Friday, October 30, 2009

A California Haloween

I am visiting my parents in California this Halloween. Since I didn't bring any of my own animals, the beasts here have agreed to stand in. They have been working on their costumes and they are ready to show them off...
Kane and Tag the collies are jokers, and as you can see, they didn't need much of a costume since they act that way every day.
Hoover the lab is in a great costume but you just can't see the rider on his back - it's a headless horseman.
Spartacus decided to go as a scary black cat!
And Jack (aka Jack O' Lantern) chose to go as a king.
He's on his throne! Get it? Get it? Ok. Cheap joke - it's not my fault, my dad said it first.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane

On Friday I will be flying down to California to visit my parents - and go to DISNEYLAND! I grew up five minutes from there but I still love every visit to the Happiest Place On Earth.
I bought a new suitcase for the trip and the house cats have been breaking it in for me. This wouldn't be too big of a problem except at the other end of my journey, more than one cat awaits my arrival. My parent's cats, Spartacus, Mr. Smee, Hamish and Jack won't be happy about the smell of foreign visitors from the North all over my suitcase. Not that that will deter Salem and Poe from helping me pack. Because I am flying, I won't be taking any dogs. I don't know who will be more traumatized. Me? or Skid? You almost fit, Skid. It's tempting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fraidy Cats

Since Kit has been gone, our barn cats have started to come out of the woodwork and relax a little. We are actually finding out that we have more cats than we realized.There are three different litters of kittens but only 5 kittens total.Cali is the matriarch of the cat population and all the kittens follow her around, even when they don't belong to her. She makes sure that all is well before they come out of their hiding places.This kitten is my favorite. Kit killed almost all of his litter and he was mauled and had big gashes on his stomach and side. I don't know why he wasn't hurt worse but Togo found him in the barn huddled with his remaining sister. His sister was hiding her head, sure that the death blow was coming but even tho he was only 4 weeks old and weak and in shock from his wounds, he was bravely facing Togo who was barking at him. (kittens being so dangerous and all) Scott and I moved him and his sister out of the barn and into the shop where I could feed him and keep his wounds clean.
He recovered, and even tho Cali is not his mother he follows her everywhere. She and the other cats keep a wary eye out for predators while he plays in the sun.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


We've closed the sheep up for the winter in a fenced pasture behind the barn. That means Togo has lost his freedom and now has to stay with the sheep all the time. Of course, he just climbs over the fences and goes where he wants. I have some tricks that will stop this but I'd like him to understand that he can't leave them. I decided I needed to have a talk with him:

Togo, you need to understand that you must stay in this pasture with the sheep. There are plenty of things you can do in this pasture.
You can still swim when it's hotand you can still eat your food anytime you want.But I want to be with YOOOOU!I know, and we can still play goofy games, but it has to be in this pasture with the sheep.And look, you can still chew bones over here. Right? Togo?
Are you listening to me?

I'm not talking to you right now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A White Halloween?

Environment Canada (Canada's weather service) needs to understand the difference between snow and snow flurries.
This is not a flurry Salem says this is not funny He thought he was being clever by sneaking out when the dogs went outside today.
He was in for a surprise. OK enough laughing! Let me in now!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Different Lives

I took both of these pictures today. All I can say is -
Some dogs work for a livingAnd some dogs don't

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Snow

The other day we had our first snow fall of the year. It seemed quite dramatic when it came down since it was accompanied by high winds and blizzard like conditions but when all had calmed, it didn't turn out to be as much snow as it seemed. Still, the first snow of the year was the first snow ever for some of our animals.
It was the first snow for the puppies, June, Nan and Syn who are now 8 months old. You can see they obviously hate it. It was also Togo's first snow - he was born in Kentucky and when he was hot and panting down there this summer, I told him I was taking him to a place much more suited for his breed.
I don't think he minds the snow either. It is NOT the first snow for the chickens and they are not amused. Their sense of humor is in short supply right now with the Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday. They don't like my habit of cooking a Cornish Game Hen to celebrate. They tell me they are watching me and if I make any advancements towards them or an oven they will attack.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

House Guardian

Togo has the outside guard duties but who is to watch over the defenseless in the house?
Well, Poe of course!

He places himself in a position that allows him to survey all traffic. And when he spies a suspicious intruder,
HALT! Who goes there?
He goes into stealth mode and creeps up behind the future victim
Then he attacks!
Take that!
And that!
And only when he has his suspect properly subdued, does he take a moment to relax
I know I will rest easy tonight with my protector on duty.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

My little baby is growing up. Even if he doesn't want to.
Up until now, Togo has had access to the sheep but we have not insisted that he stay with them all the time. That is about to end. We are unable to keep Kit, our main guardian dog. We will miss her very much but she liked to hunt and our chickens, ducks and cats were her main fodder. So although Togo is very young, he is going to have to step up his duties. We don't expect him to be much protection yet but the time has come for him to get serious about bonding with his sheep.He won't have too much freedom for a while because he has mastered the art of getting over fences to escape from the sheep. He doesn't exactly clear them. It's more a matter of pushing them down while he hauls his body over.So at night he is chained in a small pasture so he will stay with the sheep.
Don't get me wrong. Togo likes his sheep. It's just that they are boring. And when they go out to the field to graze, the other things in the barnyard become much more interesting. For example, a couple of days ago there was an incident with a chicken.Nothing was harmed on the chicken but her pride and Togo now has a better idea about what he can play with and what he can't.
I believe the worst part for the chicken was getting all the drool off her back.
Togo is by no means a dry mouthed dog and drool is a constant.He is also getting over his fear of cats and is learning to stop barking at them and warning them to go away.
I know, I know. But remember, Togo has no idea how big he is. Nor does he know the stats on the cats vs. sheep incidents.
For right now peace reigns in the barnyard if only because Togo thinks that if he doesn't look at them, they don't exist.It's a difficult time in the Alta-Pete barnyard right now for my reluctant guardian dog, but it will get better, Togo. I promise.AUTHOR'S NOTE: Artistic licence has been taken in removing long strings drool from all photographs except one in the preceding blog entry.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Tall And The Small

We are back from our Fall trip and it's time to get the farm ready for winter. First up, Togo has to get to work learning to guard his sheep. He's not happy about it and wants to continue his puppyhood freedom. More about that later. For right now you can contemplate how large my 7 month old puppy has gotten. Skid is patiently tolerating the slobber.