Backyard to the Universe
Dawgs - 2005
January 24, 2005
Speaking of the catz, well, this is more speaking of what we dawgs do with cat stuff----Erik got a new litter box for the catz with – would you believe it?—a top. The catz don’t trust it ‘cause it looks like a cat carrier – a reminder of going to the vet’s, so Erik has to take the top off so that they will use it. It has a really nice swinging door on it and really would give them privacy, but Erik has it tied open. Actually, that’s probably one place where catz have it made over dawgs. We have to go out in the cold. Maybe Helen would get us an indoor litter box. I just hope that the catz don’t figure out that Mahler and I are the reason that they got the top in the first place. Right now the catz probably just think that the people are mean.
Now it’s my turn. Once in awhile we do put something over on people. I did this about a week ago. Helen had made some dough, used part of it for pinwheels for supper, and made 6 big cinnamon rolls for the next morning. She left the rolls in a casserole dish on the counter, covered with tinfoil. She was surprised when the casserole dish was empty the next morning. She can make those rolls any time she likes.
March 30, 2005
Spring is here! We know because
The squirrels are out playing the back yard and in the trees, driving us nuts
The back yard is turning from white to yucky brown and there is a river between the snow and the house in the back – if we lived in a castle, that would be a moat.
The ducks are having conventions.
The downstairs flooded a couple of nights ago from the melting snow and the rain—hate being wakened up in the middle of the night by the water-vac.
And the cats are creeping closer to the door, until it is opened and they realize that the air isn’t hot yet—that will signify summer.
Since we last wrote, we had an unsettling time. Helen left one morning with Dick and didn’t come back for 2 days – and she hadn’t taken a suitcase. And Dick kept coming home and going out again. Helen had gone for a test and they – whoever ‘they’ are—found that she had severe anemia—which had something to do with her blood, so they gave her more blood (she didn’t say that she was bloodless, so we really don’t understand the whole thing). Anyway, she had more energy now, and has even been taking us for walks.
We’re going through identity crises here. I, Mahler, am tired of being compared with my predecessor, Lohengrin. It seems that he liked to sit and look at the world, but Helen says that I am really the philosopher because of the way I sit and contemplate the world. Lohen used to get the paper every morning, but I refuse to put it in my mouth – who knows where it has been? Lohen used to poke Helen to say good-night, and I just curl up beside the bed. Helen likes the extra fur between my toes –I guess that I have more than Lohen had. Dick was reading somewhere that if dogs get bonded to people, and if they are going to get along with other dogs, they have to have dogs around them when they are very young. I guess that Lohen didn’t have other dogs around, and really didn’t like them. I, on the other hand, have had dogs to play with all of my life! Guess I’m just the more sociable. Sometimes. But at other times I just want to go into my crate and say ‘go away’ to the world. Maybe I’m just a normal dawg.
Helen noticed that there are no Pit Bulls in the dog shows. So Dick went out to the web and found that name for the breed it Staffordshire Bull Terrier. And there are two types, American and English. Now, doesn’t that look like me – except that it’s a male? So, from now on, I am known as a Staffordshire Terrier.
May 8, 2005 Happy Mother’s Day……….
Mother’s Day is really a strange holiday for us animals. We are taken away from our mothers as soon as we can eat on our own and given to someone strange. Only Mahler knows the name of his mother, and that’s because he has something called ‘papers’ that tell his heritage. Even he has had no contact with his mom since January 10, 2000, when Dick and Helen brought him here.
So much has gone on since we last cornered Helen into writing. Probably the biggest events have been the episodes of flooding. Well, not really flooding, because the stream didn’t rise that much. (Mahler thought that we had written about this before, but we can’t find any copy of it, so guess we have just talked about it so much that it seems as if we must have written about it.) Mahler describes it as the rains came down and the ground water came up (or couldn’t go down or anywhere) and the house got caught in the middle. We had Helen check the dates. The first time was Friday evening, April 2, when we started getting water in Dick and Helen’s bathroom. That sometimes happens, but this expanded to the other bathroom then started seeping up through the hall floor, and then Erik’s suite and the other rooms. We had 2 wet vacs going, and on Sunday, Helen got a third vac. She finally turned off all of the machines at 5 AM on Monday morning. Then they started the dehumidifiers. It took several days for the carpeting to dry. Erik and the catz slept upstairs on the futon. Helen figured that during the 10 hours when the seeping was the worst, they took over 900 gallons of water out, or dumped it down the bathtubs. We’re not good with figures, but she calculated it as 15 gal. with the 2 vacs emptied every 10 minutes, or 6 times an hour =90 gal per hour x ten hours, and then consider there was another 26 hours with considerable seepage, especially with the third vac going, so she estimates that there was at least 1500 gallons total. We couldn’t help them – we just can’t drink that much. In fact, we plain stayed out of their way. We did not like the sound of the machines. We had to walk by them to get outside—but we didn’t even want to do that because of the heavy rain. One miserable time.
This happened again on April 30, when Dick started the vacs. That didn’t last about 15 hours, but Erik and the catz are still sleeping upstairs. Erik had just put in new bookcases that got wet. So now he has put everything that he wants to keep dry into the cellar area, or the space under the porch. Dick called some company, so we’ll see what damage was done and if anything can be fixed when they come in a couple of weeks. The water level on the stream is still high, was up beyond the canoe. Helen said that the road about 6 miles down where 2 ponds come together was flooded for several of days, so she had to take longer routes to get places. We are really tired of the rain.
September 10, 2005
Now for some of the details of the summer….
Helen was been away quite a bit, sometimes for a week at a time. She planned most of her trips so that she was away when the work was being done in the house. Well, she said that she didn’t actually plan them that way, but she sure had good luck in making it work out like that. First there was the drilling to put the new drainage system in (and dust got everywhere, even upstairs and in closets), then there was removing the carpeting and flooring downstairs, then they decided to do the flooring and carpeting in part of the upstairs. This means that things had to be moved from one room to another all summer, and things are still not back to their usual places. But it did mean a good thing for Tess….she now has carpeting in her crate because she refused to eat unless she was standing on carpet, so Erik put some in….none of the bare floor for her!
As for our crates, we spend a good deal of time in them when the people were working around here. We would have liked to meet the workers and given our opinion of the work, but weren’t allowed to. So we just greeted them with barks when they arrived, and napped until we were let out again after they left.
Some workers cleared out quite a bit of the dead trees and small growth on the stream-side of the house, so we can now see the stream. We sound an alert when the heron comes. It wades right out front and everyone gets excited to see it.
We have been taking longer walks this summer. Went for 1.5 miles this morning. The other morning we were noting how the neighborhood has been going to the dogs. When we walk to the top of the hill and go right toward the stream, there are 2 dogs on the house on the right just after the stream (Helen calls that Mrs. Rommel’s, although there is someone else living there now, as she died several years ago). Those dogs came at us one morning, and were friendly enough, except that Tess was ready to take them on. Helen says that there is a Dalmatian in the house on the left, but we haven’t seen it. We went left onto Dennis Hill a few mornings ago, and heard dogs in the house on the right part way up the hill. And as we started back, we heard more dogs and then saw the school bus. We waited between driveways for the bus to pass and to pick up kids at the development. Helen made us wait until the dog that was at the bus stop with the kids went home before we continued. I saw the dog but Tess was too busy sniffing and ‘doing’ to notice. And if we go down Stevenstown Road, we can get to mailbox #204 before we get to dogs. We went that far this morning, heard two large (by the voices) dogs and walked rapidly back toward home, almost pulling Helen up a hill. Sometimes we meet a woman walking two large poodles, and they get just as excited when we pass as we do, so Helen and the lady try to keep us from meeting.
Oh, yes. One other thought – the noises around here. We just heard some gunshots somewhere across the road, like someone having target practice. Pretty soon we’ll have to put on our orange collars when we go for walks. And Dick got a bug zapper for his room that really ‘bugs’ us. Tess goes into a panic, sitting on Helen’s bed, refusing to lie down. Dick closes the door to his room but it still bothers her. It bothers me, too, but I just move to another spot and try not to hear it. We’re not sure why it bothers us, but it does. Don’t know why it doesn’t bother people (but we actually have seen Helen jump a bit sometimes when she hears a zap).
You people will need to get jackets out soon, as it is getting colder. We dawgs actually like it this way, because the heat of summer really makes us uncomfortable. But we probably have only a few more days to go swimming….. oh, well……