Last Thursday, the day of the electricity cut, we had a boar hunt on our land.
This was the best photo I managed when a hunter passed close to the house.
There were actually, I think, 6 dogs with him although only the dog in the orange jacket is distinguishable.
The rest look like ghost dogs milling around his feet.
In the photo our dogs are in a triangle, each facing out from the centre, each differently engaged.
When it comes to the crunch (like when there’s a cat up a tree or a wild boar trying to get into the garden) they’re definitely a pack.
Otherwise they’re individuals.
For the second time this year, Giovanni has strimmed the track that goes in a circle round a large part of our land.
It’s like a long green carpet, lit here by the last rays of the sun.
The dogs love going round; I only had to go once for them to wait and watch for a repeat of the adventure.
The photo shows a tarpaulin previously covering the pool and now stretched out to dry. (The pool isn’t uncovered yet, though; there was another tarpaulin underneath.)
Anyone would think I put it there for the dogs’ benefit.
Taylor sees it as a venue for stick-chewing.
Galileo enjoys digging holes through gaps in the folds.
Florence has adopted it as her personal race track and is sprinting up and down its shining silver length.
I went today to fetch more sacks of wooden pellets for the stove. We’re stocked up now for a fortnight or so. These are actually the pellets which we bought in advance of last winter and never used because we were away. (More about that in a future post.)
The dogs lost no time in occupying their usual positions – Taylor on his mat and Galileo on a green blanket on the pool steps. For anyone who remembers our dogs: note there is no Joules. He contracted very aggressive prostate cancer (despite being neutered) in April of this year and had to be put to sleep – by chance on his birthday. He was exactly ten years old.
In the photo is the 5-centimetre-long object extracted from Galileo’s nose under general anaesthetic.
It’s almost unbelievable that such a thing could have gone up one of his tiny nostrils and lodged there – and how uncomfortable!
It was just beginning to cause an infection but we caught it in time.
These seeds, from a type of grass called brome, are everywhere here in summer.
They’re called ‘forasacchi’ in Italian which means ‘sack-piercers’ because they poke through bags of hay.
They’re a great problem for dogs because they can pierce any part of their bodies, and they’re consequently well known to vets.
Yesterday evening, looking for a perfectly balanced scabious flower to photograph, I spotted one with an angular whitish spider on it.
The perfect spice for a shot!
The dogs, however, weren’t going to make life easy.
So often, as if disapproving of such a feeble pastime, they rush into the viewfinder at the last moment and trample my subject as they pass.
On this occasion each, in turn, hurtled against the scabious stalk so that the spider was swung in a violent arc as if being launched by a trebuchet.
But it didn’t let go; far from it.
In the photo the poor creature clings on for dear life, its powerful legs camouflaged among the florets.