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At the Farm Store

Here is a little story that made me smile as it happened to me, and as I drove home. Busy week ahead. Gonna run out of chicken feed. Really no other night but tonight to pick some up. Fed the dogs, thought on principle I should feed myself, too. Left the farm with 15 minutes to make it the 10 miles to the farm store before closing at 7. Loaded in the girl dogs, cuz they get to go to the farm store. Made it, ran to the automatic sliding glass door, which didn't open. I stepped back and then up again, just in case it didn't recognize me. It didn't open. Fished my phone out of my bag: 7:01. I'm thinking that following the principle of taking care of myself resulted in this when I hear a young man yelling from far away. I turn and look 150 ft to the other corner of the farm store where one of the guys who works there repeated, "Are you here for feed?" "Yeah" He got on his Walkie-talkie and called into the store. A big guy opened the door "do you know exactly the feed you need?" "Yeah." "Then you can come in." Ordered the 10 bags of flock raiser crumble (not layer, cuz we have some young pullets) and drove around the back for pick up. The young man who called out to me helped load up. "Hey, thanks buddy, you saved me a lot of grief." "I saw your truck, figured your birds were hungry. Hey, how is your poodle? look, you brought her. She's doing OK then, after her surgery? "

My farm store guys, recognized my truck! Knew my birds would be hungry! Knew my poodle had been out for surgery and was glad to see her back. Went out of their way to do extra work on a hot evening at closing.

Doesn't that make you smile, too?

full life

I posted in January. I didn't post in February. I'm posting in March (barely).  It turns out that I do a lot of things. In fact, I have a whole circle of friends and family who seem to think I do too much. Or that I do a lot more than they do. Or that I have a lot of energy. It doesn't really seem that way to me. The only thing I note is that I don't have time to do some more of the things that I want to do. I get really really inspired and think I will do THAT thing. And then I find that there isn't and open space in my time where that thing can fit in. Also, things break. Maintenance is time consuming and I don't schedule maintenence into my time (or my budget).  But I love being a little side part of the LJ family, so I will keep plodding away and making my presence known periodically.
Poodletopia: Awash in green color, daffodils, tulips and hopes for spring. We had a party this last weekend. It was the easiest party ever. I was told who was coming, what we were eating, when and why. All I did was mow the lawn. I LOVE that sort of party, especially as it involved puppies and agility.  My 88 year old mother is visiting, with her 8 year old standard poodle, AnnieStar. They do well with Dove and Gabriel, so Bea gets to come with me. Lauren who has been living here since January will be leaving soon.  I am thinking about downsizing and moving into the little house.  I sometimes feel so silly being just one person in a whole big house. The only time it really makes sense is when people come to visit.  If I had a minute I would put my spaghetti poodle collection up for sale on Ebay...
Beatrice: She is with me 24/7 while mom visits. We are growing under each other's skin so that when it is time we can be apart, neither of us may be able to make the break. She hangs out in a crate in the car while I'm at the hospital but seems to prefer it to any other of the ways she could spend her days. She still seems to be good buddies with Dove, although I am wary and will trust that all this peacefulness is real in about 10 years. We do agility class. She has skills. I become less and less inclined to compete with her.
Gabriel: Still sweet, still fit, barks at the girls when they are bad and especially at cats. I'd love to compete just one more year with him, if I can find a minute.
Cats: no one has died
Chickens: No one has died recently. MASSIVE egg production. If I ever get a minute I'm getting some more chicks and some more meat chickens. If I ever get a minute.
Dove: OH MY GOODNESS she is just sweet. Getting a little bit canny about when she will do her recall. Basically if she knows it is recall practice she will do it. If it involves leaving obsessing on the sheep or coming because our evening walk is over she will not.  She has so very little training on her that I am embarressed. The other day I got really excited about our training plans. Wrote things down. Made a check list. Sprained my foot.... but here is a little video, to prove that a couple of weeks ago we trained a little. http://<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X1BW3JD4Sv4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Another FB type entry: On Call

I'm On Call for the weekend. This means I don't get to see my farm from Friday 7 am until Monday 8:30 am. Beatrice came along with me this time. But I very much miss Dove and Gabriel. I have a doggie cam in their room. I signed on to see how they were and saw this:


The hands are Vera's she is staying on the farm and she loves my doggies. I cannot begin to tell you how happy it made me to see her giving them treats. Silly, but it made me grin for an hour. Poor Bea spends most of the day in a crate in the car, but we have each other for company at night and she gives me a reason to hurry up and get outside the hospital.
Doggie Cam for the win.

FB type entry

Because, well I'm transferring from FB to LJ, but don't really always have time for an essay. Feel free to respond with just the "like."
Things Dove destroyed last night:
My favorite silk scarf.
My Lanyard.
My hospital ID.

Things she tried to destroy:
Tammy's new socks,
HiFi's new ring toy.

Who is Dove?

So, this is the thing. Puppies change. Everyday they change. Who they were this morning is not necessarily who they are in the afternoon. And, in the meantime, there is the business of puppies. They need supervision. They need experiences. They need to learn their place in relation to the POODLES. So, So sorry you haven't had a chance to see Dove grow up. Because every minute has been magical. I am happy that Rosie and Tammy and Heather got to experience some of her babyhood.  And truly, if you have been watching Navarre grow up, you have been watching Dove. They are much of a muchness, except that my Dovey doesn't have as many tricks. She has a few, of which we may video later.  Heather told me that someone, maybe Baby Daddy's breeder (?) asked her to describe Navarre. That got me to thinking, how would I describe Dove?  One of the problems is, that when my heart is full, my words go away. And my heart is ever so full of the beauty and sweetness and power that is Dove.  So all I could come up with were some current lists:
(one of her tricks is waving)

What she likes: herding sheep, ripping and tearing, her green snake, pieces of bark, other dogs, her tuggy on the end of a whip, exploring, human touch almost anywhere on her body, chasing and cornering cats, Navarre, Heather, Tammy, Rumble, Rosie, Bill, All the office staff, exploring (she is a bit of a houdini and has made it under a gate and all the way up the side road to Jone's Farm Produce.....but came running back on first call, oh my goodness.
( I think she likes this Puppy)
What she doesn't like: the car, going in the house after a walk, her kibble, stationary behaviours, shaping, people who show up where they shouldn't. Objects that appear where they were not before. Patients who see her in the back office and speak to her (oh the horror). Being dragged away from the sheep.

When she barks: When things or people show up where they shouldn't. When she is about to poo in the house. When other dogs are doing agility, because all the turns are hers.

Things I am glad she is doing less of: eating poo, digging, tearing up my carpet. peeing in the crate.

Things she needs to stop doing: grabbing Bea's collar, or her neck, or her ears.

How she learns: In very short segments. Only one thing at a time. She does not wait around to see if something she offers is the thing that gets rewarded, that bores her and she goes off. She learns best by watching other dogs. That is how she learned the wobble board, watching Beatrice. That is how she learned to  calm down when she walked into a new class and crowd of people, by watching Samwise demonstrate calm. That is how she learned that it is expected to climb in and out of the car, Gabe showed her. That is how she learned her table down, watching Gabe. I use all my best dog training skills and feel like I am training a very slow, not very bright child, I pull out Bea, demonstrate and Voila! plinth work with hind end is perfect. Weird, huh.
Wobble Board after Beatrice showed her how. Blurry, because wobbly.

What I like about her: Oh, she is so beautiful. The way her head tilts first this way and then that when I am talking to her. The roundness of her skull as she leans her face against me. The exquisite softness of her ears. The way she just shows up behind me ( I will be calling, looking off in the distance, and there she is, poking my popliteal fossa).

It was fun writing those lists. I must remember to update them.

New Start?


I really don't think it is fair of me to follow all my LJ friends' lives vicariously, and not let them to the same with mine. It seems, though, that Beatrice's injury took the wind out of my sails, and then the addition of a puppy to the family used up any blogging time I might have thought I had. But Dawn's recent post inspired me. I really do waste a good bit of time on FB and could redeem some of that time posting here.  It is funny, but though I seldom blog, I experience life as if I did. I'm frequently thinking "l'll talk about that on LJ." There is no point in "catching up" it has been too long. But I didn't have a plan for this blog, except to warn that I was back at trying again. So here is a little catch up about Poodletopia:
Beatrice: Completely healed from her TPLO surgery. Back to doing agility in class and at home. I do not plan on much competing with her. Even though she has settled down a lot, she is still a handful at trials, and the kind of handful that isn't much fun for me. She is 5 now and completely my dog. We are deeply in love and she is the very best co pilot. for trips.
Gabriel: He is 10 now and the sweetest dog. He had a couple of teeth pulled and every so often his neck hurts, but otherwise is doing well. He lets me know whenever Dove is misbehaving, either by finding me, or if he can't get to me, by barking. He growls softly at her when she is thinking about tearing up the carpet, but is not a harsh disciplinarian.  We do some backyard agility and sometimes drop in on a local agility class. I don't insist that he goes through tunnels, and if he declines the weaves I think he has a reason.
Dove: Maybe I'll do a seperate update on her. She is finally settling down into a dog and making my time at home much more peaceful.  She wasn't sure that she was able to pee or poo in the snow. She had to be shown by Gabriel.
The Cats: Crusoe and Moli continue to be good sheep cats, Crusoe flirts with destruction by spending time in the tractor barn, which is within reach of any marauding outdoor dog.
The sheep: I didn't breed the ewes this fall. I just felt as if I had too much on my plate. So sad not to have lambs this spring. They are spending a lot of time in the paddock in hopes of having the best pasture so far this summer. They don't understand and blame me.  They need their hooves trimmed, Another thing, like blogging, that I think about a lot and don't do.
The chickens: I've lost count. We had about 15 hatched at home this summer, most survived. I got 10 from the feed store to keep the meat chickens company. I lost one to a dog and 5 to hawks. I raised 20 meat birds, which taught me many things I didn't know. I might blog about that too, some day. I have 4 roosters now: Fire is from this summer's farm hatching, He is beautiful, but he might end up mean and have to go. Old Yeller from last the group of sex links, and I still have Phillip and Barney. The chickens were so funny in the snow. They came out, landed in it and then tried to fly away from it. It was pullet popcorn.
The little apartment: It was a Air BNB for one weekend, then a shelter for a family that was down on their luck for a month, and now a very nice lady lawyer who has a new job with the attorney general's office is there with her fabulous mixed breed boy ( I think german shepard/pit) untill spring. When my young friends left at then end of the summer, I was happy to have the whole farm to myself for a while, but it turns out I like having someone live next door. I think one of my young friends will be back for the summer, and I like looking forward to that. She sent me the fabulous Poodletopia sign, so I know she is thinking of us.
Agility at poodletopia: We have some classes ongoing at the poodlebarn. So nice for me because I have a ready made 'drop in' for Gabriel or a high energy training place for working with Dovey. I hope to have a couple of UKI trials again this summer, and unless vet bills get in my way, I might have new contact equipment for the outdoor space.
That is all very newsy, kindof like those old Christmas letters that my family used to send to me, until they figured out that my address is just a black hole of no response. But I hope with this I might be back part of the LJ family, at least weekly.

Dove and her poodles

I have been most worried about bringing Dove into a house of not too friendly poodles. It has been going better that I thought it would. Beatrice is too intent on Dove as a plaything rather than Dove as a playmate to have them out together. Gabriel is still unsure of her. "no fast moves, missy. "  But in general approves. Dove was off leash with Gabriel for the first time today. It made me so happy to see them.  What with training sessions with the poodles to learn Dove is wonderful and my obsession with where the poo and the pee go, very little other training has been going on. But Dove goes everywhere with me, so she is getting her "socialization."  Thank goodness for my friends. My work is, in general 10 to 12 hour days. But with Heather and Tammy and Mary and Jessica, so far the Puppy has not had to be crate confined for that long of a time. I am so grateful for their help. Without it I could not have even considered getting a puppy. Working single mom, that's me.

But look, Dove and her poodles.

Hello, Jessica

Surprising new additions to the life at poodletopia. I have two Broody Hens and decided to let them do what they do naturally. So we should have two clutches of baby chicks, the first to be born in about a week. If I have my usual 50% rooster ratio, that will put the eggmobile just about at capacity. If I have more girls than that, I have found it to be pretty easy to place have grown girl chickens. I just love the babies. I have fallen in love with the opportunity to have baby animals around.

Just when Katie was done with Oregon, she found me Jessica. Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't know Jessica existed, now she is gonna be my next door neighbor. Just as with Katie, the arrangement is open ended. I will enjoy sharing Poodletopia with her, as long as it is a good place for her to be, and she doesn't turn out to be crazy. You are not crazy, are you, Jessica? pyresoul
This is an EXCELLENT arrangement in my eyes. She has two accomplished agility Boston Terriers and a really nice little Pyr Shep 6 month old puppy.

And then there is Dove. Dove is sleeping in a crate next to me at the office right now. I find that I can't blog much about things that are filling my heart and my emotions. My words stop coming when my heart is full. As I have been reading Heather's blogs about her anticipations for Navarre and her excitement about his coming, they have very much mirrored my thoughts and emotions, and of course, the astrologic readings are all the same. Go re read Heather's posts. When I took Dove over to the agility trial for her to meet friends, I heard someone remark that she would keep Dove. I had this amazing visceral mothering instinct response that was nearly ludicrous. I wanted to grab my baby and run. I think Dove is my dog.

The usual puppy stuff applies. I will be happy when she understands about the lawn, dirt, shrubbery being the bathroom. I take her out and suggest she use them, and she is just bemused. I'm glad I get to do this in the summer.

Baby Chickens, Young Jessica, Baby Pyr Shep and Dove. So many changes, so much the same and I am enjoying it all.

So then, this happened.

Beatrice's injury at the Desiree seminar did not respond to a month of crate rest. In fact, her pain and limp worsened.  Turns out, she had ruptured a ligament in her 'knee'.  She had tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery by Dr. Flynn at Cascade Veterinary Referral Center. Surgery went well and she has now been on 2 months of crate rest, well, x-pen with a top rest. She gets to go out 2 or 3 times a day, just long enough to do her business and then back in. Trazadone has worked very well to make her comfortable with this degree of confinement. She goes in for X-Rays in a couple of days. If all is healing as planned, she will be released for beginning rehab. I suspect still lots of confinement, but longer leash walks and so forth.  I have missed my little trouble maker. It is hard to have her in a box, on meds.

The lambs were born 12 lambs to 7 ewes. All the lambs were healthy. One of the mommas died. I had to sleep with the orphan lambies for a couple of nights, but then convinced Sweet Potatoe Pie to foster the orphans. Thank you Sweet Potatoe Pie. The lambs keep growing and growing. The pasture is holding up well, so I think I will keep them through the summer.

I got my "egg handlers liscence" and now am selling my eggs at 2 farm stands. The eggs from Poodletopia are very popular, evidently there is a waiting list! I am trying to calculate how many hens I can maintain in the eggmobile, without having to build another structure.

Gabriel is loving being the only farm dog. He is actually becoming a useful, though very timid, herding assistant. He doesn't do outruns, but he enforces my authority and it is easier to move the sheep down pasture with him helping. I think he likes being out on the farm with no risk that at any moment Bea will wreak havoc and I will start yelling. Gabriel hates the yelling. The Keizer Iris festival happened and Gabriel was crowned as the "BEST large pet." In a contest judged by the mayor. Of course he is!

There was a repeat breeding of Badger. I got on a list for a puppy. Then I thought better of it. I DO NOT have time for a puppy. I got off the list. Then I got back on the list. Then I got rejected. Then Julia found a nice French litter. I got on the list. It was a small litter. No puppy for me. I was relieved. Then I talked to breeders in Lithuania, and Poland, and some slavakia or other. Then I fell in love with this little split faced girl. The one sitting next to Navarre. God help me. I have a puppy coming in the same crate with Navarre. She is named Dove, after the yummy chocolate treat, and the symbol of Peace, and the dove that brought a promise of safety and dry land in the Noah story from the bible.


My heart is filled with trepidation, and excitement. I will do my best to give her a happy life. If I am lucky, we will get to do herding, and agility and beach running and hiking together.

Other things happened. But that is a long enough post for now.