Remembering Laika

Hi All
Pingu has started to mountain climb. He is getting very adventurous now that he is eating more and spends his time climbing up and down his dog scented toy mother rabbit. I know that he must do this a fair bit as he leaves little Pingu deposits where he stands. I managed to get a picture of Pingu at the apex of his ascent and thought that you might like to share in his triumph. He is a lot more feisty now and if you pick him up, he looks at you square in the eye and tells you off. We took him outside into the sun today and he stood there stunned. He started to peep and big Yin came over so we had to hightail it out of there quick. We got him a bucket full of dirt to put into his cage as we are teaching him how to scratch and enjoy the big world outside. Hopefully one day he will be able to live outside and won’t think that he has to have that red light and ex dog toy mum for the rest of his life! I know that he is remembering his poor denuded derrière where his feathers were stripped at a tender young age, but get over it Pingu! They are growing back now and pretty soon you won’t even know that he had a bare bum…

Steve locks the chooks in at night and has to take the youngest blue Wyandotte from her nest where she is sitting on nothing, back to the coop or she would just stay on the nest overnight and would most probably get eaten by something craving chicken (one of the local teenagers too lazy to travel to Legana and get K.F.C. no doubt…) so he has to pick her up and carry her back. You would think that she would get upset at this intrusion on her contemplative silence, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Steve just picks her up and carries her back and I got a photo of him with Ethel Doocark as she is now commonly known (Doocark after the noise that she makes when she has laid an egg…) The first picture is of Steve with Ethel and the second shot is of Earl asking Steve VERY nicely to give him a taste of Ethel Doocark. Steve declined much to Earl’s disgust…

We get all sorts of birds coming down to drink from the bird baths that we fill up daily. We make sure to keep the water clean so that the birds can rely on a regular source of fresh water and we have even had a hawk drinking from one of them. We looked out the window earlier in the week and saw some black cockatoos having a drink from the birdbath closest to the house. We often get them visiting to eat hakea nuts from the trees when they are ripe and they bring their enormous baby to sit yelling at the top of its lungs whenever they have raised one. We can hear scrarking in the trees just up from the house so we think that they have another one. It’s a privilege to see lovely big birds like this and know that they feel safe here…  We also discovered the hen’s secret egg stash and where they are now laying because the broody keeps stealing all their eggs when they are in the coop. They now lay eggs in the base of a hollow burnt out tree. It’s lined lovingly with eucalyptus leaves and we will be checking out this newfound stash from now on.

Feeling safe has a lot to do with us feeding the feral cats. Jacko most probably keeps the mouse and rat population down around here as we rarely see them now. We know that he lives somewhere close to the house as we often see him just laying around amongst the chickens who don’t seem worried about him at all. He runs out when I am throwing bread or apples to the chickens and has been known to eat both of them when particularly hungry. He is a lot tamer than either his mother Felix and his sibling Pink, both will run away whenever you get anywhere near them, but Jacko often sits looking at us until we are just about next to him and will come out just after we put his food out when we are close to him. He is a pretty boy and it’s lovely to see him playing around with a blade of grass or rolling around in the dust having fun. He gets a great life here and gets fed regularly and has the freedom to do what he wants without having to spend all of his time hunting for food. Here’s a cute picture of him taken on top of a large pile of cardboard and a lump of carpet that we pulled from our bedroom when we were renovating. We are going to use this pile of material to line the base of our raised garden beds to minimise weeds but I am still debating whether to do this or not as it will stop the worms and might even damage the soil underneath so I am still researching about this as we are new to raised garden beds…

Talking about things laying around…Earl is getting very good at just laying wherever. He has always just gone limp every time he is picked up from when he was a smaller pup. He still does the same thing whereas Bezial will thrash around and HATES to be picked up. Earl makes himself heavy and slithers. We caught him lying on a tin box that we rescued from one of the sheds on the property when we were cleaning them out. We keep kindling in this box to stop Earl from eating it all before we can get around to lighting the fire. He appears to be guarding it but really, he is waiting for his dinner and he does somewhat resemble “The dog on the tuckerbox” doesn’t he? The second shot is of Earl in a sunbeam on the box. He might also be on this box because Steve puts bits of cheese on here for the birds and the box was curiously devoid of cheese just before Earl decided to lay on it so we can only imagine that Earl devoided it can’t we?

I heard this morning that it has been 40 years since Sputnik 2 was launched. It contained a little stray street dog called Laika who had been trained to sit and stay in a harness and who they sent off into space, fully knowing that she would die. I cannot understand where science can separate itself from human kindness. It seems that the moment most scientists put on a lab coat, all moral decency goes out the door. How could anyone think that in ANY scenario that it was important to kill another animal for the sake of human advancement? I apologised to God this morning for being part of a human race that would do this to a creature that we were supposed to be caring for, and this just goes to show how far we have come from our original demographic. How would this poor little dog have felt? The only blessing is that she would not have known that she was going to die. Apparently she lasted for 4 orbits of the earth until it got too hot inside Sputnik 2 and she died from overheating. People pay for what they do on earth and everyone involved in this shameful chapter of human ‘evolution’ will have to face God one day and explain why this was necessary. Good luck to them over that one by the way! Where have all of the trillions of dollars gone spent in space research? They have just essentially closed down N.A.S.A and this effectively negates this poor dog’s sacrifice and other unfortunate animals that suffered equally sad fates for the human race. The need to be first and to make money has dragged humankind down into the depths of moral bankruptcy. I don’t think that we should be celebrating 40 years of space travel. I think that we should be ashamed of our constant need to push the boundaries at our own and every other creature on this earth’s expenses. I am not sorry for the tone of this part of my post. This little dog, who’s name in Russian meant ‘bark’ (how original…you knew that she was going to die, could you not have given her a more nobel name?) has a statue in Russia but she should have been allowed to live out her life as God intended her to. Some might say that perhaps this was a most nobel way to die, helping out mankind in their race into space. I would say that it just goes to show how you can forget your humanity in the race for power.
Here’s to Laika and to remembering to pat your dog today and give it an extra cuddle, and that there are a lot of dogs out there left on their own as a direct result of human neglect and that what happens to the lowest of us delineates what we are as a world…

After that sad part of the post, Steve and I did a hard days study and then we burned things…LOTS of things. It makes you feel good. No…we didn’t burn anything that wasn’t ours, so no hands on the phone to dob us in to get rewards…we have piles and piles and piles of debris in various stages of ‘dry’ all over the place here. We are not wasting our precious tip passes on green waste, especially when the council chip it and resell it on to other people! So we are left with large piles of festering debris just waiting for the right day to set it on fire. We had a nice walk over at Betty’s beach today, a very pretty area and a lovely walk although Emo dog and El Chupacabra were absolutely knackered when they got back from it as it was a lovely sunny day today. After our walk it was ‘Beer o’clock’. We decided to combine beer o’clock with some hard physical labour (alcoholics always need an excuse for having a drink and there isn’t one much better than doing some hard physical labour…) so we set off around the hedges with 2 cans of beer, a glass, some Bickford’s lime cordial (I like my beer in a glass with a little lime) and a gas lighter and some shellite. Shellite is something that is incredibly flammable, but we didn’t really need it as diosma is nature’s most flammable product once it’s dry.

Our diosma heap went sky high in a very short space of time. So high that we were almost going to stop burning off, but desperation with not being able to move for heaps of dross, made us stalwart in our endeavours. We now have a rear driveway back where once we had only massive dead diosma’s. Now all we have to do is burn the rest. Our friend, who is most probably at this moment luxuriating on a plastic chair having “beer o’clock” with her most hard working partner underneath the gazebo that we gave her can come around soon to sit around our spectacular bonfire and have a ‘party’. We owe our friends so much and we are going to repay a little of the kindness that they have shown us since we met them with a nice bbq, lots of beer, an overnight stay in our middle room (nice fluffy doona’s guys) and as many leeches as they can handle (none in our friend’s case!). Bezial can’t wait to see her again as she is apparently not scared of him any more (after her last drunken binge on our deck) so it will be interesting to see if she is as fearless in the stone cold sober light of day!

I can’t find the song that I want on the “So Frenchy So Chic” C.D.’s. We discovered that someone has put the wrong discs back into the 2011 version, but I know that’s not the one that I am after. I have been hunting for a particular song since last year and I can’t find it! The library has every C.D. that they made EXCEPT 2009, which I am more than sure is the one that I am after. I am up to the back gills with Frog music and it will take me a month of Sundays to get through it all but I just don’t have that one special song that I used to hear in the little café that I went out to morning tea with my girls in. It doesn’t even exist now and is some sort of tapa’s bar. Isn’t that just the way? You just start to like somewhere to have a good coffee and a decent hunk of cake and they close it down and put a lid on your beer and force you to pay exorbitant prices for 3 shrimps on a stick! I want my coffee…I want my cake and I WANT MY SONG :o(…anyone out there with a copy of “So Frenchy So Chic” 2009 that you could loan me will earn my undying love and gratitude. I am not holding my breath. I am starting to think that the coffee and cake might have had ‘special things’ in them and that the song that I was listening to was not something innovative and French, but was just me, stoned, listening to the radio!…sigh…oh well…have a great evening, and don’t forget to give little Laika a moment’s thought. She really didn’t deserve what she got and we should all make sure that nothing like that ever happens again.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum.
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 21:31:53

    I well had those very same thoughts when little Laika was launched into the heavens Pen. Poor little doggy. Pingu looks a right little bossy boots now! ou have a resident cat for life with Jacko, he looks so at home & relaxed, doesn’t he? Erakl does too! He sure is massive now. Steve looks the veritable chook farmer as well. Don’t forget to add any ash to the compost either, & the carpet will be fine as a base in the raised beds. it’ll gradually rot,& worms seem to find their way into my hanging baskets, how I don’t know, so go for it & use the carpet as a base in a raised bed, no worries. Statrt the bed with a layer of hay on the carpet first.Till tomorrow,


  2. nat
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 11:00:47

    hi Fran, i have just had my morning fix of serendipity. Pingu is looking good. I am so glad that i met you guys, i think our paths were meant to pass and we will be friends for life. I am so happy with your new life style and am sometimes quite jelous that i have to work and not be in the great outdoors more often. The up side is i would not of met you and other wonderful students if it was not for my great job. Why does your mum call you pen. Have a great weekend and i will catch up with lots of serendipity on Tuesday. Jas and i are going to manx rare plants tomorrow to buy up big.


    • narf77
      Nov 04, 2011 @ 14:08:08

      Hi Nat, Mum wanted to call me Penny when I was born and dad ended up winning. Mum (and a lot of my relatives) still call me Penny as it was a bit of a battle of wills over who won! I answer to anything to be honest! You had best take the credit card with you at Manx tomorrow. John is NOT cheap. Have a look at his gorgeous tree peonies but they won’t be out in flower at the moment. Say hi to him from us and if he doesn’t know who you are talking about, tell him that we have bought conifers and maples off him before and he is supposed to be getting me a “Hana matoi” as he let Andrew have one…Steve said could you please ask him if he managed to graft any contorted beech this year as he told Steve that he would and if he has, it might be a shake out of the moth ridden wallet and a trip to Manx for us as well! Have a great time with Jaz :o)


  3. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 00:53:40

    Pingu looks well! We have a big pile we are waiting to burn. It’s out in the field. One day we will have a big bonfire and invite people over. We did it another time, and it was so much fun. Chris put a fence around the garden last night. Our dogs want to lay in it, and our cats pee in it. So, better safe than sorry. We have 8 cats, all outside. The number changes from time to time. They keep the mice away. We feed them twice a day, and they have a warm place to go when they get cold.


    • narf77
      Apr 11, 2013 @ 03:04:37

      We have 13 that come and go at the moment. They aren’t our cats! It all started with a small female cat that someone dumped on the property and she had kittens (thanks to neighbours not neutering their tom cats) and that number has swelled alarmingly. We put a bit of food out at night time as we don’t want the local birds to be eaten out of existence but we see no way out of this situation and we can’t see how what we give them is going to allow them to be happy campers :(.


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