Monday, November 30, 2009

Swamp Things

(cue ominous music)

When it rains heavily, the back of the property turns into a wet, grassy swamp. This makes all of my dogs (except Dexter) ridiculously happy. They get to swim, splash and bounce around like morons. They also get to hunt.

Although really, I don't know what they are hunting for.

Maybe for the origins of the Magical Flamboyance (tm)?

I think it comes from a mysterious portal just beyond those trees.

And if you find it, you can fly! See?

Food Lady, Tweed is being ridiculous.

Everyone knows the magic lays just beneath the surface of hog fuel.

It's quite funny - when it gets wet, the hog fuel of the horse paddock and around the barn makes these really strange, creaking, groaning and whistling noises. Piper is *convinced* something is alive under there.

There! There it is! Did you hear it?

Didn't you hear that? It's under there! Right there!

Dexter! Come here and help me dig this up the magic!

And Dexter is happy to oblige, because the Swamp Things make him very nervous and he'd much rather be here than there.

Ack! They're coming! Run Food Lady, run!!

Oh foolish youth.

Oh oh - looks like Dexter found the magic portal!


One day this kindgom will be mine. All mine.

Poor Wootie. Even though he likes playing Swamp Things, he really wishes there real and alive things for him to hunt.

It won't be long before he gets his wish. I'm told this property is overrun with bunnies and pheasants in the Spring and Summer months.

If I think he's fat now, imagine how portly he'll be when he's eating all the little wild critters in his kingdom? Or maybe the frantic chasing will balance it all out ....

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blackie Spit Off Leash Park

The dogs give it Two Tongues Up.

The "dry" off leash area was all sandy, so no mud!! (Big improvement over, say, my own property) And it had dogs for Wootie to play with.

He was so excited he used his magical powers to transform his Flamboyance (tm) into the back end of a cattle dog.

It even kindly provided a puppy for Dexter to play with (when Wootie would let him). And by "play with" I am of course referring to "bite on the nose."

He got a little pouty when the bitee retaliated by squashing him.

The off leash area also had these cute little jungle paths for exploring

Thank you for letting me run again!!
(Piper is on a program of gradually reintroduced exercise. No limping at all so far, so I think we're doing okay! *fingers crossed*)

But do you wanna know what the best thing about Blackie Spit is? Do you?

What is it?

It's this:

ZOMG!! Ocean-induced Mad Teeth (tm)!!!

Oh ocean! How I have missed you so! Moving out to the sticks meant leaving the ocean far behind, and I thought we'd never see it again.

There was much rejoicing.


Although some members of the family were less than impressed with this large body of water, because some members of the family don't "do" water.

I feel pretty 'meh' about this whole ocean thing.

Mr. Woo tried to show him how it was done.

If you stick your face underwater, you can pick up cool stuff!

But Dex wasn't falling for it.

Stick my face where? Nuh uh, brutha, youz on the crack!

But Dexter wasn't going to ruin Wootie's fun! He was so happy he even fetched the ball. Oh yes he did!

Americans have Thanksgiving; I have Wootie Fetched A Ball Day.

Mr. Woo was exceptionally pleased with Blackie Spit because in no time at all he figured out that if he wanted to, he could just ... leave (reoccurring theme with him, or what?)

Oh hai! I snuck out of the fenced area.

Tee hee! Catch me if you can!

What a little porker. Oops, I mean, what a little STINKER.

Nooooo, I definitely mean what a little PORKER.

I mean, look at him:

I don't understand how Wootie gets so fat! I feed him next to nothing - seriously, he eats less than a 1/3rd of what my other (skinny) dogs eat, and his morning meal looks so pathetic I add beans, canned pumpkin and warm water to it so that it appears more like a meal and less like a POW ration system.

Why is he so fat? I mean, I guess it could be because most of the time on our outings, he can be found like this:

... which is Wootie with his face in a hole. And I am not exaggerating - he can spend HOURS with his face in a hole. Turns out what he's doing is sucking on dirt clumps. Is it because he's hungry? He's hungry because I don't feed him enough, but I don't feed him enough because all he does is lie around eating dirt!!! He's like the chicken-and-egg riddle!!!!

Oh well. I guess the Mystery of Wootie Fat will never be solved.

Hai! Talk about me for a minute! Woo is boring. And fat.

Okay, Tweed, let's brag on you for a second.

Although I had to scratch Piper from the trial last weekend, I did run His Silliness, Mr. T. And he went 3 for 3 - 3 Qs, two 1st places and one 2nd place. That's my boy!!!

I will leave you with this one thought, dear readers ... if you want to see something very, very amusing, give your dog a salt and vinegar potato chip. A big one. In fact, photodocument it if you can. The face-making is HILARIOUS!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Farm Dogs

are too poor for real toys.

They have to make do with old milk jugs, and sticks.

Which they may or may not find whilst digging up the horse paddock

OMG! Are we poor?

Yes Dexter, we are very poor! And we almost got a lot poorer recently too.

The other day, we thought Piper had blown a cruciate. Eep. She hunkered down in Dexter's crate and wouldn't come out, and when I did lure her out she was limping badly on one hind leg and didn't want to walk on the laminate.

Well, it hurt. What did you want from me?

I immediately blamed Dexter.

It's not my fault. And you can't see me anyway.

Because SOMEBODY has a nasty habit of trying to squash her while she's bouncing up and down waiting for her ball.

What, you mean when I do this?

And the heavier he gets, the more he impedes her insane devil spins and interferes with her take-off.

So we trundled off to the vet clinic for a check up.

Piper has the most intense sense of self preservation of any dog I have ever met. She refuses to show pain in front of anyone but me. If *you* cut off her legs with a rusty hacksaw, she would just stare at a spot on the wall behind you and pretend it was not happening, and that she was fine, but if *I* pinch her toe she screams just as if I'd said "all the world's tennis balls are gone and you'll never play fetch again."

So of course the vet couldn't get her to show an ounce of pain. She was so tensed up the vet couldn't tell anything at all! She did step out of the room and I grabbed Piper's knee and she shrieked but as soon as the vet stepped back in the room she stopped (mid-shriek) and went back to her happy (mad) place.

In the end, the vet said that given Piper's size and general FANTASTIC body condition, and a few other factors, she didn't present as a cruciate injury, but possibly a muscle strain. We decided on a conservative approach of rest (no agility, no fetch) for a couple of weeks to see if she improves on her own. She is no longer limping, but I'm playing it very safe. She gets a two week break from agility class, and I scratched her from the trial this weekend too.

There's a good chance I'm going to lose my shit, thanks to this regime.

I didn't want to trundle all the way to agility class with just Tweed, who is too old for two hours of class anyway.

No I'm not! I can do it!

Yes, you are. And no, you can't.

I hate you, and you'll pay for this. Good luck falling asleep at night.

So for a lark, I threw Mr. Woo into Piper's spot.

Mr. Woo has learned all the equipment in sporadic practices, except the chute, and for fun I have taught him both threadles and serpentines, but really Wootie has been on equipment maybe 6 times in his life. Since this is a mostly Masters level class, I apologized profusely to my classmates for the time-waste they were about to watch ... and damned if the little fat couch didn't run almost a whole 20 obstacle course.


A "natural jumper" The Sadist calls him.

That was fun. Let's hook up next Thursday, and I'll show you up once again. XOXO

Since Piper's on a break, there was no fetch today.

Just some rock climbing:

I think I lost my ears in this pile of rocks ...

And exploring for weird things. Weird things like this:

What is it, fish roe? I am sure there are fish in the dikes (which are now, like, rivers) and I know there are lots of birds of prey flying around, as I see them every day, so I assume these were the remnants of a fish supper.

I also saw a dead headless duck, but decided not to photograph for you all :)

Call me old *grumble* Why don't you step in here with me, Food Lady?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pineapple Express

Being no stranger to the PNW and its wet weather patterns, I was unsurprised (but unimpressed) to awake a couple of days ago to relentless, pounding, whipping, freezing and CONSTANT punishing rain that lasted for days and days. I don't *like it* but I wasn't shocked or anything.

I wasn't even surprised when late afternoon yesterday my power went out during the worst of the windy rain. What did surprise me was that it wasn't the weather that caused the power outage - it was some guy up the road in an excavator who backed into a power pole. How he did that on 25 acres of flat farmland is a mystery to me, but then again, I've never driven an excavator.

Anyway, the pole went down across the road, and with it went our power. And my freedom! As I am at the end of a dead-end road, and there was a pole down across that road, I was trapped on my property, with no way to escape to, say Starbucks for a latte and some wifi, or the drugstore for candles! It was a long, and cold, 6 hours of pitch black silence, let me tell you.

Poor Wootie was freezing cold too, as we had been outside playing just before the power went out, and he'd been splashing about merrily in a ditch. I wrapped up the sad little orange sack of cold-wet in a blanket and sat him on my lap while he shivered. You never saw anything that pathetic in your life.

phhllbbb on crummy weather.

The finer points of living in the stix continue to elude me.
I'm making real efforts to adapt, and yesterday somehow convinced my stepdad to drive all the way out here in the pouring rain to help me build a temporary fence. There are no photos of this fence for two reasons.

1) it's invisible.
Not really. What it it's made of is deer netting, which is a thin black plastic mesh material that is supposed to keep hundreds of lbs of deer off your property. After lots of painstaking research, I chose deer netting because the temporary fence was going in a place where a fence would look stupid, so being almost invisible was a bonus. Also, it's super inexpensive, and since this is just a temporary potty area, I didn't want to sink any money into it. Real fencing goes in next Spring.

The other reason there are no photos of it:

2) Because it's already gone! How the hell this stuff is supposed to keep a 400lb deer out of anything is a mystery to me, because 40lbs of Tweed didn't see it (cuz, you know, it's invisible), ran into it and split it right down the center. WTF?

The whole reason for putting up the temporary fencing was so that I had a semi-secure potty area to put the dogs in where they wouldn't wander off. Because Wootie has a habit of just ... leaving. And lately, he has started taking Dexter with him.

Who, me?

Yes, you, you little rat! In fact, if Dexter were grown up, the scene would probably look a little like this:

Wootie's not leaving because he doesn't like it here - on the contrary, he is in love. It's just that since we settled in, he has adopted the entire neighborhood as HIS. He must pee on all the neighboring properties, chase other dogs down the road, hide bones in the horse paddock and generally make sure everyone in a 3 mile radius knows that Woo is in da hood.

He loves to go outside and patrol the perimeter of the property.

I'm your friendly neighborhood security patrol. Get that camera out of my face.

And Dexter has no qualms at all about strolling off when the mood strikes him. He is one brave little puppy.

Oh hai, I'm in your horse paddock, pretending I'm deaf.

His enormous ears give him away though! Those things don't want to stand up, but they don't want to lay flat either. They both point forward and fold in half. It makes him the absolute cutest puppy on the face of this earth! Although I might be biased.

No you're not. I am really, really cute.

I thought *I* was the cutest puppy on earth?

Oh gosh, but you ARE Piper! Even with that divot of skin missing from your nose, where you ripped it off trying to "bury" your elk bone in the linoleum.

But also, Miss Piper is no puppy. Why tomorrow (or some time this month) she will be 7 years old! And Mr. Woo (ditto) will be 4 years old! Where on earth does the time go?


Ha ha. You guys are getting older! I'm still 9.

I will assume you have some good reason for never celebrating my birthday.