Sunday, January 6, 2019

01.06/19 Winter so far, so good.

With the exception of one snow fall that left us with six inches to shovel, it has been a very mild winter. We have had a lot of rain, some very cold days but very little snow. This week we had what I consider the perfect snowfall - nice big beautiful snowflakes that fell for about an hour. Then it stopped. No snow to shovel, no roads to clear. No need to cancel office hours. The perfect snow shower!

I do enjoy snow - one per season and for Christmas. After that I am happy with no shoveling tasks, no trees to clear from the car or driveway. Snow in the mountains for the skiers is great and I am always happy to hear the mountains are blessed with a foot or two of fresh powdery snow. And if we could figure out how to keep it from sticking to the highways and sidewalks I guess I wouldn't mind it too much in the lowlands either! Oh, such thoughts!

With the warmer and less snowy weather I am working on a new pathway in the yard. Because of the dogs (in large part) there is no grass from the porch to the edge of the treeline. And when it rains it is all mud. So I have been making a stone stepping pathway. It has changed shapes and configurations as I add a path to the bird feeder and one to the edge of another garden. And it always seems I need just one more big stone to finish the walk. So I go to the local nursery to get a few more stepping stones, add another dimension to the path and then need a couple more! Yes, this is a process. The stones are heavy but I am managing all right. One at a time, carrying them from the car to the yard. At the store I tell them that I will eventually finish but not until it snows! Then I will be finished, at least until the Spring!

Maybe the stone path will remind Shorty of the stone pathways of Yap. We used to walk them every Saturday or Sunday after Church. They meander through the forest and that is where I took a favorite picture of Shorty. We were walking with two of my favorite children Allerick and his sister Eva (forgive me if the spelling is not correct) when Shorty would run with the little girl but turn around to see if I was still coming with them. He has always been a good dog and good companion. I miss Yap and hope to return sometime soon. I wonder if Shorty misses Yap. It is hard to tell. He seems to be happy wherever he is!

Yesterday I hope I bought and placed the last stone for the pathway. I can easily now step from one to the next stone in a comfortable stride and stay out of the mud. And what do the dogs do - yes, you guessed it, they avoid the stepping stones and run through the mud! So we still have muddy paws and that leads to baths. They are not allowed inside the main part of the house with dirty paws. Fionnegan is so sweet. He knows the drill. As soon as he comes inside the atrium he stands on the blue towel to have his paws wiped. Gunnarr and Shorty come back when called but are less likely to stop for a paw cleaning unless called.

Shorty is learning a new trick - catching kisses. Sometimes I blow him a kiss and he now lifts his head up as to catch it. It is cute and entertains us both. Who knows what he thinks he is supposed to be catching in the air. And Shorty has also developed a new trick on Gunnarr. At night Fionn sits on my lap and Gunnarr is plastered to my side as we read or watch television. Shorty then sits on the other end of the couch. But lately, if Gunnarr leaves his spot to bark at a dog on TV, Shorty will take his place next to me and cuddle up by my side. The look of disappointment on Gunnarr's face the first time this happened was precious. But he has managed by now jumping up on the other side of me, a good feat for a dog somewhat less than athletic. He has to jump over Fionn and the armrest and does it most of the time with just one try. Both Fionn and Gunnarr seem to be a little shy of jumping on me in front of Shorty, maybe instinct tells then he will growl at them. Or maybe they are afraid he will snap at them. He is a snapper sometimes so I am always watchful of his behavior. His origins have determined his disposition - survival. Gentle nature or not, he has a strong survival instinct.

There is an interesting display of dog behavior here and I try to observe and not influence their interactions. They have done so well together and their relationships continue to evolve in a very positive way. They now interact much more often in a gentle physical nature with nose bumps and gentle nudges. Of course, they still wrestle a lot! And they are always together. Brothers to the end.

Here are a couple of pictures of my boys at the end of a day of play and running and helping me with the yard work. Sound asleep. Good boys. Let sleeping dogs lie!

Hope you are enjoying the mild weather of the new year if you live in New England as we prepare for winter storms in the near future. May you also be enjoying a new and peaceful new year.

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