Monday, 31 March 2008

Toadbusters man wins........or at least it seems so

Elections in Darwin have come and gone last Saturday March 29, and it seems as if the Toadbusters man, Graeme Sawyer, might be the new Lord Mayor of Darwin.

A bit too soon to be sure, due to the complexities of sorting out the numbers in the preferential voting system used in Australia, but with about 38% of the primary vote counted, in a large field of candidates, I would guess he has a very good chance.

It is a bit unfair to just categorise him as only involved as a "toadbuster" as he has excellent credentials in IT and business, the areas in which he is nominally gainfully employed. But the toadbuster program has been a very well organised and successfully operated program to reduce, slow or even eliminate the dreaded, ugly and pernicious cane toad from the Darwin area. It has even extended to try and slow or prevent the spread into the NW of Western Australia. Cane toads damage a lot of native wildlife, both large and small, even crocodiles! They have a poisonous gland that has a poison that can kill animals that ingest them, and they also eat / kill other wildlife.

But it has to be a new start for the City Council, as the previous Lord Mayor is now doing time in jail for misappropriating council funds.

As for the local ward around our area, it is very unclear yet. Three to be elected out of nine candidates, and still too close to even guess who they might be.

Some wags might even say..........who cares?

Update............from 7 May 2008

It is official.........Graeme Sawyer is the new Lord Mayor of Darwin

Friday, 28 March 2008

Bringing the Rain

It must have come with us..............a brief trip to Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills over Easter, and yes............IT RAINED!

Some fair rain in the Adelaide Hills over the past few days, and some more coming, might ease the woes that come from a super dry summer in the region.

Farming and livestock properties are short of water and feed, partially due to the drought in 2007, and a rapid drying in spring, leaving feed resources and hay production very short.

BUT.......some are predicting a great year for the regions wines.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Cane Toad Kill

They are big, they are ugly and they are here ..........................NOW.
A nightly, or at worst every second night ritual is a walk with the dog. She enjoys it and so do I. And as a dog "under training" it provides a great opportunity to reinforce that positive behaviour you need in a large dog, to ensure it is well behaved..
The perambulation is usually along the cycle trail close to Rapid Creek. It is well lighted, and very peaceful, especially late evening, around 2200hrs, when most sensible people are in bed or at home.
They - the dreaded cane toad - have been seen close by, and I found one about a year back plus one more recently in the middle of the intersection near home. BUT this one was LARGE ----sitting quietly near the lamppost watching for insects to nab as dinner.
A quick kick onto the path and it got stomped......but they are hellishly hard to kill, so it toook some time and several hits. My inhibitions were satisfied. A dead cane toad ..........the best type.
With a lot of rain last month [over 900mm] and two dry days in the past 45 days, I guess cane toads will be on the move. For more details visit about the program to reduce their presence in Darwin.
I hope this is just another forward guard and that more are not coming, but but but.......I think they are now HERE.
Looks as if the nightly walk will require having a plastic bag to collect the ugly toads. Disposal in the freezer, then composting is the usual option, but leaving such a large brute is not a good option either.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Elections........and more elections..........

Local government elections are on in the NT in two weeks. Ho hum ho hum.......

Darwin's Lord Mayor is currently doing time in jail for misappropraiting council property, after using council funds to purchase a heap of stupid stuff - a fridge, a Darth Vader mask and womens knickers....[ why you might ask??] so he is a non starter for mayor.

The more notable of the candidates for mayor runs our local "Toadbusters" - a group that attempts to keep cane toads out of Darwin. That could well be another blog topic I guess. And there are several others. Even less notable, including a few from previous dismal failures at similar elections.

As for alderman - Well I am not even sure who our ward has.

BUT............still two weeks to go. Maybe there will be flurry of action after Easter.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Dogs that Escape

I have an expert escapologist dog.

A large, strong, nearly 3 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback bitch that is a very friendly animal, even maybe too friendly. She has been through obedience school and is generally very obedient. Her friendliness v guard dog qualities have been tested on a few occasions with animal intruders into the yard and she did her thing well. And she is very protective to the family. You say….a good dog!

But she is an expert at getting out of the largish fenced backyard. She has endured a few incidents including a large tree branch from a storm damaged fallen tree which I accidently chain sawed and dropped on her kennel in the clean up [while she was in it of course], and has developed a sensitisation to a few other odd sounds. Firecrackers, thunder and lightning are definitely not her friends, although loud truck and aircraft noise are irrelevant to her. When the former two strike, and we have regular fantastic thunderstorms in the wet season, she wants to bolt, to somewhere safe. And the local celebrations of Chinese New Year with the Lion Dance and firecrackers last weekend [delayed because of the rain] one block away sent her off again.

Destroying the fence, gates and associated infrastructure in her way are just fair game while getting out. Then she [so far] blithely returns a few hours later. Even had the RSPCA call the mobile - while in Kuala Lumpur - to inform me she had been "turned in", and that incident alone is another blog story.

There are plenty of options to treat the issue, but rarely are they totally successful.

Better fences are coming soon. Any suggested other options?