Tuesday, June 24, 2014

So, this has been happening

The "new" flooring was actually reclaimed wood milled
from old barn beams.  They created a new pattern with the
old and new floorboards.  Once it's sanded and refinished
there will be less of a contrast between the old and "new."
I've been aware of termite problems in the house for a couple years now.  We've had them treated but there was damage that needed to be repaired.  The dining room floor was damaged, many of the floor boards destroyed and all the joists underneath as well.  We finally found someone to do the work and when they took up the flooring they discovered that the foundation under that part of the house was pretty much gone as well.  New foundation, new joists, insulation, and eventually new and partially reclaimed flooring are now in place.  We decided to have the room painted as well and it's finally complete.  We've been living with all the stuff out of the dining room stuffed into other rooms in the house, so it will be nice to get things back in order.  This old house has a lot of deferred maintenance issues and we are going to continue to throw some money at them.  Next up, the chimney, which apparently was damaged in the earthquake a couple years ago.  And there's a lot more painting to be done, this place needs a fresh look after 14 years.  

The new mower is still in its "toy" phase and I've been mowing anything that dares to grow.  After the initial cut of the tall grass in the pasture, cutting out there is now as easy as mowing the lawn so I've been doing it a lot.  All the grass has been cut within the past few days at this point, shorter and more uniform than it's ever been because usually I mow discrete areas on the lawn and pasture on a rotating basis.  With this new mower it's possible to have it all cut at once.  I'll have ease up lest my own OCD begins to rival Max's, but for now it's fun.  The real benefit will be having time that I can do some outdoor yard projects other than mowing with the time that it saves me.

The garden grows and grows.  I think this may be the best it's ever looked.  After being "finished" several weeks ago, I found a new birdbath that I wanted and just last weekend I replaced the lotus flower that didn't make it through last winter.  Now I'm done, I swear, although I still need to see if one or more of my fountains can be fixed and used again.  

We are heading to New York on a pre-dawn flight Wednesday morning.  Our housesitter will be back to watch the dogs, and they will watch her.  There's always more that I could have done, but things are in pretty good shape for this trip.  It's always nice to get away for a few days and I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Solstice dogs

Gigi, still pretty, still my girlfriend
Gigi and Maya could not be more different,
but they get along very well.

Maya and Gambit

Max and Ochie get along, but Max is a better dog if he
isn't reacting to Ochie's energy.  Max actually gave me a nose
in the butt when we were outside today, that was a first.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Take your dog to work day

Maya drinking from a new bird bath I got
for the container garden yesterday.
Apparently Friday was National Take Your Dog to Work Day.  Who knew?  I only learned about it after the fact, via other people's Facebook posts, of course.  I am extremely lucky in that every day is take your dog to work day for me.  In fact, it's take several dogs to work every day.  My actual job is boring, certainly for the dogs, although several of them are quite content to keep me company while I stare at a computer screen, point, click, and type sporadically.  The best thing about my job is that I do it from home, I have no commute, and I can do yard and dog stuff at random times throughout the day.

I've got the tall grass in the pasture
cut with the new mower so I could
go back to using my walk-behind mower
on the yard.  I hitched up Max today
and we did a couple miles of mowing.
Max and Ochie

Trooper on guard duty

Ochie kicking up his heels.

Maya and Ochie

Ochie and Charlie

Charlie, Trooper, Maya

Trooper taking a rest after protecting us from unseen threats.
I can totally understand why Maya fell for him.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Columbarium

This is just the center section of this cabinet.
There are two glass enclosed sections on
either side, plenty of room to grow as needed.
I had Cabell cremated after he was euthanized last week.  That's what we do. We have our own columbarium here, ever growing.  I need to get them all better identified and labeled because my memory isn't what it used to be and there are getting to be quite a few of them.  In fact, I had to email someone for assistance in identifying a dog based on his VGSR tag number when I rearranged everyone this evening.

We pick up nice boxes, pots, and other interesting containers suitable for cremains when we run across them.  We've mostly used the SPCA's cremation service in Charlottesville and I've always been very pleased.  They come back in a nice enough looking container, but it's one I don't mind discarding for something more interesting that we've found.  Bremo was euthanized at the emergency vet at night and I just used their cremation service.  His cremains came back in a nice wooden box with his name engraved on the top. It was big enough to hold his collar as well, so we stuck with that.   When Cabell was euthanized last week I left him there and used the vet's cremation service, which was the same one that had done Bremo so they have matching boxes.  Molly and Emmylou also have matching boxes but all the others are pretty unique, particularly the pottery jars.

The first entry in this columbarium was actually my first partner, Bert. I started stacking up the dogs's containers around his until it overwhelmed the space, so this evening I moved them into a nice glass front china cabinet, but left Bert's with the dogs and cat that we had when we were together.
Bert (center) with Sasha (left), our cat Shooz, and Vito (right)

Everyone is different in dealing with death and funerary practices, both human and canine.  For me, it's all pretty much the same.  I've been through this many times.  It doesn't get easier, but I'm not morose about it.   Losing a loved one is the price of having a loved one.  I'm happy for those who lived to a ripe old age, and for those that didn't, I'm still happy for the time we had together, all the more precious because it was so brief.  Someday I guess I'll need to do something with all of them.   I'm thinking they could all be buried along with my own when the time comes.   For now, I like to see them, remember them, and keep them with me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I've tried making a couple short videos.  Making them isn't difficult with the cell phone, although I didn't even attempt any editing.  What proved difficult, however, was uploading them.  I transferred them to my computer and then tried, repeatedly, to post them to Blogger.  That failed many times, but I finally succeeded with the one of Maya. 

I couldn't duplicate what I had done with the Gambit video, however, but finally got it uploaded to YouTube directly from my cell phone.  All it provides is a link

Anyway, here's a video of Gambit playing fetch.  He really likes it, in spite of his rear end and in spite of the heat.  I started the video after 2 or 3 throws, so he wasn't as enthusiastic as he had been in the beginning.  I'll just repeat what I've said before, this is a GOOD DOG.  I don't even crate him indoors anymore and he has full bedroom privileges at night as well. 

Here is Gambit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_Z2MeGCphs

This second video is Maya talking to me when I came back from someplace.  After the destruction of the dog bed, I've been leaving her loose in the house as well.  She chewed up a hat and some wrapping paper one day, but overall she's been pretty good. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's day shit list

With Maya, my rotten little girl
Sometimes I swear that Maya was put on this earth for the specific purpose of trying my patience.  The pic on the left was taken Friday evening at James River Brewing in Scottsville.  She was sweet and loving, as she is.  But by Sunday she was vying with Ochie for the top spot on my shit list.

Sunday morning I fed everyone and then ran up to the nearby gas station to get some gas for the mower.  Maya was already out of the dog yard, out along the road, when I came back after just a few minutes.  But she came when I called her and came back into the house with me.

I put her in the one crate she hasn't been able to escape from because we needed to run up to Lowe's for a few things before we would start the Sunday mowing.  We weren't gone even an hour, but when we returned she had moved the crate so that it blocked the door to the office.  Much worse, she had managed to reach out and grab a big bolster dog bed and was pulling it into her crate through the bars, piece by piece, shredding it and its outer cover in the process.  I was pissed, and she knew it, but of course it didn't last long, and she knew that too.
I gave everyone their heartworm preventative
today, a dose of ivermectin mixed with
propolyne glycol with a generous dose of
canned food to make it palatable. 

Trooper and Maya chowing down

I thought I was done with the container
garden, but last week I saw this planter
at Tractor Supply so I bought a couple
more plants today.  Now I'm done.
Except, Lowe's had a really nice birdbath
that I liked.  Hmmm.

Maya in the pasture
Mad Max

Maya, Max, and Ochie

Vince in the garden


Maya and Trooper

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bath Day

The only thing good about hot and humid weather is that it's the perfect time for dog baths.  Everyone around here needed one and especially Gambit who has been smelly since he arrived.  I got everyone today except Trooper, Max, and Sparky.

"We are not amused."
Gigi has a short, smooth coat so her bath was
over quickly, but it was still too long for her.

Charlie was pretty good about it
once I got him wet.
Ochie only stopped squirming
when I was scratching his butt
with the brush.  He liked that.

Vince, starting the shake
Bathing Vince is a job only for an amateur,
not a professional.  He would never let a
stranger do that to him.

Maya acted like this was something new.
She's been shedding badly, so this will help.

I must have bathed Maya before but it may
have been indoors in the tub.

The shining star of bath time was Gambit.  He had obviously done this before and he enjoyed it.  He was pretty smelly and grimy, so I expect it did feel good to get clean.  He let me hose out his ears as well.  I got a lot of hair off him, but there is much more yet to come with a good brushing tomorrow.

I saw him snapping at the hose and realized it was a game he knew and liked.  I'd spray directly at his head and he'd open his mouth and try to grab the stream of water.

He liked the attention and he liked the bath.  At one point he sat down and just let me scrub and rinse.  Gambit continues to impress.