A few days late for International Dog Day, Dog by Nat Johnson:

Murray Ball 1939 – 12.3.2017


Murray Ball who created Footrot Flats has died.

Mr Ball, 78, died at about 11.30am this morning.

Born in Feilding in 1939, Mr Ball became one of New Zealand’s most successful cartoonists. . .

Footrot Flats featured in daily papers for years, bringing rural life and humour to town and country.

Although many of the cartoon strips were simply funny, some carried a message, showing Ball’s political views and environmental concerns.


Rob Hosking writes on Dog resigning as All Black mascot.


Word of the day


Dog domesticated carnivorous mammal; any of various carnivorous mammals of the family Canidae, such as the dingo; a worthless or contemptible person; any of various usually simple mechanical devices for holding, gripping, or fastening that consist of a spike, bar, or hook; uncharacteristic or affected stylishness or dignity; one inferior of its kind; an investment not worth its price; : an undesirable piece of merchandise; an unattractive person; spurious; to hunt, track, or follow like a hound; to worry as if by pursuit with dogs; to bother or pester persistently; totally; completely.

Hmm, so many negative meanings seem unfair when a dog makes such a loyal pet.

It’s not just human waste


Apropos of yesterday’s post about the litter and worse left by freedom campers, I had a reminder this morning that it’s not just human waste which causes problems.

Most dog owners are responsible and it’s not unusual to see plastic bag dispensers at the start of popular walking trails for people who’ve forgotten to bring something to pick up pooch pooh.

The idea is that you not only pick up the pooh in the bag, you take it away and dispose of it carefully.

Not everyone gets the idea:

If you eat meat from one animal . . .


. . . why not another?

I know where lamb and beef come from and have no qualms about eating them providing the animal from which the meat came was killed humanely.

I wouldn’t choose to eat dog, horse or rat and I’ve never eaten meat from an animal I’ve known by name. Our pet lambs died of old age unless they accidently got mustered with the general flock and sent to the freezing works.

That is an emotional reaction not a logical one and that’s the best that can be said of the SPCA’s concern over the dog which was barbecued.

The manner in which an animal is killed might be the SPCA’s business, whether people choose to cook and eat it once it’s dead is not.

As Roarprawn says SPCA are not cultural arbiters.

Following fashion folly on farm


Take a navy guernsey over a striped shirt with the collar turned up, add a denim skirt and top it all off with pearls or a fob chain and what have you got? The magazine in which I read this description called it the country clone and wasn’t impressed.


I’ve failed to master the art of stand up collars, am more likely to be in a tee shirt anyway and prefer jeans to skirts. But I have to admit the general affect is much the same as the one the fashion writer described so disparagingly.


I understand her lack of enthusiasm because the wool and denim ensemble gets more points for comfort than style. But that’s precisely why we country women choose it – because although it’s predictable it’s also practical. It may not be sufficiently stylish to claim the label classic but because this look is never in fashion it never goes out of fashion either. And while they may be a long way from the look of the moment on city streets the “country clone” clothes are well suited to a quick sprint across a paddock if the wearer is called on to lend a hand before she dashes off to town.


You may be able to opt for style if the nearest you’ll be getting to the great outdoors is a gentle stroll down a well paved foot path and you can favour fashion if you have nothing to pick up but the groceries. But when you might have to rescue an old ewe which has cast herself in the cattle stop before you leave your property and you know your shopping list might include sacks of seed, containers of drench or grease-encrusted parts for the irrigator it pays to choose clothes to suit.


Just how necessary it is to put function before fashion was brought home to me the day I decided I had the luxury of enough time to dress with care before going in to town. I’d just added the finishing touches to my ensemble when there was a knock at the door, it was the dog-dosing man looking for someone to help him. My farmer was away at a sale and I had no idea where the other men were but when asked I had to admit I knew which name went with which dog so there was no reason why I couldn’t act as doser’s assistant.


It may be possible to remain immaculate while catching and holding thousand-acre dogs but I didn’t manage it. I’d taken the precaution of exchanging my shoes for gumboots but they didn’t protect my tights from a liberal splattering of mud. I also acquired a patina of dog hair on my skirt; the imprint of one of King’s very large paws on the front of my blouse and the perfume with which I had splashed myself lost its battle with what could best be described as “eau de kennel”.


Next time I had a yearn to dress up for town I ignored it and reached for my jumper and jeans. It may be fun to follow fashion and I do enjoy donning smart clothes for those occasions when it’s necessary to play ladies. But, even though the dog dosing man doesn’t call anymore, when choosing an outfit for every day wear the question I ask myself is not whether it’s fashionable but: how will it look with gumboots?


© homepaddock

Saturday’s smiles


A man walks into a bar with his dog, but the barman tells him, “No dogs allowed.”

“It’s OK, this is no ordinary dog” the man responds. “This is a talking dog. I’ll show you.”

He turns to the dog and asks, “What grows on trees?” and the dog replies, “Bark, bark.”

“What’s on top of a house?” the proud owner asks and the dog says, “Roof, roof.”

“What’s the opposite of smooth?” is the next question and the dog responds, “Rough, rough.”

But the barman is unimpressed and throws them out.

The dog is puzzled and asks his owner, “Which one did I get wrong?”

Saturday’s smiles


A back country sheep farmer was grazing his flock on the long acre of a
remote pasture in outback of Otago when suddenly a brand-new and shining 4WD emerges from a dust cloud.

The driver, a bloke in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Bolle sunglasses and
Yves St Laurent silk tie, slides down the window and says, “If I
tell you exactly how many sheep and lambs you have in your flock, will
you give me a lamb?”


The farmer looks from the man to the peacefully grazing herd and
murmurs, “Why not?”

The well-dressed bloke whips out his notebook, connects it to his mobile
phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS
satellite navigation system to get a fix on his location which he then
feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an
ultra-high-resolution photo. Then he opens the digital photo in Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. Now he accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC-connected Excel spreadsheet on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised LaserJet printer, turns to the drover and says, “You have exactly 2,586 sheep and lambs.”

That’s right.” says the farmer. “Well, I guess you can take one of my
lambs,” And he watches the man select an animal and stuff it into the
back of his 4WD.


Hey,” muses the grazier, “If I can tell you exactly what you do for a living, will you give me back the animal?”


The man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”


“You’re a bureaucrat from Wellington” says the farmer.


“Wow! That’s correct! But how did you guess that?” the bureaucrat asks.

No guessing required.” answered the farmer. You showed up here even though nobody invited you; you wanted to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me  you are; and you don’t know a thing about sheep. Now, give me back my dog.”


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