Too Busy to Blog
What’s kept me away?
The Unbearable Cuteness of Peeping
Twenty-one adorable little peeps arrived here a two and a half weeks ago. A mixed bag of heavy, cold-hardy egg layers. We’ve discovered that stock tank full of baby chicks is more fun than an aquarium - and a lot cheeper than valium. They are a terrible time sink. Audie (who is utterly smitten with his chooks) and I go out to watch, feed and handle them an absolutely ridiculous number of times each day. Of course they’re getting quite tame. Today two of the Buff Orps stepped into the palm of my hand and fell asleep there [sighs]. The Partridge Rock that I nursed back to health after she injured her leg runs right to my hand (probably because I hand fed her fresh worms while she recuperated in the peep ICU.) My favorite is the little Dominique that likes to hop up and perch on my outstretched thumb. She’ll stay there calmly while I lift her out of the brooder, then walk up my arm and watch me in that quizzical one-eye-at-a-time way.
If only they could stay this sweet forever…
Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Distractions
A friend of ours (who is also one of my favorite dog writers) came to stay with us for a week. He and his four Border Collies travelled here to attend a clinic at nearby Kensmuir Farm with Derek Scrimgeour. Zip, Audie and I attended a few days of the clinic as well. Days at the clinic, dinner at night, lots of fascinating evening conversation and having six dogs (four of them intact males) in the house kept us all happily occupied but it made for a long, tiring week.
Derek was, as always, brilliant. In just a couple of sessions he accomplished things that would take me months to achieve with my dogs. He is a master in the use of pressure – release and in shaping a dogs understanding of space and distance.
Young Audie turned two. As his breeder recently posted:
This is something like an eighteenth birthday in dog terms. It’s the age to start radiographing hips and thinking seriously about breeding a year or two from now, if that’s an option on the table at all. It’s the age at which one starts to think “Well, this is pretty much the dog that I’m going to have.”
And a fine young dog he is. Bright, biddable, loyal, athletic and resiliant – exactly the dog I wanted. Thanks Heather!
In other landmark birthday news our friend Solveigh just turned ten. This is a significant milestone because she’s a Great Dane and, except for a bit of grey on her muzzle, still fit and healthy as a young dog.
The Art of the Commonplace
After two months of having no use of my right arm, I can finally do *small* bits of things with it. So I’m limping through one mountain of chores that piled up while I was on severely restricted activity and another mountain of chores that arose because, well, I was bored and decided I needed more stuff to do.
We ‘re putting in a small 12-15 tree orchard west of the house. This involves clearing brush and weeds, selecting trees, adding a few truckloads of topsoil and planting trees. I hope to get those last two steps completed this week. Apples, pears, plums and apricots. We’re in Minnesota so I’m sticking to disease-resistant cold-hardy trees. Nothing fancy.
I got sick of the overgrown, generic, 15-year-0ld shrubbery around the house. So – when the tree people were here a few weeks ago to cut some dead and in-the-way trees down I had them rip most of it out. Half my front yard now looks like a buffalo wallow. Craters filled with a mix of gravel mulch, dirt and shredded plastic give our place that perfect poor white trash ambiance. With the help of my husband and a local farmer it’s getting replaced with a mix of miniature apple trees, grapevines, currant bushes, honeyberry bushes, a gold elderberry and a mix of flowering shrubs. We hope to re-use that old rock mulch in other areas once I’ve cleaned it back up.
The Peep Hilton gets completed in our backyard this week. A six by eight coop with an attached, covered run. I’ll let the chickens range when Audie’s there to keep an eye on them, but since one of the Red Tailed Hawks’ favorite hunting perches is the top of an Aspen tree less than 50 feet from the coop, I think it’s prudent to keep them in a covered area when supervision isn’t available.
Then there’s finishing the bathroom, putting new shelves in the walk-in-closet-turned-storage room, spring cleaning, the vegetable garden, herb garden, perennials, the lawns, house and training building to take care of as well as a husband and two dogs that want my attention too.
I hope to get a large chunk of it taken care of this week. Look for more here in a few days.