June 2011

Wow! It certainly was an action packed month and it continues this month as well. Dr Susan’s “Kaleen Family Practice” got up and running, with all of their Information Technology equipment installed, cabled and tested by yours truly and my work colleague Frank. We had an enormous learning curve on patching Ethernet cables and we came though in the end. The office is now running as it should. Which means that Julie is now working full time as well. She’s on the late shift, 10:00 – 18:00, with me dropping her off and collecting her, and working an 09:30 to 17:30 day myself.

We have managed to get the dogs into a routine of Angel being in her pen and Kelly being on guard. Angel’s confidence has progressed in leaps and bounds (which is the way that she runs as well!) and recently, we have found her on the outside of the fence, on the public right of way that we use as a driveway. Unfortunately, she follows sounds, and on both occasions, there have been noises coming from that direction.  We do try to supervise them during the periods when they have free rein. As for keeping them warm in the cold and rain, Angel has figured out that she can use the kennel that we put into the pen, and Kelly can always snuggle up under the bus somewhere out of the wind and/or rain and/or frost. As for our host’s concern that they might interfere with the stock, either on the property or on neighbouring ones, our two are saints compared with some of the ones nearby that we hear at night.

On the very first time that we came out here to look at the possibilities. Kelly met Clover, the horse. It was so funny to watch him go up and sniff at Clover’s hind foot, then looked up, …. and up, …. and up, and decided that he was NOT going to bark at this thing. Unfortunately, Clover was not here when we moved in and we haven’t seen him since, although we have been assured by his owner that he should be back soon.

Deer at the Deer Farm on the road into Canberra.

Funny how sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference. When we first got here, I would walk up to the pump, turn on the water, wait for my guesstimate of the necessary time to fill the fresh water tank, then turn it off and walk back. Or sometimes, take 2 trips, to turn it on and then to turn it off. Then one day in the hardware store, I came across a water timer. Designed for watering gardens for a pre-set time, it has proved to be just perfect for topping up the tank. Simply walk out to the pump, switch it on and set the time, and walk back.

Kelly is fascinated by the rabbits in the paddock. The first one he saw, apparently he was with Julie and pointed at it. The rabbit of course just took off. It is now one of Kelly’s favourite games to chase them, but despite his speed, he is no match for them. The other night, on the way back our walk out to the bore pump in pitch darkness, something flew past in the grass. It was too dark to see whether Kelly was chasing it or whether he had simply flushed it out.

Our new neighbours finally arrived – the herd of black cows in the paddock over the side fence. They were quite fascinated with us at first, but that wore off quickly. Kelly of course barked at them and was told!

The weather this week has been a challenge, to say the least. First, a howling gale coming off the snow somewhere, strong enough to bring down a branch off the tree, missing the bus by just a few feet. It was so cold that we kept the dogs inside for a couple of days. Even with the wind blowing, it was freezing enough overnight that any washing on the line froze. Even a basket of washing next to the door, under the awning, was pretty solid. So I finally figured out how to rig up the semi-permanent washing line, to mostly dry things on those rare sunny days, and we have put the smaller portable one up in the cabin area, just as we did in the rain at Eugowra last year. So we finally have a full process of getting the washing dry, other than taking it to a Laundromat.

Angel has “come out”, so to speak. She thoroughly enjoys being outside. When we go to work, she goes into her pen, and although she has learned how to lean on the wire and drag it down to the ground, she doesn’t escape, unlike Kelly, whose very first activity in the pen was to escape. But when we are “at home”, she has the run of the paddock, and is happy to explore or just soak up the sun. But yesterday, I was tinkering on the bus and it attracted the cows (sounded like food, I guess), and they gathered around the fence. To my amazement, Angel went prancing up to them and they all turned tail and ran! They came back later and this time, she wandered over to say hello. At one point, she was literally facing off with the bull. Our baby is a cattle dog!

The ice on the awning strap warming in the morning sun, and giving off steam.

 

I have picked up another regular driving shift, on a shuttle bus called the “Uni Pub Express”, shuttling between the Uni of Canberra in Bruce, the National Uni in Acton and the Uni Pub in Civic. Running every Thursday night during the University term, it starts at 9pm and finishes at 2am. Fridays are “interesting”.

Other than that, life goes on out here in the paddock. Julie continues to use me as a guinea pig for her recipes. Some days we take 2 cars, some days we commute together. Kelly guards. And Angel is, well, just Angel.