The Boss's Dog

River notes.

By The General

Hanging roosters, stray wombats, wattles and sour grass. Life on the river is always throwing up something interesting, not least in the past week.

The Silver Wattles have been working themselves up to it for a few weeks and burst into bloom, some more boldly than others, depending on which way they face and how much sun they collect during the day.

Acacia dealbata, The Boss tells me, although I don’t need Latin names to tell me what smells good or not.

I like the way they put on a show in the middle of winter; it’s an early reminder that spring is just around the corner, The Boss says, and it felt like a spring day on Saturday anyway – plenty of warm sun and no wind to speak of.

That’s when I put up the wombat. A big, fat, grey-furred feller who just turned up on my patch of river, uninvited. I knew the smell well enough from my excursions into the hills with The Boss but I’ve never seen one around home.

I stood there barking instructions at it to leave immediately - and he decided to do just that after Queenie turned up and we gave chase. When The Boss heard all this commotion he called us off and gave me a stern talking-to. But hey, I’m just trying to keep some order around here.

The Boss had us heeling on the way back home and breakfast was at stake here - with obedience being the price - so we soon forgot about the wombat...until he came wandering up to the house, bold as brass, around mid-morning. When Queenie headed after him, he turned tail and bounced off at some speed, disappearing along the river bank. We haven’t seen him since.

The Boss has been scratching his head and wondering where it came from – maybe along the creeks from the Strathbogies…. or it might have just worked its way down the river. He said there’s quite a few along Hughes’ Creek but he hasn’t heard of many this side of Nagambie.

Anyway, they’re pretty good swimmers so The Boss says and I guess he could have come across the river as well as down it.

Later on Saturday, a bunch of campers turned up on the southern sandbar and put a boat in to go after river crays. I heard their boat tearing up and down laying the nets and they had the doof-doof music going late into the night but they headed off Sunday after lunch and left me in peace.

It was on our Monday morning walk we found the roosters. One down the river bank, two lying on the track and one hanging from a nail in a tree. Mind you, they weren’t in very good shape – two of them looked like they’d spent a night in the nets and the other two had their entrails dangling.

None of that would stop a self-respecting dog from close investigation, of course, so the Boss and the Missus were kept busy persuading us to part with our feathery finds so they could dispatch them to the river.

“The shrimp need a feed more than you do, General,” he muttered darkly. He reckons the cray fishers were probably fellers working at one of the chicken farms down towards Avenel, or somewhere like that with a ready supply of bait.

It looked like they just plucked the breast feathers off the roosters, slit their stomachs and threw them in the cray nets. And left them for us when they finished.

As The Boss surveyed the feathers strewn along the track and toilet paper behind the trees on either side, I suspect he was hoping the visitors went home empty-handed.

“Dirty buggers,” he said. Woof!