Run rabbit run…

We’re seriously considering moving the dogs to a BARF (bones and raw food) diet. I’m currently reading Give Your Dog a Bone: The Practical Commonsense Way to Feed Dogs for a Long Healthy Life by Dr Ian Billinghurst.

Give your Dog a Bone by Dr Ian Billinghurst

Our dogs get quite a few raw meaty bones already, though not as many as recommended. They are fed primarily dry, kibble type dog food with some pre-packaged meatballs and some veggies and fruit – oh, they do love their fruit.

I went out and bought some of Dr B’s patties and some chicken wings today. I also thought I might see if the butcher had any rabbits. Boy, was I in for a shock! When did rabbits become gourmet game meat? $32 for a rabbit! Am I really showing my age by remembering when you couldn’t even find rabbits because the butchers couldn’t give them away? I think the pups can skip the rabbit for now.

For more info on Dr Billinghurst and the BARF diet: BARF Australia

Walking with dogs…

This morning we had a great walk along the Burns Beach track. Anzac, Jet and I always enjoy the walk but today was extra special. We left home a bit later (after we dropped Stephen at the station) so we weren’t under any time pressure and could walk further than usual. For the first half of our walk there was good cloud cover so that helped as well.

Jet was especially good this morning. Because we were later there were none of her normal little antagonists – those pups who make snuffly noises as they walk and try to rush towards her, which literally gets her hackles up (you should see that; I must try to get a photo). She reacts badly to dogs who approach her too enthusiastically and has a specific couple she’s really developed a dislike for. She ignored all dogs this morning and just enjoyed her walk. I was careful not to put pressure on her lead and, by doing that, give her a signal that she might need to be worried about an approaching dog. I’m afraid I might have been sending her the wrong signals with some dogs.

Jet was also particularly good with the bikes this morning. She really dislike bikes, or should I say spinning bike wheels, which she knows are coming when she sees a bike approaching. It’s only the moving ones that need to be snapped at and need rounding up. I’ve been noticing a positive improvement with bikes coming from behind for a while now, ‘specially those whose riders ring their warning bell. On Friday Jet ignored all bikes from behind. Today, while she didn’t ignore them, she also left all oncoming bikes to go past without being snapped at. With each bike she saw she moved off the path beside me and looked up at me, waiting. I’ve been rewarding her with a treat after the bike goes past and it seems she’s finally put two and two together.

Thanks go to the Haltie collar (which has given me so much more control and made our walks pleasant again), Kim at DoggieWould Training for her great training tips and advice and to the obviously yummy ZiwiPeak Good Dog Treats from AYM Pet Supplies and More that were in our prize bags from the DoggieWould Christmas party. I’ll definitely be getting more of those!

Now, if only I could stop Anzac from wanting to sniff every post, bush and mark on the path along the way! And where did he get the idea that it’s acceptable to lift his leg on so many of those posts and bushes? I know he doesn’t need to wee that often. Boy dogs! Hrmph!

Anzac and Jet resting

Anzac and Jet resting after this morning’s walk

Painting and other things…

It’s been a little over three weeks since my last post and so much has happened.

I had a call from a recruiter who found me via my LinkedIn profile. He wanted to know if I was interested in a full time permanent job. It turns out that the job was exactly what I’d love to be doing and definitely exciting enough for me to get back into the full time commute routine. The job was software support and training for some mining software. I had a great interview and then had to wait two weeks until they interviewed their other candidate before I had any news. Unfortunately I didn’t get the job. The feedback from the companty was great but I was pipped at the post by a geologist with experience in a similar role with a competitor company. I’ll always lose out to a geologist in this type of role. Oh well, yes, I was disappointed but I’ve moved on. I have too much else to do right now.

We got the new garage door. It’s great. So quiet and it doesn’t make a racket in the wind, either. Looks so much better than the old rusty cracked door.

We also chose some floor tiles that will (hopefully) look good with the existing tiles. They are different, but should be complementary . I got a tiler to come and have a look at the sample that I brought home and to give me a quote. He liked the tile and we liked the quote so we have him scheduled to do the work later this month. It should be finished a week before Stephen’s mum arrives. The only problem with that plan is that Stephen left for two weeks in South Africa (for work) on Friday night. He arrives home the day before the tiler comes in. That means we had to get the carpet pulled up before Stephen left. To pull up the carpet we had to move the heavy furnitue out of the rooms e.g. unstacking bookcases, moving them and restacking. We left most of the furniture in the rooms and just moved it around, cutting and pulling up the carpet in stages. Pulling up the tack board was a real pain with all the nails into the slab, but we got it all done. We’ll do the final emptying of the rooms on the day Stephen gets home. Things will be really cramped in the other rooms when that happens but it should only be for a few days.

Some before photos of the lounge room:

Early lounge room

Early lounge room

Lounge room before

Lounge room before

Lounge room before

Lounge room before

There was an incredible amount of beach sand under the carpet. We don’t know how long it had been down, but obviously some of that sand came out of our dogs – even though we always rinse and brush them after we’ve been to the beach and before they are allowed back inside. Since the carpet has gone I’ve really realised how much hair Anzac sheds and how much the carpet caught. I’m having to vacuum billowing clouds of grey and white dog hair every day. I know how much dust we get in the house and all that settles on the furniture must also settle on the carpet, so it’s definitely a good move to get rid of it.

The carpet removed

The carpet removed

I’ve been flat out painting since the carpet started to come up and I’m taking as much advantage as possible of Stephen’s absence and of having less furniture and no floor coverings in the lounge and main bedroom to get as much painting done as possible. Choosing paint colours is painful – even choosing white. There are so many different whites! I finally found one that we’re happy with for all the internal doors. They were painted in a high gloss white that had yellowed with age. I chose to use a semi-gloss. The trim is fiddly and getting a smooth, even finish on the door surfaces isn’t easy. Our doors are just cheap, hollow core doors with the flat untextured surface. They’d be easier to spray paint and even easier if painted before they were hung. I used a gloss roller, which was easier and looks better than my first attempt which was with a brush, but I’m not really happy with them. They will have to do, though; they’ve all had two coats and I’ve had enough of painting doors! I’ve moved on to the walls in the loungeroom. I’ve been filling cracks and chips, sanding back repairs that were poorly patched by the previous owners, and washing down.  We knew about the cracks and chips and the jerry-built repairs (including an unbelievable TV cabling job), but after a while you don’t see them any more – until you start trying to fix them. That’s when you realise just how much there is to do. There was also a wallpaper dado border that I had to remove. That was much easier than the vinyl borders that I had to remove from the bathroom and toilet when I painted them.

The previous owner told us he was an electrician. This is cabling for Foxtel

The previous owner told us he was an electrician. This is cabling for Foxtel

Choosing the wall colours was a real pain as well. We wanted something with a touch of colour, but not something too bright; and it has to match the tiles. I tried six different colour samples before we found one that we think we’re happy with. The wall was starting to look like we were painting it in camoflage pattern. Just what the paint will look like when the whole room is covered it is another thing. Experience tells me that paint never quite looks the way you expect it to when it’s on the walls. Hopefully two coats will be enough. Currently the bottom half of the walls is an apricot colour and the top half a lighter pink with yellow undertones. I should be ready to start cutting in tomorrow.

I’ve also chosen the paint for the family room/kitchen/hallway area – just an off-white shade for that area – but I don’t think I’ll get that done before the mothers visit. Stephen’s mum will be here for two weeks and then mine for four. They’ll overlap for a few days. On one of the days that they are both here we’ve booked a Swan Valley vineyard tour. Our neighbours run a business called Perth Luxury Tours. A couple of weeks ago they took us and two other of our neighbour couples out for the day on a Swan Valley tour. We had a great time and decided to do a similar tour with Maggie and Mirella.  I highly recommend one of their tours to anyone visiting Perth, or to anyone who wants to see more of the Perth area. They conduct a variety of personalised tours.

While I’m busy advertising I’ll mention my hairdresser. He’s now working from his salon in his home in Tapping. If you live close enough to give him a try I doubt you’ll regret it. He’s a great hairdresser (for both men and women) and is very reasonably priced.  Hair by Ben Williams 0416 019 922.

In between all of my painting and prep work I’m required to throw the ball for Anzac every few seconds for about half an hour to an hour at a time; then he sleeps for a while – or lays looking out the front door, watching the world go by – then we start again. Without the carpet on the floor the ball does tend to roll under the sofa. Anzac tries his best to get it out, but can never quite get to it, so I have that job as well. We’ve also been getting up early and walking down to the park each morning. We do a few circuits of the park; Kaz just wanders and sniffs and says hello to the other dogs. Anzac wanders and sniffs and says hello to the other dogs, and chases the ball. He doesn’t often bring it back because there are too many distractions so I always throw it in the direction that we’re walking and he gets planty of exercise chasing it.

Speaking of Anzac, it was his first birthday on Friday. I bought them a couple of new toys, a cockatoo and a pelican; of course I had to give them a toy each, but they do share.  The toys are very popular, they honk when they are squeezed and the have plastic in the wings which makes crinkly, scrunchy noises when its chewed or tossed around.

Birthday Toys

Birthday Toys

We also went down to the beach on his birthday. It was a hot day so we all went into the water. Kaz is funny, though. She doesn’t trust us not to take her right in for a swim. She wanders back and forth along the shallows, but turns her back on us if we turn to look at her. If we call her or move towards her she heads off in the opposite direction. She won’t let us get close enough to get hold of her.

Beach fun

Beach fun

Anzac is absolutely loving the water. He swims out to Stephen without any hesitation and isn’t phased by waves splashing over him. Luckily he doesn’t feel the need to swim out on his own. He likes to keep checking on Kaz  and us and any other dogs that go past.

Swimming fun

Swimming fun

Snoozing in the car on the way home from the beach

Snoozing in the car on the way home from the beach

All in all he had lots of fun on his birthday.

And the beat goes on…

There’s been plenty going on in the last couple of weeks.

Last Saturday we went to see Sting with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in his Symphonicity tour. The concert was held at Sandalford Winery in the Swan Valley and was fantastic. It was perfect weather and it’s a lovely venue for a concert. There was lots of music, there was even an intermission half way through the show. Sting sang everything you’d want him to sing and  his rapport with the audience quickly got us involved. We had reserved seats and could have done with a small cushion to sit on, but that minor discomfort was well and truly made up for by the entertainment. The worst part of the night was the 45 minutes in the log-jam waiting to get out of the car park. We’ve been to a concert at the winery before but parked in a different area and got away very quickly. This time we ended up stuck in the traffic in the furthest corner. We won’t do that again. Santana is playing at Sandalford in March and we have been trying to decide whether or not to go, but Stephen’s work travel plans are still not confirmed so we don’t want to book anything else just yet.

I’ve been plodding along getting my tutorials made up. At this stage I’m focusing on what clients are asking for and will gradually build up. I’m concentrating on the tutoring for older adults at the moment and will probably follow up on training groups when I have my resources ready. I’m not totally happy with the computer room that’s available to me. It would be perfect except that the computers are running Windows XP with Office 2003.  The price comparison that I’ve done so far makes the alternative less than palatable. The one alternative computer lab that I’ve investigated so far is at least five times the cost to rent.

The drawback to the type of tutoring I’m doing  is that it’s almost impossible to prepare materials and session plan because the learners often don’t really know what it is that they want or need to know. I’ve found that I also need to allow time for a cuppa and a chat. That will restrict the number of clients I can see in a day (particularly as there’s also travel to allow for) but I think it’s an important part of what I’m doing if I want multiple booking with the one client and if I want my business to spread by word-of-mouth. It’s also a good way to find out exactly what they want to learn.

I’ve made good progress with my Cert IV TAA upgrade. I still have to do a presentation and deliver some training to a class. I should get it out of the way before the end of Feb, I don’t have too much to organise. Then it’s apparently quite easy to get RPL for the upgrade to the newest qualification, Cert IV TAE.

The weather hasn’t been too hot in Perth for the past week or so, but is heating up again now. We’re back into the high 30’s again (up around 100F). We’ve been seeing a bit of the resident blue-tongue lizards. I think the live between us and next door. Stephen was tidying up down the side of the house to prepare for the new fence and he found a shed blue-tongue skin. Speaking of the fence, we finally have our new fence down one side of the house. It looks great, so much better than the old fences. If only they’d fall down too and we could get them replaced! Though it has been quite a drama and I don’t want to deal with it again too soon. There were really no disputes and real issues getting it done, it just took quite a few phone calls to the contractor asking when it would be done. I was starting to think we should have selected a different contractor, but it’s all finished now and they did a good job, so we’re happy. Now when the wind is blowing we don’t  listen to the sound of the fence moving and creaking and wondering if it will still be standing when next we go outside.

The garden is looking great, but we’re a bit worried about some of the holes the dogs have dug under them. On the hot days they like to dig a hole in the cool shaded dirt to lay in. The trouble with that is that we’re worried that some of the shrubs are being undermined. There’s some distinct damage caused by trampling when they chase each other through, but it’s their yard too and it really is a good garden for dogs. This weekend we’ll probably try to get some soil and top up some of the holes. I’ve also ordered some mulch from MulchNet so that should be here by the weekend. I got an email to say a contractor has picked up the job so I’m just waiting for a phone call.

Yesterday was Australia Day and a public holiday. We spent it quietly at home. Stephen did quite a bit around the yard, putting things back in place after the removal and installation of the fence. Kaz just laid around and dozed for most of the day, as she does, after an initial bout of vigourous play with Anzac. With Anzac you only need to add water and you’ve got fun!

Dog-paddling on Australia Day

Notice how he gets out to watch the water running along the grooves between the pavers!

Oh…and I almost forgot to mention the bread.

The sliced bread we like to buy was on sale so we bought a couple of loaves last week. We don’t eat much bread so when we get it home it usually goes straight into the freezer. This time we put one loaf in the freezer and left the other out so we’d have fresh bread for lunch. Then we decided to duck out to buy something at another shop. When we got home there was just a little piece of plastic bag on the floor – and no sign of the bread. The rest of the shredded bag was in the back yard. No sign of the bread. You’d think that after ten years of living with Kaz we’d know better than to leave food anywhere within her reach when we go out. She has a particular fondness for bread. She never takes anything when we’re home, but you have no idea how many loaves of bread we’ve lost in the last ten years!

Dog paddling…

All of Anzac’s dog paddling practice in his pool is paying off.  😉 He’s swimming really well at the beach and loving it; he went in for a few good swims today.. It was lovely at the beach today. The water was glassy and calm enough with just a bit of a shore break.

Kaz loves the beach as well, but she is so funny. She prowls up and down the shallows and stays about 5-10 metres away from us. She certainly doesn’t trust Stephen not to take her into the deeper water.

Two videos today.

Kaz prowling in the shallows.

Anzac swimming.

The temperatures haven’t been as high as were originally forecast, but still very warm and unpleasantly humid today. Last night was hot as well, the heat and a mozzie conspired to keep us awake for much of the night!

Happy New Year…

A combined New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day post.

Yesterday we had a fairly busy day. We went shopping to buy some gifts for a Chinese auction that was to be held at the neighbours New Year’s Eve party last night. We also did some other shopping and I’m now the proud owner of a 1 litre Bodum french press so if you come and visit us (or just me) I can now make you coffee!  We also threw in some grocery shopping and a visit to Bunnings.

We weren’t familiar with what a Chinese (or gift exchange) auction was. Once it started, though, we realised it was the same game played on My Family the other night on the (replayed?) Christmas 2009 special. That’s the only other time we’ve heard of the game. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the game and the party. It was the first time we saw the New Year in for years.

We slept in this morning. Ha! some might say 8:30 isn’t much of a sleep in, but for me it is. It was warm enough to put water in the pool for Anzac. He splashed and paddled and went to town in it as usual. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the way Anzac likes to play with his water bowl, pushing it round the paving, tipping it over and running round with it tossing it in the air. Here’s a video to show you a little of what I mean:

You can probably guess why he has a plastic water bowl and not a stainless steel one. He pushes the stainless steel bowl around the pavers with just as much (if not more) vigour. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that he likes to do the same thing with buckets:

Well, this morning he decided he could drag the pool around. That’s a clamshell pool with water in it. He’s not interested in dragging the pool when it’s empty; there’s no water to splash over the sides. He grabbed hold with his teeth and did manage to move it several inches before I told him to stop. He made several attempts and moved it a bit each time.

This afternoon we watched the Hopman Cup tennis and I caught up on some ironing. I’m really not looking forward to Stephen’s new job where he has to wear a business shirt each day.

A little bit of this and a little bit of that…

The temperature was much more pleasant today. Down around 30°C (86°F). You feel like getting things done. And I felt like getting a little bit of housework done (just a little bit, mind you). This involved packing the Christmas tree and decorations away. I discovered that the knitted Santa that made had made us several years ago had gone AWOL. Over the Christmas season he usually sits on the bookcase with Mrs. Claus. This morning he was missing, I soon found him, though. He’d gone outside to play in the sandpit with Anzac. It was into the washing machine for a good bath for Santa. He came out as good as new!

Santa, washed and clean and none the worse for wear

Santa, washed and clean and none the worse for wear

While I was packing everything away I decided to give the reindeer antlers one last try on the dogs. They were less than impressed but I did get a few photos.

Kaz Reindeer

Kaz Reindeer

Anzac Reindeer

Anzac Reindeer

Last week when Stephen went to buy his seafood he also came home with a kilo basket of Casa Ricotta. Very nice, but when and how were we going to eat that much ricotta? Well, today he decided to bake some. After a bit of recipe research he added fresh herbs and packed it into a ramekin and into the oven it went. Oh my…

Ricotta ready to bake

Ricotta ready to bake

Finished freshly baked ricotta

Finished baked ricotta

In the meantime we had given the dogs a half marrowbone each. Kaz always buries hers almost straight away so that it can ‘ripen’ a bit. Trouble is, she forgets where she’s buried it. Anzac is top dog when it comes to bones and he won’t let Kaz out of his sight when there are bones around – in case she ends up with one and he can’t find the other – or, heaven forbid, she ends up with his bone! He spent quite a bit of time in one of the nests they’ve dug under the wattle and grevilleas either working on or protecting his bone.

Anzac in his nest

Anzac in his nest under the grevillea and wattle

Anzac with bone

Anzac under the bushes with a bone - taken from a different angle

We are pretty slack when it comes to inviting people over for a meal. We have great intentions but time tends to get away from us. And we do worry about Anzac jumping on people. It’s something we’re trying to tech him not to do but we don’t have very many visitors and the dogs get very excited when anyone does visit. Anyway, back to us not getting round to setting a date to invite friends for meals. It works about better sometimes if people just drop in. That happened today. Isaac and Karen called to check that we were home and then dropped in for a coffee. And we shared the delicious baked ricotta on some crackers. It was lovely to see them and they got to meet the pups.

The moral of this story is: if we’ve been saying that we’ll have to have you over for a meal but haven’t got round to setting a date, then just call us up and say “I’m on my way over, I’ll be there in half an hour”. Just so long as you’re not going to be upset if there’s a bit of dust and dog hair around the place, we’ll all be happy!

We managed to grab a couple of ripe passionfruit for ourselves (before the dogs got to them) and had them on ice cream tonight. They were only small but chock-full of pulp. Yummm Yummm

Passionfruit

Passionfruit

The temperature’s rising…

At 7:30 this morning our outside thermometer was showing 32° C (that’s close to 83° F). Hot enough for us to put the air con on for most of the day. The first time this summer, except for a couple of test runs. We kept it on until about 4:3ish when a slightly cooler change came through. The temp got up to 40° C (104° F) again and now at 7:40pm it’s down to 27° C (81° F).

I do like the heat but when it’s this hot day after day it gets a bit tiring. There’s not much you can do in the extreme heat; not much you feel like doing. The dogs have been feeling it too. Even Anzac hasn’t been very active. Short bursts of activity, often involving splashing in water or running around the yard with his waterbowl, throwing it in the air or pushing it across the paving. We had to substitute the stainless steel bowl with a plastic one. The sound of a stainless steel bowl being pushed across brickwork is almost unbearable; a bit like the sound of fingernails on the blackboard! We did try using a bucket for a waterbowl be he finds it just as easy to tip over a 10 litre bucket and drag it around the yard. He loves to splash the water and then watch as it runs along the grooves between the pavers.

Anzac had his first ice cream today. I gave them both ice cream in cones. Kaz just gulps hers down as fast as she can. She loves it. Anzac was much slower; he took his time and loved every lick. He licked his ice cream until it was gone and then ate the cone.

Anzacs first ice cream

Anzacs first ice cream

And there’s video here.

After lunch I decided to tackle the IKEA cabinet. I quite enjoyed putting it together, and surprise, surprise there wasn’t an allen key in sight! Hanging it was much harder. Darn solid brick walls they like to build here in W.A. Got it done, though and I’m very happy with it. I doubt it will encourage me to go back to IKEA, though. Even if I do want some shelves to store my tea cannisters on in the kitchen.

Bathroom cabinet from IKEA

Bathroom cabinet from IKEA

The colour isn’t great in the photo – the cabinet is bright white and those are sprigs of white flowers on the glass.

We call it Boxing Day…

The day after Christmas, that is.

According to Wikipedia:

The exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear and there are several competing theories, none definitive.

…but it seems to mainly be related to making up alms boxes for the poor which were given out on the day after Christmas.

Here it’s a public holiday, no matter what your charity frame of mind.

Another hot day today with temperatures up around 37°C ( 98.6°F) and the wind blowing a gale once again. I really don’t mind a breeze, ‘specially when the weather’s hot, but this wind we get here is ridiculous. And today’s has been an easterly as well, so apart from air movement it’s done nothing to make the day more pleasant. We were woken several times through the night by the sound of the wind and of the fence creaking alarmingly. Luckily fence is still there, and wind has now dropped off slightly.

After me talking to my mum about the computer and TV that Paul, my brother, bought her today, Stephen taking to his dad and skyping his mum (Christmas day in the States) we spent much of the day outside. Once again we filled the pool for Anzac. Kaz is welcome to use it too, but she won’t put more than her paws in – very gingerly.

New video of Anzac:

Cooling down

Cooling down

Eating treats

Eating treats

Dog Paddling

Dog Paddling

Kaz in the pool

Kaz in the pool

Ready for action - in ball-chasing position

Ready for action - in ball-chasing position

And we had a small veggie harvest today; a few tomatoes and a capsicum.

Today's veggie harvest

Today's veggie harvest

Stephen's Boxing day cray

Stephen's Boxing day cray

And to finish off a small video of yesterday’s blue-tongued lizard

and another small one of the dogs in the water:

Pea straw, plants and pups at play…

The last couple of days have been quire warm and unpleasantly windy. You’d think I’d be used to the wind and wouldn’t dislike it so much.

We bought a couple of bales of lovely pea straw for mulching the roses and veggie gardens. It’s nice, clean, white, dry straw. Perfect. We’ll get it laid next weekend.

We went to Zanthorrea Nursery to buy a couple of plants, and to have a look around. We haven’t been over there for a while. As is typical when we go to Zanthorrea we come home with more than we planned. We wanted to buy a wattle to replace one that died in spring after flowering; we bought two. We wanted a coneflower (Isopogon formosus); we have one already, but it’s quite hidden, so we wanted to plant one somewhere where we can see it. We bought two; Isopogon formosus and Isopogon latifolia that has a more protea type leaf.

We took the pups to the beach and had a lovely time, as always. Kaz is going into the water more and more all the time now.  She even stepped into the pool yesterday when I filled it for Anzac. Normally she won’t go near the pool of her own accord, we have to really coax her. And at the beach she’s running in belly deep even when there are crashy waves. It’s amazing the way the beach changes over time. At this time of year the surf is so rough that it sweeps the beach away. Lots of rocks were uncovered and so much sand was washed away that instead of a flat beach we have a sand cliff. It’s the same each December, but in the autumn the sand comes back .

Talking of the pool – we have a clamshell that we fill one side of for the dogs. Usually only Anzac uses it and, oh boy, does he love it. He loves to get under the hose as you fill the pool and then he gets in and splashes like crazy. He’s so much fun to watch!