Monthly Archives: March 2016

Maybe, Maybe

I’ve wanted to write for a very long time. I wrote stumbling, science fiction stories as a teenager. Simple things with little plot and no depth of character. While my ideas are often creative, where I have most struggled is my understanding of people.

Since my acquisition of Intuition, I returned, somewhat, to the world of dog forums. I had quit forums around 2010 when my father died. I had a bit of a shift of mind and many things changed. I dropped out of the dog world. I stopped using social media. I spent some time figuring out who I was.

In a way, I’ve resurfaced in the last few months and my interaction with the dog world has reminded me of why I left. Many of the people are crazy and everyone is always perfect and right. But, that does not exist only for the dog world. I’ve spent my time browsing comment sections on websites and found myself fascinated at the venom, hate, and viciousness displayed there. An article about a rare plant can come with someone ranting about the president of the state. A person sharing a personal discovery is ridiculed and belittled for their looks.

The world is mean but the internet is mean for the sake of it. I find myself fascinated by that even as I have spent the last two years brushing my shoulders against it. Yet, I never learn. A casual post about my puppy finds people scolding me for things I am not even doing. I’ve found that my viewpoints about dogs have become archaic in this world where we always put our best face forward. And, I’ve never been fashion conscious so that won’t ever improve enough to make people happy with me.

But, what is making them happy? Over the last three months enough events have happened for me to ponder myself. I’ve pushed myself so far out of my comfort zone that I have to evaluate the changes in my personality. I am making a step that often leaves me struggling with personal insecurity and the constant, nagging knowledge that I will have to deal with the force and presence of the anonymous internet’s opinions.

I’m not of fragile personality but I am of low confidence. In my heart of hearts I’ve always wanted to excel at things. I want to look at myself and find myself to be amazing. Normally, I find myself not up to snuff. There is so much more that I could have done or should have done. I can never hear the words of others unless they are negative.

Yet, recently, I’ve not cared so much about the nastiness of the internet. It seems that some of my self concern has finally, late in the thirty sixth year of my life, burned down to nothing. I find myself shaking my head and a bit amused at how people clutch their opinion and only their opinion.

And then, I met a character in a book. A fantasy book and one written for young adults at that. Yet, as I read a story I hadn’t expected to enjoy, I found myself very much liking the character. Without having an attitude or being rebellious, she didn’t care about the opinions of people around her. She had tasks to do and clear goals she tried to reach. Insults, belittlement, she often patted the person on the cheek while telling them that they were quite scary and go along and do what needed to be done. While, the world the book is in is perfect, there was something about how this character reacted to the negative opinions in her environment that struck me.

Maybe, I don’t care anymore. I’ve spent most of my adult life figuring myself out. As much as I long for acceptance I’ve been calm without it. I don’t go to the hair salon because I am tired of bad experiences with shallow people. Not everyone who works in the beauty industry is that way. Sadly, I’ve met to many of them and I just don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t follow fashion. I feel as if i am the only one who believes that pants are a good thing. I wear blue nail polish and only blue nail polish simply because it is pretty and calming.

And maybe, somewhere in the last few months, I have started to learn how not to care so much about things that have no meaning.

Better late then never.

An Ode to Photos

My husband messaged me at work yesterday and told me that my photos were not showing up on this blog.

Ugh.

I have been trying to use google photos. However, like many other things of googles, they are not as easy to use as they should be. Google just has this thing for skipping over basic usage because they don’t want it. In this case, I cannot make a single picture shareable like I could with Picassa. I must put it in a shareable album. This makes linking individual pictures that are automatically backed up from my phone a pain in the ass when I just want to sit down and blog.

I can see the photos because my chrome browser is logged into the photograph account. How cute. I’ve fixed a few posts worth and I’ll be more careful in the future.

Seedlings

It has been a week and my dirt has started to sprout.

Mark two of my planting has gone well. I went and got another light. My seedlings that had sprouted downstairs were growing ‘leggy’. This is when the seedling tries to reach the light so it grows tall. This is bad because it is spending all of its energy growing up. The stalk is also very weak and prone to easy damage. The last part of the problem is something called ‘damping off’. It is a bacterial assault to the stem that a healthy plant can shrug off but a weak seedling will die to.

Three days after my second attempt, my first successes started.

 

Seedlings are so small. The first leaves that appear are false leaves. They are pretty much there to give the roots time to grow and the plant a chance to gather enough nutrients to start growing true leaves.

Same plants as above at about a week of age.

 

The true leaves are in and several are starting to develop their second set of true leaves. Notice that they are not leggy as my plants shown from the first attempt. They are not much taller than when they started. The stalks are getting thicker and the leaves are coming in nicely. I’m going to have to thin some of these pots eventually, but for now they are just growing.

The other thing I realized was that I needed air flow. We got a new fan for the bedroom. It came with a tiny, personal fan and I’ve used that to create a very gentle breeze that just ruffles the leaves. This encourages the stalks to thicken to support the plant. It also stops water from sitting and becoming stagnate or moisture from developing on the leaves and encouraging mold growths.

I also transplanted my brussel sprouts outside. They seem to be doing okay so I hope I made the right decision.

While doing that, I did my research and decided to plant my peas. They are supposed to go down a month before the last frost. That is normally the second week of April around here. I took my chances and planted a bunch of peas a week ago.

 

This morning I noticed that we have lift off in both pea containers.

There is something exciting and serene about growing plants. It is hard for me to explain most of the time. Plants are not exciting. It is a long game. What I do now will have results next week. I plant now to have fruit ready by the end of May. There is no instant gratification.

My peppers for instance remain stubborn. I wondered what I was doing and did more reading into peppers. I very casually did my jalapenos last year. I’m glad I did. Peppers can take up to a month to germinate.

My pickling and lemon cucumbers keep failing. My regular cucumbers are fine. A lot of it is, I think temperature. The house doesn’t stay a stable temperature. The room was nice and toasty about 73 (22) until a few days ago. Then my husband turned off the heat because the weather was nice. That caused the room to plunge to around 68 (20) which is just cold enough to effect germination. I then went in and it was almost 50 because we had a cold snap overnight with no heat on in the house. I turned the house heat on but I’m probably going to have to put a space heater in there.

I’ll keep trying until I get a success. Next year I will get a germination mat. I may just get one now for the peppers. I’m not sure its worth it or not. I can’t germinate stuff on my fridge or counters. The cats get into them. They step in the pots and my greatest fear is someone using them as a litter box. I can’t let the puppy near the seedlings for the same reason. He will climb in the pots and bite whatever he sees. None of them understand what they are doing.

Expectant Dirt

 

Everyone needs a badly taken photograph near midnight, no?

There is something restful about plants. I found myself laying on the floor staring at the still mounds of dirt. Dirt, that I hope to see burst into life in only a few days.

 

My little fellows that could. On the right are the Brussel Sprouts. On the left, the Yellow Pear Tomatos.  I’ve lowered the light to only a few inches above the plants in an effort to stop them from growing so tall and skinny so quickly.

The lights are on from the time I wake up to the time my husband goes to bed.

 

Labeling is important. Many of these plants look identical until the fruit has started to mature. The peppers and the tomato seedlings are very similar for a while. All of the tomato seedlings are the same until they start growing.

Later, they will have different leaf shapes and shades. Flower clusters will tell me if they are red currant cherries or something else.

I also have several exotic types. The yellow Douchoua Pepper Tomato is supposed to be hollow like a bell pepper with similar flesh. While the sungold cherry tomatoes are supposed to be super sweet. Black Krim on the other hand are one of the most delicious tomatoes I have ever eaten. But, they grow so large that the plant only produces a handful. I hope to have better luck this year. I am also planting more plants and starting from seed.

 

I am not planting correctly again. I’m only doing one seed per pot. You are supposed to do 2-3 and weed out the weaker ones. I’ve decided to try one per pot and see how things go. If I am not successful this round I will try again with more.

When I did my repotting I found that some had tried to germinate and failed. I suspect it was the dryness. I couldn’t keep the peat moss wet enough. My dirt/peat moss mix appears to be doing better. I drizzle them with water every evening when I go have zen time staring at them.

There is lots of counting as I try to decide how many of each plant to have and what can share pots. My peppers did amazing sharing a pot last year. The tomatoes struggled later in the summer. The cucumbers did fine sharing but they need their own pots where they can grow and not shade out everything else. I have three types growing this year.

The bed is going to be for lettuces and cabbage. I have a bin for carrots and one for beets. I also found Yukon gold potatoes today! I’m pretty much on my way.

And there is one lone bell pepper plant. I’ve informed everyone that they need to eat the damn things. I am not a fan of bell peppers. I can’t stand their over powering flavor. They are not sweet to me. They are not spicy but I wouldn’t call them sweet ether. They are just pallet numbingly overpowering in an unpleasant way.

But, they are beautiful to grow and other people should eat them. So, I will grow them. Because growing things is amazing.

Revamping after First Setback

Last year I started my Garden in late March. This year I was determined to start at the end of February. The general idea is to have the plants old enough to start producing fruit as soon as the weather allows them to.

When I started last year I filled little starter pots with dirt and dropped seeds in them. These I set in the kitchen window and watered every day. Almost every single one of those pots sprouted a seed. Most of the seeds successfully transplanted outdoors and grew into plants.

I made mistakes along the way. The kitchen window did not provide enough light. The plants grew ‘leggy’. This means tall, quickly as they try to chase the sunlight. This time I decided to get a shop light with full spectrum lights for them to sit under. I could control these lights to give them up to eighteen hours of light a day if they needed it.

The problem was where would I put these lights? Having pets is a bit of an annoyance with something like this. The cats will walk through the pots if they have a moment. They may even dig in them and use them for litter. The dogs will knock them over.

My husband and I put our heads together and decided to use his server room in the basement. It is normally warm in there. The door is kept closed and it is a pet free area. It seemed perfect. On February 25th and 26th I set up all my starter plants and happily took them downstairs and set them up between some boxes.

It turns out that the only area I could place the plants was by the window. The window has a fan in it that helps to keep the room cool. This caused a draft down by the floor. After ten days, the only thing that germinated was the Brussels sprouts. They are cool weather plants.

The second issue was the medium I used. I got some starter seedling soil that was mostly peat moss. These I put into peat cups and those sat inside of a plastic container to hold excess water that would work out. It seemed like a good setup but it to turned out to have some unexpected problems.

The peat material just doesn’t hold water. It gets wet but it dries out quickly. It also doesn’t look wet. Attempt after attempt to keep them wet started mold growing on the name sticks but the peat kept getting dry.

Sigh.

My next step was to mix the peat with good old dirt from last years pots. I had used garden dirt and I wasn’t supposed to but it worked so well I might as well again. I sat there today and broke down each peat pot into new pots. I made sure to match the old and new so that any stray seeds would sprout in properly named containers.

Then, I went upstairs and cleaned my closet room. Our third bedroom is a fabric storage room. My work clothing is in there as are all of our sheets and comforters. We have a king size bed, a dozen sets of sheets, and a dozen comforters of different thicknesses and types. There is no way any of this fits in a linen closet. I instead have plastic shelves in the room and everything is staked in there. It is also my crafting room so I have a table in there. I set my stuff up under the table, dropped the light down closer and crossed my fingers.

The closet room is a pet free zone. It is also upstairs and stays warmer. I can even put a space heater in there to increase the room temperature if I need to.

In general, my house is just to cold. This is very hard to impart to my husband who feels that the house is to warm. The rest of us wear pants, slippers, and jackets. Autumn is curled up in a blanket. And my husband has on a pair of gym shorts and fans himself saying it is to hot.

My poor plants.

Now, for another week to see if this change in soil, temperature, and moisture works.

I’d add pictures but my phone decided to stop working and my new one is on order. You’ll have to take my word for it.

4 Months

I need to take some updated pictures of Intuition. Inside shots just lack the luster. But, here are some from last week on his walk.

Inty’s ears are cropped. This is them out of their posts. That they are standing this well this early is a good sign that we won’t have much in the way of standing problems.

These are his ears posted. According to people who are against cropping this is cruelty. Often, I will hear people say how they love the floppy ears. Well, I don’t. Uncropped Doberman look like hounds and I love hounds. I don’t like Doberman that look like them I am not ashamed of the fact that I like the cropped look.

Ear posting is a fifteen minute process about twice a week. It is a two minute process for him. I use backer rod insulation foam. It is smooth and slender. I wrap the correct length of foam in duct tape to strengthen it. I then use breathable athletic tape to make it sticky and not irritate the ear. I slip it into his ear (the dogs ear channel is L shaped. I’m not damaging anything). I put tape at the base and at the tip. He has full movement of his ears and he can hear fine. You need him to be able to move his ears around to develop the muscles.

The cropping procedure is done by a vet when he was 8 weeks old. They take them under, the vet does the crop, stitches the ear, and the pup wakes up and that is that.

We need to weigh him. I suspect he is nearly 40 pounds. Picking him up became an impossibility pretty quickly so we had to teach him to go down the steps.

Training a dog is often about teaching them to think. What I did was walk him down the steps a few times. I moved his body as it needed to be moved and rewarded him at each step. Upon finding out he was someplace else and not dead he caught on after two trips. Now my biggest problem is getting him to not leak from the 2nd and 3rd to last step as we head downstairs and outside.

Here he is just after coming home. Note how he fits int he dog bed.

Same dog bed the other week. His growth is staggering. He is about 2/3 the size of Autumn now. His head is almost the same size. Autumn is a bit dainty and weighs in at 63 pounds.

Having a puppy is tough on the adults. Autumn and Sage have taken to banding together to hide from him. Inty has not figured out how to jump up yet. He mostly rears back and slams into the edge of the couch and falls back. His size is deceptive for his age. He is not agile at all but I can see it coming. They can as well.

We spend a lot of time keeping him separate from them. He has no off button which is common with puppies. Sage, the Afghan in the back is 11. Autumn is about to turn 7. They are at a mild truce with him as long as he doesn’t jump on them and bite.

What a face, huh? He is a very sweet puppy but he cannot help himself from biting. I spend a lot of time on /r/dogs and /r/puppy101 these days. The reason is because many people get puppies expecting them to be dogs that have not learned sit yet. It is much more than that. Puppies function on a bunch of automatic reactions and slowly their little minds catch up.

Inty bites a lot. He crawls into my lap and licks me and halfway through starts biting my chin and face. I’m not talking about attacking me. His jaws just start closing and nipping starts to happen. He actually can barely control this. It is an automatic function that comes along with teething.

Which he is doing! He is four month old this Friday and he has already lost most of his incisors as of this weekend. He has several big old adult incisors coming through and half of his upper incisors are gone leaving empty swaths of gum. I find it cute.

Teething is why puppies bite. That and we’ve bred it into them with many breeds. But the blind gnashing of the mouth with puppies is because of teething. It is interesting to watch them lose interest in things. Inty was obsessed with shoe laces the first few weeks. He would struggle with your shoes trying to unearth the laces for hours. But, in the last week as he has gotten bigger shoe laces do not give him the satisfaction he needs. He lost interest.

To assist him, I’ve been moving him through a series of more complex toys with different textures and circumferences. The goal is to make him work his mouth. That will help him releave the need and make him easier to live with.

Because lord, he exhausts me and he is a good puppy. He sleeps all night. I wake up around 0730-0830. He sometimes is asleep, sometimes he wakes me. If I get up to pee any time after 0700 the games over. He is awake and he starts crying. His crate is right under my bedroom.

I can’t ignore him. I have to appreciate that he sleeps as well as he does. But, I look forward to having my mornings back. I am not a morning person and by morning I mean before 1000. I worked day shift for 3 years and that meant getting up at 0500. I never adjusted. Ever. It was a nightmare every single work shift.

Puppies are a lot of work. I’ve had dogs for 30 years now. Inty makes my 6th direct personal dog. These are the dogs that I get to be my buddy and go everywhere with me. That doesn’t include dogs for my mother, dogs for my husband, other dogs I have had to train, those that have stayed, those that have gone.

It is an interesting legacy he has. My first dog was a Yorkshire Terrier that hated me. Between my mother, my brother, and I she tolerated me because I made her. She worshiped my mother.

Rakunna (Racoona) my first Great Pyrenees was my first heart dog. She was followed by Nox (German Shepherd) who shared with Daemion (Afghan). Then Nyx (Doberman) came along only to lose her two months before Intuition entered the scene.

In my 36 years I have been fortunate to have some amazing dogs. None of this was accidental. I like pure breed dogs and I pick selectively.

It has not been that long since I lost Nox, Daemion and Nyx. It made for a few hard years. Nox died in 2012. Daemion in 2013. Nyx in 2015. Nyx was the youngest at eight. Daemion and Nox died to age.

It has been 22 years since my mother and I brought Rakunna and Caesar (her brother and my mothers dog) home. What an amazing thing.

I took a lot of time to decide to get Intuition. Did I want to deal with this again? I am due for another wave of pet loss. Quinn kitty is 16 this month. Sabrina and Sebastian, my husbands cats, are 17 this month. Time catches up with us.

And now Intuition turns 4 months old in two days. Sometime in the future there will be great pain. But, until that time comes, I’m going to enjoy him.

He has a history of great dogs he will be following. But, when I saw this on January the 3rd, I knew it was the right choice to make.

Let the choice to bring a dog into your house be made with both an understanding and appreciation of the future.

Six weeks in

I need to take some updated pictures of Intuition. Inside shots just lack the luster. But, here are some from last week on his walk.

Inty’s ears are cropped. This is them out of their posts. That they are standing this well this early is a good sign that we won’t have much in the way of standing problems.

These are his ears posted. According to people who are against cropping this is cruelty. Often, I will hear people say how they love the floppy ears. Well, I don’t. Uncropped Doberman look like hounds and I love hounds. I don’t like Doberman that look like them I am not ashamed of the fact that I like the cropped look.

Ear posting is a fifteen minute process about twice a week. It is a two minute process for him. I use backer rod insulation foam. It is smooth and slender. I wrap the correct length of foam in duct tape to strengthen it. I then use breathable athletic tape to make it sticky and not irritate the ear. I slip it into his ear (the dogs ear channel is L shaped. I’m not damaging anything). I put tape at the base and at the tip. He has full movement of his ears and he can hear fine. You need him to be able to move his ears around to develop the muscles.

The cropping procedure is done by a vet when he was 8 weeks old. They take them under, the vet does the crop, stitches the ear, and the pup wakes up and that is that.

We need to weigh him. I suspect he is nearly 40 pounds. Picking him up became an impossibility pretty quickly so we had to teach him to go down the steps.

Training a dog is often about teaching them to think. What I did was walk him down the steps a few times. I moved his body as it needed to be moved and rewarded him at each step. Upon finding out he was someplace else and not dead he caught on after two trips. Now my biggest problem is getting him to not leak from the 2nd and 3rd to last step as we head downstairs and outside.

Here he is just after coming home. Note how he fits int he dog bed.

Same dog bed the other week. His growth is staggering. He is about 2/3 the size of Autumn now. His head is almost the same size. Autumn is a bit dainty and weighs in at 63 pounds.

Having a puppy is tough on the adults. Autumn and Sage have taken to banding together to hide from him. Inty has not figured out how to jump up yet. He mostly rears back and slams into the edge of the couch and falls back. His size is deceptive for his age. He is not agile at all but I can see it coming. They can as well.

We spend a lot of time keeping him separate from them. He has no off button which is common with puppies. Sage, the Afghan in the back is 11. Autumn is about to turn 7. They are at a mild truce with him as long as he doesn’t jump on them and bite.

What a face, huh? He is a very sweet puppy but he cannot help himself from biting. I spend a lot of time on /r/dogs and /r/puppy101 these days. The reason is because many people get puppies expecting them to be dogs that have not learned sit yet. It is much more than that. Puppies function on a bunch of automatic reactions and slowly their little minds catch up.

Inty bites a lot. He crawls into my lap and licks me and halfway through starts biting my chin and face. I’m not talking about attacking me. His jaws just start closing and nipping starts to happen. He actually can barely control this. It is an automatic function that comes along with teething.

Which he is doing! He is four month old this Friday and he has already lost most of his incisors as of this weekend. He has several big old adult incisors coming through and half of his upper incisors are gone leaving empty swaths of gum. I find it cute.

Teething is why puppies bite. That and we’ve bred it into them with many breeds. But the blind gnashing of the mouth with puppies is because of teething. It is interesting to watch them lose interest in things. Inty was obsessed with shoe laces the first few weeks. He would struggle with your shoes trying to unearth the laces for hours. But, in the last week as he has gotten bigger shoe laces do not give him the satisfaction he needs. He lost interest.

To assist him, I’ve been moving him through a series of more complex toys with different textures and circumferences. The goal is to make him work his mouth. That will help him releave the need and make him easier to live with.

Because lord, he exhausts me and he is a good puppy. He sleeps all night. I wake up around 0730-0830. He sometimes is asleep, sometimes he wakes me. If I get up to pee any time after 0700 the games over. He is awake and he starts crying. His crate is right under my bedroom.

I can’t ignore him. I have to appreciate that he sleeps as well as he does. But, I look forward to having my mornings back. I am not a morning person and by morning I mean before 1000. I worked day shift for 3 years and that meant getting up at 0500. I never adjusted. Ever. It was a nightmare every single work shift.

Puppies are a lot of work. I’ve had dogs for 30 years now. Inty makes my 6th direct personal dog. These are the dogs that I get to be my buddy and go everywhere with me. That doesn’t include dogs for my mother, dogs for my husband, other dogs I have had to train, those that have stayed, those that have gone.

It is an interesting legacy he has. My first dog was a Yorkshire Terrier that hated me. Between my mother, my brother, and I she tolerated me because I made her. She worshiped my mother.

Rakunna (Racoona) my first Great Pyrenees was my first heart dog. She was followed by Nox (German Shepherd) who shared with Daemion (Afghan). Then Nyx (Doberman) came along only to lose her two months before Intuition entered the scene.

In my 36 years I have been fortunate to have some amazing dogs. None of this was accidental. I like pure breed dogs and I pick selectively.

It has not been that long since I lost Nox, Daemion and Nyx. It made for a few hard years. Nox died in 2012. Daemion in 2013. Nyx in 2015. Nyx was the youngest at eight. Daemion and Nox died to age.

It has been 22 years since my mother and I brought Rakunna and Caesar (her brother and my mothers dog) home. What an amazing thing.

I took a lot of time to decide to get Intuition. Did I want to deal with this again? I am due for another wave of pet loss. Quinn kitty is 16 this month. Sabrina and Sebastian, my husbands cats, are 17 this month. Time catches up with us.

And now Intuition turns 4 months old in two days. Sometime in the future there will be great pain. But, until that time comes, I’m going to enjoy him.

He has a history of great dogs he will be following. But, when I saw this on January the 3rd, I knew it was the right choice to make.

Let the choice to bring a dog into your house be made with both an understanding and appreciation of the future.