April 17, 2015

White Dog strolled out to review our little "White Dog Farm." She was impressed with the vertical planter, now filled with lettuces and cabbage and wagged when she saw the baby blueberry bush that Steve rescued from getting dried out and brought home to put down roots with us.

She sniffed and turned up her nose. "WHAT is that odor?" she demanded. "There really is no odor," Candace explained to her, "but your extraordinary sense of smell is probably whiffing the manure compost and top soil we put down in the center of the straw bale area. That is where some of the taller things and stuff that does not grow well in straw, like the rosemary, will go."

Zsofia came loping up. "Smells awesome, doesn't it?" she asked her sister. "Kind of makes you want to hop the fence and dig right it." "NO, it does NOT!" White Dg was firm in her response. "And momma will not be happy if you dig up the garden and bring poop dirt into the house on your nose and feet."

"Candace won't mind, she says I am her helper!" Zso challenged. White Dog turned to our Master Farmer with the question in her eyes. "Um, Zsofia, I WOULD mind. That is why the fence is up. If you tear everything up we will not get lots of good veggies to eat. Remember our discussion?"

Zsofia, like YoYoMa and Bella, is an avid vegetable lover. The thought of missing out on a bountiful harvest made her stop and think. "Maybe I will just lie here and guard everything from bird intruders and snakes," she decided.

"Little Sister," WD told her, "you will have LOTS of time this summer to guard but right now the straw bales are still being conditioned, they cannot be planted for a whole week yet. If you want to be a good gardener, you must learn patience." "Like THAT is going to happen," Taiko whispered about his VERY "in the moment" 10 month old sister.


April 16, 2015

White Dog pointed out that one of the advantages of having Candace so interested in her summer straw bale garden project is that she keeps every pup occupied outside supervising, observing and helping. It leaves the house quiet for serious thought and napping.

Today as the straw bales are "seasoning" with nitrogen and LOTS of water, Candace and team undertook the making of Phase Two of the garden project...the vertical planters. Made from two pallets, costing $2 each at the feed store, Candace and team set about to convert the old used wood into planting areas that stacked vertically.

Skye and Daisy prowled the yard and checked on their mom's progress periodically. Taiko stopped by to give his "Paw Up" to the completion of each step. Sachi went out for a bit but returned inside to guard the front of the house and to hound sleeping Puff (who is about to go into season). Finally at White Dog's threat of nipping things where it would hurt, Sachi curled up and went to sleep.

Zsofia and Storm were Candace's "go to" helpers who stayed at the building site and were interested in smelling and carrying off every piece of the construction.

Together, they all assembled an awesome planter that will, tomorrow, hold the baby lettuce plants and herbs. Candace grew up on a farm in rural Alabama and learned to garden from her grandma...The White Dog Army thinks her grandma would be mighty proud of what she is shaping here in the hot New Mexican desert...with the assistance of 10 floofy white helpers.


April 15, 2015

White Dog looked at the Itty Bitty One and said, "Who would have thought raising a Baby was so much work? We are constantly training her, or dealing with her crazy energy, or keeping her out of trouble." I smiled at the Little White Dog of My Heart. "I once had a little ball of white floof who made all of those same demands and caused even more work because she was an only child and had no brothers and sisters to teach her or set boundaries. Plus she happened to be the smartest pup in the Universe." "Are you talking about me? You are, aren't you, momma?" I nodded and brushed the furs on the side of her face.

"But you never had to put bars on the windows for me." "OK, let us not be overly dramatic. No, you were never tall enough even on your tippy toes to potentially jump through the window although sometimes I do worry that you will break through the glass when you are pawing and singing to the postman."

Last night Zsofia discovered that she could watch Steve as he walked Taiko by standing on her hind legs and looking out of the screened openings of the sun porch. When they did not respond to her demands to return and take her along, our darkest white dog pushed against the winterizing plastic still covering the opening. She was insistent enough to tear through the heavy gauge protection and press the screen so it strained in its frame.

I realized that our girl, if she got it in her mind, could rip away the weave and be able to escape with a jump that was not inconceivable (about 5' to the ground). And she was already intrigued by this new portal.

This morning the moment the front door was opened onto the sun porch Miss Z was there, testing and looking out of the window. Since we are a mere 1/2 block from a major thoroughfare and I am not able to chasing a loping Sibe for blocks or miles, it was decided that we needed to "Baby proof" that window. The others on the porch are protected by things in front of them that prevent access but they are now under observation. This particular window needed to be reinforced to keep our girl inside and safe.

The White Dog Army, Steve and Candace all had ideas, good ones. But in the long run we opted for an easy solution that did not block our view and could be removed once Zsofia reaches an age of reason (I think that is 210 years, Puff commented).

Steve got the wire mesh from the shed...the same mesh used to "Baby Proof" the area under the deck when our Little One arrived. He took down the remnants of winter and installed a sturdy escape deterrent that is higher than Zsofia can reach and which is nearly invisible from the street.

Zso did NOT share her momma's sense of safety and peace of mind. Her White Dog Prison Blues prompted a chorus of howls from up and down the block.

April 14, 2015

White Dog tip-toed around all the straw that was blowing on the driveway. Steve made the same face as he vacuumed out Pumpkin. The straw bales, eight neatly tied little bundles, sat on a pallet waiting to be moved into the yard where they will become part of Candace and The White Dog Army's experiment in straw bale gardening.

Next comes ten days of conditioning the bales to begin decomposition and "Baby" proofing the straw platform so that a certain darker white member of the WDA will not try to "help" with aeration and expanding the area. The plants are waiting somewhat impatiently in the cooler shaded side of the house for their permanent home where they can put down real roots.

We are still snake hunting. Actually, we are at a standoff; none of us likes the humane trap information we have found which involves putting a live mouse into a trap to lure the snake inside. Humane for the snake maybe, but not so much for the mouse. Thankfully he seems shy and not an aggressive type, we have not seen him since the encounter in the woodpile.

Little Miss Z has failed her terraforming and landscaping course with WD. In her time, WD would create great and lovely works of earth art...but she always respected the growing things. Zsofia has focused her ideas of changing the terrain on the idea of digging up the Bradford Pear Tree. She has unburied roots that have been recovered enough that White Dog decided that the poor tree needed more protection. This morning she and Steve went out and laid out a lovely pattern of bricks to form a shield over the dirt under the tree. Hopefully, this will be enough to turn the Dark One's attentions elsewhere without baking the tree roots.

Bella excitedly called all of the White Dogs to the front window this morning so that they could enjoy the beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird that was buzzing around the blue flowers they helped recently plant on our front landing. The little bird ignored all of their calls to stop and visit then flew away to make way for the daily Song to the Mail Carrier.

Spring is calling full force now, complete with canyon winds and vastly fluctuating day/night temperatures. We can all feel the pull of life pushing out with vigor and need to feel the earth between our toes.


April 13, 2015

White Dog rode with Steve and returned to open a box of donuts and offer it to the White Dog Army...their favorite ones with the coconut crunch topping. They followed WD into the kitchen to claim their surprise bounty. And Steve handed me a still warm almond croissant.

"This is a celebration," they jointly announced. "We know it got a little intense the past 24 hours or so and this is our way of trying to make up for being so focused on paperwork that we were crabby."

The White Dog Army was already munching away. Whatever the problem had been, all was forgiven and the unexpected treat was being thoroughly enjoyed. Tails wagged. It was a perfect day after taxes.

"I just want everyone to know the taxes are done. Paid (enjoy this little extravagance). Gone. Finished. Life should return to normal," Steve concluded as the White Ones looked up wondering if they would be allowed seconds.

I arched my brow. "Normal?" I asked. "What is that?"


April 12, 2015

White Dog gestured toward the kitchen but said, "Don't look, you will frighten her off. Our Gentle Storm WAS truly meant to be a member of the White Dog Army."

I risked at peek and saw our timid, shy girl actually milling with the rest of the WDA encouraging Steve to hurry as he prepared their breakfasts. She pressed her way into the crowd to get a better view of the meals in progress and at one point actually crossed behind Steve into the farside of the kitchen to get an uninterrupted look.

"Pretty impressive," I said to White Dog. "She is making such progress."

Storm noticed me watching her and scuttled back into the hallway where I could not see her. But she was not too put off. She paced between her "safe" distance and the kitchen door where she could remind Steve that she WAS waiting for her food.
And when he took Zsofia's meal to the office where she eats (she is still on puppy food and if she was not separated would dine on her food as well as that of everypup who was not as quick as her), Storm made sure he saw that SHE was waiting in the bathroom doorway (where she enjoys her special diet).

The little (Yo cannot believe they even make food dishes so small) pink bowl barely hit the floor before Stormy weather hit. And when Steve removed her protective baby gate, she came back to the edge of the living room to join the rest of the WDA in post breakfast naps...at the edge of the room, but coming closer every day"In no time, that Little Girl will be right in the midst of everything, adding her voice and little prance," White Dog predicted.


April 11, 2015

White Dog did NOT like the fact it was wash all of the dog beds day. "Well, what are we going to sleep on while you fuss about beds that are perfectly fine?" she demanded.

"Well, first of all, they are not perfectly fine. They are stinky. Zsophia's crate mattress is full of stick shavings. Your bed has muddy prints. The round bed is covered in dog hair. The pink mat has that stain that I don't even want to try to name. Need I go on?"

"They are not THAT dirty," she insisted. "But where are we going to nap all day while you wash them and hang them out to dry?"

"This might be a shock, but some dogs actually just sleep on the floor!" She gave me that "look." "Besides," I continued, "during the day you never sleep in your bed anyway. You are on the arm of my chair or on the couch or behind the chairs in your fortress of solitude."

"I'm not worried about me," she said putting on the hat of Great Leader, "It is the others who concern me."

"Like Yo and Sachi sleeping out on the sunporch? or Storm out on the deck? or Bella in her usual place under this chair? See Zso sprawled out on the kitchen floor and Puff on the cool fireplace tiles...they don't seem too concerned."

"Yeah, well what about Tai? He's just wandering around sad because he cannot find a bed to drop into," White Dog pointed this out just as her brother slid in a bellyflop next to Zsofia. "Thanks a lot, Taiko," she muttered as he settled next to the Dark Baby.

"I can see that I am getting nowhere with you," White Dog said, quoting the line I often use in frustration on HER. "Sweet One trust me. Tonight you will be so happy to fall asleep on a freshly laundered bed, fluffed by the breezes and smelling clean and outdoorsy. If you want I will even spritz your bed with lavender spray."

"Do what you must." she sighed with resignation...and marched off to her fortress of solitude.


April 10, 2015

White Dog moved a little closer to my shoulder when Candace came in. She had been out in the yard bundling sticks for removal so the White Dog Army, under her guidance, could plant an experimental straw bale garden. Her eyes were big and she was clearly rattled...not typical for Candace at all.

"I just sent all of the dogs inside," she began. "just to be safe." Nothing gets attention here like words that indicate the pups might be in danger.

"Just encountered about a four foot long snake in the woodpile. I tried to grab it but it was too quick. I am pretty sure it was just a bull snake or something harmless but..." I could not help but notice she was barefoot and not wearing work gloves; inside I shuddered.

The fact that it did not seem like a rattler was good news for that would have increased the safety issue enormously. As it is, even if he is a harmless mouser, a large snake living in the yard creates problems. Puff, formally nearly feral, still is a hunter at heart. With her compromised immune system a snake bite, even a nonvenomous one, puts her in danger of infection. Our Itty Bitty Baby, Zsofia, our stick lover, would be delighted at the prospect of a stick that she could chase and was interactive. And a snake that large is overwhelming compared to the size of our tiny, yard basking girl, Storm.

The snake would have to go.

Both Candace and Steve are snake lovers and we all understand their importance to the ecosystem. The fact he was as big and healthy as he seemed to be said something about the food sources available out at the back of the yard; I offered a silent thanks for the mice he may have kept from coming inside over the winter.

The plan is to try to capture him unharmed and to release him in a more appropriate area where he can thrive and be happy. "How about that crabby lady's house around the block?" White Dog suggested. "Um, no, I was thinking more like along the Bosque by the river.," I replied. "Just a thought," she muttered.

By the end of the day Candace had bundled and moved most of the branches so that next week we can cart them off. The snake was not found. We believe he has taken up residence under the shed. Research is underway to determine the best way to safely lure him into a trap so he can be transported.

In the meantime, during the hot part of the day when it is sunniest in the yard, the White Dog Army will be supervised when they go out.

It constantly amazes me how often the calm and routine weekend "to do" list gets shaken up by some task that comes out of left field...like a snake hunt.


April 9, 2015

White Dog looked at the photo that hangs in the office of Oso, our serious little Angel dog. He stares out at us in earnest as we work. We are coming up on the sad anniversary of his crossing the Bridge.

"You know, momma," White Dog shared, "this time last year was so painful as we watched dementia take my brother a little bit every day. To watch him lose his memory and then his ability to do even the simplest things broke my heart." "Mine, too, Baby Girl," I responded thinking back.

White Dog continued,"But in retrospect that time was so important for Oso, for the WDA, for you. We stuck by each other for the entire journey. We focused on giving Oso the Fearless the strength and support he needed...and more important, the loving commitment to stay by his side. Although it was difficult, I believe we did the right thing. I just wish he had met Sachi (whom he helped you find)...Zsofia (he would have been amazed at her silly antics)...and Storm (she reminds me so much of him; even her bark is the same)."

"Sweet One," I gently said as I rubbed her ears. "Oso knows the members of the earthly WDA, as does Quinn and Nuka. Do you not sometimes feel them here with us?"

"Wow!," she said, "I did not think you humans could sense these visits." "Not as often as some of the Army can feel it," I told her, "but there is a special energy when we host a visit from the Rainbow Bridge that is hard to ignore."

Bittersweet Throwback Thursday...Oso when he joined the White Dog Army...and in his warm jammies and buggy as the journey wound down.

April 8, 2015

White Dog and every member of the White Dog Army is thrilled that Dr. Julia's shakeup of Taiko's medications has resulted in a remarkable improvement of his energy level and his ability to get around.

These Wordless Wednesday photos just make us all wiggy waggy happy...