Fuzzy Friends cont….

If you started reading my blog on ferrets, I apologise. I just ran out of speed. The heat and the smoke got the better of me and there is so much in my head about my experiences with ferrets over the years, I could probably fill a book. That might be better on a site exclusively about those little creatures.

When my little Minnie gave birth to eleven babies (kits) we knew we would have to give her a hand if they were all to survive. They are both deaf and blind at birth and are unable to move around by themselves. Their ears open at about thirty two to thirty three days, their eyes about the same.

We bought tiny feeding bottles from the vet and proceeded to feed the little grub-like critters that we felt were being left out of bunch. This handling made them used to the smell of human hands, so we never had to teach them not to bite. They just didn’t. (Well not us I mean).

It wasn’t long before they started moving around their nest, which made it hard to keep track of them if they crawled under the straw, but once their eyes opened they were able to find their way back to Minnie.

There was one little fellow who became his mother’s favorite. He developed a loud cry to get her attention, it worked very well as she would go to him each time he squeaked.

Then there was one that Minnie wouldn’t feed. When I took over caring for her, she became ‘my pippin’, and a lifelong friendship began.

So our little brood grew strong and healthy. They were fed on raw meat and lactose free milk after they were weaned, and that, along with the occasional raw egg, has always been the diet for my ferrets.

Three were given away as pets, one was sold to a man who wanted to catch rabbits. Seven stayed with us.

A Pleasant Surprise.

How lovely to flash up the computer this morning and find that some of my comments are being read. Thank you MsLiz, leggypeggy and meekas mind for making my day.

I’m putting Mr.Morrison on the back burner (no pun intended) today and talk about my furbabies instead.

About eleven years ago we were living in a town in the central west of Australia, and one day my husband, Peter, bought me a gift from the local pet shop. This was the beginning of my love affair with ferrets.

Now, before you jump to any conclusions, please hear me out. I have had all different kinds of reactions to ferrets, from “err yuk” to “don’t they smell’ or ‘oh yes, my uncle (brother, cousin, father etc) used them to catch rabbits.’

This is quite true, and the practice still goes on today. During the Great Depression, which began with the Wall Street Crash in 1929. rabbits became a staple diet for many people, and ferrets were used to catch them

Many of the ferrets used for this practice, were not treated well, only being fed on the rabbits leftovers. Often they were locked up in small boxes or cages with their own excrement. They had a reputation for biting, which under the circumstances was hardly surprising.

At the time I received my first furbaby, I knew very little about ferrets, but I had seen some at a market years before, when a woman was selling them.They seemed very tame and one was sitting on her shoulder

So this was my introduction to the world of the best little creatures I have ever had the honor of dealing with. They became, and still are, my best friends.

I named him ‘cheeky’ and the name suited him to a tee. He was a masked sable, dark brown coat with black legs, a white underbelly, black ears, white face, with a black mask. He was fully grown and had had a previous owner, but we didn’t know how old he was.

Peter then bought me two books on ‘Ferret Breeding’ and the Complete Guide to Ferrets, by James McKay, Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London. These books are definitely worth the read, even from a historical point of view, if you never own a ferret,but you are generally interested in animals.

We had a staffordshire terrier at the time. Our beautiful Wombie, short for Wombat. He and cheeky became great mates and often played chasing games thro the house. Sadly, our Wombie passed away in 2017 with cancer. He is sorely missed.

After Cheeky came Minnie, another masked sable, a pretty little girl. (ferret girls are called Jills, the boys are called Hobs). and with a mind of her own. It wasn’t my intention to mate them in the beginning. in fact we had them for maybe a year as playmates. Jills go into season (oestrus) twice a year, and if not mated they will die, so desexing is important if you just want a pet. There are hormone injections they can be given by a vet as an alternative from desexing, but it’s expensive and must be done each time they go into season.

I have to say the curiosity got the better of me, and I really needed to see what their little offspring would be like. Enough said?

The average litter, so my books told me, was 4 or 5 kits.(baby ferrets are called kits). My beautiful Minnie, gave birth to eleven tiny little, blind, hairless, healthy babies!

If anyone would like to read more of my adventures as the ‘ferret lady’, the name given to me by our local vet, I will add some anecdotes along with my other blogs.

A disturbing fact: ferrets are used for scientific experimentation.

newcomer

OK, so I have no idea what to do next.Every web hosting site I have visited advertises ease of set-up. I must be pretty dumb then, I’ve been all day (xmas day too!) trying to get this blog site off the ground. I’m one of the older generation and not IT savvy. It’s like a minefield when you don’t know what to do. Anyway I’m trying.
I’m an Australian and I live in a farmhouse on a cattle station. We don’t own it. I’m an animal lover, we have a staffy dog named Wombat, and quite a few silky chickens, (the number keeps going up because it’s breeding season) I have 10 ferrets. The ferrets are all pets, very tame. I bred some of them but bought three more.

I’m into most things creative but lately have started writing again, having just published some poetry that’s been hanging around for years. I also love gardening but where we are there’s only tank water for the plants. The ground water burns the leaves on most plants it touches,except the grass, which loves it, much to my husband’s disgust since he has to mow it more often.

I’m hoping to find a way to earn some extra money by blogging and would love to hear from anyone who has had success that way.

Happiness is a New Computer!

Finally! After months of frustration, battling on with a sick Windows XP, I now have a new Windows 7! I was unable to connect to WordPress with the old laptop, you see I only had dialup, which if you have ever had it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. My telephone line was struck by lightening in one of our severe storms that we get here in the central tableland of New South Wales (Australia), and my laptop was on dialup at the time. There was a huge bang which signalled the end of my XP ever working properly again. Now we have the National Broadband Network and I have WiFi, which means I can actually take my laptop to another room of the house to use it. You may be smiling to yourself at this point, but, you have no idea what a luxury that is for me. I’ve always had to use the internet in the kitchen where the phone line is, and trust me it’s freezing here in the winter. Lots of nights below or close to 1degree C. Even daytime temps can be under 7degreesC.

Last year at this time my husband, Peter, and I were fortunate enough to have an all expenses paid holiday on the Indian Pacific to Perth, paid for by my son Steve. The Indian Pacific is a train that travels across the Nullabor Plains from Sydney to Perth. The trip takes about four days. We then travelled by plane to Karratha in Western Australia by Qantas jet. My son Steve has lived and worked in Karratha for over twenty years, but I had never been there for a visit, being very afraid of flying, especially alone. Peters mother looked after our animals while we were away, ten days in all.

I absolutely love Perth and Fremantle, (which is south of Perth). They operate at a much slower pace then Sydney or Melbourne, it’s a bit like stepping back in time. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could, but it’s on the other side of the continent and not easy to get to with all our goods and animals etc.

We have had the worst winter in the south east of Australia this year, record breaking rain, floods and snow in the high country of Victoria and New South Wales. I have never felt the cold so much in my lifetime, and the old farmhouse where we live isn’t insulated. We will have to move before very long as the white ants have done their darndest on the timbers in the roof and flooring. We are only renting it because of our animals, ferrets, chickens and a dog. It’s hard to find rental properties where animals are welcome.

I am really looking forward to reading lots of other peoples’ blogs from now on. I’ll also be watching out for other Aussies on the site. Cheers for now……

Long Time Coming Home

Hello reader,

Sorry it’s been such a long time since I put words on the line. You know how it is, life gets in the way and gobbles up all the valuable time, using it on the mundane.

A lot has happened since I last wrote. Big family bust-up which started twelve months ago, but enough of that later.

Peter and I (that’s my other half, or husband, if you will) have moved house twice in that time. The first time was to get away from the old farm cottage that was literally falling down around us. So relieved to leave the heat and dust of the central west of New South Wales, not to mention the snakes, mice, and persistent flying insects that bite

We made a deal with some family members to live in their newly acquired investment home on the coast of NSW. Big mistake! Promises were made to help us shift, which in the end cost me $1,600, and the loss of several hundred dollars in personal items which were left behind, with the promise of returning for them later. You guessed it! Later never came. That’s a year ago now.

.Their new house is lovely, fully furnished, with all the modern cons. They gave us a reduced rent because we are pensioners, and a 12 months lease which was my idea, and just as well too.

Burning Questions

whatthenblog goes some way into saying how I feel about Mr Morrison and his government’s policies on climate change. I live on the south coast of NSW and we are surrounded by potentially catastrophic fires. Last Friday and Saturday we were given emergency warnings and warned to be ready to leave.These are the worst bushfires in my 80 year of summers in Australia.

Exploring Colour

Australia is burning. I guess many of you have seen pictures, videos, news. Australia of course is our near neighbour, just across the Tasman. Close enough that in certain conditions Australian dust, smoke and ash reach us here in New Zealand. There is so much going on that I can’t go into much detail. I’ll just say there’s been lives lost, enormous areas of land burnt or under threat, many people have lost their homes, unthinkable consequences for native fauna and flora.

Firefighting is largely dependent on VOLUNTEER firefighters. There are big issues around availability of volunteer firefighters (many are employed and their time off is limited), funding for firefighting, Australian dependence on fossil fuels, the reluctance of politicians to acknowledge and plan for climate change. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is feeling the heat for heading to Hawaii for a family holiday as the fires worsened. When two firefighters…

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A Case of Selective Hearing.

It seems the Australian Prime Minister’s ears are still blocked from the return flight from Hawaii. As the leader of our country, he is just NOT LISTENING TO THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE.

Since returning to Australian soil, his main purpose has been finding excuses/ as to why he found it necessary/ to abandon ship at such a crucial time. Now to add insult to injury, he informs us that his policies on climate change/ will remain unchanged. Is this man for real?

Mr.Morrison, you may not be interested in the opinions of people outside Australia, but what about how the Australian people think of you and your government.

Maybe you thought you deserved a break. Well/ the Australian people would like a break too. A break from the lack of action taken/ on the many important issues that get pushed under the rug/ while our politicians bicker among themselves, stab each other in the back, and swap leaders.

So many of our country’s men and women are hurting. The list is too long for me to categorise here, but with your lack of empathy/ I hold little hope for us in the near future. We need another leader like Bob.

Scomo in Slowmo!

As it turns out, the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Scott Morrison, (nickname Scomo) was in no hurry to return from his Hawaiin holiday, to answer a few questions for the Australian Public.

Like, ‘What the hell are you doing out of the country, while there is a state of emergency being declared in the state of New South Wales?

Loss of human lives, livestock, property, native wildlife, habitat, the list goes on, much of which could have been avoided, if better informed judgements had been made.

To our policy makers, ‘Wake up and stop sitting on your hands, shape up or ship out, the latter being the best solution for many of the hangers on in our government.

Day turned into night at 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon. On the south coast of new south wales the smoke and ash from bushfires blanketed the sun. What light there was, turned an eerie dark shade of orange. The native wildlife, confused and disorientated, put themselves to bed early.

I live in a small village on the south coast of NSW and we are a hot spot for tourists at holiday times. The threat of the fires will keep many people away this christmas, understandably. This will impact local businesses financially, as it will the whole of the state. That is only a part of the problems we face. There are two months of summer ahead.

Abandon Ship!

Yes, it’s true. At a time when half of the east coast of Australia is on fire, our prime minister decided to go on holiday, with his family, to Hawaii. In the words of his deputy, ‘He needs a well earned break!’

You may or may not know, that our PM has a nickname of ‘Scomo’. Well I would like to change that to ‘Scooter’ Morrison, since he ‘scooted’ when the going got tough. Can you believe it?

Okay, so he was shamed into cutting the holiday short. How about donating the cost of the would be holiday, to the families of the two volunteer firemen killed at Buxton last week?

And a word to our state premier Gladys Berejiklian who is spending money hand over fist, to stop ‘playing trains’ and syphon some of those big bucks over to the Rural Fire Service.

A big question on my mind is, why aren’t our servicemen,(army, navy, airforce) equipped to fight bushfires?????? We are at war against Climate Change or hasn’t anybody in Canberra noticed.

Why don’t ‘Scooter’ and Gladys pop over and breathe some of the black smoke and ash that our firies are dealing with on a daily basis.?

Not so Merry.

Yes, Christmas is upon us again. Once again we are being pressured to spend, spend, spend, on gifts we can’t afford, and more food than we could ever eat in a week. Pictures of tables brimming with plates and bowls of irresistible culinary delights. Even the family pet is dressed for the occasion and shares in special treats.

For some people this may appear as the perfect family get-together, and many will strive to make it a reality, but for others, it is anything but a time for celebration.

When I was a child, I admit that was a while ago, getting ready for xmas was an exciting time. Christmas cakes and puddings, made to time honoured recipes, were prepared weeks before xmas day. The puddings, which were boiled in cloths, were hung up in a safe place to mature.

Turkeys did not play a central role on the christmas table, as they seem to have done in America, chicken was a basic, often home raised, and ham if the family could afford it. The ham would be ordered from the local butcher weeks before xmas.

Decorations, many saved from one year to another, were hand made. These were sometimes made by children at school, some were family activities for after tea in the evenings. (no TV then!) Streamers made in different colours of crepe paper would be hung from corner to corner in the dining room along with other xmassy baubles and bells.

The xmas tree was a real pine tree that could be collected from the bush near our home, or sometimes one could be bought from outside the local shop when they had cut some to sell.

Gifts were often items made by family members throughout the year. With the Aussie xmas falling in the hottest months of the year, it was not a time to make scarves, or jumpers. If you were fortunate, as a child you might get one large gift, like a bicycle, a pram for a doll.,or a special ‘going out’ set of clothing. Books, games and small toys were stocking fillers.

Mums and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, were quite happy to receive boxes of chocolates, hankerchiefs, and hand made items for use around the home, like decorated face washers, hand towels, tea towels, etc.

From my own point of view, this was a much more doable xmas. one that would be manageable for most families. Going into debt for the following year (or further) is craziness. We are being encouraged by all different kinds of money lenders, to spend money we don’t have, and then pay interest on it.

As to the meaning behind Christmas, and celebrating the birth of Christ, this seems to have been gobbled up by merchandising and overproduction.

Christmas is a sad time for many people, bringing back memories of the passing of loved ones killed in accidents caused by alcohol affected drivers and holidays gone wrong.

This year Australia’s east coast is ablaze with our worst bushfires in recorded history, and summer has just begun. Dozens of homes lost, thousands of hectares of our beautiful bushland devastated, the damage to our wildlife unimaginable.

No, this will not be a merry xmas for those among us who have tragically lost loved ones during this period, but we can give a heartfelt THANK YOU to the volunteers who battle our blazes, the ambulance personnel who will try to save our injured, the doctors and nurses who will try to put us back together, the police force who will try to keep accidents numbers down, and the hundreds of support workers it takes to keep everything working.

If you are reading this, I wish you and yours, a happy and safe Christmas and holiday season. Should you come out the other side unscathed, please say a huge thank you to all of the above, and another one to your personal God, whoever that may be.