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Introducing Oliver.

Puppy's first tour

This is my new excuse to head outside for some exercise. Oliver is a four month old Morkie. So far he is a spectacular little dog. As long as I take him outside every half hour or so, he does not do things inappropriately in the house. He sleeps on the bed beside me in his little crate and sleeps through the night – no accidents! He loves to play and to walk which is an answer to my prayers. He fetches endlessly as Buddy used to do. He eats, sleeps, and plays. What else could you want in a dog?

I’ve had him now for four days. He’s been out for short walks down the road with me and follows along perfectly. The harness I bought is too big for him, so I made sure he was close enough to scoop up if a car approached – but no cars so far on our walks.

Today I made him a little coat and took him out on the trail across the road to see if he was up for the hour’s trek.

Here he is on my side of the road, just checking out the dead bracken.

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We.re on the trail now, and he’s sticking very close behind me as we walk along. When I stop, he investigates the surroundings. There’s a lot for a new little puppy to discover.

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I’m wondering what he’ll think about the water.

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It’s frozen over and he stays safely on shore. (But for a moment I was afraid he was going to step out.)

Note to self: We need a harness and a leash.

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We continue along the winding trail, me turning to be sure he’s with me every half minute or so. Every time I check he’s right there, only inches from my feet. I can’t hear him, so I need to keep checking.

But suddenly, when I turn to see if he’s there, he’s gone! I look back along the trail and he’s standing there, maybe 40 feet away, looking at me. I start running back to him, calling his name.

Either he no longer recognizes me, and I frighten him, or he’s fed up with the walk. He turns and runs as fast as he can back along the trail the way we came. I run like a mad woman, but I cannot catch up with him. Soon he’s completely out of sight. I say a few prayers as I’m terrified he’ll just dash across the road and get hurt. We live on a dead end with only three houses, but still – there are cars occasionally.

I’m praying he’s gone home, but I can’t really believe it can be possible. This is the first time we’ve gone left out of the driveway and down the road, and he’s never been on the trail before.

I exit the trail, rush panting up the hill and into the driveway. Then I hear him barking. He’s at the back door and want’s me to let him in. He seems confused when I appear behind him.

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My conclusion is, he didn’t recognize me when I turned and ran back to get him. so he ran for safety – back to the home he has known for only a few days. How is that possible?

Reincarnation?

Now Here’s a Question? Do you think Dogs Reincarnate to be with a former person? This little dog reminds me so much of Buddy that I find myself wondering if it is possible that he is the reincarnation of Buddy’s soul.

In my search for a new best friend, I asked Spirit to let me know with some sort of sign, that the dog I found was meant to be my dog. When I went to meet this little puppy, he was living with a family of cat, dogs, child, and parents. I met the mom who was very warm and friendly. At one point while she was chatting about the dog, she said, “I don’t know why, but this is his favorite toy.” Then she reached into the laundry basket, pulled out a sock, rolled it into a ball, and tossed it for the puppy to retrieve. Which he did, bringing it back to my feet.

Now if you are a long time follower of this blog, you may remember that socks were Buddy’s favorite toys. Surely that was my sign that this was my dog.

Since then Oliver has displayed many behaviors that remind me so much of Buddy, that I find it hard not to ponder the reincarnation possibility. Also, my cat Abbey who knew Buddy, has been very affectionate from the first time she saw him – no hissing! Here she is greeting only minutes after his arrival.

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Now, I do know that dogs have strong noses, and it’s not impossible that Oliver could have found his way home again. But still – where is home to him, here, or where he’s lived for the past 4 months? And how was he able to race back without putting his nose to ground?

Just wondering!

He’s a sweetheart!

And yes, don’t worry – lesson learned! NOT going out for a walk without a harness and leash again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The weather was beautiful Sunday. So beautiful that my guilt over painting indoors with my dog snoring beside me, finally forced me put up the brushes and get my shoes on for a walk. As I headed outside with Bo, I made note of  where the cats were. Lately Finn, my granddaughter’s cat whose been living here while she is at college, has taken to following me around the yard. I was afraid he might try to follow us on our longer trek. I was not sure he wouldn’t wander off and get lost, or get stuck up a tree (which he has done several times). I saw he was safely indoors. Good, I thought.

We were half way down the driveway when Finn came bounding along. He’s free to go in and out the cat door as he pleases. I had wrongly assumed he was happy snoozing inside.

So, I decided to see how it went.

Finn is very much like Max, the neighborhood cat, who used to follow me, Buddy, and Bo, frequently on our walks. Max is featured in many of my past blogs. Max moved away, and I’ve missed his company. Of course I didn’t have to worry about Max – he was a roaming cat and not mine. But I was not keen to have to tell my granddaughter that I’d lost her cat.

01 How does he know the way

How does he know the way?

Right away Finn took the lead.

02 Bo and Finn Heading for the water

Bo and Finn just rambling on toward the water.

 

03 Beaver Dam Across the way

The beaver dam across the road.

 

05 Someone Else Passed This Way

Stopping for a little scent exploration.

 

04 Following along

Sometimes Finn leads – sometimes he follows.

06 High Alert - Ducks

On high alert – ducks ahead!

 

08 Marsh Path

Someone has made a path through the marsh. Hmmm?

 

09 Finn, come back!

No Finn – come back!

 

10 Not a good idea

That’s not a great idea either. Remember how you got stuck up the tree all night?

 

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Thank you!

07 Happy Cat

Happy cat!

 

11 Taking the shortcut home

Taking the short cut back towards home. We went far enough for a first foray.

 

12 Back out on the road

Back on the road.

 

13 Stopped to roll in the dirt

Finn stops for a roll in the sand.

 

14 Heading Home

Heading back home. Finn knows the way. Why do I think he’s roamed farther than the yard before?

 

15 Back safe and sound

Home sweet home, safe and sound.

 

We’ll have to do that again!

(No apologies for all the cat pictures.)

Signing off.

 

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Toward the end of the winter I purchased a bag of organic potatoes. I don’t eat a lot of potato, so I was eventually left with a bunch of sprouting spuds. Instead of tossing them out, I decided to plant them come spring. Which I did. I dug up a weedy area behind the workshop where Audrey raised her chicks last summer. The soil seemed very rich and fertile, so I did nothing except pull up the weeds in a small rectangular area. Then I cut up the potatoes and put them in the ground, with some straw on top.

The potato patch

The potato patch

I almost forgot about them. Much to my surprise, when I finally did think to check and see what was happening, I had ten or so potato plants growing better than any of the vegetables I’d started in the garden. I’ve been blanketing them in straw as they grow which I understand is what one is supposed to do. 

The chicks' A-frame and chicken coop in the background. And lots of weeds and fern around

The chicks’ A-frame and chicken coop in the background. And lots of weeds and fern all around. I’ll have to watch or the potatoes will be over-run.

Two of the girls, watching.

Two of the girls, watching.

The other day I noticed half a dozen strange-looking bugs eating the leaves. I have no idea what these bugs are. The are translucent except for a brown marking that looks like a teddy bear from above. I’ve never seen these bugs before, and all my searches on Google have not come up with anything like them. So, if anyone knows what this bug is, please let me know. 

What are these?

What are these?

It didn't seem able to fly.

It didn’t seem able to fly.

 

 I took the bugs to the chickens, and they were gone in about two seconds. It’s amazing how keen the chickens’ eyes are. Even when I dropped one bug on the ground, the chickens had no trouble seeing it.

This morning I was mowing the grass which had grown almost knee-high with all the rainy days we’ve had. I spotted an unusual spider on one of the white iris. I don’t know this critter either. He’s pretty handsome though. What he does is crawl inside the blossom, pull the petals in around him, and hide there waiting for something – surely not a bee – perhaps a moth of some sort. I don’t know – I couldn’t hang around long enough to find out.

I know it's a spider, but it's not a familiar one.

I know it’s a spider, but it’s not a familiar one.

Visiting Kitty was here this morning for breakfast. She stayed all winter – inside the house, but mostly on the screened porch. Once the snow had melted enough for her to walk, she was gone. She stayed away for weeks, and just when I was sure she’d become someone’s dinner, she showed up again, meowing outside the door for a meal. Her habit at the moment is to show up, have breakfast, and then take off for another span of several weeks. It’s mid afternoon now, and she’s gone again. I think she must have another home somewhere. She doesn’t seem undernourished, even when she’s been gone for a long time. She’s clearly feral, but does allow me to pat her when she is outside. I couldn’t get near her this winter when she was in the house. Bo could though. She loves Bo.

Here's Visiting Kitty, having breakfast this morning.

Here’s Visiting Kitty, having breakfast this morning.

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I’ve been watching the bird house my daughter gave me a few years ago, these past weeks. This is the first year birds have moved in. A pair of chickadees took up residence a while back, and they have been very busy for a while, flying in and out with bugs and grubs. They are so fast that I’ve been unable to photograph them on their way into the house, but when they leave, they pause at the doorstep, so I’ve snapped a few long-range photos.

Abbey with birdhouse in background

Abbey with bird house in background. It is from here that I took all the photos.

Here's Mom heading out for more bugs.

Here’s Mom heading out for more bugs.

 

And here's Dad

And here’s Dad.

This morning I was preparing to head out to the grocery, but thought to check and see if the birds were up and busy. They were – Mom and Dad rushing in and out. When the parents were away from the house, I noticed some movement at the opening. I was surprised that the young were way up near the door. I had envisioned them down at the bottom where they would be safe. I began to worry that one would fall out. So I waited and watched through my binoculars. I had visions of having to rescue a baby bird and put it back into the house. I hung on watching, waiting for Mama to return and tell her babies to behave and get back from the door.

It seemed a longer time than normal waiting for Mom to return. Suddenly a chick poked its head out, and then  flew straight out and over to the hemlock tree fifty feet or so away. Then another chick did the same thing – came to the door and flew off. Then a third. I could see there was still another to go, so I raced to grab my camera, and got back just in time to see chick number four fly out. It was far too fast for my reflexes.

But as luck would have it, there was one more – the timid one. This little chick came to the door and then hopped down onto the ledge and looked around. Mom and Dad were making a racket calling to the little one from the hemlock. Little Chick looked around, cried for Mama, kept looking back at the safety of the nest, and then finally fluffed up its wings and flew off.

Where is everyone?

The last chick. Where is everyone?

Mama!

Mama!

 

Should I go back in there?

Should I go back in there?

Mustering courage.

Okay – I can do this.

 

And then they were gone.

And then they were gone.

The whole thing took less than ten minutes.

I’ve been collecting tidbits to blog about, including Mom and Dad in the bird house doorway, but I was thinking this morning that I needed a focus for the next blog.

As so often happens, Spirit provides.

 

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I went to do the dishes this afternoon, and gazed out the window as I always do, and there, calm as you like, was this beautiful bobcat. Fortunately my camera was handy. (The photos were taken through my dirty kitchen window, I’m afraid.)

How beautiful she is

 

Gazing toward the chicken coop

Gazing toward the chicken coop

Is that a smile?

Is that a smile?

 

She turns to go

She turns to go

 

So magnificent

So magnificent

Look at those big feet

Look at those big feet

Thank you for visiting!

Thank you for visiting!

She hangs out under the hemlocks for a while before heading back into the woods

She hung out under the hemlocks for a while before heading back into the woods

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Kitty was away for only a few days. She returned the morning after Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving survivors also returned, and Resident Kitty lay on the hill threatening to pounce at them.

She’s only playing – she never did pounce

It was a breezy warm day. I decided to initiate my new umbrella clothes line. I’d installed it a week or so earlier and had been waiting for the perfect clothes drying day. The design was far better than I’d anticipated, and the instructions had clearly not been written in China. There’s a plastic sleeve with a rain cap that gets cemented into a hole in which one has put a few inches of gravel. The sleeve is open at the bottom so any unwanted water drains away through a hole in the cement one makes before the cement has dried. When not in use, the clothesline is easily removed and the cap put back on, leaving nothing to obstruct cutting the grass.

Such a good design

Hanging the laundry out took me back to my childhood. Even then it was an enjoyable chore. And though the clothes are stiff when dry, they smell so good, it is well worth a little after-bath abrasion.

A trip down memory lane

That night I watched Kitty from the kitchen. She was on her front porch facing the little door, looking around to make sure she was not being observed. I knew she was going to climb in. I managed to grab my camera and get a blurry photo of her tail disappearing inside.

In she goes (I had to lighten this as it was very dark out – nothing for the camera to focus on)

The next morning she came trotting down the hill again when I let Bo out. She’s too quick for me trying to focus my camera in the dark.

Two-eyed Kitty – one-eyed Bo

I am now able to touch her – just briefly. But she doesn’t hiss or strike back – only looks surprised. “Did something touch my back? What was that?” she says circling to see what has brushed her fur. This morning she stepped into the house. Then looked around puzzled, and retreated to the comfort of the naked sky.

I think it won’t be long before she’s coming into the house for her meals. Then I’ll have to worry about whether she’s neutered. (For that matter, she could be a he – but I don’t think so.) I think she’s young. She plays in the grass like a kitten, leaping about after her tail. I suppose her first foray into the house might be to have kittens. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Look how pretty she (he?) is – here she has emerged from an afternoon snooze in the house

Max hasn’t been around for almost three weeks now. All of us in the neighborhood who are owned by Max are worried. Usually Max responds to my telepathic messages when I’ve been missing him and have started to worry. This time I’m getting no response. His “owners” have moved away, and even though we all took care of him, it would make sense for them to have taken him with them. I’m waiting for a call back to know for certain this is the case. I still keep expecting him to show up and meow to come in.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Resident Kitty’s been here every day, hanging out at the back door, waiting for breakfast and dinner. As the days grew cold, I worried about her at night. I’ve not been able to determine where she’s sleeping, but I couldn’t imagine that the garage or under the tool shed could be cozy places to sleep. So I decided to build a house for her. It took me a few days, and Resident Kitty hung around and watched the whole time. I think she knew it was for her.

I have a lot of wood remnants here from various projects, so the only thing I had to spend a few dollars on was the roof drip edging. I ran out of shingles, but my local hardware store, Belletetes, gave me the five pieces I needed, for free.

Breakfast on the front porch

 

I built the house with a removable top for ease of cleaning. The loft area is separated from the bottom with a board, forming a compartment for insulating straw. I put rigid foam insulation under the raised floor. The inside is filled with straw with hollow area for Kitty to curl up in. I put it on casters so I can move it around.

The morning after I built the house, I let Bo out to pee. It was still dark. When I turned the light on for him, out of the little house, climbed Kitty. She’d slept there. YAY! And she was there then next night as well.

 

Making herself at home

I wish I could say it was a perfect solution for her, but she’s not been around the last few days, so I suspect there’s a barn around here that is a little better protection. I was thinking of getting those warmer things you put in the microwave, but there’s not much point if she’s no longer here. Still, I suspect she’ll be back for a meal at some point, and she may find it a good place when the weather is a little warmer – a place to shelter from the rain.

I enjoyed the project. I’m thinking of painting it come spring. Fun colors!

The chicks are no longer chicks. They all sleep in the big coop now, and only once in a while do I discover one or two at dusk, back on the high perch in the chick’s coop. I don’t  know if they are there due to a lapse in memory, or for old time’s sake. If it’s going to be really cold, I move them. I can’t wait to see the first tiny white egg.

All grown up

 

Abbey – come to see what I’m doing in the pen

 

The hens hang out together in the sun – they seem to know the spot where the sun stays most of the day

 

While I was photographing the hens, I suddenly noticed one of the chicks was outside the pen

One of the chicks has figured out how to get out of the pens. She’s either found a hole that is so far elusive, or she’s flying up and out. Here I was photographing the hens lounging behind the door when I suddenly noticed one of the chicks was outside. She’s done this twice now. It’s a bit worrisome knowing there’s a fox around. I laid out deer fencing on the ground where the fox had been coming in. I’m hoping this is a deterrent. So far, so good.

We’ve had only a dusting of snow so far. This is the first fall I’ve managed to get the garden all turned over and ready for the spring. I was thrilled at how many worms there were. Every shovel full of dirt was loaded with worms. They’d already gone way down ready for the winter. I hope they had enough time to get themselves situated for the cold again after being rudely disturbed.

Ready for spring – the greens are turnips which I’ll harvest in the spring, sweetened by the cold

 

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