Category Archives: Dogs

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.

Working to Eat

 

The pileated woodpecker has to work for his meals. This is Woody, who came to check out the old fir stump in my overgrown veggie garden. Notice how his tongue sticks out now and then to help lick up anything  he finds crawling around inside the wood.

After he had his meal, he flew into the forested area around the side of our house to have dessert at one of the other stumps we’ve left there.

I followed him to try to get another photo and was surprised when Junior flew in and landed in a tree quite close to me. You can tell that this is a young bird, maybe a female because of no red malar stripe (moustache). The red on her head is not as brilliant as it will be when she matures.

By the time I recovered from the surprise of her appearance, and refocused the camera, the backyard superintendents woke up from sleeping on the job, and came along barking their fool heads off, scaring the birds away.

I sighed, but couldn’t really reprimand them. After all, they are bird dogs.

 

 

It’s a Bitch Getting Old

Ruby was a sweet looking puppy, but her behaviour was wild during her puppy days. She grew out of her monster stage and turned into a wonderful dog.

Ruby had her 11th birthday in February this year. She’s a bit gray around the muzzle, and now sports bushy white eyebrows. Like many dogs her age, she was packing around several fatty lumps on her body. One of them was getting uncomfortably large and pressing on her throat. It was time to do something about it.

DSCN9946

We have great confidence in our veterinarian and admire the way he cares for our pets. He removed the worst of Ruby’s lumps, taking special care with the one that was near her carotid artery.

Since two of the lumps are near her shoulders, wearing a cone would not stop her from scratching at the itchy stitches, so a T-shirt was recommended. The trouble was to find something small enough. With some creative cutting and knot-tying, I managed to fashion a covering for Ruby.

Most of the time, it works, but this morning when I was wanting to take her outside, she didn’t move from her doggie bed. I had a closer look and saw that she had straight-jacketed herself in trying to get out of the shirt.

She hadn’t hurt herself. The material is very soft. But at least she wasn’t able to scratch herself.

She is healing well and I’m sure she’s glad to be rid of those lumps. I’m sure she’ll also be glad to get rid of her “hospital” nightgown.

Farmers’ Market

The Farmers’ Market in Olympia, Washington, was full of interesting things to see, but although we are officially into spring, this March day was particularly cool. An icy wind blew through the open-air building. Spaced around the corridors were heaters that attracted shoppers who huddled near them to chat for a few minutes before moving on.

Some of the merchants had heaters set up right in their own selling space. See the tall heater on a post above the lady selling baked goods? Notice one of the customers walking by wearing a warm jacket? It was a COLD day!

The lady who sold lavender products wore her quilted jacket zipped up to the top.

What a wonderful assortment of organically grown mushrooms. No problem keeping them chilled.

The girls selling homemade jams were happy. But no wonder! Do you see the heater on the left, glowing and sending out warming rays?

For a brief moment I contemplated buying a treat for my little dog, but then I realized that these bones are bigger than she is.

And that price is in U.S. dollars  – $14.00 for each bone. For a Canadian, that’s a hefty chunk of change, and even if I were to “bite the bullet” and splurge on my dog, and if I were allowed to bring it across the border,  I would probably frighten her with it.

They must have some awfully big dogs here in the United States. 

There is much more to see at the Farmers’ Market, but that will be for another post.

After the Rain

This morning when I did my walk

I had to brave the rain.

I trotted like a racehorse 

Just to hurry home again.

Once in the door, my feet were wiped,

A towel rubbed me dry.

I lay down on my usual place 

And let out a big sigh.

Then came my treat, a nice warm throw

Just taken from the dryer.

The toasty warmth was better than

A rocker by the fire. 

I snuggled in and closed my eyes

The people smiled at me.

I didn’t move a muscle and

Was quite content, you see.