Summer Preserving

See how dry the lawn is. This photo was taken in February 2015.

See how dry the lawn is. This photo was taken in February 2015.

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Now as you all know, it is supposed to be summer here in the sunny Mangamahu valley.  Not that you would know judging from the wind, rain and cold temperatures that We have been experiencing lately. However, it looks like summer may have decided to join Us over the last few days.  Needless to say the last days of summer makes daddy’s thoughts turn to preserving summer produce.  This year, like last year they brought 20 kgs (44 lbs) of tomatoes for the princely sum of $20 for daddy to put into jars.  Would you like to see photos, of course you would.

And what were the three bestest maremmas in all the land doing.  Why having their pre-morning dinner nap.  Love Nellie, Jasper and Itai.

Me and a bone inside. You must be confused.

Me and a bone inside. You must be confused.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

R.I.P. Oddball the Maremma

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. We three were sad to learn of the passing over the Rainbow Bridge of Odball, a world famous maremma.

Oddball the pioneer passes away

12.20PM: Warrnambool’s former tourism services manager Peter Abbott has described how the story of Oddball tugged at heartstrings across the world.

He said there were a number of Qantas passengers on international flights to Australia who changed their travel plans to visit Warrnambool and the home of the pioneering Maremma.

“When I was there we had people changing their travel patterns because they had seen the movie on their flight,” Mr Abbott said.

He joked Oddball took the glory for the work the other Maremmas had kept up.

“We always laughed that Oddball took all the glory and our current dogs have been doing it for nine years and Oddball was only on the island for two weeks,” Mr Abbott said.

He said the international interest in Oddball’s story was astonishing.

“We had 43 different media visits in the year leading up to the movie,” Mr Abbott said.

He admitted Oddball was at times “cantankerous”, refusing to come out from under the house during media visits.

Mr Abbott said the movie had boosted the city’s tourism numbers, with visitor nights in the city up by 23 per cent in the past calendar year.

He said he believed the movie would continue to bring visitors to the city, with it being released in the US in February this year.

“I have always said it is going to have a long shelf life,” Mr Abbott said.

The Warrnambool City Council fielded inquiries from around the world from other cities hoping to introduce a similar protection program, Mr Abbott said.

The best news?

“We haven’t had a fox on the island since Oddball first went onto it,” Mr Abbott said.

He said the Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network was raising $20,000 to continue its penguin monitoring project.

He urged residents to support their fund-raiser by visiting the Middle Island – Maremma Penguin Project Facebook page.

Shane Jacobson pictured with Oddball and Swampy Marsh.

Shane Jacobson pictured with Oddball and Swampy Marsh.

NOON: Actor Shane Jacobson, who starred in the movie Oddball, has also expressed his sadness at hearing the news.

“The film Oddball was a great Australian story, but the applause truly belongs to that wonderful dog Oddball,” Mr Jacobson said.

“The animal kingdom has lost one of its gentle bodyguards. RIP Oddball.”

Mr Jacobson went on to purchase hsi own Maremma after filming Oddball.

11.45AM: Richard Keddie, the producer of Oddball, has expressed his sadness at the passing of the inspirational dog.

“It’s incredibly sad,” Mr Keddie said.

“She and Swampy are heroes. Oddball is such an inspiration for what’s possible.

“Oddball sort of changed the world a little bit.”

Mr Keddie said he supported the idea of a statue to be erected in Oddball’s honour.

He first heard of the story of Oddball when a mate read about the dog protecting penguins in Warrnambool on the back of a tram ticket.

“A friend of mine – Steve Kearney – had his kids on holiday about nine or 10 years ago. Tram tickets at the time had a little story on the back and on his was the story of Oddball,” Mr Keddie said.

He said the story was a case of when the truth is stranger than fiction.

“When I first went to the island it felt sort of too crazy to imagine,” Mr Keddie said.

“The fact that Swampy did that is kind of ridiculous.

“You couldn’t possibly make this story up and you couldn’t make Swampy up.”

Mr Keddie said he had not seen Oddball for a couple of years, but said he was a beautiful dog.

“He was a very calm, very happy dog,” he said.

Mr Keddie admitted it was a challenge working with all the animals involved in the film.

“I have worked with animals before but not foxes and chickens and penguins and dogs,” he laughed.

11.30AM: Warrnambool mayor Kylie Gaston believes a statue of Oddball opposite Middle Island would be a fitting tribute to the late canine.

“I’m aware there are quite a few people who think it would be a good idea to have some sort of sculpture, perhaps across from the island and perhaps this is the impetus for that,” Councillor Gaston said.

She said it would be great for visitors to be able to take a photo with a statue of the iconic dog.

“We are indebted to Oddball,” Cr Gaston said.

“I think we need to acknowledge her for the work he did in turning our penguin population around.

“Our thoughts are with Swampy Marsh as well. Oddball was his loyal dog for many years.”

The real-life Oddball, after taking a cooling dip in a muddy creek in Warrnambool some years ago.

The real-life Oddball, after taking a cooling dip in a muddy creek in Warrnambool some years ago.

The dog that helped put Warrnambool on the map has passed away.

Swampy Marsh, in his best dress overalls, at the launch of the Oddball movie. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Swampy Marsh, in his best dress overalls, at the launch of the Oddball movie. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Oddball the Maremma dog died last week at the respectable age of 15 years, or 105 years in human terms.

Shane Jacobsen as Allan 'Swampy' Marsh, in the film Oddball.

Shane Jacobsen as Allan ‘Swampy’ Marsh, in the film Oddball.

Oddball’s pioneering role as a guardian of the fairy penguins on Warrnambool’s Middle Island was portrayed in the movie “Oddball” that has been screened internationally.

Oddball’s owner Allan “Swampy” Marsh said the dog, who was female and not male as portrayed in the move, died on his Dennington farm where she had lived for the past three years.

The Maremma dog playing Oddball in the movie gets up close with a fairy penguin.

The Maremma dog playing Oddball in the movie gets up close with a fairy penguin.

He said she had a heart condition for the past three to four years that had slowed her down.

Oddball’s pioneering role in protecting the Middle Island penguins was a “cameo” role.

She only stayed on the island for three weeks before she got too lonely and swam back to shore to return home.

However her short stint was enough to prove to the doubters that Mr Marsh’s unorthodox idea that Maremma dogs would protect penguins was worth pursuing.

Older dogs and with a partner were later placed on the island to give them a more enjoyable time and discourage them from fleeing to the mainland in search of company.

Mr Marsh said Oddball was chosen for the ground-breaking role because she was an easy-going dog who mollified initial concerns the Maremmas might attack people.

But while she was easy-going with people, Mr Marsh said Oddball was a hard worker at night, scaring off foxes and other predators that had almost wiped out Middle Island’s penguin population.

He said after her crusading role, Oddball went to his poultry farm at Purnim where she guarded chickens for much of her life before returning to Dennington for her final years.

Mr Marsh said the Oddball movie had spread the dog’s name around the world and he had approached Warrnambool City Council with a proposal to change Middle Island’s name to Oddball Island to honour the dog’s role.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Travelling Time

Me and Itai

Me and Itai

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. Now as you all know, We have an aunty who likes to travel. This year she has gone all the way to Kurdistan region of Iraq to do some skiing. Me, Nellie and Itai do no know of this Kurdistan place, but mummy says it is far, far away and We would not like it there because there is lots of snow and it is cold. We three do not like the cold.   We like snoozing in front of the nice warm fire.  Would you like to see some photos, aunty took while she was in Skopje, Macedonia.   Of course, you would.

And for our feline friends.

Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Look What We have found!!

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. Towards the end of summer, mummy and daddy thoughts turn towards preparing for winter. The main concern is getting wood for the fire. This morning when they were returning from loading up the trailer with wood, they spied this box in the paddock.

A bee hive

A bee hive

img_7554

While they knew Neighbour Luke was going to bring some hives over they were not sure when it was going to happen.

Beehive + bees = img_7424This is some honey that Neighbour Luke had brought around last month.

Now given the absolutely terrible summer, lots of wind, rain and cold temperatures,  We have been having, mummy was very pleased to see this in her garden this afternoon.

An eggplant

An eggplant which require warm temperature and lots of sunshine to grow. None of which We have had, so hence her surprise.

Love from the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

img_7559img_7557img_7555

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 12 Comments

My Daily Bone

Our lillies are just coming into bloom.

Our lilies are just coming into bloom.

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Daddy’s cousin and her husband came for lunch on Saturday.  In an attempt to stop Us constantly barking We all got a big bone each!!!!!  Would you like to see photos of Us with our bones, of course you would.  Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 10 Comments

A Garden Ramble

Me, the handsome maremma in the grass

Me, the handsome maremma in the grass

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Now last Monday (a public holiday), even before our guests had left, Mummy tootled off in her little white car and left Us Three.  She was going on a garden ramble in town.  She likes to look at other people gardens and gets ideas as to what she can do in her garden which means lots of work for daddy

One thing she was surprised to see, was the number of people who had a few chickens  in their gardens while living in town. Would you like to see pictures she took?  Of course, you do.  Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Our Weekend

img_7480Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Well, our guests have come and gone.  We were soooooooooooo good.  We didn’t bark much at our guests and We were on our best behaviour.  In return We got the love and attention that We so richly deserve. Not to mention lots of tasty treats.  Mummy and daddy were very busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

While our guests were here, mummy saw another rabbit out eating apples underneath an apple tree. img_7473img_7470

 

 

 

And what were We doing while this rabbit was outside?

img_7476img_7478Why We were having our mid-afternoon nap.   Followed by our pre-dinner snooze.

 

img_7443img_7442Mummy brought a 4kg pork roast for dinner one night and was given a BIG box of bones and meat scraps by the butcher, which daddy gave some to the three bestest maremmas in all the land.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 15 Comments

Maremmas in the News

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Mummy found this article on a place called the “internet” and thought she would share it with you all. Love the three bestest maremmas in all the land, who are happy that our guests have started to arrive.

HOTEL’S SHEEPDOGS SURVIVE DEADLY AVALANCHE

Two victims that were caught up in the Italian avalanche that had a happy ending were the Hotel Rigopiano’s dogs, who have been reunited with their puppies.

italian-maremmasLupo and Nuvola (Wolf and Cloud), a pair of shaggy white Abruzzo sheepdogs who were born and raised in the ill-fated hotel, were initially feared to have perished in Wednesday’s tragedy.

But they were found on Thursday ambling along a road in Villa Cupoli, a hamlet more than two miles away, according to resident Martina Rossi, who worked at the hotel but was not there when the avalanche struck.

Earlier today, the hotel’s dogs Wolf and Cloud were found alive after previously going missing after the avalanche. This picture of the dogs was posted on Facebook overnight.

Earlier today, the hotel’s dogs Wolf and Cloud were found alive after previously going missing after the avalanche. This picture of the dogs was posted on Facebook overnight. She told the AFP news agency: ‘I saw them in the street about 9.30 pm on Thursday night, and my heart started beating very fast. ‘I called their names and they recognised me, I was so happy. I have no idea how they got there.’

With the hotel owner among the people missing under the ruins, the dogs have been taken in by another local resident who had just adopted a litter of puppies Nuvola had recently given birth to.

Also known as the Maremmano, the Abruzzo sheepdog breed is known for its photogenic appearance with the puppies resembling furry Polar bear cubs. Their white coats are the result of selective breeding in their native regions of Abruzzo and the Tuscan Maremma. The colour enabled them to blend in with sheep flocks they were assigned to protect from wolves.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 5 Comments

The Big Blow

Honey from Farmer Van

Honey from Farmer Van

Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas.  Now as you all know it is supposed to be summer here in sunny New Zealand, therefore, hot, sunny and warm.  But for some reason this summer seems to have other ideas.  Today a weather bomb passed over the country with 154 km (95 miles) winds blowing through Wellington.  Accompanied by torrential rain. It certainly was windy here and this morning when mummy went out to feed those pesky chicken she saw a big branch blown off a tree in the paddock.

Daddy looking at the branch.

Daddy looking at the branch.

img_7432img_7433So sometime this week, daddy with the assistance from Farmer Rae will be cutting down the branch.  Yeah more free fire wood.

Off We go.  We have heard mention of visitors coming this weekend. As loyal readers know Me and Nellie love having guests to stay.  More people to give Us the love and attention that We so richly deserve.   Not to mention more tasty treats coming our way.  Itai has yet to experience guests so he will be in for a pleasurable learning curve.

P1030330

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Woofless Wednesday

img_7428img_7426IMG_4810IMG_4792IMG_4787007IMG_4645IMG_4642IMG_4634

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments