Archive for November 5th, 2009

A Dog’s Life


Ruby has had an interesting week.   Some weeks are better than others, obviously.   For example, if your people are traveling, then the dog sitter comes by to feed you and you get to smell all the things that she has been in contact with, plus her cat.   But there is no Mom to play with you, and the three to four mile walk every night doesn’t happen.   And of course it is worrisome because you don’t ever really know how long They are going to be gone — sometimes it is forever and other times it is only half of forever.

Sunday was good because her Mom went hiking with a friend and even though she was gone All Day, when she came home redolent of foreign places there was a lot of information to process.   Mom’s friend stayed to dinner and so there was a lot to smell (she has a cat!   she goes to thrift stores!), plus the friend is a nice person who rubbed her ears and threw the ball for her.

Monday was REALLY GREAT because there was a lot going on.   Jim was digging the foundation footings for the next installation, which will be a platform for a wood fired bread oven combined with a barbecue pit.  We have a rather subversive book on the subject:  Build Your Own Earth Oven by Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field.  Right now this is only a hole in the ground, but very soon it will have the road base foundation in it, and then we will start building the walls, which will be just like the ones that make the strawberry bed.


When Jim was digging that hole there were lots and lots of rotted maple roots plus just as many elm roots, so those were thrown off to the side as the hole progressed.   The dirt that came out of there went into the new strawberry bed.   Once the bed was about three quarters full of dirt, a yard of sand was procured and worked into the top layer.   Then we spread ashes and charcoal from the heating stove on top of that, and Jim filled the bed the rest of the way with dirt from the oven hole.   Then I spent about an hour doing aerobic soil mixing, which I can testify involved a lot of my core muscles as well as my shoulders and thighs (they are a tad bit sore this morning).

Okay, so I got a bit off subject there.   All those roots were very interesting to chew on and you could also tote them around the yard and play with them.   Plus the people were out there and since they weren’t really doing anything very important they had plenty of opportunities to throw the ball.

I discovered during that activity that Ruby is intelligent enough to understand that a rule that involves one place in the yard also applies to new spots.   She is not allowed to go into the garden beds, which is very good because I never have her trampling new plantings or worse, digging.   She understands the concept of “The Edge of the Bed” even when there is not a rock border.   Dug up dirt with mulch is very different from grass.   So when I threw the ball yesterday and it landed in the new hole for the earth oven, she was unable to retrieve the ball because it was not on the lawn.  She was uncertain whether she was allowed in this new hole as it was now bare dirt and “not grass”, so she bounced around at the edge and made her “Help, Mom, I can’t get the ball it is out of my reach” noise until I realized what had happened and rescued the ball.

Another thing that was really great was the meter reader came, and she loves him because he has Cookies.  Also, the Animal Control Officer stopped by (on our behest) to discuss the skunk problem with us.   We had already decided that we would try trapping the skunk ourselves and had obtained a proper skunk trap from the Department of Conservation for the purpose.  The ACO was quite relieved that he was not going to have to deal with the issue, and spent some quality time with Ruby, who found him Extremely Interesting seeing as how he was carrying the scents of dogs and cats too numerous to mention.   Plus he was an expert ear rubber.

Yesterday we had the interesting experience of talking with Jay and Jeri (our friends that moved to Costa Rica) on Skype.   Ruby heard familiar voices and curious, walked into the video feed.  Jay and Jeri immediately started talking to her.  It was very confusing, because she could hear her friends just fine, but apparently a picture on a computer unassociated with a smell does not translate into anything meaningful to the dog brain.   After she had looked under the computer desk for her Other Mom and Dad, she came over to where I was sitting and laid her head on my lap, looking up at me as if to say, “This is very confusing for me.   I hear them but where are they?”   So I consoled her with a good ear rub, and things were a lot better then.

Our walks have been very good lately also.  The deer are unsettled because it is rutting season plus the hunters are out there during the day (it is bow season right now).   Coupled with the full moon, there is a lot of early evening deer activity, and this makes our walks a whole lot more interesting.   There are still possums and skunks and armadillos rummaging around, and the other day we came across a covey of quail too.   Lots of moles tunneling means there are spots that need digging up.   Oh yes, the walks are excellent right now.  And when she gets home, she gets a good ear rub from Jim.

I think it could be pretty good to be a dog, where your life consists of looking for good play opportunities, enjoying interesting smells, and every problem can be solved by a good ear rub.

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