Whiskey and Chicken News

Whiskey’s finished his first puppy class (yay!) and he did really well. He was so easy and I appreciated that. We went in and once he greeted all of his puppy friends, he settled down and spent a lot of time being quiet and nearly asleep. Though when he was supposed to get up and do stuff, he was usually pretty good about cooperating. I think I said all or most of this not too long ago.
One thing that he’s been getting better at is walking on a leash. Usually, when we walk in our woods, we don’t bother to leash the dogs because they are so responsive when we call. When we go out, however, we can’t really leave them off-leash. Whiskey has not been super excited about the idea, but he’s learned that if he cooperates, things are way more fun. If you look carefully at his left side, you can see the leash dangling. Yay! Don’t tell Whiskey, but puppy class part two starts next week.

The other exciting news is that we were given some chain link fence panels. On Sunday afternoon, I assembled them so that the chickens to have a place to get outside when I don’t want to let them into the whole yard. After a few predator encounters, I’m not keen to leave them out to fend entirely for themselves when we aren’t around, but I feel bad leaving them in their house all day. There are also times I don’t want them to get into gardens I haven’t yet fenced. Now they have a place to be outside, but contained, which is nice.

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Visiting Jean in Panama City

When 1) your sister lives across the country, 2) you don’t fly, and 3) she happens to be someplace a little closer for a little while, you go visit her if you’ve got any chance at all. Not only did I take the chance, I got Dad to go with me!
We left Friday morning and the trip was long, but not too bad until we got to Atlanta. I have to say that I’ve never been through Atlanta at a good time of day (is there such a thing?), but this time was especially bad. We were traveling slowly, but steadily through Atlanta when all of a sudden, several police cars went screaming by on the shoulder. We wondered about it, of course, but they got off and we figured that was the last of them. No. As it turned out, there was a police officer shot just off the interstate (at the time, we didn’t know what was going on; we were sitting there wondering as cops came and went). Then, they tore down the ramp and closed the interstate. It was really frustrating to be three cars from having made it through the block, but when we were released, it was kind of nice to be at the front of the pack. After Atlanta, we didn’t have any trouble. We had a late dinner with Jean (thanks for waiting for us!) when we got to Florida, but that’s pretty much all we did Friday.
Saturday, we got up and went to breakfast (the hotel had lousy breakfast, so we ate out). After breakfast, we decided we wanted to take a pontoon boat out on the bays. The weather was amazing – the sun was out, it wasn’t too hot, the wind was low, and the waves were pretty non-existent…. We watched a tug push around a container ship that had just come into the bay. That was pretty awesome. We saw some dolphins as we were heading back with the boat, which was cool too. It was one of those days you want to capture in a bottle to savor again later. We spent the whole afternoon on the water and then went to dinner.

Unfortunately, Dad had to be back at work on Monday, so we left Sunday after breakfast. We were disappointed we couldn’t stay longer, but we had a really good time. It was nice to get to see Jean and it was nice to be the one to make the effort to visit for a change.

September/October 2015 album

Planting Strawberries

This fall, my boss put in 4,000 strawberry plants. No, there are no extra zeroes. You see that comma? That means it was intentional. Fortunately for us, they still have that handy dandy water wheel/planter we used to put in squash last year. They borrowed two wheels from the guy who got them into strawberries, so it went even faster than with the squash. It only took us four hours (not counting equipment repair time) to put in all those strawberries. Some of that time was spent going back to get more plants or water, but we were all really excited about how quickly the plants went in. In the end, we had six and a half rows (the tractor is on the half row in the picture). Now, for the plants to grow and produce lots of fruit in the spring!

Growing Puppies

I’m behind on puppy updates again. Rhythm is almost 11 months and Whiskey is almost 4 months. He’s over halfway through his first puppy class and is signed up for the second in the series. He’s doing really well with the commands that I understand. The ones that make less sense to me are a struggle for both of us (sorry, Whiskey!).
We’ve gone lots of places with both dogs. Eating out with the dogs can be a challenge (after a long hike when they haven’t had dinner, for example) or it can be really nice (most of the time). They’re both still learning good leash behavior and other people (with or without dogs) don’t always help. Of course, the last lesson from the class was that he shouldn’t be allowed to do that fun greeting thing if he’s not paying attention to me. Something for us both to work on. All things considered, they’re well-behaved. I’m really excited about the dogs they’ll grow into.

While I’m on the subject of the future, when I was in the pet store the other day, there was a girl with a variety of dog I didn’t recognize. Hers and mine said hello and she said, “Are you going to introduce him to livestock.” I told her that I’m hoping to get goats and cattle in the future, but nothing yet. She mentioned a herding trial being held not far from us in October and said she’d send me information. So, for anyone who’s interested, there’s a herding trial near Gordonsville October 9-11. Just to be clear, we aren’t participating, but observing.