Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Change the World Wednesday – 27th Aug


The reputation

I am pleased to report, Montezuma has had his revenge and gone back to Mexico. Not sure if he’s actually from Mexico, but I have always made the connection… maybe that’s the influence of Taco Bell’s reputation.

I have been testing my water by boiling, it’s okay to drink, so I have stopped buying my water.

Birthday week BBQs planned for Friday and Saturday, trying to do it green.

So far I have homemade pickled onions and beetroot. Today looks like it will be the day (no sun) to make chimichurri and sauerkraut. Cheaper and greener than buying.

I still have serving problem for Saturday. I don’t have many plates or eating tools.

Made two jars of pickled beetroot on Monday

It’s going to be a busy week.

But it’s fun to do it once a year.

Friday BBQ at the bar, and Saturday for the family.

Onward, this week’s CTWW is about listening.

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This week, spend 15 minutes listening to the sounds in your area. You may wish to sit quietly in your home or out in nature. Perhaps you want to find out what noises you hear in a shopping mall or on a busy street. As you listen, try to hear the sounds of nature. Can you hear them or are they drowned out by man-made noise? The idea, this week, is to simply listen and identify sounds.

Our praça is not a very quiet place, we have quite a bit of traffic, and the kids playground is in front of the house, so any wildlife is scared away. There is also a casarão (big house) being built on the side street, alot of construction noise from that. I have a fox terrier, Mary Jane, on one side and another dog on the right, at times it’s dogs in stereo.

So we suffer from urban noise pollution.

A dead bat in the praça yesterday

A dead bat in the praça yesterday

But we do have some birds and bats.

One of them died and finished up in the rubbish collection. It’s the first time I have seen on of them apart from flitting through the trees at dusk.

The most common bird is the bem-ti-vi (great kiskadee – Pitangus sulphuratus) with it’s distinctive call, hence its name. Bem-ti-vi means nice-to-see-you.



Another common visitor to the praça is this little brown and white fellow.


Viuvinha – Arundicola leucocephala

Don’t know the name of this one. (see update)

We also have hummingbirds, and yesterday I heard parrots screeching overhead which is rare.

But I often sit in the praça just to observe, observing includes listening.

Very relaxing, and a pasttime that I recommend.


The bird is a freirinha (little nun) Arundicola leucocephala or viuvinha (little widow), goes by both names.

Having a beer at the botequim (bar) is educational.

Here’s a photo of our praça

Our praça from in front of my gate

Our praça from the playground in front of my gate


Satireday on Eco-Crap


Nature Ramble

A bit different again this week.

Let’s look at what happens to sanitised townies when they move to the countryside

A short guide to the country for townies

Those who move to the country should realise it is violent and muddy, horses don’t need road tax and there is no poo fairy

Horse riders on the North Downs Way in Surrey. ‘When [town dwellers] come to the country, they try to sanitise it to make it more like the town.’ Photograph: ICP /Alamy

The gamekeeper on the shooting estate where I have a small country retreat received a phone call from a panic-stricken resident of the nearby village a few weeks ago.

“Is that the ranger?” asked the lady, who had recently moved from suburbia to our little corner of the Surrey countryside.

“Ranger?” said the gamekeeper. “There ain’t no ranger here.”

“Yes, well,” continued the lady, very flustered, “someone told me to call you because you are the person who takes care of foxes.”

“That I am,” said the gamekeeper, now on more solid ground.

“Thank goodness,” said the lady. “I need you to come and deal with a fox in my back garden.”

“Right you are,” said the gamekeeper, and he drove straight over to her large, elegant house, located the fox, and without further ado, put a fatal bullet in it. Upon which the lady came screaming out of her house.

“What did you do that for?” she wailed.

“You said you wanted it dealt with.”

“Yes, but you didn’t have to kill it.”

The gamekeeper then saw that he was dealing with a townie.

Townies, as the cricketer and country-dweller David Gower complained in a recent interview, have very little clue as to what life in the country is about and how one might survive it. Townies think you can deal with foxes by ways other than killing them. Perhaps they think you can hypnotise a fox into the back of a Land Rover and then take it for a course of aromatherapy, after which it will see the error of its ways and desist from slaughtering poultry, game birds, smaller farm animals and family pets.

Gower is right to say town dwellers should be forced to learn about the countryside, but I am not convinced you could make them listen.

When they come to the country, they try to sanitise it to make it more like the town. Where I am, we woke up one day to find that a millionaire who had moved into a mansion with faux turrets had, during the night, resurfaced with shiny tarmac the dirt track bridleway leading to his driveway. So when we ride our horses on it now, they skate down it.

There is also a lottery winner who flies his wife to the pub in his helicopter. All this is very irritating for those of us who try to live as nature intended, which is to say driving to the pub in a beaten-up Fiat Panda rather than landing there in a Sikorsky.

Wearily, therefore, and with no expectation they will heed it, I give townies this short guide to what they should know about the countryside before moving there:

1. It is violent. Get your head around this basic choice: kill foxes or watch them kill everything else. There is no other option.

2. Horses are entitled to walk on roads. Do not shout at riders to ride on the grass verge. This is not legal. And no, horse riders do not have to buy road tax, in case the charming man who once screeched at me to do so is reading this.

3. Wellies may become stained by mud. Get cheap ones for everyday and save your special edition Hunters for best. Ditto Range Rovers.

4. Dogs may defecate in woods. Please refrain from picking up your dog poo in deserted places and hanging it in a small black bag on a tree. There is no poo fairy who comes in the night to take it away.

5. Stiles are provided for your convenience. Do not stand next to them rattling gates and demanding farmers “open up” or you will call the police. If you can’t climb a fence without suing someone for emotional distress and/or going to the European court of human rights, please go back to suburbia.

6. Trees and grass may grow, as part of a natural process. Do not ring the council to complain. They get government money per head of population and if only six people live there, then all you need to know about the local services is this: there are none.


Change the World Wednesday – 3rd Jul

dawn_chorusI love being woken in the morning by the dawn chorus. I do not like to be woken by a chorus of dogs! Somehow it doesn’t have the same musical quality.

It’s now 10am, and the little bastards are still at it. I have dogs in home theatre, one on each side, and the main barkers in the park.

It’s enough to make a saint swear.

Last Saturday my two students, who are brothers, brought me a present. it was their last lesson for two months. They brought me a half dozen farm fresh eggs. Now that doesn’t sound like much, does it? But it was a marvelous present, absolutely wnderful and welcome


50 Shades of Yellow

I had bacon and eggs for breakfast two days in a row.

Talk about 50 Shades of Yellow…

Normally I don’t have access to farm fresh free-range eggs, I have to do with the ones from the botequim (local bar), or the sacolão (fruit & vege shop).

I had forgotten what real eggs looked like.

I had forgotten what real eggs tasted like.


Just take a look at the difference, it’s unbelievable.


I don’t need to explain which is which, but just look at the insipid yellow, compared with the rich orange/yellow of real eggs.

Oh, bring back the days of real food.

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This week’s CTWW is different, it’s philosophical, most unlike Small’s usual challenges.

This week, imagine what a perfect green life would look like … or perhaps a perfect green world. Write down your ideas and then see if there are any on your list which you can turn into reality.

Think big … think wild … be creative.

I would begin by turning the clock back 50 years.

  • Get rid of the dairy companies, go back to farm milk.
  • Get rid of battery farming, go back to free range.
  • Get rid of the pesticides and herbicides, go back to real (currently called ‘organic’) farming.
  • Get rid of plastic, go back to paper, but recycled.
  • Get rid of corporations, go back to small business.
  • Get rid of artificial foods and additives, go back to the real McCoy.
  • Get rid of TV dinner-style foods, go back to the kitchen.
  • jars-in-pantryGet rid of canned & frozen foods, go back to preserves in the pantry (larder).
  • Get rid of microwaves, go back to real stoves and ovens.
  • Get rid of supermarkets and malls, go back to the corner store and butcher.
  • Get rid of video games and social networks, go back to talking and playing outside.
  • Get rid of concrete jungles, go back to dirt.
  • Get rid of fashions, go back to functional clothing.
  • Get rid of infant formula, go back to breastfeeding.
  • Get rid of Wall Street, go back to honest banking (is that an oxymoron?).
  • Get rid of antidepressant medications, go back to getting on with life.
  • Get rid of psychologists, go back to dealing with it.
  • Get rid of BigPharma, go back to natural remedies.
  • Get rid of junk food, go home and eat.

The list could go on and on

Half my list will never happen, because the corporations own the government.

But you can make a difference.

There are small things that I do to make my life better, there are other things that I would do if I was more mobile and had transport, there are things that I would dearly love to do.

How many of you have a bank account? I have one, but by necessity to transfer my modest funds from one country to another. But I don’t have a local bank account. Basically, I don’t trust banks. I get my pay in cash and keep it ‘under the mattrass’. I go and pay my bills personally, I don’t have to go to the bank to get my money.

How many of you grow something for food? I imagine many that read this type of blog do. I live on concrete, but I have a modest garden.

How many of you cook or make preserves? It is rare for me to buy pre-prepared food? How many of you preserve something for later? I currently have beetroot and pickled onions in the fridge.

How many of you have bought fast food in the last week? I haven’t bought fast food in over two years.

Fashion and models as useless as tits on a bull

Fashion and models as useless as tits on a bull

How many of you buy clothing because it’s fashionable? I buy it because it’s functional.

How many of you Facebook, Pin or Tweet and spend hours doing it. I Tweet, yes, I’m a twit, but for me tweeting is automatic on my blogs, I don’t spend hours wasting my time.

How many of you shop at supermarkets or malls? I do, but only for things that I can’t walk to the store and buy. I much prefer the corner store and grocer.

I do little things, but I yearn for the days when those little things and more were normal everyday things.

I would love to see a world where the useless things like fashion were eliminated; but man is such a vain creature.

How much land is used to grow crops like cotton, how much petroleum is used to make fabrics, how much energy is used in manufacture and transport, how much time is wasted in fashion shows and the ilk, how much press and paper is dedicated to this absolutely despicable aspect of life?

My view is get these skinny, underfed, malnourished creatures off the catwalk and have them tilling the soil, doing something productive, getting their perfectly manicured hands dirty instead of poncing around the fashion world full of their own self importance. These are bludgers on society, the whole industry are leeches. There is nothing at all green about the fashion world, it is a total waste of resources.

The same could be said of many aspects of modern life, I just chose fashion as an example.

We need to become more pragmatic, we need to turn the clock back, we need to think about what we have lost in the name of ‘progress‘.

CTWW – Update

How to avoid paper towels…

Take the advice of our Foul Bachelor Frog

You can get more helpful advice from him every Tuesday on

Nether Region of the Earth  III

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