Wonderful Wednesday Personal Blog
Oh, my! I cannot believe how many Wednesdays I've missed this summer! I do have excuses . . .er, reasons. A full-length novel coming out by the end of the year (fingers crossed), a 5 novella contract, the first of which releases October 29, and a 4-book boxed set (with 3 other authors) coming out October 1. Add all the gardening care--all the plants must be watered daily here--and sometimes I'm not sure if I'm coming or going.
But it's been busier than that around here. Last weekend we added a new addition to our household. A big fellow--though he still has some weight to put on--by the name of Gunnar.
We thought long and hard about the decision to add another dog to the family. And it boiled down to two things. Freki needed a running buddy since she has outgrown Ben, and Gunnar needed a home.
He is a very kind dog. He eventually won Freki over (who had no intention of allowing a strange dog near her family) by ignoring her tantrum and showing a liking for the swimming pool, balls and a good romp.
Ben thinks he can run with Freki and Gunnar, though his short legs aren't quite up to the job. Of course, Dixie just ignores him. And Gunnar and Angus, the cat, get along just fine.
Freki still has her spot on the bed at night, and is surprisingly willing to share her toys. Tug-of-war is interesting when it happens in the house now. I have seen her simply take a toy away from Gunnar if she doesn't want him to have it. She still rules the house.
And, for those who are interested, Gunnar is the Norse word for 'warrior', as well as being a good German name. :-)
Today Freki is one year old.
We have had her since she was 9 weeks old, and it has been a ton of fun!
She seems to learn or teach us something nearly every day. Yesterday, she learned to swim in the neighbor's pond. I took her there on a leash and let her approach the water on her own. She was soooo excited to see the water! So much water! Much bigger than her swimming pool!
Then, she stepped in. You could see the muddy bottom around the edge, and she sank ankle-deep. It must have startled her, because she leaped backward. She paced the area, then tried it again. Same thing, only she went farther and dropped off into deeper water. She leaped out, and shook the water from her coat. Never one to back down from a challenge, she jumped back in the pond and this time she swam.
It wasn't a graceful dog-paddle. It was more like the exaggerated stride of a Tennessee Walking horse with water splashing everywhere. She sank a bit and must have sucked up a snootful of water, because she lunged out of the water and stalked about, retching. But the gleam was still in her eye and she charged back into the water. I'd taken her leash off and she swam freely around, getting the hang of it a little better each time.
She was so wound up! I finally got her attention and hooked the leash on her collar and took her back to the yard. She pranced and darted about the whole way, so pleased and proud of herself and excited to have learned something new.. I rinsed her off, played ball for a few minutes, then took her inside to the utility room where she got a thick towel and a fan to help her dry. It took a long time to get her presentable enough to join us in the house, but she was tired and napped.
What a nice thing to discover a way to tire her out! And she had a blast!
Does your dog like to swim? Is he a 'foot-dabbler' or a 'cannon-baller'?
* * *
THEN AND NOW
Someone sent me a video clip of a GSD helping around the house. I remember laughing about it as Freki careened through the house on some mission or other she had contrived.
With all the rain, and now the hot weather, she has spent way too much time inside. I've tried creative (I think) ways of keeping her entertained, but the GSD mind is ever-active and some days she just wears me out.
Oh, and Ben. She wears him out, too.
She stalks the cat. They romp. They almost break something, so a time-out gets called. Angus responds by leaping at Freki on his rear legs, front feet spread wide. Chaos ensues. Again.
Her nose is always into everything. She inspects the basket from the garden. She watches intently as supper is prepared (ok, maybe she's hoping for a handout here). She watches me type, gets bored and brings me her ball to toss to her.
So, today as I was doing laundry, I thought back to the video and thought, why not? Why not channel that interest and energy into something more productive than another session of 'throw my ball'?
I spent several minutes offering her newly washed articles of clothing. She was entranced. With the command 'take it', she gently took the sock, and held it in her mouth. I pointed to the open dryer. "Drop it." She kept holding it. "Drop it in the dryer, Freki." With a quick glance at me, she slipped away and deposited it on her bed.
No problem. There is a learning curve, here after all. So we repeated the commands--right up to where she put another sock on her bed. Her bed was beginning to look like a lost and found pile. After a bit, she started to catch on. I won't say she is a pro, but we will persist.
As for handing me laundry from the basket to put in the washer? I may have taught her to sneak socks.
I have a feeling this is where Freki will spend her summer. Even in the evenings, when the house is cool and the ceiling fan spreads a gentle breeze through the house, Freki pants. And paces. And pants some more.
But she loves her pool. I would imagine she would have played in it during the snow if I had left it out. Ben used to love to break ice on the surface and yank it out, tossing it behind him so he could grab more of the cold stuff invading his pool.
Yesterday I emptied the pool, cleaned it and filled it with fresh water. Not that she cares. Within minutes silt begins settling again on the bottom of the pool as dirt washes off her muddy feet. Ben was the first in the pool after it was cleaned. He is a bit more fastidious about his water.
However, he did roll in the dirt after he jumped out of the pool. I suppose he imagined he was drying himself off. It got him another turn with the water hose and a bit of doggy shampoo, and later a stiff brushing. It is corgi shedding season. I have tried to photograph just what that means, but it is beyond the skills I possess. Imagine a dog version of a dandylion. Every time he shakes, hair 'poofs' off of him. Or perhaps, if you remember the Charlie Brown cartoons, Ben is a fur-shedding version of Pig Pen.
Freki fought with the water hose under water for several minutes before finally vanquishing her foe. She ran with the hose pouring water that danced about her until she finally dropped it. I would have gotten a photo, but I was laughing too hard.
She wound up with a bath, too, along with a good brushing. Her coat is very sleek and tight and shiny. I just love the way it feels.
Where were Dixie and Angus? With her heavy coat that is only just beginning to turn loose, Dixie is a house girl. Angus sat at the door, peering outside at the fun. Though he loves to chase the water droplets that run down the shower door or paw at a tiny stream of water from the faucet, I rather doubt he would have appreciated a swimming pool and two rowdy dogs.
However, I came home the other night to a tub with 4 inches of water, faucet running, and a wet cat. Stern measures have been taken to avoid this happening again.
The monsoon season appears to be over, and while Freki frolics in the swimming pool, the garden is growing!
Every so often I find a plant that needs to go in some nook of the yard. For instance, we have a section of fence behind the compost pile that could use a bit of livening up. After considering wisteria (I love the sweet, lavender blooms, but the plant becomes quite heavy over time, and the blooms only last a short, though sweet time) and trumpet vine (whose blooms again do not last into the hot summer), I ran across exactly what I wanted.
I have a bit of an affection for hydrangeas, and have none at this house. So, when I ran across Pinky Winky at a local nursery, problem solved! The area is often moist, but the soil drains pretty well, and there is abundant light, though not late afternoon sun. PW tolerates part shade to full sun, and will become a rather large bush. I might need two. :-) When it blooms, I will post pictures.
For now, the veggie garden is gearing up for the first harvest, and I can hardly wait! Just look at all the veggies ready for a week or so of sunshine!
We've already harvested carrots. Can you see the tiny green bean? It's the curved bit between the stalks. The eggplant and zucchini nearly doubled in size in the first two days. And these are blueberries from a bush I planted just yesterday. Don't want the birds to get the first crop!
How is your garden growing?
This is where I talk about things in my life outside of writing. Mostly gardening and dogs.
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