English Pointer


Have you noticed the name change for the blog yet? Can’t change the URL but I thought it was time to pick a new name. So the Daily Oxford is now Up North.

In this post, I’ll give you a first look at our (rather large) property. We decided to downsize. We had 30 acres down South and we shifted to….wait for it….47 acres. Yep. We simply fell in love with the property and that was that.

We arrived on April 3 and went immediately to the property and let Zeph and Zsa Zsa run wild and free. This was before going to the pet-friendly accommodation! I promised the dogs that they could sniff and explore their new home as soon as we made it up North.

We will be living temporarily in a shed, which I refer to as The Shed. Next post, I’ll show you what it looks like. It is a serious downsize – from a two-storey home to a shed.

The Shed was not quite ready for our arrival. We started the build around November of last year not knowing when we’d actually sell our house. We have no power or water on the property, so we have to install solar panels, a composting toilet and get a phone line put in. This has taken a bit more time than we had hoped because it was hard to organise things whilst still living in the South Island.

We’ve been at the pet-friendly accommodation for two weeks now and I think one more week to go before we can move into The Shed. But we take the dogs to the property every day so they feel right at home there already. El Hubs is now project managing the build so things are moving faster.

The best part of the property for Zeph and Zsa Zsa I think is two places. The first area I call The Forest. No idea what the trees are but they are massive, tall trees and underneath them is a lovely shady area with mossy rocks and a small stream. The second place is a part of the stream. We actually have two streams that merge into one. Near The Shed is a gorgeous spot – shallow pools of water with green ferns.

When Zeph first saw the water he was a bit scared. He gingerly put one paw into the water and drew it out immediately. Two weeks down the track, he runs through the stream and uses the mossy rocks in the water as a bridge to get to the embankment on the other side. This embankment is a bit steep and Zeph and Zsa Zsa found it tough the first few days. You could see they were worried about their footing. But now they are like a couple of mountain goats.

These photos show you just how happy they are to be on their new property.

Into our last week here now. I’m a bit sad as I really like the property, but I’m looking forward to a new adventure up North. It’s been raining a bit and getting crisp in the mornings and evenings – you can feel Winter’s approach.

I intend to blog our move as much as possible. Pretty sure I’ll be without an internet connection from late March to around April 25 or so. That will be interesting. I really do want to spend less time online and more time on writing. We don’t watch a lot of TV but I’d like to dispense with the TV too.

I’ve decided to raise Monarch butterflies up North. Yes, really. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and I’ve found out that a Monarch expert lives very near to where we’ll be living. And I can do an online course to learn all about how to provide a safe Monarch habitat. Doubt I’ll get around to this until early next year but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, I accidentally shut Zeph and Zsa Zsa out of the house the other day. Zeph was not impressed at all. I really like this photo of Zeph – you can see he is not amused.

 

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As you know, dear reader, we are on the move. I’ve been talking about it for a couple of years and now the time is here! 2.5 weeks until we make our way up to the North Island. I’m actually quite excited about the change. I haven’t minded the cold weather in the South Island but El Hubs is over it. I’m not sure how mild the winters are up North but I have visions of wearing T-shirts. We’ll see.

We will drive up slowly with Zeph and Zsa Zsa. We were sending them by pet bus but have decided to keep them with us. Especially because Zeph gets a bit anxious in a car. The vet has provided a very mild anti-anxiety medication and we have purchased from iTunes calming music especially for dogs.

The Cook Strait ferry that sails from Picton to Wellington has crates for dogs and we have booked two of them. We’ll be taking their fleecy blankets so they will have them in the crate. On the drive up, we have found accommodation that allows pets to be indoors with you.

So we’re hoping we have this move covered! I do know that I won’t have Internet connection for maybe three weeks. That will give me an opportunity to hunker down and write.

I’ve just finished four mentoring sessions with a fantastic New Zealand poet. I have revised three of my poems under her guidance and will be submitting them soon to various poetry journals.

Meanwhile, Autumn (or Fall) has arrived in NZ and this week had a sudden cold snap. Zeph decided to steal Zsa’s Zsa’s moose blanket and have a snooze. Just look at that elegant paw!

 

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I must say that I was looking forward to the end of 2016. All the celebrity deaths and Trump being elected (going to say it: not a fan). I was just praying that Betty White would make it through and she did (celebrated her 95th birthday on January 17). I don’t really like uneven numbered years but I’m hoping that 2017 is a good one.

Zeph has developed mild arthritis in his front left paw (the one he always hurts) and has been having canine massage and cold laser therapy. He’s taken to it like a duck to water, as they say.

Summer has not arrived. The weather has been patchy and pretty disappointing so far. Half the time I can’t get Zeph off the bed. He just wants to snooze.

As for me, I am making it a goal in 2017 to increase my poetry and fiction writing efforts.

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Poor Zeph. He’s hurt is paw yet again. This has been an ongoing thing over the years. He jumps up on the side of the hay barn to bark at pesky pigeons and hurts himself.

The hay barn is clad (with corrugated iron) and so the impact on his paw can be harsh if he launches himself at the wall. Actually, it’s one of his toes according to the vet. The vet says the long-term solution is to amputate the toe but we prefer to use Metacam (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) for 3 or 4 days and put him on couch rest. This always works.

In fact, he hasn’t hurt his paw for at least a year now. Fingers crossed he’s learnt his lesson for another year or two!!

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I don’t know Dear Reader: where does the time go? I have been busy writing poetry and, this week, we had a pretty nasty earthquake. All good here but still, not pleasant.

Zeph has been busy around the property hunting rabbits. We seem to have a lot this year. But he was confused in the kitchen. He heard a sound and thought aha, pesky rabbit…but it was the coffee machine heating up. Too funny. Love this photo of him.

 

 

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It was Zeph’s sixth birthday on October 7. Where has the time gone?

This is his official birthday portrait photo. Still looks like a young man, don’t you think?

 

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