My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Deaf Dog in Action!!

Wanna see a cool photo? 
Best caption to the photo, left in the comments section, wins a prize.*

*Please note that prize may or may not be an actual physical prize, it may be something slightly more esoteric like my everlasting respect or a shout out in the blog. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2011 Deaf Dog of the Year Poll Results

The results of the poll are in, and winner of the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes 2011 Deaf Dog of the year is......Tito. Sigh. Tito's prize for wining was me not verbally abusing him for an entire day, quite the prize.  Needless to say the prize would have been different had anyone else won. 

Now let me say how utterly disappointed I am in you all.  Very disappointed.  As I sat down to discuss the poll results with the three pooches, I saw the inevitable looks of sadness from Shadowfax, who wondered if she was cute enough, playful enough, or engaged in an adequate amount of puppy hijinks to satisfy voters.  I wasn't too concerned about her, she's young, and likely has many awards in her future.

I saw in Shaak Ti the all too familiar look of the vanquished and forgotten middle child (I have seen this look many times in the mirror) who appeared crestfallen at her third place finish.  Shaak Ti was inconsolable and cried many deaf dog tears, unable to comprehend why she finished last in our inaugural Deaf Dog of the Year contest.  You made Shaak Ti cry, I hope you're happy with yourselves. 

I also actively weep for the future of our country.  Here we are in an election year and you have all voted for the most ornery, irascible, and wholly unelectable candidate, and this is just for Deaf Dog of the Year.

A special "I'm very disappointed in you" shout out goes out to Alycia's friend "A" (name partially redacted) who wrote her an e-mail bragging that they were having a grand old time manipulating the poll for their own amusement.  Sigh.  The e-mail actually went on to describe how happy they were to be committing this particularly onerous manner of voter fraud because they knew that Tito winning the poll would greatly annoy me.  Double sigh.

I guess the lesson learned here is that Democracy in action isn't always predictable, and sometimes the results aren't what you would expect or prefer.  Sometimes the candidate you voted for isn't the one who wins, and sometimes the winner might be the most detestable of the lot.  We'll spend the next year emphasizing the good traits of Shaak Ti and Shadowfax, and downplay the accomplishments (if any) of Tito.  Hopefully the 2012 Deaf Dog of the Year contest turns out differently. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Only Two Days Left!!

There are only two more days left to vote in the 2011 Deaf Dog Of The Year contest.  If you haven't done it already, get your vote in, this is for all the marbles.  Marbles people, marbles. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Littlest Truck Driver

Little Trucker Jacob driving his Caterpillar tractor.  He's probably honking the horn or givin' em the ol "get outta my way" hand gesture that his Dad taught him. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 Deaf Dog of the Year

I was inspired by one of my favorite blogs (Montana Wildlife Gardener) and his 2011 Cat of the Year post.  Yes this is a blatant example of bloggo-theft, but his post was incredibly funny and a great idea, I couldn't help but appropriate it for my own nefarious purposes.

In the interest of conferring more power to my loyal blog readers in the form of feedback and voting, let's see who you would vote for in the Inaugural Deaf Dog of the Year contest.  Voting is on the upper left part of the screen, and please leave a comment as to who you voted for and why.  Here are your three choices for 2011 Deaf Dog of the Year (presented in order of seniority):

Tito the Wonder Puppy (aliases - Tito, Toberto, Toe, Berto, F@%khead, Chubbs)
2011 Accomplishments - Took the meaning of close companionship to the next level by never being more than 6 feet away at all times (this would be considered stalking if he were a person). Stoically cycled through 5 sessions of antibiotics, mostly due to impacted anal glands.  Protects the grill at the Cavalier estate with a level of security rivaled only by Ft. Knox.  Has (allegedly) become friendlier and less angry, allowing people to pet him.

Flaws and Negative Press - His obsessive compulsive licking habit has worsened.  Despite his orneriness detente, he is still prone to snapping at any moment.  He has decided he no longer wants to be burdened with the arduous task of walking up stairs and has to be carried up to bed every night. He has a generally bad attitude and negative outlook on life.  Has a very greasy pelt (this is partially from not being bathed regularly and partially from constantly rolling in nasty crap outside).  Spends every walk hunting for bunny poop to eat.

Key Voting Demographics - the elderly, the angry, the ornery, Antonio Banderas fans, old men who shake their canes at the damn kids, those who wish that it was socially acceptable to be able to bite others.  

Jedi Master Shaak Ti (aliases - Shaak Ti, R-Dog, Skuzzlebutt, Spotterdog, Scoops, Squito Burrito)
Accomplishments - Required no vet visits from self inflicted trauma or crashes in 2011.  Plays well with big little sister Shadowfax and is able to give her a run for money despite being half her size.  Stands constant vigil over the house from the upstairs window, ensuring that no intruders: human, dog, or squirrel penetrate the outer defenses.  Continues to exhibit her awesome jumping abilities.  Actively loved Grandpa and Grandma.

Flaws and Negative Press - Still doesn't understand the concept of sleeping in past 5:45 am.  Causes left shoulder deltoid or rotator cuff injuries due to her constant exuberant pulling and running on the leash.  Crazy singing and off key "woo-wooing" are amazingly loud for a dog her size.  Is high maintenance and constantly demands pets, whines loudly when not petted or allowed into laps.  Finicky eater, prefers Grandmas kibble and gravy scrambled egg surprise to her regular food and goes days without eating in protest when we serve just kibble. 

Key Voting Demographics - ultra marthoners, extreme sports enthusiasts, professional/amateur yodelers, descendents of Lewis and Clark, historical re-enactment participants, people with a zest for life, vegetarians/vegans/gluten free folk. 

Shadowfax (aliases - Puppy, Puppytown, The Town, Sweaterdog, Barklesaurus, Thrashy)
Accomplishments - Reduced the size of wood pile by chomping and eating logs.  Passed three obedience class and is awesome with performing her many tricks.  Leaves festive rainbow colored poops in the backyard from all the various toys she consumes.  Good foot and slipper warmer.  Loves all human visitors, and despite her training, jumps on them, giving them kisses.  Sleeps through the night in her crate without complaint and is generally a good napper. 

Flaws and Negative Press - Constantly interrupts any attempt at work in the home office by shoving a wet, chewed upon toy onto my computer or lap and demanding I play with her.  Has crazy howling, yowling, screeching barks when she sees something (squirrel or dog) outside from the upstairs window.  Occasionally plays to rough with Shaak Ti and has to put on time out.  Had a six month stretch of late night barfing, that seems to have abated now (I hope - knock on wood).  Has yet to understand that mud and sticks are outside only toys.

Key Voting Demographics - young voters, people who have ever been stereotyped due to how they look, toddlers and children with dirty faces, professional wrestling aficionados.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Warmest Fall and Winter on Record in Grand Forks, Fargo

This is from the Grand Forks Herald.

According to the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, the period from Nov. 1 to Jan. 7 was warmer this season than any other corresponding 68-day period ending Jan. 7 since 1850, in both Grand Forks and Fargo.

The average daily average temperature for the 68 days ended Saturday at the UND reporting site was 26.5 degrees, besting the previous record of 26.2 set in 1914. Third -highest was 25.2 set for the 68-day period ended Jan. 7, 2007.

You can read the full article in the Grand Forks Herald here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Poll Results and Camera News

The results on our "What Would You Change" poll here at the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes blog are tallied up and ready for an in depth statistical analysis.   Our winning answer was "You're awesome, just keep doing what you do".  While it's flattering and highly complimentary that my blog readers think the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes blog is already pretty spiffy, it doesn't give me a ton of ideas for improvement.  But that's OK.  I'm going to use this as motivation to keep posting entertaining nuggets for y'all to digest and enjoy. 

And in a bit of happy news, our old digital camera decided to start working again, so there's no need to buy a new one....yet.  On the way out the door to run some errands (including buying a new camera) I tried to give the old camera one last shot.  So I smacked the camera on the table a few times and VOILA!! it worked.  It reaffirms my core belief that the best way to get sensitive electronics to work properly is to smack them on a hard surface.  To prove its functionality, I snapped the photos below of the pups sitting nicely. 
Then I waited too long to snap the next photo and the puppy decided that it was time to pounce, so we ended up with an action shot. 
Since we're having so much fun with the polls, this week there will be a new poll for you to vote on.  This poll promises to a dandy, the Deaf Dog of the Year for 2011.  And lo, it shall be awesome!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Weird Winter Weather

It's just after noon here in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and we're at 44 degrees, headed for a likely high of upper-40's, maybe we'll even flirt with 50.  It's been an unprecedented (seriously I can't emphasize enough how unusual this is) warm winter here, so warm in fact that the snow and ice in the back yard melted yesterday, causing April/May mud conditions and allowing mischievous puppies to dip their noses and paws in fresh mud and haul it into the house.

We're headed for a record high today, tied a record high of 41 the other day (Tuesday), and broke record highs seemingly every few days in the week before and during Christmas.  The high temperatures combined with the lack of snow (we just got our first significant snows, 4-6 inches total before the New Year) has made this an almost unprecedented dry and warm winter.  Everyone I've talked has said they can't remember a winter with this little snow this late into the season, and hardly anyone can remember one, let alone multiple 40+ degree high temperatures in December and January. 

Our cross country skis and snowshoes have remained firmly entrenched in the basement closet, there's still not enough snow cover to use either.  And there's pretty much a news story every day about someone falling through the ice driving their ATV whilst ice fishing.  People are so accustomed to the "the ice is always thick enough by this time of year", that they venture out into marginally safe areas and fall through, sometimes with horrific outcomes.  Snowmobiling is a huge hobby/sport here, but we've only heard a smattering of snowmobiles, and those have only been within the last week.  All forms of winter recreation seem to be on hold for a good snowfall.

All this weird weather begs the question, is this just single seasonal aberration, or is this the new normal?  Climate change more than anything means more extreme, more severe, and just more weird weather.  Is this the first of our chickens coming home to roost?  Is this just the first annual installment that we have to pay the piper?  Nobody knows.  We could revert back to normal winter temperature and precipitation, and stay that way for the rest of winter, and folks probably wouldn't remember this stretch of weird weather.  But if this is just a harbinger of things to come, many people could be in for a serious forced lifestyle rearrangement.

In pictorial news, we're going to bite the bullet and buy a new official Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes digital camera this weekend, so pictures should return soon.  We're also going to have the results from our poll in the next few days, and a chance for readers to vote on our "Dog of the Year" for 2011.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Poll Determines Fate of World in 2012

Rarely do individuals have the chance to change history, but you do right now, right here on the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes blog.  Bearing in mind that your vote changes the course of this blog, please click an answer (or two) on the poll and let me know what you'd like to see more/less of in 2012.

If you happen to have an idea or suggestion that isn't a selection on the poll (this seems impossible since I've chose every possible scenario), please leave a comment.  I love comments and enjoy reading any feedback you have.