Saturday, April 29, 2017

Gardening with dogs

Today was the day for planting my container garden. The day was open, the weather was suitable, and it was time. I was heading to my favorite local nursery, "Plants N Things" but learned that the Fluvanna high school was having a plant sale today so I stopped there first. I was glad I did. There is a greenhouse behind the school that I didn't know anything about, and apparently the students grow and sell bedding plants. I wish my high school had had such a thing. There was a saw mill back there too. They were very nice plants, particularly the portulaca. I left with two flats full of plants and then picked up six more at the nursery.
The two flats on the ground leaning up against the glider are
the ones I bought from the high school. I was much impressed.

I don't do fall clean up so I needed to pick up and rake before I could start planting. I use my utility cart to mix potting soil and fertilizer, dumping most of the pots and re-working the soil. Some of the heavier ones I didn't dump this year, I just pulled out any dead plants remaining, worked up the soil, and added in some fertilizer as I planted.

This is the "before" picture, still has last year's dead plants.
I had a variety of canine assistants throughout the day. I had Maya in a crate on the front porch for a while so she could be with me and watch what was going on. Theo spent quite a bit of time with me, but after he found a tennis ball he made a pest of himself wanting me to throw it all the time. Vince and Samantha came out, but Samantha thought it was dinner time. Gigi even came out for a while since I wasn't hanging out in the office which is where she expects me to be during the day.
Cookie wanted to be helpful, but she's
so in-your-face about it that she was
in the way. She finally found a nice
spot to lay down and just watch.

I got everything planted that I had bought and then went up to Lowe's to check out their selection. I'm not done yet, but I'm close enough that now I know what I need to finish up. We plan to hit Strange's Nursery over in Richmond on Sunday and I should be able to get everything else there. There are generally a few more pots to fill and a few more stops to make for the next several weeks, but the vast majority of it should be done by the end of this weekend.

Theo is very dependable about sticking around.

This is that pretty portulaca I got from the high school.
Good plants and lots of color.

Vince cruising by, supervising the other dogs.
Theo, Cookie, and Samantha on the front porch.

Gigi stopping by for a drink from the water
garden. A couple of the water plants made it
through the winter.

Samantha and Gigi

Gigi and Theo

After she realized I wasn't out there to feed, she
picked a spot and laid down for a while, It was hot
today, but we had shade and nice breeze.

It's not fully planted yet, but it's cleaned up
and looking much better now.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Cookie update, etc.

Lots of folks have been asking about Cookie. She's doing fine. I looked at her incisions yesterday and they looked good, no sign of swelling, and no indication that she had been licking them. She acts normally, maybe doesn't understand the activity restriction. I let her outside on her own periodically, but keep her either crated or confined to the kitchen so she isn't doing the stairs.
The focus isn't great on this one. I can't think of
the name of these at the moment, but they are
unusual in that the flowers are hidden, appearing
below the leaves.

No biopsy report yet, maybe, probably, next week. She's eating normally and I haven't seen any more of the mysterious indoor urination, so maybe it was a UTI and the antibiotics have been helping already. Scarlett had been keeping Cookie company in the kitchen quite a bit. The two girls are similar in age and temperament and seemed to enjoy each other's company. Scarlett went back home today, however, but Theo will probably keep Cookie company downstairs. He's been staying down there quite a bit, because it's cooler on that nice tile floor.

Most of the pictures are from recent hikes.

Jack and dogwood blossoms.

Maya, TJ, and Jack. This picture is notable mostly for the
dogs' tails, especially Maya's.

Jack and one of his stupid sticks. This one was a hazard to
any dog walking on his left. I eventually broke it down to
a shorter, and safer, size.

TJ  is still shedding, but I did a big comb out
yesterday and I think we're making progress.

Flowers on the horse chestnut (buckeye) tree in our front yard.

This is my nuc of bees after about a week.

Spotted this out on the trail, some kind of
native rhododendron.

Jack was with us too. He eventually came over
and then jumped back to show Theo how easy it was.
Theo isn't a jumper but he made it.

The recent rains have brought down some trees.
This was blocking the trail. It's actually three tree
trunks that fell down together. I stepped up and 
walked across them. Maya hopped up and followed
me without hesitation. Theo would have preferred
to walk around.

Theo is a good role model for Jack in many ways.

Jack adores Theo. It's a serious
case of hero worship. They bonded
over the tennis balls.

My little girl, the intrepid Maya.
The pretty oak tree at Pleasant Grove with summer foliage.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Black dogs, green grass, and buttercups

Felix went back home late Thursday afternoon. But before he left, I couldn't resist getting him and Gigi together for some pasture time romping through green grass and yellow buttercups. Black dogs can be hard to photograph. They need a pretty and contrasting background.

The first two pics were Felix. He's about 3/4 of Gigi's size.
He has the red collar, she has a black collar with a lot of bling.

A taller yellow flower among the buttercups.

Unbridled joy. I really envy a dog's ability to experience this, and to express it.

Nose to nose. He looked so much like Gigi that I drove
to the shelter to get him the day after I saw him. He's
just the sweetest boy you've ever met.

Finally, the sun

Felix came to stay with us for a few days. Unfortunately, it was raining and he was stuck inside much of the time beng bored along with the rest of us. The sun finally came out again on Wednesday and we got out for a five mile hike.

Maya was happy to be hitting the trails
again too, even though it was getting hot.
Felix enjoys a good roll in the grass.

It was bordering on hot and quite humid, so we made several
water crossings.

Felix lays down in the water like Jack.

One roll was not enough for Felix, he did
it on three separate occasions.
TJ hung in there, but 5 miles
is too much for him in the heat.