A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Shaak Ti and Shadowfax Sheep Shuffle

Shaak Ti got a soft stuffed sheep toy for Christmas and Shadowfax got a chance to finally grapple with Sherman the Sheep.  Sherman the Sheep sat untouched for nearly a year, we thought he was too cute to be destroyed, but eventually Shadowfax and her winter indoor playtime needs took precedence.
The end result was a simultaneous sheep festival.  Shaak Ti playing with her stuffed sheep and Shadowfax disemboweling the poor, unfortunate Sherman the Sheep.
It was a good opportunity to fill the house with toy stuffing and for the people to practice their "sh" sounds. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Shadowfax in the Snow

Shadowfax loves being outside, especially if her people are out there.  When it's warm and pleasant she spends hours just lolling around on the grass, thoroughly sniffing every square inch of the the yard, or supervising us doing yard tasks.
In the winter though, it's a different story.  She tries to fight it and stay out as long as possible, but she just can't manage it for very long.
If we're out shoveling snow Shadowfax tries to come out and help, but invariably after a couple of minutes just sits down and looks cold and pathetic.  We have to herd her back inside to warm up, usually shutting her behind one of our many baby gates to keep her from getting back outside.  This is OK with her as she's content to supervise from the window as well. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Snowy Pictures

We got yet another substantial snow storm to start of the beginning of the week.  It's only just January and we're running out of some space in our favorite places to store the snow.
The official tally from this storm was just over 9 inches of snow in about 48 hours. The path from the door to the garage is a wall of ice and snow that is waist/chest high.  It's a lot like living on Hoth.  I fully expect to find a remains of rebel base somewhere in the backyard when the snow melts. 
Every year we toil to create a good space in the backyard for the dogs despite the snow.  They need both cleared space for "business" and sometimes some more fun or unusual features.  Last year I made a sweet terrain park for Shadowfax including a ramp so her fetching ball could get airborne, this year I went with the banked oval design.
With Tito's vision deteriorating we try to keep the paths in roughly the same area so he can find his way around outside.  We've seen Tito get turned around and flounder in snowbanks in the backyard, so we closely monitor when he goes outside to make sure he gets back in safely.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Snowy Christmas Forecast

Christmas is just around the corner here at the Deaf Dogs and Benevolent Gnomes homestead.  We received over a foot of snow from Blizzard Alivia a few weeks back and have even more snow and wind in the forecast for Christmas Day. 

Here is the Grand Forks office of the National Weather Service forecast for the upcoming holiday weekend. 
Alycia and I have been taking full advantage of the snow cover and relatively mild temperatures this week (it's been near 30 degrees all week) and have taken several snow shoeing adventures along the Red River of the North.  It is very convenient for us, we just walk down the block, over the dyke wall and we're on the Grand Forks Greenway along the Red River.  This upcoming snowstorm should mean enough snow cover for show shoeing and cross country skiing for the rest of the season. 
The dogs are either unimpressed with all the snow, apprehensive about another foot and a half of snow on the way...
...or still trying to impress upon Santa that they've been good all year. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Shadowfax Indoors in Winter

With temperatures plunging below zero, accompanying wind chills making it feel even colder, and a fresh layer of snow on the ground, it's cold!  That's expected here in December in North Dakota and so we spend a lot more time indoors. Outside playtime is relegated to a minute or two at most before the critters toes get chilly, so we spend more time playing indoors. 
Shadowfax loves her 6-Foot Rope Toy (Amazon Link), and we have three of them, swapping them out every few days so she has something fresh to chew on.  It's a pretty good workout for the human too. A game of Tug-of-War with a 70 pound chunk of deaf dog on the other end is some pretty serious lifting and pulling.  In this case she's actually chewed herself into an almost-nap, barely awake and chomping away. 
I also thought we should throw in the stereotypical (and always funny) "big dog in tiny bed" photo.  Tito barely fits in this dog bed, let alone Shadowfax, who is twice the size of Tito. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The First Snowstorm of the Year

A very warm Fall and lack of snow through the first part of December had us dreaming of a mild winter, but such thoughts are often soon dashed here in North Dakota.  A storm arrived on Monday evening and dumped a foot of snow by Tuesday midday.
We weren't complaining much as both Alycia and I had a snow day on Tuesday.  All the snow from that storm was augmented by three more days of snow showers and light snow, accompanied by howling winds.
This is the blueberry area on the East side of the house. We ended up with  total of over 16 inches of snow and drifts caused by the high winds that were significantly higher.  Alycia and I cleaned off the back steps several times each as they continued to fill in with blowing and drifting snow from the high winds.  We also wound up snowblowing the driveway and sidewalks three times over the course of the storm and subsequent days of wind.
Recognize this character?  This is the Petunia Tower, now well covered in more than a foot snow.  This was the biggest snowfall event since the Christmas storm (Blizzard Alvin, more pictures) back in 2009, which was our first winter here in North Dakota. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Deaf Dogs Shaak Ti and Shadowfax Wrestling

Shaak Ti and Shadow fax don't play together very often, mostly because Shadowfax gets a little too amped up and spazzy.  So we carefully monitor playtime between them to make sure that Shadowfax (who is twice the size of Shaak Ti) doesn't play too rough.  In this case, Shaak Ti is exhibiting her classic "I really wanna play but I'm too lazy to get of of bed" game. 
Being winter time here means that there's going to be a lot more indoor playtime in the coming months.  Cold and wind have made expending energy outside all but impossible for more than a few minutes at a time. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving in North Dakota

For the first time in our tenure in North Dakota we hosted the Thanksgiving festivities here are the homestead. Everything went well, Thanksgiving dinner and all the accompaniments were well received. 
Shadowfax and Shaak Ti were overjoyed to have Alycia's parents in the house for multiple days.  There was multiple hours of snuggling and quality time with Grandma and Grandpa.  And Tito?  He seemed pretty happy to have a few more people to randomly snarl at.  
After all the leftovers were parsed out, shopping trips completed, and pies consumed, the dogs were pooped.  They passed out in their warming beds and dreamed of turkeys roasting in the oven.