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.



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Shadowfax on a Road Trip

Alycia and the dogs have been on a North Dakota to Idaho cross country caravan with her parents the last few days. I have followed from afar as I've stayed in Idaho coordinating movers, electricians, relatives, and others. That and wallowing in unpacking joyousness. 
Shadowfax has reportedly been very well behaved and has enjoyed the rest stops with new smells and fresh mountain air. She has also enjoyed getting to stay in dog friendly hotels and sleep on the bed. This is truly a treat for her, one usually only reserved for stays at the grandparents house or when we have to sequester in the basement at home.
On their last night in Bozeman, Montana, mighty Shadowfax stared stoically at the mountains in the distance wondering if there are going to be squirrels to chase at her new home. There are. Lots of squirrels. Shadowfax (and Shaak Ti) may not yet realize it, but they are going to be busy.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

First Post from Idaho

This is our first blog post from our new house in Idaho. It's not quite home yet, since the pups have yet to arrive (a long story for another post) and all our stuff is still stuffed on a truck somewhere. We've spent the last few days camping out in the house, sitting in camp chairs, sleeping on an air mattress and coordinating various things to happen to and around the house. It's enough to make me occasionally cranky, but these are pretty good "problems" to have.
We were sitting in our camp chairs yesterday afternoon staring out the front window and noticed we had visitors in the front yard.
These ducks are all over town. We had a cup of coffee at coffee shop the other day and watched a mother duck and her three adorable ducklings. The two visitors to our house spent about 15 minutes foraging through the front yard and then made their way along. We were trying to decide if they were in the irrigation ditch in our front yard, but it didn't look like it. Yes, we have an irrigation ditch that runs along the edge of the South and West periphery of the property. Don't worry there will be plenty more on this in subsequent posts, it is fascinating. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Big News!

We have a big announcement to share. After 8 years in North Dakota, we're pulling up stakes and headed West to Boise, Idaho. Alycia has accepted a position with a university in Boise and is pretty excited at this new opportunity. We're planning on moving out there shortly and hoping to get settled in before her semester starts at the end of Summer.

It will be a bummer to leave North Dakota. It was enjoyable to be close to Alycia's parents and see them on a regular basis. We have made some great friends in our short years here, and found people who gladly accept my *ahem* eccentricities. It will be rough to leave the garden I've spent 8 years toiling in, but the sting of leaving is replaced by knowing the our new household is in Zone 6, so many new plant opportunities abound. For the first time in 8 years I didn't plant a garden this Spring, or start seeds in the basement, or take multiple trips to area nurseries. That felt very strange.

This big news is why we've been quiet here on the blog front for the month of May. Coordinating the end of two jobs, buying a house, and preparing to sell a house have taken up most of our time. Not to mention the myriad of other little things that go along with moving a thousand miles away. It's also been critical to give the dogs extra attention and love during this time of change. They know something is up and we want to give them reassurances that they're part of the moving plan.
In the meantime, we're in the midst of the actual physical moving process. The house is a mess and strangers of all sorts have been coming and going over the last month, the dogs are exhausted from having to vet and re-vet so many new people. And since most of the dog beds and people chairs have been packed, everybody gets to snuggle together on the spare bed. This seems to be a fairly acceptable consolation prize for the pups. More to come.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Shadowfax - Sleepy Face

Shadowfax generally has only two speeds. 1) 10,000 rpm of love/mischief and 2) sacked out asleep. It's rare when you get so see the immediate progression between the two, but recently Alycia was able to capture the quick transition.
Searching for trouble and/or for someone to actively love...
...trying to keep her eyes open and not really succeeding.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Garden Art?

We wanted to unveil a new piece of garden art that we had transported to the homestead the other day. Too much? Do you think it might overwhelm the garden?
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This is the current view out our front window, but this isn't a new piece of yard art. Our neighbor is a retired commercial pilot and has still flies recreationally. I'm not sure how many planes he has, but planes and/or plane parts parked in front of our house is actually a fairly regular and humerous sight. In the couple of hours that I watched over the course of the evening, several cars stopped to take pictures.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Shaak Ti Upside Down

Sometimes all you can do is sit back and bask in the majestic glory of your dogs. Shaak Ti is a prime example of that.

While some dogs nap in odd positions or may occasionally be upside down like this, she does this on a regular basis.
In this particular instance she was in a deep sleep and Alycia watched her for a minute to double check that she was breathing. She was breathing all right.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tito Health Scare

The truly old man in our house Tito has had some health concerns over the last few weeks. Don't be alarmed though, he's OK. Those of you who have had the (privilege? distinction? bad luck?) of meeting him know that Tito is a fighter, he will certainly not be going out like no sucker chump.

Tito had a seizure a week and a half ago, right in front of Alycia and I, and while it only lasted 20 seconds or so, it was pretty alarming. Even though he'd been to the vet just a month before and gotten a clean bill of health, he'll be 17 years old this Summer, so he's no Spring chicken. He probably would very much enjoy a tasty spring chicken though.

We called a different vet and brought him in for a full heart and respiratory function workup. He's also had an odd cough for the last month that has steadily grown worse. The diagnosis was an enlarged left side of his heart which was pressing on his bronchi, causing the cough. Congestive heart failure couldn't be definitively ruled in or out, but it is likely and he's going to start on some heart medication and a bronchi-dilator to try to encourage his airway to open more.

We're going to watch and monitor him carefully over the next few weeks and ensure that the side effects of the medication aren't too harsh. As for the seizure? We still don't know why that happened. As the vet said "dogs his age don't suddenly develop epilepsy", so we know that a seizure isn't a good sign. But he hasn't had any since and we're hopeful that was a one time occurrence. And Tito is still eating, drinking, going on walks, peeing on stuff in the yard, and viciously snarling at anything that moves, so he's OK for now. This photo of Alycia and Tito is from last Fall..
If you're reading this and worrying about poor Tito, don't fret, he's fine. Seriously, he's fine. Except for his cough he looks and acts the same as he always has. Alycia is doing fairly well with this whole business too. Tito has been part of her life for more than 15 years and she's given him the best life a dog could ask for. As I mentioned before, Tito is a fighter, he certainly isn't going to let something like heart or breathing problems stop him from enjoying his twilight years.

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring and Spring Cleaning

Hooray, it's the first day of Spring today! That doesn't mean a whole lot to us here in North Dakota, other than portending the likelihood of warmer temperatures eventually. It was above freezing all weekend and the backyard mud pit drained a little bit, but still has a long way to go before it's a playable surface.

We took the opportunity over the weekend to get a jump start on our Spring cleaning. The first order of business was to give all the dog blankets, bed covers, etc. a cycle through the washing machine.
It may be a blurry photo from Alycia's iphone, but you get the idea. Shadowfax did her best to get us to drop the load of fresh-out-of-the-dryer dog items on the ground so she could snuggle up with them. It looks pretty cozy.