New dog kennels

One of my last photos of old Breeze with the piles for the kennels

One of my last photos of old Breeze with the piles for the kennels

Once we had finished building our house we had some extra timber left over that I had stacked in the back of the shed taken up room. Just before Xmas I had a young fellow Hayden Manson in for some training. He is currently working for a roofing contractor and has built a few dog kennels recently. He suggested that if I wanted to use the timber to build some dog kennels he would come up and give me a hand. So a plan was hatched, over his Xmas break he came up and stayed a couple of days.

in this photo you can see the stained wood is a lot darker than the non stained wood

in this photo you can see the stained wood is a lot darker than the non stained wood

While he was here we got the piles in and the floor started and that was all of the motivation that I needed to get stuck into the rest of the job. The whole job only cost three sheets of ply and six hinges for the dog houses. Another mate Corey Rose had a lot of spare coloured mesh to go around the run that he gave me for free. I am going to put concrete under the kennels so it is easier to hose out underneath. I did not put the concrete down first because I did not have a concrete mixer at the time. The concrete that we put around the piles was mixed by hand in the wheel barrow.

Hayden working on the kennels

Hayden working on the kennels

I stained all of the wood so that they match the house and even had a spare sheet of colour steel roofing left over from the house so this has gone on top of the run so that the dogs can have some shade on the hot days. While Hayden was up here we did manage to get out for a hunt where Fog once again put in a good find and bailed a 135 pound sow within thirty meters of a track 1.5 km’s away from us. We only had to ride the bike around and walk that thirty meters.

Ready for the mesh to go on

Ready for the mesh to go on

IMG_2359

All finished

All finished

Moving water

Filling up the water tank at the bottom of the hill

Filling up the water tank at the bottom of the hill

We have not had any significant rain for the past six months. With things being so dry thee creek that we get the water for the house has dried up. Down at the bottom of the hill there is still plenty of water so I take my ute down with a 1000 litre tank on the back. This takes about three hours to full using a garden hose. While it is filling I go and do some other jobs so I don’t have to wait around.

Draining the water down hill into our house tank

Draining the water down hill into our house tank

When it is full I can then drive it up above our water tank and drain it back down into the tank. For a start I had to siphon the water out though the top as the outlet on the bottom did not have any fittings. I managed to get a cap to go where the tap is at the bottom of the small tank. I drilled the middle of the cap out then put a hose fitting though that so the other side screwed back onto that fitting. I also used some silicon to stop any leaks. I am hoping that using the tap on the bottom of the tank will speed up the time it takes to empty. Through the top of the tank takes three hours.

The fitting that I made for the small tank

The fitting that I made for the small tank

134 pound boar

The boars final stand

The boars final stand

I went up to visit one of my neighbours, Robbie and while I was talking to him Fog went out for a look. This was the second time in a row that Fog has taken the initiative and just gone looking. Last time he caught a 104 pound boar alive. This time when I noticed that Fog was stationary at 600 meters away in another gully, I asked Robbie if he wanted to come for a walk to get the pig. First he had to get out of his shorts, singlet and jandals and put in some boots, longs and a shirt. By the time we got around to the gully where Fog was with the other dogs he had been on his own with the pig for about 25 minutes. I heard as each of the other dogs arrived and joined in on the bail. The back up was Lightning, Thunder and I had Jeff the possum dog along for a run. This boar only stayed another minute with all of the dogs before trying to out run them, which was never going to happen. Where the dogs first had him would have been a 600 meter carry down through the native to a track but after he broke the dogs stopped him in the creek right where I could get the motor bike to. Thunder did come off the boar just as I was going in to shoot.

Riding the bike right to where this boar was shot

Riding the bike right to where this boar was shot

He is still a bit cautious around the gun but that will change with time. Wee Jeff was doing a fine job. I got Robbie to hold the camera for me while I went in and shot the boar. Jeff and Fog came back from the boar when I called but Lightning did not want too back off to far. My shot was nicely placed behind the ear so he never knew what hit him. Robbie and I had a big walk back up to his hut 2km’s away in thirty plus degree heat.
That night my wife and I went up to Robbie’s for tea with another neighbour, Craig. We cooked up some of the back steaks and tender loins and they tasted delicious. I gave the rest of the pig to Craig to make into bacon and ham so I should get some of that meat when it is cured.

Breeze put down

Old Breeze taken it easy

Old Breeze taken it easy

I let the dogs out of their kennels the other night for a quick run around before I feed them and put them away for the night. They were not out of their kennels long when Jeff baked up down in the gully beside their kennels. I knew straight away from Jeff’s bark that he had a pig bailed and it was not long before back up arrived and there was a real humdinger of a bail going on.

This young boar was caught out in the wild on a face book competition weekend. We had to have a piece of fruit in the photo to prove that it was taken that weekend.

This young boar was caught out in the wild on a face book competition weekend. We had to have a piece of fruit in the photo to prove that it was taken that weekend.

Their was only about five minutes left of any sign of daylight so it was quite hard to see but as I was standing there watching the five dogs bailing my white boar who would have been over 140 pounds. All of the dogs were doing a good job so I was sitting back watching when the boar charged out at Breeze who was standing back barking a bit of encouragement. The boar grabbed her by the back leg and started throwing her around. All of the other dogs were quick to get in and do their best to get the boar to take his mind off Breeze for a second so that she could get out of there.

Breeze helping out with some training on Mr Pig

Breeze helping out with some training on Mr Pig

While Breeze whimpered a bit when the boar had a hold of her she took it well and did not show the boar that she was hurt as she bailed again as soon as she was lose but even in the fading light I could tell that things did not look good for her. Within seconds I had worked out that I needed to get her out of their fast so I called all of the dogs off. By this stage Fog and Lightning had him by an ear each in the bid to get the boar to let Breeze go. It took me two calls to get the dogs to come out because they were very worked up by this time.

Breeze with another pig in the wild

Breeze with another pig in the wild

Breeze was struggling to walk up to the kennels and by the time she made it up I had put all of the other dogs away. I took her around to the front of the house and turned on the outside light so that I could see how badly she was hurt. Her back leg had been snapped clean through about half way down. I was now put into that situation that no person likes to be put into and that was make the tough call on weather I get her fixed at the vets or I put her down. Breeze was born on the 14/8/2003 which makes her 11 years 5 months old.

In the training block when Lightning was young

In the training block when Lightning was young

I have known for some time now that she was getting old and slowing up that is why I had not hunted her for the last two years. She was only a second dog all of her hunting life and she was the one that I first tried out the electric collars on and was surprised at the results. I also filmed Breeze right from the day I picked her up as a wee pup. She was lazy on the find but loved standing back barking at pigs so she was one of my main training dogs. I knew I could rely on her to stick with a pig and keep it bailed.

The pear tree before preparing it for Breeze

The pear tree before preparing it for Breeze

In the time she had been hunting she had her stomach ripped out twice by pigs and survived she also snapped her front leg when she jumped over a water fall after a pig and she recovered from that.
I was feeling very sad when I walked into the house to retrieve my rifle. She is now resting under one of my pear trees just up the hill from her grandfather Leroy who is under a plumb tree and her son Cloud is under another tree around the corner from where she now rests.

Breezes pear tree, her final resting place

Breezes pear tree, her final resting place

I find that burying a dog beside a tree or planting a tree on top of your old mate is a far better way to remember that dog and they will still be giving to you for the life of that tree. The way that I buried Breeze under that tree needed to be done right. The tree itself is on the side of a hill so any rain runs off the hill so to ensure that the tree was going to have the best opportunity to grow and flourish. I dug all of the top soil away from the top side of the tree and placing that on the bottom side of the tree you make an area around the tree that is slightly lower at the back side so that this holds the water for the tree to help feed from. Also I have dug in two channels that can catch more water as it runs down the hill. Breeze is buried on the top side of the tree so that the tree roots will grow towards her.

 

A great resting place  RIP Breeze

A great resting place
RIP Breeze

I believe that every thing has a reason for happening, two days before this happened Ruby had ten pups to my dog Fog so the next new dog is all ready on the way.

138 pound boar

138 pound boar with the possum that Jeff caught

138 pound boar with the possum that Jeff caught

I only had time for a quick hunt as I had so many other jobs around home to do. For this hunt I was going to do things a little bit different form how I normally hunt, I was going to take Jeff the possum dog. My reason for this was because a couple of days earlier my son Bryce, one of my neighbours Craig and I went to the river for a swim. With us we had my three pig dogs, Jeff the possum dog, Bryce’s pig dog Dusky his young pup and Craig’s pet Spoodle poppy. As we were coming back from our swim the dogs bailed a heavily pregnant sow just above the road. Bryce being the youngest got volunteered to go twenty meters up the hill to the bail and break the pig down to us. This would have been a sixty pound sow if she was not so heavily pregnant her stomach was almost touching the ground. I was pleased with having so many dogs that we could let her go uninjured. Because the dogs were so gentle with her I decided to give Jeff a run with the pig dogs on their next hunt.
So here I was going for a hunt with three pig dogs and one possum dog. Jeff was the first to have a strike. He bailed a possum that was well hiding in a hole under some scrub and he could not get in it to kill it. While all three pig dogs were right there none of them showed any interest in what Jeff was barking at. Because Jeff could not get his possum I called him off and got him to sit on the back of the bike so that the pig dogs could have a chance to do some work with out him distracting them. At one spot I could tell that Lightning was sniffing something on the breeze, not that there was much wind. So I gave the dogs some time to go and work a pig out. At first Fog and Lightning only went out fifty meters before coming back so I sat and waited a bit longer. When the dogs could see that I was not about to carry on until they had a good look around they started tracking off. Both dogs tracked off to 800 meters and I could see on the tracking gear that they were within one hundred meters of each other as they started tracking towards each other I heard Lightning give a short bark as he broke down hill. At this point I had walked up a four wheel drive track about four hundred meters. I had Thunder and Jeff out at one hundred meters to my left until they heard Lightnings bark. This boar broke into the creek forty meters away where all of the dogs bailed him. When I had left home I forgot to bring my camera so I could not get any photos which was a real bugger because this boar give me some good opportunities for photos as he charged at the dogs. He was never going to get away from here and I only needed to put the gun to the back of his head and it was all over. On the carry back to the bike Jeff caught a possum that was right on the side of the track that we had just walked up. As I let the boar drop to the ground off my shoulders at the bike Jeff came over and dropped his possum at my feet so that I could pluck it. All of the dogs knew that when they got home I would give them a feed of that possum. The boar went 138 pounds.

Improving the living standards

The old caravan leaving the block for the last time

The old caravan leaving the block for the last time

When Janice and I first brought our block of land eight years ago there was an old caravan that the previous owners used for accommodation. I spent about eight nights in this caravan, Janice spent one night before I started looking for some more suitable accommodation. Not long after buying the block we had a digger up doing some work and I got him to put in a small level site with the intentions of putting some sort of hut their.

The hut was a big step up from the caravan

The hut was a big step up from the caravan

One week after the digger had left one of my work mates (Roscoe) had mentioned that his wife was selling one of their buildings that was part of their guest house as they were about to put in some motel units in its place. The building had been advertised in the local newspaper and there was a lot of interest. When I saw it I knew that it would be ideal for what I wanted. The main room was about six meters by three meters with a small bath room on the end. As soon as I got talking with Roscoe’s wife we got on so well and she said that Roscoe had said you would come and buy it. When I said to her my planes for the building and how I wanted to set up a dog training block she liked the idea of the building going to a good home and sold it to me for less than half of what she could have got for it from someone else.

Building the room on the back of the hut

Building the room on the back of the hut

It was a lucky break for me and I thank both Roscoe and his wife for giving me that break at the time, no more sleeping in the old caravan. The caravan quickly became the storage shed. While I loved staying in the hut I was always looking at improving things. When it rained the water could get driven in to the back door and make the carpet wet also there was nowhere to park the bike out of the weather and get inside without getting soaked. So I got keen and built a room on the back and a lean to out the front, this really improved the living standards.

One of the big snow falls at the hut

One of the big snow falls at the hut

I can recall one winter riding the bike down off the hill when it started snowing very heavily. It was a great felling to park under the lean to where I could stay dry and watch the snow fall, and fall it did. I spent five days in the hut with over a foot of snow outside, it was bliss knowing that no one would come in and annoy me. I have had one other winter where I spent five days in the hut with over two feet of snow outside.

Five days sitting out this snow fall was bliss

Five days sitting out this snow fall was bliss

Two years ago the house that we were renting was needed by the farm workers so we had to move out. At the time there was not much rental accommodation and my wife who had always said that she would never live in the hut relented and we moved in permanently. This was done so that we could save some money to build a proper house and Janice had said that she would only stay during the summer. I managed to convince her to stay twenty months before we got the house built but it did get close to a divorce along the way.

A big step up from both the caravan and the hut

A big step up from both the caravan and the hut

For the people that have built before they will know that things are not straight forward and it takes a long time to get things done. Dealing with the council took a long time then when we finally got that sorted the bank mucked use around. We spent over two months trying to get everything right for the bank that we had been with for the past twenty plus years. The bank would lend us more money than we needed to buy a house but they would not lend on a build. In the end out of frustration we went in to see Brendan May at the ASB and within two minutes he said that they would lend us the money that we needed. That moment was such a relief.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast on the deck

Bacon and eggs for breakfast on the deck

For the build I got a local builder Gary Allan to do the work. I was in my off season so I would be the labourer, this way I would get to see how to build a house and not just any house but my own house. Gary turned out to be a perfectionist builder and I would recommend him to any one. Janice and I had settled on a wildwood homes kit set house made with cedar log exterior. We also built a three bay farm shed beside the house. The power is solar the water is gravity feed from a stream and our septic tank requires no power. The house took nine weeks to build. Now we are working on the landscaping and the gardens.
So now that we are in the house we go right back to the start the old caravan. One of my work mates is into old vintage caravans so I said that he could have it if he wanted to tow it away. He has giving it a tidy up and put it on trade me and said that he will give me half of what he gets for it so this could be a little bonus for me. Any money that I get will be going straight back into the fencing that I have started working on.