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

Posts tagged ‘weather’

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

 

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!

 

Flood, Flood, Go Away!

Elizabeth thought we should give you another flood update. We’re getting so used to the high water now that it seems almost normal. Our heart goes out to those on lower ground, though. On the way home from work on Saturday, we saw the people who live at the bridge checking their sandbags and stacking driftwood into a big cone formation. We think they’re going to have a giant bonfire! Maybe that will evaporate some of the excess water. Worth a try. Elizabeth says it’s probably more a case of, “When life floats you driftwood, make a fire and toast Smores!”

Our view remains similar:

We still have our new island view.

We still have our new island view.

But, there is a difference that is quite noticeable. We’ve lost an old friend.

~:o(=

This is one of the last of the Jackpines (Pinus banksiana) that have lived in our yard since Elizabeth was a tow-legger puppy, many, many dog years ago. This year's prolonged flood waters have drowned it.

This is one of the last of the Jackpines (Pinus banksiana) that have lived in our yard since Elizabeth was a two-legger puppy, many, many dog years ago. This year’s prolonged flood waters have drowned it.

Kathleen is busy making arrangements to take it down before Malcolm comes home this autumn so he can split the wood. We’ll use it to help keep the house warm this winter.  Losing this old tree will really change our view of our bay!

And all this water has given me a bit of a problem as well.

Do I really have to get my ear done?

Do I really have to get my ear done?

I keep getting yeast infections in my ears. Right now, it’s my left ear that’s driving me CRAZY. It feels good when Elizabeth cleans it and puts some Calendula ointment on it, but I really hate the drops she drips in. They tickle and feel like a creepy-crawly is exploring inside. I must admit that I do start feeling better a day or two after she starts giving me the drops, though. I don’t see why she needs to keep giving them to me after that but, every morning and every evening, the dreaded, long-snouted squeeze-bottle makes an appearance. No matter how hard I try to hide, I can never escape.

We’re getting some horrible heat now, too. Temps are rising into the high 20C to low 30C range. This means it’s getting really humid, too. And heat and humidity always seem to bring terrible thunderstorms with them. I don’t like those, but I don’t get really upset like some dogs do. I just find a quiet corner near Elizabeth and curl up into a ball until it’s all over. So far, we’ve been lucky. Just a couple of trees down. We’d use those for firewood, too – if we could find some help getting them down to the house before unidentified neighbours steal them for their own woodpile.

I’d give those thieves a good bite if I could catch them. They’re fortunate that I’m in the house a lot these days. The insects and the heat are just too much for me. You see, part of my problem is that my Spring Blow Out is late this year. We’re still trying to tease the last of my winter wool out. Sometimes I look a bit scruffy because I try to get it out myself by chewing and pulling little clumps out. I figure if I do my share, it’ll mean less of The Brush. I HATE The Brush. I don’t care if I feel much better afterward. I HATE The Brush.

Oh, all right. So I look and feel better after I get brushed. but it takes so long. Can't I just cool down with a run through the swamp?

Oh, all right. So I look and feel better after I get brushed. But it takes so long. Can’t I just cool down with a run through the swamp?

Elizabeth says I wouldn’t have to bite anyone if I lived that way. All I’d have to do is stand upwind and they’d think a bear was coming after them.

BOL. Sometimes, she’s just too funny!

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