posts tagged with 'dogs'

these dogs let THEMSELVES out

Our first dog, Rascal, was nervous of doorways and small passthroughs. He was reluctant even to push through a partway closed bedroom door, and would never dream of trying to squeeze through a gap in the fence. That's not the case with Scout and Blue. Their first day at our house they kept slipping under the gate from the yard, so the second day I had to do some construction work to make it puppy-proof. It was a whole new level of responsibility! And while that fix worked, their drive for pushing or squirming their way through to places where we don't want them hasn't dimmed at all. In the last few days they found a hole in the fence somewhere, so that when we let them out into the yard we were actually letting them out into the whole wide world. I tell you, it was a little surprising when they just strolled in the front door while we were reading our bedtime story a couple evenings ago. I had no idea they were even outside! (and yes, they managed to open the front door themselves; that shows how secure our house is). I found the hole yesterday and fixed it, but not well enough. Knowing the potential, they pushed it open again and we had to call them in from the neighbor's driveway. It's not like they're going to run away—they've got a pretty sweet deal here—but it's a little embarrassing to have them wandering all over the neighborhood. This evening I fixed the hole again, and better this time. But I have no doubt they'll find another one before too long. Just another thing keeping life interesting!

not going quietly into the good night

Leah usually goes to bed earlier than I do; I tend to take some time in the evening to finish up work (and, you know, write blog posts and things). The dogs go up to bed with her, but while she's settled in for the night they most emphatically are not. Every time I move around—especially if I go into the kitchen!—they come racing down the stairs to see what I'm up to. When it's nothing, they decide they have to go outside. And they don't just walk calmly out the door when I open it for them: every time, they whine and yip and dash out like there's who knows what they might catch if they don't waste a single instant. Of course usually there isn't anything interesting out there, so they come right back in, only to repeat the process as soon as 15 or 20 minutes later. If I don't let them out the next time—because, you know, they've just been out—they sit by the door in such a state of high excitement that I can't concentrate on what I'm doing. And of course, when I do open the door for them, it's another mad yipping rush into the yard. I wonder if they realize how they're repeating themselves?

walking (and walking and walking) in a winter wonderland

Yesterday afternoon I took the dogs out for a walk in my favorite woods. It was maybe a little ambitious, given that it had snowed 18 inches the day before, but I figured—to the extent that I thought about it at all—somebody probably would have broken a trail in the more than 24 hours since the snow had stopped. That was not the case. Climbing over the pile left by the plow to get into the woods I sank up to my waist, which set the tone for the next hour.

It was strange snow we got in this storm. It has some fluff to it—it must have to accumulate so high just overnight!—but it's also super wet. The shoveling was easy where the snow was undisturbed, but where it had been stepped on or even brushed off somewhere else and fallen in a pile it was practically solid. And walking on it on the trail was kind of like I imagine it would feel to wade through not-quite-set concrete.

As I made my slow and laborious way, it occurred to me that one feature I like about the woods by the airport is the length of the loops. So the shortest one we could take would still be longer than I would have really liked. But of course I would never dream of turning back. It's loop or nothing! So on we trudged (or I trudged; the dogs bounded). At least it was very pretty!

the dogs ahead of me in the snowy woods

beautiful and exhausting

(That's from one brief section of trail broken by a skier... the only place I had the energy to take out my phone for a picture.)

In trying to stick to the shortest way around I ventured onto a trail that I don't often take, and after a little ways found that it had disappeared. With the snow bending all the trees over everything looked so different! There was no going back, though, so since I knew the direction of the main trail we just pushed ahead between the trees. I could play up the drama, but really the woods aren't that big and I knew I'd come to a landmark I recognized before long; sure enough, after only five minutes or so of bushwhacking we were back on a recognizable trail—unbroken trail, of course, but at least I knew exactly where I was.

Only where I was was a section of the trail that's been ruined by 4-wheelers and is nothing but a series of muddy holes that in the spring resembles nothing so much as a World War I battlefield. It was warm enough that I had a moment of concern for the ice over all those holes (some of which held up to 18 inches of water less than a month ago...), but I was so tired I couldn't do anything but push ahead on the shortest path. The dogs shared my concern, or maybe they were just tired of breaking trail, because they waited for me to go first.

I did fall in once or twice, but it hardly mattered since I was so wet already from the snow and from sweat. And at the end of the treacherous holes I came across a section of trail that had been broken by someone on snowshoes, and soon after that passed two actual other humans. Civilization was near! In another few minutes we were back at the car, where we all collapsed. I had to catch my breath for a bit before I felt safe to drive.

It was exercise the likes of which I hadn't got for a long time, and today my body didn't let me forget it: my calves especially are absolutely killing me. Of course it didn't help that I went back to the same woods this afternoon with the boys to explore some new sledding hills... but that's a story for another day.

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this morning

Some days I wake up ready to jump out of bed and face the day with vim and vigor, and then other days are like this morning. Elijah came into our bed sometime in the early morning hours, and then Zion joined him at first light. Cuddling with them was lovely but not conducive to jumping up—especially with the outside temperature below 10° and the inside temperature well below 60. Then the dogs came home from their walk and showed us that they were up and ready by bounding into the bed. The licks on my face I suppose were alright, but I really didn't appreciate the icy cold paws lacerating my chin and neck. I got up after that, but my energy and goodwill for the day was already running low!

on the ice

As much as I'm loving the light lately, we do love winter—and it's been a little disappointing lately in the snow and ice department. There's still no snow around now, but it's been cold enough overnight the last few days that the ice is finally solid, on ponds at least. This morning we got to enjoy it on the Old Reservoir.

Harvey and Lijah sliding on the ice

Harvey is demonstrating the "starfish slide"

The dogs have been braver than any of us over the last couple weeks so they've had plenty of ice time already, but today it was firm enough that they felt completely confident and chased each other around without a care. I wish I had a video of the the flailing legs every time they tried to change direction or accelerate suddenly. But with four legs to flail, they never fell down! Unlike the children who fell down constantly. Of course, they loved it!

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distractions

This evening I was trying to work on a different blog post, a post about what is happening in our lives this week, but I've been too distracted by the news of this afternoon's attempted coup-slash-insurrection in the capital. At supper Leah told the boys they were living through times much more interesting than what we experienced as kids. "Is that good or bad?" Harvey wanted to know. Some of each, I guess?

Then a little bit ago I let the dogs out, and after a few minutes Scout asked to be let back in. I can almost open the door from my seat here, so I didn't really pay attention to him. But then when Blue didn't follow right away I turned to Scout to ask him where his brother was—at which point I saw that his face was covered in blood. Yikes! I ran right outside and found that nobody was hurt, it's just that the dogs had killed a rabbit and Blue was eating it. Judging by the considerable amount of blood on Scout—enough that I had to get a wet cloth to clean him off—I'm sure he must have made the kill, and then have mean Blue take it from him. I gave him a rawhide chew to make up for it, but it's not the same. So yes, interesting times.

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lying down with dogs

I kind of thought that with Leah gone I'd have a little more room in the bed at night. But somehow that hasn't been the case at all—in fact, I think last night I had even less! And it's not the kids' fault: they all stayed in their own beds, as they almost always do nowadays, until Lijah came in a little before first light. No, the problem is the dogs. I think they have spots that they like in the bed, so even without Leah there they're still trying to claim space right in the middle. And even worse, I think they appreciate pressing up against somebody as they sleep, so while they started in the middle by morning I was clinging to a thin sliver of bed, unable to move or roll over lest I tumble off. It wasn't the most restful night.

Add to that the problem of sticking with my usual bedtime—or missing it, rather, because of needing time to be quiet after a long day with the boys—and waking up on Leah and the dogs' schedule. That's at four AM if you're keeping score at home. At least they don't make me walk them at that hour (Leah does, usually). I just let them out for a bit, and then they calm down until six or so and I try to go back to sleep. Unless of course Lijah joins me in the bed... It's a miracle I'm conscious at all!

I'm not dead

When I stop writing in the blog it's sometimes hard to get going again. Here's what happened. With the election outcome in doubt, I couldn't focus on anything, and certainly not writing. Any time I sat down at the computer I was drawn inexorably toward checking the news, and then reading to the same contentless words over and over again. You know, there wasn't actually that much happening between when I voted on Tuesday and we heard the results the following Saturday... but people were happy to pretend there might be, and I was primed to listen to them!

Then almost immediately after we got the happy news about Biden's victory, we had a personal farm tragedy: the dogs got out in the yard unsupervised with the chickens and attacked them. They killed one right away, and wounded another very seriously. She lingered for almost two days in our little chicken hospital box, but there was nothing we could really do for her besides making her as comfortable as possible, and she died Monday afternoon. Goodbye, Brownie and Ramona: we all miss you. There were many tears shed. Then after that the rest of the week was pretty normal, but the psychological fatigue and inertia kept me from getting back into writing. What would I say?

So that's what happened. I plan on going back and adding photos for the past two Sundays I missed, and as Thanksgiving gets closer I'm sure there will be more things I want to write about. So I guess you haven't heard the last of me yet.

olfactory joys of dog ownership

Leah called me this morning on the way home from walking the dogs to ask me to be ready to help them get right into the bath when she got home. They had rolled in something, and they smelled terrible. I agreed of course, but thought at the same that it probably wasn't that bad... she's complained of them being bad-smelling before and I had hardly noticed anything. But when I first got a whiff, on the front porch, I had to acknowledge that she hadn't been exaggerating. The smell was strong enough that it infected the downstairs even in the brief time each dog passed through on the way upstairs to the bathroom, where Leah washed them with puppy shampoo and doused them in baby powder. It helped some. Leah describes their aroma now as "decaying baby"—a striking metaphor for a striking odor. She was wondering if she should bathe them again before we went to sleep. Don't bother, I said, we're already getting used to it.

this is not a problem I expected to have

So the dogs aren't yet doing the best job of guarding the farm here. They bother the chickens enough that we don't let them out together, and they aren't particularly observant about rabbits or squirrels in the garden (though the certainly notice them when they're out on walks!). That's fine; they're young yet. But over the last few days I've noticed something even more troubling. Far from protecting the garden, the dogs are now joining the wild animals in its despoliation! Specifically, they've started eating tomatoes off of the plants.

So far they've mostly take roma tomatoes, and maybe one or two cherries, so it's not the end of the world. We have lots of both. But it's the principle of the thing! And if they start in on the slicing tomatoes—the first two of which have only just about ripened—I don't know if I'll be able to endure it. This has indeed been a tough year with the animals in the garden...