the sliding door. We moved her to the room Ally uses for craft and she was happy enough but soon she wanted to come out. One day she managed to slip out the door when I was closing it and came face to face with Cindy who would lie outside the door whenever I was in there.
Nothing happened! Polly greeted her as if there had never been a fight and since then she has been quite her old self around Cindy even going up to give her a wash like she always used to. I haven’t seen them play yet but they might when we go home. I have no idea what prompted the change in attitude but it has made things so much easier.
Of course, I don’t take anything for granted. Polly is shut away to eat and I have bought a crate for Cindy and shut her in it at night. Polly sometimes sleeps in the room with us but I no longer have to worry about fights when I am asleep. I will never leave them unsupervised together if I go out or anywhere around food but I feel like it is a little miracle.
Although I live in the country and I see farm animals pretty often, the chances of taking any nice new ones between now and Christmas are not great. Here are some that I have taken over the past few years instead.
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.