Category Archives: Dogs

New Year’s Outing

A trip to the beach? There’s no better way to start the New Year.

Emma and Ruby were happy to get out of the house.

“Yahooooooo! It’s so much fun,  so much to see.”

Ladies and Gentlemen  we have “Liftoff” (with all four feet).

Emma thinks she’s Superdog. She’ll just swim out to the ducks and bring them home to “Dad.”

But she has forgotten that ducks can not only swim, but also fly. The ducks on the other hand, seem to know that dogs can’t fly.

“Any second I’ll have them, ” Emma bleats.

And any second, the ducks will take wing, after which, Emma does the sensible thing and turns back to shore.

Refreshed and well exercised, she comes ashore, looking for someone to shake by.

Not one to give up easily, she’s already scouting around for more targets.

No ducks were harmed in the making of this blog post. Fa-a-a-a-ar from it!

 

The Dreaded Post-Christmas Pounds

People are not the only ones who put on a pound or two over the holidays. It happens to our pets, too.
This morning the Captain took Emma, our field cocker spaniel, to a nearby farm to hunt for ducks. This photo is from yesterday, when we were just out for a walk. Ducks were everywhere.
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Ruby, the springer spaniel, was upset that she didn’t get to go. Nearly 12 years old, she’s almost completely deaf now, but she still knew she was being left behind. She felt better after I gave her a little treat and pulled  her doggie bed right beside me by the laptop.
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Last night when the Captain was getting things ready for this morning’s outing, he hauled out the little neoprene vest I made for Emma a couple of years ago.
“You’d better try it on her,” I said. “She’s put on a couple of pounds.” (After all, it’s just after Christmas).
Sure enough, it was VERY snug.
“You can’t have her wear that. She won’t be able to breathe.”
I looked high and low and luckily found a piece of left over neoprene  (from the old wet suit that I had used to make the vest).
I cut a 1 1/2 inch strip the length of Emma’s suit. It didn’t take long to cut the suit and sew in the strip. With a zigzag stitch and the piece butted up to the edges it was easy to insert a strip. No need to overlap neoprene to make a seam. Just laying the edges snugly side by side and zigzagging them together works fine.
You can see the post I did about the original vest a couple of years
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Here she is in the original vest.
I was going to take a picture of Emma in her expanded vest to put at the end of this post, but I was shocked to learn that she came home without it.
It’s lost! Somewhere out there in the brambles it got hooked up, the velcro parted, and there the vest stayed.
In the next day or so we’ll have to launch a search party for it.

The Monster Sink

After 27 years, the taps and faucet in our bathroom sink needed to be replaced. Not only was the calcium residue winning the battle I waged with it all those years, but the material in the collar around the base of the taps was breaking down. It was time for a change.

The Captain bought a new faucet and taps and set to work. Ruby was very interested in what was happening to the sink, but Emma, at the bottom of the photo, was not at all sure where that gray monster as big as herself, had come from or what it was doing there. She kept well away from it.  Who knew what it could do, especially with those metal feelers reaching out towards her?

She tried barking at it, but it stayed there, apparently unmoved, so Emma stayed in the corner near the door so she could beat a quick retreat if necessary.

Eventually, and not without a lot of extra problems, the Captain finished the job. The O-ring that came with the new set was the wrong size. Then the plastic of the drain pipe under the sink broke and had to be replaced with a new piece. That new piece had threading that was a different size from the old one (we thought it might be the change from the standard measurements to metric, but no, the supplier told the Captain it was just that different brands have different specs). Can you imagine trying to plumb a house with those inconsistencies?

At last, the new faucet set was installed and everyone was relieved that the job was done, especially Emma.


I made a short video clip of Emma’s interaction with the monster sink. The Captain growled, mean of him, and Emma looked for safety.

 

The Wild Winds Weep

The wild winds weep

And the night is a-cold

Come hither, Sleep,

And my griefs unfold.

I wish I could claim this poem as my own creation, but I can’t. It is from a poem called “Mad Song,” by William Blake.

I was quite taken by this poem when I wrote my first novel of a coastal drama in which the wild weather played a significant role. That is why I used “The Wind Weeps” as my title.

I’m not trying to persuade you to click on the book cover image at the side for the free download of that book, but if you do, remember book two, “Reckoning Tide.”

It’s just that today the weather is so wild. The wind is crying out there,  whipping up the waves, just as it is in parts of my book.

Driving past Point Holmes on my way home from shopping, I stopped to take a few pictures. I had to hang onto the car door tightly so it wouldn’t rip off. A torn rotator cuff on a person is painful, but on a car door it would be  expensive  – so, also painful in a way.

It takes  a good stiff wind to give these waves foaming, frothy tops. In the photo below you can see a smooth line near the bottom of the picture. That is the paved boat launch ramp. No one is using it today for obvious reasons. No way I’d want to be tossing around in a small boat out there.

Even the little songbirds were looking for shelter. They swarmed in small clouds to and from the beach. Some flew in to land on the rocks and logs, but my photo doesn’t show the tiny birds well. I enlarged the photo to have a look (as you may be able to do by clicking on it), and I counted at least twelve small birds. It’s a tough time for them.

Those mountains in the distance should be clear and sharp. It is only around noon, but the sky is dark and full of raindrops flying sideways so the far shore is fuzzy and the mountains just a haze.

It’s too stormy out there for me. I think Emma has the right idea.

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Montana Fields

We try to get out to Montana every year in October for some bird hunting and photography and hiking. This year, we arrived to about an inch of snow. While it is beautiful, it is quite chilly. The good thing about it is that rattlesnakes don’t like cold weather so I didn’t have to worry as much about Emma and Ruby getting bitten.

You may remember Emma as a puppy four years ago. We had great hopes that she would someday become a good flusher and retriever of game birds.

She hasn’t disappointed us. In spite of being quite small, this English field cocker spaniel is full of energy and her cuddly nature takes a back seat when it comes to finding birds. Nothing gets away from her.

If you thought the prairies were only boring grassy fields, you couldn’t be more wrong. The coulees are full of prickly shrubs, birds, and small animals. A fat hare came tearing out of the shrubs here and just as I was about to snap a photo, my battery died.

But later I caught this mule deer running away from all the commotion. I traipsed along behind the Captain and Emma as they did their pheasant hunting thing, hoping for something interesting to photograph, and I saw something the deer had left behind last year — an antler shed. It was only the second time I had ever found one and I was quite happy about stumbling across it.

After the snow from the day before, the mostly clay ground was “wettish,” and while we had heavy clods of mud on our boots, Emma’s feet were getting harder and harder for her to pick up. Besides collecting many burrs in her fur, she had huge clumps of clay on her feet. Here she is getting them soaked off, just before I took the comb and scissors to her curly ears to remove the burrs.

She is usually so energetic, we weren’t sure this was our Emma flaked out on the couch after the day’s outing.

It was Ruby’s turn to go out today, but she is sick. We think she drank some bad water. This has happened one other year and we have given her some meds that we hope will fix her up in a day or two.

PS Now, two days later, Ruby is feeling much better. We are so relieved.

 

Progress?

Change is inevitable, but not necessarily always a good thing. People of my parents’ day were usually glad to see what they called “progress.” It meant that their hard life would be made easier. I suppose when you have grown up without the modern conveniences that we now take for granted, “progress” seems like  a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, progress usually involves an increase in population to support businesses, and with the influx of people comes the bad with the good.

At one time, we didn’t have to fence our semi-rural property because no one came along to ruin its quiet  ambiance. Yes, I had to set aside a small area to put the deer’s favourite plants behind some kind of fencing, but I loved seeing the animals visiting our yard.

Our once quiet neighbourhood  is now a high-traffic dog walk; in many cases a place where irresponsible people come to let their dogs run free. The deer can no longer visit in peace and I’ve been forced to fence my yard.

But as I went through some older photos, I found this one from the days before “progress.”

Light Play

This morning the dogs let me sleep in until about 6:00. Then Emma tapped the edge of the bed. Bleary-eyed, I let her and Ruby out and wandered around the yard waiting for them to do their business. They were more interested in what might have spent the night in the shrubs by an old tree stump. Maybe a rabbit or a raccoon? I wandered away a few feet and what I saw made me run back into the house to get the camera.

I didn’t care that the ugliest hydro pole in the world was front and center of my photo. I just wanted to record that rainbow.

The first rays of morning light were doing strange things. The hedge around our place is usually all the same colour, but when the light hit patches of it, you would think it had two kinds of trees.

These are all western red cedars with no colour variation (except today).

When the sun went behind a cloud only moments later, the sky turned dark and so did the hedge. You are looking at the same stretch of hedging in the photo below as in the photos above.

The cloud hiding the sun moved on and the morning rays went to work again.

It was a real light show out there this morning. I’m so glad I didn’t sleep through it.