New puppy, new kittens...

This pre-Christmas weather has not been gardener-friendly - so the extended Moosey animal family tries to settle down indoors (Rusty the new puppy, the two new kittens, plus the existing cats and the old deaf dog).

 Lots of fun.
Rusty Puppy out Walking

Saturday 18th December

The puppy doesn't mind rain-walking, but I'm not so keen - I'm a bit sick (yeah! the first time for the whole of 2004). Normally I would be sulking in the house reading and mooching around. It's hard to sulk with the new animals zooming around. Interactions abound - the kittens are destroying the Christmas jigsaw, the puppy is 'fighting' the cat-litter tray, while the deaf old dog groans on his purple bean-bag. Mooseys Country Animal Farm would be more fun in the sunshine!

The Moosey Poultry Management Plan?

Problems with the Poultry

Yesterday younger son and I spent nearly an hour on brown-hen watch, as she came off her secret roost and pottered around in the house gardens. A watched hen never races back to her place of egg-sitting, and it is fundamentally boring watching and following a hen for an hour (even when the roses are all in furious bloom).

My poultry management system is not just seriously flawed, it's non-existent! A wise friend says if I catch them all and lock them in their hen-house (with food and water) for a week, then it will be imprinted as 'home' and they will faithfully return each night. We must try this. Free ranging is a good life, but there must be broodiness controls (white hen has now been sitting on nothing for nearly two months). We'll need a net to catch the rooster - many have failed before...

The pre-Christmas garden is beautiful, but the roses are starting to show signs of ageing. The white Iceberg roses which surround the house are usually ready for a gentle clip by Christmas day - they have two distinct flowering flushes. The Compassion and Westerland climbing roses on the house patio pergola are in full flower, but the heavy rain exposes my natural staking and tying-back regime somewhat. Oh well, Compassion roses beautifully fill a vase for the house.


The rain has stopped, but it's still only about 8 degrees warm. We have returned from taking the dogs to the vet (Rusty's first trip). Taj-dog's consultation took place in the back of the car (he wasn't able or willing to move). Nothing wrong with him except old age - he is having a particularly bad (immobile) morning. On our return, the kittens had completely destroyed the Christmas Jigsaw. Oh well! This is turning into an animal diary! I hope it transforms into a garden diary later today - I hate having too many garden-free days.


Aargh! I have just found that Moosey's Country Garden has joined the video wave (well, the techno-savvy London team have). Technology in the garden is a wonderful thing - but will video ever supplant (hee hee) the famous Moosey Cricket Radio crackling and spluttering in the mulch?

 These three are very well fed.
My Chooks

Eek! Perhaps I will be expected to 'do' some video clips of the Moosey garden with those silly chooks! I will be exposed as even more lunatic than previously thought. I could put on a David Attenborough voice and slosh down the water race peering into things. I could video the puppy and the new kittens. Or the chooks, ridiculously roosting - rooster-cam, with real-time continuous crowing? I'm feeling quite nervous.

 Taken the day before he died - he was thirteen years old.
Taj-Dog’s Last Photograph

A Sad Note

On a sadder note, Taj-dog (at least thirteen big-dog-years old) is declining quite fast. Over just this one day his back legs have stopped working. He can't be with us for much longer.

Update on Taj-dog

Stephen has just called me over from typing this. It's 7 pm, and Taj-dog has just died peacefully on his purple beanbag. Dear old dog. It's the end of an era.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks but I'm grateful that Rusty spent some time learning from a good old dog. Taj-dog has left us for a giant rabbit warren of a thousand dog-smells and dog-sticks surrounded by rivers, beaches, magpies and seagulls.

Good Dog Taj, Good Dog. Taj-dog, Inventor of the Dog-Path, Chaser of Rabbits and Good Old Dog. 1991-2004. - Webmaster's words

Sunday 19th December

I don't feel like writing much. The weather is still blustery, aggressive - rain in patches, angry white puffball clouds scudding over the sky at a furious speed.

I miss my old dog - but what a great, long, and wonderful life he had here in the country! One really can't ask for anything more.

Monday 20th December

Today I want very much to return to the garden. I plan to do this quietly (please let this blustery cold weather stop!) - I'd like the kittens to explore the house patios. There's all the catmint, plus the real super-largest kitten dirt-box in the world, and so many more places to hide from a bouncing puppy. I could put on my gardening shorts, and weed and poke in the house gardens while the little animals played happily around me. Hmm...

Yesterday there was storm damage to the trees in the Botanic Gardens, and my walking friend lost her large, terribly old plum tree. Here we missed the severe wind storms and the hail (thankfully for the hostas). It is supposed to be summer.

 Looking from across the water race back to Crepuscule on the pergola.
Summer Roses

I miss my old dog. Next autumn we are going to plant a large tree in 'his' paddock - one that sheep may safely graze under. Now it's time to get Rusty puppy up (what a great puppy he is becoming), post a guard on the box of kitty-litter, and simultaneously and fairly feed everyone. Mugsy the cat is fattening fast - all those extra little meals... And Rusty's string of grinning sausages is lost in the garden somewhere. Thus Moosey animal life goes on...

Ha! I am back - well, a little back - if you know what I mean. Puppy and I have been working around the edge of Duck Lawn (Duck-less Lawn). We are a tag-team - a finely tuned pair-pack ripping apart the weeds and old daffodil stalks. I have found the perfect spot for us to weed in earnest tomorrow. Ironically it is one of the smaller dog-paths - it's totally overgrown, possibly to be dead-ended. That is tomorrow's major decision. I'm glad that my summer gardening spirit is returning (along with some decent summer weather).