Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nora goes walkabout again

I let the dogs out as usual and staggered toward the coffee maker like something out of The Mummy’s Curse. The morning’s fog was pierced by a too-familiar squawking and flapping. Imagining a tail-wagging dog holding a mouthful of writhing chicken, I dashed outside to find Miró on the deck, jumping happily, and Alanis below. Both came running at my call because they hadn’t had breakfast yet. Where was the source of the altercation?

I stuffed the dogs indoors and ran to the chicken pen in the lower yard. Edna was dancing around on top of the netting that covered the pen and Zora was nowhere to be seen.
A string holding the netting in place had broken, allowing tiny Zora and Edna to pop straight up in the air when Miró had run down and shocked them out of their morning stupor. I guessed that Zora had flown up to the deck, Miró in hot pursuit, and taken off from there.

It was easy to lure Edna back down with scratch feed scattered on the ground but neither rattling food in the cup nor the hens’ “I found food” chuckles lured Zora from her perch in the evergreens or the neighbor’s yard. Each time I let dogs out that day, I first checked for the return of the prodigal chicken. Finally at dusk, which is chicken bedtime, I heard the whining sound the banties make and a rattling in the evergreens. Out hopped Nora, running back and forth on the wrong side of the pen before figuring out how to find the door. Amazingly resilient, that bird.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Miro goes to market

It wasn't his first time at the Sunday Farmers' Market but the first time I took him without someone else to hang onto him while I did the shopping. Lots of dogs there today--a Husky, a lab-collie mix with a high-pitched bark, a Wire-haired Dachshund, miscellaneous fluffy white dogs and--taa-daaah--a charming Welsh terrier named Dreamer. Only 18 months old, she was very mellow. Her person said they used to have an Airedale but "downsized" after the dog died at 13 and they moved to a smaller place. Naturally enough, several people asked if the two dogs were the same breed or puppy and adult.

Miro was very well-behaved. For him. Although he pulled a lot, he collected his little, tiny brain and stopped pulling for ten seconds each time I told him to. Sometimes when I stopped, he sat without my having to tell him. Victory! I even managed to buy vegetables and a bouquet of flowers. Peppers, Japanese eggplant, beets and green beans are roasting (coat lightly with olive oil, bake at 400 F for about 45 min., stirring occasionally) as I type.

To get Miro's attention away from other dogs, not to mention any nose-level fruit and vegetables, I lured him with green beans. They're an Airedale favorite.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Airedale Quilt


A friend let me put up some photos of this year's Airedale quilt. You don't even have to be an Airedale-person to buy raffle tickets for--and to win--this amazing artwork. This year's theme is Fairey Tails. This group effort has been a yearly event for ten years and raises funds for Airedale Rescue. It's not just a fund raiser, though. This project has inspired people to become artists. Miro approves!

Click on the link to see close-ups of all the blocks and stories about each quilter.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The meaning of a blue bowl

After dinner I picked up the dishes as usual, Alanis’s from outside the kitchen and Miró’s from beside the sink. Miró eats from a standard, stainless steel dog bowl—he wouldn’t care if it were a paper plate or sterling silver. Washing Alanis’s royal blue melamine bowl, I remembered my search last year for a bowl she would eat from. She wouldn’t eat from a metal bowl because it was too noisy; she wouldn’t eat from a bowl with too-steep sides, yet I couldn’t serve her kibble on a plate or the food would wind up all over the floor. Also, it couldn’t be an expensive bowl because I didn’t know at the time how many bowls I’d have to buy before hitting on the right one. I went to three stores, looking at every bowl on the shelves, checking weight and the sound of a nail tapping the side.

When Alanis first arrived and was too afraid to eat or drink, a friend wise in the ways of dogs wrote to me, “I believe dogs truly think they will die when removed from their packs.” Weeks went by before Alanis ate like a normal Airedale, which is to say, happy to eat anything without hesitation. She still has a ladylike way of taking food, hence the need to feed her some distance from Miró who inhales twice as much kibble in half the time and then dashes over to check her bowl.

I rinsed the blue bowl and thought about the events that led to Alanis’ arrival: the illness and deaths of my previous two Airedales within six weeks of each other one year ago, the bleak and utter silence of my life when they were gone.

This house is Alanis’s territory now. She barks when she hears the other neighborhood dogs, when someone comes to the door, sometimes even when my son comes up from downstairs, as if she has forgotten he has been living here all summer. Miró has started joining in, with an even deeper, louder bark. I can hear them from the far end of the back yard, the street, my office upstairs. If they decide to bark when I’m talking to someone, we can’t hear each other. It’s terribly annoying. I laugh every time their cacophonous noise fills the house.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Miro's art collection

In addition to creating museum-quality installations in the deconstructionist style, Miro has begun putting together his own art collection. Recognizing the worth of this found art, the Curator has put all the pieces up out of Miro's reach.