Last week I was given to thinking about “Fluffy” the former Pomeranian boss dog who is now long since deceased. What started me thinking about Fluffy, was that by sheerest coincidence I walked past the house of the Crunchy Beagle. Now the Crunchy Beagle was Fluffy’s nemesis and that made that particular house noteworthy. The house of the Crunchy Beagle was a rather large bluestone (local granite) Victorian cottage with a small but thickly planted cottage garden in the front and what appeared to be former stables at the rear. At a guess the house was built around 1870 and may well have housed the local doctor, or maybe the owner of the local Gasometer Hotel, or perhaps one of the owners of the nearby town gas plant which supplied gas for the local lighting. Whatever may be the case, when I lived in that area, all I knew of that house was that the Crunchy Beagle resided there.
I’ve known a few boss dogs in my time, however Fluffy the Pomeranian took her role of boss dog more seriously than any other boss dog that I’ve known before or since. A stranger once made the mistake of claiming that “Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth”, to which I replied: “She has the face of an angel and the mind of a sewer rat”.
Say hello to Fluffy, boss dog extraordinaire:
|Fluffy boss dog extraordinaire with a very young Poopy and Toothy|
Fluffy had the attitude that all humans were delightful and all other dogs must submit to her will. And the size of the dog was not a consideration in Fluffy’s mind. In fact larger dogs simply had more exposed throats with which she would happily demonstrate her skills of domination and their weaknesses. And most of the time the larger dogs would submit to Fluffy’s will – even dogs trained to hunt. Fluffy was a force to be reckoned with.
Some people have only the single tool for dealing with day to day problems in their tool box. For example, some people are very aggressive and that is the only tool they can bring to bear on a problem. Fluffy had a far more flexible mindset than that and she displayed an almost Machiavellian ability to understand her opponents weaknesses. Whilst Poopy readily submitted to Fluffy, Toothy on the other hand was Fluffy’s pet. Fluffy knew that if she simply groomed Toothy – who at the time was not much older than a puppy – she would own Toothy. And so Fluffy groomed Toothy’s face. And sometimes the face grooming sessions went for half an hour. Honestly, there were times that I was worried that Fluffy would extract a Toothy eyeball, but no she was apparently very careful not to do that:
|A young Toothy readily submits to a face grooming from Fluffy|
Have I mentioned how much I love walking? The dogs benefit from that love as they love walking too. Back when the editor and I lived in the inner city of Melbourne instead of watching television, most nights we would walk around the suburb and enjoy the quiet. And it never ceased to amaze me just how quiet those inner city streets were because most nights you would see less than a handful of other people. Fluffy particularly enjoyed walking as it provided endless opportunities to prove her self-assessed canine superiority.
And then one day, Fluffy trounced the Crunchy Beagle. What actually happened is that Fluffy snuck up upon the Crunchy Beagle and at the last moment decided to use “Canine Submission Manoeuvre Number Four” which worked a treat. Fluffy had yet again proven her superiority over another canine: the Crunchy Beagle.
Now, alert readers may be wondering what exactly is a: Crunchy Beagle? Picture an old and rather well fed Beagle, who walks with the stiff gait of one who suffers from arthritis in the joints and you’ll have a reasonably good picture of what a Crunchy Beagle looks like.
Crunchy Beagle was no fool. She was not to be so easily deceived by Fluffy the boss dog. And Crunchy Beagle did not forget (or forgive) the initial injustice. The very next time we walked Fluffy near to the house of the Crunchy Beagle, that dog caught wind of Fluffy and proceeded to systematically stalk her from over 100m (330ft) away only to then confront her at high-ish ramming speeds (with the arthritis momentarily forgotten). Neither dog was going to do the other any real harm, but Fluffy was such a ratbag on occasion with other dogs that the Crunchy Beagle taught her a valuable lesson and so I let it happen. And every time we walked past the house of the Crunchy Beagle, Fluffy was rightfully nervous, as well she should be.
You could say that Fluffy failed to know how to react to events when those events failed to comport to her expectations of the world. And when events did not go according to plan, she had no alternative plan. I see a lot of that going around...
This week the bright yellow trailer received some serious maintenance. The trailer is now over a decade old. Like everything else, the trailer is a tool that has to be maintained. Some of the original steel in the trailer had rusted completely through and left holes, especially in the end flaps. Having rusty holes in one of the end flaps on the trailer meant that materials were falling out of the trailer during the short trips back to the farm. Of course, an optimist might declare that all of the manure and lime falling out of the trailer was just me being a good citizen and fertilising the roadsides for the benefit of the local wildlife. It sounds like a good story doesn’t it?
|Some of the rust holes in one of the end flaps on the bright yellow trailer were now quite large|
The first order of repairs was to remove the flaking paint using a drill and a rotating wire brush. I was surprised at how quickly the rotating wire brush which is powered by the drill removed all of the loose flaky paint and surface rust.
|The author removes loose and flaky paint on the bright yellow trailer using a rotating wire brush powered by an electric (solar powered) drill|
A quick reconnoitre of the available scrap steel stored at the farm produced enough materials to produce a new end flap with which to replace the existing and very rusty flap. (Edit: Dork alert!) Whenever I put together a project utilising scrap steel which turns that scrap into something useful, I feel like I’m an engineer on a Star Trek episode who is forced to use scrap materials to somehow stop the dilithium crystals from falling out of a hole in the side of the fusion reactor. It is unfortunate that a bright yellow trailer is slightly less glamorous than a Star Ship!
|A new end flap for the bright yellow trailer was constructed using scrap steel|
The bright yellow trailer decided to become a bit more modest and it lost its colour once the undercoat of paint was applied.
|A solid layer of quality undercoat paint was applied to the cleaned metal surfaces on the bright yellow trailer|
Fortunately, the layer of grey / white undercoat paint which had to dry overnight was only temporary. A new top coat of bright yellow gloss paint was then able to be applied over that undercoat. Changing the colour of the trailer to be a light grey / white would lack a certain je ne sais quoi don’t you reckon?
Early the next day with the sun shining strongly, I cut off the original and very rusty end flap. After that, I dragged out the electric (solar powered) arc welder and welded on the newly constructed end flap onto the existing hinges on the trailer.
|The author drags out the solar powered electric arc welder so as to weld on the new end flap onto the bright yellow trailer|
The sun was very bright that morning and the solar power panels were producing their maximum possible output of 127A (or 127A x 36V = 4.6kW). Nice!
|This week the solar photovoltaic panels were producing their maximum possible output of 127A x 36V = 4.6kW|
It was at about that point that I should have heeded the warnings from Scritchy, Storm Detective. Scritchy sat on the veranda looking awkward and nervously licking her nose whilst dark clouds rolled in from the Southern Ocean in the background. And that is a sure sign that perhaps a serious storm was about to roll in.
|Scritchy Storm Detective sits on the veranda looking awkward and nervously licking her nose whilst dark clouds roll in from the Southern Ocean in the background|
Whatever! The storm could wait as I had a bright yellow trailer to paint. The day was still warm at 26’C (79’F), so I ignored Scritchy’s guidance about the forthcoming storm and simply got on with the task of painting the top coat of bright yellow paint.
|The bright yellow trailer is now looking better than its former glory whilst dark clouds roll in from the south|
Whilst I had the metal cutting equipment in use earlier that day, I put them to good use by cutting some of the very large dog bones into smaller quarters which the dogs could then manage more easily. It all seemed like a good idea, until I took in a huge lung full of old burnt dog bone which was emitted in that cutting process and then I felt very ill for about an hour. I could taste burnt bones in my mouth and it was only a heroic display of self-control that stopped me from emptying my breakfast contents into the very near to hand garden bed. I don't recommend repeating that experiment, but Poopy loved the now much smaller bones, which just goes to show that good taste is merely a matter of perspective!
|Poopy enjoys chewing on the now smaller old dog bones which I cut into quarters using the metal cutting tool|
An hour after I’d finished painting the bright yellow trailer, the storm that Scritchy had accurately predicted hit the farm. The skies put on a great show and the editor and I enjoyed sitting on the veranda enjoying a quality latte and munching on a few Anzac biscuits whilst the skies put on the best light show to be seen on the planet! I took the camera out with us and recorded some of the lightning to share with you the readers. As a suggestion, click on the next photo below which will take you into a full screen mode and then cycle through the three frames.
|Lightning strikes a remote spot in the valley below frame 1|
|Lightning strikes a remote spot in the valley below frame 2|
|Lightning strikes a remote spot in the valley below frame 3|
Earlier in the week we picked the beautiful looking black capsicum (pepper) and purple eggplant this week and have saved seeds from both for next season and have plans to consume them in a pasta sauce. Yum! And check out the beautiful tomatoes that we are enjoying every single day.
|Black capsicum and purple eggplant were harvested this week and were put to good use in a pasta sauce|
And I spotted some new flowers about the place this week:
|Cosmos are beautiful and also very hardy flowering plants|
|I noticed this bright red flowering and also very fragrant geranium which we took cuttings of earlier in the season has started to take root and grow|