Do you ever get that perfect photo that perfectly sums up your life right now?
Do you ever get that perfect photo that perfectly sums up your life right now?
The other night when I got home from work it was raining lightly but I knew it was going to continue all night and I had to feed the chickens. These are exactly the moments you question having chickens, but since it doesn’t rain every day, somehow they get through.
I’m out there in the rain refilling their food when Daisy dashes over to one of the many woodpiles and out comes a woodchuck. When I moved into the house, there was a lot of woodchuck evidence and I’d see them occasionally that first year before the fence. Once the fence was finished, Maggie and Suzie did a good job of clearing them out and I haven’t seen one since. Until last night.
Since it was happening right in front of me, I pulled out my phone and got a video. Lucky you. No seriously, watch it. Just be sure to watch to the end.
My favorite part is how scared my 60 lbs of solid muscle is of this little woodchuck. On the one hand, Daisy doesn’t kill things so my chickens have a better chance at survival. On the other hand, I don’t want woodchucks and rabbits and squirrels infesting my yard. And it’s not my job to deal with them (I have enough on my plate).
As you can see, for as old as Suzie is, her hunting skills haven’t waned. She learned from the best (Maggie) and it is amazing to see it kick in.
After the video above, Daisy took the woodchuck over to a tree and set it down. The rain picked up so Suzie and I ran inside. Daisy didn’t come back and wouldn’t come when I called. I finally went out to check on the situation and found that the woodchuck was still alive and Daisy wouldn’t leave it. It was crying like a baby and it was horrible. I was trying to decide if it was time for me to clunk it with a shovel and put it out of its misery when Suzie came tearing back and gave it a few more violent shakes. She went back inside to get out of the rain and Daisy stood by, licking the woodchuck’s trembling face while it breathed its last. I’m not actually sure a woodchuck finds that comforting, but it was very sweet on Daisy’s part. She acted as though she was losing her best friend.
I went back in out of the rain and since the rain just got more intense, decided to clean up the following day. When I got home from work, it was my first order of business. Except when I went to where it had been, it was gone. What?? Please tell me there wasn’t some kind of resurrection!!! Weird. I looked all over the area and couldn’t find it. Hmm. Maybe some varmint carried it away. I moved on with my evening and was tasking around the house, door partially open as the dogs tooled around doing their thing. And then there was Daisy, at the patio door with a woodchuck carcass (fully intact, thank God!). Oooohhhh. Yeah, cleaned that thing up quickly as I am not interested in seeing it again.
The animal kingdom is an interesting and ferocious place. Well — at least parts of it are. Daisy Daze is 60 lbs of pure love with zero hunting skills. At least she looks scary and like she could protect me. Suzie looks like an elderly little love muffin but she can and will kill tiny creatures without a second thought. And all is well with the world.
This is one of those home projects that is entirely about embracing the reality of my life. It isn’t Pinterest or magazine worthy. It simply accommodates my life, in all of it’s glory (note the sarcasm). I am person that lives with two large dogs. This means dog bowls in the laundry room, dog hair in the corners, dog toys littered on the floor, and dog crates that need to be part of my living space. Big unsightly dog crates are not my favorite part of dog ownership but they are a very real and necessary part of my life.
At my old house, I found an ikea cabinet door in the clearance section that served as a crate table to hold my house plants. It was never perfect but we got by with it.
In this house, I have two crates that are part of my every day living and I’ve found the best way to incorporate them into my living space is to hide them so I don’t feel like I live in a kennel. So the crates are behind the couch in the living room and I put plants on top of them. It works out rather nicely because the doors open and close and there’s space on either side of the couch for the dogs to get in their beds. And best of all they are nearly invisible.
Last fall I bought the 2x10s I needed to create a dog crate table for this space and had them just laying across the crates waiting to be connected and finished. Note: Next time, go ahead and make the table when you buy the lumber. Otherwise you may get really frustrated that they did not warp evenly and make finishing the table much more complicated.
This past Saturday was gorgeous out – mid sixties and sunny. I needed a project that I could work on outside (while the puppy ran around the yard like nuts and the old dog hid under my project for protection). I dragged the boards out to the deck, got out all my tools and finally did the project.
As I mentioned earlier, the boards did warp unevenly over the last six months and the table top is far from perfect but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. (And yes I realize I have a houseplant problem).
Warning: Long and mushy post about my dog. Read at your own risk.
My dog Maggie came into my life in that strange gap between college and realizing I was an adult. I was buying my first house and knew that I wanted a black lab mix and wanted to name her Maggie. Looking back I don’t even know why Maggie, I just knew that was going to be her name. Everything was in process to buy my house but we hadn’t closed yet. And then I responded to an add for a 9 month old lab mix. She came with a crate and toys and was reportedly “too energetic” for their toddler. I would realize in later months and years that she was
indeed too energetic and was probably kicked for her enthusiasm by the man of the house (poor pooch).
Maggie changed my life. And I’m so incredibly grateful God saw fit to send her into my life and to give us so many long years of adventures together.
We were overdue for a Jane and Aunt Reenie adventure. I’d planned to be in town for a baseball game and figured I’d bring the puppy and snag the niece to accompany me. When the door opened, she handed me this little square she had embroidered for me. Obviously this is Daisy. As it happened, torrential downpours cancelled the game (much to Jane’s delight) and the three of us made our way to a cute cafe for ice cream and puppy time, hoping the rain would let up so we could take the pup for a walk afterward.
I love having my nieces and nephews over in a crowd and it happens fairly often. But I do love some one on one time with these awesome little people. You get to really know them one on one in a way it is hard to do as part of a pack. At the coffee shop, over ice cream, Jane and I discussed their recent trip and the museums she saw, I teased her about being able to finish that huge ice cream cone, we played a game of Sorry, and I found out she is a dark chocolate girl like me.
The rain finally let up so we took Daisy to Millpond Park, a big park along the river (which gets very swampy after a big rain), and there’s a dog park there so you can let the pup run free. Jane was SO excited. I mean, Daisy is her favorite dog (poor Suzie has been bumped I’m afraid). Jane was the first person I told when I got Daisy and she believes she named Daisy so they have a very special bond. As I handed Jane the leash (a bit nervous because Daisy isn’t very good at the leash yet), she looked up at me, eyes sparkling with delight. “Reenie, this is the best day ever. This is my very first time walking a puppy!” She and Daisy took off across the field, flitting to and fro, splashing through the puddles and delighted with life. So stinking cute.
We practiced some finer points of dog training (practicing Come, Sit, and Down). I explained to Jane some techniques like “If she is hurting you or jumping on you, don’t be afraid to push her off. She needs to learn.” Jane was in heaven and so was I. Such a nice evening spent with one of my favorite kids and my favorite puppy too.
As we flitted back to the car after a lot of park fun,Jane turns and said to me “Reenie, Daisy would be the PERFECT dog for me!”
Reenie: “What do you mean ‘would be’? Daisy IS the perfect dog for you! All the fun and none of the work!”
When I got to her house to deliver Jane back to her family, the other kids wanted to play with Daisy. So they took her for a short walk around the block and Jane was clearly the dog expert. “Lucy, if Daisy is hurting you or jumping on you, don’t be afraid to push her off. She needs to learn.” “I know Jane.” “Geno, here’s how you hold the leash – hand in the loop and then hold the leash like this.” “I know Jane!” It was pretty awesome.
I am so thankful for the wonderful little people God has put into my life and for moments like this to just be together. Life is good.
The Daisy Daze continues. Life with a puppy is not simple. Not even a little. But it is great. Monday she was bounding around chasing her tail, the recycling, a leaf, a stick and all I could think was: Life with a puppy isn’t simple, but it is better. (Obviously I mean that for me, in my current situation – not for everyone universally).
Daisy is a great pup, terribly sweet and learning fast. I was going to brag that it has been over a week since we had any accidents– and then she had three in the span of one hour. But generally speaking, we’re doing well on the potty training. Daisy turned 4 months this week and has been with us for six weeks. It isn’t simple, but I am enjoying her immensely. We are past the adjustment of just getting the new pup and things are settling into more routine.
Maggie doesn’t appreciate Daisy but we have a lot more peaceful moments than we did at first. And Daisy is catching on that her best bet is to give Maggie some breathing room.
Daisy continues to impress me how much less intense she is than Suzie was as a puppy. And as an added bonus, Daisy spends most of her neediness on Suzie, which is really rather great for me. Suze is a great surrogate mom and allows her to hang on her a lot (I think sometimes she likes the puppy biting because it scratches her itch). She does occasionally lay down the law and insist on a few minutes without puppy shenanigans, but mostly she seems fine letting Daisy hang on her, spoon with her, and shadow her every move.
And of course when I finally crate Daisy (for work or for the night), Maggie and Suzie huddle together thankful for the break from that active young whippersnapper.
It has been awhile since I last blogged because life is busy around here. Never, ever a dull moment. But we’re basking in the lovely warm weather, the yard, and the crazy puppy antics. It is clearly the Summer of the Puppy around here. And just for you, I’ll share my photos so you don’t feel any need to go get a puppy. You’re welcome.
Announcing our latest Adventure over here at the Little House on the Hill…
I’ve been thinking about getting a puppy since last spring – although at the time, it seemed like a bad idea (namely because there was no fence and there was one very angry old dog). I started looking again at Christmas time, knowing it would be better to wait until spring, but wanting to get one anyway. Well, I didn’t find one that looked like a good fit until this week. My friend Orsi volunteers at an animal shelter and texted me on Tuesday that there was a Reenie puppy at the shelter. I went over and met this little darling. So sweet!
Saturday we had to pass a “family” visit, meaning the bitches had to not eat the puppy in front of the people deciding whether or not to allow me to adopt the puppy. Orsi volunteered to come dog wrangle with me and it all went pretty smoothly and just what I expected: Suzie did a bit of barking and a lot of wiggling and smelling. Maggie was aloof until the pup got right in her face and then gave a sharp bark- at which the pup showed great respect so Maggie was happy. The long and short of it is that this adorable puppy came home with us.
Daisy is a lab boxer mutt. She looks more black in the photos and more dark brown in person. She’s almost 12 weeks old. She is very sweet, loves to cuddle, desperately wants to be friends with the big bitches, and seems to love everyone she meets.
I’m not one of those dog people– but I’m afraid you may be in for a flurry of puppy pictures because ohmygosh PUPPY!!
The big dogs are not sure what to do with the new addition but happily clue her into the fact that they are the top of pecking order around here. She is rambunctious for sure, but I’m pretty sure she’s already more laid back than Suzie was at this age. And she does seem to respect being at the bottom of the dog pack, which is a good thing.
Besides, every good kitchen remodel needs a puppy, right??
It is bound to be an interesting spring at the Little House!