Sunday, October 29, 2006

stuff with sheep

there was a yard dog trial out at binalong yesterday, we went to have a look.

brad from bobbora station (where we do some of our training) was judging and 'young rob' (to differentiate him from 'old' robert, our herding instructor) was competing - here they are both in the ring:

just to prove there were actually sheep in the ring as well here is another one of rob, i think his dog was still in the race:

here are some pix of other competitors whose names i dont know:

this is the trialling i hope to be doing with possum in the new year, so it was good to watch other people. no one really had an easy time of it, the courses were complicated i thought, in and out of pens and races, lots of gates to open and close.

it was a fundraising day for the binalong swimming pool, they also had a shearing competition:

and there was a dog high jump we were going to enter possum into but it was getting late and trent was tired and i was getting sunburnt.

so we came home.

only three more weeks till i get to go herding again myself. *sigh*


ps we both managed to stay awake for the big night out on friday, dinner at pangaea was really very good, we had three selections from the 'first flavours' menu - peking duck pancakes, tempura prawns and cajun chickn wings and for mains i had the moreton bay bug and chili linguine and trent had a very nice piece of steak - we were going to do the dessert thing cos they had profiteroles but we were full so we opted for choc tops at the movies instead. 'the departed' was really very good, although i think marty got sidetracked with the action part at the end and should have stayed with the character development slower moving first half. fun though.

Friday, October 27, 2006

birthday girl

yes thats me. i woke up this morning to a sloppy dog kisses, a lovely cup of coffee and this beautiful present - my van gogh posters from amsterdam properly mounted:

this is 'butterflies and poppies' painted in 1890 just after he had got out of the asylum and moved to auvers-sur-oise - painted maybe less than 2 months before he died. in reality it has much crisper colours, the light in this room is terrible and i have propped the painting up against the wall because im not supposed to hang anything. (we'll see about that). i love this one for the detail and the lightness of it, some parts of the canvas dont even have paint on them.

and this one:

this is 'wheatfield with crows' probably my favourite painting ever. it was the second last painting he ever did, probably only a week or so before he killed himself, and is presented in the museum as his masterpiece - again the colours in the real thing are brilliant. i love the path in the middle going nowhere but also maybe towards the sun, and the brilliant yellow fields with ominous skies and crows, loneliness and hope all at once. seeing all of these paintings in the one place was really overwhelming and the museum was so well put together, you get a real sense of his whole life journey, his always searching for something, how lost he was most of the time and how unappreciated he was in his life, which seems amazing now!

anyway it is lovely to have them out of their groovy little blue box:

and to be able to look at them all the time. i was too busy in amsterdam wandering around and writing postcards to write down my real impressions of the place and i have been thinking of doing that in retrospect before i forget what it was like. its nice to remember it today tho.

also today i have been swimming which was fun but now i have water in my ear, did the grocery shopping and am supposed to do some housework before going out for dinner and then going to see 'the departed', although i am now tired from swimming (and my inner princess objects to housework on a birthday). trent woke up at 2am this morning for some reason so hopefully we can both stay awake! its terrible getting old.

hope you are all having good ones

Thursday, October 26, 2006

false pretences

i think its time i got honest - this isnt really a blog about knitting anymore. it started off that way and it was great fun putting up my pictures and all that, and i still love reading everyone elses knitting blogs and all things knit-witty. and i still have my baskets of yarn in the lounge room and i do intend to finish the many pairs of socks i promised as gifts. but im just not into it at the moment, so i think its time i warned everyone that the knitting content here will be rather minimal for some time, and if you come here looking for knitting things you are more likely to get obscure ranblings about the progress of my thesis, or the progress of my rose and vegie gardens, or the progress of my sheep herding practice with miss possum. given that many of my friends live in places other than canberra, this seems the best way of keeping them up to date with all that other important stuff. of course i feel like im letting the knitting team down greatly, so i apologise in advance, but hope you will stick with me.

k :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

caravaggio roses

if caravaggio painted roses this is what they would like:

because i have no knitting of which to speak i am obsessed with my garden. i just cut these roses and took a photo of them in the sun and this is what it came out like. it reminded me of the caravaggios i saw in amsterdam.

but something is amiss with my roses, they are dying very quickly on the bush and i think its lack of water, they are browning very quickly. perhaps they need a feed.

i also cut some herbs from the garden for dinner tonight, they smell great:

other than that i have nothing worthwhile to report, except that i worked in the national library this morning which was more interesting than working at home.

stay tuned for more inane ramblings

Monday, October 23, 2006

in which she admits some days the Can is a nice place to be

yes i am talking about the weather again because its all ive got. there is no knitting to report. dont talk to me about it.

so here is what the back garden looks like today on this glorious spring day, not hot, not cold, just lovely:

here is a close up of my favourite rose bush:

and here is possum soaking up the sun:

and here is the now-mulched vegie patch:

did we go overboard i wonder, esp after seeing mr blooming-marvellous on tv talking about how tomatoes like the ground warm. is it warm enough here yet? not sure, but i know a few warm days are coming and im very pleased with how these tomatoes are going and i dont want to lose them now. i have taken out the bok choy, was getting nibbled at an alarming rate and i dont see why i should play host to a generation of caterpillars. everything else has been sprayed in pyrethrum and garlic oil to get rid of nasty little eggs.

a nice quiet weekend was had at home for a change, watched some movies (brokeback mountain, very well done and the worlds fastest indian, a bit cutesy but fun). We went to the basketball on sat night because trent and jem were involved in a flyball demo there, that was fun! i am having herding withdrawals tho – no more until november 18. how will i survive?

meanwhile i have started on a new thesis chapter today - had a moment on the weekend where the whole structure of it came into my head - not sure how to approach a chapter im not totally stressed out about really!

in other news it is my birthday this coming friday, and I have just made a booking for dinner at pangaea at manuka and then we are going to see the new scorcese flick after. i don’t really care to think about how old im getting.



Wednesday, October 18, 2006


i am writing this to the glorious sound of rain falling on the tin carport roof. ive never been so happy to hear that sound before! it has been a complete culture shock to me, to live somewhere where it doesnt rain every couple of weeks at least. i was just outside taking pix of the garden and water started to fall on my head and possum scrunched up her face, like what is this stuff?

this is what the sky looked like, blissfully free of sunshine. i hate sunshine, love clouds:

the light went bad quickly but i took some pix of things happening in the garden, eg the rose garden and wisteria now full of leaves:

and the first roses - this red shrubby one is the best flower producer and kept me going all through last summer:

these ones out the front came out very quickly:

and now they are in a vase in my office:

meanwhile the vegie garden continues to grow, i think it might be time to mulch now - the tomatoes are on the right hand side of this picture and not really visible but they are doing very well:

bok choy not doing so well - i have sprayed with pyrethrum but i expect to lose them all now...will try for cucumbers instead. i wonder what attacked just these and left everything else alone? perhaps i should do some companion flower planting....

anyway i have 500 last words to write for this paper by lunchtime.

fingers crossed the rain continues....


ps of course the rain lasted about 10 minutes and now the suns out again. *sigh*

Monday, October 16, 2006

chasing sheep around a paddock

well actually i dont do that anymore. that used to be what herding was for me, chasing possum who was busy chasing sheep with no regard for anyone. but something has happened lately, im not sure if its her or me, but i suspect its a combination of both. we initially went to herding school to figure out how to get control of wild possum when she was in working mode because we werent able to do any of our other training with her. in the process we have found that she is a natural herder and that i really enjoyed working with her. so now we have a dog who is very trainable, still a bit wild but mostly under control and also a fantastic working dog.

this weekend we worked on a half stop (getting her to hold the sheep steady without shutting her down, which then meant we could move them slowly in inches rather than in metres at a time) which meant we could do some groovy in and out of gate moves.

this also requires me to read the sheep rather than watch my dog all the time, i am still working on doing both at the same time! one time we got them out of the paddock (all by ourselves!) and into the yard and it was really cool except i didnt latch the gate properly and the sheep ran out behind me and poss took off across the paddock after them at the same time as liam (the property owner) let a whole flock into that paddock and she was just like "oh my god which hundred of these sheep am i supposed to be working?" we called her in but it was a bit much for her so she ran and jumped in the water trough for a swim instead. great dog, shame about the handler. kylie didnt forget to latch a gate the whole rest of the weekend.

we also learnt a recall properly, which i havent needed with her really before cos shes so fast but now that i can move her slower its nice to be able to swap spots with her and get the sheep to change direction. i still have some work to do there, i am all good on the right hand side but the left hand is a bit spaz.

we were going to put her in the race to see how she would go backing the sheep but we ran out of time. next time.

robert thinks we will be ready to trial soon, i could go up to sydney now and do the ANKC herding tests no problem but i am not a big fan of the ANKC so i am going to stick to yard dog stuff. robert thinks i will be ready for the boorowra show in march of next year. of course possum's ready now, its me who has some catching up to do.

robert said she was turning into a 'really useful little bitch'. i think this was a compliment.

meanwhile a whole set of photos is on trents flickr.

now i have mountains of washing to do.

more later
k :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

beer and cake

i am going herding practice tomorrow. it is robert, the instructor, and georgina, a participant's birthdays tomorrow. i spent a great deal of time and effort this afternoon making them an 'unbelieveably rich chocolate cake' from the womens weekly seasons cookbook. i had a rich chocolate cake packet mix in it, plus brown sugar, oil, water, eggs, cocoa and melted chocolate. it had to be cooked for nearly 2 hours. slowly. the instructions didnt say 'cake is cooked when....' (this is like a knitting pattern that doesnt tell you how to sew up the seams) so i took it out after 2 hours even tho it obviously wasnt cooked inside but was all hard and crispy on the outside. i had delusions that perhaps when all the dark chocolate in it cooled down it would set. um, no. i waited the requisite cool down time and turned it out on the plate and it collapsed like a bad souffle. so now its in the bin and i have to take something from the cheesecake shop instead. sigh.

meanwhile possum got into the vegie patch and drank all the margarine containers of beer meant for the snails. so now i will be trying to round up sheep with a dog with a hangover. and eating bad cake.

black friday indeed.


Monday, October 09, 2006


i have been a slack blogger and a slack knitter and a slack photo taker. we went to herding practice on the weekend and i had some more breakthroughs with my possum, out in the paddock again. we got the sheep in the ring and then back out the gate, with help still but im starting to understand the difference between working sheep and just watching my dog all the time. one day, perhaps sooner than i thought, we may be able to work together without her thinking the only good sheep is one thats running around a paddock and shes chasing while i yell at her to quit it. i came away with some homework this time so ive been working on that today and i think i know whats going on now. we are practising again down at michelago this coming weekend and i will try and remember to take photos!

meanwhile the thesis is on pause while i write this paper i was supposed to give in america but someone is giving for me, need to finish my part of that this week. oh, my feedback session last week was not from an official supervisor but from my co-author on this paper who has offered to be a de-facto supervisor when needed, and he understands the point im trying to make and loved my chapter, said i was a very good theoretician, and gave me some good constructive points for improvement. so thats all good. im leaving that one for now and moving on to the next big section, which is basically three chapters by christmas. hmm.

the garden is going great guns, will take some photos of new rose buds and rocket that has turned into a small shrub. today i put little dishes of beer out to attract snails, there are a couple of little bite marks on some lettuce leaves. hmmmm...

swimming has been hard this last week, interrupted and then ive been so tired and have a sore back from my crappy camp chair, but i do believe theres a camping expo on down here in a few weeks so a new chair may be on the list.

and instead of knitting in my spare time, this week i am re-reading portrait of a lady by henry james, my favourite american author.

thrilling stuff.

k :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

music to mop by

thought you might like to know that i have found good music for cleaning to be public enemy's 'fight the power' (helps work out your anger and puts thoughts of your own oppression at the hand of cleaning in perspective), and then new order 'substance' - all those great oldies, makes you feel happy again, despte being up to your elbows in a toilet bowl.

justt thought id share that.

spring cleaning

having lived mostly in sydney and on the coast, living inland, and in a place like canberra, is a hard thing to get used to. but i do love the real seasons, and am enjoying spring, apart from the constant hayfever. the vegie patch has already taken off, only lost one bok choy and one lettuce and one bean in the planting.

and this morning i have been inspired to clean the house properly, ie, moving things and dusting/polishing the surfaces underneath. washing cushion covers. rearranging book shelves. putting knitting away. yes thats right, i have dismantled knitting corner and have put my spare needles and pattern books away. still have the stash basket and the socks-in-progress basket out but they will probably stay 'in progress' until after the warm weather has passed now. i just cant get into knitting at the moment so i may as well stop pretending.

instead this weekend i allowed myself to read a book, as in a novel, rather than some 3 tonne volume of psychoanalytic theory badly translated from obscure french. i read 'girl with the pearl earring' - i saw the movie ages ago and loved it and have never read the book but it has been reissued with colour plates of the pictures and vermeer is one of my favourite artists, and it was great, as good as the movie. and of course, it reminded me of amsterdam and standing in front of real vermeers in the reijksmuseum. the girl with the pearl earring is in the hague which i didnt get to but i saw the milkmaid up close, it is actually really small, maybe only a4 and dwarfed by this heavy wooden frame, but the detail and the colours is exquisite, even after 400 years.

and it was lovely to read something for pleasure again, so i have replaced knitting corner with book corner where i have put my catalogues from the fantastic exhibits i saw in amsterdam (esp the rembrandt/caravaggio) plus other novels i want to reread, eg portrait of a lady, to the lighthouse (there seems to be a painting theme emerging here!).

i am still exhausted from last week which was the most intensive writing session ive ever done, 5000 words in 3 days to finish the mammoth theory chapter by friday. its now 10,500 words with no conclusion and i am meeting tomorrow to get some feedback. *gulp* but it felt good to get it done, and by the time i said i would, and it was so hard that surely the rest will be easy in comparison!

vacuuming calls.