Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tiiiimme Waaaaarrrrp

The interwebs are tangled and our reception and transmission has become reeeeaaaallly...... slooooooooww.
It took about 8 minutes just to log on (bringing in firewood whilst waiting) and get to this point. It's good for housework in that I get impatient and Do Things whilst waiting but not conducive to study, on-line research or interesting blog posts. Ice ages form and melt whilst a single site loads. Perhaps that's because unforseen snow - yes, snow - in October, in South Australia, this week (yes, really!) may or may not have had something to do with the world wide web being swept up by the houseproud broom of the gods and our sole local telecommunications tower being fritzed.

The tower on a hill near the local town has been struck by lightning, threatened by bushfires and flooded before, so it becoming snow-bound is also quite possible. It might have just seized up in surprise. Now it's 28C on the back verandah and probably warmer in the sun. The animals are all lazing about in it, but the weeds aren't. They're recharging their superpowers and making up for lost time. On the bright side I hung out a load of washing whilst this picture loaded (of where I would offer you a seat to wait if, indeed, there was any vacancy). More posts to come ... eventually.

Study revision: the charming, poetic and highly detailed descriptions of saliva, it's production, content and variability. Think I'll read about that over lunch...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tree at ninety degrees

I received a phone message one foggy morning in late winter from SO with this news, in picture form (hence the photo quality or lack thereof). At first I thought I was looking at my tiny phone photo sideways, but then got the picture - of the picture. And what it pictured. Or something.

An old sheoak, for which this paddock was named, is no longer. Well, it's actually still there, of course, rather than having just disappeared into the ether. It will be for quite some time, given it's size. It was no great girth around, being a slim sort, svelt as trees go, but when walking - for quite some time - around it we finally appreciated just how tall it was. And how lucky it fell sideways instead of the more logical and expected downhill trajectory - onto the fence, a sheep, a horse or another tree. Sometimes not having a logical and expected outcome works in our favour, the drawback of this being that things get utterly unpredictable altogether, like taking a shortcut with alpacas through the garden.

Study revision: All the names and shapes and parts and cartilages and intrinsic muscles and extrinsic muscles and bits and things of the impossibly complicated little lump that is the larynx. Without getting overwhelmed. It's just a pipe joiner with a valve after all.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spring has sprung

Springs, plural, have also sprung. They would be quite useful if they would kindly spring in places other than high-use trackways, the septic pit or the middle of the carport.

Nonetheless, water in any form is good. Stored water better, and as the morning ice melts off the roof in quite a musical fashion it adds to the already overflowing tanks. Tanks are a great conversation point in the hills and the relative levels of everyone's tanks at various times of the year is a polite addition to weather-centric small talk between neighbours. The temporary return to winter has also seen a temporary return to winter temperatures. Firewood is lying about all over the place in piles from storms but firewood cut, split and dry enough to burn is at a premium. This has driven small, warmth-loving mammals to trial new potential sleeping places.

Today's study revision: bones: as growing in young animals, bones: as broken in older animals and bones: as eaten by dogs.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Koala therapy

Hair-raisingly busy today, a million things need doing, so here, have a couple of koalas:

Study: figure out if fictional-but-typical case study has peritonitis or pericarditis or both.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bunny boarder

My wish for a pet rabbit or three is yet to be fulfilled. Usually lagomorph visitors around here are treated to the hospitality of Mr .22 actually, if they haven't met Mr Fox, Mr Dog or Mr Fast-Moving-Vehicle first. It may seem rough sort of place for a bunny to take a holiday then, but this little chap settled right in, making straight for the cat dishes. Needless to say, not being our own, he was kept firmly inside and in sight.

His name is Charlie Bunny. He is the pet of our young nieces, themselves on holiday, and needing a safe house for their precious fluffy one. Safe houses not being available, he came here for a week instead. Whilst the cats pretty much ignored him with everything except the corner of one eye, Snowy was Most Interested and went on High Alert. While Georgie could neither see nor hear him she could certainly smell him and told the world so in a high pitched voice that drove us barking, er, well.. very mad. This meant Charlie Bunny was confined to the dog-free zone in the kitchen and his own private apartment in the bathroom, complete with picture window and hot and cold running water, none of which he used. Instead he explored. Incessantly. Usually the dirtiest, most mark-making places possible, like the sooty fire-irons.

While our place could most politely be described as "lived in" and a far cry from his former two-story architect designed outdoor residence and pristine suburban home where he is the sole animal occupant, he quickly adapted his cleaning regime and stopped us having to say "Here's your rabbit back, sorry about the dirt!".

Today's study revision: The secret microbial world of ruminants, their several secret chambers of grass processing and why they shouldn't eat too many lollies.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thistle do

Yesterday dawned cool and clear and turned into a warm and sunny day. After a week of sunny days. This information is specifically for our northern readers facing the autumn approaching. We've got the sun, thanks very much, we'll lend it to you occasionally and send it back next year.

What this means, however is that the plant population, only transiently resident during the rest of the year, really excels itself with the combined rainfall and spring warmth to create swaths of bending grasses, waist-high weed infestations, very fat sheep and thistles. Lots and lots of thistles. Between the barbarous stinging nettles, welt-inducing cleavers (known around here by the delightful term "sticky Willy") and the thistles-with-razors-as-leaves the garden and paddocks become a bit less hospitable, never mind the poisonous stinging and biting creatures that come out this time of year too. Regarding the thistles we do have some help. The sheep do their best, last year denuding whole patches so they could be got through with newly-shorn and therefore more tender flanks.

Even so, they grow higher than a horse. Literally.

Princess likes to delicately nibble the flowers and get the sweet stuff out from inside the nasty nests of thorny spikes (prehensile lips come in handy, er, so to speak). This helps the future seed population, but not the current skin-flailing growth. To this end all the free-range sheep have been moved to the paddock formerly known as the Sheoak paddock, but due to another vegetation disaster now Sheoak-less, (more on this later) and SO has spent the best part of three sunny days eradicating thistles in the rest of the wilds. Which has made him a bit spiky and inhospitable too.

Today's study revision: The amazingness that is the digestive system when it comes to sorting out sugars, carbs and proteins and which bit to use first.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cold competition

We usually get cold winters and this area is famous for its frosts making cherry and apple growing one of the region's specialties. Another friend who had just moved to the Hills (capital H. We treat our hills with Respect) Region was amazed and kept taking photos of the temperature at his place, single figures! 3, 1 and 2 degrees C! Like a challenge. One morning, when the garden resembled a room after a large group of children under the age of 4 had been playing with glitter, I looked at the thermometer trying to hide behind the verandah post, - 5C. That dash is a minus sign, hence the ice coating on the lawn, horse rugs, sheep backs and the gate. To which my hand stuck. Win, I thought, but by the time I got into the car the temperature had risen, as it does.

Curiously, we didn't see any more photos from newbie Hills dweller about temperature after that.

Snowy has her own solution for that time around 4:30am when the master of the house isn't up yet and the fire is burning low. She's scared us several times when, on emerging from the bedroom at a ridiculously long time before sunrise, there is no beagle to be seen. A moment of panic and a quick small-pet head count confirms no second dog. The check to find where said dog has escaped from, which window, door, air vent or skylight (don't ask) is forced open used to happen before she would reveal herself. Now we know just to check under our giant-sized cushions first.

Today's study revision: The way animals breathe. What happens when animals don't breathe. How to get animals to breathe again.