Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve


It's going to a be funny Christmas this year. Mr Bliss has ridden off down the driveway this morning to travel to Merimbula and spend it with two of his children and their significant others, and his one grandson.

I could have gone, but am a bit antisocial at the moment, and the dogs need looking after. I am quite happy 'home alone', doing just what I feel like ..... and no Christmas food to prepare.

I am being spoiled by my ex-sister-in-law, and am going down there tomorrow lunch time for food and family. After I divorced her brother-in-law, I kept up a long standing friendship with her, and we are great pals.

So, my ex-family is like real family and all will be there. Ninety two y.o. mum, hubby, two adult kids and assorted grand children. My daughter and her 5 y.o.son will also be there as she was the catalyst that got us all together when she was twelve and friends with Nicole.

There will be heaps of food, as they love to cook. Jim, who is American, always makes a big event out of stuffing the ('goddamn') turkey, and Kath gets the Bain Marie out and fills it with far too much.

I'm a vegetarian, but I know she is thoughtfully catering to my preference, promising lots of variety for me to tuck in.

So, bring it on! Just some wrapping of presents, no Christmas Tree to fuss over, and being spoiled tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We had a disaster unfold yesterday, with one of our sheep found cast upside down along the fence. I thought she was dead, and then a leg moved. She had a big hole in her chest and it looked flyblown. We begged our shearer to come around ASAP to clean it up and have a look. He'd just finished a day's shearing miles away and must have been exhausted, but I pleaded and he relented.

She's OK, but has a 4 inch jagged, deep tear in her chest. Maggots were just hatching out in the wool, but she wasn't flyblown, thank heavens.

Nev's just clipped that area off with hand shears, and is coming tonight to do the rest of her and the others. Rain is predicted, but I hope he will arrive and do the job before it does.

I am so GLAD I went round to check on them and do their water, otherwise she probably wouldn't have lasted until tomorrow. Poor little gal!

Weeksie hasn't been the easiest of our little flock. Apart from being very short in the legs, her wool grows all over her face and she becomes wool blind if we don't trim it. She has tiny little horns that she likes to poke us with in close quarters, and she is always the one to make a break for it when we are moving them around, taking the rest off down the hill with her. But we do love her, for all her faults. 

Here she is a few years back with her tiny brand new twinnies.

Post Script: 
Poor Weeksie was attacked by a domestic dog, as we discovered when she was shorn all over. Bite wounds around her face and neck, a huge rip down one shoulder and a large three cornered tear on her rump made it very obvious the poor little girl has had a terrible time. We felt sick, and still do!

The vet is coming this morning to look at the largest wound on her chest. She has lasted this long, but I think antibiotics are in order.

I have done a letterbox drop to all local neighbours with dogs, letting them know what has happened, that we may be laying baits, and any dogs seen wandering near or property will be shot on sight. Trying to get the correct wording to put the wind up everyone, but not insult them, took a bit of work, but I think I got it right.

Hopefully this is a one-off event. Sheep farmers up on the borders of forest have many many sheep killed and mauled by wild and domestic dogs. It must be the worst discovery you could make as a farmer.

PPS. We have all survived nearly a week later. We had the vet for a check over, and cleaned her up each day and picked maggots out of the deep holes. Maggots are actually useful as they only eat dead flesh and leave the living. They apparently secrete an enzyme which dissolves only the dead stuff so they can lap it up, I have discovered thanks to Google. 

She has been very brave .... quite passive really, as she is usually a bit difficult. Last night as we did our final check and injected her with antibiotics, she began to play up again.. a sure sign she is feeling better. So much trauma and pain, for a sheep, she's been very understanding that we were helping her.

Everything is now sealed over, so there's nothing more than time can help. It's been less than a week since I found her and the HUGE hole in her chest is mostly filled in and the tear through the shoulder muscle is nearly there too.

Now I can get on and enjoy Christmas......... :0)

End of the World?

I just couldn't help passing these on ....

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stop Live Export Petition Launched

I am a passionate supporter of ending this vile trade, and contribute everywhere I can to push for change. I have just launched a petition with Avaaz, a 15 million member petition group, which has brought about major change in many areas of need worldwide.

I also write to the local newspaper whenever a new LE disaster surfaces, to politicians, on blogs, Face Book Pages, and donate to Animals Australia. We try to keep the pressure on government for change.

I like this..... "Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation." Robert Kennedy, 1966.

This is the content of my Avaas petition:
"Australia has developed a long standing industry of exporting thousands of cows, sheep and goats onto tightly packed ships and transporting them for sometimes up to a month to as far away as the Middle East.

They suffer and can be injured from inclement weather on the water and extreme temperatures they are not used to. They can sicken or starve, and thousands die, to be thrown overboard, which has been said to mess with the ocean ecology.

If they reach their destination intact, they are then subjected to often cruel handling and brutal slaughter without stunning that would not be allowed in Australia and many countries around the world.

Australians have been horrified time and time again by vision of extreme cruelty in Live Export destinations, but the government refuses to budge as it is seen as a financially valuable industry. Month by month, new horror stories emerge to shock the nation. 

Please add your voice to help end this cruel trade."

Please consider signing on this link: 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vets in Trouble with Pannus

Lily's eye was removed in July, and now it seems it was not necessary. Her other eye flared up a few months back with the same symptoms as the first. I took her to the vet (not the same one, but the same vet clinic) and it was immediately diagnosed as Pannus. We used Cortisone Drops and anti-inflammatories and it improved overnight.

I got onto the internet and did lots of research and found it was an hereditary condition and always affects both eyes .... though not necessarily at the same time. It cannot be cured, but can be controlled, as her remaining eye is now.

That led me to the conclusion that the first vet, who was pretty unpleasant to deal with, had not dealt with Lily correctly by not trying everything that could be tried before removing the eye.

I called a meeting with her and the senior vet. She apologised if I felt that she had been judgemental about me, but would not admit she could have done better. The senior vet said they had done nothing wrong and had provided me with all the options I needed. He also made a throwaway comment that 'Lily's eye was shot anyway', even though he had not seen the dog for nearly a year. He was in no position to make such a judgement. Luckily, I found a photo of Lily with a nearly clear eye only 7 weeks before the surgery, so that blows his theory out of the water, and gives me proof.

To cut a long story short, I have made a complaint to the Veterinary Board, they have accepted it and sent my submission on to the vets involved. They will send a reply back and it will be sent on to me for my comments. Finally, if we can't reach an agreement, it will go to a formal meeting.

Sometimes it pays to make a stand, as I am now. They are probably protecting themselves from litigation, but that was never on my agenda. I asked for my money back, and then said I would accept half in the spirit of compromise.... and they have refused. We'll see. The vet board doesn't make judgements about money, just the professional behaviour of vets.

I'm just rattling the bars of their cage a bit at this stage, but I'm pretty upset.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Big Dell Arriving!

I have a whacking great Dell 27" Touchscreen All-In-One computer arriving this morning (hopefully), so am very excited. I will write further about my wonderful journey into Digital Art as I go along. Yes, I am back, and promise to stay for a while this time!

I love painting and drawing on my computer, and for a while now, have used a Wacom Pen Tablet connected via a USB to my 15" laptop. Art Rage is a fabulous drawing/ painting program, simulating the process so closely, that with a bit of practice, you forget you are not scratching away on paper or canvas, and there no cleaning up or studio/storage space needed for your work.

Next, I lashed out on a 12.1" touchscreen notepad that swivels the screen around and converts into a tablet. I take that away with me on holidays and drives to draw and paint, to my Life Drawing group, and just for a quiet on-my-lap paint at home. People are fascinated, though the normal tablets, iPads and Android, can do that now. But mine is a bit bigger and the version of Art Rage is more comprehensive. Life Drawing has been a real buzz, and I have developed a method of getting a sketch down quickly, and have sold quite a few prints of my favourites.

So how to convert these computer files in to quality hard copies? I bought a beautiful Epson R3000 A3 printer, and now print on to Archival Artist paper with pigmented inks for longevity. This creates glorious prints with high definition and depth of colour. Calibrating my screen, colour matching and soft proofing has been a steep learning curve, and I still get it wrong sometimes, but I throw them away and practice some more.

We have an Artist Market through the summer months in Warragul, and I have been there for the first 2, and sold well at both. At around $20 - $25 for an individually signed A4 artist print, I am very happy with that. Selling art is harder work than it was a few years ago, and the friendly interaction with appreciative buyers has been really rewarding.

I am still working hard to spend my winnings on Hot Seat Millionaire (..... gosh, that's been fun!), and want a BIG touchscreen computer to paint on, so here comes the Dell. I think it will loosen up my painting process because it will mimic a canvas on an easel. So watch this space.

Monday Morning

It's a new week and lots going on. We went for a lovely luncheon at Cloudehill in the Dandenong Ranges yesterday. The spectacular gardens are at their best right now, with verdant clipped hedges and great banks of spring flowers. I have made a post about this wonderful place a few years back, so query on that post and have a look. Sadly, I didn't take my camera, so no new photos. Great food, ambiance, service and company made for a beautiful day.

I am trialling contact lenses at the moment, after years of finding glasses extremely uncomfortable. Specsavers in our local town have been really friendly, helpful and professional .... and patient, taking all the time I needed to learn to install, remove and clean, etc. I was getting quite good at it, but at some stage on Saturday afternoon, I rubbed my eye, and then realised that one had disappeared. I might add, it took me a while to work that out, just thinking I was a bit cloudy because my eye was irritated!

So, thinking I had rubbed it out and lost it, I scoured the house trying to find it, to no avail. Great puzzlement.

I wore glasses all yesterday and last night. 

This morning, I thought my eye felt a little odd, and wondering as I always do, got onto Google and asked whether your contacts can get lost in your eye. Yes, they can.

To cut a long story short, I rolled my eyeball and eyelid around, and there it was!