Mo Bloggin'

A little o' this, a little o' that

Archive for the tag “dog carting”

It’s a jungle out there

Solstice sky.

Solstice sky.

And it’s a recurring theme for me, the shock and awe I have for this riot of growth. I know it isn’t unique—anywhere that experiences four distinct seasons, and especially long winters, is just as resurrected each spring.  Our daylight hours are running close to peak right now, with the sun rising at 5:11 a.m. and setting at 9:08 for nearly 16 hours of daylight, so it’s no wonder the plants are going wild.  We’re closing in on solstice, so gaining less than a minute more each day until the 21st, when it will begin going in the wrong direction again (shorter days). [I started this draft two weeks ago.] And the riotous growth will begin to taper so maybe I can get ahead of it some. Ha!

These long, long days are wonderful…and wreak havoc on my schedule.  I find it hard to come inside much before 10 p.m. The house is a mess, the garden is half planted (the other half is covered-carpeted really-with volunteers (a.k.a. weeds)), and the green keeps getting greener.  The driveway needs bushwhacking from the road to the gate (it looks like an abandoned property).

Coming home on a recent rainy afternoon.

Coming home on a recent rainy afternoon.

The sheep are doing a decent job of keeping the grass around the house from growing a foot high, and are also sampling some landscape plantings along the way.  They’ve decimated the comfrey and the valerian, and the wisteria (that

Lawn mowing.

Lawn mowing.

last is just fine – the vine is in a poor location and I hacked it back to a stump earlier this year), and have so far left the garden alone, though I saw Minnie nosing the fence the other day (it’s a light netting that can be easily pushed down).  They were nibbling on the hops vine earlier in the year, but now that there’s so much else to eat, they seem to be less interested.  Even so, I have to get the weed whacker out to take down the grass seed heads and the Canada thistle patch – no matter how much I kill off every year it comes back stronger every year.  The bull thistle is nearly as bad, but doesn’t seem to have the same traveling root system (not a typical rhizome, but not just a taproot either), so a well-placed shovel or hoe action a few times a year seems to keep it minimized around the property.

Another recurring theme for me is this constant feeling of not having enough time to do everything, even with these deliciously long days (sleep being one of many things that’s compromised because of it).  I have so much I want to do, so many interests, and so many of things I am already doing.  Just keeping up with the full time job would be plenty, and then I add the second job of maintaining (or trying to) a small farm with livestock, pets, garden (growing my own food) and general upkeep on acreage. Add in an obsession like Nosework, or carting, or the desire to work with Daisy in herding. Her instincts are fabulous and she is SO good, and can be really helpful at times, but when she doesn’t know exactly what I want, and when I’m not sure how to tell her what I want/how to work with her, it can

A recent cart trip to a local park.  On the Snoqualmie River.

A recent cart trip to a local park. On the Snoqualmie River.

become chaotic quickly.  I still want to do Nosework with Farley, since he has such an affinity for it, but have taken a break for a few months (file it under the “something’s gotta give” heading).  Daisy’s work with the sheep is ongoing by necessity and her keen interest. I also get her out with her cart as time allows. Pal seems to be missing from the equation – he’s not bad at Nosework, but his forte is hunting for real.  He never stops hunting, and the only time he stops when he’s outside is when he’s on point (usually a songbird in a tree) or stalking varmints.  I watched him in the pasture the other day, holding a 3-legged point on something in the grass, slowly, slowly, putting the fourth paw down as he crept forward in ultra slow motion stalk. He’s really amazing to watch, though it’s like living with a 47 pound cat at times.  I know he gets shrews nearly as regularly as the cats, and just tonight I found a dead mole in the sheep pen.  I have no idea when he got in there to get that.  Last night when I was wrapping up for the night, filling the hay nets before it got full dark, and Farley and Daisy were still busy with their outside tasks (Farley waiting for me to throw the ball again, Daisy rounding up the chickens), I noticed Pal on the porch, lying on the doormat.  I smiled, thinking he was finally growing up and slowing down a bit (he’ll be 5 years old in October).  By the time I got done with the tasks it was pretty dark, and as I walked up to the porch he got up, happy to see the three of us coming to go inside.  I noticed a rather large object in his mouth.  He’s not much into toys, so I knew it wasn’t one of Farley’s many stuffies scattered around the yard.  A bone dug up?  Or a…rat?  (large rat!)

Pal, my canine cat.

Pal, my canine cat.

Was it a squirrel?  No tail.  What the…?  I was amazed and dismayed to find it was a small (half grown) rabbit.  Quite dead of course, and he was all happy, ready to go inside with his prize.  No. Way.  I was amazed partly because in 4.5 years here I’ve seen a rabbit only once on this property.  I have no idea where he got it (what part of the property).  It was of course adorable, as a juvenile, though I didn’t turn the porch light on to get a good look.  I tossed it into the grass and he jumped down the steps to get it – I heard a bony crunch as he grabbed it and I thought he was going to eat it (a good thing!) but he left it and came inside. Sigh. It was gone this morning, which means that most likely Farley took it off to bury it on one of their late night potty trips.  Farley’s my buryer, in an arcane save-it-for-later mentality.  Fortunately none of the bodies he’s buried have been dug up for later dining (to my knowledge), but there have been plenty of bones (I generally confine him to the house when I feed them raw bones, as he will take every one I give him and bury it, if given the opportunity.  And usually moving it several times before he’s finally satisfied it’s safe from marauders (his housemates).  An hour, a day, or a month later, one of them will bring a blackened gross thing up to the house and it takes me a moment to figure out what it is.

Eloise, a.k.a. Pudge (or sometimes 'weesa).

Eloise, a.k.a. Pudge (or sometimes ‘weesa).

This evening the one of the hens grabbed an odd looking object from the front lawn (lawn being optional, since Daisy has made a large ugly scrape of dirt in front). The chickens regularly glean the mice and shrew leavings from the cats (and the common ancestry of birds and reptiles becomes acutely apparent at these times, as the hen generally chokes down the whole thing, like a snake), but this looked different.  I’d noticed Daisy sniffing something this morning, but when I toed it, I thought it was a clump of manure.  I chased after the hen, realizing from the angles sticking out of her mouth, that what she had looked like a…gulp, bat.  By the time I got to her she had the thing half swallowed, but I grabbed it by the—yup, it was a bat – wing and pulled it out.  Ugh!  I love bats, and was truly bummed that one was killed.  It was tiny—like a small shrew with wings—and had obviously been dead for a couple of days.  Of course I get all heebie jeebie about rabies but when I thought about it, and remembered having observed not only super low flying by bats (only a few feet off the ground at times) and also wild leaps up by the cats to get them, I can only assume it was bad luck for the bat.  I’ve seen them do the same thing with dragonflies – another critter I love and have rescued dragonflies from the cats (and not gotten there in time for others).  Life with carnivores can be hard to take sometimes.

My cute little Pal.

My cute little Pal.


Signs of Spring

Out for a walk/fenceline check with Peachy and Daisy

Out for a walk/fenceline check with Peachy and Daisy

I’m going at the weekend a little backwards, spending time at home and doing my writing work early, then going out later. I usually hit the road early on Saturdays, running the errands and doing the chores, leaving the “me stuff” to the evening (which means it often doesn’t get done). It’s a bit of reprioritizing, but also convenient.

Daisy’s Nosework classes are on break for a couple of weeks, so that added to the luxury of changing it up. She’s been doing very well with Nosework and progressing nicely. I work the boys some too, and forget they’re behind her in skill level; it took Farley a while to find the last hidden treat in the garage the other night and I realized I’d moved him to elevated hides too quickly, so while his back was turned I moved the box down to the floor. I’m also progressing slowly with Daisy on her carting. She’s not thrilled about this idea, but I was able to get her to stay within the shafts last time I harnessed her up. She doesn’t like it when the cart moves, and quickly shimmies sideways, causing awkward positioning outside the shafts and tangles with her harness. For now having her sit quietly with the cart behind and around her is progress.

Both hives are sooty with mildew after a long, wet winter.

Both hives are sooty with mildew after a long, wet winter.

It rained (and hailed) hard on Saturday afternoon, after a very nice morning. Not sunny, sigh, but very mild weather and dry. It was a thrill and a half to see both beehives active, with lots of flights out and several of the incoming carrying full pollen sacs – fresh food! I’m not sure what’s blooming right now that they’re finding, but obviously something. The Indian plum shrubs are the first native plant to bloom but the ones on my property aren’t quite there yet. I found one or two just opening blossoms on a couple of them, but most are still just twigs with a few new leaves starting to unfurl from the pregnant buds. At any rate, I was so pleased to see my strong girls out and about on this late winter day.

While our winter was mild from a snow standpoint, it was still wet and cold, with many freezing cold days, all very hard on honeybees (especially the damp). I just had to wait and watch. The Warre hive, with its two observation windows, was a little

Lots of dead bees in front of each.

Lots of dead bees in front of each.

easier. On most days when I checked, I could see live bees among the combs. With the Langstroth hive the only thing I could do was put my ear to the side and tap lightly on the wood. I almost always got an answering momentary bZZzz from the girls, reacting to this noise. With all the dead bees in front of the hives, I just never know for sure. The masses of die offs are normal, but still disconcerting to see. I periodically insert a thin bamboo stick in the hive openings and use it as a crude scraper to pull all the dead bees on the bottom of the hive out the door. When it’s cold, but not cold enough, the rot and decay sets in, and isn’t healthy for the live bees clustered above. And, hopefully it eases the work load for them when we do get a day like this. Seeing them struggle out the door pulling a dead comrade to dump in the grass nearby takes a lot of resources. They have to work hard to tidy up the hive to keep things hygienic, but at this time of year nectar and pollen flights are just as important and I try to give them a little help. We’re still not out of the woods, with at least six more weeks before they can get out regularly, but I was very glad to see the activity before the weather turned.

I trimmed up the lavender patch, something I should have done in the fall. I gave all the plants a bit of a haircut to encourage new growth and keep them from getting too woody and leggy. The cut foliage smells so good; I’ve put some of it around the house to give the house a fresh scent.

Fresh nettle tips - the first of spring.

Fresh nettle tips – the first of spring.

The sheep were out loose this weekend, and the chickens too, of course, all enjoying a little exercise and finding the first nibbles of green. I, too, am enjoying those. I picked a bunch of nettle sprouts and baked a soufflé/quiche thing. I used a dozen or so eggs, the last of the raw milk (a little past its prime – it separated into curds when I steamed some to make my mocha this
Ready to bake.

Ready to bake.

morning), some cheese, a bit of mayo and sour cream (used up the last of each container), some onions, mushrooms and a couple small peppers, plus some cumin and chili powder, salt and pepper. It turned out quite delicious.

The longer days are wonderful, and I’m looking forward to spring. Equinox is just three weeks away – yay!!

Post Navigation

Shepherds Extravaganza

Fiber Event, sheep, goats, wool, mohair, spinning, weaving and more!

Saying Hello to Goodbye

Lessons of loving and losing an animal companion


What my dogs teach me


Dog News and Views for Pets and their People: From Pet Columnist Yvette Van Veen

The Science Dog

By Linda P. Case

The Tangled Nest

creative wild life

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said


looking at the world through book-colored glasses

Ultimate Guide To Needle Felting In The Felt Hub

Make your creative dreams come to life with free needle felting tutorials, downloads, tips, ideas, and inspiration. Start your needle felting journey today!

Anna Blake

Horse Advocate, Trainer, Clinician, & Author

The First Ten Words by Rich Larson

Because a guy has to keep his chops sharp

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (

Citizens for Duvall

A grass roots group that gives a voice to its citizens outside of city council meetings.

camino times two

walking together on the way of saint james


novels. poetry. screenplays. filmmaking. endless musings...

Hen Corner

A little bit of country life in West London...


Going back...a return to rural life

Relaena's Travels

Eternal Journeys of a Curious Mind

The Global Warmers

8 dogs, 2 elderly adults and an aging RV

KDD & Co

Award-winning Scottish publishing and design

Fiber Trek

Calling the wild back to craft

Brookfield Farm Bees & Honey Blog

musings on bees, life, & nature near Mt. Baker Washington

An American Editor

Commentary on Books, eBooks, and Editorial Matters

ella gordon

textile maker

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Squash Practice

A Growing Concern

Food, Farming and Faith in Snohomish County

Icelandic Fiber Farming in Cascadia

Carol Lea Benjamin on Dogs

Understanding dogs and the many roles they play in our lives

Mo Bloggin'

A little o' this, a little o' that

Living Your Sacred Livelihood

Weaving the Wisdom in Nature with Possibility Practices

Chris Morgan's Wildnotes

A BLOG of pictures and thoughts from the field

Denise Fenzi

a professional dog trainer specializing in relationship-building in competitive dog sport teams


Sustainable. Self Sufficient. Loving the Land. Join Us

Black Sheep Creamery

Artisan Sheep Cheese, Wool and Lambs

Woolyadventures's Blog

Just another site

flippity felts

Curious and Quirky needle felts

Single Life, With Puppy

Suddenly single at 55; what to do but get a puppy?

Eat, Play, Love

making memories through food, wine and travel

Pam Grout

#1 New York Times best-selling author

Karen Maezen Miller

A little o' this, a little o' that