Bears Bush Christmas.

Bear, noticing that the inside of the car is far cooler than the outside

Once again, although the dogs don’t know it, it’s Christmas.  Of course, like anyone sensible, they are spending most of their time in the shade, but now and again, I can get them out into the bush for a good long walk.  When it’s really hot, like it now, the air is filled with the strong fragrance of eucalyptus oil and hot earth.  The Australian bush has a distinctive smell that’s hard to imagine, but it’s impossible to forget once you have experienced it and I really miss that heady aroma and the sound of crickets when I am overseas.

When out for a bush walk, Bear, who is now a human three years old and George (his five year old mother) will dash off, ears flapping, jumping over fallen trees, knocking small bushes aside in their haste to beat the other. Eventually, they will tire themselves out and just flop to the ground panting, but it takes a while as the breed was used to chase lions away from the Boers cattle in South Africa, so they have a good deal of stamina.

When the dogs find a dam, they can’t wait to get in for a drink and a swim.

I took Bear’s father (and the source of my ‘nom de plume’) Jerry, on his last walk here as he’d been having serious fits as a result of a brain tumour and he hadn’t been outside of the garden for a while.  The medication we had been giving him was making a good deal of temporary difference, so I decided to get him out and about.   He’d never paid more than passing attention to this small dam but on this particular day, he hesitated, looking at the water and rather than walking around it as he usually did, he glanced at me and leapt, like a puppy into the water and swam laps.  He was so happy that I just sat there watching him for a good fifteen minutes.  His mate and Bear’s mother George, sat watching and lapping as daintily at the water as a 50kg dog can, but she didn’t get in.  I remember sadly thinking, that as I had to leave on a trip the next day, that this would probably be my last walk with him and it was.  He died a few days later and now I always think of that place as ‘Jerry’s pool’.

There’s plenty of wildlife in our local bush and I often see Kangaroos and Wallabies; usually when the dogs disturb them and they end up bounding away, like a herd of Gazelles and far too fast for the dogs to chase, but unfortunately they do try, ignoring my yelled expletives demanding that they come back.  Eventually they do, tongues lolling and panting and thankfully having the decency to look slightly sheepish.

This large male lives in this paddock near home and he’s well over 2 metres tall.  We call him ‘Bruce’ (what else?) and he’s pretty confident.  Both Bear and George know better than to go near him!

If we go for a walk at night, it’s not uncommon to see Possums and even Koalas.  Bear and George are a bit puzzled but they don’t get too excited when the wildlife is in the trees.

Just get lost and let me sleep…

As it is Christmas, the usual ‘over the top’ decorations are up and you’ll notice that in the picture below, I have the fire lit.  It’s actually around 28 degrees outside, but I have had the aircon on for a couple of hours, in order to justify it!

It’s not dark and it’s not cold, but why wouldn’t you light the candles and the fire?

The tree is not the prettiest we have ever had but it is the largest, at just under 4 metres tall.  Getting the bloody thing home was a challenge as we only have a small car and after enlisting the help of a couple of strapping lads to heave the thing onto the roof, I managed to bribe my neighbour into helping me get it off the car and into the living room.  The dogs unfortunately kept on drinking the water out of the small well in the trees stand, so it was a bit of a competition trying to keep it full and the tree green.

It’s not the size of your car, its the size of your tree that counts!

When not sleeping in front of the fire, the dogs loved the lights on the tree although Bear wanted to pee on it – and on all of the presents…

Settling down to lie like big dogs in front of a big fire on a cold night

All in all, the dogs did very well, what with the Christmas left overs and the numerous people who were willing to play with them and take them out for walks.  We are now moving into the bush fire season so its hot and windy at home and sadly that means no more ‘aircon justified’ fires for a while…

This evenings sunset.  Not too shabby.

Hope you all had a good Christmas and that you have a happy and safe new year.

Jerry.