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Monday 14 November 2011

I am making up for lost time by posting two days in a row. Also on the goose front, I’ve recently installed a great new goose hut – it was high time they had proper shelter. Months ago I brought an old hut from a farm sale over in Collinsvale (together with a range of other old junk which we piled precariously onto the ute). It’s been sitting in the garage since then (much to Bronte’s disgust) & I finally heaved it out last week & put a proper corrugated iron roof on top of the crumbling hardboard. Gave it a good coat of paint & managed to get it into the goose pen by towing it with the Suzuki, then cutting the goose fence & manhandling it into place (having first cut a flat base in the sloping pen).

We have had further babies born on the farm – but not to our animals. A pair of plovers had been nesting in one of the pig pens (thereby rendering it unusable for the pigs) and they finally hatched last week. They had just 2 babies (the cutest things you can imagine, with speckled brown backs & little black collars) but I think they may have lost one since – probably to the horrible cravens.

Other things that have kept me busy include spraying around the smaller electric fences near the house (bucks’ paddock, weaning pen & 2 pig pens) and trying to make the kennel impregnable to Rosie’s teeth. Spraying under the electric fences is necessary to stop grass and weeds shorting out the fence, particularly in wet weather. Brushcutting is too awkward and short-lived to be practical. I spent an uncomfortable couple of hours one morning with my top half in Rosie’s side of the kennel nailing GI strap (galvanized iron strapping left over from the house build, where it was used for endless tie-downs) around the edges where she’d chewed the tape I’d used to fix the building paper in place over the polystyrene insulation.

The dogs gave us a scare one day. I noticed they weren’t around but just assumed they were rootling around in the sedge somewhere as usual. However, 3 hours later they still hadn’t turned up & we started to get quite concerned. Eventually after much whistling & calling Rosie turned up happy & boisterous as usual. We immediately thought the worst & assumed Bruce was hurt or dead somewhere, possibly from a snake. However, I thought to ring our nearest neighbour just in case he’d seen them around & it seemed they’d spent the afternoon with him. He’d let them in the house & they’d slept on the bed with him! No wonder they didn’t want to go home. What possessed them to go right down there in the first place I don’t know – possibly they were following a scent trail. Since then I’ve been much more attentive to them – giving them liver treats when they come to me, taking more time to make a fuss of them & taking them around in the ute on my trips to Huonville & the Grove Shop.

Rosie has been making friends with Murphy the Cat and they often lay close together out in the sun now. Murphy had a mad fit one evening & began chasing Rosier. This excited Rosie hugely and she tore around in circles - getting a whack from Murphy each time she came within range! She's also been communing with Beryl Bunny, whilst Murphy has been eyeing up both the bunny & chicks as possible lunch.

I’ve also been doing my best to scare off the wretched currawongs & cravens – I feel I’m feeding half the Tasmanian population at present. I dare say they’ve got babies & my feed bowls are easy pickings. While I was thinking dark thoughts about currawongs recently, I was listening to a programme about predators in Tokyo and Uganda. In Tokyo they have a problem with large, bold crows with 1m wingspans – gulp. Apparently they swoop down & swipe food from peoples’ hands! They delicately avoided the use of the word ‘kill’ but talked instead of ‘controlling’ them. In Uganda farmers were complaining about baboons, lions and even gorillas! It made my predator problems pale in comparison!