Duty Done Outside

Today I had two tasks to do, because my partner who usually does them has something else he wanted to do.


So I watered the potted plants in the backyard (task one) and then I watered the canna lilies we have planted further down the back (task two), and I watered the mandarin tree (which failed in terms of fruiting this season) (task three – which was my decision, not a given task). I watered the mandarin because I want it to stay healthy, because I loved growing our own, when it grew its fruit in its first growing season.

Then I came back inside, for a definitely well-earned rest. So here I am writing about and thinking about gardens, and dogs, which of course is appropriate to do, on a blog with the title of Gardendog’s Blog.

Our dog Missy came outside with me, happily, not actually following me, just being present with me, more or less. She did her usual sniffing in her usual places, trotting along her usual routes, eating a little bit of grass, sniffing some more things, just checking out what was going on, in her yard.

Because, the backyard is an important part of where Missy lives. She loves sleeping on her sofa, sure, but she has her own duties, involving keeping us all safe from intruders, and searching out any other possible problems that may ‘crop up’. I don’t know what those problems might be, but Missy probably does. People and dogs know different things, do different things, care about different things …

So I’m back inside, and thinking about how the dog/human connections are so beneficial, how much I love having this mostly lovely but sometimes annoying hound in my life. She is a beautiful creature, she is affectionate, and does some funny things. It feels good to be caring for another, the way we care for Missy. She is grateful for all we do for her, we are grateful for all she does for us. Perfect.

Living with dogs can certainly be a good thing, I’ve lived with dogs for many years, I can barely remember how long ago it was, that we had a ‘dog free’ home. It was before I was married, I know that, so at least thirty-three years ago. I feel sorry for people without a pet in their life, although, I’m not sure that having a pet other than a dog, or dogs, but I certainly realise that we are all different, and like different things.

me and the boys

And of course, living with dogs has given me much to write about – the photo is one taken back many years, when I had put out my first book in the ‘Buster the Dog’ series, “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs”. That’s me in the photo, with two of our first litter of Pharaoh Hounds bred. I’ve written and printed my third book in that series, and looking to get stuck into writing the fourth book in the series, where Buster the Dog must learn to live in a new home, with another person, and with that other person’s cat!

Oh dear, I hope Buster the Dog, and McTavish the Cat work these things out well, and in an interesting way! Cats and dogs can live together well, but certainly I would never consider bringing a cat into Missy’s territory, because she’s certainly shown us she definitely Does Not Like Cats!

If you have both dogs and cats in your life, I’d love to hear about how they get on!


birds in garden, dogs

Watching the Birds …

Well, it’s Spring in Australia, and in the garden, Spring means lots of new things are coming along, both plants and creatures. One of the things I’ve been noticing much more than usual is young birds …

I’ve seen various birds doing their natural thing, courting, mating, nesting. And now I’m noticing the baby birds first, and now the adolescent birds. One bird species in particular has connected with me, and I was thrilled to see a pair of Willie Wagtails building a nest, and then obviously having laid eggs in the nest. The nest is only a couple of metres from where I park my car, and I’ve been thrilled to see the pair of birds taking turns at sitting on the nest.

About a fortnight ago, three baby Willie Wagtails could be seen in the nest, and then, a couple of days ago, they took flight! They didn’t fly very far, and they are still hanging around not too far from where that nest was that was their first home. These babies slowly  growing their tail feathers, practising their flying, and learning to wag their little tails!

I’m thrilled these little babes are living in and around our backyard, where I can see them and their parents whenever I go out of the backyard! I love seeing Nature so close to me, and I wish this family of lovely birds well! I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t love these cheeky-seeming little birds!

Anyway, I have finally written a poem about these little new residents in the yard, and here it is, a little Haiku poem for the little baby birds:

Keeping watch
Willie Wagtail
babies all flown the nest –
parents still care …
I will go on watching this family of birds, and I hope they keep on staying around. I am worried though that Missy, our dog, might decide to make a snack of one of the baby birds. They are getting better at flying though, so I hope they will be able to keep on flying high above Missy’s reach, so they can stay safe. Missy usually only goes outside if someone goes outside too, and that means we can keep watch. I hope that will be enough.
At the moment, Missy seems mostly interested in hunting for, I suppose snakes … She hunts around the fence line, where there is some grass, and sheets of fencing panels, where snakes could be hiding. I so hope she doesn’t ever catch a snake, I don’t want to lose our beautiful and silly hound. But she’s a hunter through and through, and she doesn’t listen to us when the hunt is on …

When the Dog Goes Walkies

I’m not the one who takes the family dog walkies, that’s not my job. Graham is the one who goes walkies with Missy, and they both enjoy it. They are both getting more toned, ridding their bodies of excess weight, and adding on muscle. Being out and active in the garden can do both of those things too.

Missy is a ‘get up on the sofa and stay there’ kind of dog, for a large part of the day, but sometimes, when she goes into the yard, she really goes, streaking around and around the backyard like there’s a banshee at her back. Then she’ll suddenly stop and look at me, as if it was my fault she was running madly around and I should apologise, or something.

Of course, she may just be doing it because she likes a good run, every now and then, who knows? Until we learn how to understand what dogs really think, we can only guess, and the dogs can’t actually, truly tell us if we get it wrong.

Missy and Graham are out walking at the moment, which means the house is all mine, except for the people on the TV screen who I’m doing my best to ignore. They might be talking about sports I’m not interested in, or it could be political. I heard the word ‘problems’, and that’s it. It’s mostly a blur of sound, with little actual meaning. I think I just heard the word ‘drunk’ or it could have been ‘drug’, I’m not sure. Either way, it isn’t a good word to hear, under the circumstances. I’ll continue ignoring the TV, it’s better that way, I think.

dig it

So when I’m home alone, I ignore the TV, that is on anyway, waiting for Graham to get home so that somebody at least pays it some attention. I’m happy with no TV on, and only Natures sounds coming in from outside (although with the cooler weather here, I can’t hear much of that either). The idea of exercise, walking up and down our road, is a good idea, but I don’t like walking that much, even though I know I need the exercise almost as much as Graham does. I’m more like Missy, and will do my favoured exercises, but not too often, even if it’s good for me. Missy and I both like lolling about doing not much physical at all.

I don’t know if Missy does much thinking when she’s on the sofa. I know she has dreams, or maybe nightmares, when her legs move, and she whimpers a little bit. Do dogs really dream, I wonder? Am I just putting my own human interpretation on something? Humans often do that, anthropomorphising things that animals do, especially when the animals in question are our pets. When these creatures live in our homes, we see them doing things, and think we understand it all.

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on

We don’t always get it right, I’m sure, but I hope that at least some of the time, humans can in fact understand what’s going on in the animal/pet world. When I wrote my three books with Buster the Dog (who lives in my head), I was trying hard to understand how things humans do seem to our pet dogs. I certainly enjoyed writing those books, and like sharing them with people (not just because I get money if they buy my books!)

I love to write about things to gain a better understanding of them, and to understand what I think about things. Do you write about things? If so, what is your favourite way to write – a journal or diary? A blog? Poetry? Stories? I’d love to hear about it!


Books & Bugs

Books take up much of my time, the reading of them (a little, I will endeavour to read more), the writing of them (a novel slowly coming into existence), and promoting them (I have mobile office full of them, my little car would probably run better if they weren’t loading her up!). Yes books. I look around this room and can so so many books, some mine, some my husbands, some ours, some just seen to have been there forever, with no-one to call them their own. But whoever’s books they are, they’re important in the household.

Bugs though, neither husband nor I claim ownership of any bugs that come into the house. If he sees them, they’ll be sprayed to death, if I see them, well, I’ll encourage them outside if I can, and just ignore them otherwise. Huntsman spiders, them I’ll actually take outside before they’re killed inside. I don’t mind having these useful spiders in the house, but hubby still has a bit of a thing about spiders, and he gets rid of them forever, dead and gone. I don’t like mosquitoes, but they like me, although I don’t remember too many problems from these pests in the summer just gone. Lower rainfall perhaps?

Yes, I’ve just gone away and checked. There has been very little rain so far for 2018, and low rainfall means fewer mosquitoes. I try to be kind to all of Nature’s creatures, but those pesky mosquitoes … They make it hard to like them, that’s for sure. I love the amazing ability given to those of us who have decent internet, to be able to wander off to easily find records and information, without having to do more than key in some words, and click on some keys.

Anyway, bugs … The big black bugs that are on my blog, along the top of the page, we certainly have plenty of those around still.  and here it is again:


I saw one near the front door yesterday, that fortunately was heading away from, not towards the door. I don’t mind these bugs either, but again, I put them outside, to both keep them out of the way, and also to keep them safe from the possibility of insect spraying from the one with the trigger finger … I wonder, does he resent these freeloaders coming into our home, uninvited? After all, the mortgage is paid for with his money, so I suppose that’s fair enough, in a way. I’m the one trying to be Zen about creatures in my life that want to share with me, not him.

I wonder whether I could write a book about these things? Zen and the Art of Insect Acceptance … What would the Buddha do with these tiny invaders? I doubt very much he’d spray them with toxic chemicals. Am I really going to start thinking about writing a new book about these things? No, I don’t think so. I suspect there would be research required, and research is certainly not my strong point. I know enough about good research, to know that a one minute Google search, and then a five minute reading of one of the results, that is not research, it’s flaffing around, a method much more appropriate for a totally non-serious blog, such as this one. If you want top class research, you’ll have to go and look somewhere else …

So, on with books. I am a writer and poet. I even have a book out, a poetry collection “Tense & Still”, where insects, including mosquitoes and spiders are mentioned, as well as some warm-blooded creatures. It’s a book published by an actual publisher, and if you’re interested, it’s available here:

I have some other books that are self published. If you want these books, you don’t go to a fancy website and order and pay for them online. I have three self-published books that I wrote with Buster the Dog (not a real dog). I also have a blog I started when I wrote the first of these books The first of these was “Dig it! Gardening Tips for Dogs”, the second one was “Doggone it – Mindfulness from a Dog’s Point of View” and the third was “Dog Buddha’s Thoughts”. These books are illustrated by Allyson Hean, she’s a friend of mine, and we decided to self-publish these books way back when our sons were at Primary School, a long, long time ago. In between these three books, I wrote and had published the “Tense & Still” book, and another one, a memoir about my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. This book has its own blog too.

If you want these books, you have to let me know, and we can organise things by email or but comments on this blog, or any of my other blogs … email is probably best, I check my emails regularly – that is my email address.

I think that enough for now, Missy, our dog, is sounding a bit restless, and it’s time for us both to go outside to get some of the lovely sunshine I can see outside, it would be a shame to waste all of it and not get some myself! I’ll see how many bugs I can find out there!

dogs, Uncategorized

Poor Missy, Sad Dog …

IMAG0275_1.jpgWe hope that tomorrow, when we take Missy to the vet to see how she’s going after her operation to remove two lumps, that the cone around her neck can be removed. Missy has had this around her neck since the operation last week, and she doesn’t like it at, not at all.

But the so-called ‘cone of shame’ stops a dog from scratching at a wound, or licking it, depending on where they have been affected. Missy is managing this challenge well, and seems to be feeling better and better all of the time since the op. Roll on tomorrow afternoon, and possible freedom from the dreadful cone.

Our dogs trust us, and we try to do the best thing for them, if we are good dog owners. Missy is a good dog and deserves the very best from us, the bosses of the pack. That’s the nature of the dog human connection, we form a pack, and fit into our positions, and life goes on well, if we play our parts properly.

Do you have a dog that you love, I’d lover to hear about it if you do, feel free to leave a comment hear!


dogs, Uncategorized

Please, Not a Snake!

I let our dog, Missy out into the backyard today, and saw she quickly turned into hunter mode, ears forward and tail up and wagging slowly, the way it does when she’s thinking about ‘getting’ something. Missy is a hound, and hounds are hunting dogs; Missy knows this well, it’s in her DNA.

I didn’t know what what Missy was so keen about, but I feared it may have been a snake, a brown snake. Missy and brown snakes have a past – the one in the photo was a victim of Missy’s hunting instinct. She caught it, and it bit her. Missy lived, but did enough damage to the snake, that meant it was too slow to get away, and we killed it, before it killed anyone.


Missy collapsed and we quickly rushed her to the vet, ringing them as we drove there, so they would be ready. This was two years ago, and I’m so glad that the vets did a great job, and after the antivenom treatment, and an overnight stay, Missy was well again and ready to try to find another snake. DNA is DNA and she will probably never learn not to try to kill snakes …

But I was pleased to discover the reptile that had attracted Missy’s attention had four legs, and though it could have bitten her, if she’d got too close, its bite would be painful, but not fatal. Missy came away from it when I called her, and I’m glad the lizard appears to have left out garden, or at least hidden itself away somewhere else …

I was glad when Missy came back inside with me, where she got back on her sofa to recover from the excitement. missy slightly bemused

Reptiles and dogs, at least dogs like Missy, who is a Pharaoh Hound, they will probably not be friends the way that cats and dogs can become friends, under the right circumstances. But lizards or snakes and hunting dogs, I don’t think so. If anyone actually know about a dog who’s became pals with a reptile, I’d love to hear about it, please leave a message telling us about it!

birds in garden, dogs, Uncategorized

Missy in the Backyard with Me

There is something about a dog in the backyard that always brings some joy to my heart. It brings the pooper scooper into action too, at times, but the overwhelming joy a dog seems to get from being outside with Nature, also brings me some of that joy too. This morning was another one of those joyful times.

I was acting on instructions from Graham, to water particular parts of our garden. He told me or was that asked me? anyway, I was to water the hanging pots and the bonsai trees. We have some rain-free days coming today and the next few days, and we certainly don’t want our trees and plants to die. Looking at this trees and plants, remembering the processes of getting them to their various stages, these are good to remember. And if it brings memories of other plants and trees that didn’t make it through to this stage, well that’s still a good thing to think on, even if it isn’t a joyful thing.

Missy prefers to stay on and around the back lawn, sniffing around the shrubs, searching for things I certainly don’t want her to find, like snakes, I suspect. She didn’t find anything like that this time, which is a good and joyful thing! What she did find was a spot of lawn that was in the sunshine and was ready to be rolled on! Missy loves to roll on the lawn, and I love to watch Missy doing it. A dog enjoying a back massage by rolling over and over on the lawn, that’s an extremely joyful thing for them to do and a joyful thing to see!

Of course, there are birds to see and hear when we’re in the backyard too. Missy and I both like birds, but not for the same reasons. I love to see them flying free and mobile, zooming high above us, or past us, or diving down to sip some water from the pool, and then way up high again. That’s usually the swallows who do that, and they’re particularly active at this in the early evening, when there will be many swallows dive down and then away again, circle around and do it again, or disappear off somewhere else. I love to see them doing this. Missy would probably love to catch and eat one of them.

cape honeysucklethis is one of the bushes Missy likes to snuffle around the base of. Sometimes she’s found baby birds there, yum (for her anyway)


Because of course, Missy is a dog, a hound, and what dogs in general, and hounds in particular, like to do, is to hunt. When these bushes (Cape honeysuckle proper name Tecoma capensis) are flowering, as they are in the photo, that’s when the birds take a particular interest in them, getting nectar from the blooms. I love watching the honeyeaters in them, betting a good feed of nectar. We get two kinds of honeyeaters around our place. There are always New Holland honeyeaters around the place, and sometimes we get White Lined honeyeaters. I don’t like it if Missy catches and eats any of these lovely honeyeaters, but Missy doesn’t care what I think about that.

muAH7rk(1)  a New Holland Honeyeater


Watching the birds around our place brings me joy, I love to see them, both the ordinary ones, sparrows, starlings, turtledoves, but the native ones in particular, such as those honeyeaters mentioned above, and the crested pigeons, lorikeets sometimes, and often there will be willie wagtails too, I love these jaunty and songful birds! Sometimes I will spot a bird of prey circling high above, which always interests me, as I work to figure out what kind of bird it is. I’m a keen birdwatcher, and new birds to our place certainly brings me joy – I love to be able to add a new bird species to my list of birds around our place. At the moment, there are I think 43 different birds on my list.

It’s not a competition, but I’d love to hear about the different birds you can see from where you live – please leave a comment here are let us know. I live in Rural South Australia, in the lower Mid North region, I’m sure people in other areas have some very different kinds of birds, please tell!