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Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Path of gold

July 23, 2013 6 comments
Path of gold

Path of gold

The circular walk which I try to do with the dogs every evening has become quite an institution.

From lunchtime onwards, in a crescendo of fervour, Galileo anticipates my every rise from a chair as a promising signal.

I love it too. The way being hard, I even manage to walk without hardly thinking of anything but the walk.

There’s one place along the route where golden flowers grow so thickly their colour melts like light across the sea.

No matter how many times we pass through, the flowers seem to spring back fresh as ever.

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Giant Emperor Moth

May 28, 2013 5 comments
The stricken giant

The stricken giant (actual colours)

I went out the back door for lunch today and almost fell over this huge moth on the terrace.

It was absolutely massive – I reckoned about 12 cm across.

Its legs moved every so often but it seemed very dopey. We wondered if it had stunned itself on the outside light.

We were worried the dogs would tread on it, so we put a large flowerpot over it while we had lunch.

Then, when everyone else had gone in, I got it to crawl onto a banana skin and put it on top of the barbecue, from where it had disappeared when I next looked.

Another name for this moth is the Great Peacock Moth for obvious reasons.

It’s not a moth you’d want flying at you in the dark, that’s for sure!

Below is an artistic enhancement done by Clive using HDR.

Clive's version

Clive’s version

What I see from my back door

May 23, 2013 13 comments
Just after the rain

Just after the rain

This is my response to the challenge issued by Cecilia in her blog ‘thekitchensgarden’.

I took the photos today in not very photogenic weather. Here our al fresco dining area is shining wet from the latest shower and Mount Subasio, beloved of St Francis, is blotted out by mist.

The plant bulging over the tiled surface on the left is thyme, and behind it, in front of the yellow roses, is one of many clumps of love-in-a-mist.

Dogs and mess

Dogs, cold frame, ‘shelter’ and barbecue

Just to the right of the door, a very different scene with the rain now drying up.

Galileo is climbing on what we call our ‘cold frame’ – spare double-glazed windows propped on crates so as to provide shelter for seedlings. You can see he’s wearing a bell round his neck – the sort hunting dogs wear. It has a lovely Alpine tinkle which we hope will enable us to find out where he goes when he runs off frightened and doesn’t come back for hours. The other two dogs are keeping him company.

Behind the cold frame is what we call the ‘shelter’ – pallets held upright by stakes driven into the ground – designed to stop light seed trays etc from blowing away in the wind. It’s got pretty cluttered over time.

To the left of the cold frame is the barbecue which we never finished  building but which we’ve used like it is, with the blocks laid dry. At the moment it’s full of rosemary prunings so that our next fire will smell nice.

Beyond the stub lamp is a glimpse of the nearest house in that direction. It’s the only one which could, conceivably, overlook us!

Water channel

April 4, 2013 Leave a comment
Long waterfall taking the escape water away

The waterfall taking the escape water away

With all the recent rain, the spring is still flowing abundantly.

Today Chokri and I overhauled my Japanese water cascade so that the bulk of the water escaping from the blue pig runs right away.

First we took out one section of the pipe that goes into the blue pig, and sent the water directly from the broad pipe into the top, wrapping a piece of tarpaulin round it to prevent debris going in.

Joules and Galileo drinking - updated

Two redheads drinking

Then we built a snake of roof tiles, weaving in and out of the violets, down to the foot of the bank.

At the end of the channel we put a tray for the dogs to drink out of.

It wasn’t long before we had our first customers.

Monster log

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m calling it a monster log not so much because of its size, although it’s pretty big, but because of Kepler’s reaction to it.

This morning I heard him barking and barking at something so I went to investigate, and there was a sizeable log lying across our drive.

I guess it must have dislodged itself in the woodland above, perhaps some way up, and crashed down through the undergrowth before reaching its resting place.

No wonder Kepler was startled; he probably thought it was alive. He calmed down when I went up to it and rolled it, with some difficulty, under the strawberry tree so it wouldn’t be in the way of the car.

The log, now tucked under the strawberry tree

Just as I finished, presumably entirely by coincidence, 3 hunters came along the drive, 2 of them dressed in camouflage gear and in a car, and the third on foot. The one on foot told me they plan to hunt hares across our land tomorrow afternoon and could I therefore keep our dogs in.

I pointed Kepler out to him, asking him to please recognise him and be aware of him because it’s not always possible to get him to come in. I’m not sure he paid much attention, but he did say something interesting, which is that our neighbour (the one with the maremmano, Joules’ girlfriend) refuses to co-operate with the request to confine his dogs, saying he has nowhere to put them. Strange. Probably some form of rural politics.

Boar hound

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Kepler recovering from his excitement

You could hardly call Kepler a boar hound but he did try very hard this evening to protect us from an invasion of wild boars.

We were having supper outside when all three dogs starting barking madly at something.

I grabbed the torch and shone it down the slope. There was a wild boar, looking as if it couldn’t make up its mind whether to come up to the house or not.

I think the torch must have tipped the balance because after a moment of hesitation it headed down into the valley, chased by Taylor.

I managed to scoop Joules and Taylor into the house but Kepler continued to vent spleen from the top of the slope.  He even went round to the other side of the house and barked from there.

Once I’d got him indoors as well, I went outside to listen.

There was rustling from different places at the foot of the slope but although I shone the torch, I never saw anything.

It really felt like looking down from the ramparts of a castle listening to a hidden enemy.

And back.

May 16, 2012 2 comments

I thought we’d never manage to pack all the contents of Clive’s room in the Lymphedema Clinic but somehow we did, and we set off for Italy at about half past eight on the morning of Tuesday 15th.

It was a long and painful journey for Clive, but cheered, towards the end, by the beautiful landscape of Le Marche and then Umbria.

Beautiful landscape

Clive isn’t one to be effusive, but I found him leaning out of a window that opens onto rose and lavender bushes, breathing deeply, and I could tell how glad he was to be home.

We’d arrived at six-thirty in the evening: time to do a bit of shopping and pick up the dogs. Taylor and Kepler were both very happy, but Joules went wild with joy when he saw Clive, and couldn’t stop jumping at him and butting him.