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Posts from the ‘Pawprints’ Category

MeadFest and Bottle Brushes

Our driveway had puddles; the skies had puffy white clouds floating across the bay, and there was a gentle breeze. Our drive through the marshes of southeast Texas was pleasant enough in itself but we hoped we would not be too late for the MeadFest.

A versatile musician was singing and playing a sax–a variety of songs appealing to those of us who remembered when we bought the vinyl records; vendors were offering samples of their mead, one offered  beautiful wooden mugs, and then there was the winery offerings.

I attempted to take photos of the bees harvesting nectar from the bottle brush shrubs–wildly waving blooms despite a helping steadying hand from husband.bee20at20bottom20of20bottle20brush20tree-m

And then there was the dog.

Glen nearly always has dog biscuits in his pants pockets.

This dog was not quite so sure about this.


Escape Plan Foiled

Not exactly.

They did escape.

One burrowed her way back into the yard and into the pond to cool off after they had both rushed home after hearing my diesel put-putting on its way home after a very long and not very fun day at work.

The other one sat panting heavily, also having run a good ways, by the side of the front gate waiting for me to open the gate. The shorter and more willing to crawl into places one greeted me innocently from the inside of the gate–but her underside was wet, her paws sopping wet and I knew exactly what she had done.

After letting them inside the house, I patrolled the exterior with a flashlight looking for that escape route.

It was right next to the prior escape-I thought I had made it secure—but when there’s a will so they say. And perhaps a friend on the other side of that fence?


And so this morning–instead of doing all the other things I had planned, I needed to mend fence. I’ve taken care not to do the mending in the neighbor’s view as the next door neighbor said his wife was upset because since I had put so much of the fence up in plain view of all that I set the bar too high for the other wives to reach. Apparently it looked like I knew what I was doing….Not that there is a lot of talent in nailing up fence boards once the uprights and the cross-pieces are in place.

Off to Home Depot to purchase supplies after think through my plan.

I bought weather-proof boards and some short T-Posts. I placed the T-Posts–short work since the ground is so soft after all our rain, slid the boards behind the T-Posts, fortified them with some bricks and these old motorcycle tires.  Not so elegant but maybe it will last a couple of months until they find another escape route.


And what do these two escapees look like?

and20another-mThat’s the tall one–and a true digging machine she is.

dora20and20the20ball-mHere is the shorter one. Doesn’t she look innocent?

And here they are together.glen20getting20ready20to20throw20the20frisbee-mPay no attention to the man between them holding the leash and the frisbee. I think he enjoys their exploits and their derring-do. And he would have been helping me with that fence job but he is out of state at present—and taking the dogs out four times a day to visit the facilities for several months is more than I wanted to think about.


Mending Fences

“You have those two friendly black dogs, don’t you? I saw them running down the street and they ran back through the gate at the end of your fence.”

I hoped they were not my two black dogs. I must have looked worried.

She quickly remarked–I”m not the Animal Control Officer,  I’m just here to do a survey of people living in this neighborhood.

After a few questions about how many people lived in this house–just the two of us and neither of us fitting the description of ‘children’ by chronology–maybe by thoughts and occasionally actions–cake for breakfast? Why not! any ice cream to go with that?

An inspection of the fence was in order.out-m

And there it was. A spot that they loved to peer under the fence to stare at the garbage truck rumbling down the street; barking furiously as it picks up our garbage can and sets it back down–and assorted passerbys…all needing notification that ‘there be dogs here’.

Off to Lowe’s to pick up some fencing materials. The wire had been a previous addition to prevent escapes. Now I needed to do something.

It isn’t pretty but it is all on the inside toward us. But first I had to chop away at the fallen crepe myrtle so that I could get to the fence without climbing through branches. I did plenty of that in my younger years when we canoed the Kickapoo and had to crawl through trees that were dangling over and in the river.


And yes, those are nails–not screws. I do know how to use a drill and I even know where it is–but holding up that board while pushing on a drill was just not something I could manage. Now that the board is in place, I can put some screws in–when the dogs aren’t there to help me.

While I was mending the fence–something I end up doing nearly every summer–Border Collies can be very creative in finding ways out–to go check out the neighbors’ garbage–they throw away the best treats–turkey legs and pre-gnawed ribs, I thought about how mending that fence might be a lot like mending relationships—finding a problem, figuring out a method of repair, gathering the tools and supplies that fit one’s skill set; applying the solution–imperfect but yet does the job.

Until they find another way out of the yard!



Can Dogs talk?

When I was eight, dogs lived outside, barked at vehicles driving by and chased cats.

When I was twelve, Daddy bought a Border Collie–Sam–who herded cows, chased away snakes in the berry patch, and kept visitors in their trucks until one of us approved of them.

When I was twenty, my parents were gifted a stray dog by one of my brothers–that dog patrolled the dining room and kitchen floors for stray scraps that might accidentally fall from someone’s fork or plate. To my knowledge, he had no other useful purpose.

When my three boys were 3, 6, and 9, they enticed the neighbor’s dog to come live with us. Babette thought she was a little boy but kept the population of cats and possums and squirrels at bay–even the fat cat at the vet’s office regarded Babette with respect.

When my parents died, their dog–a very spoiled Lhasa Apsa–came to live with me–that breed is a one person dog–and I happened to be it. She let me know when it was time for bed with a disgusted snort and much thumping as she crawled underneath the bed–although each morning she was tucked behind my legs.

Several dog-less years went by. I  enjoyed a flea-free household but after a burglary we decided it was time for a dog—or two.

Enter Toby–a rescue Border Collie puppy. Toby-short for Toe-Biter. Dora was next–Dora the Explorer–another rescue-Aussie and Border Collie mix.

They are now entering doggie middle age years–which means some of the energy is now more contained. Both know a lot of words and we have taken to describing nearby dog park as ‘large green expanse for canine romping’ as the words ‘dog park’ inspires much leaping about and barking. “leash” is greeted with the same enthusiasm.

In the morning, Dora fetches the daily paper. She has learned to search for it as sometimes it lands under the hedge, sometimes on the sidewalk, and sometimes on the grass. Toby has learned to sit patiently in the hallway awaiting Dora to appear with the newspaper. Occasionally they argue over who gets to present the paper to me.

While Dora is too excited to do anything more than bark, Toby ‘speaks’–and it sounds quite eerily like ‘I want one’ (referring to the treat reward) and sometimes she will look directly at us–with that Border Collie stare–and articulate more sounds—

While both of them seem to have a fairly large vocabulary,  minding is something else–with Toby deciding if the command given is really something she wants to do, should do, or thinks there is a better thing she should be doing. (typical Border Collie attitude)

Both of us wish we could understand what she is saying–toby20smiling-m

Here’s Toby.


and here’s Dora–she always looks a bit nervous.




Creatures of Chaos and Contentment


Each morning begins with trudging down the stairs to the kitchen where these two lovely brunettes are occasionally sleeping soundly–one under the table, the other more alertly in the bathroom under the stairs. A rush to go outdoors while coffee is being made and then barking at the door to announce certain business has been conducted.

In they come–tail wagging furiously on the first one–a Border collie/Lab mix and snuggling by the second one–an Aussie/Border Collie mix with a naturally docked tail–amazing how that tail adds balance to the first one.

Next on the agenda is to fetch the daily newspaper. Dora–the Aussie has this down–she loves to have a special job that Toby cannot do—she could do it–maybe a time or two but then would find something far more interesting to investigate down the street and we would be running down the street in nightgown/pajamas respectively. Toby waits patiently by the dining room door well away from the front door and croons–I want one, I want a chewie treat; please hurry Dora. We don’t think she really likes them but recognizes them as a treat. Sometimes she gives them to Dora–having more important things to do.

Having received their treat it is time to rush upstairs to see if anything new has happened up there–and to hide part of the rawhide treat under my pillow–roll around on the bed, insist upon belly rubs, and guard the man at the computer.

Sometimes I find a yellow tennis ball hidden under my pillow. It squeaks when I finally crawl into bed at night.

Rounds and Hoop-de-doos


Although Christmas Eve began with mist and fog and generalized dreariness, by noon the sun was shining , the yard was no longer muddy, and we were all eager to get out of the house. It was a perfect time to capture something involving ’round’.

Two hula hoops used to live in the trunk area of the ForeRunner until backing up one day into a crepe myrtle tree–surprisingly sturdy—necessitating the removal of all the dog toys, bowls, water jugs and so forth to replace the broken window–may I add my assistance in holding the window while nuts and bolts were tightened was quite essential to successful completion of the task. It rather reminded me of medical school days in which I was assigned to hold a Retractor so the surgeon could see and provide an educational experience for me—I could see nothing–but I did get some strong arms.

On to the project.

I set up my tripod–still not used to it but I won’t be if I don’t use it.

8-20but20where20is20toby-mDogs ran out eagerly–everything is their favorite thing to do. But they discovered a very naughty squirrel leaping from tree to tree–not where it was supposed to be–maybe the neighbor’s tree out of their sight? This job needed a lot of barking and jumping up to try to catch that squirrel–never mind us standing over there with husband holding hula hoops and me behind my camera.

7-20now20dora20has20it20down-mEventually they did come to see what we were up to—Dora being the first to give it a try. It was a hard concept–why jump through two hoops when you can jump one and walk through the second? She managed a few jumps but then Toby had discovered the large purple ball was not doing anything–and needed chasing about.

10-20toby20is20chasing20the20big20purple20ball20around20the20yard20with20dora20encouragement20of20constant20barking-20the20hulu20hoops20take20a20rest20to20gather20their20courThe hula hoops were set aside, no doubt wondering if those barking creatures were going to return.

12-20this20is20so20easy-mSomehow that ball got stuck somewhere and Toby was ready to jump. She also could not figure out why anyone would jump through two hoops but then she watched Dora and knew she could out-perform–so sailing through both hoops as fast as she could both forwards and backwards–Foolishly I had not set my camera on sports mode but I managed to get a few good shots.

1820but20no20more20jumping20until20we20both20get20a20treat-mHaving shown off her superior athletic skill, she promptly sat down by one hoop, Dora came over to sit on the other side—and the message was clear—Where is our reward for doing this jumping thing?

If you wish to see more shots of this adventure–this is about as exciting as we get these days–they are on my smugmug site here:

Thinking Big in a Small Way

Last week’s photo assignment was ‘BIG”. Texas is big, of course—and driving across Texas whether east to west or north to south is a very long day’s drive. I thought immediately of the giant heads of famous Texans along I-10 in Houston or the huge statue of Sam Houston on I-45 outside of Huntsville. That would have meant a trip solely for the purpose of taking a photo.

I decided I wanted to try making something that might not be so big–LOOK big. And this is what I came up with.

This pile of rocks from my garden pond have lain in my driveway for a year now—or maybe two. The original rubber base was filled with several holes as Toby decided there was something evil about it that needed chewing on. That base was supposed to last thirty years—it lasted three. We pulled it out and it is now under my beehives preventing the invasion of pests.Sylvia Weir Week 39 Big

I tried several angles to avoid getting anything in the frame that might suggest the rocks are actually about two handfuls in size.


This was the  photo assignment for last week. Although we live fairly close to a marina/yacht club and have a sailboat on a trailer on some property nearby, those all seemed to easy. We also have a dinghy upside down in our backyard to serve as a refuge for the dogs on hot days–and I guess we could use it in case of a tropical storm or hurricane flooding the streets. We are a comfortable 13 feet above sea level and have had water just topping the gutters but never close to the house.

So, I convinced the two dogs to jump onto that dinghy. They were excited and thought it to be some wonderful fun new game–Dora lost interest fairly quickly but Toby thought it was grand because it allowed her to survey the yard from a nice vantage point.

I did take a few other photos that might be better but this week will be another fun challenge.

dinghy-mdinghy-m1dogs20on20boat-mSylvia Weir Week 23 Boat

Rain, Rain Go Away


We did need rain but now my backyard is a lake; my pond is full to overflowing and the wheelbarrow we had been using to mix mortar for the pond and left standing in functional position was full. Toads are busy making little toads, the birds are all hiding, and the dogs are beside themselves. Toby runs to the edge of the driveway to bark at the thunder, then to the pond to bark at the toads and this morning during a brief interlude of hopeful sunshine at the birds who were thrilled the rain had stopped.

But now it is raining again. I don’t have rubber boots to get out into my truck parked in the driveway–the ankle high boots I do have will not be enough.

Off to Tractor Supply to get some mucking out barn boots, then to the post office to mail the bills I worked on yesterday and the donation to SAQA—photo of it tomorrow.

Another day to stare out the window and wish for sunshine so I can add a super to my chicken yard bees.

Wet Feet

11-20dora20goes20over20the20chain-mWe have endured what seems to be weeks of rain of the Noah’s Ark Deluge variety. Standing water in the driveway and the backyard make walking anywhere a guarantee of soaked shoes, socks, and pant legs. The nearby dog park has standing water and where it is not water, it is mud–and lots of it.

I sweep my breakfast room and kitchen daily from the dirt tracked in by Toby and Dora–it is very much like having three little boys running in and out. But what’s a little—or a lot—of dirt?

Toby and Dora have twice daily or sometimes thrice daily dog park adventures–Border collies need to be kept busy, busy, busy or they will find something to do–like dig out underneath the porch  or what is on the other side of the fence?

I usually stay home but after a run to the recycling center and a check on the bees and with sopping wet feet I spent some time at the dog park trying to capture some candid shots. More photos of the two dogs are on smugmug here–they have their own gallery under family.