Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bromeliad weather

Pink and blue Vase Bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata)  IMG_5981

The autumnal equinox has seen a definite change in the weather for Sydneysiders. Scarcely had Munson leapt out of the water on Sunday than the skies began to open up for a week alternating storms with drizzle.

Dark skies and a bit of rain seem to bring out the best in the bromeliads around our garden. They collect water in irregular blobs like uncut diamonds above which spiders spin their fine webs.
P1140268  P1140262
Munson’s not very interested in any of this, but there is some activity next door that has to be investigated. A cat? a child? both!
Munson against fence

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Return to Sirius Cove

Charlie photo-bombs Rachel, Cassie and MunsonToday’s doggie beach visit was an excuse to catch up with my friends Rachel and Adrian who I haven’t seen in a few years. Adrian was drawn from the same pool of ne’er-do-wells that introduced me to Brent (of the French farm) twenty years ago. He and Rachel have been busy with new baby Cassie (now nearly two) and had not yet met Gustav. Munson had a chance to reacquaint himself with their lab Charlie.

Our last visit to Sirius Cove was in early January when temperatures were soaring, but Sydney’s early autumn is still warm enough for beach visits. Although I was togged up for a swim, the tide was too low for practical purposes, and even Munson was leaning into the water for maximum cooling effect.Charlie, Adrian, MunsonMunson and Charlie start a sand-angel duel
The two dogs shared some mad moments together.  The photo above is interesting because the two dogs look equal size, but Munson is actually twice as big as Cassie.
Munson and GustavMunson’s wake here looks like a whale fluke. He’s such a water-baby – even moreso than Bondi I think – that I sometimes imagine him as a mal-orca hybrid. I’ve thought of having a tattoo done on that theme.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fur and rescue

Munson, getting on top of old smokie

During a Saturday morning coffee and  circuit of Newtown’s King Street, we found celebrations in progress for the local Fire & Rescue service’s centenary. The streets on each side of the station were filled with fire fighting trucks, old and new. My favourite was this beauty from the 1930s, although I’m not sure what its equivalent in malamute bladders might be.

Marching down Australia Street

We’d arrived just in time for the service’s marching band to travel a short distance down Australia Street, in a vain attempt to stop Munson from stealing the limelight. Sorry folks, but you’re competing against a pro.

I'll sit here and look photogenic for a while
fire truck mascot  How handsome am I
While we were there, we met former mal-owner Sue  who kindly supplied some of these photos. There must be something about malamute parentage and wearing purple.
Sue   Munson

Mike   Munson

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hi ho Silver Beach! Away!

Munson watching paraskier at silver BeachMunson sampled a new dog friendly water spot today – Silver Beach at Kurnell. It’s off-leash at all times, but as the council website says just between the third and fourth groynes from the western end. It’s quite a hike through Sydney’s southern suburbs to get there, being right out at the southern entrance to Botany Bay, about five minutes’ further on from the entrance to Boat Harbour.

It took me a bit more time to locate the exact groyne spacing, partly because we were distracted by the paraskiers zooming in and out of each intergroynal beachlet. The road runs right along beside the beach so you don’t have far to walk, and there’s a handy little cafe cum burger, fish ‘n’ chips facing the shore. The easiest thing to do is to turn left when you reach the shore and drive until you hit a marked parking area. That is exactly where the dog off-leash spot is located. From there it’s a malamute hop, skip and bound into the water. There is no way that this dog can fake his eagerness to get into the water and play.
Meanwhile, at groyne #3 I spied a couple of pelicans idly watching the sporting malamute. I was able to edge my way slowly along the rocks to take close-up pictures. They seemed less bothered by me than by seagulls, angrily harrying and haranguing them from above.

P3113376  seagulls annoying the pelicans
Munson came to investigate my activities on the rocks, but he’s not very nimble in such situations, and hauling himself up to the first rock pretty much exhausted him.
IMG_5915  P3113401
It was the paraskiers that interested Munson far more than any seabird. One of them swept back and forth along the beach in a rapid pattern, such that I was worried he would have a groyne injury. His own dog, a little black schnoodle (Schnauzer/poodle) raced up and down the shore somewhat anxiously but didn’t tread the waters. Munson on the other hand, would happily follow the riders fifty metres offshore, only turning back on my command.
P3113406  IMG_5911Animation of Munson rolling in the sand

Friday, March 07, 2014

Munso(o)n season - raining dogs and dogs

Munson shakes it out
On a walk in Newtown one night with Gustav and Munson, we were accosted by a guy who asked if this was “Munsoon”. He said that he was a pup the last time they’d met, and was with another malamute (Bondi). That must have been five-six years ago, just another case of how much these boys have stuck in people’s memories over the years.
pumping the tail
Munson’s swim today was at Blackwattle Bay, where he’d had his first swim all those years ago. He heads a lot further out into the harbour these days. It looks like a Greenpeace volunteer has had to shepherd him back to  shore in case he’s targetted by whalers.
Guided back to shore by Greenpeace
Before he took the plunge I dropped into a new pet food store, and put Munson up on the scales. He’s leapt up in weight from 50 to nearly 58kg since his surgery last August. That really surprised me because he still seems to be nothing but fur and tongue plastered onto ribs. His diet is restricted, so I’m putting it down to his lack of stamina for extended aerobic workouts – bounding around on 3.5 legs is limited to a few minutes a day.
P1140168  Munson checks out his fat arse
Sydney - not just for ducks

Friday, February 14, 2014

A disturbance in the furs

January 2014
photo: Gustav

Munson has been shedding rather fiercely in recent weeks. Two days ago I raked enough undercoat off one flank to stuff a football, and there’s still more to come.

I hope we won’t get the fleece that arrived in June 2011, although I must say the flocks of birds hovering overhead at the park are doing more than just murmuring in anticipation. The first hairfall back in Australia was also in June, so this may be the first seasonally adjusted harvest.

It’s going to be interesting seeing how Munson’s flip-flopping between hemispheres is going to affect the timing of the sheddings: by the time Bondi was this age and had arrived in Australia, he was just beginning to show the symptoms of  Cushings Syndrome, and never went through a seasonal shedding again. I’m wondering if we’re just going to get a “moderate” drop, or one that will be spread out over six months, before resuming normal timing in 2015.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Munson the malameter


My new local coffee joint is also a spot where Munson can curl up under a pew and enjoy the buzz of conversation above his head, and the thicket of legs around tables.

I took him for a walk around Newtown this afternoon, which he enjoyed as much as usual until we crossed to the northern side of King Street and started walking downhill as if on our way home. He started becoming distressed – a continuing annoyance from an event two months ago which I didn’t recount.

Our friend Nick took his malamute Sceolaun on a walk up King St at the beginning of December, and she stopped to drink at the water bowl shown in this post. It was a wet evening and while the footpath sits under an awning, there was enough water on it to carry an electrical charge to it – most likely from a small junction box shaped like a squat green pillar outside HUM records a few metres away.

A few days later, I’m walking Munson down King St on a dry sunny day, and we reach HUM where I often visit to look at music and movie releases. Munson puts one foot on the steel entrance step, and jumps backwards in the air with a yelp. He’s really spooked and wants to get the hell away from the area.

I messaged Nick about it, and he suggests I call Ausgrid, the state electrical company, to report a fault as he had done. I recount what happened, and I’m told that they had investigated Nick’s report without detecting any problems. I said there must be something that can make a 50kg dog leap into the air, and a substantial risk to humans (particularly children) if barefoot. Given Newtown’s rather alternative population, that wouldn’t be an unlikely scenario.

About three hours later Nick messaged me back to say that the front of  HUM has been cordoned off as they had discovered the entire shopfront was live at 100V.

Munson was limping for a couple of weeks after that incident, and has been very wary of going with about 10 metres of the spot – generally pulling back or hurrying past. Today’s reaction was unusual in that we were quite a bit further away when he reacted, which made me wonder if he’s detecting some other electrical activity from other junction pillars on that part of the street.

Poor Munson, I thought that he’d be safe from this stuff away from the electric fences on the farm.

Flickr slideshow