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It was in the 61 degrees today. Unbelievable! The snow is fast disappearing and much of the sunnier woods was bare today. It’s hard to believe we had 6 inches of snow a few days ago and it’s only been the last few days that I haven’t had the heat lamp on in the chicken coop.

Glory be! We headed outside to wander the yard with no coat on and Buddy’s old Frisbee in hand. Oliver loves the Frisbee but today he was just too excited exploring parts of the yard he hasn’t seen before, to play.

Finn came out and joined us.

Nose to nose

A little nose to nose greeting.

Exploring new territory

The old cat netting has mostly come down and need repairing. I’ve removed much of it but left a good expanse just to keep predators out. Oliver appears to be a wanderer, so I will repair it just to deter him from taking off into the woods.

Checking out the cat shelter

Exploring the old straw filled cat shelter.

Where are you going

What? Where are you going?

Can I fit in there too

Any room for me?

Hi FInn

Ha! I found a place where the dog doesn’t go!

Thinks he's a cat

Oliver thinks he’s a cat.

Nest hair ball

I’d completely forgotten I’d hung this out for the birds last spring. How nice to see it was used. And there’s plenty of wool left for this spring.

No I don't want to come in

After a 360 degree tour of the yard, we were back where we started and it was time to go in. Guess who did not want to do that!

As I type this he’s whining, barking, and pulling on my sleeve. He wants to go back out there. So…before the sun heads below the horizon, I think we’ll head outside again.

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This blog has been centered around outside activities. It’s amazing how many things there have been to write about that happen outside: chickens, croquet, cats, dogs, spiders, grandchildren, constructing outbuildings, snow, weeds – well, you get the idea. But the one requirement for the blog is that I open the back door and step outside.

Not something that has come easily this VERY cold winter.

After taking a long break from posting on this blog, I began it again a month ago the day I brought Oliver home. I was l all geared up for a new chapter in outside activities. Oliver’s first few days here were balmy with no snow on the ground, and we made a good start on heading outside. Since then we’ve had negative degree temperatures and lots of snow.

But…despite the cold, I have spent a lot of time heading outside with Oliver – just about every half hour during the day, and sometimes once or twice at night in my pajamas and slippers. But not for the great adventures I’d had in mind. House training a puppy is not exactly the greatest subject for blogging and photo taking.

I did try sending Oliver out on his own while I watched from the warmth of the house. But no dice.

Not too keen on the heading outside stuff

“Are you coming out, or what?”

On the trail to the bird feeder

Here he is on the trail to the bird feeder.

After the next storm the trails were so deep I had to follow after him to make sure he was performing.

Though our trips outside have been brief, we have had some beautiful photo ops.

Sunrise on the balsam

I transplanted this beautiful double balsam from the woods behind to this spot in my yard 7 or 8 years ago. It is a beauty!

Oliver’s first snow experience was hilarious. Where was the grass he needed? He raced around the yard trying to find a bit of green.

Where's the grass

“What is this stuff?”

While he dashed about, I madly shoveled a spot for him down to the grass. Over time he transitioned to the snow as the appropriate place. Yesterday we had warm weather and masses of rain. When we headed outside for the usual, all his habitual places were down to grass again, but Oliver’s habits had changed. Now he didn’t like the grass – and wouldn’t put his feet on it. He tromped through the snow that was left, sinking in to his belly, nose down, searching for a familiar aroma.

A few days ago before the rain, we warmed up – not above freezing, but so much warmer than the days before that it felt like spring. So Oliver and I took our first decent walk in weeks – this time with harness, and leash.

Oliver investigates the snowbank copy

There was clearly something of interest in that hole. On the way home he stuck his nose in the hole again.

Oliver leading the way home

Oliver absolutely loves to walk. He trots along at a good pace without pulling on the leash. That is until we turn and head home again. Then his pace picks up and he starts pulling me home. It makes me wonder if he was accustomed to running home before I had him, and that’s why he took off running like a mad doggie for home on that first trek (See: New Day 56 – New Puppy – Old Friend?)

We are back in another deep freeze, and my camera is refusing to behave in the cold. I keep getting the Canon E18 error, which I have had repaired once and am loath to do again. The camera does not like any moisture! Most annoying.

Perhaps I’ll have to start a new blog “Staying Inside”. Plenty of blogging fuel there too!

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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.

IMG_9136 copy

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.

IMG_9137 copy

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

IMG_9141 copy

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.

IMG_9143 copy

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.

IMG_9144 new copy

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.

IMG_9038

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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Here I am at the kitchen window again. This is the big storm day of March 2017. I’m home and cozy at the moment. The birds however, are not. I’ve been out clearing snow for the ground feeders, but I can’t keep up with the falling snow.

Crow at the suet

I just had a look out the window. Crow is here. Yesterday he was at the feeder – today at the suet that hangs in the lilac tree. The branches are filled with puffed up juncos, woodpeckers, blue jays, and chickadees – waiting for Crow to finish.

Others take their turns

Crow picks up the crumbs while the others line up for turns.

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Who could resist

What? That’s not a fawn, you say.

True.

Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me when I encountered the fawn yesterday. So instead of posting relevant photos while I tell the tale, I’m posting photos I’ve been taking since my last posting. We all like a photo or two, I know.

Handsome felow

This fellow was around here for weeks. The females seemed unimpressed, but I bet they are busy sitting on eggs right now.

The girls are not frequent visitor just now. At least not many of them. Today one female arrived at the feeder with three males. The males kept shooing her away, so she, smart turkey, leapt up onto the feeder itself and helped herself from there.

clever turkey

Those are teen-aged guys (I think). Except for the striped bird – that’s one of my hens, chowing down with the turkeys.

So…yesterday I rounded the corner of my house and came upon a beautiful fawn at the end of the drive. She was eating the hostas which I have not yet covered. I immediately froze. She seemed not to be worried about me. She looked up, and then went back to ripping leaves off the plant. Okay, I muttered, I guess you’re going to eat my plants because I’m not going to shoo you off.

The Girls

Then Bo, my little, deaf, poodle, wandered past me and into the garage, He was hoping I had not cleared away the old cat food he’d found days earlier in a garbage bag that was destined for the dump. When he realized it was gone, he turned and saw the fawn.

Perrenial beauty

I was standing right on the other side of these flowers when I froze.

The Fawn became quite excited. Her ears perked up, her tail swished back and forth and around in half circles. Slowly she came toward us.

Heirloom Iris

Bo stood watching. Then he looked over at me. I don’t know what he thought since I never stand still like that.

Suddenly the fawn started stamping her feet. Not pawing the ground the way a horse does, but pouncing on her front feet the way a dog does to invite play.

The Wanderer

The Wanderer

Unfortunately, Bo didn’t pick up on the message. He’s old, and deaf, and not much into play.

Iris Beauties

The fawn wouldn’t give up. By now she was up nearly at the garage, and right in front of me, only ten feet away.

Lupin

She circled the drive, and pranced her feet, then then snorted at Bo. I wanted to go and dance with her. But I didn’t dare move.

Sweet Woodland Rhododendron

This went on for fifteen minutes. My legs were going numb.

IMG_5839

The fawn gave up on Bo and went back down the drive and continued snacking on the hosta.

Bridal V

I cut my bridal veil down to the ground a few years ago – it was in such a sorry state. But it’s coming back.

Sadly, Bo wandered back to the cat door and disappeared inside. I stayed and watched the fawn until she too gave up and headed off through the woods.

Spider Hiding

This yellow spider was on the front of a the blossom when I arrived. He slowly crawled around to the back to hide.

Not a very exciting story to tell, but believe me, it was quite amazing to stand there and watch.

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I took a stroll in the drizzle today, down to the wetlands where I like to sit and contemplate. Nearly there I sadly discovered that the beautifully shaped ash that I’d wrapped a few years ago against the beaver who’d been taking my trees, had been chewed down to the last half inch.

IMG_5010 - ineffective barrier

Why the beaver stopped there, I don’t know. Probably he knew it wasn’t going to be an easy haul down to the water and simply needed a tooth sharpening.

I strolled on to the water and spotted the beginnings of a new dam.

IMG_5013 beginnings of a new dam

You can see three newly stripped saplings. One laid across the gap, one that must have fallen through, and one further away at the edge of the grasses. That one will probably be part of the dam tomorrow. Above the dam is the pond where I sit and watch the ducks and the sunset. On this side below the new dam is the stream that runs down to the old skating pond area, and on under the road to the big water reserve across the road from me.

IMG_5018 probably the dam starter

I think that dam starter was probably growing here yesterday.

IMG_5019 ugly but effective sheilds

This was my attempt at saving some of my trees. It’s ugly I know, especially during a winter with no snow. But it was necessary to save some of my hardwoods. I wish the beaver liked snap pine. I have plenty of those I wouldn’t mind losing. I put this flashing around these trees two years ago. And though I did leave some saplings for the beaver, once I’d done this, he moved on – probably discouraged by the metal barriers.  But now he’s back.

IMG_5025 beaver dam

This is the major dam the beaver has built over the last two years. When I first moved here 18 years ago, a different dam was in place here. The effect is to create a large pond above which became a skating pond for the grandchildren. I spent hours clearing off the snow, are we all have many happy memories playing down here on the ice.

icepond

The ice pond with small area cleared after snow storm.

If you’ve been following me, you will have seen this ice pond before.

IMG_5020 skating pond again

Here’s the same area today with the same old tree stump – a little more decayed. We didn’t have enough snow and cold for a safe ice pond this year, but next year, perhaps.

The old dam that created the first ice pond was eventually torn down by the town. I was very upset, especially as I knew the beavers were living in the lodge that was now unprotected due to the falling water level.

But come spring and fall, there was a new benefit. The apple tree that had been overhanging the pond was now water free. That fall I had a large bounty of apples (blogged about a few years ago).

But now again, the apple tree is hanging over the pond.

IMG_5021 apple tree

Here’s the apple tree. It fell over during the ice storm of 2008, but it continues to bloom and produce apples. Unfortunately I cannot reach the apples now due to the new dam.

As you can see, the beaver has been at the apple tree. There won’t be any apples, whether or not I can pick them, if he continues.

IMG_5028 skating pond2

Here’s another view of the skating pond. The apple tree is out of sight at the left. The dam is just below at the right.

IMG_5031 water under the bridge2

And here is the water under the bridge – a really lovely old stone bridge. The dam is just to my left, quite visible from the road. Now I don’t know whether I’d rather have apples or a skating pond. I guess what I really want is for the beavers to be able to do their thing without deliberate destruction of their creations. It’s true, I don’t want them to take all my hardwoods, but I wouldn’t destroy their dams and lodge to protect my trees. I like the idea of living in peace together.

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I thought I would add an update on the bobcat situation. Several days after the astounding appearance of the bobcat outside my kitchen window, she (or he), returned. I was at the kitchen sink again and saw the cat over by the chicken coop. I watched her prowling about. Again, I had my camera, and though the distance was too great the capture any good photographs, I did snap a few. She stood near the corner of the coop for a while. She could probably hear the hens inside. And I suspect one or two were cowering outside underneath the coop.

The bobcat returns and contemplates her dinner

The bobcat returns and contemplates her dinner

Suddenly I saw the cat crouch. I knew she was going to attempt to leap onto the roof. From there she would have been able to drop down inside the pen. It would have been curtains for one of the girls.

I raced to the back door, throwing it open as noisily as I could. I was lucky. She had not yet leapt. Off she ran behind the fencing and into the woods. I knew I had to do something to prevent access to the coop’s roof.

Once the ground had thawed enough to allow staking, I set about reworking the tunnels and fencing. I opened up the long tunnel coming from the cat area, and converted it into a tall fence. This I ran from the chicken’s fencing across the front over to the smaller tunnel to the new A-frame. Then I opened up the new short tunnel I’d put in last year, and used that to form another tall fence back to the old door into the back chicken area. Then I built a new door for the new front chicken area. The door looks a bit silly, especially in winter when there is little greenery around. But it serves the purpose, and the chickens are safe. In fact I like this arrangement much better since I can have the front door of the coop open and not have hens escaping into the yard to make holes everywhere.

A new fencing arrangement completed

A new fencing arrangement completed – those boulders to the right are actually in the chicken area

I go in their area and feed them dandelions and other goodies during the day. It’s a much better arrangement.

Lots of new sunny space to dig up

Lots of new sunny space to dig up – the fencing extends forward to the grass where it is staked down, the bamboo poles are freestanding and support the top of the fence by tension.

Happy hens, though they still would prefer being out where I am

Happy hens, though they still would prefer being out where I am

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