Wednesday, September 23, 2009

puppies then and now

august 20, 2009

september 18, 2009

since the first week in august, they've eaten almost 100 ponds of puppy chow, and 7 1/2 gallons of goats milk, countless grass hoppers, jalapenos, sweet bell peppers, strawberries and raspberries, tomaotes, pounds of 16 % lay pellets, and what ever else takes their interest. my favorite pair of prescription glasses, various gloves, doormats, the odd sandal, all in the name of research: is it food?

so far, it looks like their life here agrees with them.

they sit, come when called, get back when told, lie down and let the chickens run past them, but not always. sometimes they bounce up and scare the birds at inopportune times. but, for not quite 4 months, these are very well behaved puppies.


after waiting 25 days, then waiting 3 more days, after checking on the web i don't know how many times, and making myself keep my hands out of the nest, the hen brought her babies out yesterday. two little fluffies. tan with black speckles...... see photo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

work day 9/13/9

yesterday was the second work day with jerry. to start things off, i was making lavender infused honey before he arrived, went out to check on something, got distracted, he arrived, and we took a look at the days projects. i hadn't had breakfast, so we went inside, to discover i had managed to boil the honey. it smelled great, and nothing was burned, but there was a lake of almost 2 quarts of honey beneath the pot. that took a while to clean up. then i had breakfast, then we went to work.

basically my new helper worked me into the ground..... not something that happens often. i guess i can develop a new skill, letting someone work without me, while i do other things, or take a break. we got a lot done, and i am down loading pictures from the camera, in hopes i can post one or two.

last time worked, we had built a bed with south sloping soil for warmer soil in early spring and late fall. then, in delivering rock for an adjacent project, i backed the tractor into the retaining wall, and the whole thing came apart... the wall is made of logs. after the tractor bumped it, it looked like pick up sticks. now it looks good again, and is planted with peas, lettuce, spinach, arugula and parsley. tomorrow i think i will plant a few fava beans too.

the other project we started is laying out the future vegetable garden. i usually grow things all tucked in together, primroses and strawberries in with peppers, roses, lilies, salad burnet, peonies, parsley and kale, and like that fine, but the last two years it has been difficult to do the tomatoes, with their particular water needs. i've had a problem with squash bugs on the winter swuash too. I've decided that though i will continue the all tucked together style everywhere else, that i should have an organized seasonal vegetable production area, where things don't get all tangled up. the location is north of the garage, next to the orchard and grapes. i stacked leaves there a year ago. yesterday, we brought water to the area, and dug the supply ditch, and several row ditches, and let the water soak in.

it doesn't sound like much, but it is a lot.

tomorrow i will seed it with fava beans and alfalfa, and white clover and flax. i'm thinking letting them grow in with the vegetables doesn't count as all tucked together...that's just soil cover and weed preventer .....

right this minute i'm having technical difficulties with the camera, so i will post the photos later.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mopsie Meets Skunk

Last night, I worked what might have been my last 3pm to 3 am admissions shift. I went to bed at 4 am. While it was still dark, I woke from a deep sleep to the sound of deep puppy barks. What a voice these dogs have! The barking lasted awhile, and awhile longer, and then, through the window, the very strong scent of skunk.

"Hmmmm", and "Oh dear!"

I looked down from my bedroom window, and could see that my pup was definitely interacting with something, someone, black and white and trapped in a corner which had no escape route. (Hi editor, see how I dodged the preposition at the end of the sentence on that one?).

6 am.

I went and called the dogs to me, and we just enjoyed one another for awhile. The skunk scent was so strong, I could not tell if either of the dogs had been hit. In fact the smell was so strong, it smelled like something other than skunk. I wondered how close the epicenter was. I put my face down and smelled first Rags: just pure essence of puppy. Mopsie was a different story. She smelled like the not skunk smell, the skunk-so-strong-it isn't-skunk smell. Oh dear.

The advantage of having an outside dog is, I went back to bed. I'd distracted the dogs long enough for our visitor to escape. If she becomes a regular visitor, I will break out the trap.

The windows are open to the living room downstairs, and the inside smelled strongly. I turned on the swamp cooler to create positive pressure. The air would be entering the house from the roof on the opposite side from the skunk attack, that was as much as I could do at the time.

At 8 am the phone rang, the tractor rental man was calling to make sure I was done with the tractor. Most of the smell had cleared by then. Lingering traces were still in the living room, but the outdoors was clear.

When Chris arrived at 9 am, I asked him if he could smell skunk, and he said no, except that he had noticed when he greeted the dogs, that one of them was faintly scented.

I really don't know how we could have been so lucky. Maybe the skunk was merciful because it was Mopsie's first offense.

I'm just very thankful.

Things could have been very different, to say the least. You have to put your face right in Mopsie's fur to get even a trace of skunk. No other evidence remains of our visitor.

Just very very thankful.

Monday, September 7, 2009

puppy tales

One night about 10 o'clock, I went out to check the water, maybe to plug the cistern so it would not overfill, maybe to shut the headgate to the orchard. My path took me across the patio and over the fence and to the supply canal. I did what ever I needed to do, and on my return, Rags greeted me with her gutteral rrrrrrr, and wags, and I sat down to rub her puppy body, and generally be together for a moment. I did not notice Mopsie approaching, until a big paw gave me an exuberant swipe from forehead to chin. She forgot herself! That is a big no-no, and we had to get that straight. Then she remembered her manners, and the three of us sat together for some time, loving each other. When I came inside, I put my hand to my face and discovered, ?no glasses!?

Of course I went right out to look for them, but no luck. Even after I turned on every possible light I could not find them. They were my teal green wire rimmed ones with as small a lens as my prescription will allow. They are quite out of style, and I will not be able to replace them. I've had them at least 6 years, and they have had at least two sets of lenses.

For two days, I searched when ever I was in the area, and yesterday I found my crumpled and puppy chewed remains.

Those puppies.

Yesterday, I decided to eat a few grapes on my way down to check on the chickens, and turkeys. I was thinking I would take them to the birds, then ate them myself, and decided I should at least juice them, and can the juice. What was left after juicing, THAT I would give to the birds

I got a bucket and went out to the vines. Rags kept poking her big head into the bucket, and I had to tell her several times before she quit. After Rags was done, there was Mopsie with her big head in the bucket. Finally I convinced her that was not acceptable behavior, and I was able to pick in peace.

I heard some juicy smacking and slurping nearby, and looked over to see the pair of them eating the bunches of grapes right form the vines.

Those pups!

It reminded me that the year Flash and Binker were pups, I had quite a lot of red Russian kale planted in the back yard, and I would pick a bouquet of it, and holding the stems in my hand, would eat the whole bunch as I wandered around in the garden. Flash and Binker would eat the kale too, plucking it from the plant and chewing it up. They also developed a game of pulling cheeseweed plants right out of the ground, which I thought was pretty good.

Flash still eats kale from the plants, 9 crabby years later.

It is too late to keep the strawberries a secret from Rags, but maybe I should not let her see me picking raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and all my other favorites.