Help! Help! I’m DROWNING!!

Poor TWooie.  He’s come so far in so many ways, but learning to not fear large bodies of water is not an area in which he has progressed.

As I type this entry, I am munching away on the first cucumber harvested from this year’s garden.  And by “first” I of course mean “only” because the rest of the cucumbers on all the plants are the size of gerkins still.  Almost August, and my garden has almost nothing to offer.  My tomato plants are GORGEOUS green monsters, some almost as tall as me, with stalks that lumberjacks could climb.  But they have no fruit on them.  I think I *may* have spied a couple of yellow flowers on one plant this morning, but that’s it.  The only thing that has yielded me a hefty crop is a random hot pepper plant, and the onions.  Harumph.  Anyone else in this hemsiphere have a rainforest instead of a vegetable garden?

The hot sun showed up again today, so maybe it’ll stick around and grow me some vegetables now.  The sun is the reason we went to the beach.

Well, that and to traumatize TWooie, of course.

Heh heh heh.  TWooie’s a wuss.

And Dexter had to get some crazy running out of his system.  Or just some crazy.

Didn’t he do well at the trial, but?!  I was so proud of him.  He’s such a fearless little monkey, and I suspect that once he gets some practice at real trials under his belt, he’s going to speed up 10 fold.  He’s a lot faster in class and at home – not that he was running SLOW; he ran the Jumpers course at 6.34 yps.  None of the other baby dogs could touch him for speed ;-)

Nobody can touch me, period.  I’m on FIRE.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a brilliant trialing career with this fella.  He’s just so much darned fun.

Piper, I think, is still angry that she didn’t get to come to the trial.

But Piper’s trialing days are over.  Not because she has really plateaued in her progress – though she has – but rather because her knees are bothering her.  Poor Piper has the worst conformation of any border collie ever … she looks like she was put together with spare parts.  Now I’m not a big conformation kinda gal; I tend to think that handsome is as handsome does, and that most dogs bred for work fall into the “form follows function” category.  I find it kind of tiresome to watch sport and show breeders try to “improve” on a breed of dog that has been proving its overall physical superiority for hundreds of years.  But other than diminutive size, and possibly bitchiness, I have no idea what Piper’s “breeder” was trying to achieve and the results weren’t exactly stellar.  Piper’s legs are too short (except for the ulnas which are too long, and why she sits like a bulldog), and she has mildly luxating patellas.  She’s going on 9 now, and her knees are starting to really bother her – I’m seeing a lot more skipping, and some outright limping, especially at night.  I am afraid she’s going to tear her ACLs, and agility isn’t worth my dog, so she’s officially retired.

Le sigh.

She tends to me more irritating than fun to run, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to miss running her.  If nothing else, Lil Miss is full of TRY.  Whoever produced her got that part right, at least.  She may suck at virtually all sports, and she may have the stock sense of a carrot, but she’s got a heart as big as anything and she tries really really hard.  I love that about her.

I could take her place!  I’m tiny and fast and full of … umm, what were we talking about it?  Is that a butterfly?

Right, Spring, because what I really need is a SIXTH dog.  Uh huh.

Though I admit it is sometimes tempting.  This little girl is smart as a whip and twice as quick.  She learns like a hot damn and I think it’s criminal that someone didn’t take the time to teach her … anything at all.  She responds beautifully to clicker training.  The one thing she doesn’t have is impulse control – at all.  She will fly face first into a closed door in her rush to lunge out of it.  If another dog is in her path when she’s going somewhere, she simply SPROINGS over them (in Dexter’s case, she vaults off his back like he’s a pommel horse).  Working with her one on one is wicked fun.  Having her in the pack of dogs is exhausting!

Recently though, she’s started to get her Dumbball on.  Apologies to whomever adopts her, since I’m clearly making her stupider by teaching her to fetch.

But while she is starting to enjoy fetching stuff, her number one pastime is still annoying the f*ck out of anyone who has the toy.

Yay!  That was fun!

Tweed is dead tired of hearing me wax poetic about Spring.

So I think it’s time for me to go practice some collection with Dexter out in the agility field (we’ve mastered extension; now to learn how to control ourselves a little).  I mowed most of this afternoon after the beach, until the wheel fell off of my lawnmower.  I’m not even kidding – one of the front wheels just fell off.  Why does gardening hate me so much!

While I’m gone, would you do me a favour and keep an eye on the WooTWoo?  I’m sure it/they are fixing to get itself/themselves in some kinda trouble.


  1. Gorgeous pictures as always! I hear ya about Piper. I’ve had to retire Kota at the ripe old age of 11 (now 12). So I’m working with Tasha who is miss perfect and miss precise and miss slow…. but we’re working on that. Taking the summer months off to relax a bit, move into our new digs and avoid the hottest parts of Oregon.

    Just wanted to say I am in LOVE wit spring. If I was seriously looking and didn’t already have two bitches, I’d totally take her.

  2. Emma Berman says:

    Take heart on the tomato plants! I’m a state and a bit away from you in Portland, OR and I just recently got to pick and eat my first tomatoes. That I planted in May. And then killed by dropping the hanging planter off of the DIY hanger (big bamboo pole resting on my neighbor’s fence and my faux porch) twice. Fortunately I have a bunch of other plants (also planted around mid-May/beginning of June) that are just now fruiting. I swear, though, gardens turn into giant green things practically overnight. I just learned, for example, that you NEVER want to plant butternut squash because in the short span of two weeks it will go from nearly dead to a scary plant of DOOM that will creep across the patio and attempt to strangle your cats unless you do something evil like trailing it up the wall between you and your neighbor.

  3. I agree with Emma, FL. Here in Newfoundland, it’s almost impossible to get things to grow without a greenhouse (which, of course, I do not have.) I planted my tomatoes outside. We had 100 km/hr winds, a rain storm, and then the slugs came. And yet, we had enough sun this past month that my tomatoes have started to flower. Howzat for ridiculous? It’s almost august and my carrots, beans, and peas are only a few inches high. I’ll be lucky to see anything off them, but I enjoy trying to grow things in this climate. A lot of fertilizer and some non-toxic slug bait (a saucer of beer works wonders) goes a long way. Hang in there!

    Also, your dogs look amazing, and I’m sorry to hear of Piper’s non-consensual retirement. She looks like one tough girl, and as you say, it’s when they’ve got a lot of heart that they really try for you. Being home this summer made me wish I’d gotten into agility with Jake–I had him jumping stuff down at the elementary school, though I know that’s no way to teach a dog. Even stocky-bodied little Emily got into it. Ah, hounds. They pull at a girl.

  4. Thank you for being so quick witted. Your comments made me laugh out loud!! I look forward to your blogs all the time. I just love the goofy pictures of Dexter, he seems to be quite the character.

  5. Melinda says:

    Just down south from you and I’ve got the rainforest garden too. One sad little early girl tomato, green as can be and barely the size of my thumb. I’ve got others with yellow flowers, but no fruit. The one thing that is thriving are the varieties of squash. Squash blossoms give me The Happy’s.

    When I retired my old Sparky dog for similar reasons, we found a whole new world by just doing fun matches: low/no jump heights, course as short or long as you wanted, omit obstacles that pose any issues for joints, etc. Sparky is deaf now and can pretty much just see shadows (she’s 14), but she absolutely schooled some baby dogs with her sassy attitude recently. All we did was run thru the jump standards (no actual jumping) and worked some tunnels, but she had the attitude and sass of a 3 year old. The way she ran across our “finish line”, you would have thought she just clinched a national championship! And the baby dog we were trying to inspire? He got the message loud and clear and offered his own smokin’ run right after Sparky. It was a good day indeed.

  6. Jennifer says:

    When Dexter stares straight at you with that much intensity, he still reminds me of Clint Eastwood. (I apologise if I have posted this before).

    ……..goes away, whistling the theme tune to, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

  7. My tomato plants have lots of blossoms and I finally found three little green balls hanging off of them… Hang in there, I think summer is finally here! I don’t do agility with my dogs, so was wondering what “6.34 yps” means in relation to Dexter’s speed. I was thinking “Yaps Per Second”…

  8. The Food Lady says:

    yps= yards per second. It’s a measure of how much of the course the dog is eating up with his loooong legs ;-)

    I did some tomato plant trimming this morning and found two whole little tiny green tomatoes and maybe a dozen yellow blossoms, so perhaps we’re getting somewhere! Also my green pepper plant is holding some peppers, and the purple pepper plant, though runty, has a little purple pepper for me :)

  9. From our little garden, we’ve harvested 1 squash, 1 cucumber and 2 tomatoes. The tomatoes were destroyed by the cat before we could even eat them (grumble, grumble) and a second squash was eaten by something on the vine. I’m chalking it up to the weather and a message from the universe that I ought to support my local farmers’ market. Some people can make anything grow. I sure can’t.

  10. onlyonewoof says:

    Poor Piper. My girl is just like that…she is simply put together wrong. Knock-kneed, too angular in the back, stance far too wide in the front. Problem is, she is also full of try; even sadder, she is good at (and loves more than anything) agility. She’s less than 4 years old, and has already broken 3 toes, fractured her fibula, partially torn a cruciate, and torn both psoas muscles. Most of those injuries happened before she was even a year old. She also has very mild CHD in one hip.

    Yet even with all that, and with the worst handler ever, she finishes courses within a second or two of the fastest dogs; at home, when we run as a team without the handicap of my performance anxiety, she’s even faster. Probably not something you’d be interested in doing with Piper, since she’s retired, but after the recent cruciate issue we started doing prolotherapy. Nothing is ever going to change my dog’s ridiculous bone structure…but decreasing the laxity in her joints has (even after a few weeks) done wonders for her posture and gait. We have one more treatment to go (second didn’t go as well as the first, long story), but we’ll see. It’s something to consider, at any rate.

  11. We have about the same problem with our gardens here in Portland, although I have several cukes and many green tomatoes! We can but hope!

    Love the pictures of the crew. And the one of Dexter is priceless!

  12. I have a lot of green tomatoes, nothing is ripe yet. I do have gerkin cukes, red bell peppers that are still green. I have had a handful of strawberries and dozen blueberries, nothing else. My corn, eggplants and melons are not happening this year and something ate my squash plants before they produced any blooms, so I feel your pain.

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