Fostered

As much as I wanted things to to work out, as a course of events sometimes goes, it didn't work. This little gal ended up being a foster baby for us. I have never in my life given a pet away, but things need to work properly to have a happy home. We did our best to work out the kinks, but in the long run it was to no avail. She was/is a sweet little thing with people and other dogs, and her transition to our home was 90% smooth, but we could not get over the hurdle with the rub between she and my old kitty. I wracked my brain trying to work out a way for them both to be able to be in the same house once the weather turns cold enough that Angel chooses to come indoors again – Even if I had to partition off the family room to keep Angel in a safe space away from the Tasmanian devil. We even went as far as ordering a training collar (which, due to her bullheadedness, had absolutely no effect). I had Ginger for 4 weeks, and we worked diligently to overcome her natural tendencies. Every evening we'd all take a nice long walk to take the edge off, and when we got home I'd hold Angel, and Bruce would hold Ginger, and we'd sit on the double rocker on the front porch together. We'd rock, relax, and let them check each other out safely, in close proximity to each other. While my kitty purred and made biscuits, Ginger would look for every opportunity to try and take a chunk out of that little cat.

Three nights ago I came home from work, and while getting the dogs dinner ready, heard the gate clanging and rattling, and instantly thought OMG my cat. I ran out the door, and a cottontail rabbit was frantically trying to escape thru the gate. I think all 3 of the dogs had taken chase, but as it tried to flee under the gate, that little 8 pound dachshund grabbed it, pulled it back thru the gate, and absolutely annihilated that fairly good sized rabbit. I could not run fast enough to save it, and it took probably a sum total of 30 seconds, start to finish, for the dog to decimate that little creature.

That did it. I knew it was not, and never would be, a safe environment for my cat to live in. I knew there would never be a time, no matter how hard we worked at it, that we could ever totally trust her in the same proximity with the cat, even if we were at home. It was, without a doubt, not worth the risk after seeing the damage she could inflict in a matter of seconds.

Apparently the stars were in perfect alignment for such a situation, and after making several calls, a couple that Bobby and his family knew, came that very evening and picked up Ginger and all her toys, beds, and other belongings. I cried like big baby for the rest of the evening, because I had become very attached to her, and she to me. But some dogs are just not meant to live with cats, and she was certainly one of them.

Her new Mom called after 3 days and let me know that Ginger is doing very well. It is a good setting for her as they are an older couple, just the 2 of them, and no other animals whatsoever. They had a dachshund they lost a few years ago at the ripe old age of 18. I feel so very thankful they were able to take her and give her a good loving home.

Something I've learned from this whole ordeal is that I have a tremendous respect for folks with hearts large enough to foster any and all living things, from critters to children. What a tough job to love, bond, and care for someone, knowing full well you will eventually have to let them go. I guess I'm too selfish – it's sure not my cup of tea, it breaks your heart.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

 

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Right In The Middle Of It All……

I hope these posts don't come off like I'm sniveling and whining; it just seems like so much change in a short time, so much needing to be done, and time just barreling along at a break neck pace, it's been hard to keep up.

My folks moving has been a massive disrupter, of course more so for them than anyone else involved, but it is extremely difficult to watch them go through all this. We've recently had a lot of extended family upheaval, which creates even more stress. Then, in the middle of it all, one of my Mom's best friends that she's known clear back from her high school days, passed away somewhat unexpectedly.

Never married and no children, Bob's little dog was his “kid” and best pal. After everyone initially got over the shock of his passing, first thoughts went to “where is Ginger”? My Mom called Bobby's neighbor, and found out that Ginger had been taken to the animal shelter that morning, after he had gone to check on Bobby after not seeing him for 2 days and finding him passed away in the house. Bob had a lot of family in our area, but none of them apparently were able to take the pup, and the neighbor was not equipped to take in an un-potty trained adult dog.

So, here is my poor Mom, in the midst of this chaotic move, heartbroken about losing her friend, and now distraught about the welfare of this little dog. Lucky for her she has the biggest dope in the county on speed dial. About an hour after she called, I was trekking out to the animal shelter on my lunch break to pick up a dog I'd never laid eyes on before. To keep “just for a minute” til everything calmed down, and Bob's family could iron out everything that needed to be done, and decide who would take her.

That was 2 weeks ago, and guess where the little shorty pants is…………hard to guess, right?

Poor little thing was devastated after being locked in the house for 2 days with her person that was her everything, and I think a dog must certainly know when someone has passed. Then to be swept out of her quiet, sheltered environment and taken to the Pound filled with people, dogs, cats and other animals that she had never seen before. She hadn't had food or water for 2 days, and even with coaxing, refused to eat. She was absolutely petrified when I picked her up about 3 hours after she had been dropped at the shelter. I had to go straight back to work, so she then had to be with yet another person she didn't know, in a building where big noisy garbage trucks, construction vehicles, and cars banged across scales all afternoon. She was so depressed, she paid no attention to anything.

I was worried about how to introduce her to Declan and Piper, since she had always been an only doggy. I did some Cesar Milan research, and he suggests taking all the dogs (separately) to a neutral area, then a family member walking out with the established dogs, followed at a distance by a family member leading the new dog. Walk at a brisk clip til they are a little tired, and gradually let the new dog catch up with the established dogs, and keep on walking. When everyone (people included) are a bit bushed, slow down and let everyone mingle and sniff, get acquainted. That worked really well, so Bruce and I continued on with the walk and eventually headed for home. Cesar suggests the established dogs enter their home first, followed by the people, and the new dog welcomed in last. It worked terrifically, and they are all fast friends. I wish I could call this the happy ending, but you all know about Murphy's Law.

She wants to eat my old antique cat.

This is not acceptable.

It has always been Angel's choice to live on the front porch as soon as warm weather permits. She loves her blankets to snuggle up on, and also to sleep in Rooti's igloo dog house (that is stuffed full of blankets) that is in the front yard. She can come in thru the doggy door whenever she wants, but chooses to live on the front porch. I feed and water her on the porch late spring thru early autumn, and when the nights start getting nippy, she moves back into the house, and close to the woodstove. I have never had a dog that didn't like my cats. In the first few days we had a small run-in, and then a big tussle when Angel came into the back yard and the dog saw her before we did. Not good. We are fortunate in that Angel is separated from all the other critters for now. We are working on it a tiny step at a time. A training collar has been purchased. But I have never seen such a tough, determined little dog. I hope we can all get over this hurdle. It could be a deal breaker if we can't. My 18 1/2 year-old cat that I have had since she was 1 day old certainly takes priority. But we are all very attached to Miss Ginger already, so that really complicates things.

She has adjusted amazingly well. Mom said Bobby told her Ginger is 5 years old, but another friend says he thinks she is 7. The lifestyle she had with Bobby is about polar opposite of what she has with us. Here she is a dog. Dogs like being dogs! She has probably done more in the last 2 weeks than she'd done in the whole year prior. We go for walks (which she loves!), car rides, road trips out to the old farm, and now to the new mini farm, to work in the mornings (the whole lot of us, we're really living the “pack” life), she sleeps in a crate in our room at night which is going terrifically, she's eating really well, and is enthusiastically playing with Declan and Piper. Knock on wood, she has not had a potty accident in the house. That is saying something for gal her age who was formerly not potty trained. Doggy doors are a great invention! She bonded quickly and strongly to me, which also surprised me since she'd lived her entire life with a solitary man. I've not gotten a lot of pics of her, but here are a few.

She likes lap naps, but I think it's because she's still a little insecure.

Sunbathing at work is another pastime. I was very worried about having 3 dogs at the little scale house, but they are all so good, and just nap away the morning for the most part. Then they stay home after lunch.

 

 

She loves to play with the hose. I guess that was a favorite form of amusement at her other house. Mom said many a time when she was talking to Bobby on the phone, he'd have to put the phone down for a minute and go outside to turn the hose on for her because she'd get very sassy and vocal and would give him no peace until he turned it on.

Well, I needed a 3rd dog like I needed a hole in the head, but she is fitting in like a piece in the puzzle I didn't know we were missing. If we can just get over the hump with the kitty issue, I think it will be all good. It's funny how things work out – Bobby is the person we bought the cabin from, and now we have his little dog who used to spend time up there when she was a puppy. Now she can go up there again, and I'm sure that would make Bobby very happy to know that we're doing the very best we can with his little house in the mountains, and his very best pal Ginger.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Happy Birthday to my Honorary Irish Siamese Cat

She doesn't care if it's her birthday, she does not want her picture taken.

 

Born on St. Patrick's Day, pretty Miss Angel turned 18 years young today! My big little son (who was just my little son way back then) and I decided on a whim one day to go to the local shelter to pet and play with all the lonlies there. We walked in the door, and about 1 minute later were making arrangements to take home a beautiful little Siamese Mama cat and her one and only 2-day-old baby. They had been abandoned in an apartment by run away renters, and the landlord brought them to the shelter the day Angel was born, which was St. Paddy's Day.

She's always been on the reserved side (and just a tad bit grumpy), compared to her Mama who was talkative and a lot more interactive. As she's gotten older, she's less shy and less distant, but I think in part that's because she hasn't had her Mom to lean on (since Asia passed away a few years ago), and relies more on us for company.

She likes the poochies a lot, and they really like her, but these wild woollies are a bit too rambunctious at times for her to handle. Once in a while she takes it upon herself to discipline them, just a little. When they get in crazy mode and jump on her chair, she is forced to lean over and give them a good bite on the leg. They know then it's time to simmer down, and they let her get back to her all important snoozing. When they are being good mannered and calm, Angel is happy to have one or both of the doggies sit in the chair with her, snuggle up and relax.

 

 

She sleeps a lot these days, which is to be expected as she is a cat, and an ancient one to boot! But on occasion, when she's having a perky spell, we can still tempt her to play with a string, or she'll zip around and pretend scratch on furniture, or ask to go outside on a sunny day and make a lap around the yard. Then she'll settle back in her favorite chair, and resume napping.

I sure love the little thing, and feel blessed having had her in our lives for this good long stretch, and hope to have her around for a long time more! Happy Birthday my sweet Angel cat!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Good Old Fashioned Christmas

This is a pic of a painting by local artist David Swanson, borrowed from Facebook, of our town at Christmas time.

Merry Christmas, all! It feels like Christmases from years back around here, because we have had blizzard conditions in the last few weeks, just like when I was a kid.

Photo borrowed from Facebook.

The street crews were working round the clock for a few days because the wind was blowing so fiercely they couldn't keep any streets or roads clear.

 

We won the “lowest temp with windchill” game! It was wretched! I had never in my life had a “snow day” before last Monday, but they closed where I work, and kids weren't required to attend school if it was too difficult for them to get in.

Pic posted to Facebook by a local.

 

Another area pic posted to Facebook by a local.

 

This was at the beginning of the rough weather late last week. I took this photo as the deer came in to forage from the green waste pile at work, where it is easy pickins. A local brewery dumped their many bins of spent grain, and there were at least a dozen and a half deer having a smorgasbord there for several days. They just love it.

 

 

We all stayed snugly warm in the little scale house. Piper enjoyed watching the deer out the window, and Declan stayed all tucked in her blankies.

I didn't end up putting a lot of Christmas decorations out after all. The small storage room where I keep my holiday decorations is currently where all the more fragile, and non-mouse proof cabin goods are being kept. And there are bins upon bins stacked in there. I have beautiful Christmas stuff, and hate skipping a year of seeing it all, but it would have been plain old self abuse to try and man-handle all of that cabin gear to get to the decorations, to then man-handle all those tubs, boxes, and bins that hold the decorations. Then, in just a few short weeks, it would be time to go thru the whole process again to put it away. So, hopefully, next year the cabin will be finished enough to have all those tubs back where they belong at the little mountain house.

Here is what I did manage to scrounge up to add a little holiday cheer.

I kind of have a little “farmy” theme going here this year, because these do-dads were easily accessible. Santa and his jingle bell sheep, with a few pine trees, and an old plaid camp blanket.

Santa and his reindeer, just landed in the barnyard.

 

An old toy truck (from Bruce's boyhood), filled with bottle brush trees, and towing the cute little bird house trailer my Mom and Dad made me for Christmas a few years ago. (I will never put that sweet thing in the yard for the birds – selfish me……. Don't tell Santa shhhhhh.)

And the pretty antique deer family (that really belongs to my big little son, but I won't relinquish guardianship of them until he OWNS his own home, and I'm sure he couldn't give a hoot one way or another how long I keep them πŸ™‚ ) nestled in a bed of pine boughs, with a deer shed antler candleholder. I have a few other things scattered here and there, but not much to speak of compared to what I usually put out. I will be grateful for such a small amount when the time comes to “un-decorate” because it will take about 1/8 the time it normally takes me.

We will all be going to the farm for Christmas dinner. My poor Mom keeps getting stuck hosting all the Holiday dinners, even tho I argue and try to get them to come to my house. I'm sure she thinks that each holiday we are upon may be the last one spent at the farm, because they are still in the process of trying to sell it. It is a heart wrenching experience, and they are finding that potential buyers can be very mean and demanding people. They love their farm with all their hearts; it's not just a piece of property to them. That makes the whole process even more difficult. So, we will make more good Christmas memories at the farm; eat, drink, and be merry!

Merry Christmas and Glad Tidings to you all!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Good Company

Look at this pretty little lady that came to share a gift with me.

Right outside my kitchen window, I got to watch the whole, beautiful process of her (and her mate) hatching and rearing their brood. Five perfectly blue eggs, where normally a robin lays only 4. I watched anxiously to see if all five would hatch off.

I stealthily checked each day when she was away from the nest so I wouldn't stress her. It only took a quick peek out my kitchen window to gage the progress. And soon enough…..

Two eggs left, so I kept a close watch to see if they'd hatch.

Four of the 5 hatch, and the funny thing is, the fifth egg just disappeared from the nest! I can't imagine what happened to it – I checked the ground beneath the nest and never did see the egg. So, 4 sweet little babies, and they were this big and feathered just a few short days after they hatched.

A couple more days and they are much more alert and aware of the happenings around them. Their parents spend a lot of time finding food for them. They also spend a lot of time fighting off the wicked awful magpies, who will eat the eggs as well as babies if they get the chance. I am not a fan of magpies. They are very pretty and extremely smart, but noisy, obnoxious, and ruthless.

 

They grow so rapidly that soon the nest is quite tight for them, and is literally overflowing, as they dangle over the nest edge to cool off. Two of them are a fair bit larger than the other 2.

Just a few more days, and the 2 larger chicks fledge. That really surprised me as I assumed they all left the nest at the same time. But nature is very ingenious. This worked perfectly because one parent tended to the fledged chicks, and the other parent kept feeding and tending the 2 smaller ones that remained in the nest.

The 2 smaller remaining chicks.

Only a couple more days of toting and fetching by the parent to the remaining 2, and they were all caught up in size to their siblings.

When I got up this morning and peeked out the window, this is what I saw. I will miss the daily adventure of watching this little family, but feel so blessed to have been able to witness the whole process. And, let me tell you, after having raised a few baby robins when I was a kid, it is a much easier job to watch their parents do all the work! My poor mom got the job of chopping up worms and feeding the babies my brother or I found on the ground because they had been unlucky enough to have been dislodged from their nests by some mishap all those years ago! I guess we must have been squeamish kids; we'd fetch the worms but Mom got the job of chopping and feeding. It was mighty handy having a “Dr. Doolittle” for a mom. She did a great job, and we raised and released several baby robins.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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So Ready For It!

Gosh, this has been a pretty Spring so far! I guess I feel like it is my responsibility to inundate you with globs of happy, Springy photos πŸ™‚

This year the fruit trees are absolutely loaded with blossoms in town. Light pink, dark pink, creamy white; and now some of the lilacs are starting to pop, lending to the explosions of color. And, it seems like overnight, it is as green as Ireland around here.

 

 

 

The birds planted this Japanese flowering crab outside my back door. It is about 4 years old now, and it is packed with blossoms this year. The funny part is, it is actually 2 trees growing together, and 1 has dark pink blossoms, the other has light pink! Looking like just one tree, it is surprising to see the 2 different colors.

This apple tree below is the first tree I planted when we moved into our house. I can't remember the name, but it's a crab variety and has the most delicious, sweet little apples. I have to try to beat the birds to them every year.

We're not too far off from yummy rhubarb everything – from pies, cobbler, and muffins; to conserve, and punch…..because I can't stand to waste a bit of it. I think my little family isn't all that fond of the stuff, but too bad, so sad for them! If I grow it, I use it!

I've had a small box of potatoes sitting on a blanket on my couch in the kitchen since last fall. Miss Piper shredded the seat of this particular leather couch shortly after I got her, when she was having a sock mauling frenzy. I repaired it as best I could, all the while reminding myself that it was an old couch (even if it was in perfect condition prior to the mauling incident), and I couldn't hold it against her since she is just a fun loving puppy dog. I no more than turned my back, when she completely undid my repair job, complete with a little extra flair and fluff kicked in. Hence the blanket over the boo-boo, weighted down with the box o' potatoes!

Come Spring, the remaining spuds were merrily sprouting away in the box – sans dirt. So, I risked taking the designated couch protector away, leaving just the blanket covering the wounded cushion. My Grandpa O'Connor told me when I was a little kid that St. Patrick's Day is the best day to plant potatoes. Out they went to my raised bed garden. I plopped them in the dirt, taking care to point the sprouts up and barely, barely poking out of the dirt (March is normally darn cold in MT, and I was hoping they wouldn't freeze off)

 

Here is one of about eight that are making their way thru.

There were 9 to start………..

See the fresh crater at the bottom of the photo?

Yup. She dug it up, toted it into the house, dirt up her nose, potato full of holes, and apparently a good time was had by all (except the potato). She is ever so busy.

What a goof ball! Here she is in “taking a break” mode, her rump plopped on the step with feet dangling. This resting thing is a rare sight to behold.

I don't know how it's possible that she and Declan weigh more than a pound a piece (they weigh 24 and 16 pounds respectively) – they go like wildfire and I would think burn, bare minimum, three times the amount of calories they consume! But they are both fit as fiddles, sleek and muscled.

 

Little Declan is a bit more collected than the Buffalo Gal. She is definitely not the instigator in all the shenanigans around here. She is very sweet tempered.

These girls love to go “bye-bye”. So we loaded up and went to the park to see if the swans were here yet to let us know it's officially Spring. No such luck, but we found a close second!

 

Those are some darn cute, fluffy little Spring conveyors!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Untitled

 

The Spirit moved me to dust today, and I decided it was an opportune time to put out a few doggies from my collection.

Looking at these wire haired terriers, I would bet Miss Piper Doodle has many relatives of this breed of dog in her lineage.

This cute plate was a bargain find at the thrift store.

I like looking for dogs for my collection that I've had in real life, as sort of reminders. Even tho we had many dogs as I was growing up, in high school I got the first dog that was officially “mine”. She was a pure bred greyhound puppy. My Aunt knew some ranch folks that had a pair that had a litter. My puppy was the last one of the litter and was about 4 months old. Since they hadn't had an interested buyer for her, they told my Aunt I could have her since they were assured she'd have a good home. I named her Chatelaine, Laine for short, and we all loved her for a good many years. She was a beauty, and one of the sweetest, smartest, calmest, most well mannered dogs we've ever had.

A whole herd of little blue and white antique terriers.

An antique bird dog TV lamp, and a few St. Bernard's thrown in the mix. I've never had either of these breeds as pets, but they're cute.

A shepherd dog keepin' warm buy the wood stove.

A pair of bird dogs for the table centerpiece.

I can't put the little corgi or border collies from my collection out just yet, because losing Glee and Rooti is too fresh. But they'll take their place among the rest of the good reminders, a few years down the line.

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Hang On To Your Hat!

Oh, the wind!!! Usually it simmers down toward the end of November, but it has run right into December this year. This sign I saw posted on Facebook just about covers it!

Nonetheless, it has been ever so beautiful on these wintery days. You can just about always count on that around here.

This was last Tuesday –

The next day was about a 180* turnaround –

 

 

This last photo is of the same trees in the first photo. It was so pretty at work…..blustery and cold, everything in shades of black, white, and grey. Then, a half dozen delicate little does and their babies appeared, trekking toward the trees and down to the river, breaking up the monotone landscape.

The next day was like a snow globe had settled, and it brought brilliant blue skies, and sparkling white mountains.

The Canadian Honkers were flying over by the hundreds before the storm set in. Many were landing in the fields nearby where grain had been harvested, taking advantage of what had been knocked off in the process.

Some took time to rest at the river, taking a break from fighting the wind.

When it gets so cold and windy, it tends to slow down a bit at work. It is so nice to have my silly girls to keep me entertained thru the day πŸ™‚

Must be like sitting on your Mom's lap when you're little. The buffalo gal just piles right on top of little Declan, and makes herself comfortable!

Piper taught herself to get up to the window so she can take a gander at all the goings on outside. That drawer is heated, so she pops up there, gets herself situated, and takes in all the happenings. Best spot in the house!

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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