Bouncing Busters

In the comic Calvin, the “hero” arrives home from school and is inevitably met with a tiger whirlwind.

I feel a bit like that going to work.  In a freshly-ironed shirt, I step outside and Buster spies me from a great distance.

He comes in fast and low like a muddy exocet missile.  He crashes affectionately into me, and I’m immediately filthy.

For the most part, I’ve trained him out of jumping up on me – my knee comes out very quickly now.  In Buster’s world, the proper place for a puppy is on his master’s lap, and the fact that he’s nearly as big as me is just a minor logistical issue.

Ally and I consecutively had the current vomiting virus last weekend, and we’ve been sore and sorry since then.  Yesterday I decided an after-lunch nap was in order, and went to the guest house which has my very old but comfy leather armchairs.  Buster was whimpering loudly outside, so I decided he could come in and lie down on the floor near me.

That lasted less than a minute, then I had a hefty Huntaway spreadeagled on top of me, licking my face.  I settled him, and still had a snooze, with my mate happily snoring away on top of me too.

He would still like to be a herder, and had another go with our young Clydesdale Gareth.  Gareth didn’t like this interloper barking at him, so turned around and gave Buster both barrels.  At least one connected, and sent Buster away howling at high speed.  In case there ever was any doubt, Buster can leap over any of our fences, and we found him sooking down the laneway.

Our old horse Chad, who is the calmest beast you’ll ever come across, has been allowed into the house paddock because there’s little feed in the big paddock and Chad has no teeth.  Buster now keeps well away from Chad and hides between the houses.

Otherwise, Buster has stayed at home and been well behaved.  He does have a habit of finding odd things from anywhere on the property and gathering them like a dragon’s hoard on the grass in front of our house.  Mostly it is rubbish that will be thrown out when I can bend over comfortably again.

I expect he’ll grow out of his puppy behaviour in time, which will mostly be a sad thing.  It does lift your spirits to be smashed by a wet dirty gleeful puppy in the mornings.


It has been confirmed that Stone Dog Meadery (see a couple of posts ago) was the most popular stand at the Canberra Beer Festival.  It didn’t seem all that busy to me, but perhaps we’re just better at it now.  Allison says it’s because she did some excellent signs which explained the story, which meant we didn’t have to do that for every new customer.  Congratulations Steve and Lavender!

Naughty Buster

Buster the dog is a bit puzzled by all this rock production activity.  What a waste of time, when we could be … taking him for a walk!

He tries to help though.  He’s not clear on why we stack rocks on pallets, but he’s happy to leap up on top and give us encouragement.

He’s not sure why we dig out buckets of aggregate from the mound in the driveway.  Yesterday he was next to me as I dug, earnestly scratching away with his paws and his teeth, to do his bit.

Surely there’s some rounding up he could do for us?

Last week he decided to proactively round up a goose (a flying sheep?), to show us his skills.  Unfortunately the goose ran to the dam and swam circles.  Buster swam behind barking, and must have been close to exhaustion when I got to him.  I dragged him out of the dam, hauled his face up in front of mine, and loudly growled that he wasn’t to do that again.  And he hasn’t.

I didn’t even use bad language, or maximum volume.  That’s for DEFCON 10, which I hope we’ll never get to.

Ginger the Half-dingo is still playing with him, though as a grand dame it’s a bit half-hearted.

Bella the Bitser regards all that as a bit beneath her, and Buster is a brash and obnoxious youngster.  Bella’s health seems to be deteriorating; she had a skin cancer removed a few months ago, and we are wondering if it’s spreading.  Bella still comes up for a pat when it’s quiet.

Allison expects we’ll lose both the old dogs in the next year, so she’s on the lookout for another dog, as more company for Buster.  Something with short legs, so it can’t get over our fences and have two dogs looking for trouble.

The horses and two original alpacas are still doing fine, though there’s very little grass around.  Need some rain soon!

Barking beasts various

Daylight saving has ended, which means that it will often be dark and cold when I get home.  So our rock production will now be mostly on weekends.  We have the process running very smoothly now.  We’ve just received a couple more corner moulds which will reduce repetition of shapes.

We missed out on rocks one weekend recently when we helped out Allison’s brother Steve (Stone Dog Meadery) at the Canberra Beer and Cider Festival.  They were again one of the most popular stalls.  They had a couple of new session meads flavoured with myrtle eucalyptus, which were sensational.

Buster the dog is still being good, mostly…  He did have a fight over a bone with Bella, which left her with a sore shoulder for a week – and she is a big sook when injured.  He still loves me to bits.  I have to pat him for 10 minutes whenever I get home from work, or he won’t let me do anything else.


Usually we spend Easter at the Rowany Medieval Festival, effectively the national medievalist event.  For complicated reasons, the event this year is three weeks later, and we aren’t going.

Instead, Okewaite had a small medieval event at Cockatrice Farm on Easter Friday.  Okewaite is our name for the Goulburn and Southern Highlands branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).

The event was the “Barking Beast Tavern”, celebrating Okewaite’s mascot heraldic beast, the camelopard.  Medieval travellers had heard of a beast from Aethiopia, with a very long neck and spots, which ate acacia trees.  It looked like (and maybe even was) a hybrid of a camel and a leopard.  Something very similar was bounding about the forests of (Arthurian) England, a barking beast for which knights quested (a pun as “questen” meant both barking and questing at the time).

As none of the artists had seen a giraffe in person, the illustrations were highly variable.  In Okewaite, our native camelopards are white with (perfectly round) purple spots.  We actually have a two-man camelopard suit, which was intending to make an appearance, but despite ransacking the farm twice we couldn’t find it.  It’s probably with the two-man horse suit – which of course we have too.

Anyway here’s some photos from the event (thanks John and Laura):

The food included rustic mince-and-currant pies, roast chicken with Allison’s special sage rub, rabbit in verjuice, soups, etc.  Ally brewed some cider and ginger beer, and Steve brought along some good things too.

Buster was a delight during the event.  A friend brought her own dog, much of an age and size as Buster, and the two played furiously all day except for when they collapsed in sleep like toddlers.  All the dogs had a lovely time and no doubt plenty of tidbits.