Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Q: When is your dog not your dog?

A: When you've bought a microchip instead.


I'm afraid that our modern life has led me to begin sounding like a bad first-year philosophy tutorial, but: we recently had to fill out a change of ownership form for our dog. Our dog that we have owned since he was legally saleable. He came fully microchipped, you see, and we were given all the papers, food, certificates etc etc etc ad nauseum that one could want to collect with a 9 week old puppy.

Fast forward a year, and...we decided to register him with the National Pet Register, just to ensure that if he did wander, he would have every chance of getting delivered back to us. That was when we made The Discovery: our doggie's microchip number is different to the one on his paperwork. The vet confirmed which chip number was right, by scanning the pooch. Then came the rigmarole of calling the National Pet Register to correct the problem.

Which can only be corrected by filling out a change of ownership form.

Am I the only one who thinks this is seriously out of kilter? I bought a dog, not a microchip. I was against the chip anyway - unnatural, controlling, etc etc - but went along with it because of various regulations and flat out 'no, you may not buy this puppy without a microchip' -type statements. And now I find that I really did buy a microchip, and that the outer casing of furry dogginess and slobbery, enthusiastic goodness doesn't actually rate a mention in this whole debate.


What a strange world.

Lucky it's got things like dogs in it.

Monday, 7 April 2008


Leo single-handedly harvested our dried beans we'd saved for seed the other evening. With intent concentration in every line of his little body (oh those capable little baby boy fingers!), he tried out different ways of opening the pods, plucking beans and dropping them into his bowl. Then we had belly laughs when we blew away the chaff.

From. Our. Own. Patch.

We are so excited!

We have harvested the very first potatoes that we grew our very own selves!!

They are a variety called pink fir apples, and are best when boiled or steamed. Yummy, knobbly, slightly pink, and best of all: the kids ate loads and asked for more!

We are grateful to have a harvest at all. At first, it seemed that our spuds were not going to work out. We tried growing them in tyres, starting out with one soil-filled tyre, and adding more tyres full of soil/mulch as the plants grew, as suggested in various permaculture/organic gardening books we know and love...but they didn't work so well. The potato plants died off before they could flower, and seemed to rot, stem and all. I did some web research to see if we were having our very own Irish Potato Famine, but no, something went inexplicably wrong with our spuds.

So, we decided to just dismantle the tyre towers and grub through to see whether there was anything in there. And lo! We found some spuds! There wasn't the bumper crop that the tyre-growing potato contingent had spruiked, but there was a modest bucketful. Enough to get us and the kids excited, anyway.

Tangling, with yarn.

Why does wool do that?!

Wind it into a lovely, big, hand-dyed, unbroken hank, tie it in three places, leave it alone in a bag for 2 years...

...and spend 3 evenings, with several hours on a weekend included, untangling and weighing this:

I suspect that the wool has been talking to the electrical cables that tangle themselves behind the computer when we're not looking.