Sunday, November 27, 2022

Full speed ahead to Christmas!

What changes this holiday weekend has wrought! Between Wednesday, when I drove to town for work and errands, and Sabbath, when I next went to town for church, most of the leaves dropped from trees and shrubs and things look very different. The biggest Japanese maple at the front of our house is still showing off, but the one in the island is just about bare.

Now that someone has condensed the Christmas season into something like a week, I no longer think there is time to put up a Christmas tree, much less write a year-end letter and send out Christmas cards. Seriously, when did I find time to do these things in the past? Now it feels like I could take a long winter's nap (oh, what a blissful thought) and miss Christmas altogether! I suppose the current state of affairs might have something to do with the foster Frenchies . . . and my age. I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew with two; sigh. I'm going to talk to Rick about talking to the rescue about moving one to a different foster home. Our contact mentioned doing that early on, saying they might both adjust faster; the wisdom of that is becoming much clearer. And somewhat to my surprise, my choice between the two would now be Leo, as he is more likely to play with Poppy – and Gracie is proving very difficult to house train in the current chaos.
Leo and Poppy playing tug

"I wish they would play more."
I do have some Christmas shopping done for essential personnel, but since that is a year-round activity for me, I didn't need to squeeze it into this abbreviated season. And today I finished a quick knit for one of the Christmas party gift exchanges that's coming up, a pair of fingerless mitts out of handspun yarn. They knit up so quickly, in fact, that I grabbed some commercial yarn in my stash to knit up a second pair for the other Christmas party gift exchange on the calendar. Of course, this means my spindles are idle; I'm, as ever, hopelessly monocraftual.

One item on the calendar is already behind us; in fact, it happened before Thanksgiving. The Elsinore Theatre in Salem featured a one-man play on November 20 called "Christmas with C.S. Lewis." When Rick decided to do his continuing education online instead of in person in San Antonio this year, I bought us tickets, as we so enjoyed the one-man play on C.S. Lewis we saw up in Portland a few years ago. This play was by a different actor and production company, but every bit as good – and closer to home at my favorite venue. Win!

My friend picked up her visiting ewe last week, but I learned today that Spot is not going on a second honeymoon. The weather in the Columbia River Gorge does not look good this week, so the person who was going to come get him decided not to risk a trip. He'll have to "bach it" in the Ram-ada Inn; I don't need lambs after the end of April and the ewe lambs desperately want OUT of their barn stall.

We had some heavy fog last week. One evening it started to break up around sunset, and I captured this incredible reflected color in the east:

Hanging on for dear life at . . .

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Chaos and progress, dryness and rain

Leo: from flight risk to off-leash in five days!
Leo and Gracie are making a LOT of progress – from unsettled and unsure little creatures to much more engaged and happy little characters now. It helps that Gracie seems to have gone out of heat; it was also very helpful to have dry, sunny (if cold) weather until today in which to take them outside to exercise and eliminate. But make no mistake, it is still a LOT of work to potty and exercise and clean and supervise these two new additions; so much so that I have not yet committed to doing ANYthing special or extra for Thanksgiving this year. Rick's mother can just join us for a spaghetti dinner for all I care . . . but she and her son will probably not be okay with that....

We were (again) in desperate need of the rain that finally returned today. After "the rainy season" started and we got several inches, it turned sunny and cold for the longest November stretch on record here. (Cold and sunny + wood heat = extreme dryness; there is not a rich-enough moisturizer to keep my hands and feet from cracking!) The arena will need another laborious session or two with the heavy-duty backpack blower that leaves me feeling like I've been wrestling alligators, but I am enjoying every iteration of my Japanese maples.

"Spot and Blais-y sittin' in a tree...." 🎶

The honeymoon is almost over for the breeding group; Spot is hopefully leaving for another assignation in Washington on Wednesday (or next week, if Wednesday doesn't work out). My friend Kate will pick up her ewe, and the three ewe lambs, who have been vocally unhappy in the extra horse stall, will go back in with the ewes in the Sheep Sheraton. I haven't witnessed a single breeding, so lambing dates are unknown, but regardless there will be several months' reprieve before lambing and shearing swamp me.
Poppy and I enjoying some quiet lap-time today – priceless!

That's it for now from a tired but still thankful . . .

Saturday, November 19, 2022

We've gone to the dogs

I had a lovely week with my mom, but believe it or not, the only photo I got of her was when we played dominoes for my birthday! (That was a rare treat as Rick rarely plays table games.) Other than that, we didn't really do anything out of the ordinary, mostly visiting and cooking, it was just good to be together.

During that week, Rick looked through the available dogs on the Pacific NW Bulldog Rescue website, the same rescue from which we adopted Dozer, and saw a French bulldog he liked. I have been campaigning to get Poppy a playmate, and although I wouldn't have chosen a brachiocephalic dog, Rick has been bringing up Frenchies periodically and I figured I'd better go with what he was open to. We filled out an application, then texted our contact (from Dozer) with some questions. She texted back that the one Rick liked was already adopted, but she had other options. In a flurry of texts, she told us about a sibling pair of Frenchies that were being surrendered in another state that we could possibly foster with an eye toward adopting one. We said we were interested, and mentally prepared to meet them this weekend. But because of incoming weather and volunteer transport availability, that got moved up to last Thursday night!

Oy; what a day. I got up at 1:45 a.m. to get Mom to the airport in time, came back and tried to sleep a couple more hours, got up for work and appointments in town, came home for less than an hour before leaving for agility class with Poppy, and then drove to another town to meet our rescue contact and transfer two traumatized, tired, soiled dogs to our car for the ride home.

Leo and Gracie are intact 11-month-old French bulldog siblings and Gracie is in heat, so that complicates things as they must be kept apart for now. The rescue pays for their neutering surgeries and other expenses while they are in foster care, and we provide love, routine, training, and exposure to new things for evaluation. They were from one of the last litters produced by a reputable breeder known to our contact and sold together as puppies. Last month, the breeder happened to drive past their current residence and saw the pups outside in sub-freezing weather without shelter, food, or water and promptly confiscated them. Normally the breeder would have taken responsibility to rehome them herself, but she is dealing with a dying father so contacted the rescue.

Poppy is being a wonderful hostess, interested, friendly, offering them toys, trying to get them to play, and letting them follow her around when they are less sure of us humans. So far they haven't responded much to her overtures (much to her disappointment), but hopefully that will change. They are definitely getting more comfortable and warming up to us in just two days; today they showed interest in toys for the first time. Below are photos from Thursday night to tonight; Gracie is in the mint harness, Leo is in the black one. (I have some cute videos but can't get them loaded right now.)

To close, I have to turn the spotlight back on Poppy. This morning I heard a rustle near the front door when I stepped out to get firewood, and thought I saw a gray form huddled behind a pot. I called Poppy over, and she grabbed a RAT.

That's the dog saga for now from . . .