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

Posts tagged ‘my house’

Season’s End

Things are changing on the Campbell ‘Estate’. It’s really beginning to feel like Autumn. I can almost smell it in the air. I get to smell a lot more air these days because I’m sleeping outdoors in my kennel again. I like it out there, but I also enjoyed nights in the two-legger house. Elizabeth’s bed has a more elevated view than mine, and a cuddle usually comes with that, too! She tends to get upset when I woof at night-time passers by though. Not so much when I’m out in my house. Pros and cons to everything…

Speaking of being able to smell autumn in the air, I understand that two-leggers are generally more visual creatures than nasal, so I got The Scribe to take some photos of some Autumn indicators for you this week (That’ll prove this isn’t all just up my nose!).

Autumnal Danger in the Woods

The other day, Elizabeth heard a strange noise in the woods behind the garden. It sounded like someone was snapping a lot of twigs running through the undergrowth. Alarmed (Is it a bear? How do I get safely back in the house from the garden?), she decided not to panic before calling to see if it was just me getting tangled up in some pursuit or another. I heard her and came to her from the other direction.

“What’s that, Stella? Who’s that in the woods?”

I couldn’t tell her without going to check it out. Into the forest I ran…

OUCH!

It was raining spruce cones and twigs.

We have many tall White Spruce on the ‘Estate’.

The Scribe took a photo so I could show you one of the noble White Spruce (Picea glauca) I am responsible for watching over each day in my role as Head of Security here.

The Scribe took a photo so I could show you one of the noble White Spruce (Picea glauca – it’s the tallest of the tall trees here) I am responsible for watching over each day in my role as Head of Security here.

I’m going to give you a closer look at the top of that tree. It isn’t dying and going brown…

those are seed cones up there!

Those are seed cones up there! Hundreds of them!

It’s a good idea to avoid the vicinity of these trees at this time of the year. Red Squirrels are away up there at the top, chewing through the twigs with cones. The noise we heard was the twigs falling through the tree branches and on down to the ground. The squirrels retrieve and run with the fallen cones to a station where they feel safe stripping them of the tree seeds inside!

Red Squirrels are very busy gathering in evergreen cones. They're very messy about collecting the seeds!

Red Squirrels are very busy gathering in evergreen cones. They’re very messy about collecting the seeds!

Squirrels are like me in a way. They like to find a big rock to work on. That way they can see all around. If danger comes along, they have plenty of time to dash to the nearest tree. They are very fast. I know, believe me!

Changing Colours

There's a lot of colour showing up in the woods now. These Bracken Ferns - Pteridium aquilinum look lovely in the morning sun.

There’s a lot of colour showing up in the woods now. These Bracken Ferns – Pteridium aquilinum look lovely in the morning sun.

Their colours change quickly from green through yellow to orange-brown. Then, before you know it, they're brown and crunchy underfoot!

Their colours change quickly from green through yellow to orange-brown. Then, before you know it, they’re brown and crunchy underfoot!

 

Shorter Days

Another thing we’ve been noticing is that bedtime seems to be coming significantly earlier now. And the nights are cooler.

On Saturday night, Elizabeth put me to bed, then she came outside again with her camera. She has decided to experiment a bit with her camera and taking pictures at night. There was a beautiful crescent moon on its way to bed, too. She took several photos, and made one into a poster with a little poem she wrote for it. I asked her to show it to you, just so you don’t think I’m the only poet in the family. She doesn’t write much in the way of poetry. She is trying to get more writing in general done, though. I thought putting some here might encourage her to do more!  ~;op=

Luna Falling mini

 

Happy New Year!

My Fortress in the Boreal Forest. Elizabeth put the lights on momentarily so you could see it better. I don't need lights.

My Fortress in the Boreal Forest. Elizabeth put the lights on momentarily so you could see it better. I don’t need lights.

Last night I celebrated the passing of the old year by going to bed early with a big cookie in my cozy palace in the snowy Boreal forest. When Elizabeth walked me out she pointed out how nicely she had shovelled my pathway and built a little snow ramp up to the bridge using the freshly fallen snow (more for her convenience than mine, I assure you!). Once into the forest on the other side of the bridge the path is packed with just our paws. The ground is too uneven to make for good shovelling. Maybe, if we ever get enough snow for Elizabeth to put her nifty webbed paw extenders on we can make a better path.

Path Elizabeth packed using her webbed paws. Not enough snow for this yet this year. Too bad. They make travelling through the snow much easier for everyone in the forest. Even the wily wolves like them!

Path Elizabeth packed using her webbed paw extenders. Not enough snow for this yet this year. Too bad. They make travelling through the snow much easier for everyone in the forest. Even the wily wolves like them!

It was -30C with the windchill when I went to bed. When it gets that cold, I like to stay in my house until it’s time to go for my morning walk. My house is well insulated, and I have a full-sized bed that covers half the floor, and my big, fuzzy Queen-sized blanket, which Elizabeth tidies up for me every morning so it’s ready to cuddle up in at night. When the temperature rises into the high teens, I like to pull my blanket outside and sleep under the stars. That also allows me to better keep an ear open for the sneaky deer, the rascally fox and the wily wolves. The flying squirrels make a bit of noise in the trees around me, but they’re pretty harmless. Everybody else is usually asleep.

Last night was a bit different, though. Even through the walls of my palace I could hear strange banging and popping noises interspersed with whistles and fizzles. The sounds were coming from some distance through the frigid air – sounds are always louder, I’ve noticed, when the air is really cold. I don’t like these sorts of noises much. They make me a bit nervous because they aren’t natural sounds. Sometimes I hear them over at the neighbours’ in the summertime, and the first time I did, I also noticed that they were accompanied by explosions of glittering light in the sky. Everyone knows that bright lights in the sky are dangers that no-one can chase away. The best thing to do when you see those is to run into the shelter of your den and wait out the firestorm. So, I stayed put in my house last night.

In the morning, Elizabeth comes out from the two-legger house and I meet her at the gate. In the summer she has managed to catch me off guard; she can walk pretty quietly, and if I’m in my palatial den, I might not hear her coming. I think she gets a wag out of catching me snoozing like that. Well, she would if she had a tail… In the winter, though, I can hear her a mile away because her paws make a great crunching noise on the packed snow of the path.

Sometimes we go for a walk together, but when it’s really cold, Elizabeth doesn’t like to go for a walk. On those days, she lets me attend directly to my patrol of the estate. I get a good run in, checking out all the usual haunts of all the usual intruders. Once I have cleared the area of all the undesirables, I run back home for breakfast at the two-leggers’ house.

Unlike my two-leggers, I just love the snowy cold weather months. There’s nothing better than lying in a snowbank on one of my ‘mountains’ as I watch over my territory. I could stay out on patrol all winter long without ever coming indoors. They only thing I don’t like about winter are the iceballs that form between my toes. They’re such a nuisance! The worst of it is that I must stop to remove them or my feet begin to bleed. So far I’ve been fortunate enough that iceball removal hasn’t coincided with wily wolf arrival. I have bad dreams about that happening….

The arduous process of iceball removal. Dig one out, chew it up, get another one, and so on. Then you need to do the back paws...

The arduous process of iceball removal. Dig one out, chew it up, get another one, and so on. Then you need to do the back paws…

Bush Beat

Today, I thought I’d share something with you from my first year on the Campbell Estate. My run at that time was beside an older area of the forest, and there are lots of old, decaying logs on the forest floor – all covered with soft green piles of green stuff that feels really good under my paws. The Silly Flappers like to go there in the Spring, and sometimes the young ones start practicing in the falling leaf time, too!

I was a puppy when I first heard the boy Silly Flappers showing off to their girlfriends. They kept me up all night. It wasn’t just the ones close to me. The sound carries through the woods for a mile or more. Sometimes you aren’t really sure you’re hearing it – it’s more of a sense of the air kind of throbbing around you. Elizabeth found a really good clip online for me to share with those of you who don’t live in the Boreal Forest so you can hear what it sounds like. The two-leggers who recorded this must have been really close, ’cause you can hear the whoosh of the feathers in the recording, which makes the drumming sound softer. I’ve never heard that before. The drumming I’ve heard is always just the thump that gets faster and faster.

By the time I find a drumming Silly Flapper, he has already stopped. I can get much closer to them than other Silly Flappers before they flap furiously away on me. They’re very unsociable. Most flappers are, I guess. They don’t seem to like me much, anyway. Even the Long-necked Flappers who call me all the time don’t let me come close to say hello back.

Elizabeth says that the reason the Silly Flapper drummer boys are easier to get close to is because they’re so full of something called hormones, and they have so much energy invested in showing off that, even though they’re scared by me (!) they haven’t got the juice to switch into flee mode. She says people who have approached a male peacock (she showed me a tail feather of one that she has hanging on her wall – very pretty, and very long!) will understand. The boy peacock with a fanned tail has a very hard time fleeing an enemy!

Imagine a flapper thinking of me as an enemy! Absurd! But Elizabeth says that’s exactly how they see me…. Come to think of it, though, I did try once to make friends with a little swimming flapper once when I was little, too. It went limp and quit peeping at me. Elizabeth says the flappers don’t realise that I don’t mean to hurt them, and there are other dog-like animals in the forest who eat them if they catch them. So I guess I understand a bit now why they don’t like me much…. -:o(=

Anyway, Elizabeth wrote this one Spring morning after I first heard the Silly Flapper drummer boys from my run the night before:

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m a bit nuts about my dog. Most dog owners will understand.

I sing to her. I noticed my last dog really liked it, so I tried it with Stella, too – well actually, the habit just sort of carried over. I’ll take a tune I know and add lyrics just for Stella.

Yes, I’m afraid I might be a little … touched?

Last night I woke up to Stella’s barking. She barked for some time. I’ve never heard her bark at night before.

This morning, as we were eating breakfast (mom and I), Stella put her head on the leg of the table and fell asleep. She began to snore. She got up, followed me into the kitchen and, while I made my hot chocolate, she flopped onto the floor and looked with exhausted puppy eyes at me. I began to sing. Appalachian mountain man kind of droning tune:

Ho, little Stella
Snorin’ on the floor.
Listened to the ruffed grouse
drummin’ all night.
Barked at the ruffed grouse
all night long –
Woof, woof, woof.
Stupid ol’ bird.
Woof, woof, woof.
Wanna go to sleep.
Barkin’ at the ruffed grouse
and howlin’ at the moon
all night long –
Aaaah woooooh!
Woof, woof, Whoooooh!
All night long!
Now she’s snorin’ on the floor –
Zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Snorin’ on the floor!

Hope you enjoy it as much as she did. She thumped her tail in time to the words.

Cheers! I think I’m going to have a nap, too!

Hmmph. You’d think she’d been up barking at them all night!

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