June 2017


Outside the plants are growing green and flowers in a variety of colours are brightening our times outside. We still have strawberries popping up in hanging baskets on our back veranda, and life is certainly sweet! Nights and early mornings are cold though, and our air conditioner on ‘heat’ is most welcome to take the edge off the cold inside.

My poetry output is coming along, with another few poems written in the past week, and one of those poems in particular seems worth sharing further, somewhere, sometime. I’m not good at this ‘getting my work out there’ stage of the poetry writing thing. But for my next collection, perhaps, next year? Who knows …

Will the real Spring nudge me into action on that front? I can but hope. As I said, I’m not good at this. I have some poems that would be suitable for children, and I know an excellent publisher for such works, but I’ve still done nothing about getting those poems to that publisher. If my head wasn’t firmly attached to me body, would it say on?

Ah, self-recrimination, how could I live without you? I’d live quite well actually, I suspect. But there’s always the next thing, the new, thing, the best thing, and so old tried and tested things are ignored, opportunities missed. But as I sometimes write on my Facebook page, Life is Good. The birds outside my back door are still flying around, hunting and eating bugs and so interesting and entertaining me.

And this lovely weather we’re having! If this is Winter, then I’m enjoying Winter very much, except for the chilly times in the evening and the morning … But I look at our indoor/outdoor temperature gauge, and it is now warmer inside than it is outside (in the shade). And the sun is shining, so I don’t have to feel as guilty about using the power for the heating (air conditioner). Our solar panels are doing their job, and even if we’re not making all of the power we’re using, at least we’re making some of it.

Thinking about the seasons, and the plants leads me to the novel I’ve been playing with. I get excited and write a bit, then something else needs to be done and this work in progress stops progressing. Again. I’m much more excited about the idea of being a novelist than I am about actually writing a novel, that’s the problem. I play with little bits of writing, and the longer novel form seems like too much of an ongoing thing.

Will Spring really help me get something happening here, with this novel? Maybe yes, maybe no. But at least other bits of writing happen. I have a book that will almost certainly be ready to launch at the end of July, at the Adelaide Plains Festival of Words 2017. The text (my part of it) is almost all written and in a document, and the other bits are on their way, and there’s still more than a full month before I need to have it. Something to be proud of for sure.

And isn’t that something we all need in our lives? Something to be proud of ourselves for. If you’ve done things in your life you’re proud of, feel free to tell us about it – leave a comment here!

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It’s a sad time, but one that was always going to occur, in one way or another. The grizzling of the muzzle extended, over time, to grizzle most of this old girl. Ananka, once the fighting and fearsome Alpha bitch of the pack finally fell victim to age, and then to blindness, and at the end – victim to the blessed relief of euthanasia. Well, the humans of the pack hope it was a blessed relief for her … How to tell.

It was the decision we made earlier this week. Ananka’s rapid decline after the blindness seemed to come as rapidly, the walking into doors, walls, other dogs, everything. And then the day that she just stood there in the backyard, her final day, as it turned out. Just standing, seemingly unable or at least unwilling to go anywhere at all.

The vet we saw gave possible reasons, a few options, discussion on various methods, cures. But you can’t cure old age, as has been said over the years, Death comes to us all, in the End. ananka

This was Ananka, watcher, hunter, mother, pack member. This is the Ananka I want to remember for the rest of my life. The girl who took over when she could, and ruled the whole pack.

Ananka the runner, the jumper, the chaser of life, the hunter of the good things. Her children live on, and she lives on in our memories …

She inspired me too, with my poetic efforts, over the years, and my most recent poem inspired by Ananka was this one:

Ananka, our Pharaoh Hound

Always on the lookout

Never rests, even sleeping

Alert to all that’s going on

Needs action, loves

Killing the sparrows –

Avowed hunter

 

I say thank you Ananka, you gave much to us all.

Well obviously dogs don’t know terribly much at all about blogging. Sometimes I wonder how much I actually know about blogging … I’ve probably broken most of the rules in blogging, and that quite likely is why I don’t get hundreds of hits on my blogs.

My first problem with blogging started when I got really really excited about all of the wonderful things blogging could do to help me in my writing career. Or the scribbling and (self)publishing that I call a writing career. A career is where you make all of your money, isn’t it? If so, I’m in trouble!

The government is looking after me though, and so is my darling husband, so I’m getting along well enough. I’m enjoying my life too, and inspiring other people too, apparently, and that’s a good thing, surely? Yes, of course it is. Now thinking about my blogging, and it’s lack of real success, I could look at in a different way, and it doesn’t look like such a failure.

This is a better way to look at it. I have many (too many) blogs, I got excited and went overboard. If I added up all of the words and all of the comments together, wow, that adds up to, well not impressive amounts, but better amounts of action. When, or if, I finally get my act together, get off these free blogs, and actually have one blog which I pay proper attention to, wow, that will be great, won’t it? Or maybe not. That ‘maybe not’ is probably the reason why I haven’t actually done it yet.

Anyway, I’m going to go to a workshop in July, which I’m hoping will assist me in getting a more cohesive approach to this online and blogging thing. Writers write, and blogs are made up of words. Well, actually the best ones have words and images too, don’t they. Sometimes, in fact far too often, I neglect to put images in my blogs.

cute puppy pic

cute pic Pharaoh pup and Pumba!

I remembered this time, there’s an image!

What I’m actually going to do in the meantime is to post this to as many of my blogs as I can find, and then see what happens. It’s an experiment, and I’d love to get some feedback from other people. So, if you can offer me anything about this, please do so, I’d love to hear from you!

And here’s a picture of the things my husband and I picked from our garden today, because gardens and dogs and blogs and writing, along with pictures of some things, well, they’re things that help to keep me amused!

garden produce

I have a backyard, and I have a front yard, and I have other areas available to me, if I want to be outside, on my property. We live on one and three quarter acres, my husband and I, our four dogs and sometimes our son. It’s a good life, and I love the amount of wild life sharing our property with us. Except for the snakes, I don’t love them …BrownSnake_Australia

The dogs we have, three of them anyway, are keen hunters. They’re Pharaoh Hounds, which are very much like greyhounds in that they love to chase things, and eat them. Our Pharaoh Hounds will chase and catch birds and reptiles whenever they can. Yesterday, our youngest dog, Missy, caught a bird, a small one, I wasn’t there, but my husband saw the results, Missy chowing down on a feathered morsel. It’s natural to the dogs to do this, but I feel a little bit sad about it … I just hope it was an introduced bird, not a native bird.

Of course, all of the birds deserve to live, as do our dogs. It’s a tricky thing, trying to edge an ethical way around dogs and birds, and other creatures. Dogs do their doggy things, birds do their birdy things, and the reptiles do their own reptilian things too. We have those reptiles on our property at various warmer times, lizards of various sizes and kinds, and snakes of a potentially deadly kind. We’ve certainly faced potential death from a snake bite, and don’t ever want to go through that again.

It was Missy that time too, that caught and tried to kill a deadly snake, a brown snake. Missy bit the snake, but the snake bit Missy back. A worrying trip the vet, appropriate treatment and a sleep over at the clinic, and Missy was back with us, a little subdued, but soon looking for prey again … The Pharaoh Hounds are wired for chasing, and there’s not a lot we can or want to do about that – we just keep them safe inside in summer, keeping an eye out, and an ear out too, for that hound chase thing kicking in and looking for trouble …

There are lovely things going on in our garden too, of course. We have grass, tall trees, flowers, fruit and vegetables, all growing well and showing us a lovely green vision of cool beauty. We aim to keep things relatively hardy, and as organic as possible. There’s nothing better than eating a fresh strawberry, plucked from the bush just outside of our back door, red and plump and warmed by the sun – delicious!

We also have lettuce, capsicums, garlic and celery growing. The celery is a test, and is growing in the kitchen, in a little plastic container, with a little bit of water that we refresh daily. I read about this idea, and loved the thought that we could grow our own celery right there in the kitchen windowsill, so I tried it. And yes, the celery is growing from the leftover celery that would normally have gone into the compost bin. So in theory, we have grown new celery from old, but the growth rate is slow, and our need for celery is faster than the growth.capsicum

I’m thinking of transferring the celery outside and hope it will grown faster that way. Growing things inside doesn’t happen as often inside for us, going outside is enjoyable, and the dogs are always likely to steal anything growing inside! Speaking of inside, there is wild life inside at times too. We’ve had mice inside, and many others in our area have had them too. I feel sorry for every mouse that falls victim to the traps we have, but I also feel cross when I see evidence of mice in the kitchen – yuck!

Outside are lovelier things to see – I’m an amateur birdwatcher, and love to see the variety of birdlife that lives around us. From the usual sparrows and starlings, to the lovely honeyeaters, willie wagtails, and others, I like to sit on the veranda and watch them as they go about their business. Quiet and mindful fun for me – I do a kind of Nature Meditation and feel soooooo calm and Zen!

Living with wild life is a game of what you can put up with and what you can’t – sometimes Nature wins, most times, Mankind wins, but the balance is feeling pretty good for us. We have shelter, food, water, space – and we are more or less happy to share some of what we safely can, with Nature.

If you love the Nature around you, I’d love to read about it, feel free to leave a comment!