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This week the world has apparently gone mad for the Olympics, however this week’s blog title whilst appearing to be a nod to all things track and field, is actually a mash up of the words “Winter” and “Spring”. Down here at Fernglade Farm we’re in the in-between time where it is no longer Winter, but it is not quite Spring either. Thus the completely made up (portmanteau) name “Sprinter”!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing about limits, and as winter is coming to an end and another growing season begins here, for some inexplicable reason I began thinking about “Fluffy the Pomeranian” who was the previous boss dog here. So, I thought that I would introduce Fluffy the Pomeranian to you – the reader – and tell you something about her story. Say hello to Fluffy the Pomeranian.
|Fluffy the Pomeranian who was the previous boss dog here|
The start of the Fluffy story means going way, way back to the Lost Dogs Home in Melbourne.
Sadly for us, Denver, the Jack Russell terrier had just passed away. Denver had been so named because he was rescued from a country road in the middle of nowhere. On that country road, Denver had been so malnourished that he was eating carrion from the middle of the road. Unfortunately for him he was so weakened by his recent experiences that he was unwilling to give up on his carrion meal merely to avoid being hit by the occasional passing vehicle on that lonely country road. The editor took pity on Denver and brought him back to live with us. He was a good dog. A real gentleman and very relaxed.
At that time, the boss dog was a breed described as a Dorgi, which is a cross between a Corgi and a Dachshund. That boss dogs name was “the Fat” and whilst she was an excellent – if not mildly grumpy – boss dog, she had a few troubles with the concept of sharing food and we had to supervise food time for Denver otherwise his problems with malnutrition would definitely have continued. Don’t feel sorry for Denver though, as he lived for many more years in comfort before eventually passing away.
With Denver’s passing a canine vacancy was available to be filled in the household. The Fat was visibly distressed by his passing, but I suspect she also rather enjoyed the new found freedom with the possibility of no competition at all for the sharing of the food bowl.
So off to the Lost Dogs Home the editor and I went in order to find a replacement dog for Denver. We are not particularly fussy about dog breeds or even the age of a dog, but on this occasion, the editor chose a small white Maltese terrier and as we were in the process of making that choice, there was this rather strange looking dog bouncing up and down whilst standing on its back two legs pawing at the air in a begging sort of a motion. That dog happened to be Fluffy the Pomeranian. Let’s call her Fluffy from here on end. Fluffy was performing a trick simply to get attention. After a short but rather heated discussion between the editor and I, we (edit - it was fully a Chris decision) decided against good common sense, to take Fluffy home.
Little did I know at the time, but Fluffy did that trick all the time. Seriously, that dog pulled one over on us (edit - just Chris). The previous owners who had abandoned her at the Lost Dogs Home named her Princess Shu Shu or some such stupid name. That dog had no boundaries whatsoever and to this day, I have never experienced a more poorly behaved dog. Not only was she exceptionally good at barking all night long, she also considered that the insides of the house – anywhere at all – was for all intents and purposes, her own personal toilet. Cushions were destroyed in the work of but moments. Clothes which were drying on the washing horses were dragged off and attacked without any provocation.
I’ve since read that the Pomeranian dog breed is often highly intelligent, but exceptionally stubborn and wilful, and Fluffy encapsulated the very worst of the breed’s traits. No one seriously wants to deal with a stubborn and wilful dog. After two days of Fluffy’s many hijinks and escapades, I wanted to take her back to the Lost Dogs Home. She was a real bad egg that dog.
Unfortunately for me the editor knew more about dogs than I and she refused to take Fluffy back, despite the fact that Fluffy had pulled out her stitches from a very recent operation despite her having a collar around her neck to stop that very thing happening. That dog was made of such tough stuff that even though the stitches were gone, and who knows where, the wound was opened, she healed perfectly and without infection.
So over the next year or so, Fluffy, the Fat, the editor and I all played a game of cat and mouse to see who would break first. That experience has left me with a real appreciation for the skills of the horse breaker.
Then one day, whilst I was cooking in the kitchen, Fluffy entered the kitchen and gave me what can only be interpreted as stink eye, and then she proceeded to urinate in the kitchen in front of me just in case she thought I was too stupid to understand what stink eye meant.
It was rather unfortunate for Fluffy because she clearly had a full bladder on that day and so she dawdled overly long at her task of urinating on the kitchen floor. On that occasion I was quicker than her and I managed to grab her back legs as she rapidly attempted to decamp from the kitchen. Fluffy rapidly found herself upside down dangling by her back legs. And to my utter surprise Fluffy whimpered. It was the very first time that the dog had shown any remorse or concern for her appalling behaviour. (Edit - it might also also be worth mentioning the day that Fluffy vomited up cat poo next to the bath whilst I was taking a relaxing soak).
From that point onwards Fluffy came to the sensible decision that life would be easier if she observed a few basic rules such as not barking all night long and not using the insides of the house as a toilet. The boss dog at that time was the Fat and she took Fluffy under her wing and they became good mates.
As time went on, the Fat eventually grew old and died and I remarked to the editor that Fluffy wouldn’t care less about the Fats death. I was completely wrong because Fluffy lost most of the colour in her coat in the days following the Fats death.
Fluffy then took on the role of being boss dog as seriously as she had taken on the role of being a complete pain. Bad behaviour became a thing of the past and rules for the other dogs and cat were enforced with a strong iron canine paw. Toothy, the long haired dachshund who many readers are familiar with, replaced the Fat, and Fluffy immediately took that very young dog under her wing. Fluffy used her tongue to spend at least half an hour of every single day grooming Toothy, and he loved every minute of it and would do whatever Fluffy wanted.
But for me, Fluffy became a familiar. She shadowed me whenever she had the opportunity. We were good mates after our initial disagreements and understood each other and asked no more of each other than mere companionship. Everywhere I travelled she wanted to go.
|Fluffy the Pomeranian enjoyed travels with me|
Fluffy had no fear at all and would react to strange dogs by trying to bite their eyes or attack their throats until they acknowledged her as the alpha animal – which they always did despite any size or attitude differences. Strangers used to stop me in the street and ask to take photos of her, and she usually obliged them by posing for their cameras.
Whenever I was working on repairing a house, Fluffy used to sit nearby and keep me company and whenever I moved to a new location she would follow me and just sit contentedly. And she did so for many years.
|Fluffy the Pomeranian was a constant work companion for many long years|
Alas, all good things come to end. By the age of sixteen, Fluffy had developed a wasting disease and began having painful seizures which left her screaming. Right to her final day, which I spent with her, she was a pleasant and faithful companion. But by late afternoon of that final day, I accompanied her to the Veterinary clinic where she passed away in my arms.
I buried her deep underneath a lemon tree (the Fat is under another nearby fruit tree) and to this day the spirit of the Fluffy keeps on giving and she is not forgotten.
|A lemon tree in full fruit|
In farm news, earlier this week I undertook an upgrade of the wiring in the battery room that is the heart of the off grid solar power electrical system. That rewiring was more of an upgrade as I added new and larger feeder cables between the battery charge controllers and the batteries themselves. Larger sized cables reduce the amount of electrical friction in those cables so less electrical energy is lost to heat. I was immediately rewarded with the highest electrical reading from the solar panels that I have ever seen for the system.
|After a recent upgrade to the off grid electrical system, I was rewarded with the highest reading that I had yet seen from the solar panels of 136 amps or about 4.8kW|
There had long been a huge tree stump in the middle of the lower paddock. The stump must have sat in that spot unchanged for at least three decades. It must have been a massive tree in its time and I had previously tried to burn out the stump. After six consecutive and very large fires set over the tree stump, I’d given up on that idea because it is a massive waste of firewood and whilst the tree stump was getting smaller, it was nowhere near disappearing. After all of those fires, the tree stump was still peering out of the ground at me, although in a now blackened charcoal state. Over the weekend, I decided to test a petrol powered stump grinder on the tree stump and I was very impressed with the results.
|A stump grinder was used to grub up a very large tree stump in the lower part of the paddock|
The stump grinder works like a hammer mill as it has very strong steel teeth which mulch up the timber and that produces a sort of fine shredded mulch which will quickly turn into quality soil.
|The stump grinder produces a beautiful shredded timber which will produce a lovely soil in time|
The new garden terrace which is being excavated by hand, doubled in size over the past few days. We have also added a layer of composted woody mulch over the excavated clay in order to hold the soil together in case a big rain fall event occurs.
|The new excavated terrace has doubled in size and the volcanic clay surface has been covered over with a layer of woody composted mulch just in case there is a heavy rain|
Oh, bone wars has continued amongst our canine collective and Scritchy the boss dog has thrown down the challenge to all contenders! Scritchy strikes back!
|Scritchy the boss dog has struck back in the latest instalment of the ongoing bone wars|
The daffodils have produced their first blooms this week and there are now brightly coloured spots of yellow in the still deciduous orchard.
|The first of the many daffodil blooms has opened this week|
The hellebores are the late winter show off flowers and I spotted this dense collection of show offs this week.
|The hellebores are showing off their late winter flowers this week|
The mutant and very large celery plant – which I have had no hand at all in gardening because it was a volunteer plant – is producing very strongly still. I will definitely collect seeds from that mutant plant.
|A freebie celery plant is providing many stems and leaves for cooking|
The older asparagus crowns are starting to producing spears this week.
|The older asparagus crowns are starting to produce spears this week|
We planted the broad bean seeds very late this year, by about two months, mind you so it is nice to see them sprouting this week.
|The broad beans, although planted very late, are sprouting this week|
The salad greens are going from strength to strength and we have more of them than we can possibly eat. Fortunately for us, I caught a wallaby consuming them last night and shood it away before it could eat too much. Unfortunately though there are now less of them!
|The salad greens are going from strength to strength this week|
Vale, little boss Fluffy.
The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 6.5’C (43.7’F). So far this year there has been 698.2mm (27.5 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 682.4mm (26.7 inches).
The batteries are now 100% full at some point during each and every day!