Welcome to my blog. Here you will find my adventures with my family and friends. Thanks so much for stopping by.

I'm so enjoying this wonderful world of blogging where I have met and made so many new friends.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

AUSTRALIA DAY



This is the way many people celebrate the day !
 


 







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

AUSTRALIAN WORKING DOGS -Part 2

The Kelpie
When I think of a Kelpie I immediately think of a chocolate brown dog but in fact Kelpies also come in solid black.


They are also very common with tan coloured ear, throat and leg markings and often have the characteristic spots above their eyes.




From Wikipedia :
" The first "Kelpie" was a black and tan female pup with floppy ears bought by Jack Gleeson about 1872 from a litter born on Warrock Station near Casterton, owned by George Robertson, a Scot. This dog was named after the mythological kelpie from Celtic folklore. Legend has it that "Kelpie" was sired by a dingo, but there is little evidence for or against this. 
In later years she was referred to as "(Gleeson's) Kelpie", to differentiate her from "(King's) Kelpie", her daughter. The second "Kelpie" was "(King's) Kelpie", another black and tan bitch out of "Kelpie" by "Caesar", a pup from two sheep-dogs imported from Scotland. 
 "(King's) Kelpie" tied the prestigious Forbes Trial in 1879, and the strain was soon popularly referred to as "Kelpie's pups", or just Kelpies. The King brothers joined another breeder, McLeod, to form a dog breeding partnership whose dogs dominated trials during 1900 to 1920." 
 
 The claim that Kelpies come from crossing domestic dogs with dingos has some credibility, as they share the Australian Dingo's resistance to paralysis ticks, but it is not borne out with genetic testing.  It is more likely that, with a mix of good fortune and skill, the Kelpie was born from a few strains of Scottish working dogs, owned by the Rutherford family, which were crossed together.
The Kelpie was first registered as a breed in Australia in 1902, one of the earliest registered breeds in Australia. This was actually four years before the Border Collie was registered as a breed in Britain.
The Australian Kelpie is primarily a working dog that demands a great deal of exercise, preferably with some kind of job to do. Their energy levels are extremely high!! They are workaholics and will run until they drop! They are capable of covering 60 kilometres in a day's work.
Kelpies are most valuable in the paddocks and yards, gathering a mob of sheep, driving them to the yards and pens and forcing the sheep through races, up ramps and into sheds and trucks. Always alert and watchful, the Kelpie is required to be an independent thinker, though will also rely on various whistle commands made by its owner.
They are very good at breaking up jams when sheep become jammed in tight places like narrow runs .

 If you choose to keep a Working Kelpie as a pet, that very same animal may become a high maintenance dog. Daily, extensive exercise is required, and any animal which is not able to express its normal behaviour is prone to develop behavioural problems - like excessive barking and nipping (or biting ! ) which can ultimately make its keeping that much more difficult. Obedience training is essential, although there really are many other breeds of dog which are more suited as a family pet.
Recently there are more and more Kelpies bred for city and suburban life without these problems but still needing lots of exercise.

                                        ~~~~~~~

More Australian Working Dogs next time.
Cheers.

93 TODAY


Happy Birthday Dad 

93 today !

Looking  GOOD ! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

AUSTRALIAN WORKING DOG BREEDS - Part 1

Recently I came upon an article about Australian Working dog breeds which mentioned the three breeds which have specially been developed in Australia as well as the wonderful Border Collie which is so popular both as a working dog and a pet here.

In our family our first dog was an Airedale terrier - a wonderful pet who grew up with our kids and bounced her way into everyone's heart. She lived for 12 years and survived an epic battle with a King Brown snake by biting its mouth closed so it couldn't bite her !!

Our next two dogs ( and we had decided "no more dogs ! " ) were Sally's two, Dash and Baker.
 
 

Both from working dog breeds and both from the outback but neither were working dogs. A Border Collie and a Cattle Dog X ( who lucky for her had been dumped in Sally's front yard !).

We minded these dogs for five years while Sally worked and travelled overseas then kept them ( for another 5 or 6 years ) when she returned as they she didn't have space for them in her city lodgings so they became our dogs.
 
 

Given the choice at the time I seriously doubt we would ever have chosen these breeds as our preferred breed for a pet although Border Collies have always been popular as pets and there are more and more Cattle Dogs as city dogs too.

So when I read this article about our unique breeds I was surprised to learn of a new one to me - the Koollie - and thought I'd write a post (or two, or even three !) about Australian Working Dogs.

Australia has produced three wonderful working dog breeds that are quite unique to us -
The Australian Cattle Dog, The Kelpie and the Koollie.

The Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a sturdy, muscular, compact dog that gives the impression of agility and strength and comes in two colours - blue and red.


Both red dogs and blue dogs are born white (except for any solid-coloured body or face markings) and the red or black hairs grow in as they mature. The distinctive adult colouration is the result of black or red hairs closely interspersed through a predominantly white coat.



In the 19th century, New South Wales cattle farmer Thomas Hall crossed the dogs used by drovers in his parents' home county, Northumberland, with dingoes he had tamed. The resulting dogs were known as Halls Heelers.
 After Hall's death in 1870, the dogs became available beyond the Hall family and their associates. They were subsequently developed into the modern breed: the Australian Cattle Dog. -
From Wikipedia
 
The Australian Cattle Dog is energetic and intelligent with an independent streak. It responds well to structured training and was originally bred to herd by biting ( or heeling.) 
 
 
Thus the common name Blue or Red Heeler



They form a strong attachment to their owners, and can be protective of them and their possessions.
Woe betide the reckless person who dares to touch anything left in the back of a workman's "ute" when a Cattle Dog is left waiting in the back of the vehicle!

Although originally bred to work cattle these days many are kept as pets. They are affectionate and playful with their owners but can be reserved with people they don't know and are cautious in new situations.
They are wonderful at keeping out intruders as they are inclined to let intruders inside their owners' property but not out !! The sight of one usually makes a robber look for another house to rob !
 
Many of a Cattle Dog's natural behaviours are undesirable in a pet: barking, chewing, chasing, digging, defending territory, and nipping heels ( especially of running children ! ) so puppies from a working dog line are not ideal. It is better to choose a puppy from a suburban line which has been socialised to exhibit more acceptable behaviours. They live for 12 to 14 years and need plenty of exercise, companionship and to be kept busy in both mind and body.
 

Our Dash was a Cattle Dog X and a wonderful pet. The herding instinct was still there and on a walk she would bump the straggler along by hitting the back of your leg with her nose ( usually me !). She would play and interact for a while then take herself off a little way where she liked to sit and observe a little way out of the action.
Cattle Dogs form strong bonds with their owners and can be very protective and in tune with their owner's emotions, often springing to their defence without waiting for a command. On two occasions Dash saved me from an attacking dog, freeing herself from her lead by ducking her head out of her collar in one quick movement ( they have strong, thick necks ) and launching herself bodily at the attacking dog - on one occasion a large German Shepherd which she sent packing !!

It's been nice looking at these old photos and remembering Dash.
More on Australian Working Dogs tomorrow.
Cheers.
 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

VALUE WHAT YOU HAVE AND DON'T GIVE IT AWAY



Australia: an American's view

  An interesting set of observations from a visitor from the other side of the Pacific.

'Value what you have and don't give it away.'

"There's a lot to admire about Australia, especially if you're a visiting American," says David Mason. "More often than you might expect, Australian friends patiently listening to me enthuse about their country have said, ''We need outsiders like you to remind us what we have.'' 

So here it is - a small presumptuous list of what one foreigner admires in Oz.

1... Health care.
 I know the controversies, but basic national health care is a gift. In America, medical expenses are a leading cause of bankruptcy. The drug companies dominate politics and advertising.
Obama is being crucified for taking halting baby steps towards sanity. You can't turn on the telly without hours of drug advertisements - something I have never yet seen here. And your emphasis on prevention - making cigarettes less accessible, for one - is a model.
 
2... Food.
 Yes, we have great food in America too, especially in the big cities.
But your bread is less sweet, your lamb is cheaper, and your supermarket vegetables and fruits are fresher than ours.
Too often in my country an apple is a ball of pulp as big as your face.
The dainty Pink Lady apples of Oz are the juiciest I've had. And don't get me started on coffee.
In American small towns it tastes like water flavoured with burnt dirt, but the smallest shop in the smallest town in Oz can make a first-rate latte.
I love your ubiquitous bakeries, your hot-cross buns. Shall I go on?
 
3... Language.
 How do you do it?
The rhyming slang and Aboriginal place names like magic spells.
Words that seem vaguely English yet also resemble an argot from another planet.
I love the way institutional names get turned into diminutives - Vinnie's and Salvos - and absolutely nothing's sacred.
Everything's an opportunity for word games and everyone's a nickname.
Lingo makes the world go round.
It's the spontaneous wit of the people that tickles me most.
Late one night at a barbie my new mate Suds remarked, ''Nothing's the same since 24-7.'' Amen.
 
4... Free-to-air TV.
 In Oz, you buy a TV, plug it in and watch some of the best programming I've ever seen - uncensored.
In America, you can't get diddly-squat without paying a cable or satellite company heavy fees.
In Oz a few channels make it hard to choose.
In America, you've got 400 channels and nothing to watch.
 
5... Small shops.
Outside the big cities in America corporations have nearly erased them.
Identical malls with identical restaurants serving inferior food.
Except for geography, it's hard to tell one American town from another.
The ''take-away'' culture here is wonderful.
Human encounters are real - stirring happens, stories get told.
The curries are to die for. And you don't have to tip!
 
 
6... Free camping.
We used to have this too, and I guess it's still free when you backpack miles away from the roads.
But I love the fact that in Oz everyone owns the shore and in many places you can pull up a camper van and stare at the sea for weeks.
I love the ''primitive'' and independent campgrounds, the life out of doors.
The few idiots who leave their stubbies and rubbish behind in these pristine places ought to be transported in chains.
 
7... Religion.
 In America, it's everywhere - especially where it's not supposed to be, like politics.
I imagine you have your Pharisees too, making a big public show of devotion, but I have yet to meet one here.
 
8... Roads.
Peak hour aside, I've found travel on your roads pure heaven.
My country's ''freeways'' are crowded, crumbling, insanely knotted with looping overpasses - it's like racing homicidal maniacs on fraying spaghetti.
I've taken the Hume without stress, and I love the Princes Highway when it's two lanes.
Ninety minutes south of Bateman's Bay I was sorry to see one billboard for a McDonald's.
It's blocking a lovely paddock view. Someone should remove it.
 
9... Real multiculturalism.
 I know there are tensions, just like anywhere else, but I love the distinctiveness of your communities and the way you publicly acknowledge the Aboriginal past.
Recently, too, I spent quality time with Melbourne Greeks, and was gratified both by their devotion to their own great language and culture and their openness to an Afghan lunch.
 
10. Fewer guns
You had Port Arthur in 1996 and got real in response. America replicates such massacres several times a year and nothing changes.
Why?
Our religion of individual rights makes the good of the community an impossible dream.
Instead of mateship we have ''It's mine and nobody else's''.
We talk a great game about freedom, but too often live in fear.
There's more to say - your kaleidoscopic birds, your perfumed bush in springtime, your vast beaches.
These are just a few blessings that make Australia a rarity.
Of course, it's not paradise - nowhere is - but I love it here.
No need to wave flags like Americans and add to the world's windiness.

 Just value what you have and don't give it away.
 
David Mason is a US writer and professor, and poet laureate of Colorado.
 
 
It's always interesting to hear what others think about your country - especially when it concentrates on the positives !
Cheers.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

FILM- THE IMITATION GAME


Alan M Turing and colleagues work on the Ferranti Mark I Computer in the United Kingdom in 1951. Science & Society Picture Library via Getty Images                            

It amazes me that I have not heard the name Alan Turing before 2014-15.

Here is a man whose contribution to the world as we know it today is HUGE.

Here is a man whose contributions were kept secret by government at the highest levels for many years,

whose contribution to ending WWII ( by deciphering the famed Enigma Code ) is acknowledged to have shortened the war by about two years and therefore saved millions of lives.

It's not just that Turing's work was worthy of a Nobel Prize.

He went far beyond that. Turing was a true genius of the highest order.

Alan Turing should be known in the way that those other giants of science are known -   Einstein, Newton and Darwin .

Instead he was prosecuted for being a homosexual and subjected to "chemical castration" in 1953.

 A year later, at the age of 41, Alan Turing committed suicide.

This is a story that needed to be told.

The film The Imitation Game does just that - albeit with some glaring inaccuracies and embellishments.

Despite the embellishments it is a very enjoyable movie.

The sort that makes you go home and start an investigation all of your own about this genius of a man.
The sort that makes you shake your head in wonder about the social norms of the time and realise how times have changed in 50 or 60 years - my lifetime !!!

The name Alan Turing should be recognised in the way that the name Albert Einstein is recognised.

Let's hope, thanks to this film, that it is ! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

CRANBERRIES

 
 
Cranberries are a relatively new discovery to me.
 
Oh, I've known Cranberry Sauce for many years -
 
you have it with your turkey at Thanksgiving
or on a sandwich with turkey and Brie
 
but turkey is not a thing we eat very often in this house
 
 - in fact this Christmas I cooked a huge turkey breast for the first time in my ( nearly) 65 years ! 

 
 
and then forgot to serve it with the Cranberry Sauce !!
 
Over the last year or so Cranberries have been there on the supermarket shelves with the other dried fruit and I've bought them home where we've tried them and liked these antioxidant-packed berries.

In Australia you can buy a variety of cranberry products all year round in major supermarkets, including dried and frozen cranberries, cranberry juice, and cranberry sauce. Frozen cranberries can be found in selected retailers, particularly during the festive season.
 
Fresh cranberries are not available in Australia as cranberries cannot be grown here at present.

 
Unfortunately, the climate in Australia has not proven suitable for growing cranberries successfully in commercial quantities.  
 
 
I found this map that shows where Cranberries actually grow - must be too hot for them south of the equator !
 
The harvest looks spectacular. 
All those crimson fruits floating in ponds being scooped up and taken off to be processed.
 



 
 

The most well-known benefit of cranberries is in the prevention of recurring urinary tract infections  UTIs are one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor about an infection.

The PACs ( proanthocyanidins ) in cranberries interfere with E. coli bacteria ( responsible for 85 percent of UTIs), helping to prevent them from sticking to the cells in the urinary tract, thereby preventing infection.
Regular consumption of cranberries or cranberry products can reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection by as much as 50 percent. ( all this valuable information comes from my research on the internet !!)

Sounds like Cranberries and Blueberries are the new wonder fruits.


All this palaver is just an introduction to a recipe I tried for the first time for Christmas Day.
 
Cranberry Stuffing Balls.
from Taste  magazine
 
4 slices prosciutto           
        
    
 
                                         
                                        
            
             
 
Method :
 * Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut each prosciutto slice lengthways into four pieces. 
 
* Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until onion is soft. Remove to a bowl. Add breadcrumbs, cranberries, egg, sage and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.

 
 
* Shape tablespoons of mixture into 16 balls. Wrap one slice of prosciutto around each ball. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned and heated through. Serve

 
 
 
Extremely yummy.
 
Cheers.