Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Play time

It's been a few days since I posted anything, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy.   I always get a little manic before going out of town and I'm beginning to enter that phase, thinking that I must get everything done before our NY trip in August and England in September.  I have a lot of outdoor projects I need to get finished still.

Although I've been very busy lately, what I've been busy at isn't particularly photogenic or newsworthy--mostly painting, demolition, yard work, mowing, and clean up.  This morning was cool and the dogs were active outdoors so I took a few pics to share.  I'm happy to report that Playstation K9 is a hit and is getting a lot of use, both for play and just hanging out.

Toquima is here until Saturday.  He's having a good time and Maya is happy to have two boys vying for her attention.  She'd be happier if one of them was Trooper, but she's making do.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Finishing touches

I added another platform to Playstation K9 today.  It's 5' high and about 6' long, but only about 2.5' wide.  It had been in the big kennel complex which is no more.  This one required digging post holes, which I haven't done in a very long time, but fortunately, they are only about 1' deep.  I think it's the final element of Playstation K9, at least for now.  At this point I've used all the structures that I had from the old kennels, so I think it's done for now.  We also raised and leveled the ground level platform in front and tweaked a couple of other elements.  I'm pretty pleased with it.  I think it's pretty cool and the dogs use it.

Toquima arrived today for another week with us, and he has already been playing with Maya and the Horse.  Maya was accommodating and posed on the new platform for a picture.

Orange blossom honey was the final ingredient.
A teaspoon of fresh ground pepper added to the
boiling wort made a wonderful aroma.
Our latest porter was bottled two weeks ago and was ready for drinking today.  It's our first porter made from scratch, using grains rather than the canned malt from a kit, and it's very good.  Clay brewed up another beer today.  This one is a saison, a French peasant beer.  Champion Brewery in Charlottesville had one a few weeks ago and I liked it.  We will be calling ours "A Shepherd's Saison."  The finishing touches in the brewing process for this beer included a teaspoon of fresh ground pepper and a pound of honey, both added in the last few minutes of the brewing process.  Can't wait to try it.

Maya posing on the newest, and final element of Playstation K9.
You can also see Patton stretched out like a dead horse on the mid-level of the tower.
Trooper's eyes and ears are visible in the A-frame.

I think it's done.  For now.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rottweiler help

Sparky the helpful rottweiler
Rottweilers are very helpful dogs.  They are best as kitchen help.  If you make something that you need to disappear quickly and without a trace, call a rottie.  They are very discrete about it too, they will deny that they ever ate a thing.  Sparky helped me out this afternoon, but it was in the dog yard rather than the kitchen.
It started as 3, 2"x6"x12's,
and 9, 5/4"x6"x12' deck boards

The 12' long platform that had been part of Playstation K9 had originally been in Sparky's kennel and it went back over there.  Consequently, I needed a new one in the dog yard, so Sparky helped me build one this afternoon.

Sparky says measure twice, cut once
Typical supervisor, taking it easy
in the shade while I work in the sun.
I incorporated two of my A-frames as supports for the platform.  The dogs like them as shade shelters and the trianglar shape is a strong support.  There is also a ground level platform in front of the A-frames that I may elevate a bit.  There is one more element to be added, another taller platform with stairs, coming soon.
Always willing to help when asked.

A rottweiler's idea of "branding"

Sparky was not satisfied with the level and joint
between the sections.
Looking good now
Just the right height for rottweiler loving.

This was taken out of the upstairs window of the house.
It shows all the current elements of Playstation K9 and three dogs using three different levels.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Move in day

Sparky moved into his newly renovated living space on Tuesday.  Like many new homeowners he found some things remained to be done, but the place is basically livable and the remaining items are mostly cosmetic. 

I did some more painting on the shed today and I still plan to put in a ground level deck in the front part of the kennel but that can wait until I get a couple other projects finished up.  I'll also do some interior improvements in his shed before winter.

He's got good shade, ventilation, and a variety of shelter choices and places to hang out.  He's already established his pooping zone, which makes it easy for me to keep the kennel clean. 

And here's a couple pictures of my container garden taken today. It's been so wet this summer that I don't think about watering, but the heat from the last couple weeks has taken its toll on a few things. I've got to get those boxwoods cut back this winter, they are really getting out of control.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A little night music

Well, you'll have to supply your own music, but Maya and Patton provide the choreography.  While I'm not generally fond of the atonal, unmelodic, erratic heartbeat rhythms of most Stephen Sondheim music, it might actually fit pretty well with the chaotic dog fight dance moves that these two produce. 

I can not convince either of them that I don't want to join in the play.  Maya play bows in front of me, issuing a clear invitation in a lady-like manner.  Patton just body slams me, hoping that I'll see what fun it is and join in.

This ball of dog is Maya rolled up in Patton.
Patton treats Maya like a toy, something
to be chewed on and pulled around.
It's been a very busy couple of days around here and hot as hell so the only decent time for outdoor dog play is late evening after the sun is down just before it's completely dark.  I've been trying to get Maya and the Horse out for a romp most evenings and here's a few pics from Tuesday night.

Do not feel sorry for Maya; she gives as good as she gets.
In spite of his size advantage they are pretty evenly matched.
If he was any smaller I'd have to worry about him.

The Horse at the watering trough

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sparky's space

The dog house is one that I built about 10 years ago.
Justin has just rebuilt and improved it so it should last another 10.
We moved it from the other kennel complex by rolling it
on that white pvc pipe.
Sparky's habitat had been the big kennel adjoining the puppy shed (where Bremo was born).  I had taken that kennel down entirely so I could paint the shed and rebuild the habitat.  Sparky had moved over to the big kennel complex, but I took that down too, so Sparky has been in the 10'x20' canopy kennel.  It's the one I rebuilt after the derecho last year and it has the best shade, shelter, and ventilation.  He goes into the dog yard and shed at night but I haven't been getting him out to hike or run in the pasture like I need to so I've been wanting to get his habitat rebuilt.  That was this weekend's project.
End of Day 1
I still need to paint the trim on the shed, but the part that joins the kennel is done so I got it set up again with the new 4' x 8' dog house (mostly it's a platform to lay on), two A-frames supporting another platform, and two canopies, all enclosed by a 20' x 26' kennel adjoining the puppy shed.

Day 2 I put in a new electrical outlet, put up the
second platform, second canopy, and the rest
of the kennel panels, hung fans and rope light, etc.
I need to get the doors painted and the hardware reinstalled so I can close the doors before it's Sparky-ready, but it's very close.  I'm going to make him a deck about 8' x 12' in front of the big dog house but that can be done after he's moved back in.  It's a pretty good space and it will free up my canopy kennel for "a" foster dog.  Actually, it would be "another" foster since we have Patton the horse, but he's living indoors.  Maya is still technically a foster too, but no one really believes that at this point.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Play dates

Patton, relaxing afterwards
I am given to understand that parents arrange play dates for their children so they are exposed to the right people and learn the right behaviors.  When I was a kid we played with the neighborhood kids, in the neighborhood.  We weren't all the same, we didn't all turn out the same, none of us were unduly scarred by the experience.
Jasper through the fence
I don't have children, but I'm inclined to put "play dates" in the same category as picking up your teenage children at the end of the driveway when they get off the school bus as if they are too stupid to find their way home from there.  Ok, maybe it's not quite the same category, but it's certainly on the same road to the town called Over Involvement Parenting.  That's the town where parents help their college-aged children with their homework.  But what do I know.  Like I said, I don't have children and maybe my parents were just neglectful.
The poodle is Oliver.  Patton was trying to
figure out what it was and why it growled at him.
Patton and Gus
All that aside, I went on a play date today, with Patton.  It was a big dog play date, two Saint Bernards, a Great Pyrenees, and Patton the Greatest Dane.  Cheryl Falkenburry hosted it at her place.  She adopted a shepherd named Jasper from me several years ago.  Jasper and my Trooper are cut from the same hairy shepherd cloth.  Jasper has a very big, intimidating bark, like Trooper, and apparently he's not so good with other male dogs.  He wasn't in the play group today, but he observed and offered his opinions from the other side of a fence.

Everyone had a good time, but the pictures say that better than I ever could.

Desi, front right, is a smooth coated Saint.
Gus, rear, is a rough coat, better for Patton to grab.

Patton, Gus, and Daisy, the Pyr


Patton and Daisy