Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tater's Chip


We knew when we lost Chloe that it wouldn't be long and we'd be ready to rescue another. We thought we'd wait a month or so. At first we couldn't tell if Tater was missing Chloe, but after a few days, she seemed depressed. She just hung out in the bedroom, away from us. She used to always sit on the couch, by Chloe. The weather has been unseasonably warm, so we've spent quite a bit of time in the yard over the past week. When Lily and I would be outside, Tater wanted us to chase her, they way Chloe used to. We tried, but we couldn't keep up with her quick little legs. It made me sad to see her without a friend.

I started keeping an eye on, watching for small, short haired, playful yet cuddly dogs. I wanted a dog similar to Chloe only smaller, making it easier for our entire family to fit in the car. Nearly every weekend we are on the road to somewhere and we are usually packed pretty tight. As for the short hair, I just prefer short haired dogs for some reason. So sue me.

We went and checked out a few dogs but none really stood out as THE dog.

My friend Lex actually found Chip at the Hendrick's County Animal Shelter. She had visited the shelter looking for a dog that might fit the bill for us. She called saying that there were 3 that might work, but she was pretty sure the one that I would like best was a little Jack Russell that had been found as a stray.

Lily and I jumped in the car and headed up there to check the dogs out. The first 2 we saw were quite cute, but one look at the last little guy and I was pretty sure he was THE ONE. He had been in the shelter for a week and they said he looked young, but over 1 year old.

We took him into the "Visitation Room", which made us feel a little like we were visiting a convict. He was playful and sweet. That was it!

We brought him home Tuesday night. in the first 24 hours, he had a few accidents. He lifted his leg on the trash can, the toy box and once by the door. I caught him in the act each time and was able to give him a stern "NO!". Scared the poor little guy to death. It must have gotten through to him because we have now had an accident free 24 hours. I'm not delusional enough to think we've got him completely potty trained already, but it is quite a start!

He was not leash trained at all either, but he is learning that quickly, too. He seems very smart and observant.

Tater is warming up to him. Today they were playing and jumping around for awhile, which was quite sweet. Tater is definitely still trying to show him that she is Alpha Dog. He seems to be okay with that. The cats don't even seem to realize he is a dog, probably because he is so darned small (he weighs 12.5 lbs right now, but could definitely use to gain a few). Ed is usually scared of new dogs in the house but he even slept on top of Chip's wire crate.

So far, he seems like a great addition to the family. Lily calls him "poppy" (puppy). She also calls him Chip. Unfortunately, her pronunciation of his name sounds very similar to a four letter swear word beginning with the letter "S". Oops!



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Speak softly and carry a big stick...

Lily has the stick carrying part down. The speaking softly part? Not so much.

She really likes to hike on the trails behind our house. She doesn't want to be carried while walking, she likes to take her own sweet time and find big sticks to whack things with. She stops every few seconds to whack something or other.





When she was all done hiking, she laid down in the middle of the trail and gave up.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Because everyone loves to hear their own voice on video, right?

After a sad post yesterday, I thought it might be nice to do something a little different and show off my brand new yarn swift, which I constructed completely from Tinkertoys. Super exciting subject matter here, I KNOW!

A few things to note after re-watching the video:

#1. To clarify, you measure your skein by first measuring the number of inches of one complete wrap around the niddy noddy (in my case, my niddy noddy makes an 84" loop). Then you wrap all of your yarn around the niddy noddy, count the number of wraps and multiply it by the number of inches in one round on the niddy noddy (in my case, that would be X no of wraps multiplied by 84"). Then you divide by 36 to get your total yardage. Hope that makes sense. I think I just made it a whole lot more confusing than it really is!

#2. I constructed my swift after seeing several different Tinkertoy swift versions on the internet. Here is the tutorial I used to build mine. My pieces are different colors because I used knock off Tinkertoys.

#3. You would typically not pull your ball of yarn off the winder until the swift emptied. I just didn't think people would want to watch the entire process.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Goodbye, sweet girl


Today I had to do one of the most difficult things I've done in my life. I had to say goodbye to my most loyal friend and companion, Chloe.

She had been doing much better with keeping food down after we started feeding her in her special chair, but unfortunately, in the last few weeks, her legs were getting much weaker and she was having trouble making it up and down the stairs. I was having to carry her up the stairs and up and down from the couch. She was limping and having trouble getting traction on the wood floor due to her unsteadiness on her feet. She was also having digestion problems. Due to her MegaEsophagus, if she would eat one tiny little thing off the floor, even one kernel of corn, she would get violently sick, sometimes for hours.

Awhile ago I was reading something about how to know when it is time to make the decision to say goodbye to a loved pet. It is such a hard thing to do, you just never want to let go. This thing I read said to think about the things your pet has always loved to do. When he or she can no longer do the majority of those things, it is time. For Chloe, her favorite things in life were:

#1. Food and treats
#2. Running free in the yard, chasing scents other animals had left behind

Due to her MegaEsophagus problem, she could no longer have treats of any kind. She couldn't have any solid food at all. This was very sad for all of us because she just lived for her Beggin' Strip treat every evening and a few Milkbones sprinkled throughout the day.

She could also no longer be allowed to run free (without supervision) for fear that she would find and eat something she found and get sick. Due to her limp, even just a quick outing to go to the bathroom would cause her quite a bit of pain.

Once the decision was made, I just could not bring myself to bring her to the vet clinic to be euthanized. Our vet is very nice and has helped Chloe tremendously over the last few years, but the vet's office was a place of fear for her, and I could not stand the thought of her last moments being fearful. Not to mention the condition Corey and I would be in having to wait in the waiting room.

In the end, Corey found a large animal vet who was willing to make a house call and put her to sleep here. I didn't think to ask who it would be until this morning, but it turned out that the vet was someone I knew, a client of mine back when I was working. This brought me more comfort because I knew he was a kind and gentle person. The vet came by a little after 10am laid Chloe to rest right in her favorite spot, in the corner of the couch.

We wrapped her in a pretty pink blanket and buried her on one of the grassy hills in the field behind our house. That hill was the place she would always run to when she realized that the underground fence was not working. When I would go looking for her, she would undoubtedly be there, sniffing away at the trail of some rabbit or coyote. Now she is at peace among the hills and trees and rabbits and deer. It is where she would want to be, I'm sure of it.

We keep reminding ourselves that she had a wonderful life. She was the best dog a person could ask for, and a great friend to Tater. She did a wonderful job teaching Lily about kindness to animals, too. She will be very greatly missed.


Here are a few of my favorite photos of Chloe. They are not the best pictures, but they show the real "Chloe" that I want to always remember.

The next 2 pictures are from the day that I got her. A co-worker of mind had discovered her and her brother out in the country rummaging through trash. When she asked a neighbor about them, he said they'd been begging for food for weeks, starving after apparently being dumped. He said he said he would kick them whenever he saw them to try to get them to leave (nice!). Chloe's brother had a bit of meat on his bones, but chloe was extremely thin. From the moment I got her, she has been the most ravenous eater I have ever seen. She would jump in the air like a pogo stick as I would bring her her food. She lived for food.




Here she is attempting to eat a waffle whole.


Chloe's brother was a very sweet dog and I wanted to keep him, too, but knew I could not keep both dogs as I was just starting my career and getting ready to move into a small apartment on my own at the time. I decided that Chloe would be the one I would keep because she was more timid and less likely to be adopted. People have always said Chloe was an ugly dog, with her small head and muscular body, but in my eyes, she was always the prettiest dog in the world.


We were never sure of how old Chloe was, since she was a stray, but I had her for over 8 years. Over time, Corey grew to love her too. He even managed to use her as a way to tell me he loved me for the first time. It happened when I was telling him about Chloe having to sleep right next to me in bed or she would whine all night on the floor. I said "I just don't understand why she has to be with me every single second" and he replied "She does it because she loves you, and I do too".




Here is my favorite family portrait with the dogs.

snow family_2

Goodbye my girl. I will hold you in my heart forever.



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Starting the process

It's that time of year again.  We tapped a few trees today and Corey had done the others on Friday.  Those had been drilled while everything was still frozen up. I was not sure that tapping frozen trees was okay, but Corey called the forestry office and they said it was fine. The ones we tapped today sure were flowing. The sap was pouring in a steady stream for a bit out of one of the taps (see below).  Typically, your doing well to get a slow and steady drip, drip, drip. Sap runs best when the temperatures are below freezing at night and well above freezing during the day. Today it was nice and warm, and the forecast looks promising for sap production in the coming week.

Here I am drilling the hole.

44/365 Tapping the maple trees

Pounding in the tap.




We ran out of last year's batch of maple syrup in December, so we're ready!

Doing this brings back such great memories of using these same buckets and taps on my parent's trees growing up.  I know at the time I probably complained a lot about the hauling of heavy buckets, but I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. So glad Lily will have the same experience to remember.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brushing teeth

Daddy gets to brush her teeth, so she decided to return the favor.