Nose Prints on the Window

The rabbits know it’s spring. They’re doing what rabbits do, breeding like rabbits. The young ones are rather naive and often sit out in the open. Don’t they know there are eagles nesting in the trees close by? They will be wanting to feed their babies. Hasenpfeffer is one of their favourite meals.

And what about the owls that call at night? They’re hoping that when they call, “Who? Who?” a rabbit will be stupid enough to answer and say, “It’s me — Dumb Bunny.”

Hawks, owls, eagles — all are hoping for a meal of rabbit stew.

Bugsy is getting nervous and runs for  the hedge. “I’m out of sight. I can’t see any danger,” he thinks, with his juicy hindquarters sticking out for any passing predator to size up.

The worst, most dangerous predator of all is the English field cocker spaniel who is straining to get her nose through the window.

“I just want to play tag,” she says.

Brother and Sister

Emma, our field bred English cocker spaniel came from the Edmonton area. That’s a long way from here – about 1400 kms. She is three years old now and has a brother, Gus (from a new litter – same parents), living in town. Gus came for a visit the other day. We kept Emma outside for this visit. It was Gus’s special time.

The bowl of walnuts and hazelnuts that was on the coffee table was the first thing to be investigated. Bowls seem to have special meaning to both Emma and Gus.

One leap onto the table  and the nuts were all over the floor. I had to laugh because it brought back so many memories of puppy fiascoes that I had to deal with when Emma was Gus’s age. Everything had to be explored and there were still many rules that needed to be tested.

Like Emma, Gus is energetic, playful, and loving. He showed us how smart he is by lying down and waiting for the treat he knew was coming. A little piece of cheese makes a great reward for good behaviour. 

Notice the big mitts on him? Proof that he is Emma’s brother. She has the same big paws. In the photo of Emma (below) her head looks big because of the way I had the camera right in her face. In this picture she is the same age as Gus is now.

Here she is several months older, but she still has some growing time ahead. Her ears are not yet covered in long curls and the tail doesn’t have all the “feathers” that will make it look like a flag waving.

We loved meeting Gus, and recognized so many behaviours and physical traits that were so much like Emma’s. Their parents both have pedigrees a mile long, loaded with Field Trial Champions, and these puppies have the best of their genes. Sweet and loving and very smart. Can you tell I’m over the moon about them?

 

 

 

 

Hard Times for Birds

The depth of snow on the railing shows that this snowfall is only beginning. A couple of hours later, it is already about three inches deep and the flakes are still coming down. It doesn’t take long for the ground to be covered, and much of the usual food supply for birds to be hidden from sight and suddenly unavailable to them.

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Every surface, coated white

Food for birds is out of sight.

Feeders overflow with seeds,

But be careful, hawks have needs.

All the creatures need to eat

Just don’t offer songbird meat.

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“Hey! Who put that white stuff on my back?”

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We Must be Crazy

The weather has been crazy here for two months. Rain and wind, wind and rain, repeating ad nauseam. Ruby, our springer spaniel is a brave dog, unless it’s windy. Objects without wings flying around, lawn chairs sliding across the deck, branches dropping out of the sky –  these things freak her out.

She won’t move farther than two feet from me. I have to do my hair curling leaning over her as she plunks herself down on the mat in front of my feet and won’t budge. I move over a few feet and so does she. It drives me crazy.

Emma is still too naive to be afraid, so when they are outside doing their business, Emma comes back when I call her. Ruby could be anywhere, cowering, or standing stiff-legged and catatonic until she is dragged back into the house where she drives me crazy with her anxious panting.

The other day it was blowing hard and the rain was coming down in buckets.003a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The roar of the wind and crashing waves on the beach added to the whooshing of the wind through the tall firs by our house. 

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In the morning, I had put the dogs out while I had a shower. I looked out the bathroom window just before stepping into the shower, and the dogs were by the kennel. The door had blown shut on it so they couldn’t get in. They have mats by the back door in the covered area outside the laundry room, but Ruby hides in her doghouse in the kennel if it’s cold or windy.

After my shower I called the dogs. Emma came in, but Ruby didn’t. I had to go out in my bathrobe and a towel on my head to find her. She was huddled against the kennel. I called for her to come. Halfway over to me, she stopped and wouldn’t come any farther. It wasn’t the turban on my head that freaked her out. She goes neurotic when it’s windy. That’s why I brought the leash out with me. I hooked her on and pulled her into the house.
I have to add a note here to explain that the Captain slipped on the boat deck a couple of weeks ago and broke his leg, so he has a big bolt through the bone and is not to put any weight on the bad leg.
When I came in, the Captain was on the phone, so I went upstairs to deal with my hair. When I turned off the blow dryer, I heard him yelling my name. It sounded like he was outside in the weather in the backyard. Something must be wrong. I ran downstairs.
He limped in from outside on his crutches, and said, “I didn’t know where you were. I knew you went to get Ruby and then you were gone.” Guess he thought I might have blown away – it was pretty wild out there.  (It hadn’t registered with him that I came back in, made a comment about Ruby and having to use the leash, and then went upstairs.)
Apparently he called me before going out. But I had the hair dryer on and didn’t hear him, and he didn’t hear the sound of the blow dryer. Probably thought it was the wind.
Imagine if anyone had seen us – first me in my bathrobe and a turban on my head dragging a dog across the yard. Moments later, a guy on one leg hobbling around in the storm screaming his wife’s name. What a bunch of nuts!

Dog Vest

In certain situations a hunting dog needs a vest to keep it warm. Emma, an English cocker spaniel, is not meant to be a duck hunter. She’s mainly bred for flushing and retrieving upland game birds like pheasants and grouse, but she loves duck hunting, too, and is good at it. We can’t have her getting hypothermic on those wintery days when she has to retrieve ducks from icy water or spend hours out in duck weather – wind and rain.

My sewing skills are better used for making quilts and handbags, but when we couldn’t find just the right “store-bought” vest for Emma, we decided to try making one.

The Captain went a thrift shop and found just the thing –  a shortie wet suit with fairly thin neoprene. I cut it up and began to sew. I had no pattern so it was a piecemeal effort, adding on and taking away, ending up with dozens of pieces – a neoprene patchwork quilt.

At first I was going to incorporate the wet suit’s zipper in the vest but at some point I couldn’t figure out how to get the dog into the vest, and decided that one long velcro closing would be better. The finished vest looks amateur but for a first try, it is good enough to keep her warmer for future duck outings. The next one will be easier to make and should look less patchy.

Poor Ruby looks like she’s wishing she had a vest too.

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Poor Emma! She must have tried the partially finished vest at least 20 times. But she was good about it. Such a biddable little dog she is.

Finally, we got her to model the finished product. For a moment she forgot she is a dog as she fell into the role of a sex kitten, into rubber.dscn7409

Thank you, Montana

It’s been a great trip. Emma is worn out from working (read “playing”) so hard. Now she’s reminiscing as she inhales the delicious (to her) aromas of the Captain’s Filson bird vest. It’s a good life.

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On the floor below her, Ruby snores and twitches as she dreams of birds she is chasing.

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It has been fun and good exercise. I’m happy that we didn’t run into any rattlesnakes, coyotes, porcupines, old farm equipment cuts, or serious barbed wire snags. We’ve been welcomed by the wonderful people of Montana and are looking forward to coming back next year.

Thank you, Montana.

Don’t Fence Me In – Or Out

“But wait. How am I supposed to get over there? Usually I just go between the strands, but this fence is different.”dscn6756a

“What if I get hung up on that barbed wire?”

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“I can see where I want to be, but … your leg is in the way of me jumping.”dscn6759a

“You’re kidding me, right? Okay, I’ll wind up and jump.”

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“Was that high enough? But I’m still on the same side.”

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“Okay, I’m sitting down like you told me. Now what?”

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“Hoo-whee! Yowser!”

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“All RIGHT! Let’s find those birds.”

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*PS If anyone is interested in entering a low key writing contest, please see my post of Oct, 15, 2016, on https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/writing-contest/