New Homes

The little puppies think they are big dogs now.  We leave the shed door open during the day and they are free to roam around and explore.

They love bounding through the dead leaves and running over the hills.

They quite enjoyed the rock pile and playing King / Queen of the hill.

Megan arrived last week and has picked out her favorite puppy, this little black girl who looks a lot like Molly.

I am happy to report that all ten puppies now have wonderful new homes.  We ran an ad in the papers down in Everett and Seattle and met some very nice people.  I did screen the callers carefully and told quite a few ” I don’t think this is quite the right puppy for you.”

On the last day when only two of the puppies were left, we took them on the loop walk with the big dogs.

They were very excited about their new adventure and ran and played like Molly and Grizzly do.

By the time we got out to the back pasture they were lagging a little behind the big dogs, but they caught up.  Everyone had a favorite puppy and this one was Rick’s.  A male with very definite blue heeler markings.

His new owners named him Toby, which was the name of Rick’s first dog many years ago. Seems kind of fitting.

So all the puppies have gone to their new homes.  Some are going to be delivered by Santa on Christmas morning.  It has been an adventure with the puppies, and mostly we enjoyed it.  Now we are back to just the two we started with.

Blue Norther

The weather here the past week or so has been COLD – in the last five days the high temperature hasn’t gone above freezing.  Our low (so far) is 9 degrees.  See the black plastic tub Molly and Grizzly are standing on?

It is actually a water trough and it is completely frozen solid.

Depending on who you talk to, we are having a Nor’Easter or a Blue Norther – either way there is a lot of cold, dry air.  Not much snow in the mountains around us as it has been very dry, and the first two days were windy. The wind comes down from the Fraser Valley in Canada and it is cold.  Maybe it is called a Blue Norther because your fingers or nose or whatever part of you is out in the cold and unprotected turns blue?

Now it is just cold and icy.  In places that are shady, like here where the fence rails block the sun – the ice doesn’t melt all day.

You can see the line where the sunshine ends and the shade begins.

The puppies have not let the cold stop them from enjoying their time outside.  They have fun with anything.  Here they are chewing on my boot.

They especially enjoy shoelaces.

It has been a challenge to keep the dogs and chickens warm and watered.  The hosebib we use for the animals froze.  The first couple of cold days Rick broke the ice off the chicken water can and it was OK for them to drink.  Today, the water was frozen pretty solid so he brought the can outside to clean it.  The puppies thought it was a new toy for them.

After we broke all the ice out of the inside, we refilled it and hung it back up for the chickens.  We also ran a light bulb down close to the water to hopefully keep it from freezing.  I am really thankful that we have electricity in the shed and that the power hasn’t gone out during this cold snap.  The puppies thought it was great fun to play in the chicken coop, I don’t think the chickens really enjoyed it so much.

We have been pleased that our chickens are still laying pretty well in the cold weather.  I hung a light in the coop on a timer when the days started to get really short (it is completely dark now at 4:30 pm).  The lack of light really affects the chickens and their egg production, but with the light on for a few hours we are still getting 8 – 10 eggs a day.

The playful puppies have fun with most anything available.  Their empty dog food sack kept them entertained for quite a while.  It reminded me of Christmas morning when the kids were very little.  They would unwrap their presents and play with the wrapping paper.

They also explored the burn pile.  They are enjoying the freedom to roam around outside during the day, though they stay pretty close to the shed.

They have caught on to going inside and out with the shed door ajar.  That keeps them entertained too.

After they play outside for a while and start to shiver, one by one they go back inside the shed and pile into their warm bed with the heat lamp.

The cold weather has given us ice crystals that are really beautiful, they sparkle in the sun like diamonds. The grass is frozen and crunchy when you walk on it.  Rocks are frozen solid in the ground.

There is ice in the Cascade River.  We still see fishermen all the time, but it looks way too cold for me.

The water feels ice cold even in the summer time, it must be really cold to freeze on the rocks.

This ice formation was amazing to see – guess where it is?

On the windows of the Scout, it had completely iced over.  I guess this is what they base the “frosted glass” pattern on?

It has been cold, but it is also beautiful.  And after last year when there was snow on the ground from the middle of December until the middle of March, when people here refer to the four letter, it is s-n-o-w.

No one seems to be looking forward to it, but the weatherman says snow may be headed our way in the next few days as our cold front is moving east.  To those of you in Indiana – better bundle up!

Growing Up

The little puppies are growing up.  It is amazing how much they have changed just in the week we were gone for Thanksgiving.  Though they still spend a lot of time sleeping . . .

. . . they also spend a lot of time playing.  They are six weeks old now and have learned to enjoy going  outside to play.

They don’t need toys to chew on- another puppy works just fine.

Their different personalities are really showing; this sweet little girl reminds me a lot of Molly.

This little black one is more curious, I think he is eyeing my gloves.

Now that they run around and play outside, Grizzly is finally allowed to play with them.  Molly still keeps a very close eye on him, and if a puppy yelps she is there to see what is going on.

Grizzly has shown the puppies all sorts of fun things to do – like climbing the compost pile.

And sliding down the pile.

The puppies also enjoy a dog pile on Dad.  It is quite a switch to see them all piling on him.  Molly is enjoying having them weaned and they have pretty much stopped following her around.

The weather here has been really cold – 17 degrees last night with a wind chill around zero.  The water freezes in the bucket in just a couple of hours.   We chipped a hole in the ice and poured fresh water on top and this little one thought that was a lot of  fun to play in.

The cold weather hasn’t stopped the puppies from enjoying their time outside.  They run and play and chase each other.

Then one by one they tire out and come over to their blanket in the sun.

And soon they are asleep again.

It has been a lot of fun watching them grow up.  We have two sold and hopefully will find new homes for all of them soon.

An Aggie Thanksgiving

We have just returned from Texas and a visit with Megan in College Station.  We missed Alex and the rest of the family this year, but it was time to spend Thanksgiving with our baby.  When I tried to take pictures to post on the blog she complained that the only pictures I ever post of her are when her hair is a mess, she has no makeup on and she’s wearing pajamas.  Why would she think that?  Here is a picture of her hiding under the afghan . . . and her hair is a mess, she has no makeup on and she’s wearing her pajamas.

After she got dressed, we went to the Aggie tent sale.  Actually, they have outgrown the tent and now have the sale in a warehouse.

I am still surprised at the variety of Aggie things available.

More Aggie stuff.

Still more Aggie stuff.

Megan thought our puppies needed these doggie bandanas.

Brandon (Megan’s boyfriend) gave us a tour of the Aerospace Engineering Lab where he works.

He showed us all the different equipment and experiments they are working on and explained the real world applications.

There is a specific purpose for each of these items. . .

. . . unfortunately I really don’t remember exactly what it is.  I do understand that there is a high-speed and a low-speed wind tunnel and they work with lasers a lot.  They do tests with grants from NASA, the Defense Department and civilian business; testing that has application for everything from motorcycles to helicopters to rockets.   I suggest if you are really curious about any other details, you ask Brandon.  He does a much better job of explaining it.

We had another first on our visit.  Can anyone guess what this is on the plate next to the chicken tenders?  A clue – it is deep fried.

If you said deep fried pickles you are correct.  I must confess, deep fried pickles didn’t sound too appetizing to me.  Megan assured me that I would love them since I like deep fried zucchini.  She was right, they were really tasty – not healthy in any way, but tasty.  A little more zing to them than the zucchini, served with ranch dressing, mmm good.

We stopped by a little farmer’s market and saw these clementines – grown in Bakersfield by our friend Don!  A surprising sight in Texas.  Those little things do get around.

On Thanksgiving Day, we had our dinner in the southern style, at lunch time.  Then we were off to Kyle Field where the Aggies were playing the evil Texas Longhorns.  It is a very old football rivalry that dates back to the 1800’s.  Of course all opinions expressed here are completely biased towards A & M.  I am not at all knowledgeable about football, but I can tell you that the Longhorns were ranked about 80 places higher than the Aggies and everyone was expecting a blowout.   Here the evil Longhorn fans are very confident making their horn sign before the game started.

The Aggies actually played very well and made a close game out of it right up until the end.  At halftime, both bands performed.  Here is the Longhorn band – notice the lines.

And here is the Aggie band (made up of members of the Corps of Cadets) notice the lines.  I believe the Aggie Band definitely won that competition.

While we were in Texas, we stayed with Megan in her apartment.  We were reunited with Lucky, her completely spoiled rotten cat. Lucky got her name because Rick rescued her from the middle of a very busy intersection while driving home from the office one afternoon.

Lucky does not drink out of a bowl like a normal cat, she only drinks fresh running water from the faucet.

Megan’s roommate also has a cat, actually Eve is still a kitten.

Eve has big green eyes and a little “beauty mark” on her lip which reminds me of the old-time movie stars.

She was very curious about the grocery bags.

And just to prove Megan wrong, here is a picture of her with her hair fixed, makeup on, and not dressed in pajamas.  Brandon is holding onto her so she doesn’t escape from the camera.

It was great to see Megan, meet more of her friends and see her new apartment.  We are thankful for the opportunity to visit and looking forward to seeing her soon at Christmas.