Sunday, January 30, 2011

We're So Excited!

I've mentioned before that it doesn't take much to make me happy. 
 Since we've had so many dull, rainy days lately, waking up this morning to perfectly clear skies, and then the sun hitting the trees just down the road from us at 8:07 makes me really happy.

Here's the forecast.  Those are Celsius temperatures, so the daytime ones are above freezing. 

If you haven't read that post, you should have a look.
I did by chance come across that border collie picture.  It is some one's profile picture, but no one I know, and not a profile I'd ever clicked on.  
Weird eh?
Heading out to get some vitamin D:)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gardening with Luna

 It was another decent day today.  A bit of sun trying to peek through in the morning, and then just cloudy but not raining, and actually fairly pleasant. 
After lunch Larry went back out to do some more tree pruning, and Jake went with him because he knows there is more chance that Larry will throw the ball for him that I will.  Just how he expects Larry to throw the ball for him while he is up the tree or on the ladder, I'm not quite sure.  I don't care though, because then at least I don't have him pestering me.  
Luna came with me, and she brought her soccer ball.  That's really a no-no down in the garden, but since there isn't much happening there this time of the year I wasn't too bothered.

 I thought I would just putter around and see what I could get cleaned up.  There are lots of dead stems to clean up, dead tops on the glads to pull out, weeds, etc.

There are some signs of life though, like these new shoots of the sedum coming up.

Luna played with her ball, and even when I fired it out through the gate, she seemed to manage to dribble it back in.  Eventually she looked like this.

After a while Jake and Larry showed up, and both dogs took a break.  We loaded the old raspberry canes into the wheelbarrow and took them over to the burn pile.

Luna took a bit of a nap,

And then a bit more, 

And then she was revitalized. 
She channelled Calli and dug a hole for Jake's ball 

Then she straddled the hole

And then laid in it

She laid to the left

And then she laid to the right

And then to the left again

And back to the right

And all the while Jake stared at the ball, hoping I'd throw it.

One of the good things about cleaning up in the Spring (I'm being optimistic here), is that we find tools that we lost the year before. 
I don't know if there is a proper name for this thing.  Larry calls is a 'pig sticker' and I call it a 'poker stick', but I found it laid on the ground.  

It's used for weeding, and it's handy for helping to loosen deep tap roots. We are bad for leaving tools where we were working, thinking that in a short time we will get back to finish the job, but it usually doesn't happen.  I keep saying I'm going to paint the handles of all the tools a bright colour so that we can see them when we leave them in the grass.
Another thing I found was a few hills of potatoes that got missed last Fall.  There's a few meals here:)  Some of the potatoes that were too close to the surface got frozen in the cold weather, and were mushy, but the rest looked good.  You can tell the soil temperature is not very cold, because a few of the potatoes were starting to sprout already, and my hands didn't get cold when I was pulling the weeds out.

And here's what it looks like now.  The dead kale in the foreground was pulled out, the dead glad tops removed, some weeds pulled out.  Lots more to do, but we've made a good start.  With Luna's help I'm sure to get it done quickly!

And I have to add these because they were so lovely.  We don't get a lot of brilliant sunsets here, but this was taken as we were pulling out of the driveway about 5:20 today.  It is SOOC, although Larry said it looked much better than that in real life. By the time I had run back to the house to get the camera, I had missed the best of it.

This is a 1 3/4 miles from our house, from the highest point around.  Again it's only a taste of what it really looked like.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Special Day

There are three things special about today.  The first thing is that we actually saw the sun today.  It was shining this morning, and then it clouded over a bit, and then we saw it on and off for the rest of the day.  I think the last time we had a really sunny day was 2 1/2 weeks ago when we went for a walk with Pippin, Jeff and Sue on the dyke.  That is a long 2 1/2 weeks of cloud and drizzle and rain, so it felt just wonderful today to see that sun.

The next thing is that today marks the one year anniversary of me starting this blog.  I'm proud of the fact that I've stuck with it and I really enjoy the bloggy friends I've met along the way. 

The best thing of all about this day is that it is Calli's eleventh birthday. 
Happy Birthday old girl:)
She still looks good, a little whiter on the face of course, but doing well all things considered.

My friend Carol who raises beef and sells it at farmers markets brought three large bones for the dogs when she stopped by a few weeks ago.  
I figured today was as good a day as any to give the bones to them.
Calli got the biggest one of course, just as a birthday girl should.

I think she enjoyed it!

Mmm, good. Thanks mum!

The dogs chewed on the bones for a couple of hours.  Calli's looked like this, a gross slimy mess,  but there wasn't too much left of Jake and Luna's smaller bones.  They all got popped back into the freezer and they'll be brought out another day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Yesterday we went to an agility fun match.  It's the kind of thing you go to when you are just starting out, or your dog is new to the game, or you have issues that you want to work on in a competitive type environment, or.... you go there to just have some fun with your dog without the 'pressure' of a real competition.  Usually with a fun match,  you can take treats and toys in the ring, or you can leave a leash and collar on your dog.  In an official competition, you dog runs 'naked' (no collar or leash) and no treats or toys are allowed while you are on course.  The classes cost less to enter (bonus!), and the judge might be a 'real' judge, or someone that is considering becoming an official judge, or just someone that knows enough to do a decent job.

So we rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn, at the unearthly hour of 7:30 (yep, that is about the crack of dawn this time of the year).  Got the animals all fed, let out, etc, and took the dogs for a quick walk and headed off.  Jake knew something was going on, and was a bit put out when he got left behind.  Why did we leave him behind?  Well he's got a lot more experience under his belt, and we just didn't feel it was necessary to spend the extra money.  Both Larry and Luna are low in the experience part, so just good practice for them both.  And since I did run Luna in a couple of classes...well it was experience for me running Luna.  She is a WHOLE different ball game compared to Jake.

Thankfully this was all taking place about 12 minutes away from us, in a lovely horse barn.  Okay, it wasn't really lovely, but it wasn't bad compared to some.  The only thing is that the horse barn is the same temperature as the outside air, and when you are standing around for 9+ hours and only actually running your dog for seconds, you really start to wonder why you are there.  We could have got there an hour and a half later than we did, as Luna wasn't in the first class, and there were a TON of dogs in that one.  Since we had already waited quite a while, were already cold, and still had quite a while more to wait for Luna's turn, we just headed out down the road from the barn and did a two mile or so walk.  That warmed us up nicely, and kept us comfortable for a while after we got back.  I ran Luna in two runs, one run took 30 seconds, and the other one about 35.  Larry's three runs probably didn't add up to more two and a half minutes.  An awful lot of hanging around waiting for your moment in the spot light.

And how did Luna do, you ask?  Well she only got one run that would have been a qualifying run in a real trial, and that wasn't pretty.  That was the Gamblers class where you make up your own course in the first part of the run, gathering points as your dog goes over the different obstacles.  If your dog takes an obstacle that wasn't in your plan, well it doesn't really matter, you get points for whatever obstacles your dog completes successfully, although the obstacles you had planned on your dog taking might have been worth more points. At the end of the course when the buzzer goes, there are a few obstacles (the 'Gamble') that are to be completed while staying behind a line on the ground.  The idea is to get the dog to work at some distance away from you.  You are given about 20 seconds to complete this part.  Usually a lot of that 20 seconds is taking up actually getting in position to start that part of the course. Gamblers is actually my favourite class, I love the challenge of the distance obstacles.  In the first part of the course there are some optional 'mini Gambles' that are worth double points if you are successful.  And now I'm sure you perfectly understand the Gamblers class:)

Anyway, there were nice parts and some not so nice parts.  She needs lots of work still, which we are pretty bad at actually doing.  Aw heck, we are just doing it for fun:)  Any excuse will do....
She needs work on the weave poles.  She can do 12 poles really fast in the right situation, but seems to have trouble with the weaves when they are part of a fast course.  Larry had trouble with her on the teeter because she thought it was the dogwalk, and was prepared to run another 24 ft instead of launching herself into space. (The teeter has to touch the ground before they can exit it).  She blasts through that tire however she can, and doesn't care if she hits it or not.  In fact she is a bit of a wild child out there, and I liken her to a bull in a china shop at times.  You'll notice that in parts of the runs where she is getting the information where she is to go in a timely manner, there isn't much barking.  She does get frustrated though if she isn't given enough information and is confused as to where she should be going, and she likes to tell us to get our act together!

Luna was wearing her lovely bandanna, which was to let other people know that she needed her space.   The day went pretty well in that regard.  She did have a nice meet and greet with a golden doodle,  and Pippin and Jeff stopped in for a visit.  She did have one snarky moment with another dog (also wearing a bandanna) right near the end of the day.  The dog wasn't close, but it must have given Luna the look, or vice versa, and then there was a bit of name calling.

Here's Luna's runs, warts and all, ...and there's lots of warts:(   In the first run we figured she couldn't really see the table.  It looks different to the one she is used to, and the grey top blended into the grey around the bottom of the ring wall.  Therefore when Larry said 'table', she just laid down where she was.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We Saw It!

I have been doing the occasional moaning on here about our lack of sunshine (and a lot more moaning to family members).  Actually Meredith and I are wondering if we are noticing it more because it is making it harder to get our '365' pictures.  During the week the weather guys were predicting we would see some sunshine on Saturday.  Of course as Saturday got closer the amount of sun predicted got less, and then by this morning it had disappeared.  Late morning when I checked the forecast again, not sure why actually, it did show sun and cloud.  That was at the same time as the clouds got thicker and it started to drizzle.  Now the Abbotsford airport, which is the weather station I was looking at, is only 15 minutes from here, so surely their weather couldn't have been that different from us.

About 4:30 this afternoon we were heading out for a walk, and when we got to the bottom of the driveway, it was kind of a 'Holy cow, there it is!' moment.  So I quickly handed Luna's and Calli's leashes to Larry, grabbed the keys from him and charged back to the house to get the camera.  This is what I saw.

And then a few minutes later got this.

The dogs were totally unimpressed.  There they were, all wound up because they had their leashes on and we. were. going. for. a. walk.   So why the heck were we all just stood there?

And on a farmy note, we cleaned out and repaired the south chicken coop today.  One of the roosts had come apart, the particle board on one wall had pulled away, and a 2x4 had given way under the floor boards. It actually looked like it had never been nailed in properly.  Anyway, all fixed, and good as new.  Well not really, but much better than it was.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we are heading to an agility fun match with Luna.  Hopefully we have some fun:)

On an embarrassing note, Larry informed me of some spelling mistakes on some of my posts. I guess that means he must read my blog.  Not sure if that is a good thing or not:)  He is struggling to read with his progressive lenses, which he hates, so he reads slowly.
Uggh, I hate that, the spelling mistakes that is.  I do usually remember to use spellcheck, and I do read my post over, more than once, but I read fast, and because I wrote it, I kind of know what I am saying already, so don't end up reading it as well as someone would, reading it for the first time.  The mistakes were just the odd letter missed here and there, or the odd wrong letter, and they were all actual words, just not the right words, so of course spellcheck doesn't pick them up.  

Sorry about that, because I hate seeing them myself, but a lot of us make them, not that that is an excuse.....Okay I'll shut up now.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

April and the other Guy, I mean Ewe

If you read yesterday's post, I mentioned about feeding grain to the two old ewes.   They aren't keeping much weight on over the winter, so I've started adding some grain to their diet.  April is one of them, she will be 15 on April 1st, and that is a very good age for a sheep.  The other one doesn't have a name, is just known as the old ewe, which from here on in will be known as TOE.  For interest's sake, the other two ewes are known as the young ewe and the fat ewe.  And, they are just 'pets', well more like grass mowers.  On days when they really aggravate me I ponder how much dog food they would provide...

This morning I got April and TOE separated and into the paddock, which means TFE  and TYE wouldn't be trying to get their share.
Here they are peering in the barn to see what is taking me so long.  And yes, we got a sprinkle of wet snow this morning, which turned to rain and is now all gone.

I found the perfect buckets for feeding.  Big enough that they can get their heads to the bottom, but not really big enough that another ewe could get her head in there.
Luna makes sure they behave themselves.

Since I only have two hands, and the camera was in one, I had one bucket between my legs, and well you can see my left hand....

I realized I could hold two buckets in one hand, and then April pushed her head forward, and the handle ended up behind her ears.  Then it was like a feed bag or nose bag, the kind that fits over horse's ears.  Like they put on the draft horses while they are still in harness, so they can eat while they are having a rest.

It was kind of a eureka moment.  She could still see, but she couldn't push the bucket over, and I didn't have to hold it.

When TOE had finished hers, she tried to push April away from the bit of grain she had left.

But where April went the bucket went

What are you looking at, you 'wolf'?

Okay,  I'm done now, you can take this big muzzle off

If that wolf would leave, we could go back to our friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It's not Wordless Wednesday or Wistful Wednesday; I just couldn't seem to come up with a good title.

This afternoon I was home by myself, and suddenly there was a flash of sunlight, like a whole thirty seconds worth.  Sunlight is something we've been sorely missing just lately.  There was blue sky out there, and I was all excited.  By the time I had finished what I was doing and got out there, well the blue sky was over to the east, and disappearing fast

I thought there might be better light for picture taking today; it was a little better but not good enough.  Doggy action shots were kind of out of the question.

That's okay, Calli wasn't moving too fast anyway.

First stop was to scrounge up the tiny bit of spilled grain from what I fed to the two old lady ewes this morning.  I don't even know how she found it.
You know, you can feed your dog a grain free diet, and if they get a chance, they just gobble the stuff down.

Then she moved across the hayfield, checking the vole holes

Until she found an interesting one

Luna and Jake played some fetch

All the action shots were a bit out of focus, 
but this one was just fun:)
Jake had taken the bunny out with him, unbeknownst to me, and Luna stole it of course.

The hazelnut tree is full of catkins

The pollen is starting to fly, but it doesn't bother me thank goodness.
It would be nice if we got some hazelnuts off it, but the jays and the squirrels seem to get them all before they are properly ripe.

Maybe I'll call it Wishful Wednesday, 'cause I sure wish we'd get a sunny day.