Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Would You Like That a la mode?

I'm sure if the dogs could, they would say yes.
I haven't had much luck getting them to catch their own meat, but they are quite happy to forage for their own dessert fruit.

Our pear tree, which is in the middle of the back lawn, is quite heavily laden with pears this year.  The branches are touching the ground, and there are windfall pears all over the place.
Luna has just finished one off here.
(She has just finished it off because when I noticed her I had to run down the family room stairs to get the camera, and then back up, and then try get a photo without her noticing me, and by that time the pear was done)

But there are lots more where those came from.  Time to cruise for another one.
Can you see her under the tree?

Their....umm...poops, which were pretty small since they eat raw food, had become great landmines once again.  You know, all that fibre and bulk, well what goes in, must come out, and since there were multiple pears going in, well.....

So Larry said enough was enough, and he brought out the big guns roll of fencing .

Nothing can get in or out now.  Calli looked longingly at that tree as she walked past after supper tonight.
No more pears for you, a la mode or not.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm Lovin' It!

It poured rain around lunchtime today.  Yahoo, takes the pressure off me to do some major watering.  What we got just now, plus the shower overnight and the sprinkle yesterday morning all add up.

It also means that the eavestroughs need cleaning out.  Yep, those long streaks in the photo are coming from the eavestroughs.  But it did rain a lot, briefly.  See the twin rivers flowing down the driveway?

See that blue sky? Yeah, the rain didn't last long, but it was better than nothing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hay, Let's go for a swim

Right now my life seems to consist of fruit.  Picking it, freezing it, making jam out of it.  Blackberries are at their peak right now, and I try to pick a bucket or two most mornings.  Yesterday I didn't.  I need to make so much jam this week that I figured I had better forgo the picking and just get jamming.  So six batches later, I packed it in.  Each batch makes about 12-15 cups, so that is a lot of jam. 

In the meantime, Larry is dealing with hay.  Yep, we ended up with enough grass that we could do a second cut.  Not that we wanted to, but what do you do.  We had figured that we would be baling today, but then the weather forecast decided to change from sunny, to cloudy with 60 % chance of showers.  Fortunately Tuesday and Wednesday were hot enough that we were able to get the hay dry enough to bale yesterday.  After my long story last time about our hay escapades, I'll just keep it simple and say that this time went much better.  I did keep out of the way though. 

When I was finished the jam and the baling was happening, I disappeared down to the dyke with the dogs.  I decided to go to the south and see if anything was left of the long pool of water there.

As soon as we get to the dyke, Jake heads off to the usual waterhole, which is to the north, so I had to call him back.  As we head south he does the same thing.  And where he goes, Luna usually follows.  With Jake, it's all about getting to the water, because he knows that is where the toy gets thrown. This is taken with the zoom, so Calli is somewhere inbetween in no man's land, and Jake and Luna are a lot farther away than they appear.

Jake has a pretty good recall, and Luna's is decent, so I get a kick out of letting them get way ahead and then calling them back.  Must be that mean streak in me:)  The first time I called, he stopped and looked back, and then kept going.  I decided that them running on the gravel was making enough noise that he couldn't really hear me.   The second time I called, they stopped again, and then I called them again right away, and this is what I got:)
Who doesn't love to see their dogs racing back towards them:)?

You rang?

Courtesy of some beavers downstream.....

...there was a good pool of water for swimming.  It was great for me too, I could stand in the shade.  I tried a few things with the camera, that didn't work out, so not many pictures.

Jake is vocal and persistant, and...well...sort of annoying:(  He wants you to be a non stop throwing machine.

And it was all going well until Calli chomped her orange street hockey ball too many times, and it got a big split in it.  I threw it, and it sank.  Calli was royally p*ssed off.  She swam in circles, and she stared out at the water, and she barked at me.

With a *LOT* of encouragement she did deign to retrieve Luna's toy one time, but it's just not the same.  She is a one toy kind of gal.

But then she found a rock, and she was happy.  Okay, a rock is the next most exciting thing to her, besides the orange hockey ball.  She doesn't chew them, just likes to carry them around, and if she can find some sandy stuff, she'll dig a hole for the rock to fall into, and then she rescues it and takes it somewhere else to dig another hole.  Weird, I know:)

On the way back, I'm looking right at Golden Ears, the peak in the distance, which is where we were on Tuesday (at the bottom of it, not the top)

And back at the car, Calli reluctantly leaves the rock behind, but only because I said so!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday Night Agility

Last night we went back to our regular Monday night agility practice.  Between the building being used for Agrifair, and then a lot of us away at Nationals, it's been 6 weeks since we have been there for our club night.  It's been three weeks since Luna has done any agility.  It was like she had three weeks worth of agility all bottled up, and I pulled the cork. 
The first run was a bar crashing, out of control, bark screaming mess.

It did get better though.
As of September 1st, the weave pole spacing in AAC goes to 24" from 20".  Last night was the first night Luna and Jake got to try the new weave poles out.  It went pretty well. 
I moved too far ahead and pulled Luna out on her first attempt, but the second one was great.  Jake isn't as fast as Luna, so he will have to learn to drive into them a little harder.

Much easier on the dog's body, and even the little dogs are doing just fine with it. There was a handler there last night with a Shih Tzu cross that was worried. She said her dog had just learned the little jump from side to side, and was worried what the new spacing would do to her . Her first attempt through went just great, and her handler was thrilled!

Later that evening when I was on the computer in the family room, I heard some gentle snoring behind me.

Even the camera flash going off 11 times didn't disturb her
She plays hard, and then she crashes hard. 
Let sleeping dogs lie!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Darling Deer....hmm, maybe not

It's always nice to see deer around.  This one is in our neighbour's field.  We see more wildlife there than our own place, as it is a large open field, that we overlook.

And then I remembered the eaten off raspberry canes, pole bean and peas in the orchard garden.
Begone, you damn pest!

Oooh, nice extended trot. 
Can you tell I used to ride horses?

And here's why we need to put in a higher fence.

Actually, the blood meal I have been tossing around seems to work, as long as I remember to reapply it occasionally.  And now I am putting it on the leaves of some new beans, to try discourage the rabbits.
There was a rabbit in the back yard this morning.
The nerve!
The dogs didn't even see it, and I had to encourage them to go after it.
I need to convince them to catch their own raw food.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Do you remember this?
How could this much cuteness....

 morph into this monster?
Isn't it amazing what a difference eight weeks can make?

And I've finally had to admit that the oldest (by a day), darkest one, is a rooster.

I think I've known all along, but have been denying it.  That chick has always been bigger, and his comb was more prominent.  His legs are a bit thicker and his stance more 'macho'.  I finally had to admit it when I noticed his tail.
See how the very longest feather at the top and end of his tail are starting to curve down? Think of a rooster's long curving tail feathers.  Well this is the start of it.

Maybe you can see the differences in them here; body stance, tail shape, comb size, leg size.

And they are all over the place.  Back lawn, front lawn, garden, field.  So far they haven't done any damage.

And while I was down in the garden trying to get the hen and chicks to pose for me (I must have been dreaming), there were hummingbirds zipping back and forth.  Hummingbirds are actually quite vocal, in their tiny little way.  They were feeding on the bee balm, but once again were always on the side of the clump away from me.    At one point there were three of them zipping back and forth, but they are just so fast and erratic, that I could never get a decent shot.  And then this happened...

I was stood by the fence, and this one landed on it about ten feet away.  The camera was flashing the red 'you need a tripod, you need a tripod' symbol at me, so I tried to keep my body as still as possible and took some quick shots.  I got one or two half decent ones:)
And then another one flew to the other side of the field and perched on the fir tree.

One roared past my head, only a couple of feet away, like a miniature jet fighter, while another zipped around higher up. 
And then the most amazing thing happened.  A hummingbird landed on the fence only two or three feet away from me, and the other one landed a few feet further down the wire.  Sooo close... I daren't move, and could barely breathe, and was facing the wrong way to even attempt a picture. 
Just one of those amazing moments.
I felt honoured.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Saddle Sore

The other day we had to head in to the big city for our annual  talk with our Financial Guy, to make sure that our millions are invested to their best advantage.  I was never that thrilled about going, a long drive, a lot of slow traffic, I quite often seemed to come up with a reason why Larry could just go on his own.

This time it was actually planned for the same day that I was taking my mother to her rheumatologist, a kill two birds with one stone kind of trip.  Anyway, the rheumatologist visit got cancelled, which made the drive in much easier, since we didn't have to make a big detour to pick up my mother.  I suggested we take our bikes.  When we had been in Vancouver for the Olympics we had thought how nice it would be to have ridden our bikes along the seawall. 

Of course the bikes weren't just ready to go.  Helmets had to be found, and then I wanted to find a visor for Larry's helmet, which would make him look not quite so dorky (after all, I was the one that had to look at him).  We knew that 'somewhere' we had a box with 'bike stuff'.  After a lot of searching, checking high shelves in the garage, I had a eureka moment and found it out in the barn.  The visor was attached, sort of, with some velcro.  The bikes needed some oiling, and the hitch had to be figured out and put on the truck.  It all takes so MUCH time.

We left a few minutes later than we had planned, which is par for the course if I'm involved.  Luckily, despite the freeway being one long construction zone, traffic went fairly well, and and hour and 5 minutes later we were there, and on time.

The financial meeting went quite well.  In fact we spent half of it talking about dogs.  Financial Guy's family had adopted a year old weimeraner in the last year, and he was telling us how he would never have thought that he could be so in love with a dog:)  He told us where we could get on the seawall, or the general area at least.  We parked just off Burrard and headed east to pick up the seawall just after Granville Island.

Lots of stuff in the news lately about bike lanes in Vancouver.  Holy cow, we felt we were risking life and limb when we were on the roads with traffic.  Despite us having the right of way at a couple of intersections, we had to have our wits about us or we would have been plastered on some one's grill.  A couple of drivers were just clueless, and had to come to a screeching halt.

Our entrance to the seawall involved bumping the bikes down some long flights of steps.  I'm sure there was an easier access close by, but at that point we could see the seawall, and wanted to be on it, and there were only the steps separating us from it.

It was one of the hottest days of the year (33-34 degrees in Abbotsford) but we knew by the water it would be about 8 degrees cooler, with a nice sea breeze.  We got going for a bit, and then remembered that we had forgot to put sunscreen on.

Just past Science World at the end of False Creek, were the colourful tents of Cirque de Soleil

People were at the beach.  I hadn't realized that there was so much beach area along English Bay.  That's what happens when the only time you come through that area is by car, and you miss so much.  Vancouver really is a beautiful place.

We eventually figured out that you could only ride around Stanley Park counter clockwise, so we had to backtrack a little bit.  I got pretty tricky, and started taking pictures while still riding the bike.

Some of them looked like this

I told Larry that if he heard a loud crash, to just keep on riding.  Then he wouldn't feel so embarrassed at being associated with an out of control bike riding photographer.
We had to walk in a few spots were we shared the pavement with pedestrians, but not for too long.

The west end of Stanley Park, and Siwash Rock

We did stop and sit by the beach and eat a hot dog from a vendor cart.  It was pretty good, with lots of onions:)
And  2 3/4 hours later we were back at the truck.  On the last leg we took a shortcut and came over the much disputed bike lane on the Burrard bridge.  Seemed great to us.

Note to self --- Time to invest in a much wider, well padded bike seat

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

The weather was not that great when we left Revelstoke in the morning, but did get better.  Our first stop was Salmon Arm.  Larry said that this park that you pass by had always appealed to him, so we stopped and walked around the little lake and it's fountain.

And some family members were so exhausted by all that exercise, they just had to stop and rest.  Well, more like he was having back trouble.  But the dogs had him where they wanted him, and were milking it for all they were worth.

Across the road I spotted this.

An Osprey nest, with the best view in town

We drove on, and south of Kamloops decided to stay in the Lac Le Jeune campsite.  Years ago there were many more trees, but the pine beetles killed them all, and they have been taken out.  We were back into cloudy weather.  

At the campsites the dogs are supposed to be on leash all the time, but you are usually allowed to swim them at the boat launch.
Since there was a little dock there, I thought we'd see if they had any dock dog potential.  Dock dogs are the ones that race off the end of a 'dock' and leap into the air and out into the water after their toy.  There are even  competitions for that.

Nope, no dock dogs in our family.  Jake just ran back off the dock and got into the water there, and then Luna started doing the same thing.  We wouldn't even attempt to get Calli to jump.

The next morning was nice and sunny.  Larry tried to fill in the little diary thing that the previous trailer owners had given us, to record our trips.  He got to day two, and that was it.

And Luna and Jake got a chance to wrestle

And later there was more swimming.  I was even tempted to go in myself.

We took a side trip out from Merritt to check out the Monck campsite on Nicola Lake, in case we want to stay there in September. 

We were going to give the dogs another swim there, but the water was green soup, pretty grungy, and we figured they would be dirty and smelly when they came out, so just headed off for home.

We got home about 5.  It had been a great trip, but it is always nice to get home.  Then I rush off to check how much things have grown, and wow, had they!  Of course the weeds had grown more than anything, and there was a lot to get caught up on.  It's a long time since we have taken a weeks holiday in the middle of summer (because of the farmers markets), but I'd do it again.