Monday, February 28, 2011

Tonight's sunset

A nice farewell to February.

Jack at nine months

In two weeks Jack will be nine months old.

I figure he's about 99% done growing, and if not he sure should be. He's 25" now and when I weighed him a couple of weeks ago he went 69 pounds. That's too heavy for a Shorthair pup and is actually above standard for a grown male. He is doing much better now that he's off the puppy chow and on a semi-diet. I have always been totally against overweight dogs and this just sort of slipped up on me. Not that he was fat, but his body type is not like Emma's at all. Anyway, that's all straightened out now and he looks better every day.

Overall I really like the way he is turning out. I also like his temperament, his field behavior, and his overall character. I have felt from the first day I met him that he was going to become a very special dog and I haven't changed my mind.

Late winter rambles

We've had a couple of days that have been warm enough for us to take lengthy rambles in the UTV and let the bird-dogs work the kinks out of their legs instead of lying on the couch and staring wistfully out the window.

Mags insists on going along on these excursions and I, in turn, insist she wear a sweater. The "dogs" have to ride in the back and she gets to have the shotgun seat. Once out far enough the biggers dismount and have their run and she supervises from her seat.

I think we're all looking forward to the better weather to come and the many longer rambles we'll be able to take together.

Sugar-coated cottonwoods

We got more snow the other day. Not much, but enough to make the ground white once more in the see-saw, back-and-forth of snow, melt, snow, melt that we have been going through for the past few weeks.

The flakes were small and since there was little wind they came down in gentle swirls. Overnight they coated the cottonwoods as if they had been rolled in sugar. All the next day they stood against the bright blue skies as if they were confections on display.

We get skies on the High Plains that are so deeply, darkly blue that you feel you could plunge your arms into them up to the elbows. Against these skies the powdered cottonwoods took on an almost fantasy identity.

I am ready for spring, but there are many aspects of prairie winters that I will miss. Their stark beauty, for one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The "Dog Days"

Traditionally the "dog days" are in the hottest time of the year, usually in August. But for my pups the real dog days are during the hyper-cold, inclement days of winter on the High Plains. We just don't get out for rambles as much as they would like. Yet I'm amazed at their patience and good nature: nobody's going stir-crazy, or coming down with cabin fever (except maybe me) and they... adjust.

Last week, though, we had a brief respite, with temps in the mid to high 60s, wonderful, healing sunshine, and not much wind. This weekend it's a return to near-zero, snow, and generally nasty days and nights.

Spring is coming. We just don't have its official ETA yet.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


All the dogs, especially Jack, like to help me prepare food. Certain foods bring them running. When I am preparing any kind of meat for cooking, they know it, and wherever they are in the house they converge on the kitchen and form an ad hoc Committee of Assistance & Special Pleas. I always save them something, which they get on a fork. Yes, it's true. They have learned they will all get some so they are patient as I go down the line presenting the laden fork saying "Emma!" and give her hers; "Jack!" and he gets his; "Maggie!" They don't even try to poach their neighbor's portion. Such manners!