Tuesday, January 31, 2017

And here we are... the last day of January and looking onto another new month. The winter is going by quickly and for the most part has just been an average winter. A good amount of snow, and just everyday life keeping us busy and trekking along. 
I actually got to walk up to the barn this morning... which hasn't been the case for some of the winter.... it has been quite icy under foot and when it gets like that, I run the gator and not walk. I just can't run the risk of taking a fall, and even with my grippies on my shoes, I don't dare try.  I like walking to the barn verses driving up... I like hearing the sounds of the farm and taking those moments just to ponder. 



But, it's also a Tuesday, which means that Livy and I need to get to the school because it's reading dog day. So, I can't fool around too much.... and speaking of fooling around, the horses were in rare form this morning. They were racing about and being so silly, that at first I had wondered if "something" was a muck. Tonka was racing and calling.... which got the little ones going, it was snowing lightly, and turned out to be nothing more than high spirits. 

Tonk's been pretty lonely since the loss of Duke, so, he often spends much of the day hanging out near Denises horses... but with the weather, I really don't like that he does and wish that he would spend more time up at our barn. I guess he knows when he's cold and has had enough, and I could shut the pasture off and keep him there.... however, there is news on the horizon that might change all of this, so for now, I'm just bidding the time. 

Everyone's happy to get their breakfast...

And we say bye bye to January and go on with the next.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

a very special weekend...

With Dad's health failing.. there are just some things that he wants to be sure he has the chance to do. And when you can make that happen... you do... and so we did....
Dad has a very good friend, who he met threw the world of clock repair. They haven't been friends for but a few years, but they hit it right off, and so enjoy being together, talking about clocks and many other things. His friend is Noah...and he just happens to be an Amish gentleman. Noah is from an "old order" of Amish, but they know how to "live" in the modern world too.. and though his lifestyle doesn't promote living with  modern world... he can take advantage of it... riding in cars, busses and trains.. using someone's cell phone to make connections... things of that nature. I won't say that Noah visited often, but he did visit and of course Mom and Dad went to see him as well. 

so, when my Dad said that he would like to have some time with Noah while he could.. Ed and I decided that we would make that happen. Ed came home from work early on Friday.. we packed up Livy.. called Astrid to the farm, and headed north to get Noah. I had written to Noah earlier in the week, so he knew that we were coming to get him. He also rearranged many things on his list just to come. It's not easy for him to just leave his farm, family and clock business, but this was important to him as well, and he wanted to be sure he got to see Dad too. It's about a six hour trip one way.. so, we stayed overnight at a motel near Noah's farm...Livy thought all of this was quite grand.. and I have to say, she was a very good traveler... minding her manners, riding nicely in the car, and being a good guest at the motel. (though taking complete advantage of her Dad!!!)

Saturday we were up bright and early.. we wanted to get Noah and get him down to Dad as "fast" as possible so they would have a good visit. The northern part of the state has had it's usual snow amount and it seems so funny to think that there is such a difference.... Noah lives in farm country, so the roads are two lanes, and the wind blows the snow across them... needless to say, having bare paved roads in  the winter like we do here... is not common. 

As early as it was... (before sunrise).. we did pass a few buggies already out on the road. I did not take any pictures, because they Amish do not appreciate being photographed like they're "things to look at"... and I don't have any photos of Noah for the same reason. In fact the more that we have come to actually knowing Noah.. the less I think of him as "amish".. and more just like Noah....

It beautiful country and honestly, if it weren't so far from my family... I would consider living here..... the town has really come to love their Amish neighbors and Noah tells us all kinds of stories of how people are willing to help out in all sorts of ways. He has several neighbors that we can call who will take messages to Noah, or if he needs a modern ride almost anywhere, there always seems to be someone who is happy to take him. We arrived at his farm, the whole family was up.. actually had been up for hours... we stopped a minute to visit with the family before heading south, the house was warm and cozy and everyone seemed happy to see us again. 

We didn't stay too long, we wanted to get on the road, Noah had to be back on Sunday, so basically he was going to have just Saturday afternoon and evening to visit... and then Sunday it was back north again. 

We got to Dad's by noontime, then Ed and I left to head home, giving them the time to visit, they had a great visit. Saturday evening we went back down.. had dinner with Mom, Dad, and Noah.. and then brought Noah to our farm.. so that we could get an early start back on Sunday morning. Noah was able to find another friend that was happy to meet us half way, so we only had to do half the trip to take him back home.. which worked out really well, because we had already planned a family/birthday celebration for Sunday afternoon. I really didn't want to miss out on that, but we were more interested in Noah's visit and thought what ever worked out or not, was just the way it would be. 
Sunday afternoon was a very fun and special time. It was Rachel's 50th birthday celebration and just the chance to be together as one big family. Everyone was there.. (except poor Jessie who was dealing with a bad toothache).... and even though it was sad to think like this, we all wanted to get photos of everyone being together... and so we did.... 

Dad held up threw it all pretty well.. but he really is not feeling well at all..... It's been such a busy weekend, with Noah coming and all sorts of friends and family popping in and out of the house all the time. I find it exhausting, so I can only imagine how it is for him. But he smiled and went along with all our crazy plans, and seemed to really enjoy having everyone around. 

Photos are such precious things.. especially to me, I take hundreds of them. And I recall a saying that goes something like, "never say you don't want to be in a photo because you think you look too fat, or your hair isn't right, or whatever".. because one day, someone will say... "I wish (you) had been in that picture".. and it's so true... and because of my Mom and Dad... this is what (who) are family is today....

And one day... a photo such as this, will be more precious than you would ever know... 


I am treasuring all these days... in fact, everyday, because each one, whether it's amazingly great, or horribly sad... is a gift, and needs to be taken just as that. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

stones, snow and Cadi!!!!!

Today  (the 17th) is Papa's real birthday... and "lucky" him, look where he is... at the hospital. Fortunately this is not exactly a bad thing... he has two very large kidney stones that are going to be "blasted"... the other fortunate thing (this time) is that they haven't really been giving him trouble and were basically discovered with a scan. That has not alway been the case in the past. He has had episodes of when stones have blocked the kidney and believe me, that is not not good. We have made a few runs to the ER with Ed in severe pain because of these stones. 

But today, these will be "gone". Everyone was so nice at the hospital, we had to get there very early, which we didn't mind, because it means a day back home and to re-coop... everyone made a big fuss about it being his birthday.... the procedure went very well.. he was under for just a few hours, and we were back on the farm enjoying a semi-quiet day.


Now, the only "bug a boo" with the surgery  was the prediction of snow.. and this time, the weather folks got it basically right. It did start much later than they said, so by the time Ed had to get out and plow, he was feeling OK. and the medications were gone enough that is was safe for him to drive. We got a pretty dry snow which was helpful because on the coast it was wet and heavy. As usual the birds were tanking up before and afterwards


As pretty as it is (was) I wanted it done because I have lots going on... doggies should be heading out of the kennel  AND... I'm going to meet with NEADS to finally get my next service puppy in training... Cadi ....


Ed had been out plowing, and said if I were careful the roads weren't too bad. He really wasn't up to going with me, so Livy and I headed out. I feel so blessed to have a good four wheel drive vehicle and just taking my time, I found the roads not to be horrid... heck, it's New England.. and this is what we deal with. 

The gal from NEADS met me about half way.. she found the driving sloppy too, but I was pretty excited to see this car pull up. I turned Logan into NEADS last September, so it's been a long while since we had a puppy in the house, but this one comes with a long story....

and so, here she is. This is Acadia!!!! we'll call her Cadi... she is seven months old and is from Vancouver Canada.....she was suppose to be here in October, but various reasons from paperwork to transport has her coming in just now. 

The thing about this little girl (right now) is its not in the game plan for her to become a service dog... she is (with luck) going to be NEADS first breeding dog... last fall they asked the Maine puppy chapter if we would be interested in being a part of this pilot program.... we were so excited because it means that the dog will basically be with us for her life. She will be training as a service dog to start.. just in case, because there will be many tests she will have to pass before being accepted as a breeding dog. And if something doesn't pan out, we need to have her ready to switch careers. So, we're training as such, but knowing it might not be.... anyways, on top of being asked to raise this dog, we were also invited to name her. So, our group came up with four names and submitted them to NEADS and they picked one of the names. 

I personally liked Acadia best, because it's well known in Maine and I thought the letter A for the first dog was proper. So when they picked it, I was pretty excited. Cadi is just a better call name and actually since she was called Callie in Canada... it's an easy transition. So, we met for the first time in a cold and snowy parking lot, but she already seems like she's up for what ever comes... I'll be sharing her raising with Kathleen and the group, but for the most part... she's going to be my new gal... (which the little brown dog might not be too excited about)...

so.. "stones, snow and Cadi" has made this week already one for the books in this new year....

Monday, January 16, 2017

papa's birthday celebration...

Papa's birthday is on Tuesday!!!!! But since it's a week day... AND.. he has a date with the kidneys stone doctors (to blast two big stones that he is dealing with)... we decided that we should celebrate his birthday a little early. So, Sunday afternoon, the grands arrived ready to party. 
Since there is no snow down near the coast, Reagan brought his sled to have a few runs down Holdsworth Hill. Seems he did the same thing last year, just days before his little brother was born. Last year, he wasn't so keen on the idea of sledding but this year, he's a little more into it...


He made a couple runs down with Nate, and then go brave enough to go on his own. It's a big hill and with the bit of ice we have had, the sleds really go... Reagan really isn't a dare devil, so he was happy to use half the hill and just get a nice little ride that way. But the day was quite cold, and it was windy, so after a few runs, he was happy to head to the farm...

Livy was so excited to see the boys, she loves the idea of Calvin being just at her level.... and not sure what the tongue is about, I think Cal was trying to copy Livy...

I put the grands in charge of decorating the cake.. and told them they could do anything they wanted... because I knew we would have the best decorated cake that ever was.


And so... we did!!!!

Reagan asked if I would be putting the cover back on the cake... I told him I didn't think it would fit... which was just the answer he was hoping for, because I turned around and found him getting every last bit of frosting he could off the cover. 

Smart little chap, he knew exactly what he wanted when he asked that question...

It just melts my heart when I think and see how blessed we are with our family. Moments like this I don't take for granted....

Kass, Nate, Reagan & Cal... Sadie, Jessie & Abi... all were there. We had a great supper together, and then the cake... with all the singing and excitement that one should have on their birthday... I love how the kids make sure that we do it all right.




And after cake comes presents.......

As it turns out, tomorrow is a school holiday, so Abi asked she could spend the night with us... (Reagan was invited but he's not into over nights just yet)... of course we were thrilled to have Abi. Kass had given her Dad a board game that included several games in one, and Abi challenged Ed to a game of checkers. We didn't know she knew how to play, but she sure does, and did a nice job of beating Papa twice.!!!! Kass thought this board game would be fun to have at camp next summer, and that was already proven right. 

So, with kids and grands, a nice dinner, cake and presents... and a sleep over.. I think Papa would say that his birthday - early - was a great one!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

therapy dog testing day

Every two years, Livy and I need to re-certify our Pet Partners therapy dog certificate. We don't run out until June of this year, but I heard of a test being given not too far from home. Since we have to get it done sometime this spring, we opted to go to today's testing. On top of being tested, we were also asked to be the "distractor" dog for the others who will also be testing that day. When I asked Livy if she were ready to go... this is the answer I got....

I guess it's... "have bowl will travel"....
There were seven teams that came to be tested. Livy and I were the first (since we were needed for the rest of them)... Livy did well, and passed, though she wasn't as serious about it as I would have liked. She can be rather silly at times, and today decided that being silly would be fun. She did everything she should and needed, but it wasn't as precise as I would have liked. But everyone laughed and thought she was cute, so... what's the trouble with that.  Six of the teams, including Livy did pass, one team did not, and I'm not sure if they didn't understand how high the standards are, or if the dog was off (really off), but the moment they came threw the door, you just knew they wouldn't cut it. 

I felt bad for the owner, you could tell they really wanted to pass... and the elevator did everything he could to help them, but really the dog was not in control. It worried me a little when it was time for Livy and I to step out and play distractor dog, because truthfully Livy doesn't put up with foolishness from other dogs, and I didn't need her telling this dog off. She was good, and I could see her giving that dog the evil eye, but she held it together. I hope they can get some training help and improve on that dog's skills.... all dogs have the skills, but they need to be brought out...

All the other doggies did well... most of them were recertifying like Livy and I... but it doesn't mean anything, a dog can already have its certification, have a bad test and fail. Which is why is it wise to give yourself plenty of time to do your testing...


but, my favorite team to watch was Brenda and her dog. Brenda's dog is actually her service dog too, and I had wondered how it would be with a duel purpose. There were no fears there... in cape, the dog was all business, all service dog... ready at a moments notice to do as Brenda needed. But, once she took her cape off, she became all therapy dog... greeting people, wagging her tail.. getting everyone to smile. 

Brenda is an amazing person, and I learn a lot from people like her. She likes to take her dog into the rehab where she has been to cheer people up who are in the same sort of situation that she is in. I can only imagine the thoughts of the folks when they see Brenda, her service dog and wheelchair arrive.... and how she adds smiles and encouragement to their day. The work that Livy and I do just seems so easy compared to what Brenda does... but each person, each dog has a gift... and not using the gift is where the wrong is.... 

There are so many wonderful venues for therapy dogs these days... that anyone who wishes to do it, can have a place to go and "work"... from the way the other handlers were talking there is alway a need for more therapy dogs.

So, the little brown dog and I continue our work as a reader dog team... she loves the kids (as do I) and I feel we're doing our own bit of good in the world... and.... we're good to go for another two years!!!!!