Friday, September 20, 2019

Cloudscapes, pupdate

The showers and clouds we've had this month are greening up our world seemingly overnight. And while there are touches of fall color here and there, most of the deciduous leaves are still green, like fall took the trees by surprise.

I am always looking up at the gorgeous clouds – they turn a plain, blue sky into a skyscape, or cloudscape. Add a touch of color from rising or setting sun, and I swoon.

I haven't said anything about the dogs lately. After encouraging improvement, Jackson plateaued a few weeks ago, and since then has slowed down again, moving less and laying down more. Strangely enough, he hardly ever chooses a soft spot. I watch him, trying to evaluate how he's dealing with the arthritis in his spine, and love on him often.

Dozer, the 'king of cush,' is also slowing down – which, given his usual state of animation means that he's basically comatose. It's difficult to rouse him to go outside or go to bed, and he's not even that inspired by mealtimes, even though both dogs are still getting their kibble top-dressed with canned food and a little hot water, stirred in to make an appetizing gravy. I half-expect Dozer to die in his sleep; Jackson will probably force a much more difficult decision.

I have window-shopped for dogs and puppies as a way of looking beyond the coming heartbreak. I wouldn't subject our old men to a new dog but couldn't face a dogless home for very long. I've wanted to adopt a retired racing greyhound since my early 20s, but they are getting harder to find. While looking I got interested in Windsprites, which are basically long-haired whippets so very similar in type. I found a breeder not too far away and even got approved for one of the puppies she had available, but like I said, that's not fair to the old men . . . and I couldn't afford one anyway. I tracked down the breeder of a neighbor's Decker rat terrier brothers; they are planning a winter litter and I asked them to contact me if that happens. (Help with ground squirrels and mice would be much appreciated!) I contacted the bulldog rescue from which we got Dozer, and right now they have quite a few available, including puppies. Then I found some retired racers and sent in an application to be approved for one of them, just to keep my options open. Who knows what we'll end up with, and when!

After a soggy couple of weeks I wasn't sure there would be anything left in my garden, but actually there is quite a bit. Yesterday afternoon I harvested tomatoes, kale and basil for a FAB vegetable stew I made for supper. Today I picked rhubarb, the last of the onions, cucumbers, and zucchini, some sweet peppers, yellow pear tomatoes, more basil and volunteer parsley, most of which is slated for tomorrow's potluck contributions. There's still sweet peppers, eggplant, beets, basil, and tomatoes left to pick, so there'll be more good eating from the garden for awhile yet.

Today my farrier came to trim the horses and we talked sheep, as we often do (he and his wife raise Border Leicesters and Texels, and he used to shear my Shetlands). He gave me two skeins of yarn from their flock, one from each breed. They passed the 'neck test' for me; I think I'll knit them each a hat!

The plan to send Blaise (front right, first photo) and Sarai (front, second photo) off on a honeymoon with a handsome Shetland man is firming up. The ram is a polled, fine-fleeced black gulmoget who won Champion Ram honors under a visiting Scottish judge a few years ago, so I have high hopes for black-based patterned lambs from these two. Sarai is my oldest ewe and losing her incisors, so this will likely be her last breeding; crossing my fingers for two keepers from her. This will be five-year-old Blaise's first breeding (not for lack of desire on her part!); the ram's owner wants Blaise or a gulmoget ewe lamb from her so hopefully she'll oblige with a girl or two.

Have a great weekend!

That's it for now from . . .


The Dancing Donkey said...

I used to feel that way about bringing in a pup with old dogs, but I have found that the pups often bring new life and joy to the old guys....something to think about. Getting a pup sooner rather than later might be good for all of you.

Michelle said...

Thanks for your input, Kris. If I had one old dog I would definitely consider it, but with two, someone would get shorted. I never thought that these two would get infirm at the same time; the bulldog is doing really well for his age and breed, and the Aussie is declining earlier than I thought he would. 😔

Mama Pea said...

I know it's exciting for you to think about the upcoming breeding season for your well-cared for sheep. Sending best wishes for successful breeding and lots of little ewe lambs!

Oh, the downside of having dogs (or cats) as our pets. It's inevitable, of course, but none of us like to face the end of their lives. I think it's a very good sign that you're already thinking ahead to the next lucky dog(s) who will come to live a good life with you.

You're certainly still getting wonderful food from your garden! It all looks yummy. I still have spinach and lettuce (second planting), Swiss chard, sweet peppers and cucumbers. And more cucumbers!!

Debbie said...

Cloudscapes....beautiful photos!

Sorry that Jackson and Dozer are in decline at the same time. I'm glad that you're considering future options. In the meantime, lots of hugs to the boys.

I'm impressed with how well your garden did (and is still doing) this year.

Yeah for the sheep breeding!

Retired Knitter said...

Each pet, no matter their age, is a heart break waiting to happen. AND we set ourselves up for it every single time.

Fat Dormouse said...

I'm not much of a knitter, but have found a pattern for an easy poncho to try...I'm looking forward to choosing the wool!!
It's always sad as pets come to the end of their lives. We'll be facing this with Pomme before too much longer, I fear.

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