Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No furnaces today

Nor open fires, bee smokers or incendiary devices of any ilk. Total Fire Ban days declared in South Australia prohibit anything that may cause a fire, including the farrier's mobile forge.

So cold shoeing for the horses it is. Luckily the wonderful Mike is a highly skilled farrier, competition winner, president of the SA Master Farrier's Association and all round nice chap.

He has an impressive anvil. Jeremy was more impressed with the shady, cool, mobile farriery kit. Luckily the forge wasn't lit.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What do you get if you cross a pig with a cat?

Jeremy the Gloucester Old Spot Cat. Jeremy is not the heaviest of cats, weighing in at around 8 kg, but he is broad in the frame and tends to take on pig poses. Due to this he makes a good hearth rug.

If you think a pig has moved into your kitchen, judging by the slurping, smacking, chewing noises and tiny bits of food flicked all over the place, its just Jeremy enjoying one of his many light meals of the day. Cats not using cutlery, this then leads to an equally noisy grooming session.

One of his favourite places is the kitchen, actually, because if there's nothing to eat immediately there's usually something happening that involves people and he loves to somersault on their feet, purring loudly all the while. He enjoys everything thoroughly, including showing you he adores you by headbutting your shins. It doesn't matter what boiling liquids, oven-hot dishes or tricky measurements you are dealing with, you have to do it in our kitchen with a great furry lump rolling around your ankles. When banished from immediate foot vicinity he rubs his head on the cupboards, tables and chairs, often moving them about with the force of his affection. Really. When the chap who moved our combustion heater started work I actually thought it was just Jeremy loving the furniture again.

During the months when it's safe to be outside his main objective doesn't change with the weather, he loves picnics and be found begging food wherever it may be.

His rolling addiction often means he collects all manner of leaves, cobwebs, grass seeds and rubbish, invariably carried inside where it ceremoniously shaken off. He could often make a "before" shot in washing powder commercials.

His other great love is enclosed spaces. If you leave a cupboard open unattended and then can't find your biggest cat, he'll be inside. He gets into bags, boxes, cupboards, drawers, the wood box, the washing and the TV cabinet. If it's a likely hiding place, he'll try to secret himself, no mean feat given his physique. Like a good soldier, however, he will take cover out in the open.

and if he didn't get stuck and have to call for help you'd never find him!

Jeremy is many things, but delicate isn't one of them.

He does have a soldier's ability to sleep anywhere though:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do I know ewe?

Snowy's first introduction to sheep was when she came to us. Unfortunately it was an informal affair and the sheep, not being big on social mores, simply rushed me looking for food. On discovering I had none, but something else new, they surrounded her as if to say "Oh we see you've got a new dog, does she have any food?"

Snowy, finding herself suddenly surrounded by a towering pile of rather smelly wool blocking out the sun, with several noses snuffling her loudly and none of them introduced to the concept of wolf vs ruminants, simply cowered. Then refused to go near the sheep again.

On a sheep farm, this is problematic.

So it's been a slow and gentle process to reintroduce her, formally this time and observing all the polite codes of conduct, to the valley's inhabitants one by one.