Saturday, November 26, 2011

Golden Friday

None of that Black Friday stuff here.  Although I did hear there were retailers offering their own versions of the retail deals and madness taking place in the States, to keep the Canadian money from crossing the border.  Not interested.
We celebrated that golden orb in the sky, not a black cloud to be seen.  
A rare sight this time of the year.
A day where some border collies looked for a soccer playing partner, and others were sampling various piles of horse manure.

A day where dogs once gold are now fading to white

And manure piles threaten to disappear under the encroaching blackberries.   
That only took a year. I always say to people that if you didn't touch those blackberry vines, in ten years our area would be just one massive blackberry patch.

A day you thought would be good to dig some more dahlia tubers out.
I didn't realize just HOW wet it was where that row of dahlias was planted, until I put the fork in and wrenched them free of the sucking mud.

A day where black cats with golden eyes, take their first solo outdoor walkabout, and return!
Nelson was gone for a couple of hours.  I went out once to try and find him, with no luck.  An hour after that I stood and called from the deck, and lo and behold he sauntered  from the barn and came to the back door.
A taste of real freedom now means that he stands meowing at the back door to go out.
Nelson has really come out of his shell, which has it's good and bad points.
We've caught him on the counter a couple of times, and that really grosses me out.

A day where Mt. Baker catches the last blue skies and the sun's rays.
A day to go somewhere a bit different for a dog walk.

When you stop to sit on a new bench at the viewpoint, certain horse manure eating dogs find a stick and beg you to throw it.

And then you throw it to the other dog

How dare you?

Okay, this time make sure you throw it to ME!

We were 'good' park users and kept our dogs on leash.  Well mostly because we've heard that the dog police there are always on your case. There is an offleash area there, but the place was packed with too many people and dogs just hanging around, so we avoided it.  We met a few horses and riders on the trail, and of course other people with dogs, none of which were leashed.  They held on to their dogs as they passed, except for the last group.  Two white shepherd types.  I ended up unclipping Luna's leash, as her hackles were up and she was ready to explode.  Fortunately both dogs ignored her, and she was quite happy to dash ahead and catch up to Larry and Calli.
A nice sunny break before the next weather system rolls in.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Birthday and a Blogging Dry Spell

It was a fun dinner out at The Olive Garden last night, to celebrate Meredith's birthday.  At least it gave me something to post about, as I've been suffering from Blogger's Block the last few days.
The birthday girl didn't get free cake, but Thomas the waiter told us he would decorate what she chose.  So a lot of whipping cream, two candles and a red cherry that had already fallen off into the whipped cream, later,  she was presented with Rudolph:)

Here's the birthday girl and friend Jennifer.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Mystery

Last evening sometime before I went to bed, I heard a soft mooing.  Now it seemed like it came from the back of the house, and the only cattle around here are across the road or two properties to the south.  I thought it was just my ears playing tricks on me, making me think the sound was coming from somewhere it wasn't.  You know how it is, it's dark, it's cold, and you really don't want to be wandering around outside with a flashlight right then, trying to track down the source of one little moo.  I even wondered if it was the sheep, but it sounded too 'sheep unlike' and so I just rationalized the sound as best I could.
This morning we bundled up, did the bush walk, came back, gave Pride some hay, got The Old Ewe out, and I heard it again. I t sounded like it was coming from next door's, and I start to wonder if they have suddenly got some cattle.  Then I heard it again, and it sounded really close, like in our hayfield close.  So I look in the direction of where the moo came from , and this is what I see.

Laying peacefully under the hazelnut tree that is in the hay field, but actually on the other side of the fence in the south chicken field, is this heifer or steer, or maybe it is the heifer bull cow called Bert from Craigslist.  No, probably not, as it certainly wasn't friendly.  As soon as I got within 50 ft, it was up and gone down to the other end of the field.  We wandered around trying to figure out how it got in the fenced field, but it was a mystery.  We headed down to the other end of the field and it panicked and went over the 4' fence with no hesitation.  Got one back leg caught up momentarily, and then it was gone.  It had landed on the driveway, fortunately for us on the part of the driveway between the gate and the road.  At least we didn't have a panicked steer charging around the back yard.  We went out to look for it, but it had totally disappeared.  We walked up the road to see if it had gone into the field to the north of us, but no luck.   I went back to see if it had gone in the field to the south, as Jake was barking out in our hayfield, but there was nothing.  Larry talked to a neighbour walking down the road.  She hadn't seen it, but she had seen the whole herd belonging to the neighbour two doors down out on the road last night, so I think the mystery was solved.  It looked like that steer had got into our field the same spot it got out, as there were frozen tracks next to the driveway.  Hopefully it finds it's way home, or maybe it could find a better home actually. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

We Are NOT Amused!

...said the hens as there was a traffic chicken pile up on the entrance to the freeway chicken field this morning.
They are a ratty looking bunch at the moment, a lot of them seem to be molting to some degree.

We refuse to go any further!

So I led them down the backroad  the chicken trail to the clear spot under the trees.

And on our bush walk this morning,  parts of the trail were almost obliterated.

So I was smart and let others lead the way. 

It was pretty out there, but I'm hoping some sunshine clears most of it away.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Someone Lost Their Snow

We found it though, and would be glad to send it back to you.
Driving into the whirling snow tunnel

The poor apple tree hasn't even shed it's leaves yet.

Luna had a chiropractor's appointment tonight.  At the beginning of last week, I'd noticed a hitch in her step.  Just the occasional holding up of her back right leg for a stride or two.  I always imagine the worst, thinking torn ACL or something as ugly.  Common sense took over, and I considered the idea that there might be something 'out' in her back, maybe a pinched nerve.  It certainly wasn't bothering Luna enough to slow her down, and in a couple of days it seemed to have disappeared.  I did call to make her a chiro appointment though, and had to wait until tonight to get her there.  I actually wanted to take all three dogs at the same time, as that way you get a 'bulk' price, but there wasn't an opening for three dogs until the end of the month. 
Late this afternoon, the rain mixed with wet snow turned totally to the white stuff, and by 7pm we had a couple of inches and it was still coming down like mad.  I called to make sure the chiropractors office hadn't closed down and gone home while the driving was still good.  David had just finished changing to his snow tires, so I offered him a good reason to try them out.  Since there had been some cancellations at the chiropractors because of the weather, there was now time for all three dogs. 
Once we got down into the valley next to the river, the snow wasn't much of an issue.
Luna really had some sore spots.  I think she would have turned around and nipped Lana if I wasn't holding her nose.  Lana said it was a sciatica type issue, so I wasn't too far off with the nerve guess.  She wants to see her again in a couple of weeks.   Jake and Calli had some smaller issues, but issues all the same.  Jake and Calli really love Lana, Jake went over to give her some licks while she was working on Calli.  Luna is warming up to her as well.  Of course the treats Lana hands out at the end of the session help with that:)
Our dogs are much harder on their bodies than we are on ours, they deserve some help to keep things working smoothly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Rare Beast

An ad on our local Craigslist.....
must sell moving 1year old black heifer bull cow friendly pet berts his name ,, come take away make offer im moving hes fat cute wags his tail and is friendly and likes to hug and be patted 

Is it a heifer or a cow, or a cow or a bull, or maybe even a dog?  Well it does seem certain that it's a male, so it's not a heifer or a cow, but not sure about the dog part.

Craigslist...massacring the English language, one heifer bull cow at a time.

Nelson Tours the Jungle

The beast has been unleashed.  Nelson has been taken out on a couple of supervised day passes.  Now he is hanging around the door in the evening, wanting to go out, and complaining loudly.  He has got braver and yesterday evening wandered through the living room when all four of us where there, as well as Jake, Luna and Smudge. Of course no one dared move, although Luna would have loved to, but she does know what stay means, most of the time. We could almost imagine Smudge going lalalalala with her paws in her ears, and her eyes closed, refusing to admit that Nelson exists.  She wouldn't look at him, not sure whether it was by design or just dumb luck, but she never seemed to be looking in the direction he was.  Surely she could hear him or smell him.

Click on the arrow here, while you watch the kind of boring video below. Makes it a little more bearable:)

Monday, November 14, 2011

On to Greener Pastures

April passed on to greener pastures sometime last night.  I thank her for that, as it was really obvious that her end was close.  She saved me from that awful decision that most animal owners have to make at some point or other.
She wasn't a pet sheep, but I guess was the next thing to it.  And then with all the personal attention she had been getting the last few months, it was harder to think of her as 'just a sheep'. She was one of a set of twins, the first bottle babies we ever had, and she was a character.

April and twins 2005

 April on her 14th birthday

April 1 1996 - November 14 2011
Happy grazing, April!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Luna : What the.....?

April : What are you looking at,dog?

April : I think I look simply dashing in my 'new', albeit a bit small, blue and black raincoat

Luna : THIS is what the raincoat is supposed to look like!

The other day I was putting April out in the hay field.  And the heavens burst and it pelted rain.  So to help keep her a bit dry, I borrowed Luna's coat.  The belly strap which is a bit too big on Luna was just barely hanging on by the last bit of velcro on each side on April.  And then it slipped forward in front of her bony hips.  She didn't care, but The Old Ewe who was out with her was giving her a wide berth, ready to make a run for it if that weird creature got too close. And of course the rain stopped shortly after.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11/11 Remembrance Day

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and this year, the eleventh year, the planes flew over the cemetery in Fort Langley

It had been a miserable, miserable morning.  Heavy rain.  I was in my fisherman rain gear when I took the dogs through the bush this morning.  Fortunately as we left for Ft. Langley, the rain stopped, and didn't start up again until we got back home. I was prepared though.  Big warm coat, water resistant pants, boot, mitts and an umbrella. 
Even though it's not pleasant to stand around in, rain on Remembrance Day seems appropriate..
It's so great to see the large turnout for the ceremony.  Lots of dogs there too.  After all, there are dogs that have done and are still doing their bit in the conflicts around the world.  

At the end of the ceremony, after all the wreaths were laid, we were invited to leave our poppies at the cenotaph. 
A wonderful, touching idea. 

That's me in the blue.

Lest We Forget

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Do you hate going to or have a fear of the dentist? 
Do you hate the sound and feel of the drill?
Maybe you'd better not read any farther.
Or maybe it might make you realize that your dental experience, compared to Pride's, 
wasn't really that bad after all.

The horse vet that specializes in dentistry came out to visit Pride today.
What, you say, a dentist that does house calls?

The first thing the vet does is sedate you.
Wow, all fear of the dentist is now gone.  
You are so out of it that your head is hanging between your knees, inches from the floor.  You can't expect the dentist to get down on his knees to look in your mouth,  so your head needs some help to get it to the right height. A rope tossed over the rafters, and that fancy padded halter thingy hoists your jaw up to viewing level.  Note the floppy bottom lip.

Then the vet puts that horrible speculum thing in your mouth, so you can't bite his arm off, and starts poking around in there with his hand.  He pulls out clumps of chewed up grass, and smells it.  That smells helps him figure out what is happening in there.  He shines his head lamp in there and then brings out the biggest drill you've ever seen.  Look at the length of that sucker!

It has a little round grinder head on the end, with a casing around it so that if the grinder slips off the tooth, it won't cut into the cheek.

Pride didn't like the vet putting his hand in his mouth, but once the drill got going he relaxed more.  The vet said that happens every time.  You'd think the horses would object even more to that, but it seems to relax them.  Tooth dust was floating out.

As you can imagine, with the length of a horses jaw, there is a whole long line of molars back there.  If the upper and lower molars aren't exactly aligned, one edge of a tooth can develop sharp points that don't get ground off, and those sharp points can poke into places they shouldn't.  Pride had some sore spots on the inside of his cheeks where the points were hitting.  Since he is nearly 30, his teeth are just about worn out.  There's not much left of them.

All the protruding points got ground off.
Then the vet brought out his little pick thing, just the same size as a human dentist uses, and picked away at the plaque on Pride's incisors.

Then when it was all done, Pride's head was back down almost at the ground.  The front legs were forward and the back legs, well they were back, and he was well braced while the anesthetic wore off.  An hour later he was out grazing in the field.

The vet was great.  Gave us a running commentary of everything he was doing.  I liked the way he handled Pride.  
We had a discussion about Pride's weight.  This was the first summer that Pride didn't put on weight.  He's going into Winter carrying less poundage than we'd like.  Maybe those pointy teeth poking into his cheeks were making for some painful chewing, and he wasn't able to eat as much.  Maybe it is just old age catching up with him. The vet suggested we measure around him in the girth area, and then repeat that every few weeks.  He said we'd pick up a weight loss with the tape measure faster than just eyeballing him.  Then we could adjust his feed accordingly.  At the beginning of November we let him into the back hayfield, where we could have taken a late, light second cut of hay, but didn't.  So there's lots of grass out there.  That combined with some grain and horse pellets will be his diet for the winter.  The amount of horse pellets will increase as the grass decreases.  Even if he was totally toothless, we could soak pellets in warm water to make a mash, and he could just swallow that.
There's lots of life in the old boy yet.
And somehow I'm getting the feeling we're running a seniors home for animals.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Better Late than Never!

A belated thank you to everyone that sent me birthday wishes on Sunday!
Thank goodness that it was the end of daylight savings time, as that extra hour was sure appreciated, since we had to get up early to head off to a farmers market.  This one was indoors, which is nice, because it's warm, but not so nice because all those heavy boxes have to be transported inside.
Well worth it though, it was an awesome day.  The sun shone, and some of the farm vendors were set up outside.  We had taken what beets and bunches of greens I was able to scrounge up, and sold them all.
Loads of jam and eggs were sold as well.

These three pictures were taken driving down 264th, heading south, through the spotty windshield, at 90 kph, on the way to the market.
That's Mt. Baker in Washington State that the sun is rising behind, and frosty fields in the foreground.
No, I wasn't driving:)

All the family gathered at the end of the day and had a meal out together.  That included my mother, well since she had given birth to me on that day many years before, it seemed only right.

I had wanted to do another sort of entertaining post like I did for my birthday last year, but it just didn't happen.  If you want a chuckle, you can read last year's here.  It's all the really important things you want to know about me.

If anyone asks, I'm just going to say that I'm 65, and then hopefully they might say that I look really good for that age.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nelson Finds His Way

Nelson had some fresh air today.  Not that it was his choice, it was mine.  I can hear my mother now....'It's nice out there, get yourselves outside'.  He wasn't panicked or anything, and the dogs couldn't get up there.   I was mean though and called Smudge up.  She got to the top of the steps, saw Nelson, hissed, hissed some more, and then ran back down and sat on the bench under the arbour, totally disgusted with me I'm sure.  After about 15 minutes I let him back in, and he slunk back to 'his' bedroom.  He's actually coming out from under the bed even less now.  I can hear readers saying that I should just leave him alone and let him come out on his own terms.  I need to comb him though.  I had a big session a couple of days ago, and combed out another cat's worth of undercoat.  It's incredible the amount of hair he carries, oh, and leaves chunks of all over the bedroom.  I did the same thing today, and got another big pile.  He is looking a bit smaller now.  I found a big flat mat on his lower abdomen.  A large area matted right to the skin.  It took a lot of careful scissor snipping to get that off.  He does love to be groomed, and you can get him on his back and stretch his legs out to get some of the tricky spots, and he seems quite relaxed when you do that.   He's very nervous though, and if he is out from under the bed, and you go into the bedroom, he scoots back under it in a hurry. 

Yesterday I put a leash and harness on him and took him outside on the grass.  He wasn't impressed, and I won't do it again for a while.  It was nice to see that he knew exactly where the back door and safety was though.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Backyard Farm

 This is the backyard chicken crew.  Never mind that they have half an acre to wander around in if they stay where they are supposed to.  You know that old saying....The grass is bugs are always greener better on the other side of the fence.
This is the ring leader, a scrappy little bantam cross.  Wild little thing.  We've had him a few years now, and half the time he'd still rather roost in the trees at night.  Larry has a 15' piece of ABS pipe that he whacks the evergreens near the coop to scare him out.  It's for his own safety, and us and our neighbours early morning peace

He likes to let the world know that he has arrived.
Ra ra ra ra raaawwrrrr!  
When he crows, it doesn't sound much like cock-a-doodle-do.  But then I've never heard a rooster that really does.

By the time the crew was done, I don't think there was a bug left alive under the pear tree.  Usually we have some pretty decent pears.  I give the chickens credit for some of that decency.
This year though, the pear crop was pretty well non existent. 

April and The Old Ewe visit the back yard occasionally.  April is older than The Old Ewe, which really doesn't make much sense, but it is what it is.

April had another bloat session about a week ago.  Another dose of the baking soda cocktail did the trick.  Then last Saturday as I was just about to leave for a farmers market, Larry comes running in to say that April is flat on her side in the barn, not moving.  She's still alive but.....
Larry's not a sheep guy.  I said that maybe she just couldn't get up.  In the meantime I change back into the  'farm' clothes I'd just changed out of, and head to the sheep barn.  Larry has got her up.  She's fine, a bit wobbly and disoriented, but eventually puts her head down to the grass to eat.  She'd just got herself in a position where the floor was uneven and she couldn't get herself up.  She'd been stuck that way for a while, judging on the way she was acting.  So one of the first things I do in the morning now is to check that April hasn't got herself stuck somewhere.

And the bloat thing... Well we've figured out that if we let her out where there is lots of grass, she just never stops eating, never lays down out there to chew her cud.  She just overfills herself.  So now we let her out for a few hours and then put her back in the home field.  The Old Ewe goes with her.  T O E does have the sense to head back on her own.  April has always been a bit of a individual.  So today they got out for a few hours in the morning, and then in the afternoon I opened the gate to the back lawn, and they were quite happy to stop there and eat.  Fine with me.  It was a lot easier than having to fetch April from the far side of the hay field.  She doesn't pay much attention to Luna, probably can hardly see her anyway.  She can't see much.  The best way to bring her back is lead her with her bucket of grain.  She seems to be able to find that easily enough.

And you know how they always say that the camera adds 10 lbs.  Well that's true in April's case.  She's still not much more than skin and bones, and I'm not expecting that to change at this point.  She can still manage to walk a 1/4 mile or so each day as she wanders back and forth, so I guess she's not quite done yet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Frosty Friday

Thursday night/Friday morning was the first day we dipped below freezing overnight.  We've had a few nights with touches of frost, but last night was the real deal.  
There was an interesting three dimensional layer on the dog pool.

Blueberry bush.

Once they had thawed out, the foliage was all black, and the plants are well and truly done.
I dug a few up this afternoon.  This year I'm not making such a production out of it, and am taking the advice of the experts who say that you don't have to wash all the dirt off.  So out the tubers come, shake and poke out what dirt I can, and shove them into paper chicken feed bags.

Pride was enjoying the frosty grass.
Ice cream for horses?

One of the neighbour's horses

And then the sun came up.