Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year In Review

I can't believe 2011 is already coming to a close.  To say it's been an eventful year is a bit of an understatement, I think.  So here are some things I am grateful for as 2011 winds down:

 - Sam is still with me and doing great.
 - Ginny too is doing well - not acting her age at all.
 - Moira continues to get better and better at agility - a sport we BOTH enjoy.
 - Bogey & Georgia are happy, healthy little dogs that bring a lot of love and laughter to my life.
 - I'm no longer in a job that makes me miserable.  No one should cry on the way to and from work every day.
 - My prospects for finding a new job in 2012 are looking up and, even if that doesn't pan out, I have a fall back plan.
 - I have an understanding house-mate who has been wonderful and supportive this year.  We had so much fun being unemployed together!
 - My family has been very supportive as well.  No recriminations from that corner.
 - I have terrific friends, some of whom I've never met, who read this blog and comment.  Thank you for all your wonderful comments.
 - I have terrific friends who don't read my blog but have still been wonderfully supportive this year.

I know listing these things seems a little clich├ęd but I have to tell you all that one of the things I learned this year is to acknowledge the things that are important to you.  It's much too easy to dwell on the negative things that are in your life.  If you take a moment to see the positive you will have more energy to put toward creating more positivity.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It Never Fails....

A couple weeks ago I posted that I had decided to listen to the Universe, follow my heart and go back to school to become a vet tech.  I'm still working toward that but, in the quirky way that the Universe works, I have received several emails and phone calls recently from companies I applied to - and one I didn't apply to - asking to schedule interviews.  I'm entertaining these calls and requests for interviews because, honestly, the idea of being able to make some significant money is pretty darned attractive right now.  Becoming a vet tech is very noble but it probably wouldn't pay for the dog habit - at least not to the extent that I would like.  We'll just have to see what happens.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Clinical Observation

Part of the application process for vet tech school is getting 16 hours of clinical observation in with a licensed vet.  With as many years as I've had dogs, I have way more than 16 hours of observation but I never thought to document it so now I am doing it officially.

Back in October, my regular vet let me observe Ginny's dental and the surgery to remove the mass on her chest.  I was also allowed to observe another dental, tooth extraction and mass removal on a cat.  I still need a few more hours of observation and this Monday I was lucky enough to get some in with a different vet.

Central Virginia is horse country.  Maybe not as much as northern Virginia but there are still a lot of horses here. One of my agility classmates is an equine vet and very graciously allowed me to tag along Monday while she made farm calls.  SO interesting, and so very different from small animal veterinary treatment.

The first call of the day was for a colicky horse.  By the time we got there, the owner had already administered a dose of Banamine to the horse intravenously.  First observation - horse people keep lots of drugs on hand and know how to administer them intravenously, intramuscularly and subcutaneously.  It turned out that the horse had a case of gas colic due to an abrupt change in hay.  We pumped a bunch of water and then mineral oil into his stomach, left the owner with instructions regarding feeding and turn out then moved on to the next call.

James Madison's Montpelier estate also happens to be a very well known racing stable, thanks to Marion duPont Scott the last owner of the estate.  There are lots of Thoroughbreds on the estate training to race on both the flat track and in steeplechase races.  The practice that my friend works for services the racing barns at Montpelier and sends a vet to the barns almost every day of the week to take care of those horses.  Just like dogs who are being shipped to other states, horses need a health certificate to travel out of state to races.  We filled out several of those for horses that would be racing in other states in the near future and also rechecked a horse that had been castrated recently.

Next on the list was a visit to a 'community stable' for a pre-purchase inspection of a pony and to check on a pony that had a bad wound just above her ankle.  Interestingly, before you purchase a horse you pay for a vet to give it a thorough examination.  The vet checks not only the basics - like any wellness exam - but also checks the horse's gait looking for any signs of lameness and rechecks things like heart sounds after the horse has been cantered for a bit.  Unfortunately, the pony we were there to check did not pass inspection.  He had some lameness in his left shoulder and when his heart rate was up he had an arrhythmia.

The pony with the ankle wound was another surprise for me.  When she was treated initially, the vet placed a catheter in her neck so the stable manager could administer antibiotics and other drugs intravenously.  I know that is sometimes done with small animals as well but I think it's a pretty rare owner who administers the drugs themselves rather than take the pet back into the vet.  The pony's wound was healing well but there was some lingering infection.  We left a bottle of antibiotic/antimicrobial spray for the wound and instructions to keep it clean and covered for another week.

Our last call of the day was a sad one.  A horse owner had an old (14 years) Coonhound that needed to be put down.  As a favor, the vet was stopping by to do that.  The owner held the dog's head to keep him calm and I made sure the vet could easily access the leg for the injection.  It was emotional but, as my friend said, you focus on the fact that you are alleviating suffering in an animal and that helps you get through it.

All in all, it was a great day.  I already had an idea that horse people are fairly self-sufficient when it comes to treating their animals for minor issues and this was confirmed.  When they know what they are doing, which most seem to, it really helps hold vet costs down.  The vets also seem to trust that these folks know what they are doing and are more likely to provide horse owners with common drugs to have on hand in the event they are needed; antibiotics, anti inflammatories and even mild sedatives.  Have you ever tried to get a small animal vet to give you a prescription for antibiotics 'just in case?'  Large animal vets also rarely, if ever, use techs.  The owner acts as the tech; holding the animal and helping with the procedure.  It's an interesting difference but not one I'm sure would work well with small animals.  Too many dog and cat owners actually make their pets behave worse and not better when they are involved in veterinary treatment.

Hopefully, I'll complete the last of my clinical observation hours before Christmas.  Then I will forward everything to the college and wait.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Follow Your Heart

"The best thing you can do in life is follow your heart.  Take risks.  Don't just take the safe and easy choices because you're afraid of what might happen.  Don't have any regrets and know that everything happens for a reason." - Unknown



Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I often say, "Everything happens for a reason."  The last seven and a half months have been difficult for me and a real wake up call.

When I left my job in April, I thought I would have another job in three months and that my life would continue on the path it had been on before.  The three months came and went and I still wasn't working.  I had phone interviews, lots and lots of phone interviews, but very few call backs.  I networked, I revised my resume, I applied for entry level jobs, I applied for jobs in parts of the country I had no interest in moving to and I kept telling myself that 'everything happens for a reason' and I just hadn't found the right job yet.

During the last seven and a half months I've also spent a lot of time with the dogs.  A lot of time.  I've watched Sammy struggle with aging, I've watched Ginny start to go deaf, I've watched Moira become increasingly confident and reliable in life and agility (although she can still be a bit of a nut job), I've watched Bogey grow into a boy-dog with many of his father's most beguiling traits and I've watched Georgia go through the teenage uglies and start to mature into a really lovely bitch with intelligence and personality to burn.  Part of spending all this time with the dogs has also included treating lots of minor injuries and ailments too - especially for Sam.  And this is where following my heart has come into the picture.

For years, friends who aren't 'dog people' have watched me with the dogs and asked why I don't do "something with them professionally."  I've always responded with, "I'd love to but there's no money in it."  Well, guess what?  After over seven months of not really making any money, I'm ready to do something professionally with dogs - and cats, and guinea pigs and, whatever.

I am in the process of applying to the veterinary technology program at a local community college.  My application is due at the end of January but I won't know until April if I've been accepted (they only take 40 students each year.)  School will start in August.  After two years, I will be able to sit for the state boards and, hopefully, become a licensed vet tech.  From there, I'd like to become certified in canine physical rehabilitation so I can work with dogs recovering from orthopedic surgery, or plagued by arthritis and , of course, the canine athletes I love so much.  I still need to find a job in the meantime but I can focus on finding something local and it doesn't have to be a 'career' position.

UHM (who got and accepted a job offer last week) has been incredibly supportive of this plan - even though I know it scares her a bit.  If I'm being completely honest, it scares me too but I think I have to follow my heart on this one and remember that everything does happen for a reason.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Self Medicating

With the holiday season upon us, I thought I would share some common household medications that can be used for dogs as well.  As always, you should contact your vet before giving any medication to your dog long-term but these are pretty safe to use in situations where getting to your vet right away is not an option.


Product
Common Use
Canine Dosage
Buffered Aspirin
Pain relief, anti-inflammatory
18-12 mg per lb every 12 hours.
Benadryl
Treats allergies, itching, etc.
½ mg per lb every 8 hours. Max dose 2 mg per lb.
Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
Used to induce vomiting after accidental ingestion of toxic items.
1-3 tsp by mouth every 15 minutes until vomiting occurs.  DO NOT induce vomiting if it has been more than 2 hours since ingestion.
Dramamine
Reduces motion sickness.
Up to 50 mg every 8 hours.
Pepto Bismol
For diarrhea, vomiting and anti-gas.
1 tsp per 5 lbs every 6 hours.


Hopefully, you won't have to use any of these this holiday season.  Also, as The Chronicles of Cardigan pointed out, pureed pumpkin is also an excellent way to treat diarrhea and/or constipation but typically works a little slower.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bogey's Tips for the Upcoming Holidays

If you're looking a little shaggy...














Make an appointment with the groomer.  Tell her to take a little off the sides...












And top, and bottom.....

If you'll be dining with family, it never hurts to dress up a little.

















But be sure to bring along your favorite fan wear to change into for the big game.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Picture

Monday afternoon we had stunning weather.  Moira was lying in the front window, soaking up the sun when I took this picture.  She has grown into such a lovely girl.  She reminds me a lot of her mother.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Power Twins - Activate!

At the 2010 National in Pennsylvania, we met Becky Dean and Drew.  Drew and Moira are half sisters - their mom is Honey.  The girls seem to share more than a mom though.  They are very similar in personality and physicality too.  At that National, Becky and I agreed that we would have to get together again to run both girls at an agility trial.  We were supposed to visit Becky & Drew in Ohio this spring but the work situation got the best of us.  Instead, they were able to make the trip here last weekend to run Pairs at the Madco trial with us.  What a great time we had!

The run resulted in a Q and a first place!  And the girls, once again, got along famously.  More trials are in our future.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fabulous Fall Weekend

This weekend Moira and I ran in the annual Madco Agility fall trial at Misty Mountain Campground in Crozet, VA.  This was our first USDAA trial last year and we've come a long way since then.  The night before the trial I watched this video of our Jumpers run last year:


Not pretty, really not pretty.

This spring, we ran in another Madco trial and here was our Jumpers run at that trial:


Better but still not great.

Saturday morning was frosty and COLD!  Just the kind of weather that makes little red dogs act crazy.  However, Pu Head must finally be growing up because we had a great run and we Qd!  Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties with the video so I don't have footage of the run.  What I do have footage of is our Sunday afternoon Jumpers run.  A few bobbles and a knocked bar but it is such a vast improvement over last fall and even this spring that I am just thrilled.


Having video of our runs is a wonderful thing.  I only have one or two videos of Sam's agility career and, while they can be painful to watch, I love having them.  Unfortunately, there are so few that I can't really see a progression in our partnership and training.  With these videos of Moira, I can see how we are progressing and improving and what we need to work on too.

For Spring, the goal is to be able to enter Standard and a few other classes.  Next post - Power Twins, Activate!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Companion Post to "Choices"

Below is a link to what I think is the best blog post ever about the love and guilt associated with having to euthanize a dog - for any reason.  Patricia McConnell is an animal behaviorist and dog trainer whose books, DVDs and blog are invaluable to anyone who owns a dog and has a desire to better understand that dog.

Love, Guilt & Putting Dogs Down

Friday, October 28, 2011

Choices

I'll get back to my 'Treating People Like Dogs' theory soon but today I wanted to talk about choices where our dogs are concerned.

Yesterday, Ginny who is 12 years old, had surgery to remove a mass from her chest.  The mass was involved in a mammary gland and was causing the nipple to leak a clear, brownish fluid.  That was the reason I chose to have the mass removed.  What I did not choose to do was have the mass sent to pathology to determine what it was.  While it would have been nice to know, definitively, what we were dealing with it also wouldn't have changed anything for me.  If it was cancer, I wasn't going to put Gin through chemo (assuming that might have helped) because she is 12 years old and, honestly, I can't afford it.  If it wasn't cancer, there's no guarantee she won't get cancer.  It's a non-issue - I'm going to continue to treat Ginny just as I always have; doing the best I can to maintain her health and quality of life.

Sam has gotten a lot of extra meds in recent months.  I'm choosing to give him these because, overall, he's still doing very well and his quality of life is really good.  However, in choosing to give him these meds I also had to weigh potential long term side effects; increased risk of bleeding, potential liver damage, etc.  He's 13 years old.  At the absolute outside limit, he might live another 3 years.  I don't think the meds he is taking are going to shave years off his life.  If giving him the cocktail of meds helps him have more good days than bad in the time he has left, then I choose to do that.

Today we have the most incredible things available to us to improve and lengthen our dogs' lives.  With all those improvements we also have a responsibility to make hard choices.  Those choices aren't always about the dog though.  Several months ago, I read a book called "Merle's Door."  It's a true story about a rescued dog and the long, happy life he lived with his rescuer.  Toward the end of Merle's life he starts having the kinds of health issues that a lot of old dogs do and the question of euthanasia came up.  His owner asked himself a series of 9 questions from the book Active Years for Your Aging Dog by Bernard S. Hershorn, DVM.  In addition to these questions, Dr. Hershorn also emphasizes that the dog's chronological age should never be a factor in the decision.  That means young or old, you need to ask and answer these questions honestly and make a decision based on them.  The 9 questions are:

1)  Is the condition prolonged, recurring or getting worse?
2)  Is the condition no longer responding to therapy?
3)  Is your dog in pain or otherwise physically suffering?
4)  Is it no longer possible to relieve that pain or suffering?
5)  If your dog should recover, is he likely to be chronically ill, an invalid, or unable to care for himself as a healthy dog?
6)  If your dog recovers, is he likely no longer to be able to enjoy life, or will he have severe personality changes?
7)  Can you provide the necessary care?
8)  Will such care interfere with your own life as to create serious problems with your or your family?
9)  Will the cost involved become unbearably expensive?

I think it's a great list of questions because it addresses both the dog's well being and the owners'.  In one way or another I ask myself these questions, or a version of them, every time I have to make a choice about my dogs' health.  They don't take the emotional element completely out of the picture but they do help mitigate it somewhat and allow me to make decisions based on what really is best for the dog - not just what will make me feel better.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Have a Theory...

First, I hope you like the new, fall-themed look of the blog.  I loved the previous blog background and it carried me ably through spring and summer but, with the advent of cooler temps and falling leaves, I felt like it needed a change.  Thanks to Elizabeth at The Chronicles of Cardigan for the inspiration.  You'll notice there is a new quote in the header and another quote in the right sidebar.  I'm going to try to change these out regularly as there are literally hundreds of great dog quotes out there.

Now for my theory.  This is a theory I've held for several years.  It's one that UHM says I should never talk about in public but, UHM is a human resources professional so she has to say things like that.  I believe that all the principles you use to train your dog can be applied to managing people who work for you.  There, I've said it.  I think you should treat people like dogs.

I'll go into more detail in subsequent posts but, right now, what are your thoughts on my theory?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Auto-Generated Email? Really?

Finally heard back from the company that flew me in for an interview over a month ago.  Today I received an auto-generated, anonymous email from a "Staffing Representative" indicating that while "many aspects of your background are impressive" there were other candidates whose qualifications were more in line with their current needs.  Oh, and I got this barely an hour after I sent an email asking for an update to the HR flunky who had arranged my whole trip, and, by the way, where is my check to reimburse my expenses for the trip?

I'm ok with not getting the job but, I really think if you actually bring someone into the offices to interview they deserve the courtesy of a phone call and an opportunity to solicit feedback if they didn't get the job.  See what the electronic age has done to us?

So, the hunt continues.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Most Important Ingredient? Time!

I've been at it again.  Last week I baked off some pie pumpkins, scooped out the flesh, ran it through the food processor, drained/strained it and then froze it.  Now I will have fresh, real pumpkin to use in recipes throughout the winter.  Or, I can give it to dogs who need to 1) lose weight, 2) stop pooping, or 3) start pooping.  It really it a multi-purpose vegetable.

Today I made some fresh marinara sauce using tomatoes from last summer and zucchini from this summer.  Then I mixed it with some ziti and cheeses to freeze pans of ziti to be popped in the oven at a later date, when we don't feel like "making" dinner.

Later in the week I expect I will get more pumpkins and apples too that will need to be processed into food stuffs for the winter months.

Yes, I've done a lot of canning, freezing, baking, cooking, etc. this summer.  A few of you have commented that you are so impressed with that.  It's nice of you to say but, I have to share a secret with you....  NOTHING that I have made this summer takes any particular skill or equipment.  If you can boil water, follow a recipe and set a timer you can make all of the things I have made and make them just as well as I have.  The only ingredient I have right now that most of you don't is time.

When I was working full time, I very rarely froze, canned, baked or cooked much of anything.  When (notice I'm saying 'when' and not 'if')I return to work,  I'm not sure I will continue to do all these things.  Sure, UHM and I will still make supper for ourselves and, if I have a little time on the weekend I'll whip up a dessert that will last through the week.  But, I have to tell you that I am not entirely certain I will make the time to do all the things I've done this year.  It's takes a full day to can 20 lbs of apples into applesauce and pie filling.  If I only have 2 days off a week, I'm not sure I'll want to spend one of them doing that.

Still, those of you who don't currently feel like you have the skill set to freeze fresh green beans or make your own applesauce I would encourage you to try.  It's a wonderful feeling to sit down to a meal and know exactly where some of the items on the table came from and how they were made.  Plus, the flavors simply don't compare to anything you buy in the store.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Craft Project

Last week I posted that I was looking for new craft projects to keep me occupied during the colder weather.  When UHM and I were out tasting apple cider and buying apples last week, we also stopped by one of our favorite antique stores, The Covesville Store.  Like most 'antique' stores, it's a mish-mash of nicer, truly antique pieces mixed in with thrift-store-type items that aren't really worth all that much.  While I was poking around in the store I found a box full of "vintage" cookie cutters and had an idea.  I bought several of them and today got around to trying out my idea.  Below is a picture of the result.

















What do you all think?  It's a cross between a wind chime and a mobile.   If you saw it at a craft fair, would you buy it?  What would you pay for it?  Any suggestions on sprucing it up a bit?  I have some other ideas for something similar but need to spend more time on the mechanics.  Let me know what you think though.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Pulled Out the Turtlenecks

First - no word on the job front.  Very frustrating.  For the life of me, I can't understand why a company would go to the expense to bring me in for less than 24 hours (over $1k) and then not call!  On the flip side, they haven't called to say take a hike either :)

This morning was the first chilly morning we've had.  I think it was around 42 when we got up and it never got warmer than the mid 60s today.  A really beautiful fall day!  And what do you do on a beautiful fall day?  Well, you convince your UHM to drive to the local apple cider brewery for a tasting!  We drove about 45 minutes south to Albemarle Cider Works and tasted the four varieties of apple cider they produced in 2010.  These ciders remind me a lot of sparkling white wines - not really my thing - but were all very good.  My favorite was the Ragged Mountain Cider which was the sweetest of the group.  They also had apples picked in their orchards available for sale.  We bought 20 pounds; a mixture of SuncrispGrimes GoldenJonathan and King David.  The apples are actually grown by Vintage Virginia Apples.  They grow over 250 varieties of apples, many of them heirloom varieties.  Guess what I plan to do for the rest of the weekend?  Can applesauce and apple pie filling, that's what.  The pie filling recipe I have uses butterscotch schnapps!

Also in honor of the cooler temps, I made my favorite chicken pot pies; the filling includes artichoke hearts.  The recipe makes enough for 6 pot pies so I end up freezing 5 of them for future meals.  This recipe also happens to have one of my favorite pie crusts.  When I was a kid, my mom always made 'pie crust cookies' with the trimmings and excess dough.  We usually had sweet pies so the cookies would be sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  Tonight I tried something a little different, since I was in a savory mood.  I brushed the cookies with an egg wash and then sprinkled them with garlic salt before baking them off in a 350 oven until golden brown.  YUM!  A lot like home made crackers, only better!

Now that the cold weather is getting nearer, I'm looking for projects to keep me busy inside.  I'll probably can some more apples before the end of November and there will be pumpkins to bake off, puree and freeze too.  I also have a few ideas for inexpensive craft projects.  If you all have any favorite cold weather crafts (besides knitting or crocheting), please share.

If you'd like my recipes for canned apple pie filling or chicken pot pie, let me know.  I'm happy to share.  Time to dig into the pot pie.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

200th Post!

In August of 2009 I published my first post on Life with The Horde.  A little over two years later, we're still here and even have another Horde member, Georgia.

I had really hoped that this post would bear good news about my job search but, unfortunately, I have not heard back yet regarding my interview down south at the beginning of the month.  Please keep thinking good thoughts for me.

Yesterday I took Moira to some agility run thrus at a place not too far from where we live.  She was a WILD dog but that's to be expected after an entire summer off from agility.  I was really pleased with her jumping though and she always came back to me so that's good too.  Part of the reason I went for the run thrus was  to meet up with Stacy Sties of Canine Icer.  Stacy is a local gal who makes neoprene wraps that can be used for applying heat or cold to various parts of canine athletes.  She also makes custom wraps that can hold  weights or rigid/flexible supports for canine physical therapy.

Stacy measured Sam for a pair of hock wraps to help him stay up off his pasterns a little more.  As he's aged, I've noticed him rolling back on his rear pasterns more and more.  This week I took him to the vet because he has developed an interdigital infection on one rear foot and some cysts on the inner edge of the other.  The hope is these wraps will help stabilize and support him a little better to take some of the pressure off his back feet.  At 13 I expect him to have some issues and arthritis is one of them but I could tell his feet have really been bothering him lately and this seemed like it might help.
Sam's hock wraps.














After only an hour or so they seem to be helping and he doesn't mind them at all.  The right one doesn't want to stay up where it should - may have to do with his bone structure and we might have to make some adjustments to it - but the left one is staying in place perfectly.  He should be able to wear them almost all the time so we'll see if there is any improvement in his feet and gait.

I know many of you have athletically inclined dogs who have suffered injuries that require the application of heat or cold.  I would encourage you to check out Stacy's website.  She has some standard sizes but will also make custom sizes - important with the corgis, of both persuasions, who have slightly different proportions.  Her pricing is reasonable, especially considering the personal attention and prompt delivery, and she's an agility and herding person too so she knows what we ask our dogs to do.

Hopefully, the next post will have news about the job hunt.

Monday, August 29, 2011

No News is Good News

I'm finding it difficult to find things to blog about these days.  I seem to be posting more and more 'sound bites' on FB than coming up with meaningful topics to blog about.

Yes, we had an earthquake last Tuesday.  I was at James Madison's Montpelier volunteering when it hit.  That put me less than 30 miles from the epicenter.  I volunteer in the Dupont Gallery in the visitors center.  The damage in the visitors center/gift shop was minimal.  The gift shop had a lot of cleaning up to do as breakables well, they broke.  In the Dupont Gallery, lots of pictures were catty-wampus and the chandeliers swung quite a bit.  I think that is probably the strongest earthquake I've experienced and while there have been some pretty good aftershocks, I've only felt one of those.  By the way, the damage to Montpelier itself was limited to some cracked plaster and chimneys, nothing structural.

At the end of last week, everyone on the East coast braced for Hurricane Irene.  The track the storm took left us with some fairly strong winds and just a little rain - we didn't lose power.  Our friends to the east, in Richmond and on the Virginia coast, saw a lot more damage and rain.  Fortunately, as far as we know, everyone is ok but the clean up will take a while.

Thursday of this week I'll be boarding a plane for a flight south.  I have a real, face-to-face job interview with a large company on Friday.  I don't want to say who yet but, think good thoughts.  It seems like a wonderful opportunity for me in a lot of ways; career advancement, location and, oh yeah, I'd be employed again.  When I know something, you all will.

And, last but not least, agility classes are scheduled to resume on September 7!  I am so excited.  Moira does so much better when she has a chance to get out of the house and visit with her agility friends.

My next post will be something special so be sure to check back......

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut....

Coconut, that is or, rather, coconut oil.  A few weeks ago a Beardie friend posted on FB regarding the health benefits of coconut oil for the dogs (Dogster Post).  So I did a little on line reading to determine if it was something I wanted to try.  For the last year or more Sam has had terribly dry skin and no amount of supplements seemed to be helping - not even salmon oil.

After determining that coconut oil wouldn't harm the dogs in any way, I went ahead and bought a small jar of Virgin Coconut Oil from Whole Foods.  My first surprise was that when I opened the jar the oil had solidified.  Coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees or lower so, when I took it out of the highly air-conditioned store, it was in a solid state.  It has fluctuated between liquid and solid since I brought it home but it doesn't need to be refrigerated.

This weekend I groomed all the dogs and, for the first time in over a year, Sam's skin wasn't dry and flaky.  He's been getting 1-2 tsps of coconut oil, daily, for the last 3 weeks.  His coat feels great too, very soft and silky (I know, that's not really correct for a Cardi).  Overall, I'm thrilled with what I've seen.  Coconut oil doesn't have the anti-inflammatory properties that salmon oil does but it seems to have a lot of other benefits so I think I will continue giving it.

Do some research for yourself and see if it is something you want to add to your dog(s) diet.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

But is it really a sport?

Over the last few weeks, UHM and I have had lots of conversations about things that are objective vs. subjective.  UHM is a highly competitive person who has always played sports (although if you ask my mom, golf isn't really a sport).  The sports she has played are of the objective variety; golf, soft ball, field hockey.  Either you make the putt, or you don't; you score a goal, or you don't; you hit the ball, or you don't.  You don't get any extra points for doing any of those things stylishly.  There is a referee or 'judge' involved but he/she is there to make sure the rules are followed and is rarely expected to make a subjective call.

While not a sporting type myself, my competitive endeavors have usually been more subjective in nature.  I was on the forensics (speech) team, played in the band, a member of the livestock judging team and showed livestock.  Those experiences make the ups and downs of showing dogs - while still sometimes frustrating - a little more understandable to me.  The judges in speech competitions decided, subjectively, who had the better speech.  We competed for first chair, second chair, etc. in band and the director was the subjective judge of who played better.  Showing and judging livestock, like showing and judging dogs, is extremely subjective.  It is an individual's interpretation of which animal best represents the breed or style of animal currently favored.

Given the conversations UHM and I have had, it seemed serendipitous when my friend Karen, at Dog Show Newbie posted a link to an article/editorial on DogChannel.com.  In the piece, the writer likens breeding and showing dogs to art more than sport and I think he's right.  What's really great is, the piece was written by a long-time Cardigan breeder; Paul Chen of Afara Cardigans.  Take a couple minutes to check it out and see if you don't agree with his thoughts - as well as get a chuckle out of his description of what it's like to breed and show dogs.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adequan

My dogs have taken joint supplements off and on for years but it's really only been in the last year or so that I've been consistent about giving them.  I got better about it right around the time that Sam was prescribed Tramadol for the pain associated with arthritis.  We were reluctant to put him on a straight NSAID because, at the time, he was having some kidney issues.

The vet and I had discussed other options for dealing with arthritis in the past but it had really gotten to the point that, for Sam to continue to enjoy life, we needed to make a decision.  The NSAIDs still had the concern associated with kidney damage so Dr. Hillary and I talked about Adequan.

Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is a sort of injectable version of the more common oral supplement, glucosamine.  When Adequan is injected, the joints preferentially take it up and it provides additional cushioning in those joints.  It acts as both a treatment and preventative for arthritis.

Last week we finished the four week loading dose period with Sam (2 doses per week).  The first few weeks I didn't see too much difference in his behavior.  Around week three I started seeing him feel a lot better on his shot days.  After the 6th dose I saw a real and extended period of time where he was feeling great and it has continued.  Today he had his first maintenance shot.  He'll get one shot per week until it seems like that is no longer effective - then we might increase it.  He still gets Tramadol on the nights when he seems particularly sore but those are fewer now.

Sam's arthritis is too advanced for this to act like a preventative but it is making him more comfortable and, at just under $8 per shot, it's affordable for me.  My vet agreed to teach me how to give the shots (the packaging calls for intramuscular but recently it's been determined that subcu works too) so I don't have to make a trip to the office all the time.  Drs. Foster & Smith has the best on line pricing for Adequan that I've been able to find and shipping is free on prescriptions.

I'm a firm believer that all dogs should receive a joint supplement, even as puppies, and especially dogs that participate in any sports (agility, herding, fly ball).  With what I've seen and read about Adequan, I would even go so far as to replace an oral supplement with the Adequan when a performance dog starts to age.  I'm considering starting Moira (who'll be 6 this year) on it in the next couple of years.

Talk to your vet about arthritis in dogs and Adequan.  While there can be some mild side effects, and not all drugs work for all dogs, I've been really happy with the changes I've seen in Sam since he started on it.  For more information on Adequan you can visit the Novatis website, http://www.adequancanine.us/index2.shtml.

Friday, August 12, 2011

On the Road Again

Bogey and I leave today to retrieve Georgia from North Carolina.  UHM and I dropped her off with Liz (her breeder) and Marian (pro handler and wonderful lady who whelped G and her siblings) last Sunday.  Georgia has been at Dog Show Boot Camp/Cheer Camp for the last week.  She's entered in the Greensboro cluster of shows which started on Wednesday and go through Sunday.

Wednesday G was reserve winner's bitch, yesterday nothing and today Cardis were on at 9 but I haven't heard anything - which usually isn't a good sign.  She'll show tomorrow and Sunday and then we'll head home.

Wish us luck!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Class Pictures

Ahh yes, summer is coming to a close (at least chronologically if not meteorologically) and thoughts turn to back to school.  New school clothes (my personal fave), new school supplies (lunch box anyone? or are those passe?) and class pictures.

I won't share any of my old class pictures.  I think they are all in storage anyway and, generally speaking, incredibly unflattering with the exception of 5th grade.  In the spirit of those class pictures, we took the dogs to Chris Green Lake yesterday to get some head shots.  Let me just say that Moira and Bogey are terrific models, the rest of them are difficult to work with.  Sam is too excited about being out of the house, Ginny is too excited about having grass to eat and Georgia is still too young to really want to hold still.  None the less, here are some of the better photos from today....

Sam, he's actually an alum.  Can you guess which fraternity he pledged?





















This is an oldy, but goody of Gin.  She just didn't want to have her picture taken.




















Moira.  The other really good shot of her looked like a mug shot.



















Bogey.  Doesn't this look like your classic 'senior portrait?'  The pensive, staring into space look.



















And our 'first grader,' Georgia.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

On A Tear

I've been on a grooming tear for the last three weeks.  It was prompted by Georgia starting to blow coat with a big cluster of shows coming up.  So, for the last 3 Sundays she's been brushed, blown out, bathed and then blown out again.  Oh, and had her nails done too.  And, as long as I had the grooming table out, everyone else got some attention as well.  Today, Sam & Ginny got baths too.

Even though I end up inhaling and ingesting a lot of dog hair when everyone gets groomed like this, I actually enjoy grooming the dogs.  It can be incredibly relaxing to have a dog up on the table.  I get very focused and quiet and, fortunately, most of the dogs can relax on the table too.  The only one I worry about is Sam because, as he's gotten older, he's not always sure where his rear end is.  He has a tendency to let that back end drop off the table so I have to keep an eye on him and adjust his positioning a lot.  I'm thinking about buying a table that has a larger top and is slightly lower to make grooming him a little easier.  Of course, that will have to wait until I'm working again but, window-shopping for dog gear is always fun :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh the Agony...

Job hunting is brutal - I probably don't need to tell most of you that.  It's almost a flashback to those painful days in elementary school PE when the games required picking teams.  You wait anxiously to see if you will be 'picked.'

In today's job market it's especially painful because virtually everything is done electronically so you really have no idea if the "application" you filled out is actually being viewed by a human or merely checked by some computer program for the appropriate key words.  One of the job sites even has this wonderful/horrible tool that allows you to see how many candidates have applied for that job through their site and gives you some pretty amazing demographics regarding education, years of experience, required salary, etc.  It's positively frightening.

Last week I ended up having 3 phone interviews for 2 possible jobs.  One of them we are in the midst of trying to schedule a 4th phone interview.  The other I got a very polite email today indicating they are looking at other candidates but, thanks for my interest and oh, here's a special discount code to use the next time you shop our website.

The on line applications can be brutal too.  Most companies give you the option of down loading your resume but then they also ask you to fill out a work history section.  Ugh!  I hate repetitive work.  One of the jobs I am in the running for does a couple of different on line tests.  One is the Predictive Index test.  This is where you are given a list of 75 words and then asked to identify those that you think others would use to describe you.  Then you are give a second list of the same 75 words and asked to indicate the ones you believe best describe you!  The second test was 125 mixed questions encompassing reading comprehension, math, and logic/ethics.  Each question is timed but there is no time limit.  What does that mean?  Do they look at how long it took me to complete the number sequence questions vs. the word definitions and decide if I can do math or not?  The logic/ethics questions were all doubled up too; first, what is the "best" answer, second, what is the "worst" answer.

If you manage to snare an interview, be prepared for lots of different interview styles.  Myself, I tend to be a conversational interviewer.  I have a good idea of what I want to know about you and I try to have a conversation that gives me that information.  In my opinion, those are the most natural and comfortable interviews for everyone involved but they do require some skill.  Then there are the predictive interviewers; "Give me an example of a time when....."  Please, I BEG of the human resources professionals out there, DO NOT let your hiring managers use this style.  Phone interviews are hard enough as it is but an hour of "Give me an example of a time when" questions will put even the most patient and desperate job seeker over the edge.

When it seems like you might be close to the coveted 'face to face' interview, you start sweating the wardrobe question.  The vast majority of companies today have embraced a business casual wardrobe.  My last 3 employers followed that rule and, consequently, I have very few dressy business clothes.  So now you find yourself spending money to buy clothes for an interview.  Clothes that are dressy enough for an interview but not so dressy you 1) look totally out of place when you arrive at the office and 2) might have a chance of wearing again.  Oh, and what if you are flying in for the interview and someone wants to take you to dinner the night before or breakfast the morning after?  Then you need 2 outfits to wear.  The old saw about dressing for the position above the one you are interviewing for apparently still holds true too.  I am now the proud owner of a black suit (skirt & jacket), a blouse to go underneath the suit, a pair of tan trousers and a multi-colored more casual style jacket.  Fortunately, all of them can easily be worn someplace other than a job interview.  I think I would have had a coronary if that weren't the case.

As much as I am enjoying my 'summer vacation' this year, I am also looking forward to going back to work.  I'm not sure how much longer I can stand the stress of job hunting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Awards, Interviews and An Observation

First, a big thanks to my friend Karen of many blogs including Shaggy Dog StoriesDog Show Newbie and Blog Dog to name a few.  She nominated my little ol' blog for a Versatile Blogger Award.  I would happily put the award/badge in this post but I am a total blogging idiot and can't seem to figure out how to make that happen :(  So I'll leave it at a flattered, thanks!  You and the Beardies are some of my favorite folks.  I know there are some rules associated with receiving the award but I pride myself on being a rule-breaker so I'm going to ignore those :)

Good news on the the job-hunting front.  I have two phone interviews this week.  One is this afternoon w/the hiring manager for the position I applied for.  If I do well, it might result in an invitation to visit the company offices.  The second is a screening/first interview with an HR person to see if I can put together an intelligent sentence or if someone else wrote my resume :)  The two positions are similar -  planning managers - but the two companies are very different.  One is primarily brick & mortar and the other is exclusively web. One is in the midwest and the other is in the mountain west.  Right now I'm feeling like one is a better fit for my skill set but the other might be a better fit for my personality.  We'll just have to see.

And now for the observation.  In dogs we talk a lot about operant conditioning - where a dog offers a behavior and it is reinforced with a reward.  There is also classical conditioning - where something occurs and that causes the dog to react in a particular way.  The most famous example of classical conditioning is Pavlov's dogs - I really hope I don't need to explain what that is.  Anyway, we've had some classical conditioning going on here that I hadn't noticed until yesterday and it's pretty damned funny.

I've mentioned before that Sam now wears a wacker packer, weenie wrap, belly band - whatever you want to call it - most of the time.  He's not having problems with incontinence, he just seems to have forgotten that marking in the house is NOT allowed and with new carpet in the living room, I'm not taking any chances.  Sam's man-thong is secured with Velcro, which makes a distinctive ripping noise when it is pulled apart.  Again, I really hope I don't need to explain this....

Yesterday, UHM was getting ready to go outside to do some yard work.  She was putting on her work gloves, which have Velcro fasteners at the wrists.  As she opened the fasteners, Moira went crazy.  She ran to the back door, barked and carried on like her world was ending.  Moira going crazy and barking is nothing new but I was puzzled why she acted like that when no one had made a move toward the back door.  And then the light bulb came on over my head.... The sound of Velcro.  Since Sam doesn't wear his weenie wrap outside, the sound of Velcro being ripped apart precedes every trip the dogs make outside.  When UHM put on her gloves, Moira assumed everyone was going out.

That story is really only sorta funny but it does serve to illustrate that we train our dogs every day in lots of little unintended ways.  Think about that the next time you can't figure out why your dog is doing something......

Monday, July 18, 2011

Official Birthday Portrait

British Royalty get official birthday portraits so why shouldn't the Queen of The Horde has an official portrait as well?  Today is Ginny's (Cardiridge Red Ginger 'Spice') 12th birthday.  To celebrate, UHM and I took her up to the community pond in our subdivision to take some pictures.  Then we brought her home to have soft serve ice cream with the rest of the family.  Gin is aging really well.  She's just starting to show signs of stiffness in her joints and it seems she's probably lost some hearing but, like many red heads, she's aging well.  Hard to believe this girl didn't finish her championship but she made it clear fairly early on that she didn't really want to be a show dog.

Pretty darn good stack for a girl who never got a single point!
















My Mary Poppins dog - Practically Perfect in Every Way

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Great Green Bean Bandit

This is the first year UHM and I have had a vegetable garden and we've been thrilled with it so far.  We've harvested beets, lettuce and green beans - lots and lots of green beans.  We almost can't keep up with the green beans.

The other day I got a phone call from a friend whose husband is an avid gardener - 'Come up and pick some beans!'  Well, I didn't want to be rude so yesterday afternoon we headed out to their place.  They live in the Blue Ridge foothills on land that has been in the family for probably a hundred years and have a HUGE garden.  I'll give you a sense of the scale - 100 tomato plants.  It's all grown strictly for pleasure.  They eat what they want from it, can a good deal of it and give the rest away.  We came home with at least 50 lbs of assorted vegetables - including 4 plastic shopping bags of green beans.  Guess how we spent today?

You may remember the green bean extravaganza from last year.  We had another cooler full of beans again this time and my Green Bean Bandit made another appearance.
So far this evening we have canned 7 pints of Dilly Beans (pickled green beans) and another 7 pints of plain green beans.  When I finish this post, I'll be going back to the kitchen to work on blanching and freezing the rest.
Tomorrow I'll start on the 20+ lbs of tomatoes - both red and green - that need processing (while UHM picks more green beans from our garden).  I might be done with everything by Sunday......UHM doesn't think so.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shaving the Cat

One word - Don't.

I should probably add some detail here, huh?  Grace, my cat, is a 14 yr old DLH (Domestic Long Hair).  I've always been lucky that she hasn't had issues with matting but lately, my luck has run out.  I know it's getting harder for her to keep herself clean and the upshot is she is getting a lot of mats.  She doesn't like to be combed or brushed out so the only option is to cut the mats out.  That's not a big deal if it's a mat here or there but in the last couple weeks it's become more of an issue than that.

I already spoke w/Dr. Hillary about sedating Grace and shaving her but, hey, it was a long holiday weekend and I am a DIY kinda gal.  I have an electric clipper so why shouldn't I attempt this on my own?  Number one reason?  The electric clipper I have is designed to shave out paw pads on dogs, not shave down an entire cat.

Grace now has a big bald spot on one side.  This morning I went after some more mats with my thinning shears.  So, basically, Grace looks like a drunken groomer got a hold of only one side of  her.  Thank goodness it's the side she usually sleeps on!

When Dr. Hillary gets the clinic open, I'll stuff Grace into a carrier and run her down there to have everything evened up.  In the meantime, someone should probably take my scissors away.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Old Man Dreams

It's no secret or surprise that Sam is aging.  As part of that process he's sleeping more and deeper than he ever has and sometimes he chooses to sleep in out of the way places.  Sometimes we even lose track of where he is because he sleeps so soundly he doesn't move when we move dogs around.

That happened on Saturday evening when UHM forgot Sam was sleeping in the hallway and let the Baby Dogs (Bogey & Georgia) in the house.  Sam and Bogey don't get along and aren't allowed to interact.  Up until recently, Sam hasn't been overly fond of Georgia either.  He's not a big fan of the kissy, kissy, licky, licky thing puppies do with older dogs.  He has some very strong ideas on personal space.  That seems to be changing though as Georgia matures and becomes a GIRL and not a puppy.  So when the Baby Dogs came in the other night and Georgia got to Sam before I could  I found Sam flirting with her but with a rather perplexed look on his face.  I can only assume she woke him out of a sound sleep and Sam was too befuddled to realize what was going on.  I'd like to think he saw her something like this.....

Right Click to Cue Music in a New Tab


BTW, UHM was able to grab Bogey's collar before he ran up on Sam and the dream turned into something else.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Of Awesome Vets

I just have to brag on our vet a bit.  Her name is Dr. Hillary Cook and, in our opinion, she is the best vet ever.

I started taking the dogs to see Dr. Hillary when I lived in Orange.  Initially, she just saw Sam for acupuncture treatments but it wasn't long before she started seeing all the dogs, and Grace, for general care.  When Bogey joined the family, he started going to Dr. Hillary too.  Last fall Dr. Hillary left the clinic in Orange to strike out on her own and open an integrative clinic in Crozet.  It's been a long haul getting the clinic open but, she's finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

In the meantime, she's been making house calls.  Do you know how cool that is?  With the exception of Sam's surgery this spring, she's come to the house for nearly a year now to take care of the dogs.  She was here yesterday, along with her new vet tech, Tara, for some annual check ups.  Four of the five dogs needed testing for heart worm and the girls all needed vaccinations; rabies only for Ginny & Ra, but the works for Georgia since she's show dog and exposed to lots of nasties.  We also sedated Ra so we could get her toenails clipped and Dremeled.  I know that seems extreme but, it's the only way to do her nails that doesn't cause undue stress and injury for everyone involved.

Dr. Hillary's new clinic, Crozet Animal Wellness Center, should be opening by the end of July.  If you are in Central Virginia and looking for a wonderful, progressive and integrative vet give Dr. H a call.

Dr. H with Bogey during his first vet visit.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Weekend

We had a great weekend here in Central Virginia.  Georgia was entered in the Virginia Kennel Club (VKC) shows in Richmond so we got up at ungodly hours both days to drive to The Showplace (which is actually kind of dumpy) to take a run at picking up some more points.  We didn't have any luck on the points but we did get to see some friends and relatives and I think I've finally managed to explain to UHM, in a way she can understand, how the AKC points system works.  Next shows will probably be in August.

We also picked more beans and beets in the garden.  Tonight UHM made southern-style beans for herself (read cooked until they are a disgusting shade of pale olive and have the texture of mush).  I don't understand southern-style green beans, I really don't.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Georgia's Slow Mo Moment

Cue Music (Right Click to Open in a New Tab)

I don't know if this music makes Georgia more sophisticated or not....
Click photo to see in full screen mode.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bogey's Baywatch Moment

Baywatch Theme Song (Right Click to Open a New Tab)

So he's in a hay field in Virginia not on a beach in California but, The Hoff ain't got nothing on BoBo.
Click to see Bogey in full screen mode.  It's pretty impressive!















This is one of the images taken last week at a photo shoot with Dwight Dyke.  Dwight shoots a lot of the photos used in breed specific calendars.  We were invited to bring some of the dogs to be photographed with the understanding that it wouldn't cost us anything, all we had to do was release the rights to the photos.  In exchange, we got some great pictures of the dogs and we can use the images any way we want - as long as we don't sell them.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It's mid-June and we are starting to see results from our efforts in the community garden.  Today I harvested the first of the green beans and beets.  They will grace my dinner plate tonight.













On Monday, UHM and I drove out to Afton, VA, to pick sweet cherries.  I drove out there again today because, apparently, nearly 18 pounds of cherries wasn't enough.  I picked another 9+ pounds today.  I've canned jam, cherry butter and whole cherries in light syrup.  I'm waiting for the last batch of cherry butter to cook down right now.












Tomorrow I'll be making bread & butter pickles.  Those are one of UHM's favorites and my mother happened to send me a terrific recipe for them.
What wonderful item are you harvesting or getting from your farmer's market right now?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Father-Daughter

I think this is my favorite photo from the birthday party.

Ginny, from Sam's first litter, and Sam.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cardi Party 2011

Yesterday we hosted a Cardi Party of epic proportions to celebrate Sam's 13th birthday (May 31st).  In attendance were 16 Cardigans, ranging in age from 9 weeks to 13 years old, 1 Border Corgi (ok, she's a Border Collie but we renamed her so she wouldn't feel left out) and 1 Aussie.  It was a mob scene but everyone had a lot of fun and no one cried or ended up wearing a cone so I felt like it was a success.

We had frapping, watermelon, cake, and lots of fun talking dog.  Sam got lots of emails wishing him a happy birthday and I read each one to him.  He barked back at me - surprising, I know.

Huge thanks to UHM, Liz H., Liz B., Elizabeth, Heather, Robin and Sarah and all their assorted dogs, kidlets and better halfs for making Sam's party so much fun.  You can see a smattering of images from the party on Flickr but there were so many that I couldn't upload them all this month - stupid limits.  Watch The Chronicles of Cardigan and Nick the Cardi, International Man of Mystery (yes Liz B., I'm shaming you into a blog post) for even more images.  Blogger is having some sort of issue with uploading photos directly to blog posts so I'll update this later with a couple of my favorite shots from the day.

PS- I forgot to mention that the wonderful folks at Sammy Snacks, where Sam's cake came from, also very generously provided party favors in the form of samples of their snacks and dog food.  Everyone went home with some to try.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Mojo: The libido. The life force. The essence. The right stuff. What the French call a certain... I don't know what."

Much like Austin Powers, Sammy got his mojo back today.  Our 1 o'clock appt with Dr. Dove proved that the surgery in March was a success.  There wasn't a lot of volume (he's 13 and he only has one testicle!) but what was there was good quality and sufficient for freezing.  The thousand dollar testicle WORKS!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Holiday Weekend

For you poor working stiffs out there, I understand this is a long weekend.  I hope you enjoy it :)  The Horde started the weekend with a small success.  Miss Georgia got her second point today at the Hampton, VA, show under breed-judge Janet Robinson (Snowdonia).

In other Georgia news, she is in season.  At this point, that doesn't really mean much to anyone but Sam.  He is absolutely gobsmacked by her beauty and enticing aroma.  He sings, he tap dances, he tries to make the tips of his ears cross in his efforts to express to her the degree to which he finds her alluring.  It's a little pathetic to watch him try to impress her since she's still young enough that she doesn't really know what all his posturing is about.  Being the unscrupulous dog-mom that I am, I plan to take full advantage of Georgia's condition and Sam's infatuation.  Today I called Dr. Dove's office to make an appointment for Sam to be collected on next Friday.  Sam has never really needed incentive to do his business at Dr. Dove's office but since Monday will be the old man's 13th birthday and he's down to just the one testicle, I figure it can't hurt to give him a little encouragement, something to strive for, even though he won't be allowed to consummate the relationship in that way. I'm considering it a belated birthday gift for the old man.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Strawberry-Palooza 2011

UHM and I spent some time this morning picking strawberries at a local U-pick farm.  This is the second year we've done this so that we can have strawberries year round.  Last year UHM went a little crazy with the strawberry picking and we came home with around 50 lbs of berries!  We restrained ourselves this time and only came home with only 20 lbs.  After everything was processed, that amounted to 17 pints to go in the freezer and a quart or so fresh for immediate consumption.  We also bought some fresh rhubarb which I chopped up and froze for rhubarb crisps to enjoy long after rhubarb season is over.  There are 3 qts in the freezer now.

I inventoried what was left in the chest freezer from last summer's bounty and we have some peaches and strawberries to be eating soon.  I think there are 6-7 qts of peaches still in there and another 4-5 qts of strawberries.  Guess I have some baking to do - or maybe peach or strawberry daquiris....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Better Late than Never

There's been a lot going on these days and sometimes things just get overlooked.  Such is the case with Moira's performance at the Madco Agility USDAA trial April 29-30.  We were 0-3 over two days but the girl still loves agility and we get a little better each time.  Moira goes into sensory overload very easily so high energy environments, like agility trials, can cause her to lose focus very quickly.  She's been like this since she was a puppy and while she's definitely improved with age, her arousal level can still go off the charts at the drop of a hat.  I'm fortunate that it manifests as a dog who can't settle or focus and doesn't want to meet new people, rather than one who becomes reactive to other dogs.  In fact, when Moira is like this she couldn't care less about other dogs - there are too many other things she needs to keep an eye on.  Anyway, here is some video of our jumpers runs that weekend.  Please take note of the awesome rear crosses in the second video.


I don't have another trial planned until fall but there's a possibility I might slip one in sometime this summer.  It just depends on a lot of things.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Last Vacation

UHM returned home on Wednesday and we are getting back into our normal routines; or as normal as routines get when we are both unemployed.  Never fear though, we are working on a plan.  A plan that involves baked goods and beverages.  As things evolve, I'll share more but right now we aren't far enough down the path to reveal any real information.  In the meantime we are spending time at our garden plot, hoping all the veggies we are planting will provide us with an abundance of produce this summer.

So, here are a couple pictures from our recent sojourn to SC.  We were only able to go away for a bit because UHM's parents own a home down there.  Otherwise, vacations are a thing of the past for us.

Do you know how difficult it is to get 2 women and 2 dogs to look at a camera at the same time?


Georgia's other means of transportation this trip. I'm afraid she may refuse to ride in her crate in the Dawg Yacht now.

Friday, May 6, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

I've been away since Monday, visiting UHM's parents in South Carolina, at the beach :)  There are advantages to being unemployed - I can go to the beach in the off-season when there's virtually no one there but the weather is still good enough for me to lie in the sun and add a few more wrinkles to my face.

Anyway, I got home this evening.  UHM won't be home until Wednesday.  When I arrived home I was greeted by three ecstatic dogs.  Moira woo-wooed me, Ginny ran around grabbing chewies and Sam barked a lot and jumped on me.  Sam is old, Sam's back hurts, Sam shouldn't jump on me.  Sam will be getting a double dose of Tramadol tonight.  Grace, the cat, slept through all this but has been awake for the last hour complaining about nothing.  That's Grace.  At 14 she's allowed to complain a bit, even if it is about nothing.

For those of you who are my friends on FB, you'll know that Georgia has a yacht.  We saw it while we were lunching at the marina on Tuesday.  It's a nice yacht.  If you click on the image you should just be able to make out Georgia's name on the yacht.













When UHM returns with the camera next week you can see Georgia's other 'toy.'  Here's a hint though, it's sporty and cherry red.  The Princess is acquiring quite a lot of toys.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Save the Date - A Birthday Party/Samily Reunion

This is a tiny bit early, and I'll post it again but....

For those of you in the area who would like to celebrate the old man's 13th birthday (May 31st), we're having a party/Samily reunion on Sunday, June 5th.  The start time is dependent on when Cardis show at the Charlottesville-Albemarle KC show.  While Sam LOVES to open presents, he's asked that donations be made to CorgiAid, Inc. instead.  He'll be perfectly happy ripping up tissue paper to celebrate becoming a teenager.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The White House Ain't Got Nothin' on Us

Video of the first annual Heathen Horde Easter Egg Roll.  Only Bogey & Georgia got to participate since they are the least likely to start a row over food.  Oh, and Bogey got his summer buzz cut this week - which is why he looks so funny but, he'll thank us as the temps and humidity start to rise!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Batten Down the Hatches

Update:  Seems we were very smart to protect the shrubs.  This morning (4/21)  I watched Georgia repeatedly circle one of the protected azaleas.  When she couldn't find a weak spot in the cage, she decided to try digging under it.  Brat!

You may have heard there was some wild weather is this part of the world yesterday.  Fortunately, we escaped with high winds and a ridiculous amount of rain.  The rain did wash a lot of the mulch and gravel down the hill in the back yard but that is fixable.  However, we are still preparing for some wild times here at The Ranch.

Georgia returns home on Tuesday.  She's had a great time at her first National Specialty.  She's not bringing home any ribbons but she got to see her mom do really well at the show and she got to spend time with her Aunties Liz, Marla, Diana and Mac.  Apparently a few people even offered to buy the Princess!  Not that we would ever sell but I think if Liz had ended up having to replace a cell phone on this trip she might have been tempted :)

In preparation for the return of Georgia, UHM and I did some yard work today.  The young, tender shrubs in the back yard are now wearing crinolines of wire to protect them from the predations of the baby dogs.  And to think we used to worry about deer eating the plants.
Azaleas along the left side of the yard.

Azaleas directly off the deck.

A row of Hydrangeas along the back.