Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

animal antics and the winter solstice

I woke this morning in a glow of pink, orange and gold.  I noticed it as soon as I opened my eyes.  My bedroom filled with this deep rich glow.  I sat up and saw the color filling the room coming in from the window.  I got up and walked to the door I had opened a little earlier to let the dogs go out.  The light reflecting off the door, the floor, the ceiling glowing like a spot light in the door was the remarkable color.  I stepped out the door and looked to the east past the barn, over the chicken coop and the sky in front of me pulsed with this glorious light.  The entire eastern sky was filled with "red in the morning, sailor take warning"  The rest of the sky was gray, thick and sullen.  Not black storm clouds, but gray clouds teasing with the possibility of rain.  And it teased all day.  When I just went outside this evening to get the dogs their cookies, I saw the same red golden glow to the east, I looked and this time it was the red lights I have on my Brazilian Flame Vine.  Red at night, sailors delight.

The perfect way to start the last day of the old year.  Tonight at midnight is the winter solstice.  Happy Winter Solstice my friends!!!!  The days will start getting longer on Tuesday.  Until then our days will be about 10 hours of light.  After that the new year in nature begins and the world will spend the next three months in winter, then will come spring and the equinox.  Seasons changing.

Edna has finally understood that their is a difference between positive and negative attention. Negative like, being put outside for no apparent reason, well I think that is how she has thought of her "timeouts", harsh words and a swat on the bottom or nose, or a squirt gun, or me just sobbing in the bedroom after Edna has pushed me over the edge. 

Or positive attention likes hugs, kisses, dog treats, playing with her, hugs, sweet words, tummy scratches, pats on the heads and snuggles. 
Thank goodness. 
My labs would figure out good and bad behavior instantly.
Just one harsh word, one disappointed look and they knew instantly that they could not handle that torture and would do whatever I wanted them to do.
That is why I love labs
Yep, I am really a lab at heart. 
You don't like how I behave? 
Just say something and I will actually fight my nature to try and not make someone unhappy.
I mean to the unhealthy point, of well, of a lab.
I have been this way my whole life. 
No matter how hard I try, it just goes against my nature

to not care what others think
to not worry about hurting someones feeling,
upsetting them,

But not Ednarose.  Oh no, she is just starting to understand that her action causes good or bad results.  She hasn't got it down yet.  She is still a pain in the butt so often, but she is my pain in the butt.

At the office yesterday one of the guys volunteered to take her and send her up to the farm.  They have 5 dogs and like 37 cats now, what is one more dog?

That was such a sweet offer, but she may be a problem child, but she is my problem child.  I could not just give her away.  OK, if the right person or family came along and she would have the opportunity to things in life that I can not give her, well, then of course I would give her to that life.  But 5 dogs, 37 cats, that is not a family that will give her more then I can.  It was such a sweet offer, and she does drive Harry, Bob and me up onto the back of the couch at times and then barks at us until I am almost in tears, but then I look at the ridiculous situation and start laughing.  I may not be using all of it, but I do have the bigger brain.  She is just too daunting, tenacious, not a bit of lab personality.  I don't know how to train dogs.  I know how to raise labs.  Completely different.


But Ednarose has started to figure things out, when she does this, mommy hugs her and says, "good girl".  When she does other things, then Mommy puts her outside or changes her voice.  It is a beginning.  She is a smart dog, I just have to learn how to train her.  We will figure this out together.  She is only 6 months old, and the energy of a puppy and the curiosity.  But labs have soft mouths.  She does not.  So when she grabs you with her mouth, it hurts.  Not with a lab.

Yesterday when I got home I was talking to my friend Judy in West Virginia.  I was sitting in my red chair.   Henry was sleeping off the catnip in the new cube.  Passed out on his back, his fuzzy white tummy exposed, paws twitching along to dreams.  This intrigued Ednarose, so she stuck her head into one of the three holes in the hollow cube.  The rude intrusion into space woke Henry who with a grumpy, harrumph lept through another hole.  Endarose lept just after him.  So now the cube is on Edna.  She can run around and act almost like normal with flexible collapsible cloth cube and how she runs into the yard.  I grab the camera and get to the door to see her running across the yard like a child in a Halloween costume.  "Trick or treat, I am a cube"!!!! 

I took a couple of steps as the camera came on.  Lifted the camera and POP she just leapt free of the cube, turned on it and the grabbed it up into her mouth and starting shaking her head violently back and forth.  In less then a second i went from giggling and trying to get a photo and help her get free from the clutches of the cat cube, to starting to destroy it.  She is at that age where everything she is allowed to have she loves it so much that she must chew and rip until it is completely destroyed.  With my labs, I could just let them know I was happy with them with they "love the baby" and I would take the toy away if they were mean to the baby.  It didn't take many babies and they quit eating their hands, biting the eyes off and other torture of the soft animals.  Maggie's first toy was a 4" tall penguin.  She had that baby and slept with it until she was 5 years old.  Then the puppies, who were not real puppies anymore.  Harry was 130 pounds, Lily was 100 pounds, big dogs, not fat, just giants were egged on to tear at the toy.  Maggie jumped in and grabbed her baby, shouted down her two children, one twice her size and rescued the damaged thing.  She kept it for most of the rest of her 15+ years and Harry and Lilly never touched it.  Harry is gentle after his early years of acting like a terrorist on TV by removing the hands and feet and chewing off the face.  OK, that was way too graphic, but  accurate.  We limited his screen time deciding he might be a god, but he was acting like they described the terrorist, so we just thought it couldn't hurt to limit him hearing or seeing things.  Or was it me that didn't want to watch things?  Well, it might have been both of us.

This morning I woke to Edna imitating the others in the family.  She watched Harry and copied his behavior.  She would lay down right next to him and watch him out of the corner of her eye and if he moved she sifted into the same position.  Again, I tried to get a photo, but she sees the camera and she recognizes attention and gets up to post or go and hide.  Then she moved over to Bob and started copying him.  I had to laugh as I watched her.  She was so focused and tried very hard to watch her big brothers.  Isn't that like all young animals, learning from their elders.

Then Harry got a little frisky.  Which means he sat up right and noticed things around him.  He saw the cube and stuck his head in. 

 He could have easily pulled the cube off, but instead he just laid down and went back to sleep.  I went over the gently pulled the cube off his head, he slept away.  He really only gets excited twice a day, breakfast and milk bone time.  He is older now, so doesn't mind sleeping in, but when he hears that tapping of the spoon against the bowl gets him barking for me to come and get him.  Then at 6 pm, he starts barking until I get up to get his milk bone.  We call them cookies.  He likes his cookies and all of my dogs get one milk bone a day and they all have beautiful clean teeth.

I am still working on the Christmas cards.  Hopefully they will be done tonight, I need to get into town to deliver soap and pick up the food for Christmas dinner.  But today I continued to deal with my stomach problems.  It seems like it has been a little longer since I last had to deal with this last.  No big deal, but it does seem to take a lot out of me.  No pun intended.  Seriously, after a day like today I am exhausted and wiped out.  Hopefully it will be done by tomorrow at the latest so that I can make that drive down to Dad's on Saturday.   I would have liked to have gotten more done today, but I was preoccupied elsewhere.  

Those three pounds I gained and was so proud of.  Well, I guess it wasn't real weight in that it is gone now.  I will keep trying.  It is the only thing I really have to do, is try to eat and gain weight.  Rest and try not to over tire myself.  Really, not much to ask, and isn't that how everyone should be anyway.  Eat well, get enough rest be kind to yourself. 

I will head in to Tallahassee tomorrow and go to Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.  I am sorry, I just have to say that, because it is.  And then I will deliver soap, and then come home and start baking.  There were other things I would have loved to accomplish this season, but I am happy that I have done those things that were the most important to me.

And now, back to the Christmas cards.  My sweet and silly animals clustered around me.  Edna still trying to figure out what she should do, but bored by the laziness of the older dogs. 

Yep, exciting stuff on this post, but when things are rough with Ednarose, please let me remember today when she tried all day, so very hard to understand how she is supposed to act.  Don't we all feel like that at some time?  How are we supposed to act?  Like Edna we look around and see if we can find someone who knows what they are doing.  Who knows how to act.  And we copy them.  Whether as children or adults. 

She drives me crazy at times, but she was just so precious today.  I watched her in awe and joy today as a grandmother might watch a beloved grandchild.  Quiet moments during a trying day.  And lovely moments on this gray and rainy day, four days from Christmas.  Quiet moments watching a beloved animal as she tries so hard to learn how to be a good girl.


  1. Kathleen, I don't think that she is a pure Lab. Her ears are not dropped like a Labrador. I have had Labs for over 30 years and she does not look purebred to me. Maybe that is why she is so different in temperament.

  2. You are right Syd, she is obviously not the ACK lab I thought I was getting. I still believe her father was a rogue Jack Russell terrier that slipped out of the wood pile and well,,,,, then there was Edna. I hope you have wonderful day, and a quiet holiday

  3. LOL on the Parsons Russell terrier in the woodpile! Did you get papers with her? If you did, then you could have her DNA tested and file a complaint with AKC. I wish you the best Christmas too, Kathleen. Take care.