dogs, Uncategorized

Summer Means Snakes …

We had a snake incident at our place a couple of days ago. It could have been a terrible time, but it was only and exciting time for our dog, Missy, and a worrying time for me. I’d let Missy out for a comfort break in the backyard, and she almost immediately sniffed out a snake that was by the fence to our pool area, in a bit of dying grass.

cute puppy pic
When Missy was a baby pup, many years ago

I saw a familiar slithering form heading off through the fence and away from the backyard and from possible death. Missy wanted that snake, she knew what to do, and who knows, maybe this time she may have actually killed it, without getting bitten and almost killed herself.  But the pool fence is too high for Missy to jump, and the snake disappeared, into the back part of our place, well away from us, and from our avid hound …

Life in the country is lovely, and I’m so glad we are country people now, and have been for almost thirty years. We have fitted in well to life on our part of the Adelaide Plains. In summer, Graham and Jake both play lawn bowls, and if they’re playing at home I watch them. They both do Lions related things with the Mallala Lions group, they both swin in our swimming pool, Graham tends to the garden, and Missy and I laze around most of the time, with the occasional bit of greater activity.

missy slightly bemused

Missy relaxing

But in Summer, for Missy, that greater activity can mean chasing prey, as is natural for sight hounds, and it could end up with death, if we’re not there to keep her safely away from trouble, or getting her to the vet for (expensive) treatment, if trouble in the form of a poisonous snake bites back … I love Missy, our sole remaining dog. This has been a terrible year for us, losing Missy’s mother, her brother, and then more recently, our very old schnauzer.

Life is like that, we’re born, we live, we die, human, canine, snakes too, the circle of life goes on and on for all living creatures. I watch ants outside sometimes, and ponder about whether they may also think on these things. They tramp and tramp, soldiers out to collect provisions for home camp, finding them and carrying huge items back for their community … The things they carry back are the things that die during the night, moths and insects drawn by the lights on at night, and dying, to give life to other creatures …

In Summer, I’m outside on the back veranda more, and see these things happening, and yes, those snakes will come visiting too, and yes again, if Missy sees the snake, Missy will chase the snake and try to kill it. She’s such a sweet dog, our Missy, but I do worry about her, please may we have many more years together, well at least another four years would be good …

deathpool

our pool, in need of cleaning!
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poetry, Uncategorized

Ants on My Mind

Yes I have ants on my mind at the moment. And no, of course I don’t have real ants inside my head! I have been thinking about ants a lot though, and further thinking about writing a picture book about the ants I’ve been thinking about.

These antsy thoughts were prompted by all of the ants that go past me when I’m outside sitting on the sofa we have on the back veranda. If I look down on the veranda, there are lots of ants, going to the left and the right, with some heading off in other random directions. Most of them seem to be going either toward or away from wherever their home is, which I think is to the left of me, away from the backyard, further away, but still on our property.

I see ants carrying dead things, and these are always heading to the lift, so I assume they’re taking food back to their home. I don’t really know a lot about how ants live, whether it’s mainly one gender who do the work, or if they all do. I think I’ll have to look further into this, I could get ideas for the picture book. If I’m writing for children, I want to get the facts correct, that’s important.

The ants I’m watching are mid-sized ants, not the little ones, and certainly not inch ants. These ants could bite, if I got in their way, I guess, but they’re not troublesome to us in any way. I suspect we’re more troublesome to them. Sometimes I see ants trying to pick up one of their comrades who’s been trodden on by people or dogs. I feel sorry for those poor dead ants, but I can only try to not tread on them, no guarantees I won’t do it, and I can’t prevent others here from doing it, the dogs and my husband wouldn’t care …

I have this idea of being a secular Buddhist, and while there is much I don’t know about Buddhism, I think not killing other creatures is a relevant concept. I don’t like killing things anyway, and I try not to, if I’m paying proper attention. I don’t massively swerve around things on the road when I’m driving at high speed though, killing myself wouldn’t be a good thing to do … and I have this silly fear that if I drove over a brown snake on purpose, trying to kill it, it could somehow get inside the car with me, and bite me …

Anyway, these ants … I need to write some more pages, at the moment I have potentially 18 pages done, if the set up of the book is to have one line to a two page spread. I need more than that. And I need something whizz bang clever/funny/amazing to wrap the whole book up. I don’t have any ideas on that part yet. I think I’ll get the research done first, so I don’t waste my time, when actually knowing more could actually hand me the perfect ending … Sitting and watching ants is fine, but understanding more on what they’re doing would be better.

I’ve written a little bit about ants, poetry, one of the poems in my poetry collection about creatures in my life has a funny poem, where an ant provides the punch line. This is the poem, I think I may read this one at a funny poetry event I’m attending Thursday night.

buddha.jpg

 

A lesson learnt

 

The little boy pulls down his pants

with no regard for decency

or any good reason, I can see;

he aims a stream at toiling ants.

 

Panic disrupts the ordered dance

and causes much unbridled glee

at such confusion caused by pee.

But one small ant sees a chance,

 

it latches on to one small toe.

Giggles then rise high to screams.

Boy shakes his foot to make it go,

ending all his urine schemes

of treating insects thus, and so

a needed lesson’s learnt, it seems.

 

No actually, I need a poem that will take up to two minutes to read, and a practise reading just them only went for one minute, which is nowhere near enough time. I’ll have to go back to my original thoughts on which funny poem to read … I hope I can find it …

Do you like rhyming poetry? I find I write rhyming poetry more when I’m trying to be amusing, and write non-rhyming with more serious poetry. I’d love to know how others feel about these things … Please leave a comment!

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cats, dogs, pets

What Every Back Veranda Needs!

If every back yard needs at least one dog, and some trees, then every back veranda needs a comfy seat from which to contemplate Nature. Nature comes in many shapes and forms. Dogs and trees are two of those forms. There are also insects, birds and grass. Plants of all kinds can be there too, and maybe even cats and reptiles of several different kinds.

It’s best not to have snakes, in my opinion, and the opinion of most Australians, I would think. In Australia, lots of the snakes can kill you if they bite you. I certainly don’t like to see those potential killers in my backyard. My dogs have been known to attack these killer snakes (brown snakes). Well, they caught one and bit it in half, one summer, killing it (obviously) and remaining safe themselves.

The dogs seem to have a particular hatred for reptiles and if they see one in the yard, they’ll kill it, or at least damage in ebough that is stops moving. My poor husband has had to put several lizards out of their agony. It’s not a job he likes doing, but it’s for the best …

My own task in the backyard is to perform occasional pooper scooper duties, and to sit out there on the comfortable sofa, and to just be with Nature. This ‘being with Nature’ is an informal meditation, just being there, in the present moment, while Nature goes on its own way – the clouds, the birds, the trees and other plants, and of course our four dogs, and other creatures. At the moment, one creature that has made a visual impact on the back yard have been ants. We have a trail now that mid-sized ants have created by following a path from one side of the yard to the other side, and beyond.

I have no idea what made them start along the trail, but thousands of them are tramping along the trail, all day every day. I wish I could ask them about it!

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