Friday, May 30, 2008

hope this bunny reads

I noticed all the stems of my purple cone flowers have been eaten by Peter. He has also eaten all the stems off a high performing, bloom all summer long, heliopsis.

At this rate, my mid summer splendor will be non existent.

Jeff came home with a trap last night. It is a catch and release trap.

I filled it with lettuce, tomatoes and carrots.

We set the trap out in my garden before we went to bed. I was worried we would hear the trap shut, and we would spend the night listening to the rabbit cry. Or worse, we would catch a skunk.

Alas, Peter was uninterested in my snacks.

So, no bunny cries, but no bunny either.

I thought back to my first grade "Peter Rabbit" play. One of our songs about Peter went, "...then he ate some radishes and felt quite sick...." Yes, this song has been running through my head for days. Thanks Mrs. Dow...

I am going to buy some radishes this weekend in hopes that this Peter has read Beatrix Potter.

Monday, May 26, 2008

memorial day weekend

We spent lots of time outside this weekend - planting, digging, playing, chasing Peter rabbit and running agility. Both dogs are all tuckered out. I bet they can't wait for me to go back to work so they can take a proper nap.

Oreo looks like he's had one too many margaritas.

Friday, May 23, 2008

reasons for crankiness

Everyone I know has seemed a little bit crankier than usual lately. Students, fellow teachers, salespeople, etc. Maybe it is the stress of higher gas prices, the cooler than normal weather, hormones or all of the above. Here are a few things that have irked me this week.

1. dilemmas at the gas station

You pull into a gas station where every pump is currently in use. It is always a crap shoot trying to pick the right person to pull up behind. You try to find someone with a small car, or someone who looks like they are in the process of topping off their tank. Never pull up behind a big SUV, they can be there for half an hour filling their 30 gallon tank.

Inevitably, you always choose the wrong pump.

Then, you debate with yourself whether you would use more gas by idling while you wait, or turning your car off and then restarting. It all depends on the mystery wait time.

This week, I chose the right pump. I found someone waiting for their receipt to pop out of the pump. I let my car idle, knowing it would take less than 30 seconds for this guy to get back in his car and take off.

But no. This guy decided he needs to wash his windows. All his windows. The squeegee at our pump is not good enough. He must walk to the other pump, and use that squeegee. Then, he remembers he has to bring home the paper and some milk.

Meanwhile, I gaze at the $4.05 price on the pump, while my car idles away my money.

Now, why couldn't he move his car away from the pump, and then clean his windows?


2. walmart or wwjdmart?

I called Walmart to see if they had a certain product in stock. Immediately, I am put on hold. Annoying music comes on. I don't like to listen to music while I am on hold. It is never a song I like.

Walmart's song keeps telling me that "Jesus loves me" and that "church is the place I should be".

Do they realize that not everyone who calls Walmart is a Christian?


3. girls or hookers?

I was in the shoe department at Target the other day. I glanced down an aisle, and noticed a pair of wedge, high heeled sandals. What caught my eye was the size of the shoe. It looked miniscule. I had to get a closer look.

It was a size 1, girls' shoe, and they had even smaller sizes.

Who would allow a girl, clearly still in third grade, to wear high heeled sandals?

What message does that send? Are we really training our daughters to be sex objects before they are even in the preteen department?

More than irksome. Scary.

4. many years to go

With the school year coming to an end, everyone is counting the days down to summer vacation.

It is also time to cross off another year toward retirement. This math is more depressing.

I have taught thirteen years. I have to teach 30 years to get full benefits. You do the math. I did.

Then, I began thinking about all the girls at school who are currently pregnant or already have babies. There are dozens of them. More than ever before. In fifteen years, those babies will be in high school, and I will still be there.

That's job security, yet still irksome.

Oreo says, "Stop complaining mom, and start playing."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

agility video

Here is my first trial run at downloading videos off our DV recorder. I have been waiting a long time to post this video. Who knew that we would need to buy a special cord, a special adapter and special software to make it all happen. Nothing is ever simple when it comes to electronics.

By the looks of my backyard in this video, it was taken at least six weeks ago. Everything is green and lush now. Can hardly see my neighbors.

We experienced some equipment malfunction while running through the weave poles, but you'll get to see Oreo's talent. He has improved since this video was taken, although lately it has been difficult to get Oreo to focus on agility. Too many other smells, noises, animals etc. I hope he's not losing interest, because I sure love doing it. I have my eye on a travel teeter toter (any spelling advice on that editor in chief?). Oreo hasn't learned any "contact" equipment yet, since I don't own any. He still needs to learn the teeter, A-frame and catwalk.

Hope everyone is able to view this. It took FOREVER to figure out how to download onto blogger. I had it downloading to blogger for over 3 hours, and then figured out how to download it in under 3 minutes! You can imagine how I spent my day.

(there is sound on these videos- I know a lot of you mute your computer like I do)

Here's a longer video, with some more equipment malfunction! The chute is always getting tangled up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


For all my readers who are concerned about Lisa, she is doing great. If only Lisa knew how many perfect strangers are rooting for her. My biggest fear is that her mom will die over the summer, when school is out. She will need her extended school family to help her cope.

For all my readers who are asking about my Peter rabbit, I think I am becoming more and more like Mr. McGregor. I have caught Peter several times in my garden. The dogs have chased him across the yard, and under the hen house. I praise the dogs, telling them to "get him." Alas, after chasing Peter away, the dogs run to the house in fear. So, Peter comes back.

I keep hoping Peter will move on to our neighbor's yard. However, even I am afraid of my neighbor, so why would he go there?

My neighbor is always yelling at her kids, husband and dog. Every time she tells her dog to "stop barking", or bangs on her window to get her to dog to be quiet, Misty runs to the fence and barks her head off. I quietly tell Misty, "good girl", while laughing at the absurdness of the situation.

Misty hasn't liked my neighbor since she told Misty that she "looked like and old man". Me either. My neighbor's poor dog watches me playing with Misty and Oreo, and cries from behind his fence.

I digress.

Back to Peter. I think I will be looking for a trap this weekend. I don't want to have a barren garden this year, while Peter grows bigger, stronger and multiplies. Although, I would love to send Peter off into the woods wearing a cute little blue coat.

Monday, May 5, 2008

mole patrol 2

The past few days, I have been noticing that some of my plants were dying. At first, I thought maybe it was the recycled tire mulch killing the plants. The more I looked though, the more I began to think it was a critter eating my plants for lunch. The tops of everything were missing.

Yesterday, I looked over the railing of the deck, and saw a critter take off under the deck. It was a small, grey critter with no tail. Little bastard. He was eating the perennial plants I had surrounded Munchkin's memory stone with. Unacceptable.

I ran inside to ask Jeff if he had a BB gun. You never know what Jeff may have bought on EBay. Surprisingly, Jeff didn't have one.

He asked, hopefully, "Do I need to get one?"

I told Jeff that the evil mole was coming back to bother us again, and this time was eating my plants. Jeff knew I was not going to let this go until he did something about it.

Jeff came outside and peered under the deck, but couldn't see anything. It is dark under there. I kept hearing noises, and it freaked me out a little. I wanted this critter gone.

Jeff went inside, and pulled out his ancient bag of fireworks, and said, "Why don't I light a few of these and throw them under the deck?"

"Isn't that a fire hazard?" I asked.

Jeff looked at me like I was crazy, and told me to bring the dogs in the house.

I heard a bang, and went outside.

"I should light another one, right?" Jeff asked, smiling.

"No, " I said.

I could tell Jeff was enjoying this mole removal task, as he hunted through his bag of sparks.

He lit another one, and I watched to see I could catch a glimpse of the critter running out from under the deck in utter fear.

I saw nothing.

Jeff pulled out a strip of firecrackers. "How about I light off this whole pack?"

He settled for lighting off an M-80 or something.

Then, I remembered I had some lethal mole worms left over from last year. We threw a couple on the ground and under the deck, in hope that the mole would be hungry and eat those for dinner, and die.

However, the instructions on the box of worms said that moles are insectivores, not herbivores. So, why was our mole eating plants?

Oh, what do those people know...they don't know our mole.

This morning, I checked for the worms first thing. Both were still there, completely untouched. Maybe the mole did run away after the fireworks.

This afternoon, I peered over the railing and saw movement. I got a good look this time. This was one cute mole.

I scared him back under the deck.

A few minutes later, I saw him again. He looked like a rabbit, but without the fluffy tail. I ran inside, went to the fridge and grabbed a carrot. Rabbits like carrots, I learned that when I was Flopsy in my first grade school play (BTW, my costume had a really cute, white fluffy tail).

Peter Rabbit was still there when I returned.

I was able to snap off a few photos, of my sweet, little bunny sitting amongst my miniature rose bushes. Isn't he cute?

So, now Jeff doesn't need to get a BB gun.

We need to get a trap, fill it with greens, and then find a good home for Peter, far, far away from my garden.

Now, what to do with the rest of the fireworks?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

stay, pose, shoot

Teaching your dog to sit and stay, while you walk away is not an easy trick. Dogs instinctually want to follow their master wherever they go.

However, if you do take the time to do the training, it comes in handy when you want to pose your dog for photos. I took advantage of Oreo's "stay" to pose him amongst my threesome of tulips, which survived the winter without becoming a mole's dinner. Misty stood nearby, then walked away. She was never taught how to "stay". Meanwhile, Oreo stayed in his spot until I said, "OK."

Oreo even moves his head from side to side while I click off some shots, as if he knows he is supposed to pose. Jon Katz tells his dogs, "photo shoot", and they stop and pose too.

Perhaps Oreo was just too tired to move, here he is with his eyes closed:Oreo spent the morning meeting three sheltie puppies and a golden retriever, and also had a surprise sighting of Grandpa on his bike. Oreo and Misty were their usual shy selves, and didn't know what to make of all those puppies. I'm sure it was exhausting for them. Oreo has been wary of other dogs, and some people, since his unfortunate encounter with the evil St. Bernards. Eventually, Oreo did seem to at least be comfortable with these puppies, as long as they didn't get too close. I wonder if Oreo knew he was part of the inspiration for these people to get a sheltie of their own. Oreo is an amazing creature.

I was so proud of Oreo for not throwing up in the car on the way to the park, or on the way home! Huge accomplishment.

Oreo is also good at candid shots.

Jeff took a great video of Oreo (and me) running through his agility course. We are working on getting some video software, so I can post it here. It was fun for me to watch the video, because I could see Oreo's face while he was doing the obstacles. When we are running the course, I am either looking at his side or tail. His facial expressions showed just how much fun he is having. The first time we played the video on our TV, Oreo sat on the couch and intently watched the whole thing. Was Oreo trying to see how he could improve? Nothing would surprise me with this dog.