Sunday, July 7, 2019

Call of the Wild

When we first moved here we often saw deer and wild turkeys wandering thru the yard. Our property backs up on a wooded area and an unused farm field so the animals just roamed unimpeded.


After Samba came to live with us, we had the back yard fenced in. I was tired of taking five dogs out on leash each time they asked to go out. It took up most of my day. With a fenced yard they could all go out together and run free to play.

The downside of the fence was that the deer and turkeys could no longer come into the yard, though my garden did much better without deer grazing on the plants.

The fence was no deterrent to rabbits, raccoons and opossum. We also had one unforgettable visit from a skunk. Of course squirrels and birds continued to visit the yard at their own peril.



For several years we all coexisted pretty well but lately something has changed. It started a couple months ago when we noticed the bird feeders hanging on the deck were being emptied much more quickly than usual. One evening I glanced out the window to see a large raccoon on the deck railing scooping out the contents of the feeder. I tapped on the window but he looked at me, then continued eating. He came back the next night and then we started bringing the feeders in at night. That lasted for a couple weeks.
Last Monday morning Rob went to fill the feeders and one was gone. There were seeds strewn allover the steps but the feeder was missing. We searched under the hedge and all around the yard. Finally Tess found the empty feeder under the porch. Hmmm...

We have some chairs and a bench on the porch and in the past neighborhood cats have slept there. The dogs race to sniff the chairs whenever they go out. On night a couple weeks after the raccoon visits, I put Noah on leash to go outside. When we stepped onto the porch an opossum sleeping in a chair stood up, stretched and slowly waddled off the porch into the hedge. Noah was very excited, me not so much. We caught the opossum sleeping on the porch several more times and I'm guessing he or she still does occasionally.

A couple weeks ago Rob started out the front door, then called me to join him. It was dusk and there were three deer in the front yard grazing. They looked up at us but continued eating. They eventually moved back into the farm field.

For years we've had a barred owl living in a tree behind our fence. We hear him calling most nights. A couple times when Samba and I went outside in the early morning hours we saw him standing in the street in front of the house. He's really big!

I learned not to answer his calls when he came screaming into the yard one night. He scared me and the dogs. We learned not to mess with him.

A couple weeks ago I heard him calling from the back yard and another owl was answering from a tree in our neighbor's yard. Then last week Rob and I both noticed an annoying screeching noise coming from the neighbor's tree every night. I looked it up and discovered that it's the cry of barred owl chicks.

On the 4th I waited to take the dogs out till the fireworks had stopped. Mackey stopped and stared at something across the street. I looked to see what was distracting her and there was the owl standing in the neighbor's driveway. As I watched it flew up into the tree and the screeching started up.

Next I took Lola out and the owl was back in the driveway.  I looked away for a minute,  then saw it's shadow as it flew away. The screeching continues every night. I guess while the parents are out hunting the chicks wait in their nest and complain.

After the owl flew off I took Tess out. We heard a strange noise from the side of the house hidden by the hedge. I was trying to figure out what the noise was when it happened again a little louder. Then I heard a snort that sounded like a horse whinny so I realized it was deer. Tess and I hurried back inside.

During the daylight hours everything is fine but once the sun sets I feel that we're living in Wild Kingdom territory. They make me a little nervous but overall I'm happy to share our little plot with them.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Our Holiday Dinner

Woof Bloggers,
Today is our least favorite holiday. We don't like the boomers that have been going on every night this week and all day today. The only time the boomers stop is when we have a big storm with more boomers.
Mom wanted us to feel better about the day so she said we could have a special holiday dinner.

Early today she made this strawberry banana yogurt pie with a cookie crust and stuck it in the freezer.  Before she served it she put little star shaped sprinkles on it because Fudge always said it wasn't a party without sprinkles.

Then about an hour before dinner time she cooked us some real burgers just like she and Dad are having.
After the burgers cooled down a little she mixed them into our kibbles. Then she mixed in a bunch of green beans because she says we have to eat our veggies even on holidays. Then she put a little piece of pie on top of each bowl and served us.

Norma Jean and Tess ate their pie first.  Sydney ate half of her pie and put the other half on the floor till she finished her meal.

Lola ate part of her meal, then ate the pie and finished the rest of her meal. I was the only one who ate my whole dinner first, then ate my pie.

That was a wonderful holiday dinner and we feel better about the noises outside. Mom has little chill pills that we're all going to get just before dark because she says the noises are going to get worse.
We hope all of you are safe and enjoying the day with your special peeps.
Keep wagging, Mackey

Friday, June 21, 2019

Pool Party

Today is the first day of summer! Can you believe it? This group is heading to the pool.
But of course, we're under a severe storm warning, so I think they'll need to wait for a few days.

In case they need to be rescued, this fellow is ready.
Have a safe summer!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Life Goes On

We're still here. We just needed some time to grieve. Norma Jean is doing pretty well.
  Lola is clingy. She wants to have Rob or me petting her most of the time.
 Tess had an upset tummy for about a week. I know they're confused and wondering where the boys went. Sebastian, Noah and Tess were good friends who would play tag in the back yard.
About a week ago the girls started sleeping together at night. They haven't done that since they were puppies. My heart hurts for them.

It's been raining here almost every day and Rob has been trying to keep up with the rapidly growing grass. It grows faster than he can mow it down. Other things have been growing that are easier to live with, like the wild roses on the fence.




We have a demanding family of hummingbirds that empty the feeder almost daily. They buzz us and yell at us when we get near the feeder. Silly birds, who do they think fills the feeder for them?
Last night I saw this and immediately thought of my boys on the other side.

We're trying to get used to our new normal and I want to get back into blogging to keep my mind busy. I've been knitting to keep my hands busy and soon I'll show off some of my creations.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Dark Days In Portieville

Twelve years ago when we decided to keep six puppies from a litter of eight, it was fun. It was a lot of work and loss of sleep, but it was fun. I learned so much about pack dynamics from them but mostly it was laughter and games and lots of clean up.

When you're holding several warm wiggly puppies it's easy to focus on the present and not think about how it will all end. At the time Dr B warned me that the time would come when they were all old dogs and we'd start losing them, possibly close together. We were all aware of the future but we went ahead and enjoyed our  pack of littermates.

The future is here. In August we lost Bailey, in January we lost Fudge and last week we lost Sebastian and Noah. It's so hard but it's the deal we made.

Unfortunately we're not finished. We have three girls left and they each have some health issues that we're aware of and trying to deal with.

Two weeks ago Norma Jean had a serious accident that left her unable to walk for several days. We discussed letting her go, but Norma Jean is a tough girl and though she's pretty wobbly, she's getting around on her own. She has a neurological problem that has our vet stumped and she takes pain meds daily but we're taking it day by day.

This morning Lola collapsed on the stairs on her way to breakfast. We carried her upstairs and gave her something for pain. She was unable to stand for awhile but now after several hours of rest she's telling me that she's hungry and looking forward to her dinner. She's walking on her own again but she also has some other problems. She has masticatory muscle myositis so that she needs soft food. She also has pretty severe arthritis so that she moves stiffly.

Finally there's Tess who has arthritis in her deformed front legs.

We trying to spend as much quality time as possible with the girls because we know our time together is short. I knew going into this how it would end. That doesn't make it any less painful, but I would make the same choice all over again.

Friday, May 24, 2019

My Little Peanut

He was so little. His littermates ranged from eight to ten ounces. He was just over five ounces. He fit in my hand.
He was a beautiful boy with his white collar and leg.
He was a little behind his siblings developmentally. When they were running up and down the stairs, his little legs wouldn't reach. The others loved playing on the rocks and jumping off. He would follow them onto the rocks but was afraid to climb down. We'd have to rescue him.
He got along well with the other dogs but Fudge liked to tease him. In fairness, Fudge liked to tease all the pups but Noah had a quick temper and overreacted to Fudge's actions. There was always tension between the two and I kept a close eye on them.
Noah was a mama's boy. He followed every step I took. He watched me constantly. I miss him being beside me. When I took him outside, just the two of us, he would dance and frolic like a puppy. It's hard for me to accept that he was actually an old dog. He was my puppy.
Noah was the first to get sick with cryptosperidium in 2012. He was very sick. He recovered but was left with colitis and suffered with it the rest of his life. He had a reaction to an antibiotic that left him with dry eye syndrome. Though we put ointment in his eyes daily, he lost most of the vision in one eye. His life wasn't easy.
At a checkup a couple months ago Dr B noticed a problem with his back legs. He told me he suspected a neurological issue in his spine and to keep an eye on it. Since then his back legs have gotten weaker and he would occasionally stumble.
Last week Noah didn't want to use the stairs so we started feeding him in the kitchen and walking him on leash. His back feet didn't seem to be working very well.
Monday evening Noah fell and couldn't get up. Rob would lift him while I slipped a towel under his hips to help him walk. He couldn't stand or walk on his own. He also refused to eat. Tuesday was the same. We knew it was time.
On Wednesday morning we carried him into the exam room. Dr B came in and discussed Noah's condition. He said we were doing the right thing.
I was there when Noah was conceived. I was there when he was born and I held him as he took his last breath.
He was my little peanut and I loved him.

Norris




 Norris
March 2012 - May 24, 2019