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Posts from the ‘Pawprints’ Category

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.

Welcome Rosie

Weir tis the season

Meet Rosie–a rescue from a shelter who is now living with our oldest son in Burleson TX. She is a sweet dog that is not nearly so active as Toby. She learned that tennis balls were things to pick up and carry around–especially the squeaky ones. Frisbees were a chew toy though–but she is not even a year old yet.


I painted his new office/study/library—can you guess what school he went to?


The paint store clerk matched it from his notebook.

The hot water heater had a broken element—drained water heater–without neighbors calling water department to report a leak.

Rosie discovered two little girls next door and broke through the fence to go play with them—so a woven wire fence went around the base of the fence amd the neighbor replaced some pickets as well.

We talked about a garden and I suggested some pots with some wire around it until he could figure out where the best place for it would be.

Our two dogs–Toby and Dora were very well behaved on the trip up and back–Toby was sure she was supposed to be top dog even though she knew she was a guest—so a few kerfluffles but no blood drawn, just a lot of rolling around and a lot of bits of grass on their fur.



Honey anyone?


I’ve been called ‘honey’ and ‘darling’ by southern gentlemen in Georgia and Texas and never minded even though it was a business venture or a not so intimate encounter. Some women really minded but I didn’t.

However, I digress.

yesterday I went to my shop to mow the back–I had been dreading this as the weeds had really gotten out of control due to our prolific rains. My little garden tractor just could not see its way clear to mow through eight inches of water. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that the neighboring huge field with the big brush hogs had mowed that section for me. I still had to mow but it was so much easier than the bit that I had done.

And then I decided to tackle the bee hive. I donned my bee suit, and fired up the smoker—after several attempts. Smoked those bees, lifted the top cover…then the inner cover–hive tool is vital in prying things apart. Then removed four frames that were dripping with honey, brushed off as many bees as I could with my gloves–some kept sneaking back–and then put them in a new Hefty tub bought just for that purpose. I could hardly lift that tub–and that was only half of my frames.


Put that tub on front porch, consulted bee experts, and went back, brushed off the few remaining bees and brought it home. Uncapped the honey and let it drain into two roaster pans, then strained it. And bottled it this morning–scrambling for enough jars to hold it all—–and baked some fresh bread to have for breakfast this morning with my newly harvested honey.

I accomplished this by myself–but advice from all the professional and experienced beekeepers was muchly appreciated—and now my keyboard is sticky with honey like most of my kitchen.


One of the dogs helped by licking the honey that dripped on the side of the counter and off onto the floor—a mopping is in the very near future.

Doc Browne

There is a very nice dog park in our neighborhood. People bring their dogs to play–a set of posts with chains to set at different levels to jump over, a tunnel to run through, a ramp, and a dog watering dish along with a post with a supply of poopy bags. Little dogs can go on one side while big dogs on the other although if no-one else is there you can choose either side.

Toby and Dora love going to the dog park. Whenever Glen opens his car door–they immediately jump in and are ready to go. Toby likes to driver while Dora needs to alert Glen of the presence of people walking, people on bicycles and the really horrible people that are on skateboards–by barking in his ear.

People know each other by their dogs’ names-==and it is a good place to hear all the news about the neighborhood.

However, for the past six weeks or so, everyone noticed a brown puppy hanging around—he was thin–and everyone started giving him food. Glen would take him into the park and let him play–and of course get treats. He talked about him so much–I told him he either had to bring the dog home or stop talking about him.


So now we have a third dog–He has had his first set of shots, treatment for fleas and heartworm—and his ‘procedure’ as my mother would have called it. He is still a puppy and annoys Toby mostly–he leaves Dora alone because she will nip or growl. All three are very protective of Glen—a good thing.


However, my good friend in Wisconsin who has been dogless since last summer will take him on–with peace of some sort returning to our household.

Here he is:


Doc Browne–Back to the Future!