Things are hopping here lately with wee puppies (whose eyes are opening–hooray!–I just love when they first open their eyes and are looking back at you.), older pups, gals in heat, more puppies on the way, and all of the projects that need to be done.
I am still working on the indoor kennels. I wanted to paint those interior barn walls, but that didn’t happen. The next project will be building another whelping box (even though I have 3 more sitting in PA!), because Nashua’s pups will still be in one when Addison needs one to deliver her pups. Next, is installing a doggie door in the puppy room and putting a kennel outside that door. Puppies will be able to go outside and start the house-breaking process. And then, the next project will be the new puppy room that I want to build inside the garage. It will be for older pups. I would like to have my office in there and a grooming table and a wash tub. It needs a ceiling, a man-door, insulation, walls, a few more windows for natural light, heat, a good ventilation system (good air circulation is essential for health and besides, puppy poop stinks!), and access to an outside kennel area. Do you think I can get this complete by March? Maybe not, but I am going to try!
I am researching the best options for walls, heat, ceilings, etc. There is electric and a propane line and vent. It is currently block and cement. At least I have something to start with. I can do this, right? 🙂
It has been lovely weather here—if you like 30° and no precipitation—and I suppose even though I want more snow, I have to be appreciative of not having the extra work that goes along with it. I still want the snow I came here for, though! I want to learn x-country skiing and I want to snowshoe and ice fish. I will probably change my tune in April, eh?
Which reminds me, the Michigan DNR is holding a very cool BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) Program in late February and I am just dying to go. I used to coordinate events such as this for the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors Program. Our “WinterFest” events were a blast for women to come learn cross-country skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing, etc. They would come for the weekend, take classes, eat great, meet new people, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Great times. Miss doing that terribly. Being the coordinator and sometimes instructing courses, I rarely had a chance to actually participate in any of the classes and I would love, love, love to go to this one! I could learn more about all these things I am dying to do! I won’t be able to, though. I couldn’t get away for 3 days, especially when puppies will be leaving and more being whelped at that time. But, I would encourage all you gals out there that can get away to participate in such events to do so!
In the mean time, Raini will be flying out next weekend so it was a great excuse to bring her and Kea in the house. 🙂 I finally sort-of organized everything that was still sitting around in boxes and bags and moved it upstairs to a spare room and closed the door–out of sight, out of mind. And with all of that out of the way, I could bring the gals inside. Made a trip to the “city” and picked up crates (which makes me crazy because I must have 20 crates in PA, but can’t get them here!), dog beds, more toys, gates, etc. They are doing just great. But, pups that haven’t been taught otherwise love to eat things like telephone and Internet cords, things they can pull from counters, gloves, socks, hats, boots, electrical cords, etc. They learn quickly though and are very good girls.
They are obsessed with the birds in the feeder on the deck. I finally brought in a cooler (that I will pretend is a fashionable bench) and put it in front of the dining room window. They love it. They go from that window to the living room window where they can watch the birds in the apple trees.
It turns out that little Miss Kea has inherited the desire to be on top of everything. You’ve seen the countless photos of Midge on top of the dog trailer, ATV, and other things. And her daughter is exactly the same. I looked out to see Kea….
Yep, walking on the railing of the deck. If you look hard, you can see Raini on point to the right of the shrub. Kea thought it was more fun to go to the source of the bird’s fascination (the feeder). She is always the one on top of the freezer and chicken nesting boxes in the barn so she can look out the window. Very agile, these Llewellins!
They sure are having fun with the tweetie birds and you should have seen them when the pigeons decided to have lunch at the feeder!
I decided that I just couldn’t take sitting at the computer in the house one more minute and I really have been dying to get back out to the woods and start exploring some new territory. I wanted to expose Raini to riding in the truck (she is very used to riding all over the country in the dog trailer, but hasn’t been in the front of the truck), work her in the woods, see if we can get into a few Ruffed Grouse, etc. So, off we went to explore more of the Esky (short for the Escanaba State Forest).
Maybe it doesn’t look so big on that map, but it is quite vast, really.
And, somewhere in the vastness of this beautiful area (I can’t tell you where because every grouse hunters’ spots are secret and we protect those spots with our lives and maybe I wasn’t even in the Esky, but am just luring you away from where I really was…), low and behold, there was a ‘Ruff on the road. 🙂
Raini ran beautifully. She worked the cover effortlessly and like an old pro, really. She watched for me, but worked on her own.
I was quite satisfied, especially being that I haven’t had the opportunity to work her much since September-October and she was just 4 months old, then. It is so natural in these dogs, that I honestly don’t worry about it. It’s never my plan to not work young dogs, but sometimes life gets in the way and makes it so.
We did put up a few birds, and Raini pointed two of them. She did great, although she didn’t want to get back in the truck. So, I kept making if fun, and enthusiastically putting her in the truck, driving a little further, and getting her out to run again. I made the ride have a pleasant outcome (she gets to get out and hunt) and by the time we were done for the afternoon, she was more eager to get back in the truck on her own. Mission accomplished. We’ll do it again this week as well as get back over to Wisconsin where I can try to shoot a bird over her.
Sunset came way too fast and I was sad to leave. It was cool and brisk, Raini was doing great, we were getting into birds (although Ruffed Grouse season is out in Michigan now, we can still go for a walk in the woods), and I felt fantastic… although the realization that work was to be done back at the kennels… I could have played in this beautiful, peaceful and vast forest for many more hours. Besides seeing a parking lot full of trucks and snowmobile trailers, I never saw or heard another vehicle or person all afternoon. There were areas with quite a bit of snow and other areas not so much. It was a wonderful afternoon! Fantastic, I tell you.
Although, that brings me to another subject—planning and prepping. And rather it be for an afternoon hunt, walk in the woods, or even a simple trip to the market, we need to be prepared if something goes wrong, we break down, have an accident, what-have-you. I, the preacher on prepping fool (to my kids), was absolutely not prepared this afternoon! At the last minute (and realizing one truck had more fuel than the other), decided to switch vehicles. Several miles down the road, I realized that I didn’t have a GPS in this truck. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if I knew the area, but I have never ever been where I was going. I knew the general direction to go in only. Okay, no problem I thought, I have a GPS on my cell phone. Grab the cell phone from my pocket and realize it is red-line about dead and it shuts off as I am looking at it! Okay, no problem, charge it. Except—yep, you guessed—no charger in this truck, it’s in the other one! Great, so, not only do I not know where I am going, but I can’t tell anyone that I don’t know where I am, either and I didn’t bother to call and tell anyone that I was going out exploring. The other thing I realized is that I didn’t have any ID with me or my pistol or any firearm for that matter. What is wrong with me? I know better! And, really, even worse was that I did realize all of this about 15 miles from home and made the choice to not turn around–we were burning daylight, after all!
One thing I did have going for me is that I know I have a Gazetteer under the back seat. I stopped and got it out and low and behold, there was my ancient (in the world of technology, a GPS that is 5 years old is ancient) Garmin GPSMAP 76. And, the batteries were at about 1/2 charge and I was bright enough at some point (not today) to put extra batteries in the bag). Sweet. I have something to get me where I want to go and get me back. I was also smart enough at some point to make sure there was bottled water, a coat, gloves, hat, and even extra socks and some trailmix under that handy back seat. If I would have gotten stuck, lost, broke down, fallen, etc., I would have probably been okay. I had some supplies. The only thing I didn’t have was a way to call anyone, but who knows if I would have had cell phone service in that area anyway? You can’t ever depend solely on a cell phone.
So, you never know. I am sure most folks already have a kit of sorts in their automobiles, but if not, please put some emergency supplies together and make sure to have a kit in every vehicle. I am certainly adding a cell-phone charger to every vehicle, another GPS, compass, flares, fire starters, hand-cranking flashlight, etc. And, always, always, always tell somebody where you are going–at least a general area. I did not do this and it could have been a very big mistake. I really didn’t know exactly where I was going to end up, but I did have a general idea of where I was heading and should have let someone know, even probably could have left a note on the ‘fridge in the event I did not return. I did grow up spending most time outdoors and my playground was the woods, streams, forests, etc., and I feel safer there than in any city. But, I still should have followed a few basic rules and safety precautions. Please be smarter than me! 🙂
So, now, onto puppies! They are opening their eyes now and most are open (although, not in the photos because they just eat and sleep most of the time). In a few days I will have photos with their eyes open.
And that’s all for now…