Friday, December 3, 2010

Rug Fuzz & Other Temptations

This tuft of fuzz is so tempting

Tonight I am going to crawl around the family room and look for puppy-level temptations.  By dealing with them before Mariah actually notices, I can prevent puppy damage.  Rug fuzz is a major temptation, so I need to trim the doormat.  It's an inexpensive continuous filament mat, and by pulling on this tuft of yarn Mariah can unravel a long string, one that if swallowed could do a lot of damage.  Although we don't leave her unsupervised, pups can get into mischief very quickly.  Any hanging threads on furniture covers and dog beds will also be trimmed.  I'll also use my bottle of Bitter Apple to spray items I've noticed she is attracted to, like the rugs on the bar stool that are exactly "mouth height" to a puppy.  By paying attention to small details, I can prevent from developing destructive habits.  We've got lots of toys and chew bones laying around, so there is always something acceptable for attract her attention.

Fish club meeting last night, the Plant Extravaganza which is generally the largest meeting of the year.  The club purchased several thousands of dollars worth of aquarium plants which members can buy at very very affordable prices.  Many plants were priced at $1.00 a bunch, with potted plants going for as little as $2.00.  Crowd management is important, as the greedy act like this is Black Friday, and the club wants everyone to have the chance to try some new aquarium plants.  Milo is our go-to-plant guy and he does a wonderful job of organizing this every year and gives a great talk on plants beforehand.  There's a huge amount of work involved in ordering, receiving and keeping the plants for a few days, then pricing hundreds of plants.

Our club has a number of people who are actually into the aquatic gardening part of the hobby a lot more seriously than the fish keeping part.  That's one of the appeals of the hobby, and some of the planted tanks are absolutely fabulous.  High intensity lighting, added CO2 and precise fertilization can yield fabulous results.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Lily Pad enjoying the cool grass.
Wish I was out in Long Beach, California, for the Eukanuba show.  Argus qualified, but there was really no reason to go other than to have fun and visit with friends.  Wait!  Is that not enough reason to go?  Maybe I should have gone without Argus, but it takes a lot more money than I have to do all that kind of stuff.  With Westminster in February and the Dal National in May, I need to be saving both money and vacation time.  A bit of warm weather and sunshine would certainly be welcome though!

The Dal pictured about is Lily Pad, a daughter of Argus & Lily (black Lily, not liver Lily).  Lily Pad's eventual owner met Argus's son Ben at a show in the Pacific NW and liked him so well she waited for over a year for an Argus daughter.  Lily Pad probably should have gone to a show home, but when good pet are homes waiting, it doesn't seem fair to not place a puppy.  Lily had a large litter and a number of nice pups, and her owner had few show reservations, so sseveral other lovely pups also went as pets.  I often wonder how they turned out.  Ch. Echo CD/TD/RN came from that litter and turned out well indeed.

Tess P's two boys are doing well, Paula says.  Trim is done, spotting is nice, eyes are dark, and both of them seem to hear already.  The patched boy will go to a pet home in Phoenix, to live with a patched Josie daughter.   Fingers tightly crossed that the other boy turns out to have show potential.

Fish club meeting tonight, the plant extravaganza where members can select from a huge variety of aquarium plants for just a dollar or two apiece.  Really a good deal as aquarium plants are SO expensive at most aquarium stores - and many of the plants sold at places like PetCo are not even aquarium plants.  They are terrestrial plants that can survive for awhile underwater.

Dogs have an interesting breakfast coming up - Bison oxtails.  Each dog gets a whole oxtail, as the bones are small enough to be totally consumed.  Even the pup will get a chunk of it, although I will have to use my trusty cleaver on hers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Did I Miss Yesterday?

This gate has seen better days!

Oops, don't recall this I posted yesterday.  What was I thinking?  Hey, I'm fine, just ran out of time!

Mariah is doing well and his really settled in as a member of the family.  House training is almost 100% now, probably because WE are trained and get her out regularly and keep a close eye on her when she's loose.  We also keep her confined to just the family room and kitchen - that's one of the secrets to house training.  By limiting the pup's access to other parts of the house it is MUCH easier to keep an eye out for signs of an impending accident or mischief.  Because Ron spends much of his time in the family room, and my computer is just on the other side of the gate, it's a lot easier for us to keep an eye on young dogs.  If dogs are raised with limited house privileges, they are perfectly content.  Accidents still happen and damage still gets done, but at least it's confined to just a few rooms and it's part of raising a puppy.

When Ron asked what I wanted for Christmas, I told him what I really wanted was a new Elongate.  I have one of these sturdy metal adjustable gates spanning the five foot doorway between the family room and dining room and it's done a great job.  But it's getting pretty tatty looking!  The plastic coating is just a bit too tempting for young dogs, and over the years several of done a fair amount of damage.  When "someone" was not paying attention, I might add!  The gate is still sturdy, but it does look pretty battered.  Ron's response was that he could paint it.  Yeah, right.  Someone else suggested white duct tape.  Ron would like that idea too.  But, I think Santa is bringing me a new one.  Yay!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Where Did My Vacation Go?

Everything is a toy, including a plastic bag!

Odd that I rarely get around to blogging on weekends, when I SHOULD have more time for it.   Have my routine for the week which includes a blog post, but weekends are a bit more free form, I guess!

Lovely long weekend that ends all too soon.  It would be interesting to have a whole week off and just stay home and play catch up, something that I have never done.  My vacation always involves going somewhere for at least part of the time, so four days at home is the most I have ever had - and obviously it is not nearly long enough.

New patio door goes in next week and I'm praying that the latch does not fall off before then.  This is much needed project, and because the door will be installed before the end of the year I will get the tax credit.  When we got the estimate, I opted to finish the wood trim myself and save $200.00, which turns out to have been a really stupid decision on my part!  I assumed the pieces would already be cut to size and easy to wrestle down the basement stairs.  NOT!  Six 12-foot pieces of lumber, three of them heavy oak boards.  Like most hundred year old houses this one has a very small back stairway with a tight curve at the top and it is exceedingly difficult (and sometimes impossible) to get large or long items around the corner and down the stairs. 

I love staining wood and am partial to the Watco oil stains, but I really hate the prep work.  Went through three sanding blocks doing that hard oak, but am very satisfied with the results.  Three 12-foot pine strips left to stain, but it will require a lighter shade as softer pine takes the stain so much differently than  harder oak.

One of my projects for the weekend HAD been to scrub, restain and eventually wax the kitchen cabinets, but all the sanding made my tendinitis flare up, so that will have to wait for another time.  If roads are bad this coming weekend and I stay home from Kankakee (a bugger of a drive in the winter) it will be a good time to get started on that.  I'd like to see Ginger, and the judges are OK for Argus, but Pauli is entered too and they are probably better for her.  So if I stay home, it's no big deal.

Mariah continues to do well and is such a doll.  Housetraining has been a snap as it so often is with Dal pups.  After a couple of rough days, she's settled into being a Perfect Pup, and is great in her crate,  The adults all like her so she generally has someone to play with, usually either Argus or Josie, but sometimes Watson too.  Coral still ignores her and pretends there are no puppies present.  She's done her share, she says.

Argus in entered at two shows in the Chicago area right before Christmas.  I don't like doing those shows by myself, so invited Jess to ride along.  She would rather show than watch, so she suggested borrowing Nena from Stephanie and taking her along. Nena has been sitting home growing up this fall and we wanted to see how she looked, so Stephanie and Nena met us at the training center yesterday, and we worked Nena, Argus & Mariah for awhile.  Nena is definitely ready to go now, and Jess is excited to try her.  We worked with Argus to see if he was moving soundly, which he is.  Because he is getting more treadmill time this year (and I am not going to risk all the roadwork on ice this year, having learned my lesson) I needed to be sure that he was moving correctly.  Roadwork badly done can cause more problems than it helps. 

Mariah rode out to class in Argus's crate, just to get her used to riding in a crate in my car.  (She sat on the seat when she went in for a vet visit on Friday.)  It was her first time learning to walk on leash and she did pretty well. Sure is a pretty mover.  We also took some stacked shots since she has slimmed down and looks much better than when chubby.