Tag Archives: dogs


11 Jul

We are currently in a level 1 drought.  If we don’t get significant rainfall in the next 24 hours, it will be a level 2 drought.  This is pretty significant for our area, since there are many farms which rely on the rain to water their crops.  Some lucky ones have permits to take irrigation water from nearby lakes, but not all.  And, not us.  Not to say that our little garden is on the same scale, but, you know…

What does happen though, is that our teeny tiny 10 foot, dug well can’t keep up with our water needs, and that’s when Bruce gets creative.

Some things Bruce has suggested to conserve water:

  • No showers.

Ok, he’ll allow showers, but only 2 minute ones.  And you have to turn off the water while you lather.  And it is preferable to have a second person in the shower with you, so one can rinse while the other lathers… so as not to waste water!

  • All water run from the tap, if not being used, should be collected in receptacles from which we can water plants and dogs.
  • Since the rain barrels are now depleted, he and my brother-in-law have headed to the river to collect stream water to keep our garden alive.  Apparently it’s legal to take water from a lake if you keep it under 50 000 L.  I’ll take his word for it.
  • No laundry- all clothes are to be worn until soiled.
  • Dishwasher once a day max… our Hydro bill is going to be awesome!
  • The old adage “When it’s yellow, let it mellow; when it’s brown, flush it down” is in full effect.  If you don’t know what that means, Google it.

And finally, in an effort to conserve as much water as possible, he’s decreed that he and Eric will do their part by switching to drinking beer.

Bronwyn, in the spirit of the moment, came up with her own solution.  After finishing her ice-cream sandwich, she held out her hands to the dogs to lick clean.  She then dried them on a towel and proudly announced that her hands were clean, and she didn’t even use any water!



Living the Wild Life

23 Mar

Yesterday started out like any other.  We woke up.  We watched bunnies hopping around our garden.  Sent the the kids to school.  Brought the van in for repairs (yes, this is a practically daily occurrence).  As we were driving out the driveway, I noticed the dogs didn’t have their shock collars on, but I was late, and figured they’d be fine…

You can sense a story unfolding, yes?

When I came home that afternoon, I saw Dude

Man's Best Friend

racing along the fence line next to the highway.  And Nevis

Bronwyn and her pal Nevis on the first day of SK (Sept 2011).

wading in an enormous mud puddle across the road.  I rolled down my window and started yelling at the to get GET.HOME.RIGHT.NOW.  And that’s when I noticed it.

The animal that strikes fear into any stupid-dog owner’s heart.  The dreaded… porcupine!

I shut the dogs inside, put their collars back on, and headed out to get the girls from school.  Bruce had assured me that he would take care of it when he got home, as long as it was still hanging around.  I assured HIM that he wasn’t going anywhere!

When we got back, Bronwyn and I went out to investigate.  When Bruce got home we had a great time taking pictures and talking about porcupines.

Bronwyn loving the porcupine.

A little proof that I was there too!

Soon enough we had to make a decision though.  We sent the kids inside and “coaxed” the porcupine into our yard.  Bruce made quick work of the poor guy, and all was well with the world…

You can tell the story isn’t over yet, right?

After supper I went out onto the deck to get the dogs’ food bowls and I heard them howling and barking and carrying on, so I went to investigate.  I quickly ran back into the house shouting at Bruce to get his gun.  There was ANOTHER porcupine!  I figured it was his mate.  So while I ushered the dogs back inside, I was only thinking about the fact that the only thing worse than a porcupine hanging around the house, was a love-sick porcupine looking for his mate*

* I do not know if this is accurate.  I don’t know if porcupines mate for life… it was just what I was thinking.

Anyway, as I was heading outside to see my second porcupine in as many hours, I grabbed the shovel quickly, thinking that if I needed to nudge it in the right direction, I wouldn’t need to get too close.

I rounded the big pine tree in the front yard admiring this new specimen.

How glossy it is, I said to myself as I admired its smooth, shiny brown coat.

And so much browner- the other one was all scraggly and grey.

What big teeth it has…

And that tail- I’ve never seen a porcupine with such a large, flat tail…


I am not kidding.  What was a beaver doing so far from water?  And in a yard with 2 dogs in it?

And halfway through this thought process is when IT JUMPED ME.

Again.  NOT kidding!

I hit it over the head with my shovel, but it kept coming at me.  Finally I wedged the shovel underneath its body and flipped him over and we both stood glaring at each other.  Well, he was glaring.  I was screaming.  And walking backwards slowly as fast as I could.  When I reached the house, Bruce opened the door and I blurt out the whole story.

I don’t think he believed me.

He handed me his gun and went over to investigate.  You can’t shoot a beaver.  For one thing they aren’t in season.  And besides, they aren’t a menace like porcupines.  I implore Bruce to take the shovel, and he brushes me off.


This is what happened next:

It is kind of weird, because you can only hear my side of the conversation.  But… what the?!?!?  Crazy attacking beaver!

I stopped the movie because the neighbour came over just then with HIS shovel and the two of them kind of snowplowed the beaver across the road and back into the ditch.  A little while later I watched it run across the field back towards the river.

Valley Girls

16 Jan

Alternately titled:  Welcome to Ontario, Jenn

Last week I invited some friends over for a playdate.  It is the first time that the adults were not outnumbered by children 3:1.  I actually kept counting them because I thought we must be missing a bunch.  It was also the first time that the new pastor’s wife (Jenn) came to my house.

It may also be the last.

The visit went fine.  Chaotic, but that’s to be expected.  Since the oldest child was not even 3, the general dynamic of play seemed to center around where the Moms were: 5 adults and 5 babies in my living room= crowded!

But, everyone played nicely.  Lunch was consumed.  Nobody fell down the stairs.  A success in my books.  Too soon it was time for Jenn to leave.  As the only person to bring more than 1 kid (I KNOW!), she had her hands full, and naps were needed…

She packed everyone up, and I helped her out the door.  Major points to her at this point for oohing and ahhing over the dogs, and recognizing that Nevis was named after Ben Nevis (although she is from Ireland, so…).  We parted ways waving and smiling.  I plunked Joss in front of a show to give her some down time while the rest of us chatted upstairs.  I looked outside and saw a disaster in the making.

Jenn, not having ever been to our house in the non-snowy months, did not realize that our driveway borders a large ditch, and backed right into it.

I rushed out to warn her, but it was too late.  Sheepishly shaking her head, she climbed out and we looked at the back end of the van sunk a good 2 feet lower than the front in soft, fluffy snow.

I did the only thing I could do at this point: called Becky outside to help!

While we waited for Becky, I shoved 2x4s under her wheels for traction, and recounted this story.  Becky and I gave a half-hearted effort at pushing the van out, knowing full well that we were only going through the motions in order to satisfy the requirements of “doing everything we can”.  It quickly became apparent that we’d have to pull it out with Becky’s truck.

In the Valley, girls drive monster pick-up trucks too.

She pulled out the chain (why would’t she have a chain in the back of the truck?  It’s WINTER.), and I quickly hooked it to Jenn’s van while Becky secured it to the hitch.  There was some discussion here about load-bearing and the best way to angle the chain, but I only include it here to make us sound more awesome.  I should also mention that the 3 of us moved a frozen-to-the-ground plastic play structure off the lawn so Becky could get close enough to the van.  Like I said- AWESOME!

After some quick directions to Jenn (who’d never gotten stuck in a snowbank before- and I can honestly say she is the first adult I have met to say that to me) she cranked her wheels and gunned herself to safety.

High Fives and Hugs abounded.  We.are.women- see us pull minivans out of ditches!

Moral of the story:  with lots of prayer, and friends who own trucks, you can get out of any tight spot.

Groundhog Day

27 Mar

So, I know that I have been not keeping up my end of the bargain.  You know, the one where I write blogs, and you read them?  So, today, you are going to be treated to several blogs in one.  All featuring my “other” children.  The furry ones.  Please be aware that the following contains content that is gross in nature, and some adults may be offended.


When Nevis was a puppy, only a few months old, we were still living in our apartment in Guelph.  Housebreaking a puppy (especially one as dumb as Nevis) was not going particularly well.  Things turned around when we got Dude a few weeks later.  Dude showed Nevis how to walk down the stairs.  And Dude showed Nevis how to not get lost between parked cars… sigh.  And Dude showed Nevis how to open a can of Coke (but that is a story for… further down the page!).  But Nevis showed Dude some things too.  Like how to pee on snowbanks.

We got the dogs in the winter and we often brought them out the side, service door to do their business in the wee hours of cold mornings.  This is also where the plow left all the snow from the parking lot.  So, this is where they peed.  But, Spring came, and the snowbank got smaller, and smaller, and smaller… until… there was only a shovel-full left.  This didn’t bother Dude, who easily transferred his urinary loyalties to the grass, but Nevis was concerned.  He sniffed around and circled until he managed to arrange his hindquarters into just the right position to get the yellow stuff directly onto the snow.  You can imagine what happened when all the snow finally melted.  Nevis was beside himself.  Until he found something that finally made sense.  A great big, fluffy pile of white stuff… and it was inside!!!!!  You know… where it should be.

That’s the last time we ever forgot to make the bed.  Apparently our big, fluffy, white comforter was just too tempting to a dog who loved snowbanks…

Olive Oil and Coke

While we still lived in Guelph, we often had to leave the dogs for 8 hours or more in the apartment while we worked.  Since they were getting older, and not chewing so much, we often left them out of the kennel when we’d only be gone a short time.

We returned to find two very sick looking puppies.  We couldn’t exactly figure out what they could have gotten into, but Dude, especially, looked off.  We knew something was up when he ran, pee streaming from behind him, straight into the patio door (which led outside to street level, but was difficult to get over).  We quickly opened the door and witnessed Dude eliminate more urine than Vanessa N on a boat!  That is when I saw the 24 pack of Coke on the kitchen floor.  I hadn’t noticed it earlier, because all the cans were accounted for, but as I looked closer I could see puncture marks in each of them.  A Coke-loving vampire?  Nope, just two thirsty dogs; who now needed to pee every 30 minutes for the next 24 hours…

On a different day, Nevis (and Dude?) broke a bottle of olive oil and drank the whole thing (about a litre).  Soon, they vomited all over the kitchen.  We cleaned up the mess with paper towels and assumed we’d seen the end of it.  But Nevis wasn’t about to let a little thing like a garbage can keep him from eating the vomit-saturated paper towels ( I know, I am feeling a little nauseous just writing this!).  Since I am not in the habit of checking to make sure the garbage is still in the can, I was pretty surprised when the next day we had taken them for a run and noticed Nevis was having some difficulty, you know, passing a bowel movement.  It turned out that his difficulties stemmed from the wad of paper towels he was attempting to pass.

The grossest best part?  The paper towels were still intact!

Groundhog Day

Last year, or maybe the year before, Dude discovered groundhogs.  More to the point, he discovered how to hunt them.  He and Nevis had brought us a few birds and mice but nothing really substantial.  I was thrilled, and slightly grossed out when I got home one night to find Bruce and Dude in front of a groundhog.  He had caught it during the day, but wouldn’t eat it until he had shown his people.  When Bruce got home he gave Dude the go-ahead to eat what he wanted.  But he resolutely refused.  He needed to show me (apparently his real owner!!) before he allowed himself to partake of the spoils.  I praised him and admired his cleverness and hunting prowess and all those things you say to a dog when he brings you the carcass of a nuisance rodent.

The next day, Bruce decided to bring Dude across the road to see if he could help tone down the groundhog population over there.  The owner of the field has a large garden, and has admitted, that although the dogs bark a lot, he has sure noticed a decrease in the number of groundhogs and skunks!  So, Bruce has some pretty high hopes for the dog and I can practically see the plot of “Where the Red Fern Grows” running through his head- just a boy and his coon dog.

Dude was not very successful.  He tried, but the art of stealth hunting was lost on the poor animal and he just tired himself out running from hole to hole barking his head off.  Until… he chased a groundhog right to his hole, barking like a fool, and turned his head to kind of see what was hitting him in the side of the head, and a groundhog ran right into his open mouth!  I am not sure that counts as a successful hunt, per se, but we praised him pretty good anyway…

Groundhog Day Part 2

Today was the dogs’ first successful groundhog kill of 2011:

Nevis taking credit for the kill (when we know full well that he is no way fast enough to get a groundhog!)

Honeydew meets Honey-do

22 Mar

Sorry about the lack of bloggery yesterday.  Would you believe that I just forgot?  I blame our Pastor’s wife.  I am currently enthralled in a series she recommended and now am incapable of living my life outside these books (pun fully intended for you, Steph!).

Today I actually checked off everything on my “To Do” list except the one thing that was on there when I woke up!  For those of you who care about these things, that one thing was to clean the calcium deposits out of our toilet in the hopes of correcting its lazy flush problem without, you know, draining the field bed or something drastic like that!  So, you can sort of understand why that didn’t get done, right?!

But I did make snack for Pioneers (cut up fruit, including honeydew melon, sour cream dip made with Greek yogurt instead, and banana muffins), go grocery shopping, return a purchase at Canadian Tire (where I picked up an AWESOME new Spring wreath for the door- now THAT has been on my “To Do” list for years!), buy Holly new rubber boots (apparently her hand-me-downs from Bronwyn had holes in them- not a good feature in a rainboot…), and figure out how to work the big overhead projector at the church using the VCR (!)- Hanna Barbara Great Adventures of the Bible anyone… anyone?!?!?!  Pause while the nostalgia washes over me…

Anyway, I thought I’d round out this post with some more pictures of our trip:

Bronwyn playing with trains in the chapel

Holly and Bronwyn showing off their puppet creations


Ryan and Elaine with Aubrey chilling in the knitting circle

My parents, with Joel, probably playing a board game

Keeping entertained in the car

Pretending to blow out candles on her birthday cake

Josselyn just loved Steph's new dog, Bella

A Confession…

26 Feb

Ok, so maybe the world wide web is not the greatest place to be revealing this, but… I don’t lock my van!  Almost never.  I mean, I do when I go out.  But on an average day in my own driveway, surrounded by these…

Scary, right?!

… I don’t usually bother.  What almost always happens is that I run out to grab something without my coat on and find it locked and then curse at Bruce for locking the car in the middle of NOWHERE WHO-IS-GOING-TO-STEAL-IT?!?!?!?!? run back inside wasting an entire minute of my life.

However, when I go home to Sudbury, I always lock it.  Which is where we were when I was woken up by my dad at 3am and told to hurry up downstairs.  Honestly, my mind didn’t even have time to ponder what might have happened as I rushed outside in my pjs.

The police cruiser sitting in the driveway should have alerted me, but I was still a little sleep-stupid, so it took a second to internalize that the van had been broken into!  They took my purse and wallet (ok, some things I need to stop doing…) but not the GPS (which was, although not in plain sight, right there) and not the dvd player.  Nor yet the kids art work (which the cops found funny) or the crate of KinderSurprise eggs- phew!

They also broke into my sister’s SUV and got my brother-in-law’s tutoring bag (might have been beneficial, I say).

Apparently Ryan’s car alarm spooked the burglar and he took off down the street where he recommenced his nocturnal pillaging on the other side of the street.  This is where the police found him (inside a vehicle) a few minutes later.

Neither Josselyn or I (who sleep right under the driveway window) heard anything.

The thief hit 11 cars and the police recovered over 100 credit cards on him at the time of his arrest.  Ryan and I and my dad decided that since we were already up, and it was such a mild night, we would walk up and down the street and see if we could find anything.

Yes, I was still in my pyjamas.

Ryan and I hit the street while my dad made his way to the hospital to gossip see if he could find out anything more.  My dad had already found my purse beside Ryan’s car, but my wallet was still missing.  As we walked we scoured the driveways for more tell-tale signs of the pre-dawn pilferer.  We found Ryan’s bag (not one textbook missing- what a shame…) and a broken flashlight.  We did not find my wallet.

But the story has a happy ending.  When we met up with my dad in the hospital parking lot, we found more cops and my wallet!  They had discovered it in an apartment across the street near the thief.  They also assured me that they had my credit card but couldn’t return it yet.

We went home to bed.  Nearly an hour later, the police returned to take my statement and return my belongings.  For being victimized, I sure didn’t have much time to take it in, before it was all over.  For that I am grateful.

The next day, we were supposed to drive home before lunch, but first I needed to get my window replaced.  We secured the very last piece of Dodge Grand Caravan glass in stock (otherwise we’d have been waiting until Tuesday!) and my brother and brother-in-law spent the day driving around town (with Bronwyn and Holly) trying to get the best price.  After replacing the glass the only thing I had on my mind was getting home.  We’d already been there for nearly a week and I didn’t want the girls to miss swimming lessons too.


It was not to be.  The glass was installed but the mechanism for making it go up and down was busted.  “I’ll fix it at home”, I muttered, still anxious to be on my way.

“That’s fine, but what about the closed highway?”

You read correctly.  The highway was closed for 24hrs due to a collision (apparently a transport couldn’t make the hill and started sliding backward; jack-knifed and was rammed by 3 more oncoming tractor-trailers who couldn’t stop in time).  It was a mess, and there was no way around.  We were stuck.

The solution?

I ended up setting my alarm for 4:30am and driving straight home with only a pee-break halfway!  We got home with lots of time to spare and the girls behaved so beautifully I may consider doing that again!!

The lesson?  God allows bad things to happen, but He also allows it to go only so far.  I know this is a paltry example of disaster in life, but it is also a very strong example of “it could be worse”.  And you know what?  It could have been worse, but it wasn’t, and I am thankful.