The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘Canada Jays’

Birthday & Other News

Friday was my Birthday! I turned five years old (That’s two-legger years. According to the chart at the vets’, I’m about 42 dog years old.). We aren’t much for celebrating birthdays around here, but I did get some extra treats, an extra walk and a whole lot of love. I always get a whole lot of love.   ~|o}=

I did have to work at the bookshop on my birthday, though. I didn’t mind at all. As it turned out, we had some interesting two-leggers in to say hello – two-leggers from far, far away. We had a couple Elizabeth knew from her university days drop in to say hello. They were from a place called Victoria, the capital city of Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia.

There was a couple of motorcycle dudes from Lac du Bonnet, which isn’t that far away, but it is in another province, too: Manitoba. Elizabeth says that Lac du Bonnet is also on the mighty Winnipeg River, some distance down from us. I could swim there if I really wanted to. But I’m more Great Pyrenees than Newfoundland Dog, so, I’ll be keeping to my end of the River, thank you! Anyway, these bikers were wanting a better view of the road than they’ve been getting from their motorcycles, ’cause they asked for books on aviation… bush flying in particular. Elizabeth had several, but they didn’t buy any.

Then a couple came in from Geraldton, a town in Northwestern Ontario. Why mention that, you might be thinking. Well, Northwestern Ontario is a very big area, and these folks had travelled even farther than the biker dudes from a different province. Geraldton (now called Greenstone) is almost 750 km away! That’s a long way to come shopping for books. But then, our bookshop is the biggest bookshop in all of Northwestern Ontario, so they knew what they were doing!

Some local regulars came by, too, including a man who’s father was an author (he wrote about naval history). Just after he left, Elizabeth was emptying an incoming box of books. In it was one of the two books this man’s father had written! That’s a bit spooky considering just how many books we have to deal with in here…

But it was on the way home that I had my biggest birthday surprise. We were driving around the famous Kenricia corner in Kay’s Growly Beast. Two men were standing on the corner waiting for the pedestrian light. Elizabeth knew them, and she waved hello. They waved back, and one of them, someone I’m sure I’ve never met before, called out, “Hello, Stella!” to me through the open backseat window. He must know me from coming here to read my stories! A fan!

I’m going to have to get me some sunglasses…   ~:oD=

OTHER NEWS

Interesting goings on on the ‘Estate’, too. All of the flapper puppies are fledged and learning how to survive in the world. This makes for some interesting viewing from my station on the front step. Robin pups are learning to pull worms from the ground. Phoebe pups are learning where to catch the best insects for eating and how to despatch them. Hummingbird pups are learning which flowers have the tastiest nectar. And the Kibble Snatchers are back teaching their pups to trust Elizabeth to hand-feed them tasty chow.

On Saturday, though, we had some flapper visitors that I’ve never seen before. Elizabeth says she’s seen them here once before, when she was a child. Kay was the first to see one this time, and she called Elizabeth to tell her what it was. Elizabeth ran for her camera. There was no time for a tripod, and they are shy flappers, so she wasn’t able to get close. But she did manage to get some photos that weren’t too bad so that I could show you what they looked like.

The Magpie looks like a colourful, long-tailed version of the Black Cawing Flapper.

The Magpie looks like a colourful, long-tailed version of the Black Cawing Flapper.

They are a bit smaller than Black Cawing Flappers, though, Elizabeth thinks. But they are from the same family as Crows and Whisky Jacks and other Jays.

They are a bit smaller than Black Cawing Flappers, though, Elizabeth thinks. But they are from the same family as Crows, Whisky Jacks and other Jays.

They're rather beautiful, we think. Some two-leggers consider them nuisance birds. They are more common to the west of us, in the prairie/parkland. Maybe they interfere with crops.

They’re rather beautiful, we think. Some two-leggers consider them nuisance birds. They are more common to the west of us, in the prairie/parkland. Maybe they interfere with crops.

Sometimes I’ve heard Elizabeth say that she is a bit of a Magpie. She means that she likes picking up pretty, shiny things when she sees them on our walks. She’s particularly vulnerable to this habit, she says, when she walks along beaches.

This Magpie wasn't interested in shiny things, however. He was hunting Grasshoppers! And he's welcome to all he can catch - both Kay and Elizabeth said so!

This Magpie wasn’t interested in shiny things, however. He was hunting Grasshoppers! And he’s welcome to all he can catch – both Kay and Elizabeth said so!

AND FINALLY…

I have one last item of good news to impart before I go…

There has been rain all around us for the last week, but all of that has avoided us. Our lawn is brown and the woods are very dry. But yesterday, it finally decided to rain on us!

There has been rain all around us for the last week, but all of that has avoided us. Our lawn is brown and the woods are very dry. But yesterday, it finally decided to rain on us!

 

Pea Soup Breakfast Appetiser

This morning when Elizabeth came to get me for our morning walk, it was really hard to see. Clouds were hugging the ground. I could hear the long-necked flappers honking to each other (they sounded oddly dense and muffled), but I couldn’t see them. I could smell the forest creatures no problem, but I’ve noticed that Elizabeth never uses her nose. She relies far too much on sight. So, when we headed off into the fog, I was concerned for her safety.

Elizabeth was completely oblivious. The fog so befuddled her that she walked off in the opposite direction to where we usually go. I rushed off to clear the entire area of lurking danger, but always stayed within earshot in case she required rescuing. I’d bark once in a while to let her know where I was. She’d woof back. I wish she wouldn’t.

“WOOF, WOOF! … WOOF, WOOF!”

All the other dogs in the area laugh at her. The toy poodles down the road stick their heads out their growly machine window when they pass us and go, “woof, woof! … woof, woof!”

It’s so embarrassing.

But I think the poodles were too scared to come out this morning. It really looked spooky out.

I’m kinda proud of Elizabeth. I’ve decided to believe she’s brave rather than stupid to venture out into the clouds when they sink. And she got some nice pictures, I think:

Bud's family's floating land extender. They park their floating tin cans here - I think, yes, there's one parked there in the photo!

Bud’s family’s floating land extender. They park their floating tin cans here – I think, yes, there’s one parked there in the photo!

Some really strange things were forcing their way up from underground, too. Danger everywhere! Beware!

Some really strange things were forcing their way up from underground, too. Danger everywhere! Beware!

I bet their were Sneaky Deer hiding down there on the pipeline. Oh, I wish Elizabeth would stick with me on our walks...

I bet there were Sneaky Deer hiding down there on the pipeline. Oh, I wish Elizabeth would stick with me on our walks…

Bud's house through the fog from the old gravel path. That's a nice looking watching rock, eh? I wouldn't mind one of those in my back yard...

Bud’s house through the fog from the old gravel path. That’s a nice looking watching rock, eh? I wouldn’t mind one of those in my back yard…

Walking up the old gravel path to the estate boundary with Al's & Joanne's estate.

Walking up the old gravel path to the boundary between Al’s & Joanne’s estate and ours. The Wiley Wolf Gang like this route. But I have chased them away already!

By the time Elizabeth got to our gravel path, the cloud was beginning to lift a bit and the sun was getting higher in the sky. She took a bit of a risk going down the electric path since I was below it chasing lurkers in every direction. One could easily have come up the hill and surprised her!

The ghostly forest on the upper side of the electric path.

The ghostly forest on the upper side of the electric path.

Her usual luck held, though. The only attackers came from the North – the ghoulish Kibble Snatching Flappers descended upon her. But Elizabeth actually likes them, and she had kibble on hand (literally) to appease their appetites.

An annoying and, today, ghoulish looking Kibble Snatching Flapper.

An annoying and, today, ghoulish looking Kibble Snatching Flapper.

Feathers dampened by fallen clouds, but still a cocky imp.

Feathers dampened by fallen clouds, but still a cocky imp.

Whisky Jack

We had our first night when the damp in the air turns hard and coats the growling machine we travel in and some of the greenery.

I wasn’t the only one to notice. Elizabeth actually knew it was going to happen before it did, and she spent the evening before putting two-legger fur over the growing places to keep the stuff the two-leggers eat warm. By morning, though, others had noticed, too. I’m thinking particularly of some free-loading friends of Elizabeth’s, who always seem to come around – especially when it gets a bit chilly in the morning. There are several of them, but Elizabeth has the same name she uses for all of them: Whisky Jack.

The Whisky Jacks are medium sized flappers – a bunch of very friendly jokers who never seem to take life seriously. They really like Elizabeth a lot. We’ll be out in the middle of the woods on her trails in the deep of winter, and a Whisky Jack will fall out of the trees and land on a branch right beside her for a chat. Elizabeth will put out her hand and one will come and sit on it. No other flappers seem to do this so readily as Whisky Jacks. And even though there are only three or four that hang out at the two-legger house regularly, they all seem to know Elizabeth for miles around.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Elizabeth says that, although they seem like clowns, Whisky Jacks are actually very intelligent members of a bigger family called Corvids, which includes some other very annoying larger black flappers Elizabeth calls Crows and Ravens. “I think God put Whisky Jacks here to put smiles on people’s faces. You can’t have an encounter with a Whisky Jack and not come away smiling.” She also says that recent research she heard about – research is something two-leggers do to keep busy – scientists (two-leggers who spend nearly all their time researching) have discovered that Jays (some other two-leggers call Whisky Jacks Gray or Canada Jays) and other Corvids learn to tell two-leggers apart, and teach their youngsters and neighbours which ones are good friends and which ones are dangerous. Maybe that’s why they all like her.

They have a different effect on me. They get my nose twitching. Everytime they come around, and everytime Elizabeth puts her hand out for them to land on, I could swear I smell breakfast. Then one day last week, I discovered exactly why that is. Kay went out and was calling the Whisky Jacks, but they weren’t coming for her the way they do for Elizabeth. She couldn’t wait for them and went back inside. I started to follow her down the walkway, when I smelled something good. On every upright piece of wood along the walkway, Kay had put something tasty for the flappers.

I have trouble understanding why Kay would do this when she has me around. It’s not like I’m unappreciative of treats like these. Why waste them on a bunch of free-loading flappers? I walked on the grass side of the walkway and considered the situation. Then I got back up onto the walkway. I gave a little jump and got my paws up on the railing just below the top. I could just get my nose to the treats, but not my mouth. So, I pushed them off the uprights with my nose, got back on all fours and ran around to the grassy side to pick them up and eat them. I continued almost all the way down to the end of the walkway.

I left the last two for the Whisky Jacks.

I didn’t always used to like them at all. Elizabeth’s my two-legger, not theirs, and often when I saw them, I’d bark and chase them off. They’d flap up to the top of the fence around Elizabeth’s growing place and stare at me, sometimes make a noise back at me. It was almost as if they were quietly laughing at me! But Elizabeth really is fond of them, and they don’t seem to do her any harm. So I tolerate them now. And sometimes, when they fly in low, land on the top of the post that lights up at night… and slide off, even I can’t help but smile a little.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: