Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Alex the Desert Dog

I have an Australian Shephard I adopted from the pound five years ago. He is an amazing dog and as a companion, you could not ask for better. But Alex hates water. All forms of water. Especially if it falls from above. Bath time is a disaster and always done outside where he has a running chance of escaping and I avoid mopping up copious quantities of water dumped on the floor when he attempts to escape.
But it's cold outside. And Alex picked this date to sneak into the garbage and forage around for goodies to eat that even my cat, Amazing Grace, turns his nose up at. If it remotely smells like food, Alex will eat it. With sometimes disasterous results. Such as today, when his bowels wrecked vengenance on his stomach's insatiable need to eat. I heard the telltale whine that signals an emergency request to be let outside - too late - he had annointed my new wool area rug along the entire eight foot length. At which time he turns to me and does a very good imitation of the Marley Mambo - oops, mom, sorry about that!
Never fear - I have carpet cleaner especially for these embarrassing moments. After carefully covering my hands with impervious rubber gloves, I decide to read the instructions - not something I do often and now I know why. The instructions state, "Not for use on wool rugs" - well, Alex did not hit the linoleum. He did not even poop on the carpet I would so dearly like an excuse to replace. No. Only on the wool rug. But when push comes to shove, what's a few spots on my rug compared to the mess that is currently filling my house with an aroma that appears to result from eating something that had decayed for at least two weeks. Probably rolled his eyes in ectasy while he ate it. I ignore any directions I might have been foolish enough to read and start scrubbing.
Once the rug is clean, I return to Alex who is looking at me with forlorn eyes and a hanging head because he KNOWS what comes next - his entire back end is covered with unmentionable nastiness and he has to be washed before he can have contact with anything in the house again - and it's cold, did I mention that? I can't wash him, I know I am about to undergo the bath from hell with the dog that hates water in my bathroom. I get what I need and get the water running in the tub. But Alex is ahead of me on this one. He hides. I find him and drag him into the bathroom and close the door. He stands and looks at the tub. I stand and look at the tub. Will this 60 pound dog willingly step into the water? Not if his life depended on it.
Now comes the dance of the drenched....I pick up his front half and put it in the tub - I reach for the back half, and as I lift it in, the front half has escaped. This is repeated a few times until I realize that the only way he is getting in the tub, is if I lift him in, climb in after him and straddle him with one hand on his collar while I desparately try to get his hind end wet and soaped. This is easier written than done. Soon I notice that I have more water on me than he does. And you could put koi in the pond that has formed on my bathroom floor. I finally manage to do the wash and rinse and make the mistake of letting go of the collar to turn off the water. Whereupon Alex promptly jumps out of the tub and shakes to rid himself of the hated water. There is now enough water on the bathroom walls to create a steam room.
But Alex is happy. He no longer stinks, he has a nice cushy, warm bed to lay down in and I am so busy cleaning up, he knows he is out of the doghouse for now.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to you all and may the New Year bring you good fortune, good health and many adventures!! I hope Santa brought you all that you wished for!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Cold Little Hummer

It's taken a week to catch this hummingbird sitting still long enough to take his picture. I would never have believed that a hummingbird would stick around in temperatures that have rarely reached freezing over the past week, but here he is. I have been rotating two feeders in and out of the house to make sure he has access to unfrozen nectar. What a wonderful winter treat!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Snow

Woke up to a beautiful, snowy day and called in for a vacation day to enjoy it. We don't get many snow days here in the Northwest, but have had more than our share this year. Instead of struggling to work on icy roads, I decided to take a moment to appreciate the rare beauty of a landscape trimmed in the most delicate of lace, lazily floating through the air and perching upon objects that were once ordinary and now a work of art. Our birds are not used to this weather (below freezing for days at a time), so I have made sure the feeders stayed filled and have been rewarded with visits from house finches, Oregon juncos, Anna's Hummingbirds, scrub jays and my resident squirrel, still playing with the cat through the window. I thought I would share a bit of their day with you. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby It's Cold Out There

Couldn't resist posting the photos I took this morning as the artic storm came through SW Washington - the wind is blowing so hard that it temporarily took the curl out of the squirrel's tale.

Cat Television

For weeks I have watched this squirrel through my patio window. He watches my cat watch him, fully knowing that he is protected by the window. And every now and then, he runs up and slaps at the cat's face through the window and then runs away. The cat, not nearly as bright as the squirrel, immediately leaps for the squirrel, slams into the window and then looks very puzzled as to why he can't get that squirrel. I tried several times to photograph them, but my digital camera does not shoot fast enough to catch the moment. So I decided to bring them together in Photoshop for my Fauna assignment for Nature Gathered. This is a composite of two photos, taken just minutes apart, blended with the watercolor brush and color adjusted.